« PreviousContinue »
house, too, as a stone in the wall on Indian Queen Lane testifies. This stone was removed to its present location from a crumbling wall nearby and is thus inscribed, “Ruined by the war 1777 rebuilt more firmly by the trusty Isaac Tustin.”
The present house was built by Mr. Hill, as a stone in the foundation of the porch states, in 1780, on the site of the old farmhouse. It is a stone plastered structure of two and a half storeys standing upon a knoll and has two wings, one longer than the other. There are two bays in front and one dormer in the roof. The rooms are of the depth of the house and there are several to the right and left of the hallway. The partitions are of solid stone plastered without lathing.
As Mr. Hill had no descendants the place was sold to Thomas Lee, brother of Bishop Lee, who called it Roxborough. There is still the mark of his wife, “R. Lee,” cut on a pane of glass with a diamond.
The next owner was John C. Craig, who married Jane Josephine Biddle, and was a man of great wealth. He maintained a stud of racehorses and had a racecourse in front of the house. Mr. Craig was taken ill and died while abroad in 1840. In May of that year the place was sold to Mr. Cornelius Smith, who changed its name from the Plantation of Roxborough to the present Carlton, at the suggestion of a relative because of his wife's name, Elizabeth-Carlton being the name of one of Queen Elizabeth's castles. It is now occupied by his son and his daughter, Robert S. Smith and Mrs. Newhall, and a large part of the estate forms the modern settlement of Queen Lane Manor.
TOWNSHIP LINE, GERMANTOWN RITTENHOUSE-CARE-PRATT—MASON-LOWBER
PPRING BANK is situated on the
west side of Wissahickon Avenue
Roxborough Township and separates the twenty-second and twenty-first wards of Philadelphia
It is not known just when the house was built but on February 12, 1736, Matthias Jacobs and his wife Barbara conveyed the sixty acres with the buildings and improvements to William Rittenhousen of Roxborough Township, the grandson of William Rittenhousen, who was born in 1664 in the principality of Broich on the Ruhr. His ancestors had long been makers of paper at Arnheim, and when taking the oath of citizenship in Amsterdam he was described as a papermaker from Muhlheim. He emigrated to New York with his three children, but finding no printer there to use the product of his industry, came to Germantown in 1688, and in 1690 built the first papermill in America on a little stream called the Monoshone Creek, and later Paper Mill Run, which flowed into the Wissahickon. The mill was washed away by a flood several times but was always rebuilt, and the original house of the family still stands on the Lincoln Drive where Rittenhouse Street comes down from
Germantown. He was the founder of the family here and his great-grandson, David Rittenhouse, was the famous astronomer, philosopher, and statesman, who was president of the Philosophical Society, treasurer of the State, director of the mint, and died in 1796. William Rittenhouse was the first Mennonite preacher in Germantown, being chosen October 8, 1702.
The Spring Bank property is not far from the papermill and no doubt the Rittenhouse family owned all of the intervening land.
William died on February 18, 1708, and the papermaking was carried on by his son “Claus," who died in 1734 and left the mill to his son William, the purchaser of Spring Bank, and who is described in the deed
paper maker.” He had three sons, Jacob, Martin, and Nicholas. Jacob had the mill during the Revolution and was one of the minute-men to go out with the Roxborough troops. Nicholas Rittenhouse was a miller and probably operated the mill on the opposite side of the Wissahickon Creek, the foundations of which are still standing. At the death of his father, William, he took the place by conveyance from Nicholas in the partition of the estate, and in 1795 sold it to Peter Care, an eminent miller and flour merchant of the city, who sold it, in 1803, to Henry Pratt, his son-in-law.
Henry Pratt was the son of Matthew Pratt, a famous “limner” of 1758, whose father learned to be a goldsmith from Philip Syng.
They lived in Water Street, Philadelphia, and Henry was thrice married, his last wife being Susanna Care, daughter of Peter and Anna Barbara Care. In 1796
Henry Pratt bought the residence of Isaac Wharton at 112 North Front Street between the houses of Abraham Kintzing, his partner, and Henry Drinker. Thereupon the Cares moved to the Water Street house.
When Henry Pratt parted with the Spring Bank property in 1816, it passed through the hands of Joseph Huckel, dentist, Jonathan and George Thomas, merchants, and William Overington, farmer, until it came, in 1825, to Samuel Mason, the steward of the Pennsylvania Hospital, described in the deeds as Gentleman.”
Samuel Mason was an Irish Friend who was one of the founders and first trustees of the Germantown Friends' Meeting on School House Lane, in which the Rittenhouses and Livezeys were also prominent.
During his care of this Meeting there arose a matter of discipline which was long before the Meeting for settlement. It so preyed upon the mind of one concerned Friend, Priscilla Deaves, that she became unbalanced and took every occasion to preach from the text, “The Innocent Suffer, while the Guilty go Free.” Having been admonished in vain, it was decided to adopt summary measures, and when she next arose two stalwart elders stepped to her side and raising her upon their shoulders bore her down the aisle toward the door. Whereupon she exclaimed: “I am more honoured than our Saviour, He was carried on the back of one ass, while I am borne on the backs of two."
Samuel Mason established a sanatorium at Spring Bank, and lived there until 1838, when it was sold to George Wilson, “marble mason and farmer, from whom Doctor Edward Lowber bought it in 1840.