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  • Kensington/Fishtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Martin Metzger, the milkman
  • Palmer Burying Ground
  • Cramp's Shipyard
  • Trumpeter Landfrey
  • Martin Metzger

    The characters are my ancestors. Martin Metzger was my great-grandfather ... all the known dates refer to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and almost definitely to the Kensington/Fishtown area.

    Tildie is fiction, although I wonder what Martin's horse was named. Other names used actually lived in the neighborhood in 1880 and 1900 ... from the census records ...

    Locations are real ... see the maps ...

    Abbott's dairies is a guess. I don't know who he worked for. ...

    Martin Metzger 1.png

    Palmer Cemetery/Kensington Burial Ground

    "... perhaps one of the oldest free neighborhood burial grounds in the nation. The cemetery has the remains of a number of well known persons in Kensington history; the Cramp shipbuilding family, lumber merchant & education advocate Alexander Adair, Revolutionary War Hero and first calico printer in America, John Hewson, as well as many of the early families of fishermen and shipbuilders that made Kensington and Fishtown so famous (an ancestor of baseball man Benjamin Shibe, of Shibe Park fame was one of these fishermen). The cemetery also includes a number of soldiers from the Revolutionary War and Civil War. It is also alleged that a Leni Lenape tribal chief is buried on the hill at Memphis & Montgomery.

    ... located in the oldest section of Kensington, now called Fishtown, and contains the block that is bounded by current day Belgrade, Palmer, Memphis, and Montgomery Streets. This area of Kensington was originally laid out by Kensington’s founder, Anthony Palmer (1673?-1749) in the early 1730’s. Palmer was a wealthy English merchant who came to Philadelphia by way of Barbados. Palmer’s intention was to create a burial ground for the Kensington community, but he died before he was able to establish it. The cemetery may have been in use as a family burial ground as early as 1730’s, but was not confirmed in writing as a public burial ground by Palmer’s heirs until they acted on his wishes with a “deed of trust” in 1765. The cemetery was for the use of those living within the boundaries of the original town of Kensington as laid out by Anthony Palmer.

    ... the current boundaries for those eligible to be buried in the cemetery is a little larger then the original boundaries and that they now accept those living in the triangle formed by the Delaware River, Frankford Avenue, and York Street. Anyone living within this area at the time of their death can have a lot in the cemetery for free, but will have to pay for the burial. The method of deciding where to bury is simple; the family chooses a spot, a pole is used to poke the ground to see if there are any obstructions, if there are no obstructions they can bury, otherwise you keep poking.

    Kenneth Milano has a great site for Kensington history.

    Cramp's Shipyard

    William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia was founded in 1825 by William Cramp, and was the preeminent U.S. iron shipbuilder in the 19th century. The American Ship & Commerce Corp bought the yard in 1919 but closed it in 1927 as many fewer ships were ordered by the U.S. Navy after passage of the Naval Limitations Treaty in 1923. In 1940, the Navy spent $22 million to reopen the yard to build cruisers and submarines. Cramps closed in 1947, and the site became an industrial park. In the photo, the yard began just above Philadelphia Electric Company's bellowing smokestacks (at bottom), and extended to the curving Reading Railroad tracks (at top).

    USS Indiana, Battleship No. 1 of the US Navy, launched 28 Feb 1893. Russian cruiser Varyag (1899) contracted by Russian Imperial Admiralty, launched Oct 31, 1899. The cruiser was sunk by the crew in Russo-Japanese War, salvaged by Japanese and then reclaimed by Russians. The first USS Indianawas the first modern battleship of the US Navy. She was modeled primarily after the design of Lt. Lewis Nixon, who worked for William Cramp & Sons as its chief naval architect until opening his own shipyard in Jan of 1895. She was laid down 7 May 1891, and launched 28 Feb 1893, sponsored by Miss Jessie Miller (daughter of the Attorney General William H.H. Miller), and commissioned on 20 Nov 1895, with Captain Robley D. Evans in command.

    Dec 20. The cruiser Newark left Cramps' shipyard for her trial trip, which took place on Dec 22. The trip was very successful.

    328ft long, 49ft wide, 32ft from keel plates bottom to spar deck, area of nine principal sails 11,000 ft+ ... stereo images!! Two stacks, three masts, 4 side turrets bumped out of each side,