This Was Doylestown, 1903

Residents urge creation of a borough police force, final services are held at the old Doylestown Methodist Church, and the Doylestown Agricultural Works expands, 110 years ago this week.

Thieves attempt to rob post office -

Thieves attempted to rob the post office, at the corner of Main street and Shewell avenue, early Tuesday morning.

This was about 2:30 o'clock, and it was only by chance that they were discovered at all. In order to effect an entrance, the thieves went around to a window in the rear of the office, directly under the bedroom window of Mr. and Mrs. Enoch M. Armstrong. Here they had the heavy shutter almost pried open when Mr. Armstrong, who was ill, heard the noise and scared them away.

"I heard a scraping and cracking below my window," said Mr. Armstrong, "and after I had listened a short time I was satisfied that somebody was trying to break into the post office. Getting out of bed, I raised the window and called to know what was going on. With that, several men ran away."

So frightened were they that they left a big steel "jimmy" sticking in between the shutters in their hurried flight, and Deputy Postmaster Joseph G. Hart has this as a souvenir. Night Watchman Michael Heuser happened to come along about that time and Mrs. Armstrong notified him what had happened. He in turn wakened Mr. Hart, who immediately came up.

Hugh Thompson, proprietor of the Monument Place restaurant, just across the street, and Elwood Francis were called to the scene and started out to look for the thieves. They were unsuccessful, but they informed Motorman Jere Kelly and Conductor Joseph Roberts, of the Willow Grove trolley car leaving town at 3:30, that an attempt had been made to rob the post office, and asked them to be on the lookout for suspicious characters.

When the car was going up Grier's Hill at Warrington, the motorman and conductor noticed a team driving along and decided that they would make a bluff, as it might be the thieves leaving town. Just between Delaney's and Murray's lanes, the car was stopped. Kelly and Roberts yelled to each other, "Get your guns!", and jumped off.

In a jiffy, the men in the wagon jumped out, climbed up the bank on the right-hand side, clambered through a fence and disappeared in the heavy fog. Their flight, however, was not quick enough to keep the conductor and motorman from seeing that there were two or three, and getting a good glimpse at two of them. Both were smooth-faced young men about twenty-two years old, and one, they noticed, had a white patch across the bridge of his nose.

Finding that it would be no use to attempt to capture the men, the crew took charge of the team, which consisted of a fine brown colt, a wagon with yellow running gears and two robes, and left it at Warrington with William Holbert. The loss of the team was soon discovered by the owner.


Residents want borough police force -

Residents of Doylestown gave expression to some pretty harsh remarks on Wednesday, when it was discovered that thieves had come into the town and had everything almost their own way in the absence of some police service.

It was quite evident that unless Town Council takes some action soon to provide proper protection for the town against such raids, the citizens will take it upon themselves to present their grievance.

"I don't believe you can find another town of this size in the State that hasn't some police protection. What is to hinder thieves from plundering our residences? You can't expect one night watchman, paid by a few people, to cover the whole town." This was the expression of one of the largest taxpayers of the town. There were many other remarks of the same tenor heard on all sides--some quite forcible from conservative citizens of the town.

In speaking of this some weeks ago, Judge Harman Yerkes said in an interview: "Bristol has a force of four or more men and it is double the size of Doylestown [Bristol had about 7,000 residents in 1903, and Doylestown about 3,000]. Occurrences such as the robbery of Buckman's mill are to me a proof that police officers would do much to preserve the peace of the town, and that we have reached a condition where they are necessary for the preservation of good order as well as moral conduct upon our streets.

"The protection should not be paid by private citizens, either. It is the duty of the borough to provide it and it should be done by a direct levy on the taxpayers, who are most deeply interested."

Some weeks ago, when interviewed by a reporter of The Intelligencer, several of the members of Town Council refused to give any opinion on the necessity of police protection in Doylestown. "It is an entirely new subject to us; we have not considered it," they said at the time. Since then, the subject has never been brought up at a Council meeting. Nothing has been done to protect the town against such bold attempts at robbery as have occurred in the past few weeks.


Two O'Clock Club holds banquet -

Members of the Two O'Clock Club, one of Doylestown's most popular social organizations, held their annual banquet on Thursday evening at the Hotel Pollock [later renamed the Doylestown Inn], and entertained a number of friends.

It was one of the most pleasant banquets held by the club since its organization. The table decorations in the large banqueting room were very beautiful and in excellent taste, consisting of flowers and candelabra. The menu, which was served at 7 o'clock, was one which was a credit to the management. Twenty-six places were laid.

The menu was as follows: Preliminary course--Celery, Oysters on Half Shell, Olives, Horseradish, Consomme, Pate; Main course--Broiled Chicken a l'Anglaise, Salade et Conbine a la Pollock, Mountain Branch Potatoes; Dessert--Orange Sherbert a la Grand, Cheese, Crackers, Nuts, Cakes, Cafe Noir.

After the banquet, the entertainment committee sprung a surprise when the gentlemen retired to the smoking room. The banqueters were given packages which they were privileged to exchange with each other and which caused much amusement. The remainder of the evening was spent very pleasantly.

The members present were: Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Haddon, Hon. and Mrs. Harry J. Shoemaker, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hellyer, Mr. and Mrs. D.S.W. Hess, Mr. and Mrs. William Stuckert, Mr. and Mrs. John L. Beans, Miss Carrie Rouse, Mrs. Mary K. Beckman, Miss Lizzie Mann, Mrs. Lettie H. Farren. The guests were: Mr. and Mrs. F.J. Gerlitzki, Dr. and Mrs. Pursell, Dr. and Mrs. B.M. Peters, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Miller, Mahlon H. Stout and E. Edwin Scheetz.


Advertisement -

HIGH CLASS LOT of HORSES...To be sold at the Fountain House, Doylestown, Pa., on Wednesday, February Eleventh, 1903, one carload of superior Iowa Horses, consisting of several extra good heavy draft teams, some speedy family drivers and some of the best shaped farm chunks of the season. This is another high class lot and must be sold. Sale to commence at 1:30 p.m....N. FRETZ'S SONS.


Final services held at old Methodist Church -

Editor's note - The Rev. James Hand held the first Methodist services in Doylestown in 1838, and raised money to build a church on West Court Street. A new Methodist church opened on South Main Street in 1903, and the old church later became an automobile garage. The garage burned down around 1915 and was replaced with another building, which was purchased for borough hall in 1979. A third Methodist church was built on Swamp Road in 1966, and the South Main Street sanctuary is now Main Street Baptist Church.

After over six decades of service, the old Doylestown Methodist Church has been abandoned.

In about eight weeks, the congregation expects to move into the new and more ornate Beckman Memorial M.E. Church, on Main street.

The congregation held the final services in the old church on Sunday. At the services, especially at the "testimony" meeting in the evening, many of the old members expressed a great affection for the old edifice and regret to leave it. Stories of conversions accomplished in it, of great revivals held there and wonderful good accomplished within its walls, were told by members who had worshipped there a lifetime, and some of the younger generation.

After the morning services, a consecration meeting was held in which much interest was shown. In the evening, there was a large attendance of members and a song service was held.

Rev. James McKinley spoke of the history of the church and the Methodist society in Doylestown, and said that he had learned from some of the church's old pastors of the gracious revivals held there and many conversions brought about. He spoke of the time in the 1830s when Rev. James Hand, the founder of the church, had come to Doylestown and found a veritable field with little in it but opportunity, of the struggles of the early Methodists, and their final victory in building the old church and paying for it through the generosity of the community.

Among the congregation at the services were three of the oldest members of the church, who remembered quite distinctly when the church was erected.

One of these was Vicenzi Wetherill, who can remember events that took place in relation to the erecting of the edifice and the early services, the days when the congregations were not large and also when the church was not so prosperous.

Mrs. Samuel Hall, probably the oldest member, recalled that she is the granddaughter of the man who practically introduced Methodism into this section of the county, throwing his home in Doylestown township, on what is now the Isaac Hall farm, open to Methodists to hold their services. There, the first circuit riders offered up song and praise and prayer before the church was built.


Doylestown Agricultural Works expanding -

Under the ownership of Ruos, MIlls & Co., the Doylestown Agricultural Works is branching out and becoming a much larger industry than it ever was before. The force of workmen is being enlarged and the firm is now building machines for farm use entirely after its own patterns.

There are three especially interesting machines, after new models which originated with employees of the firm. One is an ensilage cutter and elevator, constructed so that it is practical for any farmer and at small cost. One improvement which makes it valuable is a lever which can be easily operated and is designed to prevent accidents of a serious nature should the operator get his hand caught.

Another indispensable piece of farm machinery patented by the firm is a riding cultivator, which is so constructed that it can be set for corn, potatoes or any other farm product it is desired to use the machine upon.

The third machine is a very simply constructed and durable corn sheller, after a new pattern, which is guaranteed to shell corn as fast as it can be fed into it--probably 500 bushels a day.

Every little piece of these machines is made in the factory, which has been fitted up to allow of the greatest speed in turning them out. A wholesale business is being conducted. Beginning in the foundry, where most of the iron parts are made, it is interesting to watch the production of the machines through the various departments until the final assembling of the parts.

The agricultural works has been an important industry in Doylestown for many years, and judging from its present growth it will continue to be for some time to come.


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Doylestown Town Notes -

Evangelist William E. Geil, of Doylestown, visited the South Sea Islands, the scene of the recent awful tidal wave, on his present journey around the world.

Henry S. Beidler has had a Standard telephone, No. 26D, put in his Ashland street residence.

The ball given in Lenape Hall on Tuesday evening was very largely attended. The dancing began shortly before nine o'clock and at that time there were about one hundred devotees of Terpsichore [the muse of dance] on the floor. Music was furnished by Raymond's Orchestra.

Mrs. Martin Hulshizer is confined to her home on State street with the grippe [flu].

With the handsome cork carpet and the fine furniture just installed in the council room, the Borough Fathers have more sumptuous quarters than ever before in their history. Next Monday evening, the first meeting will be held in the new hall [on the second floor of the Shewell Avenue firehouse].

Henry Cornell moved on Tuesday from Jenkintown to a house on Bridge street.

Miss Alma Barrett sang a solo at the evening service in the First Baptist Church on Sunday, when Rev. John H. Deming preached on the theme "The Man Who Hesitates."

Donald W. Wilkie, of Washington, D.C., was a visitor at the Bucks County Historical Society museum [inside the courthouse] on Saturday.

At the meeting of the members of Company G, Pennsylvania National Guard, on Saturday evening, little was done besides talking over the expected arrival of new uniforms.

Wynne James, Esq. has sold a house and lot on South Main street, belonging to Melvin H. Wampole, to Joseph H. Fretz, proprietor of the Fountain House, at private figures.

A meeting of the baseball association directors will be held at the Railroad House [on South Clinton Street] Monday evening.

Unless the rain interferes, it is expected that the attendance at the supper given in St. Mary's Catholic Church [now Our Lady of Mount Carmel] will be very large.


From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of Feb. 8-14, 1903


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