Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: October 1999 Volume 37 Number 4, Pages 141–144

Notes and Comments

Page 141


"Remember Paoli" -- Revisted

Last year, in the October 1998 issue of the Quarterly (Vol. 36, No. 4), we published a paper titled "Remember Paoli" read a hundred years ago at Paoli Day ceremonies by Miss Hannah Epright, principal of the public schools of Malvern (and earlier a teacher in Easttown township schools). We have since discovered a newspaper clipping which indicates that what we published was only the first part of her remarks. Following her review of the historical facts connected with Paoli, she made additional points which still should be of interest today. The previously omitted portion of her paper is the following:

"The boy of today will be the citizen of the near future, and in our country where the citizen is the sovereign, he will be called upon to rule, and the time in which he is journeying on toward citizenship is the time to teach him how to rule. He arrives at the age of twenty-one, and there is a strange man in the house. He is a citizen in a triple sense of the town, of the state, of the nation. He holds in his hand the ballot which he ought to cast for his country's welfare, but more often it is cast as the party boss directs. He has before him problems of immigration, of annexation, of tariff, of labor, of finance, of foreign and domestic policy, and what are we doing to prepare him for all this? Just the regular routine of study.

Page 142

"This is good and necessary, but every child should leave the grammar school, yea, the ungraded country school, with some idea of the duties and functions of a voter. So in order to teach our boys and girls to become intelligent voters and citizens, I would bring them face to face with the historic places of our country, of which Paoli is but a type, and I would impress upon them not only the greatness of dying for one's country, but the greatness that is still greater, that of living for one's country.

"Again I would remember Paoli because of our foreign-born population. These come to us from monarchical countries and about the only idea that many of them have of liberty is lawlessness. Their children are in our schools saying, "Here we are." In a few years these children will be men and will sit in our legislative halls and make laws for you and me to keep, and now is the time to teach them respect for law and loyalty to country.

"How shall they be taught to remember Paoli? First, I should bring the children to see Paoli. I would not bring only the children who live near, but the children of the remote corners of our country should come and hear the story and hold a Patriot's Day here in this grove, and directors should see that they got here. And if a teacher cannot get enough en­thusiasm now to assist in such an exercise, when will she find the occasion? Besides this, I would introduce American classics, patriotic songs, and because in these days of juvenile books mothers have forgotten the old art of story-telling, every school house should ring with the noble lives and deeds of our fathers, and from the lips of every teacher should come instruction in the line of loyal devotion to the spirit of out American institutions until every boy and girl were not only sprinkled with but thor­oughly baptized into them, and until he should love them with a love passing that which he had for home and mother. A single generation of such teaching moved not by blind partisanship, but by intelligent views of right and duty will go far toward training up our youth to be thoughtful patriots, knowing their country's history, its needs its true glory so that he may serve her faithfully, whether in her councils or in her defense.

"So I would say, let us remember Paoli, not in a spirit of vindictiveness or retaliation, not with any spread-eagle sentiment for our country, but with a firm adherence to the principles of our government, and an unswerving loyalty to the faith once delivered to us by the fathers of our Republic."

Miss Epright's essay was loudly cheered at its conclusion

[From the Phoenixville Daily Republican of September 21,1898.]

Page 143


Land Survey Firm Celebrates 1 25-Year History

Local history and genealogical researchers who have worked with Tredyffrin or Easttown land records are likely familiar with the name Milton R. Yerkes. He is identified in many twentieth century deeds as the surveyor who established the boundaries of land conveyed.

The surveying firm was founded in 1874 by Samuel and John Garrigues in Bryn Mawr. (You will find the Garrigues name on late nineteenth century deeds.) After John Garrigues left the office in the 1890s, Samuel was commissioned to map General George Washington's 1777-78 winter encampment, complete with regiments, land owners and road names, for the newly created Valley Forge State Park.

Milton R. Yerkes joined the firm at the turn of the century, then pur­chased it in 1902 and changed the name to M. R. Yerkes, C. E. By 1907 the business was sufficiently established that the Yerkes customer list included names such as Bethlehem Steel Company. Son John B. Yerkes came into the firm in 1933, and its name changed ten years later to M. R. and J. B. Yerkes, Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors.

The firm moved from Bryn Mawr to Rosemont in 1955 and established a second office in a farm house on six acres in West Whiteland township in 1969 where it is headquartered today. The company's current president, John B. Yerkes Jr., came on board in 1961. The company incorporated in 1965 and changed its name to Yerkes Associates in 1970.

These days, the company has 50 employees and reports about $4.5 million in annual revenues. Consulting engineers and landscape architects have emerged as more sought after services, and surveying, the science on which the firm was founded, accounts for only a third of the business.


Berwyn's Adams Family Recognized As Firefighters

Lawrence "Larry" Adams, long-time resident of Berwyn, his son Elwood and grandsons Todd and Greg, were the subject of a news report recently which highlighted the family firefighting tradition. The 82-year old Larry is retired from the Berwyn Fire Company, while Elwood, 53, has been involved in firefighting for 29 years, first with Berwyn, then for the last seven years with Paoli. Todd and Greg got involved as soon as they were eligible. They should, indeed, be recognized for their community service.

Page 144


Braxton's Addition Complete

The long-awaited addition to the store at Braxton's Animal Works on Lancaster avenue in Strafford turned out to be a showpiece. Construction got underway with an Amish barn raising on June 26. Amish workers hoisted heavy, 20-foot long, solid beams and used sledge hammers to pound wooden pegs through the timbers, securing them in place. The barn-like structure, which doubled the size of the Braxton's establishment, boasts a two-story glass silo-like enclosure around a spiral stairway to the second floor. The outside facades are stone and wood while in­side, open rafter beams and posts can be seen.

John Braxton, who owns the store along with his brother Dave and sister Jennifer, offspring of long- time proprietor Bill Braxton, are proud of the handsome new addition which harmonizes perfectly with this historic section of our community.


Local Community Gets Two New Bank Branches

As we near the close of the twentieth century, branch banking offices have become as numerous in our community as were gasoline filling sta­tions fifty years ago.

Commerce Bank held an opening celebration for its new Valley Forge banking office at the southeast corner of Valley Forge and Swedesford Roads on June 26. The branch, first in Tredyffrin township for New Jersey-based Commerce Bank (the 19th in Pennsylvania), underscores the rapid growth of commerce and industry along the Route 202 corridor.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Main Street Bank announced that its branch in Devon, at the southeast corner of Lancaster Avenue and Water­loo Road (a former First Union location), will open on October 23. Main Street Bank is headquartered in Reading, Pa., and operates over 30 com­munity offices in eastern Pennsylvania.


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