Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 



Families
A family named Macready loved on the corner of Ellis and Walnut Streets in the era of 1885. Across on the opposite corner, was the Friends Meetinghouse, which is now the Acme Supermarket.

The Macready and Magill family here in town were close friends. When she was a young girl, the late Mrs. Magill was a frequent guest in the Macready household.

She was the widow of Doctor Charlie Magill who was a prominent veterinarian in South Jersey during that period. The following tale was found by Betty, Mrs. Magill¹s daughter, when she examined her mother¹s effects after her recent passing at the age of 90.

Betty has graciously permitted the following paper to be published. Old Mrs. Macready often told Mrs. Magill of how she had a grandmother named Baker who lived at the intersection of Kings Highway and the White Horse Pike when the area was farmland.

It was known as Baker¹s Corner. Now it is Haddon Heights.

The Bakers were farmers and when the Hessian army came through during the Revolution, they buried their silver and money, some of which was never found. Adjourning the Baker farm was the Lippincott farm.

One day when Baker was working at the Lippincott place, the Indians came and surrounded the Baker farmhouse, making a great noise and scaring Mrs. Baker. Although she had been told they were friendly, she sent them to the back of the house for water.

She then took her two children and hid in the cornfield. She worked her way through the fields to the Lippincott farm.

Mrs. Baker¹s maiden name was Sloan, and she remembered her grandmother Sloan always smoked a pipe, and kept a jug of whiskey on the table, saying, "Nobody kept a fuller table than she did!" Who can ride past the White Horse Pike and Kings Highway corner again and not pause to reflect that the land was once farmland with Indians predominating.

Squire Harrison

Before World War I, there was a small residence on the Main Street where the Lillian Albus store is now. Squire William H. Harrison lived there alone and the one room building next to it was his office.

The squire was Haddonfield¹s Justice of the Peace. He issued court summons, held court in the Town Hall, and performed marriages.

He was a cousin of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States.

Squire Harrison had further renown, too, as he owned the only oil well in Haddonfield. In the rear yard of his small office there was a little padlocked structure.

Inside was an open iron vat sunk in the earth to ground level. It was six feet across and filled with coal oil (kerosene).

Howard Griffeth remembers thatwhen he became big enough to carry a gallon can, his mother would send him with the can to knock on the back door of the squire¹s office. The squire would unlock the well¹s lean-to and by working a small hand pump would fill Howard¹s gallon can.

With a corncob stuck in the spout of the can, little Howard would trudge back to his home on Tanner Street with the precious fluid for the Griffeth¹s oil lamps. A horse drawn flat-bellied wagon with racks of square five-gallon cans of oil came to town regularly to replenish the oil supply in the vat in the squire¹s backyard.

In those days, Haddonfield never lacked for illumination. Disabled power lines were a thing of the future.

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