Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


The Twitchell family
In 1883 a prominent Philadelphia businessman and his family moved into the village of Haddonfield.  The town then boasted of slightly over a population of two thousand.  Oscar Twitchell rented 67 Chestnut street, the corner of Lincoln avenue and Chestnut street.  He immediately became interested in community affairs and one of his activities was really homespun.

There were two pumps then on the Highway.  One was on the corner of Washington avenue and west Kings highway near the watchman's shanty at the railroad crossing, in front of the Bell Coal Company's office.  The other was at the side of the road in front of the Indian King Tavern.  Mr Twitchell assumed the full responsibility of making sure that fastened to each pump was a tin cup so that passers by could always secure a good, clear, drink of water.

Mr. Twitchell eventually built a home on 240 Chestnut street on the corner of Chestnut street and east Cottage avenue where four of his children were born.  Oscar, the first child, was born in Philadelphia.  The five children were Oscar, Seldon, Earl, Helen, and Laura.

He installed a large flowing fountain on the lawn that soon proved to be a detriment.  When a south wind blew it sprayed the porch with water and drenched everything and everybody.  Mr Twitchell donated it to the Borough and Mayor Fred T. Holloway had it placed at the point where Ellis street and Potter street meet.  When the point was cut back, the fountain was moved down to the Water Works near the Mountwell Pool.

One day, years later, Miss Helen Twitchell, while walking, saw it and recognized it as the ornament that stood on her lawn when she was a child.  Mayor Fred Fox learned from her the fountain's history, and with the assistance of the Haddon Fire Company, he put it down on the point in front of the library, where it now stands.

Miss Helen, and brother Seldon, lived for years at the corner of Evans avenue and west Summit avenue on the tract of land that was owned by Fred Sutton.  That area between Warwick road and Chews Landing road was open country that met with Ed Bell's farm which extended from Oak avenue down to the area of the present Mountwell avenue.  The old Bell farmhouse still stands at the corner of Oak avenue and Chews Landing road (then Highland avenue).  Across the road to west Kings highway were empty fields.  The only structures there were Henry D. Moore's mansion on the corner of west Kings highway and Chews Landing road, and William Sherrerd's fine, big house next to it.

Miss Helen remembers how her mother would take the children to visit their grandmother in Camden, and how her father would come from his business at Second and Vine streets in Philadelphia in the evening to help get the family home.

They would walk to the railroad station, the Star Station as it was then called.  It was near Ferry avenue.  The train did not stop there at night, but Twitchell would light up a rolled newspaper and wave it.  The engineer would stop the train and they would climb aboard and ride back to Haddonfield.

Miss Helen Twitchell resides now [9/15/1977] in the Presbyterian Home on Warwick road.  It was delightful to chat with her and her memories are so wholesome and interesting.

The Twitchell family is an example of the many families whose generations have firmly established roots in Haddonfield.


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