This Was Newtown: 1912
A look back at Newtown, 100 years ago this month.
From the Newtown Enterprise, January 1912
Newtown Shivers In Winter Cold Spell
Genuine winter weather has prevailed for the past week. While the temperature has not been as low as for a day or two in some past winters, the cold has been steady and heavy draughts have necessarily been made on the coal bins.
Last Friday night, after a day of high, intensely cold winds, was as cold a night as Newtown has known for several years. The temperatures at 7 o'clock in the morning were: Thursday, 12 degrees; Friday, 11 degrees; Saturday, 6 degrees; and Sunday, 10 degrees.
During these days, though Newtown blew on its fingers, rubbed its ears and stamped its feet, and the mercury tended toward the zero mark, we have generally managed to keep on in the even tenor of our ways, with possibly fewer people coming into town than is customary in early January.
The blacksmiths have been reaping a harvest, "smooth" horses having but little chance on the icy streets which have been the order of the day since the freeze following the rain of Monday night.
Sidewalks have been in such a condition in many places as to render walking on them dangerous to life and limb. Many pedestrians have preferred the middle of the streets where walking has been attended by a lesser degree of danger. We have, however, heard of no one being seriously injured by falling.
Borough Council Holds Year's First Meeting
Newtown Council held its regular monthly meeting last Monday evening. After the minutes of four meetings had been read by the new clerk and approved, the borough fathers turned their attention to the business of the evening.
Attorney Stuckert reported having communicated with the Bridgetown & Newtown Turnpike Company relative to their payment for repairs to South State street, but nothing has been heard from said corporation.
W.H. Janney, vice president and general manager of the Bucks County Electric Railway Company [streetcars], asked permission of council to lay a curved track at State street and Washington avenue so as to connect his road with that of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Traction Company. The Bucks County Electric Railway Company has purchased the three lines of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Traction Company, running out from Trenton to Princeton, Lambertville and Newtown.
Mr. Janney said "the curve will be needed for use in getting cars from that line into our barn for repairs." After some discussion, a motion to grant the request was carried unanimously. Vitrified brick will be used in paving about the curve.
Tax Collector Butcher appeared and asked that taxes amounting to $52.80 -- $38 borough, $5.80 bond, and $9 dog tax -- be remitted to him. This was done. Most of the remitted taxes were charged against men who have moved from the borough, several being Greeks and other aliens.
Council approved the following bills: R. Frank Schofield, street commissioner, $56.41; Borough Treasurer, work bills paid, $33.73; Charles H. Arnwine, police service, arrests, meals, $17.15; Watson P. Church, advertising, $7.70; George Ettenger, monthly compensation, $2.00; Newtown Artesian Water Company, rent of fire plugs, Jan. 1st to April 1st, $96.87.
NOTICE...Highest Cash Price paid for all kinds of old rubber--automobile and bicycle tires and inner tubes, boots and shoes, etc....Muskrat, skunk, opossum, mink and other furs bought for cash. Drop me a postal if you have anything to sell in my lines...S. SCHEER, 27 N. State St., Newtown, Pa....Next to Baptist Church.
Newtown Firemen Enjoy Banquet
The members of the Newtown Fire Association held a very delightful banquet at Robert Craig's Brick Hotel on Wednesday evening, which was attended by fifty-three persons. The organization had as its guests the members of borough council.
Fire Chief John Bothwell gave an extended report of the company's doings since it was organized twenty-two years ago. This made a very satisfactory showing and was listened to with much interest.
At the time the organization was effected, the apparatus consisted of two hand engines, the "Winona" and the old reliable "Washington"; a four-wheel hose carriage, and about 400 feet of old leather hose, which had seen much use with the Fame Hose Company of Philadelphia; and 57 buckets, but with no ladders, axes, bars, hooks, etc.
One of the most disastrous fires since the organization of the company was the burning of the stores of Mrs. S.E. Dolton and H.C. Worstall on March 1st, 1889.
The association has at this time fifty fully equipped active members and 100 contributing members. Attorney Gilekson, of Bristol, who is chief of the company in the river town, made a fitting address on the occasion.
Newtown Grange Meets
Newtown Grange held a meeting at Tomlinson's Hall on Wednesday evening.
Robert C. Wilson reported for the institute committee that plans for the farmers' institutes to be held at Doylestown, Pineville and Newtown were well under way and that printed programs would soon be available.
William T. Van Horn compared the system of farming forty years ago with the present methods. With the exception of the use of improved machinery, the sowing and gathering of crops is much the same. One of the greatest changes in this neighborhood is selling milk instead of making butter.
Aaron A. Watson discussed the laboring man's opportunities now as compared with forty years ago. He thought the opportunities of today are greater than those of forty years ago.
The secretary read a communication from N.B. Critchfield, Secretary of Agriculture of Pennsylvania, and James Foust, State Dairy and Food Commissioner, urging the grange to take quick action against any change in the Federal oleomargarine law. The request was complied with.
"Is the system of borrowing as practiced in the country a blessing or a curse?" was answered by William S. Duerr, who discussed the benefits and evils of borrowing money, as individuals and as political units. John Kirkpatrick expressed the opinion that extensive borrowing of money is detrimental to progress.
Edna Cornell gave a humorous reading. Brother Asa J. Brown, a visitor from Mountainville Grange, Orange county, N.Y., gave an account of his home grange.
Have you seen our Large Stock of Goods for the HOUSEHOLD? If Not, Drop In and Look! It Will Pay You!...Gold Fish, Globes, Fish Food, &c....MARTINDELL'S 5- and 10-Cent Store, State Street, Newtown, Pa....Nothing Over Ten Cents.
William J. Baker, of the White Hall Hotel, received on Tuesday from Tampa, Florida an alligator about 24 inches in length and which, he says, is seven years old. The saurian was sent to Mr. Baker by a friend and will doubtless prove quite an attraction at the South State street hostelry.
Charles D. Grim of Bristol, dealer in pianos, sold three to Newtown parties the first week in January.
Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Gourley entertained the directors and auditors of the Newtown Artesian Water Company on Wednesday evening at a turkey dinner.
During 1911, John T. Maher, Newtown's well-known drover, sold 203 cows at an average price of $59.45. The highest price at which any one of them was sold was $91, and the lowest $34.
Harry Firman, who has an eye and ear for things ornithogical, says he saw a robin Tuesday morning and heard it sing, and that he saw another of these birds Wednesday morning.
Miss Edna Schofield, who has just completed her training course at the Pennsylvania Hospital, is spending a month with her Newtown relatives.
The Fisher Shipp Concert Company will present an entertainment Saturday evening at the fire house. Please go and give them a full house. General admission only 25c.
John M. Harland has sold his double stone house on South Sycamore street, sometimes called "the pork house," because of the use made of it years ago, to the H.C. Case Company, on private terms. W. Aubrey Merrick was the agent who effected the sale.
Mr. and Mrs. M.D. Ritter announce the engagement of their daughter, Verta Esther, to Nathan J. Taylor, of Glenside, Pa.
George C. Worstall has had a new snow plow built, and on Sunday morning the machine was brought into practical use on the pavements of Newtown and propelled by a horse under the supervision of George B. Heath.
Mrs. Lavinia W. Blackfan, Mrs. Fannie S. Cunningham and Miss Emma Phillips will go to Florida about February 1st.
Last Friday, Mahlon B. Fretz was the first Newtown man to have his dinner cooked with the new gas now being furnished our citizens. Henry Sacks was the first man to use the gas for illuminating purposes.