final bell “tolls” for foxcatcher farm

Main Line Media News: Historic DuPont mansion goes under the wreckers ball

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

By Pete Bannan
Pbannan@Mainlinemedianews.com

tollMotorists along Goshen Road in Newtown Square may have seen the final act of the John DuPont saga, as it appears his family home Liseter Hall is being demolished to make way for over 400 homes in the new Toll Bros. development of Liseter Estates.

The house was built by his grandfather for his parents wedding and DuPont grew up in the mansion. When his mother died in 1988 he turned the property into an amateur sports training mecca called Foxcatcher Farms….DuPont died in prison in December 2010 at Laurel Highlands in Somerset County, Pa.

A movie is in the works called “Foxcatcher” starring Steve  Carell as John DuPont.

 

Boom, crash, bang, groan, squeal,thud.  Those are among the sounds structures make when they are being demolished.

John DuPont’s former Foxcatcher Farm on Goshen Road and 252 is basically a big pile of rubble now.

Thanks to Toll Brothers coming in to essentially takeover whatever the last development plan was and “improve” the area with a plan more grotesque than Byers Station or Applebrook Meadows, nothing shall stand in the way now of a Stepford wife development of plastic Tyvec wrapped Barbie’s dream carriage homes, right?

Do I sound harsh? Sorry, am feeling harsh, because although it is not a surprise that this land would be developed, one would have thought that Newtown Township would have had a couple of brain cells left to better manage a plan that is not what this is, which is a total cram plan. But then again, isn’t this the municipality that used to let crazy John DuPont run around and play cop years ago?

I am somewhat irritated by the lack of land stewardship on the part of the DuPont family when it came to Foxcatcher Farm.  All that land stewardship and historic preservation from Winterthur to Longwood Gardens to Fair Hill there is this giant legacy of preservation in the DuPont family.  But not with this property.  Of course, that deal which leads to today’s development seems to have started when John DuPont was in prison.  I think it’s a shame the family couldn’t have stopped it then..  It wasn’t like it wasn’t a known fact that he was crazy as a hoot owl, right?  (However what is happening here should be a lesson to those in Radnor Township with regard to The Willows  and Ardrossan – but heck maybe they will just rename the township Holloway Township, right?)

Anyway, sign me disgusted on this one.  And hope Newtown holds them to good stormwater management, right?  And good septic if they aren’t on public sewer (Byers station reeks sometimes, doesn’t it?)  And did I hear right that Toll is sniffing around some giant land parcel in West Vincent or someplace around there?  Is that true? Lock up what is left of the open space people. That’s all I am saying.

Once the land is gone, it is gone. Once historic homes are gone, they are but salvage and rubble.

 development glory in chester county pa

 

 

duffy’s cut

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2/20/2013 UPDATE:

Main Line Suburban Life > News

Burial in Ireland planned for Duffy’s Cut victim

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By JIM CALLAHAN
jcallahan@journalregister.com

Duffy’s Cut victim John Ruddy, late of Chester County, is to be buried after services March 2 in County Donegal, Ireland.

Ruddy was one of up to 57 Irish immigrants who died of cholera and probable mob violence at an East Whiteland railroad construction site known as Duffy’s Cut.

Ruddy and the others are believed to have died nearly 181 years ago in the last two weeks of August 1832. Ruddy was 18.

His are the only remains thus far identified from an incident that was successfully hidden from the general public until recent years.

Professor William Watson of Immaculata University released details of the funeral arrangements. Services are set for 3 p.m. at Holy Family Church in Ardara, Donegal. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

PREVIOUSLY:

A week or so I happened to be passing by the Duffy’s Cut historical marker (I got a historical marker approved a few years ago and it is a lot of work to get one of them)  and stopped to photograph it.  Given the clouds of mystery and intrigue still surrounding Duffy’s Cut, I think the foggy afternoon was perfect. I also think that given the development occurring in Malvern (borough and East Whiteland) by developers who don’t truly give a rat’s fanny about the area, the history, or the current residents (they care about building and selling  projects) it is also appropriate to remember the history. You can never truly move forward into the future if you can’t honor the past, or that is just my opinion as a mere mortal and female.

I have always thought the tale of Duffy’s Cut to be a huge part of the history of Malvern. The Duffy’s Cut Project is housed at Immaculata. You can go see it.

The Smithsonian Channel has a special about it – called the Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut.

Duffy’s Cut is a big deal.  What was Duffy’s Cut?

From Immaculata’s web site:

In June, 1832, a group of 57 Irish immigrants from Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry arrived in Philadelphia. They were brought to Chester County by a fellow Irishman named Philip Duffy as laborers for the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, Pennsylvania’s pioneering railroad. Within six weeks, all were dead of cholera and possibly violence, and were buried anonymously in a ditch outside of Malvern.

Two brothers, Frank and Bill Watson have done yeoman’s work on this topic of Duffy’s Cut.  Read about them in the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street JournalThe Mystery of Duffy’s Cut

Historians Dig for Truth About What—or Who—Killed Early Rail Workers

April 14, 2011 By PETER LOFTUS

MALVERN, Pa.—Frank and Bill Watson recently led a group hoisting shovels and pick axes into a wooded hollow here in Philadelphia’s suburbs.

“Let’s find some bodies,” said Bill Watson, a professor of history at nearby Immaculata University.

Two children playing nearby scampered away before the men led by the Watsons—twin brothers and historians—started chipping away at a hillside hemmed in by two housing developments and busy railroad tracks.

The Watsons are on a macabre mission that began with a file of railroad company documents left behind by a grandfather and curiosity about what exactly happened at this spot—known as Duffy’s Cut—nearly 180 years ago.

This much is clear: Nearly 60 Irish laborers died here in 1832 as they built a land bridge for what became the thriving railroad that lent its name to Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line suburbs.

Their bodies were believed to be buried in a mass grave next to the railroad line, used today by Amtrak and local commuter trains. Tales of ghost sightings nearby were passed down through generations of area residents.

Cholera seemed the most likely culprit. Newspaper reports from the time reported that the disease killed several of the laborers at Duffy’s Cut. And an 1833 letter written by a superintendent of a precursor of the Pennsylvania Railroad said the contractor who hired the workers, Philip Duffy, lost “nearly one half of his men” to cholera. But early in their research, the Watsons began to suspect there might be more to the story….

In 2009, they began finding skeletal remains of at least four people. While many questions linger, the Watsons have become convinced at least three of them didn’t die of cholera.

One skull has holes with traces of lead on the edges, indicating a bullet’s entry and exit wounds, as well as a narrow slit that appeared to be delivered by an axe or hatchet. Another has a compression fracture suggesting it was caused by a blunt object. The third had dents in the skull indicating violence….

The work at Duffy’s Cut has received media attention in Ireland, and the Watsons have told the story to Irish heritage groups here. Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the U.S., has visited Duffy’s Cut twice.

“I was really struck by the human tragedy of all these young people dying so soon after coming here, and family back in Ireland never knowing what happened to them, or even knowing that they were dead,” he said. “Their story needs to be told.”

Unfortunately as of October 31, 2011 from what I can tell the archeological digs stopped.  It seems AMTRAK had enough.  I am not surprised.  I made a bit of a project out of them once upon a time and they are souless money grubbers who are horrible neighbors, charge ridiculous amounts for often dirty, smelly trains and piss poor service, so why would I be surprised history was also not their forte? The short answer is I am not.
I have not found anything more recent than a 2012 YouTube video put out by The University of Pennsylvania. Of course one would think our Congressman Jim Gerlach and our US Senators, State reps, State Senator Any Dinniman, and Gov. Corbett might show an interest in getting whatever that is left to be done gets done?  But until they do, I daresay the ghosts of Duffy’s Cut will wander.

Duffy’s Cut dig ends as Amtrak refuses mass grave excavation

Lynch mobs killed 1832 Irish railroad workers say historians  – VIDEOS

By JAMES  O’SHEA,IrishCentral Staff Writer

Published Monday, October 31, 2011,  7:07 AM
Updated Monday, October 31, 2011, 10:50  AM

PHOTOS – Duffy’s Cut – Irish labourers burial site in Pennsylvania slideshow

The dig for Irish remains at Duffy’ Cut in Pennsylvania has come to an end.

Frank and Bill Watson, the historians who first  located the remains of Irish railroad workers, many of whom are believed to have  been murdered in 1832, say that the mass grave they have been seeking is  unreachable

It has been located 30 feet underground but too near  to an existing Amtrak track to unearth it. It is said to hold the remains of up  to 57 Irish emigrants from Donegal, Derry and Tyrone.

The Watsons, believe most of the Irish were likely  victims of lynch mobs  driven by anti-Irish sentiment which was widespread  at the time.

The discovery of the mass grave came when  geophysicist Tim Bechtel used updated equipment   electrical imaging  and seismic surveys, to discover the mass grave 30 feet below the surface.

It’s also on Amtrak property. They will not permit  any digging because of its proximity to the tracks, spokeswoman Danelle Hunter  told Associated Press.…The mass remains are of Irish immigrants, mostly  from Donegal, who were building the railroad near Philadelphia when they all  mysteriously died….

Frank and Bill Watson with the help of volunteers  and archaeologists proved via DNA and testing that most of the Irish had   been murdered and did not die of cholera.

“Since the beginning, we have seen it as our job to  get their story out of folklore and into actual history, and we hope we have  done that,” Bill Watson told Associated Press.

A local monument stated the men had died of “black  diptheria” in 1834 but it is known they died two years earlier.

Soon after they started digging they found the  remains of six people and a nearby shantytown.

University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Janet  Monge found proof of savage violence done to the remains including a bullet  wound to the head of one of them.

Many locals had been sceptical that anything would  be found. East Whiteland Township Manager Terry Woodman told AP.

“Some people thought that this was lore, a story  that through the telling had been exaggerated,” Woodman said. “There was a lot  of skepticism.”

The rest who were killed were ordered buried in a  mass grave and their shantytown burned to the ground.

One victim was identified victim as 18-year-old John  Ruddy, based on his bone size and the passenger list of a ship that came   from Ireland to Philadelphia shortly  before the men died.

The brothers plan to bury  the remains  found  in a suburban Philadelphia cemetery around St. Patrick’s Day, March  17.

Dennis Downey, a history professor at Millersville  University, said the work done has been invaluable.

So Malvern, as you look at the developer tarting up one end of the town to sell his project, remember what happened in the East Whiteland side of Malvern. Here’s hoping some day the dead there can all rest.  They certainly didn’t get what they deserved coming to America looking for honest work.

but wait….there’s more happy horse scheisse

UPDATE 1.28.13  Wowza!  SOMEBODY DOESN’T LIKE BARBARA LUNA TODAY

deb jones

turning for home xraySigh….when it rains it pours.  I have received another horse comment that deserves it’s own post….again it is about a certain local-ish horse rescue: Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue and I guess also about that elusive Barbara Luna from Turning for Home which feeds horses coming off the track and into Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue and Jessica Troxell Basciano’s care, and are we surprised?

As is the case with the more ad naseum post of earlier I did not solicit what I am about to post, it did not originate with me.  I don’t rescue horses, don’t own horses, don’t currently ride. If the rescue la la types have a hissy fit over this comment, they also sold this person a horse so they also know where to find them.  I do not.

The heat is on in horse rescue in Chester County I would say, wouldn’t you?

Here is the comment. The X-Rays are posted as photos within the body of this post as you can see. The comment comes from a lady named Lisa who comments regularly on these horse rescue posts:

Here is what the people of this rescue think a removed bone chip looks like. Didn’t know a removed bone chip required screws? My vet calls it a fracture not a bone chip removal and that this horse, my little girl’s horse that I got from Jessica Basciano, is not going to be able to do much when it comes to riding. I have invested a load of money in this horse and to find this out has been heartbreaking for myself, not to mention my little girl whose horse this is!

Oh yeah, I got this horse at the end of August and am now just finding all this out now. You think maybe in an almost 5 month spread I could have been told about this?

Also I am still trying to get my other horse’s vet records. In fact I contacted Barbara Luna a few weeks ago requesting them, as my vet is going to now have to a check on him as well, since I don’t know if I was told the entire truth about his injuries. I still haven’t heard a word back from Barbara about his vet records!

Hey Barbara, if you are reading this, my vet still needs Hi Card Gambler’s vet records!  Can I please get them for the 3rd time in asking for them?!

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Here is the horse before this lady Lisa started caring for him:

HiCardlookingsick

Here is is AFTER she bought him and has cared for him:

HiCardlookinggood

Here is some sort of discharge papers from when he was a racehorse:

Discharge_Orders-condylar_NDP_simple_riding

Goes to show that someone will still care for an animal even when it ends up being more special needs than pleasure riding so why wasn’t eveyone just up front about this with all vet records?  These horses unlike the majority of dogs and cats who go into rescue have paperwork, have vet records — it is all supposed to go where they go so why doesn’t it?

1.23.13 UPDATE:

Yowza! There seems to be a flurry of activity and phone calls and facebook messages and all sorts of Tom Follery.  Of course more people are asking where Barbara Luna and Turning for Home are in this hot mess. Follow this LINK for the 990 on Guide Star in 2010.  Barbara Luna must report to the board and they are listed on page 33 of the report.(also found here: Turning For Home 990).

So anyway, hope this all gets sorted out.  But this sure is one hot mess. Who the heck knew finding odd Craig’s List Posts in late fall would lead to so much drama?

horse popp 1horse poop 1

more ad naseum about horse rescue: along came a comment from oklahoma

wildcat 1I will admit up front I am waaay past cranky.  I have been sick for a week and I am tired of being sick.  Anyway between being sick and life in general I did not pay much attention to some outreach this blog received which was very interesting.  It came in a few days ago, I forgot about it, did not approve it and came back to it today.

It’s from a woman who lives in Oklahoma named Kendall Pearsall who had problems with (drumroll please) a wildcat2certain local-ish horse rescue: Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue . Furthermore I would not describe her words as kind or complimentary  for those folks or that elusive Barbara Luna from Turning for Home which feeds horses coming off the track and into Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue and Jessica Troxell Basciano’s care, ok?

Anyway this woman Kendall with whom I have never spoken, and certainly never met, got a horse called “Wildcat”.  Wildcat was mentioned by people in wildcat3the comments on  one of the posts.  I don’t remember where.

Silly me, I had no idea horses in a horse rescue in PA would travel across the country to the great plains state of Oklahoma.  But I don’t rescue horses so what do I know.

Her comments and name (and e-mail address) provided me with enough to find her wildcat4aFacebook page and photos that are public of this horse. I am NOT publishing her e-mail as she seems like a victim if that is what you call it.  I did not solicit this woman, did not know she exists.  But if people from clear across the country are complaining now, what next? And if anyone mentioned in her comment have issues with being mentioned, well heck you sold her a horse and you know where to find her.wildcat4

Makes you wonder that is for darn sure. What I am posting is unedited and it is unsolicited by me.  I don’t know her from Adam’s house cat. The only thing omitted is her e-mail address – no photos  were embedded with the comment. But again, I found photos of the horse on her Facebook page that were public not private photos. (we are not Facebook friends as it were.)

Here it is:

Sadly, I have to add my name to the list of people who have been misled by Off the Track Rescue and Turning for Home.

Mid November- saw Wildcat Lake on OTTB Connect facebook advertised by Christina Hannan representing herself as working for Jessica Basciano. I quickly received a private message saying he had come off the track with a bow but released to ride by a vet.

<photo.JPG>

November 23, 2012- I received a fax with an adoption application from Christina Hannan and adoption agreement. All the paperwork was titled Off the Track-Jessica Basciano

November 24, 2012-I faxed back signed paperwork. The adoption agreement does not have a date, horse description, horse name or signature by anyone from adoption facility. I asumed all paperwork would arrive with him with the his description filled in along with a signature. Oddly, I received a private message cancelling the adoption saying Jessica didn’t want him to go that far. I then received another private message saying it was on again. We received several phone calls this same day from Barbara Luna, Jessica Basciano, Deb Jones and Bonnie Hutton confirming we were adopting him.

November 28, 2012 – Wildcat Lake was delivered to us in Oklahoma by a shipper we provided and paid for. No vet records, no rehab info, no signed adoption papers were delivered with him. We received a coggins but a couple weeks later discovered the tattoo does not match Wildcats tattoo..

Early December, 2012-I checked with our three references provided to Christina/Jessica and found no one had been contacted on my behalf.

Late December & Early January- I asked Christina for his vet records as she quoted he had been approved for riding in her advertisement. She again in a private message told me he had been approved to ride by two vets. She sent me a private message (see below) later telling me Wildcat had been released by Jessicas vets and that we should contact her. She said she had only spoken to her personal vet on the phone about it and he had not seen him. I called the vet that did his coggins and it was confirmed that he only did a coggins and did not discuss the bow and its rehab with Christina.

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January 7, 2013 – . I then contacted Barb and Jessica for Wildcats vet records. I received both of their interpretation of supposed vet records but didn’t get the actual physical paperwk Barb said the vet that did track eval and followup eval with Jessica was Tom Lurito. I received this from Jess but no actual vet records were sent to me as requested:

<photo 4.JPG>

Then I received this from Barb Luna-her interpertation of the vet records but no actual paperwork was received from her either:

January 8, 2013 – I left messages for Dr Lurito several times over the past two weeks

January 17, 2013- I contacted Barb Luna again telling her that I wasn’t having any luck with Dr Lurito and she responded that she couldn’t do anymore for me.

January 18, 2013- Dr Lurito called and said he couldn’t remember a horse named Wildcat.

I still have nothing on Wildcat except my personal vets evaluation which is he is NOT ridable now, has a really bad case of rain rot, and underweight. No shot records were provided either.

For those few of you who are defending these ladies, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

what if I wasn’t a good person that received a horse in this condition? what would have happened to him? My references were never checked! I can only assume he was never vetted after the track so if jessica received money for him as she admits in an earlier post (approx 2000.00), what did she spend it on for him? we know it wasn’t for vet care, rain rot meds, ulcer meds, etc etc etc so what did she do with it? Christina stated she was “thinning the herd for health reasons” yet she is advertising as of today with more horses.. I see in earlier post where Christina says she adopted him from Jessica – then why was the adoption application titled OFF THE TRACK with Jessicas name if she no longer owned him? None of this makes any logical sense.

People, can this whole horse manure pile get resolved?  What does Barbara Luna think?  Is she ultimately responsible in some way since she appears to be the link between the tracks and the horse rescues?

It is time for the players in this drama to get together and get this figured out. I see names in her comment that mean nothing to me, but I have to ask is the Deb Jones she refers to the big deal horse rescue lady Deborah Jones mentioned in the media? ( See this article and this article for example)  Is this the lady from savinghorsesinc?

Giddy up y’all. Just Giddy up.

1.25.13: This message was purportedly sent to this Kendall lady by someone in the rescue.  Kendall isn’t very tech savvy so I believe she doesn’t know how to screen capture private messages very well and copied and pasted this to herself or something? I don’t know but whatever, here:

 message

UPDATE 1.27.2013  Received this document from Kendall Pearsall in OK.  It is in native format “as is”