Bits of history can be as fascinating. I stumbled across this check from 1867 when I was looking for treasures at one of my favorite spots. This was drawn on the National Bank of Chester County.
The National Bank of Chester County was founded around 1814. In 1837 it’s iconic bank building opened at 17 N. High Street in West Chester, PA. And another fun fact? Until 1857 it was the only bank in Chester County. The bank no longer exists, but its location/building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
I found a little about Francis H. Gheen:
So that check was written to him two years before he got married. $300 was a larger sum in those days, I wonder what he was being paid for?
📌Francis H. Gheen, son of Edward H. and Phebe J. (Hickman) Gheen, was married to Ann E. Brinton in Philadelphia, Pa. on February 25, 1869.
Daily Local News, West Chester, Chester County, Pa January 25, 1921
Francis H. Gheen
After an illness lasting about ten days, Francis H. Gheen passed away last evening at his home on North High street. He was in the 85th year of his age.
The deceased was born July 6th, 1836, on the farm of his parents, Edward and Phoebe Hickman Gheen, in East Bradford, on the property purchased by the late Bayard Henry. He received his early education in the public schools of the township, and was then sent to a private school in Vermont, but came back home later, and remained on the farm. When his father ded he took possession of the place, making it a model farm. He afterward purchase a farm of his own.
It was n 1869 that he came to West Chester and started in the banking business, being located where the Farmers & Mechanics Trust Company now stands, the firm being known as Gheen, Morgan & Co. Later, Mr. Gheen decided to open an establishment for making wagons and selling the same, and established himself on East Chestnut street, where he continued in business for along time. Later, when he quit this line, being a fine judge of horses and cattle, he entered into a partnership with the late William Wells, which he continued until the death of Mr. Wells. Mr. Gheen then retired from active usiness life, and has since enjoyed remaining at his home or visiting his children at their homes.
Francis H. Gheen may be truly termed the “dean” of fox hunting in Chester County, for at the early age of ten years he possesed a pony which he rode to the hunts near his home, and later owned a fine pack of hounds. He loved the sport in a sense more than words can express, but any violation of ethics of clean sportsmanship brought his views to light quickly. He attended almost all hunts, and when not in the saddle he was on the hills and could tell nearly all the haunts of the foxes in the county. He believed that the younger foxes should be protected and taught to lead the hounds and as a result, frequently went to their dens and fed the little ones. His recountals of hunts of the past always brought a crowd of young and old listeners, for he know (sic) many incidents of great interest. For several years past he had been preparing for publication a book entitled “seventy Years a Fox Hunter” which will be published. He also enjoyed gunning and frequently went South, always returning with much game.
He was a devoted father and husband and will be sorely missed by those left behind. In 1869, he married Annie E. Brinton, of Thornbury Township, and she survives him, as do the following children: Gertrude (now Mrs. Robinson, of New York); Miss Marion H. Gheen, at home; Francis H. Jr., of New York; Mrs. Helen Hunsicker, at home, and Phoebe (now Mrs. A. H. Howard), of New York. John J. Gheen, Esq., is the only living brother, Admiral Edward Gheen having died two years ago. The only sister living is Mrs. Richard Strode, of West Miner street.
While not a member of any church, Mr. Gheen frequently attended meetings of the Society of Friends.
He was a member of the F. & A. M., of this place, the West Chester Club and the West Chester Golf Club. Summing up the life history of this man, a friend expresses the view: “He was a clean and honest sportsman, a friend to all, and agood citizen.”
GHEEN- On Jan. 24, 1921, Francis H. Gheen, in his 85th year.
Pretty cool, huh? You never know we’re a little slip of historical paper will take you. If there is anyone out there who is a relative of this man and can prove it to me I am happy to give you this quirky bit of history.
I have loved the historic village of Yellow Springs down Art School Road in Chester Springs for years and years. I was first introduced to the village by my late father. He loved the art show and the antique show the village no longer hosts in the fall (but should.)
We would come out to the village, attend the art show or antique show and have lunch at the now closed Yellow Springs Inn. At first the restaurant was in the building known today as “The Washington”, then it moved to the Jenny Lind House.
Truthfully the history of Yellow Springs Village is so very interesting. As a related aside, Margaret Holman is but one of many women who played important and pivotal roles in this village over time and throughout its history. Now we add my friend Meg Veno to that list of historically important ladies. With her renovation of the Jenny Lind house and the amazing adaptive reuse that still nods to the past in process, she is bringing new life and a fresh set of ideas to Yellow Springs Village.
Restoring Jenny Lind is so positive for this magical village. And I was so glad to see people out enjoying the art show and picking up their box lunches from at the Jenny Lind today!
The restoration is not complete there are still at least a couple more months of solid work ahead of them. But today I had the privilege and honor to see the progress and how the renovation was coming along. I was literally almost reduced to tears. I had no idea that once upon a time at a Life’s Patina Barn Sale when Meg mentioned to me that she was looking for another project, and I happened to tell her that the Jenny Lind house was in bank foreclosure and the restaurant gone, that this would happen.
I was thinking today when you mention to people that a great historic asset is for sale you never know if anything will ever happen. A lot of times it doesn’t. And this time it has. And the transformation is as magical as it has been watching Loch Aerie come back to life. Completely different periods of history and styles of architecture but both have these spots in my heart.
Oh and the lunches sold are a preview of what we can expect in the cafe to be? Amazing! And it was all environmentally friendly packaging down to the disposable wooden utensils.
I am including photos I took a few years ago of the Jenny Lind when it was the restaurant so you can fully appreciate the remarkable and painstakingly gorgeous restoration. The Victorian decor of the former Yellow Springs Inn was never right for the structure although for years the restaurant was quite good.
Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe at the Jenny Lind House is going to be perfection.
One of my favorite things to do in Chester County is attend a Life’s Patina event. Meg Veno and her team of designing women have an amazing eye and flair for putting things together.
When you walk into the big barn, you are always greeted immediately by a lovely tableau in the center. You move from space to space within the barn which is two levels and quite large and your imagination just goes wild!
There is so much to see so many great ideas and every nook and cranny is filled with something you either know you need, you didn’t realize you needed but want, or would make a perfect gift for someone special in your life.
Spring event which started today with the preview my friend Amy and I attended this morning, was just lovely. After a long winter to go through those big barn doors into the magical scenes which unfolded for us every step we took, made even a gray and rainy day sunny!
A few years ago I picked this chair out of a barn. For $45. Which is astounding because vintage furniture of this quality is highly desirable even used. And if you’re looking at the gorgeous mahogany of this chair this is also why you don’t need to chalk paint or faux paint every piece of vintage furniture. Sometimes it just needs to be recovered.
“Brown wood” is cool, pass it on.
It’s a Southwood Sheraton side chair. It was made in Hickory, North Carolina. It’s just slightly past mid century, this chair dates to 1973 when Southwood was founded.
Southwood was started in 1973 with the vision to become America’s premier maker of authentic, museum-quality antique reproductions, as well as offering traditional upholstered seating. They went out of business around 2013, sadly.
Anyway, The chair when it originally came to me was in a powder blue silk velvet. But the velvet had been drying out and getting very brittle over time and I knew I needed to start looking for fabric to recover this chair in. Enter a friend of mine whose late mother had amazing taste. She gifted me a remnant of vintage Scalamandre upholstery fabric.
So I called up my upholsterer Ken and said I have the fabric for the chair. He had coincidentally just start looking for fabric for me for the chair because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
This evening my chair came home. It looks amazing! And I did save some money by supplying my own fabric. But that was just a fluke that the fabric was gifted to me. It’s just like the planets aligned.
Once again I am sharing with you the information on my upholsterer, Ken’s Upholstery. They pick up, they deliver, and their attention to detail is unparalleled. It has been a long time since I saw an upholsterer who is this good at his craft.
And Ken does nice little things for his customers like send you photos of whatever he’s working on for you from start to finish. And something Ken did for me was to put the original Southwood tag back on the bottom of my chair. I had not asked him to do that, I had asked him to just hang onto the original manufacturer’s tag!
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the way the chair turned out. My husband knows he will never be able to drink red wine in it but that’s OK. I love it! And once again I am a regular customer of Ken’s Upholstery , I am not getting anything as far as compensation in any way shape or form to write this post. I am just a very, very happy customer!
Today was errand day. I was the mostly stay in the car wingwoman. After a couple of stops in West Chester we were coming down 352 and when we were at the intersection of Ellis Lane and I noticed that Old Mill Antiques and Interiors/ Shutters and Sand were open!
I love antiquing even if I don’t need anything. I love looking and learning. Today was window shopping and they have some amazing pieces! They require masks, and have hand sanitizer right as you walk in.
One of the things I totally love they had is an antique punched tin chandelier. They are easy to wire and rewire and if you have a covered porch, they are the perfect touch. They also are great as a kitchen chandelier or even dining room. I love them but they have to be big enough to hold a space. This one was. See this photo:
Another thing I absolutely love about this store? Country chairs, and a lot are antique country painted chairs. I have some. Some of mine came via my Pennsylvania German grandmother and others I have found right here in Chester County.
This is two floors of exploring and fine country antiques reasonably and fairly priced. Also vintage and other things mixed in. Lots of things will catch your eye. Their hours are slightly reduced due to COVID19. But I highly recommend exploring what they have to offer. Enjoy the photos!
I love vintage cookbooks. Some of my favorites are these local or regional ones that are put out by nonprofits, schools, churches. They are usually for fundraising.
I scored three the other day, all local to Chester County. This one from Grove Methodist is the best of the three. It could also be because that is one of my favorite little churches in Chester County.
My cookbook is from 1991. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes. This is one of those cookbooks that doesn’t have any Michelin stars attached, it’s just good home cooking.
You can find these little gems in many places – I found this one on eBay. I had seen it in somebody’s house years ago and I don’t know what made me think of it but I went looking for it.
I figure since we are still home so much because of COVID-19 some new recipes are in order! Thanks for stopping by happy Thursday!
After Christmas in 2013, I purchased the below settee from Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square, PA. This had been manufactured for Hess Brothers in Allentown. The tag on the bottom of the piece said Hess Brothers. At the time I researched it and found it to be mid-century vintage.
I am not a big pattern person but I loved the settee’s shape and the arms and back in particular. So I lived with it for a few years and grew accustomed to the pattern until this year. I decided I was sick of the fabric and the piece was starting to sway in the middle underneath and get a little bulge.
So I began the hunt for an upholsterer. I did not wish to use the same person I used on a vintage wing chair a few years ago. It wasn’t that the upholstery job itself was bad, it’s that the price I was paying went from being agreed-upon to a moving target without notice. And when I compared notes with people and other upholsterer’s after the fact I paid probably $500 to $600 more for that chair to be reupholstered than I should have. It was a learning curve.
So I start looking for upholsterer’s and took a look at Ken’s Upholstery on Facebook. When I saw some of the work he had done from the bare bones of a stripped down furniture frame to finished piece, I knew this was the person I wanted to call.
We spoke and I think at first he didn’t know what to make out of me. I can be tough. But I kind of want to know what somebody’s about before I do business with them. The owner Ken and I bonded initially over 4th Street in Philadelphia. You see, 4th Street below South is where I went for years as a child with my parents to pick out fabric and sewing notions and trim.
My mother has always sewed, and we would also go into the fabric district there on 4th street for upholstery fabric for furniture and fabric for curtains and draperies. I remember being little and playing under the big workbenches where they would roll out the giant bolts of fabric to measure and cut. It was really kind of cool. Most of those places don’t exist anymore. I have all of these memories including back-and-forth discussion with the fabric sellers about what fabrics had a hard enough finish that would survive as upholstery and drapes.
So Ken came out to visit with sample books of fabrics which had been wiped down with sanitizing wipes. He came with gloves and a mask on. Which made me comfortable because face it, this year has been anything but normal with COVID19.
We discussed what I wanted and he took initial measurements and left me with the fabric books for a few days to decide what fabric I would choose.
I chose my fabric, and my quote was firmed up and emailed to me in writing and I provided a deposit for the fabric cost.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving they came and picked up the settee. I received photos all the way through the process, including when they took it down to the studs and found out that indeed the front legs were loose. So they stopped everything and put the settee frame back together the way it should be, and rebuilt her. Ken literally kept me updated every step of the way. I didn’t have to do the follow up, he just does it as a matter of best business practice.
The finished product speaks for itself. I had no idea such a gorgeous piece of furniture was living inside my consignment store settee! Ken’s Upholstery knocked it out of the park for us!
The settee is so gorgeous to me. The attention to detail and the time they took is self-evident. Oh I have provided a close-up of one of the arms in a photo because that’s very difficult to pull off and the tucks and everything have to be just right.
I will note that I am just a regular customer and the reason I am writing up my review is I think this business owner deserves all the accolades possible for just doing an amazing job and being a super nice, decent person. He’s very positive in a time when it is hard for anyone, let alone a small business owner to be positive.
I recommend Ken’s Upolstery highly! And his pricing is beyond fair.
I have attached a screenshot of the business card to give anyone interested all their information. Lots of interior designers in the greater Philadelphia/Main Line region he has been a best kept secret. But why go through the up-charges when you can deal directly with a craftsman like this?
If any of you out there are looking to get anything recovered I hope you will consider them!
Bit by bit, Christmas is coming to life. The tree is getting there. It takes a couple of days. The ornaments get layered in. Mostly vintage with some new. My nod to 2020 is the gnome with a little face mask.
Every year is a bit different. But constants like my father’s German mercury glass pine cones mixed in with the ones I have collected which include German and Ukrainian mercury glass pine cones.
The Ukranian ornaments I discovered thanks to my friend Kristin. They are really special. A little more primitive in style compared to their German counterparts and often more brightly hued and the glass is slightly thicker than their vintage German and Austrian relatives.