Monday, October 15, 2012

Do you Recognize this School Building – Looking for Issac Schlichter’s House Philadelphia

This is follow up research material to my Gordon-Schlichter Wedding piece.  Out of curiosity and other research on material on a novel I want to write, I ran into follow up to the wedding piece. And it is not a very happy trail.

The groom James Lindsay Gordon died in 1904 at his residence of 
1903 lot map
15 W 17 Street in NYC.  Apparently he and Emily Adele had one child Edith Churchill Gordon born in 1900.  That leaves a widow and a four year old child in a five year marriage.  Then following the little out there mostly on the Gordon family genealogical sites, Emily Adele dies in 1908.

Which leaves the question, who raised Edith? The Schlichter grandparents and or friends and or family of the Gordons?

James was a brother of a famous lawyer, prolific writer and poet in the form of his older brother Armistead Churchill Gordon. The Armisteads and the Churchills are no doubt founding father names in Virginia history.  The Churchill name may be related to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill but it is closer in fact to the Kentucky Churchills as in Churchill Downs.

More on Edith shortly.

The photo above is an unidentified archive item. At first I thought it a good candidate for the Barton School on Frankford Avenue and Buckius Street in “Goosetown” or quasi-Harrowgate overlapping with Frankford in Philly.

Of course, it is three stories and not two as described in sporadic literature produced over the years by the Board of Education bureaucracy.  That they added a third story between 1860 and 1905 is possible but it is only speculation on my part at this point in time.  Something about the photo says that it might just be the old Barton School.  
If so, then the house to the left of the photo would be the first Schlichter residence before the rope baron bought the school in 1905, knocked it down and then proceeded to build a large residence or mansion after a lifetime of pinching pennies and rewarding a lifetime of achievement and a rags to riches story with the Schlichter Rope Mill.  That mill, one of two mills, also figures briefly in my novella Fresh Kills.

Enlarging the simple Quaker like farmhouse residence to that of some grand Queen Anne like residence would fit the time frame of having a daughter and grandchild moving back in and along with many famous and distinguished Southern relatives coming to visit James Lindsay Gordon’s only child Edith Churchill Gordon.

As for Edith, the next time she shows up is as the middle wife, number two of three, of a playboy husband Harry Hays Morgan Jr.. Harry had a rather lackluster career as a Hollywood extra in movies, no doubt hanging around for the next Beverly Hills Party to attend.  His career ends in 1948, the same date noted as Edith Churchill Morgan’s year of death.

Gloria left, Thelma right 
Edith depending on the timeline, was one time sister in law of her husband Harry’s some might say notorious twin sisters Thelma and Gloria.  Thelma as the Viscountess Furness was Edward VIII’s last major mistress before Thelma introduced him to Wallis Simpson.  We all know where that went.

Gloria Morgan married Reggie Vanderbilt and was involved in the big custody battle over little miss rich kid Gloria Vanderbilt, the latter Jeans Queen and mother of CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Oh the rich and famous.

My email address is located on the blog title page.  Please feel free to write in regards to any thing, photos, research sources, related to the Schlichters of Philadelphia, James Lindsay Gordon, Edith Churchill Gordon or the Barton School.  

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