Attendees at Northeast Philadelphia History Network’s May meeting heard from Charles McCloskey, author of Descriptive Inventory and Transcription of Gordon, Saltar, Wharton Family Papers, 1723-1858, a collection of documents analyzing life in Northeast Philadelphia during that time period.
The book examines the personal and business dealings of the Gordon, Saltar and Wharton families, providing a glimpse into what life was like for the families living in estates along the Delaware River in Tacony in the early 18th to mid-19th century.
McCloskey spent almost a year working on the book after the 396 documents were recovered in 2017. The book was previously displayed at March’s Northeast Philadelphia History Fair.
Among his findings, McCloskey discovered 10 letters written by Frances “Fanny” Saltar (1790-1880). Excerpts from Fanny’s letters published in a 1916 edition of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography contained statements supposedly made by Fanny that signers of the Declaration of Independence spent the afternoon of July 4, 1776 at an estate in Frankford near today’s intersection at Frankford and Kensington avenues.
However, McCloskey did not discover any mention of such events in the 10 letters acquired, meaning there is no definitive proof for or against the claim.
Refreshments were served after the meeting and the book was available for purchase.
NEPHN usually meets the first Wednesday of every month at Pennepack Baptist Church at 8732 Krewstown Road. Next month is the exception, as the meeting has been postponed from June 5. Visit the Northeast Philadelphia History Network Facebook page to stay up to date.
In other history-related news, the Krewstown Road Festival that was planned for June was canceled due to planning issues. On June 1, Trinity Oxford Church is hosting its own history day, and Pennepack will have its own history day June 2.
Update: This article has been updated from a previous version to note that Fanny Saltar’s letters do not indicate the signers of the Declaration of Independence visited the Frankford estate the day they signed the declaration. A previous version reported that her letters directly stated they did.