Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Conrad Gehr's Peccadilloes Ch. 4

Conrad Gehr's peccadilloes were 1) that he operated a tavern in Germantown (before 1753). 2) He hosted a mock religious service on Sunday of Newborn blasphemy there and 3) that he had been imprisoned for fraud. In an account in Muhlenberg's Journals (I, 352-3) Conrad Gehr is called the "blasphemer" who "became entangled in a money-making scheme, was caught, and was thrown into prison. There, unbidden, he took up the Bible again."

Gehr figures prominently in Muhlenberg's writing after the funeral of his wife's mother, Anna Reiff. Gehr's wife, Anna Maria, named for her mother, had been "attached to the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church," which means Muhlenberg perhaps heard firsthand the distress Gehr put his wife through by his behavior. This distress doubled because at that time Anna Maria's mother lived with her daughter and was also subject to these shenanigans. After that she moved and lived to end of her life with her son Jacob. Muhlenberg says:

"During my first years here [1742 and following] she was living with her daughter in Germantown…for the sake of her daughter the distressed old widow stayed at the former's home…she was obliged to listen to many a blasphemous utterance and witness many an offense on the part of her son-in-law, who was Reformed by birth, but in this country not only forsook the Word of God and the other means of grace, but also despised and ridiculed them" (I, 352).

Muhlenberg had three informants on Gehr, Gehr's wife Anna  (née Reiff, Hans George's daughter), her mother, Anna, who lived with her, whose funeral Muhlenberg conducted, and George Stoltz, who told of the incident of a fire in the adjoining house.

Muhlenberg stipulates that the "offenses" included, that "the said man maintained a public house and it occurred to him that he might institute a so-called assembly of worship in his house on Sundays. For this purpose he associated himself with a half-educated but totally perverted Christian who was to deliver a sermon or address on physic or natural science at every meeting. The auditors were obligated to pay three pence apiece each time, and this money was to be consumed in drink after the speech" (I, 353). Gehr was the brunt of gossip Muhlenberg had heard: "a trustworthy man named Georg Stoltz came to me and related the following incident. One evening he and a Swiss gentlemen were obliged to stop at the blasphemer's house and put up for the night. He went out of his way to annoy his two guests with sinful talk. Among other things he said that the context of nature is God, that the world came into existence by an accident in eternity, that the universe maintained itself, etc. What the parsons say about God, about a revealed religion, about a Saviour, and about heaven and hell, they have to say to make a living and in order to lead the masses by the nose."

New Born ideas were a metaphysic to this tavern milk, even if it sounds like Paine's Age of Reason (1795) or other enlightenment doctrines. Such attitudes were early 18th century and German, the specific form that Mittelberger, in his Journey to Pennsylvania (1756) singled out against Conrad Reiff. But these were not isolated from other reversals of order in PA, from Wohlfarth and Beissel [of Epherta] standing on the court house steps to argue which day of the week was the sabbath (Sachse, German Sectarians, I, 154) to Gehr's substitution of tavern for church, science for scripture and the price of a drink for the offering. These suggest that the 1701 Blue Law of the General Court of Germantown was not being enforced which said: "no inn-keepers on the first day called Sunday in God's service, shall hold gatherings of guests. . .on pain of whatever penalty the court of record shall inflict" (Pennypacker, Germantown, 283).

Although Muhlenberg does not name it thus, such views easily mask themselves as naturalism. Gehr's satire is very much in the Newborn manner, like Conrad Reiff and those others to whom the sacraments were "ridiculous and their expressions concerning them are extremely offensive" (Muhlenberg), who uttered "such blasphemous words against our Saviour" (Boehm), who theatrically mocked preachers in parody (Mittelberger), who "despise preachers, churches and sacraments without discrimination" (Muhlenberg), who scoff that manure is life and pig the destiny of the soul. The Newborn catechism was as active in the tavern of Gehr as in the township of Oley except that Gehr went his brother-in-law one better and mixed the scoff with drink.

Tavern philosophy is reported in practically every contemporary account of the Newborn. Gehr's metaphysic implicates both brother and brother-in-law in the Newborn practice. While Boehm's summary of the sects names Puritans, Baptists and Pietists it is really the Newborn of Gehr's metaphysic that he exposes:

"Independents, Puritans, Anabaptists, Newborn, Saturday-folks, yea even the most horrible heretics, Socinians, Pietists, etc., among whom dreadful errors prevail; indeed heinous blasphemies against our great God and Savior and their own exaltation over His Majesty; for they claim that they have essential divinity in themselves; that they cannot sin…they believe there is no other heaven or hell than what is here on earth; they even deny Divine Providence, and assert that nothing needs God's blessing, but that all products of the ground and all offspring of animals and of the human race, come simply from nature, without any care on the part of God, and that prayer also is useless. (Life and Letters, (1728) 161."

 Oley and the Newborn influenced Conrad Reiff, brothers Peter and George and Jacob's daughter Catherine, all who either lived there or owned land there. Spiritually the effects of Oley were more serious upon Conrad Reiff's mother and sister (Anna Maria and Anna) through the aforesaid sister's husband Conrad Gehr. The connection between Gehr and Conrad Reiff involves Gehr's experience of the Newborn, which is as important as Conrad's because they flesh out the satirical Newborn beliefs and show the influence in the family. Genealogist Harry Reiff says the "family knew about Conrad's (Gehr) peccadilloes, as indicated in the will of Hans George's son, George (d.1759), who died leaving a legacy to nephew Baltazar with an admonition not to permit his father, Conrad Gehr, to have any of the legacy" (Letter of 2/13/2002).

The conflicted Balthaser Gehr, son of Anna Reiff II and Conrad Gehr, (mentioned in PA supreme court case, (see genealogy here) also probably attended these views, but he had fiduciary and legal care of his cousin Philip Reiff, Conrad’s son, from 1786 to his death in 1815. Sort of like the son of the innkeeper in the Fellowship of the Ring, Balthaser Gehr (cf. Pendleton, 137, 147) married the daughter of that equally wealthy neighbor of Conrad Reiff, Antony Jaeger. In 1767 Jaeger's "sons Daniel and Henry, and his son-in-law Balthaser Gehr were tried for assault and battery on the Jaegers' lifelong neighbor, miller Heinrich Kerst. A neighbor, Jacob Silvious, also stood trial for coming to Kerst's defense" (Pendleton, 147). As said, Balthaser exercised a power of attorney for his infirm cousin, Philip Reiff, second son of Conrad, in 1786 (Pendleton, 137). But in more outbreaks of the lawless, Baltes too went Oley.

The disposition of another son of Gehr, Philip, is unknown, who appears in the ledger of the Old Salford Store (c. 1766-1774), reported as, "Gehr, Philip; Conrad Gehr's son of Germantown" (John R. Tallis, The Perkiomen Region, II, 33). Conrad Gehr is also mentioned near the bottom of the will of Hans George Reiff (d. 1726), in a different handwriting than the will reads: "Cunrad Gehr married Anna," (Riffe, 20), suggesting this was written after probate. Gehr had been issued a patent by the land office for 34 acres in the Salfords in 1735, the same year as Garrett Clemens, Christopher Dock, Peter Wentz and Hans Reiff, among others (H. W. Kriebel in The Perkiomen Region, V, 11), but Heckler speculates he possibly was there confused with Conrad Custer (Heckler, Lower Salford, I, 13). Gehr had at least two sons. Baltazar, or Baltes Gehr served in the Pennsylvania legislature. He is mentioned in his uncle's will, (George Reiff) in 1759, "my will is after my sister's son Baltes should set up his trade, my wife shall give him twenty pounds to buy tools for it" (Riffe, 28). It should be noted that Anna was not called Anna Maria as her full name is suggested to be, but merely Anna, like her mother, who signed Anna in the Landes will and on the board in the attic.
There was also a Peter Gehr, d. 12 May 1764 at Ephrata Cloister mentioned in Chronicon (131).

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Edwin Arthur Yeo, Architect (1877-1957). Pine Barrens

This is what makes the body the very advent of consciousness (Levinas. Existence, 69). I say I inherited this from my grandfather, but with the gift of the external social world a poet has another path. As Levinas we must all be weaned from the internal world of our fixation: Commenting on Psalm 139 and Jonah: "In other words man's humanity would be the end of interiority, the end of the subject. Everything is open. I am everywhere looked through, touched by the hand" (Nine, 167).

Because of the geniality and hospitality of the host, as the Logbook shows, this Pine Cove Lodge, was the constant destination of all kinds of family and friends throughout its existence, except for the period mentioned below. "Place, then, before being a geometric space, and before being the concrete setting of the Heiderggerian world, is a base.
Deeply immersed in the Pine Barrens, any good and notable must be considered water for its DNA memory and electromagnetic signals. The brain and heart are composed of 71-3% water, and the lungs are about 83% water.

 1922. A building like this is like a painting you walk into and live three dimensions of. A fourth added in the dreams it evokes. You smell it especially, which creates a space inside, so that while you are in it, it is in you. Take this up a notch and apply the walk-in  to the natural ecology of the pine barrens and the same is true to greater or lesser extent. It is inside you as you are inside it. Having said that, it is the quality of the experience that must be judged against all others. This one is a nonpareil, but it needs to be considered that if a boy enters the house inside the the pine barrens, then expanding, the man expanding his life from the boy enters every succeeding  environ since. Translating dreams, translating the worlds of brilliant technicolor and symbol is our matter.

My grandfather built this house where the smells at night would waft through the open windows in summer. The framed gable rooms were stained different colors. We slept in the red, stained red. The girls were in the green room and the parents in the grey room that overlooked the lake. EAY was in a room at the bottom of the stairs. This flight of heavy stairs went down from the second story balcony with a fenced rail on the open side and a thick rope hung as a rail on the stair itself. At the top of the stairs the balcony opened out over the amphitheater below which extended through one huge room with an immense fireplace and out to a glassed-in porch with a piano. Next to the red room at the top of the stairs was a large builtin blanket chest where three children could easily huddle together and listen to the adult conversation below, into the night. The Pine Barrens provided the air, but the grandfather provided the house and its amphitheater. The balcony made an L from the top of the stairs. At the juncture of the long angle a further flight, a ladder, went up to a trapdoor in the roof, which opened onto a flat area with a railing which gave a high view to lakes below. But there were four levels, so that there was also a trap door in the amphitheater which opened to a ladder to the basement and showers below. Sometimes canoes were stored here, but mostly it was maintenance supplies and tools. EAY was his own worker. He drove a Studebaker. Going out from beneath the trap door, through the heavy inch thick exterior door, was the true first level of the house at lakeside, which sometimes flooded, but the basement was stucco and cement in the main. This basement exited beneath the gazebo built with telephone pole-like timbers stained or white washed into an octagonal base of sand also bordered, contained by timbers. On one side a path wound around the side of the house and on the other a stair of heavy planks went to the top of the gazebo which faced the lake on three sides and the glass of the piano room on the house side, shaded at the top by maroon awnings. Green lanterns hung lit on the sides of the gazebo at night. The top of the gazebo was  some 10 feet above the lake surface. All this was made private by the water, even if it adjoined Lake Shore Dr, for under the bridge over the lake the road prevented all but the most shallow draft of a canoe.

The Hogwallow Hearts of Wharton Water Perps

 The Wharton Bottle Water Company wanted to bottle up a hundred thousand acres of this cedar water to sell to Philadelphia. Shipped beneath the Delaware from a  reservoir piped to Camden, these putative reservoirs failed from some pine ball politicat. Wharton then turned his water farm into a preserve,  baptized himself a conservationist, turned loss to profit, Noblesse oblige, and named business schools and forests after him. Pigge-hog, wilt thou be mine! No lie.

The hogwallow hearts of the Wharton water perps are a higher form of pine robber by the azaleas branches grown in moon bogs. Armstrong and Aldrin planted azaleas on the moon, with laurel, holly, indigo and the cherry that so inspired later hunter gatherers to extract the waters from a natural resource. By his own reckoning Neil Armstrong  learned the moon was an aquifer. Hetook a thermos to the moon to drink in those lunar ceremonies common in the studio of that day and brought it back filled with moon water. This was drunk at those conclaves the White House convened in the seventh level of the Vatican. One dropper or droplet was enough. Much of this was fabled at all costs on the news where they said that if a cranberry won't bounce it is a bad cranberry.   

Esau made a comeback among those gents for this penchant in turning white people red. The cedar water dyed the skin  so you could see the cilia hairs on the skin, from which repute the iron oxide film made bog iron or metheglin for pineys, when they were not busy, and water mead and herbs among blue berries, cranberries, holly, laurel, wild indigo, cherry ilex and huckleberries. All these were used to attract lapsed and lost Quakers as a catch basin in reverse from Philadelphia. Amish pietists, by way contrast, had to escape all the way to Tampa. Sea captains stored cedar water in bulk on their voyages because it would stay sweet and clean on ship for a long time. Rain runs through the pine needles and leaches tannic acid out and takes iron out of the sand, so there are rust blue oil slicks on the water among the orchids. Cedar water marketed for suburban escape and vacation destination boasted hopes of a therapeutic cure.
Atlantic White Cedar/Cypress
 Let us say of the cedar water of the acid pine barrens that whenever two people look into each other's faces the eyes of others are present, for there is a trace of a third person present in every face we encounter.  Let us compare these waters with the limestone alkaline water of the Edwards Plateau, or the ecstasy of light of the southwestern deserts. We exist for each other as the start of breath that starts speech in our throats and must know that we are either in the process of protecting the world.  The power to open or close thousands of myriads of forces and worlds makes us responsible for its maintenance. This is the intimate trace of consciousness we wake in the public nature of our words and of language itself, turning every meeting between one person and another into a meeting that must include the whole of humanity, living and dead.  It goes without saying that not one detail from any moment is lost of our deeds, words and thoughts. Each one goes back to its root to carry on in the height, in the worlds and among the pure superior lights (160). Unknowing, beyond the said, I am responsible with my grandfather for this event. What powers this concludes is the inalterable conviction that what I am worth the other is worth, which recreation evidences, none better, in the substitution of Messiah for my death, therefore life. It is not conviction but revelation that I am original and unique, hence the other is myself. He gave to man dominion of his hands

Pine Barren Aquifer

Not to get away from the feeling that this is all about water, for water has a memory, it is called cedar water with the properties of tea and the color, literally from the cedar in it, but it is as much pine.  Red maple and black gum trees are often found in the canopy along with Atlantic white cedar which grows on the hummocks and in the depressions surrounding. Cedar as much as from the pine, the pooling brown hue of the water and the naturally occurring iron in the soil, plus the tannic acids from the trees, the wetlands acidic from the submergence of the Atlantic Coastal Plains under the Atlantic Ocean once. These sandy soils of potable water the color of tea brew up storms on the lakes in the  that in a short space turn to large waves. I would go out in a canoe in the beginning of these to test, get back just before the brunt lightning and lunger large sheets of sleeting rain, people huddled under awnings in adoration of light in a summer storm, half a million acres bigger than Rhode Island, pygmy forests, 17.7 trillion gallons of the cleanest and most abundant source of water in the world,  the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, enough water to cover all of New Jersey 10 feet deep, and equal to nearly half the water consumed each year in the U.S. The Cohansey Formation of sand above,  the Kirkwood silt and clay below, a water-confining layer below the aquifer allows the top water-bearing sands to connect to surface water at 360 feet in active wells. Largest seaboard open space between Maine and Florida. Sandy, acidic, and nutrient-poor soils. In the late 1800s there was a plan to build reservoirs in South Jersey and sell water to the City of Philadelphia.  Fortunately, the New Jersey State Legislature had the good sense to pass legislation prohibiting the exportation of water outside state boundaries.  Today this area is known as Wharton State Forest.

Metheglin Mead. Water and Herbs

Cold, iron and Sulphur springs,  sailboat regattas on mirror lake,  1920 – James B. Reilly erected a new dam on Mirror Lake. Suffering from tuberculosis? 1913 – Dr. Newcomb opened the first licensed sanatorium in New Jersey. Europeans could not cultivate their familiars there, their corn, they were anyway afraid of  the carnivorous plants and orchids, the pitch pines in sugar sand, like Hanzel and Gretel should have been, not to speak of the U.N. label, International Biosphere Reserve. No heavy or extractive minings cheered them there, for there was nothing to mine except the natural reservoir of bacterially sterile, chemically pure H2o the U.S. Geological Survey compared to “uncontaminated rain-water or melted glacial ice.” Eugenists today contaminate the way the waters and  land affected charcoalers,  paper millers, sawmillers, and gristmills. A case study of the old town  Kallikaks, a pseudonym, were presented as models for AI by Craig Venter who seeks to preserve himself in sphagnum moss, a CA bog man. Scholars today understand from the genetic inferiority of dwarf pine that the facts  were misrepresented. Photographs were altered to make them appear more backward than they really are.The trees themselves were good for siding, paneling, boat building and shingles and when they fell good for turtles on logs. The Indians used them as a laxative. . Wharton also owned the Nickel Mines and its subsequent massacre. With all this putative glory why did the NJ legislate not allow the water to leave the state? Here's another conundrum for glory. The wonders of the healing spring water were tisane among the sassafras.

 Browns Mills in the Pines "Deep in the Pinelands National Reserve, by the 1880s, the downtown area was filled with boardinghouses, grand hotels, commercial stores...Browns Mills’ popularity started to spread in the early 1900s due to the belief that Mirror Lake and the surrounding cedar lakes contained homeopathic minerals within the cedar water that could cure respiratory ailments such as tuberculosis, pulmonary diseases and asthma. The supernatural powers of the lakes brought scientists, doctors and curious travelers to the area, which eventually led to the development of Deborah Heart and Lung Center, a world renowned heart and lung medical research and treatment center and Fort Dix/McGuire AFB, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst... All of the military bases in the Mid-Atlantic region are now consolidated into one megabase at the Joint Base, Deborah Hospital completed construction on an emergency management care center and additional medical office space in March 2010. The revitalization motivated by "a high crime area with drugs, gangs and loitering" and loss of revenue of businesses came up with Dollar Trees and an Acme. The ongoing revitalization admit to an expansion of disassociated behaviors. "Preclude the utilization of iron bars, roller steel doors, frosted-glass, and 100 percent tinted-glass on downtown building windows and doors" (19).  That would put those physicians offices with roller doors, caged outdoor plumbing (to save the copper) and steel bars preventing the electric in Phoenix at risk. 

It looks like a more urban form of McNary AZ at the top of the Apache Rez on the slopes of the White Mountains, except in NJ they call it the blight of "underutilized land, illegal activities, and loitering... building vacancies, vacant parking lots...dilapidated, neglected buildings " (7). With all the studies and regs and rules the one prominent fact is that these are abandoned children run amok by drugs and despair. One island in Mirror Lake is called Soldiers Island, but it was called Love Ladies Island after WWII. Now bare, this has not been offered for redevelopment.

 In 1916 the Philadelphia Sunday Press started to sell 80’ x 20’parcels in Browns Mills. The same investors who bought and sold the land wrote the ads and are writing the revitalization plans right now, but also at that time came the notice of 
lots 31-34 Block B. 24 ½ Plat No. BD Lots 31-34 Browns Mills in the Pines, New Jersey by 2 deeds-one dated 7/24/18 rec. Deed Bk 555 Page 260 and another dated 10/25/47 rec. Book No. 1047 Page 156. On Lake Shore Drive

So EAY acquired that land 24 July 1918 and added another lot in 1947.


 Even if the architect at one point went bust, but built this house before he had to give up his membership in the AIA, and another half dozen on N. Lakeshore Drive, and next to him too, he camped on the land in tents before he built, serious tents too, livable in winter, but still tents, not vacationing. No suburban stuff, but pioneers, visionaries. How did he happen to conceive this venture except from his own mind and heart? The vision was formed before the house. There he saw it perfectly situated in a mirror of itself in the lake. The lake was called Mirror Lake. Turtles came to rest on logs all around and across from it, gossiping in the sun, their backs dry, lolling in their shells along the logs because it was an artificial lake made out of the Rancocas and took a long time while to fill, but the stumps of the trees were buried under the water and you could stand on them 100 feet out from the dock if you wanted, even if they were a little sharp. Some winters the muni would drain the lake for repairs and then the length of the under forest could be viewed. This is before the chainsaw, the stumps left two, three feet, four off the bottom as they were cut. All the better for the turtles left to float. Here is what the untrutles said:

Spiritual Gifts
"The world where youth is happy and restless with desire is the world itself...objects are destined for me, they are for me" (Levinas, Existence, 30).

1. Every event of every life is unique, special, but is thought common, when remembered correctly is proof of election. You just have to see it.
2. Every life is situated in context multiple and various, taken one at a time.
The context of the spiritual house above is the Pine Barrens, an unforeseen ecology outside the expected, just as much as the Chartiers Valley or  the Edwards Plateau. Biography and genealogy must therefore join geography under the heading of spiritual gifts, except we do not truly know them until the after life. Afterlife means that and what's before. The hereafter is really the here-now we contemplate and the here-now is the here-then, all the way back. The distinction between actor and memory, that which exists and its existence itself disappears from view. (Existence, 1). It is all one present eternal - from before our birth until after...I hear the gentle voices calling - Death, thou shalt die. 

You think you see it but you don't. Memory is covered with goo. Ignore the mail, phone calls and visits to see the here-now of memory and express it. Spiritual gifts involve the earth, houses, lands, creeks, and do not mistake, they are gifts, not earned. The midwaters of Rancocas Creek occur in Mirror Lake where starting at age 8 I explored by canoe for weeks at a time on end.
 I dream of the grandfather whose gift this was, E.A.Yeo, his works and person, with wonder, as if to say we  must bear prejudices made clear, for from him I inherited the principle of cardinality, so conceived because I chose it, since the dreams of his work continue to the present, maybe start there.

21 Oct 2009 Woke up 11 pm at door slamming from the wind in the middle of a dream with Robert about the cathedral structure of BM, wood paneling rising high several stories, like a music auditorium rich light browns, mixed hues, then to a slide show granddad had made from sketches, pastels, prints of his life. These passed in front of our eyes. I guess his artistic genes were strong, for these dreams continue, but there is no artifact except blue prints and memories of the wood and air.

6 Feb 2010 Saw them again whole rooms of statuary, stone lions, balustrades, stone entrances. The carved heads of You and Sorrow in the ends of the beams where they scroll down in the music room.

8/19/2010  dreamed before waking that Good Will held title to BM, to be disposed, auction for parts. Method Outh, author of a book on herbs, was the contact. Then went to file and found instantly Ed Yeo’s  will and old deeds. The tax records state that
Stone lions, balustrades, stone entrances, whole rooms of statuary, the carved heads in the beams of Browns Mills of Joy and Sorrow.

26 Feb Maps in the Smithsonian with hand notations by Edwin Yeo. Topographical.

Of fundamental importance; crucial, pivotal. A cardinal rule
Nautical: Of or relating to the cardinal directions. A cardinal mark
Describing a "natural" number used to indicate quantity as opposed to relative position. 
A bright red color.

Cardinality is a virtue of positivity and goodness that if communicated remains like one of those foundation stones, boundary lines left after all superstructure is gone. That is to have a personal experience of it, to feel it, to know it in specific.

26 July 2012

In thinking what Aeyrie can do about his mosquito problem from the horse troughs next door I remembered what EAY did about the inflorescence of seaweed algae on Mirror Lake beginning about 1950. He had made a beach for his grandchildren to play on in the cove but it had gotten impossible to swim from the seaweed so he designed a boom, as he called it, cedar logs bolted together in series that floated on the top the water, well out from the beach, with screen attached to the underside weighted to sink to the bottom, the top upheld by the buoyant logs. This prevented the seaweed. He had large rowboat and would patrol the boom with  a pitchfork, lifting the seaweed away from the boom on both sides. Large green pungent mounds accumulated from this which he composted. The water was true cedar water and after swimming would stain the skin slightly red. It smelled of cedar too. He had also built rafts out of large logs and attached canvas between the two ends where the bather could loll with head and feet up, body in the water. In addition to the rowboat he also had two canoes.
EAY and Rena K. Yeo
20 July 2010

Edwin Yeo, A. I. A. ( 23 Apr. 1877 - 17 Nov. 1957)
Blanche Edna Wilkins ( 8 Aug 1879 - 3 Dec. 1946)
Rena K. Yeo
 Primary sources: photographs, various blueprints, Ledger 1921-1930, Logbook, 1928-1935; 1948-1959, letters, interviews.


Blanche Edna Wilkins Yeo

Blanche was a milliner, a hat maker, and while other countries ceased the use of mercury vapor on wool hats, for in the Victorian era the hatters' condition had become proverbial, and mercury poisoning among hatters had become a rarity by the turn of the 20th century, in the United States the occupational hazard continued until 1941. For much of the 20th century mercury poisoning remained common in the U.S. hatmaking industries, only superceded at WWII because of the need of mercury in war. "Mercurial Disease Among Hatters," among New Jersey hatters by Addison Freeman appeared in 1860. Mercury was sprayed on hats to groom them, to stabilize the wool in a process called felting. Erethism, or commonly, mad as a hatter, was caused by prolonged exposure to mercury vapors, that is by respiratory exposure. The neurotoxic effects included tremor and a pathological shyness and irritability. People with erethism found it difficult to interact socially with others, with behaviors similar to social phobia.

Alfred Stock, who worked in a lab said, "For nearly 25 years I have suffered from ailments, which, in the beginning, arose only occasionally, then gradually got worse and worse and finally increased to unbearable proportions...Added to that were depression, and a vexing inner restlessness, which later also caused restless sleep. By nature companionable and loving life, I withdrew moodily into myself, shied away from the public, stayed away from people and social activity, and unlearned the joy in art and nature. Humor became rusty. Obstacles, which formerly I would have overlooked smilingly (and am overlooking again today), seemed insurmountable. (The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor.   Febr. 9, 1926). When symptoms were reported in American factories they were blamed on alcoholism instead of the real cause, much as radiation sickness from American nuclear tests and power plants was discarded with spurious causes (see Gallagher, American Ground Zero). Toxic workplace harms are assumed only to afflict the primitive, not to include cell towers on the grounds of public grammar schools, or cell phones carried in pockets near the genitals. Those are certainly not primitive. And likewise there is a prohibition on madness of all causes where meth or pot paranoia, mercury or criminal abuse.

An impression exists that Blanche in the early years before and in marriage was a milliner also at home. As an explanation of her difficulties it is more likely than post-partum disorder after she had lost a third child, Donald, but that was 1924.  Beatrice felt deeply all her life about this and often took me to Donald's grave in Laurel Hill. This loss could have deepened with severity, isolation and blame. Post partum depression untreated in that day could go for many years with various effects. The implication from Donna's contact with the Wilkins is that EA didn’t care enough about the death or that Blanche thought he didn’t care enough. When Elizabeth Reiff visited at Browns Mills 5 May 1934  she said that after the dinner Blanche disappeared on the lake in the canoe without a word of explanation, while EAY continued a perfect host.

There is a little concrete evidence of Blanche's difficulty besides Beatrice once saying she had tried to burn their house down and been institutionalized. Some of this is read between the lines of the Logbook. From the Logbook, begun 1929, I infer 1935 was a year of Blanche’s crisis, since her sister, Clara E. Wilkins, offers to be a nurse in a last entry, 30 May 1935, followed by blank pages. I imagine a ring of fire around the house on the outside, for Bea also said that Blanche disliked living in Chestnut Hill where EAY built by his first hand by hand in 1904. This cottage, in the arts and crafts style is now in the historical register. Blanche was a milliner, wanted to live in the city I was told, near people. Chestnut Hill was then in the wild. Cousin Donna was in touch with Blanche’s family sometime in the 80’s and says that they reported Blanche as a bright person of enthusiasm.
Another complication from the point of view of her daughter Beatrice is that Blanche and her family got religion in the Billy Sunday campaigns. “They stopped playing cards.” This Methodism, Bea said, as if the worst thing anyone could do, was compounded when Blanche insisted on reading the Bible to Ed Jr. and Bea as children. What kind of children mock their mother as low class for reading the Bible? Answer: all our children, for many have attempted to indoctrinate by fair means their faith in their children and failed. It's just that everybody after denies all of this to save the appearances. Is it axiomatic that liberals turn out fundamentalists, the worldly bear the ascetic, corporate execs, poets? By her daughter's implicit account Blanche took on a severity from religion as some do, or many, perhaps amplified by poverty and isolation. All this hides the distress she knew from having to be what she felt was a surrogate mother from Blanche's long term incapacitation.

What happened to her, to us all, is a story of existence.

The Logbook

The Logbook divides into two parts, 1929-35 and 1948-59. The first is all madness of comments about skating, football, sororities, college hi-jinks, hangovers, facetious House parties led by Edwin Yeo, Jr. the bon wit of Penn State, J. H. Reiff's roommate. Jr.'s uninhibited recorded chatter could evidence a darker side if such evidence were wanted. The first visit of "Larry' Reiff occurs 5 Dec 1931! Significantly the signature of Blanche, B. Beatrice Yeo appears 11 Mar 1933, so the knowing can address its rhythms, which are fluid. After that there is silence until after Blanche's death in 1946. When the Log picks up again it is more reflective of the greater Yeo family and friends who show great appreciation.
Beatrice and Ed, 1927

 There are no entries in the Log from May 30, 1935 until October 16, 1948, which may generally delineate Blanch’s long illness. Elizabeth Reiff knew of the Lodge from her girlhood days at a Mennonite camp on the other side of the big lake, the fireplace was legendary. Her first, or last visit there was  May 5, 1934, according to the Log. That is the time from which she recalls Blanch leaving the table and going canoeing by herself, something I used to do as often as possible after dinners there. Many of the remarks in the Log are jocular, referencing football and other inanities. There was no sense of poverty about the place, quite the opposite. Perhaps the entertainment costs were a drain on finances.

 That E.A. was impecunious is so contrary to the beauty and family environment he created there. People of all sorts, church groups, family, ice skating, swimming often gathered and left glowing testimony in the Log Book. Ed Jr’s wife Danj, who came with upper class attitudes against the vulgar and the plebeian, with tongue in cheek, as was her way, referred to Browns Mills as a “shack,” for it was rustic, had no wall board or linoleum. But other comments over and over praise the hospitality and the extraordinary building, "we doff our hats to the Artist-Architect…." So on the one hand he scraped to make ends meet but on the other he made this huge statement of architectural beauty.

Edwin Yeo could not pay his AIA dues in 1936 and had to withdraw. He had joined in 1921 but had difficulty with the dues from 1930 on:  He did put his two children through college, Penn State and U of Penn though. This was yet the depression. His daughter Beatrice loaned him the money to give her husband to be, Howard, the wedding present of the maple desk at which Howard worked for years. I sit at this desk today, especially when I inscribe notes in a journal written to Theodore, of the early life of his family. This is the desk Bea insisted be mine, but Anne wanted, however since she kept Rena’s desk Mom insisted I take this one.

Ledger Accounts

It was even more unforgivable in that era for an artist to be poor, unknown and fail at his fame. Even though he put both his children through the Penn and Penn State, he was unable to pay his dues to the AIA and had to surrender membership. I have EAY’s ledger from those years from Rena and his AIA stamp, so he was making money. Where was it going?
From 1931-33 EAY owed $25. and $15 each from 1934-5. In Jan 1936 he pays $7 on account leaving a balance of $48 for which they give him until the end of 1936 to pay. However he cannot so they extend to him a note for the amount and carry it without interest. “As a reminder” in Oct 1937 they send him a letter that the note is past due and again in 1938. Finally 26 Dec 1939 he “forfeits” his membership in AIA. In that handwritten letter he states that “the last two years have been a financial nightmare and that besides his dues he has “many unpaid financial obligations.” Neither did he reveal the depth of these circumstances to his children. The Ledger only accounts 1921 to 1930, but it seems to have been continuous work. Probably there is another book.

Professional Works 
7830 Eastern Ave Wyndmoor
Montgomery Co Pa
Listed 3/7/1985
The information under this entry in Wikipedia is inaccurate. This first house of 1904 is the more remarkable because the architect did all the work himself. When it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1985 the event was reported in the real estate section of The Philadelphia Inquirer (4/22/1985) by Sandra Long. The remarks of Martin Feldman, who bought the house and had it registered however are obtuse. The article also misses the point because the connection with Stotesbury is superfluous. Edwin Yeo built it for himself over a period of two or more years, lavishing on it all his own designs and doing the work himself. That it embodies the arts and crafts style is no surprise to anyone who knew his later work. That this style appealed to him is evident from these significant examples. The article points out the two views that may be expressed about any artist’s work, for the audacity of even having a body of work enrages the plebeian mind, which has no work, only a little money. Feldman procured early photographs of Stotesbury from EAY's daughter, Beatrice, then aged, under the promise they would be returned, which never happened. Hence those pics are lost.

--Bulletin of the Pennsylvania Museum All the Bulletins from 1916, here, worth examining. EAY Listed as  Member, November 1924

--The rebuilding of the Tioga Presbyterian Church Sixteenth Tioga Sydenham Streets Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Edwin A. Yeo Architect
No Cover Image
Main Author:
Contains alterations to the floorplan of the Tioga Presbyterian Church on 16th, Tioga, & Sydenham Streets in Philadelphia.
Item Description:
Forms part of the Philadelphia Contributionship; for general information see collection record.
Insurance policy # 18032; roll F-17; commission 106; drawing 2
Physical Description:
1 architectural drawing : blueprint; 72.3 x 87.8 cm.

 --Holly Acres, The Ackerman House, 1931

"On the surface at least, a house built in 1931 would not appear to qualify as historic.
Yet by including 67-year-old Holly Acres among the more vintage attractions in tomorrow's Salem County House & Garden Tour, the Salem County Historical Society shows us how a relatively young residence can teach us how to respect the past while living in the present.
The imposing manor house that Paul Kramme, founder of Elmer Hospital, built on 16 rural acres in Monroeville remained in the Kramme family until 1988, when it was purchased by John and Janice Ackerman.
To design his residence in classic Georgian style but with a steel frame that reflected a 1930s sensibility, Kramme commissioned Philadelphia architect Edwin A. Yeo. Throughout the house, both owner and architect insisted on materials and craftmanship used centuries earlier.
Craftsmen found by Yeo here and abroad worked on site for two years to duplicate classic moldings, floors, paneling and stonework appropriate for the period.
All those features remained, but were in obvious need of tender loving care when the Ackermans bought the property and began their respectful renovation."

from  Lessons From The Almost Historic Holly Acres The 1931 House Is One Of 17 Stops On The Salem House & Garden Tour Tomorrow. John C. Ackerman Jr. Janice V. Ackerman. May 01, 1998|By Elaine Tait, FOR THE INQUIRER

Samuel P. Yeo’s Company.
In American Machinist.  Vol. 30 12 Dec 1907. “I once had to devise a cheap method of maching several thouand…”

The New Yorker Digital Edition : Mar 05, 1932

The depositories were inven ted by Mr. Samuel P. Yeo of Philadelphia as a sop to people who wanted banks to stay open all night. Holdup men don't hang ...

Samuel P. Yeo’s Company.
In American Machinist.  Vol. 30 12 Dec 1907. “I once had to devise a cheap method of maching several thouand…”

The chief joy of Edwin Yeo besides his family was his vision as an architect. The examples that best illuminate this vision are the homes he built for himself. A few sources for these are available, an account book of projects dating from 21 May 1921 to May, 1930, his Pennsylvania license as a registered architect dated 30 June 1921, a taped conversation with BYR in 1994, Elizabeth Reiff Young's memories, some photographs, the Logbook of Brown's Mills from 1929 forward and the Inquirer article.

He was much loved by by his immediate family and friends. There is a photo of him as a first grader, arms crossed, seated on the first row, third from left, a tolerant, approachable, bemused person. In 1902 a young man of 25, prior to marriage (1904), coat, tie and vest, wire rim spectacles without arms looks rather as if he had sustained a shock. If we have to pick an epithet of his appearance it might be reflective.

His wife, Blanche Yeo was the  daughter of Charles Wilkins (a housepainter) and Clara Taylor, She came of a large family of 5 daughters and one son.

Laura married Ashton Tullis, died young, no children.

Edith married Edward Wolf.

Ada (1886-1969), married William Schwartz. They lived in Brooklawn, N.J. and often visited with her children, Virginia, Clara, William Jr., Ashton and Charles.

Clara, married Carl Seitz (1892-1987). They lived on Godfrey Ave. in Philadelphia and likewise visited with her children, Marion, Anna May, Lois Eleanor (twins), John Christian and Carl Daniel.

 Russell married Anna Schmidt.

The first drawing extant, signed EA Yeo and dated Feb. '97 is of the old tower of the Tioga Presbyterian Church, detailed, in perspective pen and ink with much detail.


Roughly about the time EAY was building the Browns Mills lodge the Mennonite church Campfire Girls operated a camp on the other side of the large Mirror Lake from his house. Lib went to this camp as a girl of 13, 14, 15 (1923-26). She has said that the other side of the lake from the house was considered the poorer side. Here Lib learned to row a boat, but more importantly knew of the House on the other side of the lake, for its renowned fireplace. She knew EAY’s children, Ed and Bea from Philadelphia where they lived in proximity to 18th street. In her early girlhood Lib would go to the Mennonite Sunday School at 9:15, church at 11 and Christian Endeavor at night, but after dinner at midday she would go to the Tioga Presbyterian Church Sunday school where she knew Ed and Bea in a cursory fashion. Obviously her brother Larry knew them too, but in a  noncommittal fashion. He dated at the same time a girl in the Mennonite congregation, Catherine Smith, as well as Bea in the Presbyterian. The sons of the Reiff and Yeo families roomed together at Penn State.

Howard R. Reiff at that time had a seven passenger touring car and on at least one occasion took Ed and Blanche Yeo with Anna and Lib up to Penn State to visit their sons, who were roommates.

William Yeo, Edwin's father, had come as a small boy from Calm, England with his father Samuel. When the father died early William practically brought up his brothers and sisters. He had a stationary store in Philadelphia, called Yeo and Lukens (with his cousin) .The Yeos were fixtures in the Tioga Presbyterian Church. Edwin's younger brother, Samuel P. Yeo (b. 21 Nov. 1879), was an Elder there. His name is listed as such in the 95th anniversary bulletin, where he is designated as Chairman. His assignment at this service was to give the closing prayer.  Edwin designed the plans for the building of the new church in 1922 and also served as treasurer and deacon. Regarding Edwin’s love of architecture, in 1904, toward the beginning of the arts and crafts style of home building, he built a house with his own hands in Chestnut Hill, while he lived with Blanche in nearby rented rooms until completion. This house is now in the national register as the earliest instance of this style in Philadelphia. But after its completion  Blanche disliked the remoteness from the city and they sold the house and moved into town. She was a milliner by trade.

A photographic record of the building of the house at BM allows the major turning points to be understood. According to a tax notice he first bought the land on 7/24/1918.Taking the photographs in apparent chronological order, there are two large tents on the site. 1922 is written in pencil on the back with a question mark. Also the phrase in Bea’s hand, "no T.V. but happy days even so."

Two large connected tents appear in the first photograph, a wood stove inside where the vent of its chimney emerges from the top of the center of the tent. Of these tents, the largest, is circular, the other rectangular. Around the circular one facing the entrance to the site is an  elevated planter box with tree seedlings inside. Outside this is a reinforced rail to which the tarp cover is tied. This rail goes around all the sides. The door is open. Canvas, wood & rope and scrub pine.

In the second of "Linford Carmen and Edwin Yeo”? 1922 with the same "happy days" quote, the two men are standing under a trellis at the entrance to the property, the tents in the background, possibly near where the road enters now. It is winter; they wear heavy overcoats, hands in pockets, Carmen jovial, EAY reflective. Only the top button of their overcoats is fastened. Linford Carmen, who lived in Elkins Park, was Edwin's best friend.

A Log Book of visitors to Pine Cove Lodge kept beginning New Year's Day 1929, breaks into two parts, the first from its inception until May 30, 1935, the second from October 16, 1948 until December 26. 1959. There are no entries between 1935 and 1948, implying a turning point in the family. Visitors recorded their names, addresses, the date and any comments they had.

            If he was a taskmaster on the job, he was not such at home as a father. EAY 's children did about what they wanted. It is another aspect of his daughter's love of his "kindness." In the early Log many of the comments seem to be by partiers led by son Ed Jr. Many of these seem penned by the ice skating, sometimes inebriate, flapper crowd, friends of Bea and Ed Yeo, "bruised but happy," "fell hard," "such skating," interspersed with fatuous "Big Game!" remarks and multiple scores of different games. Along the way remarks from older family members creep in like "enjoying fireplace," and in summer, "deep water," and the frequent "Good time." On 12/5/193l a "Larry" Reiff records "the first visit!!!-???"

One of the most egregious examples of pleasure seeking occurs on September 1932, signed by the "Sunday Guzzlers," the "Thursday Guzzlers," "Guzzle Mop"" (Larry Reiff), "Guzzle Slop" (Dan Ort), "Guzzle Pop" (Al Zink), "Guzzle Cop" (Grace Hodges) and unfortunately, "Guzzle Flop" (Bee Yeo). Related comments are sometimes recorded in phonetic intoxications. The chief of these frivolities is Ed Yeo Jr., jesting, drinking, fooling: "probably the most pleasant NY Eve in my life-far ahead of last year and totally eclipsing 2 years ago."

 "wonderful weather-undoubtedly the most congenial & successful party yet! (even with several of the "old faithfuls" missing."

"Penn-Penn State Game 11/18/33 Contribution to municipality of Mt Holly-we went in style but returned with caution!"

There seems to have been a ritual gathering of family and friends during the holidays, especially at the New Year which was when the Log was begun. Among the guests on these occasions were Blanche's younger sisters Edith with her husband Ed Wolf, Ada and her husband William Schwartz and five children and Clara with her husband Carl Seitz (1892-1987) and their five children.

Sometimes in the early 30's we get a comment like Edith Wolf's on Thanksgiving Day, 1933 that "all is quiet & peaceful, moon shining brightly, not a cloud in sky. Guests all gone, after a delightful day. They all join me in thanking Mr. & Mrs. Yeo for making this possible."
Ice Skating is a continual Christmas- New Year's theme (1934), "neat skating,” wonderful skating,"  "skated till ankles hurt." The Seitz family began the year somewhat differently from the college crowd:
 "Happy New Year. Since this life is not all, why not be certain of Eternal Life.  John 3:16. Start the New Year right with Christ."
There is evidence, some 40 signatures, of further sobriety in the "Pre-Rally Get Together of the First Brethren S.S." in September 1934, celebrating canoeing and hiking.

Bea and Larry married in October 1934. By then the guzzlers had replaced by hikers and naturalists and Samuel P. Yeo playing ping pong (March 30,1935). A more serious affair is implied by a hiatus of 13 years in the Log, for, following the 1935 entry, the next occurs in October 1948, as if the book had been lost. The very last before this halt occurs 5/30/35, made by Pauline Seitz, "when you need a nurse, give me a call." This at first reads by someone seeking work or help but it hides the issue already revealed of Blanche's illness. This is literally the last entry in the Log Book until after her death.

 Looking back, the chief of the crowd is Ed Yeo Jr. His last entries occur 1/26/35 and  3/17/35. The last entry of J. Howard Reiff is May 5, 1934 when he brings his mother and two sisters to visit, which visit Elizabeth spoke of in her oral memoirs. Beatrice's last entry is New Year's Day, 1934 where her name is entered following "Cannon-Ball" J. Howard Reiff and Edwin A. Yeo Jr.

 A David P. Challenger  in 19 notes, "your house is out of this world." The same H. Seitz of Godfrey Ave. who had invoked eternal life now says, "We doff our hats to the Artist-Architect." "beautiful environment.”

In those days people didn't talk about personal problems, so it is difficult to learn much about Blanche Yeo. Lib calls her a "shadowy figure." On the aforemention above in May 1934, after greeting the guests, she remembers Blanche paddled away in the canoe and did not return till they had left. The suggestion Lib remembers is that she had suffered post-partum depression after the death of her infant Donald, in 1924. From photo albums annotated by Bea, the Reiff family never visited at BM until after her death in 1946, but they visited every summer thereafter for about 10 years. Prior to this there were summer vacations at Ocean City.

Bea remembers that Blanche had regularly read the Bible to Ed and herself in the afternoons as children, but that this was disagreeably remembered and associated with naps. Tellingly, she says that she thought herself to be smarter than her mother, for she had gone to college, but she had not gone to college at the time she had that thought. Bea was very attached to her father, who in her eyes could do no wrong. She emphasized how kind he was again and again. Lib says on her visit that when Blanche sailed away Ed was gracious and amiable.

During some later stage of her illness, as a symbolic act, Bea once revealed that Blanche tried to burn down the house they were living in in Philadelphia.

That Feldman thought the Chestnut Hill home "seedy" echoes what EA Jr.'s wife Danj used to say when she called Browns Mills a "shack." The audience is too dull or too hip. At that it is not a case of being damned with faint praise. Most often mentioned were his diminished pecuniary circumstances. Outside the family and among his own circle it was a different story.

Do we chafe at calling EAY, the “artist-architect,” a genius? Why? Because he confronts in being such, the bourgouis protocols. The standard fit. Standard size, appearance. Daring to be wealthy is not in fact anything at all. Who are more circumscribed than the rich and the relatively rich? Who live on surfaces and appearances. Luxury is the abortionist of invention.

And later when there is a change to profit the Feldmans will be dishonored. Even tho he is the reason the article appears and this recognition occurs, that does not excuse his "borrowed" photos of the place never to be returned. My point is that genius and achievement may seldom reap a reward in the present time.

 I am horribly biased. I named both my sons Edwin Arthur. Before I was 5 years old my grandfather had made such an indelible impression on my character that it long since has become my own nature. In a word, positivity, in another, cardinality. Preserving the body of work would be a proper thank you. So give Feldman credit with his tax break. But don't ever go back except in memory.

In the 20's Ed Yeo felt compelled to lessen his age by 10 years in order to complete successfully with the youth movement produced by all the veterans home from WWI. This gave him a little trouble getting social security and pension.

Donna (Yeo) Earhart was in touch with some of Blanche's family and reports that she was thought to be bright and well read and that she felt abandoned by her husband on the occasion of the death of their son. Bea, on the other hand, being asked many times, would only say in the tape of 1994 that her mother's family got religion during the Billy Sunday meetings and stopped playing cards.

Samuel Yellin (18851940), American master blacksmith, was born in Galicia Poland where at the age of eleven he was apprenticed to an iron master. By the age of sixteen had had completed his apprenticeship. During that period he gained the nickname of "Devil", both for his work habits and his sense of humor. Shortly after this he left Poland, traveling through Europe to England, where, in 1906, he departed for America.
Yellin’s Workshop, c.1912
Yellin’s Workshop, c.1912
By 1907 he was taking classes at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art (now the Philadelphia College of Art) and within a year was teaching classes there, a position that he maintained until 1919.
In 1909 he opened his own shop and in 1915 the firm of Mellor, Meigs and Howe, for whom he designed and created many commissions, designed Yellin a new studio at 5520 Arch Street in Philadelphia where he was to remain until his death in 1940. The building continued to act as a functioning business under Yellin’s son Harvey’s direction. After his demise it served as the Samuel Yellin Museum.
During the building boom of the 1920s Yellin’s studio employed as many as 250 workers, many of them European artisans. Although Yellin appreciated traditional craftsmanship and design, he always championed creativity and the development of new designs. He was no slave to the past. Samuel Yellin’s handiwork can be found on some of the finest buildings in America

Browns Mills By Marie F. Reynolds cold, iron and Sulphur springs,  sailboat regattas on mirror lake, Early 1920s – the club house for the Canoe Club was a popular site for many social events. 1920 – James B. Reilly erected a new dam on Mirror Lake. suffering from tuberculosis. 1913 – Dr. Newcomb opened the first licensed sanatorium in New Jersey. the wonders of the healing spring water. the storns that come up on the lakes in the pine barrens are a sight to see, the lake once placid in a shport space would turn to large  waves. I would go out in a canoe at 10 in the beginning of the storms to test it just get back before the brunk hit, lightning and thunger largre sheets of sleeting rain, people huddled under awnings in adoration of the wonder,
-a million acres, bigger than rhode island,pygmy forests, the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer estimated 17.7 trillion gallons – among thecleanest and most abundant source of waterin the world, the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer. enough water to cover all of New Jersey 10 feet deep, and equal to nearly half the water consumed each year in the U.S.
 In the late 1800s there was a plan to build reservoirs in South Jersey and sell water to the City of Philadelphia.  Fortunately, the New Jersey State Legislature had the good sense to pass legislation prohibiting the exportation of water outside state boundaries.  Today this area is known as Wharton State Forest
 The Cohansey Formation, above, of sand,  the Kirkwood below  silt and clay which creates a water-confining layer below the aquifer while allowing the top layer of water-bearing sands to remain connected to surface water which at 360 feet deep is active in wells. Largest seaboard open space between maine and florida soils
are sandy, acidic, and nutrient-poor, endangered by fracking pipelands