Displaying items by tag: Halloween
With Halloween fast approaching, I thought everyone would enjoy this party invitation from the Aceola Tennis Club dated 1893. When we compare our English language today with older documents, it can provide for some entertaining conversations.
This invitation has a pig design along with a pickax and a quill. It seems reasonable that they were planning to have pig as the main meat at this event and they made sure to include that the pig would be "Rich Fragrant and Juicy". I was not sure why the pickax and quill were there, so I asked our Archivist Erica. She said it is probably a short way of saying "pick of the pen".
The invitation goes on to describe other things that will be at the party: cakes, nuts, fructus, and hash. However, there are two lines that admittedly gave me a chuckle. The first one is what they decided to write after listing pies and things, "chew well ere too late". Is that their way of saying "chew your food so you don't choke" or was this a threat? (Obviously not a threat).
The second fun line comes after hash, "a regular storm breeder". I think that is possibly the funniest way I have ever heard anyone describe hash, but I guess it was one of their popular dishes at the club.
As for the history of the Aceola Tennis Club, I don't currently know much about them. The club was located in Norristown during the 1890s. Tennis was becoming very popular in the US at this time, so there were tennis clubs popping up in many towns. I don't know how long Aceola was in Norristown, but I think we can all agree they created a fun Halloween invitation.
Photo of Aceola Booth at an Event in Norristown, HSMC Photograph Collection
Tonight is Halloween. Some of our ancestors believed this was the only night during the year when the spirits of the dead could walk the Earth. So what better time to talk about a mysterious grave marker than tonight?!
Unknown Grave Marker, HSMC
At HSMC, we have this heavy grave marker, believed to be made from limestone. It took two people to lift it off the shelf to take photos. The only markings are the initials “A. S.” Although our records have not yet revealed the name of this person, we can learn more about them just by examining this grave marker.
Different rocks were used for making grave markers throughout American history. Slate and sandstone were used primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries. Marble and limestone were most popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, most are made from granite because they do not deteriorate as quickly. Since we believe this grave marker is made from limestone, we can estimate that A. S. lived around the 18th or 19th centuries.
Burial Plot for John F. Hartranft at Historic Montgomery Cemetery
We can also look at the overall design of the grave marker to learn more about this person. Given that there are no engraved designs, it is possible A. S. did not have the money for these designs. Compare A.S.’s marker to the obelisk that marks the burial plot for John F. Hartranft (December 16, 1830 – October 17, 1889). Being a former Pennsylvania Governor and Civil War General, Hartranft had plenty of money to pay for a large family plot.
The identity and burial location of A. S. may be a mystery for now, but hopefully someday we will be able to uncover the rest of this mystery.