Earlier today I was scanning some photographs and came across a folder of photos of the Horhsam Fire Company. Along with the photos, I found a brief history of the fire company.
It seems the company was founded after the barn of the Quaker Meetinghouse burned down in 1913. Up until that time, Horsham didn’t have a fire company at all, so people began to talk about starting one.
According to our account, provided by Leroy Forker, when people were discussing the possibility at O. P. Smith's general store, Benjamin Parke claimed that neither he nor Leroy Forker would live to see a fire company in the community. It’s not clear if this was expressing opposition to the fire company or a disbelief that the people of Horsham could organize something. Forker, however, thought differently. He worked making deliveries for the general store, and when he went out that day, he talked about the issue at every house he stopped at. Jay Magargee gave him $10 towards the establishment of the company.
The 1914 groundbreaking for the new fire house
Later, according the Horsham Fire Company’s website, O. P. Smith donated the land for the fire house, which was built in 1914. According to a 1959 article by Edward Hocker, Midvale Steel Company of Philadelphia donated a steel locomotive tire to be struck with a hammer to alert the volunteers. This was apparently common for communities that couldn't afford a bell. Hatboro's fire company donated the group's first pumper.
Early headquarters of the Horsham Fire Company
The first truck was a second hand Oldsmobile, according to The Second Hundred Years.
Early fire trucks in 1967 parade
From the Ambler High School yearbook
We have in our archives a small collection of items from Ada Worthington. All of the papers concern her education, beginning with her third grade report card from Prospectville School in Horsham. It was the 1924-1925 school year.
Ada was a good student. Her fourth grade report card is also in the collection. When looking over her grades, keep in mind, this is before grade inflation, so 75 should be the average.
This invitation to her elementary school graduation indicates she was valedictorian.
After attending Ambler High School, Ada was admitted to the Abington Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Her letter of acceptance includes a list of what to bring with her, including $22 for textbooks.
Using Ancestry, I was able to follow Ada through her life. In 1942, she married Camillus G. Schlecter in Delaware, though both listed Philadelphia addresses on their marriage license. Interestingly, Ada lists herself as about a year older than Camillus. Her birthdate on the marriage certificate is March 29, 1916, however, on a form from the school district from when the family moved from Cheltenham to Horsham (when Ada was 6 years old), her birthdate is listed as March 29, 1915. Did she shave a year off her age? Or did her parents have reason to list her as older than she was? Is it just a clerical error?
A little more searching revealed that Ada passed away in 2013. She’s buried in Ambler, with 1915 listed as her date of birth on her tombstone.
Built in 1734, the Kinderdine mill is located at Keith Valley and Davis Grove Road in Horsham Township. It was built by Joseph Kenderdine. The Thomas Kenderdine was an early Welsh settler in Horsham. The photograph below shows the mill in 1904, when it was still in operation. This photograph and all the ones below were donated by Ann Hagarty.
The woman holding the baby is Hannah Kenderdine (Hagarty?) was the last Kenderdine to live at the mill according to a note on the back.
The Kenderdines were well known mill designers in Montgomery County. The Historical Society has the papers of George Kenderdine in its collection. George was born in 1805 and lived much of his life in Hatboro, where served as the first burgess. He was mill wright and a frequent contributor to the Norristown Herald.
This is an agreement from 1847 for an apprentice.
This letter shows his sketch of a turbine.
The Kenderdine mill was an early industrial complex made up of several buildings. This house is labeled “The Old Home” on the reverse of the photo. It’s dated 1914.
The Hagarty family were the owners of the mill in the early 20th century. Here are the sisters Hazel and Meta in an undated photograph (probably the 1910’s). Meta was the young girl in the photograph of the mill, and Hazel is the baby in that same picture.
The Hargartys were related to the Kenderdines. This young man is Clarence Kenderdine Hargarty. The photo was taken in the Philippines in 1917.
And here’s the Hagarty family in 1917.
The mill stopped operating in 1917 and many of the metal The Kenderdine Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Today it is a private home. You can read more about it at the website Living Places.