History Stories

Sarah J. Fosque

“Mrs. Sarah J. Fosque, aged seventy-five years, died suddenly at the Virginia Home for Incurables Sunday morning about 5 o’clock.  She was subject to heart attacks and this disease as the cause of her demise.  A few moments before she died she rang the bell for a nurse and told her when she came that […]

Reverend John Craig Roak

John Craig Roak served as Gloria Dei’s rector from 1933 to 1972. Reverend Roak guided his congregation through the end of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and all but the very end of the United States’ involvement in Viet Nam. Social changes during his tenure at Gloria Dei included the Great […]

Reverend Andreas Rudman

Andreas Rudman supervised the construction of the new church at Wicaco, beginning in 1698. The church was dedicated on July 2, 1700. Rudman’s deteriorating health led to his replacement as pastor by Anders Sandel in 1702. That same year, Rudman accepted a call to pastor at a Dutch Lutheran congregation in New York City, and […]

Reverend John Dylander

The 1730’s through the 1780’s was an era dominated by controversy and efforts to maintain the Gloria Dei congregation in the face of strong competition from other denominations. The pastorship was vacant from 1733 to 1737, and the beloved John Dylander had to rebuild the congregation. He was largely successful in this before his untimely […]

Adelaide Celestis Delormerie

By Michael Schreiber Slightly over 200 years ago, Philadelphia was devastated by recurring waves of yellow fever. The epidemic of 1793 wiped out a tenth of the population of the city and adjacent areas, and thousands more died from outbreaks of the disease throughout the next decade.

Gloria Campisi

Gloria Campisi was a pioneering journalist who was among the first female reporters hired at the Daily News. She passed away on Aug. 10, 2017 at age 75. She is buried next to her parents, Salvatore Campisi and Alyce Hopkins.

George Ord, Ship Chandler

George Ord, Sr. was born in England in May, 1741 and settled in Southwark. He married Rebecca Lindmeyer on January 17, 1767. They lived in a three-story brick house with a large garden at 784 South Front Street, between Catharine and Clymer Streets. Prior to settling in Philadelphia he was a successful ship captain.

What’s In A Name?

By Amy Grant, Board Member Several of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are named after early landowners, prominent landmarks, or geographical features.  “Nicetown” honors 17th century Dutch settlers Hans and Jan de Neus.  “Fox Chase” takes its name from an 18th century inn.  “Overbrook” salutes a 19th century rail station built above a stream.

Marker 130

Captain Lodge Colton, Master’s Mate

Being a riverfront Church, Gloria Dei has a rich history that involves many people who were involved with maritime related occupations. Captain Lodge Colton was no exception. At the age of 14 he became a mariner on the clipper barque “James Cornor.” (sp. Corner?) He served the CSN being appointed in Baltimore, Maryland. Lodge Colton […]

John C. Hunterson, Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

John C. Hunterson was born on August 4, 1841 in Philadelphia. He entered the Union Army on July 23, 1861, where he was mustered in as a Private in Company B, 3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery June 5, 1862, a few days after the Battle of Fair Oaks. […]

Captain Morris Sheer

During the 19th century, Philadelphia’s waterfront was lined with wharves which were operated by numerous shipping lines. Smaller vessels designed for domestic use, called packet boats, carried mail, packages, and a limited number of passengers to major cities across the Eastern seaboard. Morris Sheer, a parishioner at Gloria Dei, was one of the first captains […]

A Sense of Place

By Amy Grant, Board Member Many local residents may not realize that the neighborhood known as Queen Village is actually older than the City of Philadelphia. “Philadelphia’s First Neighborhood” was settled in 1654 by Swedish immigrants, predating William Penn and the founding of Pennsylvania by 28 years.

Alexander Wilson, Father of Ornithology

Alexander Wilson was born on July 6, 1766, in Paisley, Scotland. At the age of 13 he apprenticed in the weaving trade spending ten years as a weaver. He then began traveling about Scotland as a peddler and writing dialect poems, which he published. Discouraged by poverty and by political persecution because of some satires […]

Galoshes

Recollections About Peter Cruse, Ship Captain

“My memory often reverts to many statements of my dear Aunt Isabella Cruse, as to the fact of my grandfather Captain Peter Cruse, being the first conveyor of rubber in America …”

Why Preservation is Paramount

By Candace Roberts, Board Chair According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “the preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future―because once a piece of history […]

John Douglass, Revolutionary Soldier

Captain Douglass was born in 1747. Soon after the Battle of Lexington he began his military service. On June 3, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved “that a flying camp be immediately established in the middle colonies.” The definition of the Flying Camp Battalion is a Reservist or a Home Guard. Their duties were to serve […]

Amandus Johnson, Swedish-American Scholar

In 1908, Johnson was one of the co-founders of the Swedish Colonial Society, whose members traced their ancestry to the pre-Revolutionary War Swedish colonists. Johnson served as instructor and later assistant professor of Scandinavian Languages at the University of Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1921. After serving as President of the Historical Section of the American […]

Gustavus Hesselius, Swedish born painter (1682-1755)

The leading artist in the mid-Atlantic colonies during the first half of the eighteenth century, in 1712 Gustavus Hesselius arrived in Philadelphia as a trained artist. For several years after 1719 or 1720, he lived in Maryland but then returned permanently to Philadelphia. In addition to portraits, his chief subjects, he is known to have […]