The Admiral’s Last War

On a cold January day in 1967 a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer arrived at the Neebor Lee house to interview retired Rear Admiral  Ross Palmer Whitemarsh and his wife, the former Rebecca Gumbes. The interview was to appear in the Sunday edition of the paper and was to be a public interest story focusing on the…

More on John Ramsay…

John Ramsay has caused a bit of a stir in Westchester County, New York.  After discovering the plaque on the front lawn of the Neebor Lee property with his name stamped on it, I sent an email to a historian who wrote about a “Ramsay Mill” on “Mill Brook” in “Oscawana” in a 2012 blog. …

Who is John Ramsay?

Today, on this Presidents’ Day holiday, my wife was inspecting the daffodils that are emerging along the edge of our front porch when she discovered a mysterious copper plaque attached to a small concrete block. This concrete block was sitting next to the last stone of the stone walkway leading up to the Neebor Lee’s…

The Sad Tale of the Broadview Mansion

It’s been some time (about a year) since I wrote specifically about the history of the Neebor Lee house and its surroundings.  Now that the construction season has wound down (although work on the Mason Lodge continues), I thought that I would take this opportunity to write about the Broadview Mansion, the long-gone sister building to…

The Admiral

While there have been many interesting past owners of the Neebor Lee home and property, one of the more interesting ones was Ross Palmer Whitemarsh. He was born in Olympia, Washington in 1895, the son of a workshop machinist who emigrated to the Washington Territory in the 1870s. He pursued a career in the Navy and…

“The Minute Men”

We’re still coming across surprising finds in the Neebor Lee  house more than two years after moving into the house. Yesterday I took a short break from renovating the home’s third floor bathroom to help my wife organize a walk-in closet occupying a small room located next to the bathroom.  In moving a floor to ceiling shelving unit to create…

Golden Years

I covered much of the history of the Neebor Lee property in past posts, from its period of colonial ownership in the early 18th Century,  through the conflicted period of the American Revolutionary War and post-war construction of the Neebor Lee house, to the farmers who worked the land in the first half of the 19th Century, and to…

Transformation

For its first 118 years, the Neebor Lee house was a modest two-story farmhouse that was occupied by farmers, tenant farmers or servants of the Gumbes family. In 1903, however, that would change. On the last day of January of that year, Charles Wetherill Gumbes, Civil War veteran, surgeon, country doctor and owner of the…

The Gentleman and the Surgeon

We are now well into the dog days of summer, with the days having become hot and humid with temperatures occasionally exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  It can be hard to get things done outside under these conditions, particularly for a 55 year old heart attack survivor like myself. At much prompting by my caring family, I have slowed my renovation…

The Philanthropist

In 1861, just as the American Civil War was beginning, the Neebor Lee House and property were purchased from Abraham Hendricks by Rebecca Price Wetherill Gumbes. Rebecca was the daughter and granddaughter of early American industrialists. Her grandfather, Samuel Wetherill Sr. (1736-1816), was a Quaker, a member of the Common Council of Philadelphia and a textile…

The Wonder Heater

I think it appropriate that on this Memorial Day I introduce a find that I made in the basement of the Mason Lodge. What I first believed was a 55-gallon drum turned out the be a vintage 1943 coal burning stove. It had the appearance of a 55-gallon metal drum because the stove components were actually…

The Farmers

We’re well into Spring and I have not yet started this season’s renovations on the Neebor Lee house and its outbuildings. At least not in earnest. My wife and I have instead been making the 170-mile round trip journey to our old house in northwestern New Jersey to get it ready for sale. After 18 living months here in Pennsylvania,…