The City Of Chester.
command much attention from visitors. The departments of mineralogy, antiquities, entomology, numismatics, etc., are well represented, and rapidly increasing in interest.
Early in the fall of 1882 it was deemed best to supplement the work of the monthly meetings by a series of weekly lectures and discussions. Under this arrangement there have been given before the institute, since its organization, over one hundred lectures and addresses by distinguished gentlemen from abroad or by its own members. Great interest has been shown in the meetings, and the constant donations and continued applications for membership show that the society has a strong hold upon the people.
The regular meetings of the institute are held at Fourth and Market Streets on the second Friday of each month, except July and August, but through the fall, winter, and early spring meetings are held on every Friday evening. All meetings are open to the public.
It is, perhaps, worthy of record that the first successful course of lectures in Chester was held under the direction of the institute during 1883-84. Sixteen lectures were given, all of a high order of merit, by some of the most distinguished talent in the country.
The institute is only two years old, but it has a membership of over one hundred and fifty. It is in a sound financial condition, and its most active promoters include the ablest scientific and literary people of Chester. The society is a necessity, and it will therefore live and flourish.
Jefferson Library Association. - A number of persons living near the ship-yards of John Roach being desirous of having a library and reading-room in that section of the city, gathered together about the 1st of January, 1881, and organized an association with the above name. Arrangements were made to fit up the present room on Third Street below Kerlin, in the block belonging to the Fennel estate. About the 1st of March in that year, John Roach, Jr., donated to the association a number of very valuable books and several valuable pictures. Other donations followed, and as funds accumulated purchases of books, and at present the library has about five hundred volumes. The tables are also supplied with the papers and magazines of the day.
The rooms are opened every evening, and the membership is eighty-five.
The present offcers are John B. Saunders, president; James Barroclough, secretary; James Salter, librarian; James P. Barr, treasurer.
The Post-Boy and Upland Union. - The history of the press in this city is a notable one, and perhaps no town in Pennsylvania of the same population has been the birthplace of as many newspaper enterprises as Chester. Its earliest publication was the Post-Boy, a weekly folio, fifteen and a half by nine and a half inches, owned and edited by Steuben Butler and Eliphalet B. Worthington, the editorial rooms and printing-office being located in the Colbourn house, on Third Street, directly opposite Brown's Hotel, which is now being removed to erect on its site a large drug-store and dwelling. The first number was issued Monday, Nov. 8, 1817, and bore the motto, "Intelligence is the life of liberty." The paper was edited, printed, and distributed through the county by post-riders; which was done by Worthington and William W. Doyle, then a small lad, who had entered the offce as an apprentice. The second issue of the paper was changed to Friday. Little attention was paid to passing events, and save only a few advertisements of local interest it might have been published in Boston or New York. During the first months a solitary local item presented itself to the readers of the Post-Boy, and, as it is the first local incident recorded in a newspaper distinctively published in Delaware County, we reproduce it:
"A Live Eel. - An eel was caught in Chester Creek a few days since by Messrs. Sutton and Burk, which weighed six pounds, and was upwards of two feet and six inches in length."
In the latter part of the year 1824, Butler sold his interest to Worthington, who continued to issue it until 1826, when he sold it to Joseph M. C. Lescure, who changed the name to the Upland Union, and increased the size of the paper. Lescure had his office on Market Street, nearly opposite to the court-house, and in addition sold "blank-books, stationery, spelling- and copy-books, slates, dictionaries, Testaments, etc.," which branch of business he seems to have discontinued after he removed his printing-office to the north side of Fifth Street below Market. Mr. Lescure continued the Upland Union with indifferent success until 1838, when he sold the paper to Joseph Williams and Charles F. Coates. Of the latter we have no information other than given. Williams we know was a lawyer of attainments, a good political speaker, who could "sing a wine-song or a hymn, preach a sermon or deliver a temperance lecture, besides being a clever amateur performer on several musical instruments."1 He was one of the assistant secretaries of the convention which amended the Constitution of Pennsylvania in 1837. The newspaper was edited by Mr. Williams only for a short time, when it was sold to Alexander Nesbit. Williams was appointed by President Polk a judge in Iowa. During the Mexican war a volunteer company paraded in front of the hotel where the judge was lodging, and the captain told the former he had marching orders. Judge Williams offered himself as a volunteer. "The company is full," was the reply. "Perhaps you want a musician?" said the judge. "We want a fifer," responded the captain. "I'm your man!" exclaimed the judge, and he at once donned the uniform and marched away, playing "Yankee Doodle" like a regular. The quota being filled, the company was not forwarded to the front.
|1 Philadelphia Spirit of the Times, 1846.|