SKETCH OF JOHN CUNRAD “0F NORRITON” (No. 3)

JOHN, the third son of Henry Cunreds of Whitpain, was born on the old homestead of his father in Whitpain township, and about the time of reaching- his majority he married Ann Rogers and removed to Norriton township. He and Ann (Rogers) his wife, lived in Norriton Township on a farm of fifty-four acres, situated on the turnpike road, now known as DeKalb Street extended, about a half mile from the borough limits of Norristown. The farm at present belongs to the DeHavens. Ann Rogers was born 7th mo. 9th, 1721, and was the daughter of Robert Rogers and Rebecca his wife, and Robert Rogers had owned this farm in his lifetime ; his executors, Nathan Potts and Robert Connard, deeding the same to John Cunrad on May 2d, 1773. Here the entire married life of John and Ann was spent. John died in 1793, and by his will left everything to his widow Ann, during her life, and after her death the farm was to be sold and the proceeds divided, share and share alike among his five children, except Henry and Sarah, who received £10 each in addition to their one-fifth share. His son Robert, some thirteen years previous to his father's death, had gone to Nova Scotia, in company with Enoch Supplee, who had married his sister Sarah. Tradition says that both of these persons were tories during the Revolution, and they got the credit of committing depredations in the neighborhood against certain loyal Americans. The indignation arising in the community led them to foreign parts for safety. In his father's will, provision is made "that if my son Robert does not come to demand his dividend within the space of seven years next after the decease of my said wife, that then and in such case his share shall be equally divided between my other children and their heirs." Robert, however, after the death of his mother did come and demanded his dividend and received the same from his father's executors. In the latter years of his life Robert was greatly afflicted with palsy. John's personal property was appraised at £35, 13P, and 2s. Ann, the widow of John, lived fifteen years after her husband's death, making her home during that time with her son Benjamin, on the old home place. At her death in 1807, the farm was sold to one of the grandsons, John Conrad, but he evidently took the title merely as a formality, for it was shortly afterwards deeded to his father Benjamin, a son of John and Ann. Benjamin lived there during the remainder of his life, and at his death in 1817, it was purchased by his sons Robert and Henry, who continued to own it for several years. A sister of Ann Rogers, named Rebecca, married Meshalmiah Alloway, and their daughter Sarah Alloway, married the above named Benjamin Conrad.

SKETCH OF HENRY CONRAD, SON OF JOHN. (No. 21)

HENRY CONRAD, son of John Cunrad and Ann (Rogers) his wife, was born on the farm in Norriton Township, now occupied by DeHaven about a mile from the borough limits of Norristown, Pa., on DeKalb Street, extended. His birth occurred on 1st mo. 25th, 1763, and he learned the trade of a weaver which he followed afterwards in conjunction with farming. He was married 2d mo. 27th, 1787, to Anne Osborn, daughter of Richard Osborn and Elizabeth (Conrad), the latter being a lineal descendant of Cunraed Cunraed, the oldest son of old Thones. The Osborns lived in Worcester Township. Henry Conrad was one of the executors of his father. Eight years after Henry's marriage he bought the farm on the Jolly Road in Whitpain Township, containing about 133 acres, on which John M. Conrad now resides (1891). It was deeded to him by "The Corporation for the Relief of the Widows and Children of Clergymen in the Communion of the Church of England in America," under date of October 19th, 1795, for a consideration of £550 Here he continued to live during the remainder of his life, and a family of twelve children was born to him and his wife Anne. Of these, only six married, and but three out of the twelve died leaving children. His third son, Benjamin, gained quite a local celebrity as a school teacher, having taught the schools at "North Star" and the "Five Points" for several winters. Benjamin died when but forty-six years of age and unmarried. Henry died at his home in Whitpain, on 12th mo. 2d, 1838, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His wife survived him, and continued to live at the old homestead with her son Nathan. She died 12th mo. 7th, 1852, aged eight3--two years. Henry's estate amounted to about eleven thousand dollars. His homestead he left to his widow for life and at her death to his son Nathan, who was to pay $3,700 to the other heirs. Nathan, his son, continued to live on the farm, during nearly all of his life, and at his death in 1872, it went to his son John M. Conrad, who is the present occupant. Henry was a member of the Plymouth Meeting, and both he and his wife are buried there.

SKETCH OF AARON CONRAD. (No. 75)

ARON CONRAD, son of Henry Conrad and Anne (Osborn), was born I2th mo.25th. 1805, in Whitpain Township, Montgomery County, Penna., on the farm where John M. Conrad now lives (1891). He learned milling as a trade, first with David Harry at Conshohocken, where he stayed only a short while, and then went to the Rittenhouse mill on the Wissahickon. He was married first to Abigail Roberts, daughter of John and Rachel Roberts, on the 12th of 2d mo., 1829. The marriage took place in Plymouth meeting. During the first year of his married life he lived with his wife's mother in the Roberts house (now Steinmetz's) and he carried on the mill adjoining. While living here a daughter, Rachel R., was born to them. She was the only child of the first marriage, and in 1855 was married to Elwood Jones, of Conshohocken, where she still lives. The next two years he lived in the small house near the mill. In 1832 he bought a farm on Sandy Hill a mile or so above Norristown, now known as the Jackson Knox farm, and continued to live there for ten years. His first wife died while he lived at this place. She was buried at Plymouth. In 1842 he moved to Nicetown, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, with the intention of going into the coal business with George Mulvany, but there being a long delay in getting a siding into the coal yard from the Richmond branch of the Reading railroad, George Mulvany gave up the idea and went to storekeeping in Germantown. Aaron succeeded in getting the siding in the winter of 1842-3, and started the coal business which he successfully conducted until 1851, when he moved to Bridesburg, on the Delaware River, on a tract of twenty-six acres which he bought, adjoining the U. S. Arsenal at that place. The coal business he sold to John Rowlett. from Abington. He was a, widower from 1842 to 1847, and during that time had two housekeepers, Mary Markley and Emeline Adams. During the time that he was in the coal business, he had, at different times, three clerks, Isaac Styer, Jacob Childs and John R. Conrad. The coal yard was situated at three different points, not far apart. He built a dwelling house at Nicetown about the year 1845, on part of the twenty-five acres that were sold to John Rowlett. He was married the second time to Sarah W. Pennypacker, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Pennypacker, of Schuylkill Township, Chester County, Pa., on April 27th, 1847, the ceremony being performed by a Baptist minister, at a small house owned by the bride's father, near the Corner Stores. They went to live in the new dwelling af Nicetown. While living here in 1849, a second daughter, Fannie E., was born, and in 1852, while living at Bridesburg, a son, Henry C, was born. These were the only children of the second marriage. During part of the time that he lived at Bridesburg, he carried on the coal business at the corner of l0th and Callowhill Streets, in Philadelphia. In 1854 he moved to a house he had bought on Centre Street in Germantown. In this house his daughter, Rachel R., was married to Elwood Jones. In 1855 he bought a tract of twenty acres in the western part of the city of Wilmington, Delaware, at that time some distance from the built up portion of the city, but comprising the squares from Front to Fourth Streets, and from Monroe to Van Buren Streets. In the succeeding fifteen years he disposed of this tract gradually in building lots to a good advantage. His first home in Wilmington was at No. 504 Washington Street, where his second wife died on January 31st, 1857. He was married a third time on July 20th, 1858, to Arab A. Pritchett, daughter of Collison and Anne Pritchett, of Caroline County, Maryland, and in 1859, a third daughter, Sallie P., was born while they lived in the Washington Street house in Wilmington. In 1860 he moved into a large dwelling which he had just completed at the N. E. corner of Third and Jackson Streets in Wilmington. It was situated on part of the twenty acre tract that he bought in 1855. Here he continued to live until January, 1869, when he sold the house and entire square of land to the Catholics; the dwelling has since been used for a residence for the Catholic Bishop of Wilmington, and St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church was soon after erected on the lot adjoining the dwelling. While he lived in this house a fourth and last daughter, Annie M., was born in 1865. Moving in January, 1869, to the house No. 700 West Street, Wilmington, he continued to reside there until his death on the 31st of December, 1878, About i860 he became much interested in land in Caroline County, Maryland, and between that time and 1870, he bought seven different farms in that county near Greensboro, and at one time owned over 3,000 acres of land there. He did much to improve the land but did not find it the profitable investment that he anticipated. He was a Friend in religion, having a birthright, and attended the Hicksite meeting at Fourth and West Streets, Wilmington. In politics he was first a Whig and afterwards a Republican. In 1876 he was elected a member of the City Council of Wilmington, from the Fifth Ward, and re-elected in 1878. During most of the time that he was a member he was chairman of the Street Committee, at that time an important and responsible position. At his death in his seventy-third year, he left his last wife to survive him, and four of his five children. He was buried in the Wilmington and Brandy wine Cemetery at Wilmington. His widow died June 27th, 1881, and was laid to rest beside him.

Samuel Cunard
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

SKETCH OF SAMUEL CUNARD - Founder of the Cunard Line (No. 103)

Samuel Cunard established the British and North America Steam Packet Company - known from the outset as the Cunard Line Ė in 1839.

It is difficult to appreciate what a huge risk, what an enormous leap of faith was involved in doing this by 1840, at what was then he advanced age of 53; Cunard had established a scheduled weekly steamship service across the Atlantic against formidable financial and technical difficulties, just two years after the first successful steamship crossing of the Atlantic.

Samuel Cunardís father, Abraham (28) moved to Nova Scotia in 1780 where Samuel born. With his father and brothers he built up a thriving sailing ship company, and pursued numerous commercial interests. A prorerous, contented family man, he was a major figure in the local community and a prudent but conservative businessman, in his 50ís he suddenly risked everything he had - and moved his family to Britain - for a venture which, at the time, was so near to the cutting-edge of technology that it was regarded by many as foolhardy.

What prompted the departure from his placid and prudent norm was an advertisement by the British Admiralty for bidders to operate a timetabled steamship service across the Atlantic to carry the Royal Mail.

The Admiralty, who was responsible for caring mail to the colonies, had seen how the introduction of railways on land had revolutionized the internal mail delivery. They wanted a maritime extension of the railways to do the same for the oversees mail. At that time sailing ships carried the oversees mail, and delivery time to Canada was at least six weeks, with a fair risk it would not arrive at all. And if it did arrive it was usually late.

Samuel Cunard, despite having no experience of steam and no suitable ships bid for the contract and received it. The financial risks- exacerbated by huge penalties for late or non-delivery of the mail Ė were ruinous and, as with all new and untested technology, the potential for catastrophe was ever-present.

Cunardís first steamship named the Britannia left Liverpool on 4 July 1840 - arriving in Halifax 12 days later to tan overwhelming welcome. Britannia was rapidly joined by three sister ships offering a weekly service.

Underwritten by the mail contract and bolstered by an unblemished safety record, Cunardsís line prospered despite an onslaught of heavily subsidized foreign competition.

Samuel was given a baronetcy by Queen Victoria in 1859 in recognition of his companyís service in eh Crimean War. Sir Samuel died in London on 28 April 1865, and is buried in Brompton Road Cemetery. His name lives on as the most famous shipping name of them all.

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Kunders, an humble wool dyer from the banks of the Rhine, who, settling in the untrodden wilds of America, and pursuing the even tenor of a modest and uneventful life, “builded better than he knew.”

Robert Proud, in his history of Pennsylvania says, “Among the first Germantown settlers was Dennis Conrad. The first religious meeting of the Quakers, in that place, was held at his house in 1683. He was a hospitable, well-disposed man, of an inoffensive life and good character.”