Philadelphia

Juky 18 – 22, 2021

It is so cool to be in Philadelphia on our own boat and just walk to the historical sites. Locations such as this were first visited by boat and so arriving by boat provides a glimpse into the journey our ancestors took.

Coming up the Delaware, we passed New Castle where one of Jim’s 8th Great Grandmothers, Rachael Embree Carr Cox was born in 1679. I have a 8th Great-grandfather, John Calvert, buried in the Arch Friends Cemetery in downtown Philadelphia in 1699. Rachael was born in the American Colonies but I don’t know her parents history. However, John arrived by ship to Philadelphia with his wife Judith (my 8th Great Grandmother) and son Isaac (my 7th Great Grandfather) and were granted land in William Penn’s colony.

The Arch Street Cemetery and Friends Meeting House in Philadelphia. Although I’m not positive if John was a Quaker, I believe Judith was, non-Quakers were buried in the grounds until the 1793 Yellow Fever pandemic when there was just not enough room for non-Quakers. Also, you may notice there are no headstones. Quakers felt they were too boastful. Thus, we know John Calvert is buried here based upon Quaker records, but we have no idea where. There are about 20,000 people buried around the meeting house.

I also have a much more recent 3rd Great Grandmother, Mary Flaherty who likely came through Philadelphia in the Great Irish migration in 1845. Sadly, little is known about her life beyond her coming from Cork Ireland and upon her death in 1865 her children, including my 2nd Great grandfather John Joseph Brown, were put in a orphans home in Scranton, PA. Their father Thomas Brown was in the 97th Pennsylvania Infantry fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Although her husband Thomas was apparently born in the United States, Mary was one of the 1.5 million Irish that escaped Ireland due to the potato famine. She must have lived a very hard life.

But enough of family history, although entwined with that of Philadelphia and so very interesting to me. Now, you want to know about the tourist events (maybe…)

One must of course visit Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed.

Although Jim and I had visited before, it was quite awhile ago and one forgets so many of the details. The Park Ranger presentation was quite moving.

It was good to again see the chambers of the House and Senate where they began to figure out how to run a newly created country with a very different charter than any before, or I guess since.

They have replicated the colors and decor of the Senate chamber. Such an intimate space. And, seating was not assigned, first-come-first-serve. But, just like today, folks “claimed” their desks.

A visit to the Liberty Bell of course is also on the list. Since our last visit, the Bell has gotten its own building and interpretation. I had never realized (or more remembered?) that the bell is a symbol of freedom for people all over the world as well as a symbol for the Civil Rights and women’s movements.

We took this at night through the glass window with views of the bell. The next day we visited the interpretive areas and saw the bell without glass. I liked the bright brassy lights they had on it at light better than the daytime natural lighting.

We also visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wow! Although all the advertising said it was a world class museum, I was skeptical. It was only built in the 1920’s on an old water reservoir. I was wrong, A museum with depth and breadth. it took us the entire day and we did not see everything.

They had a very extensive Asian art collection. I particularly liked this Buddha from the1500’s. Very reminiscent of Apsara dancers we saw in Cambodia.
They also had an warfare room which we almost did not visit. This is the Horse and human armor of Duke Ulrich of Wurttemberg from 1507. One of the most complete sets in existence. Others in the collection of similar era were quite intricate. I cannot begin to imagine actually wearing this stuff.
Although they had a very nice modern and Impressionist painting collection (including another Van Gogh Sunflower to add to my view repertoire) , this work by Henry Ossawa Tanner from 1898 was quite moving. It is a modern interpretation of the moment when Mary learns from the angel Gabriel that she will bear God’s Son. Her thoughts are more of a you girl confused by the whole situation.

One more thing we did which is worth mentioning. There is a new Constitution Center on the “mall” in Philadelphia. This museum is all about understanding the constitution in depth. Quite interesting. They also had life-size bronze sculptures of the signers of the Constitution. There is good historical information on all the signers except one (can’t remember his name but he was a Quaker). So, the bronze are very accurate. Rather spooky walking among them actually. You kept feeling there was someone behind you when it was only a sculpture.

You were allowed to touch these. Their heights were accurate. Washington was quite tall. Hamilton was quite short, my height. The placement was taken from a famous painting, but the volunteer could not remember what the painting was.

I am getting long, but there was so much to see and do. We did have a little boat project as well. On arriving in Philadelphia, out stern thruster was not working. This is the little propeller (separate from the normal propulsion that allows us to move left and right for docking and such. We also have a bow thruster. We got into our slip just fine, but wanted this baby back. What was wrong? We do not have good documentation on this thruster and it is rather difficult to get to. And, you cannot remove it with the boat in the water. Sylvia takes a small “harbor bath” to make sure nothing is stuck in the propeller blades. All is fine and they spin freely. Lots of pondering and checking other parts. It has 4 big solenoids that engage as needed to move the propeller for left or right movement. Voltage is not correct at these. Check the batteries for the thruster (they are battery as opposed to hydraulic). The problem became clear.

See anything wrong here?

The terminals for the 2 8 D batteries were melted. The terminals are lead and it is hard to keep them tight. We must admit we had not checked them recently, but last time we did they looked fine. Jim overnight-ed tinned brass terminals, installed these and all is fine. A potentially expensive problem avoided.

After our 3 and a half days in Philly which we thoroughly enjoyed, we headed back to Delaware City for an overnight that turned into two nights. We made a visit to Fort Delaware on Pea patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River. Quite historical and an interesting visit.

We left Delaware City this morning at 5:30. We didn’t want to leave in the dark, but were getting close to low tide. The water is very skinny there, only about the draft of our boat and thus, if we did not leave early, we’d have to wait 3 or 4 hours. But, afternoons in the Delaware Bay can get rather rocky and were predicted to be so. The tradeoffs one what to make. The full moon gave us a bit of extra light to get out into the River. Then visibility was pretty good.

We are now in Cape May, hanging here for a couple days before heading north to New York via the Atlantic Ocean. A good weather window is to our liking. Looks like Tuesday or Wednesday is good. It is 14 hours to Sandy Hook Bay, south of NYC. Do we do it in one long day, or make it two? TBD