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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens
March 16, 1998
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Daily Local News
August 13, 1997
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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The Buckwalter Family
A Peek at Ruth Buckwalter
Obituary (Daily Local News)
The Buckwalter Family
Source: CHS Patrons Dinner 1998
One of the earliest settlers of Charlestown, long before it was divided into Phoenixville, Charlestown and Schuylkill, was Francis Buckwalter. He came to Pennsylvania in 1720 with five adult children to escape severe religious persecution in Germany. (A favorite family story is that in order to read his Bible he had to hide it in a cow trough.) That year he bought from David Lloyd 650 acres in what has been called the Manavon tract (corruption of an Indian name) in North Phoenixville. It was in 1765 that his son, Johannes, bought the present Charlestown township property, 102 acres, from Lewis Morgan - land that remained in the family until it was sold by Bill Buckwalter's mother in 1952.
As a family the Buckwalters have been noted for many children, an upright Christian faith, excellent farming practices and community service. It was Samuel, grandson of the fourth generation Johannes, who came to Charlestown in 1814 to live with his grandfather and went on to make a sterling reputation here as a model farmer and as first president of the Bank of Phoenixville organized in 1859. It was his son, John Henry, who owned the property at the time the sketch on the front of your booklet was made for the publication of the famous Chester County history by Futhey and Cope in 1881.
John Henry's son Samuel, born in 186 1, made good use of the railroad from West Chester to Phoenixville, which was laid, through his property about 1885. He became the stationmaster and postmaster of the Devault stop, which used to sit near the parking place of Chuck's Wagon under the Turnpike. Relatively late in life he courted Sarah Quimby of Pickering Dam Road by jumping aboard the railroad at his house, picking up Sarah near her home, and then proceeding to Devault to meetings of the newly formed Grange. Marrying at 57, lie served as township supervisor, president of the school board and had five children, one of whom was the Bill many of us remember fondly - who was also active on the school board, as a township supervisor and as president of Charlestown Historical Society, 1985-88.
The township has every right to be proud of the Buckwalter family and of the lovely house we have visited today.
A Peek at Ruth Buckwalter
As noted by daughter, Susan Bolinger
Source: CHS Patrons Dinner 1998
Mom was born to Luther and Ruth Weiland and was raised along with her two sisters, in a gracious red brick house on Nutt Road in Phoenixville. She attended Phoenixville High School, where she behaved herself and studied hard, so she tells me. Since her parents felt a woman should have a marketable skill, Mom pursued an education in bookkeeping and secretarial skills at Ursinus College, and later took courses at Temple University.
Riding through her hometown one day, she spied the as yet unknown Bill Buckwalter. Turning to her friend, she said, "That's the man I'm going to marry". And marry they did on a snowy February day. Her Daddy had to pay snowplows to keep the roads open for their guests to travel from the church in town to the reception at the Phoenixville Country Club. The groom slipped on an icy step and tossed his new bride into a snowdrift! Despite this cold start, it was a warm and loving marriage.
They set up housekeeping in an apartment on Nutt Road and had three sons-boom-boom-boom, William, James and Douglas. Later, they moved out to the Buckwalter Farmhouse, which was then divided into apartments. It was the classic case of City Girl meets Country Life. Dad, an avid hunter, shot a rabbit and left it on her kitchen drain board to clean. Mom burst into tears and made him bury it. Dad put his gun away from that day on (as far as we know). One day, she decided to feed the chickens. Charmed by this bucolic ideal, she skipped out to the hen house with her pail of feed, opened the door and was greeted by a whole flock of hungry chickens flying at her. She screamed, threw the pail at them, ran out and slammed the door. To this day she is not very fond of fowl.
Mom did end up being wooed by the country life. She and Dad built their own house on a plot of Buckwalter land given to them, as he had to all his four sons, by Samuel Buckwalter. They were the 10th generation of Buckwalters to live on the land. What started out as a small 1-story rancher grew. Dad sawed through the roof and raised it up with a crane and built on a second story. For this novel feat, they won a new car from the magazine, "Popular Mechanics". They added a living room and a garage, then built on an In-law Suite, to make a home for Mom's father and mother. Grandma had been crippled by Multiple Sclerosis for many years and their home was just too much for them. It was THE BEST to have Gra'ma and Grampa so close while my brothers and I grew up. Oh yeah, I came along too! By then, the number of people Mom cooked dinner for was eight, with half that number constantly kicking each other under the table and spilling their milk.
Mom and Dad started "B & R Crane Service", a crane rental business. Mom ran the books, and Dad ran the cranes. Dad used to joke, "We're in the Iron and Steel business - Ruth irons and I steal." Later, they sold their cranes and Dad worked in operating heavy construction equipment. As Dad was always active on the School Board and other township business, I guess it was only natural that Mom should become secretary of Charlestown Township. The office ran from our house, with Mom calling off the family dogs & kids from various people at the door on township business.
It was during this time that Mom and Dad began to take a real interest in the rich history of our area. Always an eager history fan, Mom's enthusiasm rubbed off on Dad. Together they joined a small group under the tutoring of a real character by the name of Bucky Walters. Mom and Dad joined the Charlestown Historical Society and had many fun and informative outings with their friends on field trips. They delved into Charlestown's rich past, and got a glimpse of early farm life by working on the Rapp House. They were also active in Townwatch. I often wonder, Mom, did you and Dad ever neck during those long dark nights? When I was very young, Mom and Dad took me on their own personal history trips to Virginia, New York and the New England states. Being a shallow youth, all I really can recall were the countless cannons, eating and sleeping in hotels, and running chipmunks to ground in Old Sturbridge Village.
Mom retired after several years and after a long hiatus, took a job as secretary for Water Resources Association, a non-profit group concerned with water conservation in the tri-state area. She did this, I think, to help pay for her new passion - horses. After many years of wheedling, my wonderful parents gave me a horse for my eleventh birthday. After coaxing Mom to put that first foot in the stirrup, she never looked back. We have had such good times trail riding through beautiful Charlestown. We could ride from our house to "Pony Club Hill", located on Seven Oaks Road near Rt. 401, without crossing one single quaintly named development! A special memory we both have of that time was when I came home late one frosty full moon-lit night, snuck into my parents room and woke Mom up to come riding. She threw back the covers leaving Dad to his slumbers, saddled up our surprised horses and rode out into the silvery landscape. We galloped to the top of "Holmes' Hill" (where Charlestown Hunt is now) and turned the horses around to look down on the twinkling town of Phoenixville, which actually looked beautiful, all aglow with Christmas lights. (Mom, remember how cold our foreheads, of all things, were?)
After eight years of Mom working, both Mom and Dad were beginning to think of retirement. They had plans of buying a travel home and seeing the country visiting their sons, friends, and families who had moved away. The ground dropped from under our feet when Dad was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 1988. Mom nursed and cared for him at home as he got sicker. An incredible woman. Dying with as great a faith in God as he lived, Dad passed away in the house he built in February 1989.
After a while, Mom took a part-time job as a librarian at the Phoenixville Library. I suppose she felt like a kid cut loose in a candy store, because the woman loves to read. I think the real reason she left the library after several years, was because she had read all the books.
Irene Ewald began to try to interest Mom in working as township secretary again, and after much badgering, Mom agreed. The Township office was located in the same building with what is now known as The Great Valley Nature Center. She was always afraid one of the snakes were going to get out of their cages and she would patrol her office for escapees before settling down to work. The office was later moved to its present location-separate from the snakes. After several busy years of late meetings, lots of developers, and waiting for the green light at the end of the Nature Center drive, she must have thought, "What am I, nuts?" and quietly resigned. (Purely my speculation.)
Now, Mom lives quietly in the house she and Dad built almost fifty years ago. She is revving up for Football season, being an avid Eagles fan through thick and thin. She loves to read, and is always on the look out for good new writers. A few of her other passions are: shrimp, chocolate covered cherries, and snowfalls. Recently, we both went to moon over Clark Gable when the movie, "Gone With The Wind" was re-released. She and her young grandson, Phillip have many fine adventures together. She is teaching him all kinds of important things that only a "Gran'ma" can teach.
She is my ideal of a lady and what I.???ire to be. (But it's hard!)
Ruth Buckwalter of Phoenixville
Source: Daily Local News
Obituaries Thursday, June 24, 1999
Ruth Weiland Buckwalter, 71, of Phoenixville, died on Tuesday, June 22, 1999 at her daughter's home in Elverson.
She was the widow of William Buckwalter.
Born in Phoenixville, she was the daughter of the late Luther and Ruth Phillippi Weiland.
She resided all of her life in the Phoenixville area and was a 1946 graduate of the Phoenixville High School. She attended Ursinus College and Temple University where she studied bookkeeping and learned secretarial skills.
She and her late husband where owners of the former B and R Crane Service for many years. She was also a part-time librarian at the Phoenixville Library and was also township secretary in Charlestown for several years.
She was a member of the Calvary Bible Church in Phoenixville.
She was a member of the Charlestown Historical Society, the Charlestown Town Watch, a member and secretary for the Water Resources Association. She loved horses and was an avid horseback rider.
She is survived by a daughter, Susan Bolinger of Elverson; three sons, William Buckwalter of Springhill, Kan., James Buckwalter of Chesterfield, Va. and Douglas Buckwalter of Phoenixville; two sisters, Beverly Ott of Charlestown and Margot Crawford of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and two grandchildren.
Funeral services and interment will be private.
Memorial contributions may be to Penn Care at Home, 57 The Commons at Valley Forge, 1288 Valley Forge Road, Phoenixville, Pa., 19460 or to the Phoenixville Hospital Cancer Center, 750 South Main Street, Phoenixville, Pa., 19460.
Arrangements are being handled by the Campbell-Ennis-Klotzbach Funeral Home in Phoenixville.
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