A Blast From Hulmeville's Past

This year we will be featuring condensed excerpts from a lengthly piece entitled, "Boyhood in Hulmeville", written May 15, 1972, by former Hulmeville resident, Harry Schneider "Pat" Gill (1897-1982) and provided by former Archivist Don Haefner.

Excerpt from February-March 2016 Newsletter

“Hulmeville was the greatest place in the whole world far a boy. As I recall, the first place to go was up to the Hibbs compound (where the fire house is now) where the big feed bins full of grain and all kind of machinery and chutes. At the entrance was a small office and weighing platform and outside, one or two horses were hitched to a beautiful wagon. Inside the office one would find Spence Hibbs dressed in clothes that made him outstanding as did his whole posture and appearance. He was a gentleman, one would never forget. Among the buildings were several skilled men. One was a wheelwright, Alex Crossen, who would take rough oak logs and make the very important wheels, all by hand and muscle. He also made fine furniture. Next was a blacksmith shop, and here many hours were spent watching the huge bellows heat the fire in which were various size horseshoes.p>

From here a boy would head for Goheen’s (on Green St near the stream) and watch them slaughter beef or kill pigs. The next stop was LaRos harness shop on the opposite side of Trenton Ave. The next stop was the blacksmith shop halfway down Main Street near Oyster Shell Lane (Water Street), where we had our hoops made. Every boy had a hoop to roll. I believe this shop was run by a Civil war veteran, Mr. MacCorkle, who also spoke at school, giving us stories of the Civil War.

The next stop would be Affletbach’s bakery (across Main St from the current Neshamony UMC), and any story without Affleibach’s bakery would be dull, because for 1 cent one could get the best sugar or molasses cookie ever made. And when I say cookie— these were as big as a small pie. Then on Thursday, the fish man would come through with the weirdest sounding horn I ever heard. Then in summer, the melon wagon came through from Mount Holly, NJ, and somehow a couple of melons always fell off. Hulmeville was (along) an artery between Philadelphia and New York, and most cars passed up Trenton Ave. Traffic was heavy when Princeton had a football game.

Perhaps the next stop was Illick’s store (in the current Johnson hall building), another great man one could write a book about. He could be called head of welfare, as no one ever went hungry in Hulmeville. Then we go to lower Trenton Avenue and look into the windows of the home of the great Delaware Valley advance (the site of Britt Bartlett’s home currently), run then by another fine man, William Ellis. As a small boy, I remember seeing the pressmen standing in water over their knees during the flooding of the Neshaminy, running the presses, I am sure by hand. We then go to the old iron bridge on the way to the pond. If it was winter, on the way to the pond, we would stop at the persimmon tree and pick up fruit from the snow. The pond was great for skating, as it was protected from wind and we always had a big fire.”