Chadds Ford Historical Society

Revisiting History

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: The Jersey Jerry Broomsquire

One of the best parts of Chadds Ford Days is all the unique crafters that attend, each bringing an artistic and distinctive element to the festival.  Below you will find an interview with one of our longstanding crafters, Sam Moyer, who brings skill, art, and history together in broom making.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?
I grew up on a farm near Hershey, PA.  I attended Hershey High School in the Agriculture Program, then Hershey Jr. College.  I received my BS in agriculture from Penn State, my MS in poultry genetics from the University of New Hampshire, and then my Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Minnesota.  I taught genetics at Northeastern University in Boston, and I retired from teaching biology and genetics at Burlington County College, Pemberton NJ.

How many years have you attended Chadds Ford Days?
I have attended Chadds Ford Days for 25+ years, and I have been making brooms for 35 years.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?
My craft is broom making. I was interested in the genetics of the plant, which is a type of sorghum, and so I developed a multicolored, machine harvestable broomcorn, again a type of sorghum from 1983 to 2006.

Do you use any local goods in your craft?
I plant 1.5 acres broomcorn on a preserved farm, in Burlington County, NJ, and use this to make my craft.  I also make the broom handles from scrap/reclaimed wood.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?
I am proud to craft art that you can use and I hope to make sweeping a pleasure.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business? 
I seek to reduce plastic use and also to reduce the use of foreign imports.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days? 
woven topsdemo with winder.  wrought iron

Photos courtesy of Dr. Sam Moyer, Ph. D.

Check out the links below to learn more:

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Mompops

We are pleased to have Mompops joining us for Chadds Ford Days this September 12th-13th. This business started as a mother-son operation, and it is a delicious and healthy way to beat the humid heat of the summer. Their fruit pops are 100% Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, GMO Free, Low Calorie, with No Additives, No Preservatives, No Concentrates, and they are all made in Small Batches. Every single pop is handmade with care, making these yummy treats truly something to be savored. And they’re all less than 100 calories! Mompops are dedicated to providing healthier snack alternatives to the youth, and they are one of the few who make this alternative so enormously tasty. Make sure to learn more about them at the links below, and, of course, check them out at Chadds Ford Days this fall! and

Mom Pops

That wraps up the food lineup for Chadds Ford Days 2015. Stay tuned for our continuing coverage of Chadds Ford Days!

Photo courtesy of Mompops

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream

Nothing quite says summer like the smooth, creamy taste of ice cream. Maggie Moo’s will be bringing its own unique spin to your favorite ice cream treats this year at Chadds Ford Days on September 12th-13th.  As inventors of the ice cream cupcake, ice cream pizza and several specialty ice cream flavors, Maggie Moo’s has been a community staple since 1989. It has been featured on the Food Network for these creations and has been consistently honored with The National Ice Cream Retailers Association’s Blue Ribbon Award. Don’t miss out on this classic summer dessert at Chadds Ford Days 2015!

Check out more ice cream possibilities and meet Maggie herself at the links below: and

Photo courtesy of Maggie Moo’s

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Mythbuster Friday: “It Will Cost You An Arm and A Leg”

Myth: Men of the 18th century are often painted with one hand inside their vests to save money. This is because the artist would set the price based on how many hands, arms, or legs were in the painting. From this came the phrase: “It will cost you an arm and a leg.”

Truth: This is a widely circulated myth, one you might even hear from tour guides. The premise behind this myth is that, in order to save money, a gentleman may have slipped his hand inside his vest or agreed to have a piece of furniture painted over his leg. The hands were difficult to paint, so the artist would increase the price based on how many hands he was required to paint. Likewise, the more limbs included, the higher the price for the portrait. This practice was so common that the phrase, “It will cost you an arm and a leg” became a metaphor to mean that it will cost you a ludicrous amount of money.

This myth, though it attempts to provide an explanation for the peculiar pose of one hand inside the vest, is completely false. First, gentlemen of high stature and royalty used this pose. The most memorable instances of this trend are the portraits of George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and King George III. These men were certainly not concerned about saving money from having their likeness rendered for posterity in these elaborate paintings. A more plausible explanation for this posture is the theory that classical orators in ancient Rome were immortalized with this pose and refined gentlemen sought to emulate them given the profound influence of Roman history, law and culture on their society.

George Washington King George III

The main reason the phrase “it will cost you an arm and a leg” couldn’t refer to paintings is that the exact phrase did not show up until around World War II, and this is when the phrase was most in use. It was most likely referring to the war veterans for whom the war literally did cost an arm or a leg. The metaphor, i.e. “I’d give my right arm for that,” can be found as early as the late 18th century, but it wasn’t popular until much later and there is no proof that it did refer to paintings.

The “arm and leg” theory also simply makes no sense. If you look at the above paintings, they are extremely elaborate and detailed. These clearly cost a lot of money, but it would make a lot more sense that the price was based on the size and detail versus the number of limbs included. This erroneous myth probably started because it is normal for the size of the painting to increase when more limbs are included, so people mistakenly assumed the price grew based on arms and legs rather than size.


Photo Credit:

“The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries” by Jacques-Louis David

“George Washington by Peale 1776” by Charles Willson Peale

“George III” by William Buchy

Post by Anne Ciskanik

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: The Meat House

Continuing our featured food vendors for this year’s  Chadds Ford Days on September 12th and 13th, we are presenting to you: The Meat House.

The Meat House was founded in 2003 in New Hampshire as a venture seeking to reclaim the art of the neighborhood butcher. Today, they have expanded to become so much more, serving meat, produce and a wide variety of grocery items. They offer everything from savory choice cuts of meat to delicious ready-made meals and deli sandwiches.  With barbequing as the traditional summer ritual, what better place to find all of your food grilling needs than your local Meat House. Click the links below to learn more about them and visit The Meat House stand at Chadds Ford Days this September! and

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: The Mushroom Café

The Mushroom Café is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee, have breakfast and lunch, and savor mushroom specialties. We are so thrilled that they are bringing their delicious food to Chadds Ford Days this September 12th and 13th.  As one of the many local restaurants featured at this year’s festival, the Mushroom Café brings its expertise of providing mushrooms of all varieties and unique flavors to the community. What better way to sample dishes from these traditional Pennsylvanian mushroom connoisseurs than at Chadds Ford Days? We hope to see you there!

Learn more about The Mushroom Café by clicking on the links below: and

Photo courtesy of Brandywine River Antiques Market

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Brandywine Prime

Continuing our countdown to this year’s Chadds Ford Days on September 12th-13th, we are highlighting our neighbor down the road on Old Route 100, the amazing Brandywine Prime.

Brandywine Prime features contemporary American cuisine with sophisticated and savory meals presented in its steakhouse and tavern. The restaurant is located in the 300-year-old Chadds Ford Inn, which holds a lot of significance in the development of the Chadds Ford community. The site served as both the original house of the first proprietor, Francis Chadsey, and later, as the tavern owned and operated by his son, John Chads (the namesake of Chadds Ford).

This direct connection between Brandywine Prime and The Chadds Ford Historical Society makes it the perfect addition to celebrating our 50th Chadds Ford Days this fall. Blending its delicious cuisine in steaks, seafood and sandwiches with its historic atmosphere, Brandywine Prime is the perfect place to experience a taste of the local heritage.

Check out the video below for a review of Brandywine Prime by Victoria Wyeth and then click the links below for more information: and

Photo courtesy of Brandywine Prime

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Mythbuster Friday: “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”

Myth: “Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite” found its origin in the early 1700s, and it is a reminder to tighten the ropes on the bed before sleeping. The “bedbug” is the bed wrench, so “don’t let the bedbugs bite” means to be careful and don’t pinch your fingers on the wrench.


The phrase is a reminder to fasten your nightgown around you tightly, so the bedbugs will be unable to climb through them.

Truth: This is a very common myth, but it is ultimately a myth, and it is one we are often asked about on our tour of the John Chad’s house. The two main faulty interpretations of this phrase are stated above. The idea is, in order to sleep well on a rope bed, the ropes must be tightened on a regular basis. If the ropes became too slack, the occupant would have a very uncomfortable night’s sleep. So one of the household chores, normally given to small children, was to use the bed wrench to tighten the ropes every day so they remained taut.


Some even believe that a passive aggressive way to get rid of unwanted guests was to let the ropes sink lower and lower, until the bed became so uncomfortable that the guests would leave. But that is a myth for another day.   Bed bugs were common, lived in mattresses, and would bite the bed’s occupant. So this myth does hold up to a certain extent, showing how beds needed to be regularly tightened and bugs were likely to bite you in your sleep. However, this phrase couldn’t plausibly refer to a tight rope bed, because the first known citation of “sleep tight” was in the late 19th century, long after rope beds were in common use. As to the need to keep your nightgown fastened tightly, the bedbugs would live in the mattress and would be undeterred by nightgowns, fastened tightly or not.

The truth of the meaning behind “sleep tight” is that it is really more of a prayer than anything else. To sleep “tight” meant to sleep well or soundly, to sleep safely until morning, and has been listed in the dictionary as such. So when I wish you a good night, “sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite,” I am wishing you a good night’s sleep and I hope you remain safe till morning. And here’s hoping those bedbugs don’t bite you during your sound sleep.

Come see our rope beds for yourself at the Chadds Ford Historical Society; we are open every Saturday for tours. Hope to see you there!


Post by Anne Ciskanik

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Brandywine Catering

Meet one of the restaurants who will be joining us this fall for Chadds Ford Days:

Brandywine Catering

This wonderful company is right around the corner from the Chadds Ford Historical Society, and we are pleased that they will be joining us for Chadds Ford Days this September 12th – 13th. They offer a wide range of food selections, all of which are executed with skill and with flavor. They are dedicated to bringing wonderful food, caring professional service, and a passion for detail with them wherever they go. Check them out at the link below:

Photo Courtesy of Brandywine Catering

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: The Historical Society’s Funnel Cakes

This week, we will be featuring the local restaurants making an appearance at this year’s Chadds Ford Days on September 12th – 13th. What better way to kick off the food highlights than with the Historical Society’s own funnel cakes!

Does anything immediately fill your mind with fond memories of summer more than funnel cakes?  Funnel cakes are not just a fun treat; it’s a tradition at the Historical Society! To prove it, here is a throwback picture of our wonderful volunteers selling funnel cakes at Chadds Ford Days 1985.

funnel cake 1982They are one of the many delicious items to look forward to on the menu for Chadds Ford Days.  We will be joined by six amazing local restaurants, who will each bring their own unique food styles to the table.

Don’t forget to snag a funnel cake or two!