Order Inquiry: Cook Pottery Company

Every so often a box of ephemera will turn up a card which leads to, and becomes a part of, an interesting story. This is the “story” of one such card.

This postal card, postmarked May 11, 1909, was mailed from the purchasing department of the Brooklyn, N.Y., plant of the H.W. Johns-Manville Company to inquire as to the status of their order to the Cook Pottery Company, and is stamped “Ans. / May 13, 1909 / W. E. Green” to note that a reply had been made to that inquiry.

Order Inquiry from H.W. Johns-Manville Company to Cook Pottery Company.
Author’s collection.

Shipping Receipt: John A. Roebling’s Sons Company

Mention the name “Roebling” and just about everyone is reminded of the many suspension bridges constructed across the nation by this family of accomplished civil engineers.

John A. Roebling (1806-1869), founder of the firm bearing his name, died from lockjaw (tetanus) contracted in an accident while surveying for the Brooklyn Bridge. His son Charles G. Roebling (1849-1918), a recent graduate of Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, soon became president and made the company an economic powerhouse.

One of its customers was the Dent Hardware Company, incorporated in 1894 by Henry H. Dent (1861-1940) as its president, and George H. Brightbill, Charles C. Kaiser, Henry P. Newhard, and C.W. Wackernagel. Based in Newark, N.J., the company shortly thereafter relocated to Fullerton, Pa., a suburb of Allentown, where they employed 30 workers in the manufacture of specialty hardware primarily used in refrigerators and cold storage units.

Star of Bethlehem, or Ornithogalum umbellatum

There is a showing of Star of Bethlehem at their peak in a naturalized setting near the Lalor Street gate in Section M and the beauty of these delicately small flowers deserve mention as does their history.

Naturalized Ornithogalum umbellatum in Section M

First described by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum, the pioneering work published in 1753, the plant was one of but 12 species known at the time. Over the years other botanists including Michel Adanson, John Gilbert Baker, George Bentham, Adolf Engler, and Joseph Dalton Hooker came to identify and describe some 300 species within what is today the genus Ornithogalum.

Influenza and Brothers-in-Law Leonard Ford and Herman Ley

The influenza pandemic overwhelmed the world’s population in 1918, 1919, and into 1920, during which as many as 500 million were infected and an estimated 50 to 100 million lost their lives. Unlike seasonsal flu that disproportionately kills infants, children, and middle-aged and elderly adults, owing to their weaker immune systems, this variant of the virus triggered an overzealous immune response in young adults that ravaged their bodies and caused rapid progressive respiratory failure.

Two brothers-in-law, unbeknownst to each other, succumbed to influenza on the same day, Tuesday, October 1, 1918. After a double funeral that was officiated by Reverends Charles H. Elder, William D. Thatcher, and J. Wesley Wainwright, they were borne to their graves by the same pallbearers and interred on the same day, Saturday, October 5.

Twenty-four-year-old Leonard Leroy Ford (1893-1918) was employed as a chauffeur by the F.S. Katzenbach and Company, hardware merchants.

The Great War and the Longmore Brothers

One can only imagine the heartbreak of Richard Longmore and his wife Cecelia on the loss of their two sons to the Great War in the span of just four months.

James Brook Longmore (1888-1918) of Co. 37, 153rd Depot Brigade, died from influenza at Camp Dix on October 8, and his younger brother Harry Francis Longmore (1891-1919) of Co. M, 348th Infantry, died on February 4, and is listed as having “died of disease” in the three-volume Soldiers of the Great War (Soldiers Record Publishing Co., Washington, D.C., 1920) and of influenza on his casualty card.

James Brook Longmore (left)
and his brother Harry Francis Longmore
New Jersey State Archives

James Longmore is interred behind the family monument in Section L, Lot 10, here at Riverview Cemetery, but the ledger marking his grave is also inscribed with a cenotaph noting that Harry Longmore is “Buried in Carbon-Blanc Cemetery France.”