David W. Lenox and the Tugboat Adriatic

David W. Lenox
After spending much of his early life as a seafarer, David W. Lenox (1822–1911) and his brother William M. Lenox engaged in the steam-powered transport of cargo and timber rafts on the Delaware River between Trenton and Philadelphia. This proved a lucrative enterprise but the timber lands to the north were eventually depleted while the railroads took much of the cargo traffic.

The story may have ended there but for two newspaper articles: one in the Daily State Gazette on December 21, 1909, and the other days after his death in the Daily True American on February 23, 1911.

At the start of the Civil War, Lenox chartered his steam-powered tugboat Adriatic to the U.S. Government. The tug was sent to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where it remained for the duration of the war, and it was from this vantage point that he was thrice an eyewitness to history.

Samuel W. Gordon, Barber, Messenger and Antiques Dealer

Celtic Cross monument on the
Gordon lot
Samuel W. Gordon, an African-American, was born in Philadelphia on October 25, 1845. He learned barbering as a teenager, a trade in which he engaged throughout his life, and soon moved to Washington, D.C., where in addition to being a barber he was a messenger for the U.S. Supreme Court. While there he frequently shaved Abraham Lincoln and, as he must have been pleased to recollect, had the honor of accompanying the president on the occasion of his delivering his address at Gettysburg.

Coming to Trenton, for 46 years he served as the private messenger for 15 governors—Joseph D. Bedle, George B. McClellan, George C. Ludlow, Leon Abbett, Robert S. Green, George T. Werts, John W. Griggs, Foster M. Voorhees, Franklin Murphy, Edward C. Stokes, John F. Fort, Woodrow Wilson, James F. Fielder, Walter E. Edge, and Edward I. Edwards—from 1875 to 1920.

When Woodrow Wilson was elected president and left the governor's office for the White House, however, he invited him to return to Washington, but Gordon thought better of it and declined the invitation. That turned out to be a good decision for during his service to the governors he took an interest in antiques, first as a collector and later a dealer, and became a recognized authority in the field.