Tomlinson, Foehr, and Peters families papers
Held at: Historical Society of Frankford [Contact Us]1507 Orthodox St., Philadelphia, PA, 19124
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Frankford. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Tomlinson family in the United States originated with Thomas Tomlinson in 1719, when he settled in Byberry, Pennsylvania, today a neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. He married Joan Walmsley, and they had seven children, including Joseph Tomlinson (1724-1794), who married Elizabeth Worthington (1720-1761). Joseph and Elizabeth had seven children, including John Tomlinson (1748-1808), who married Phebe Malone (1750-1808). John and Phebe had ten children, including Thomas Tomlinson (1795-1870), who married Ann Walton (1802-1883). Thomas and Ann had five children, including Spencer (1826-1893).
Spencer married Elizabeth Ridge (1829-1894). Spencer and Elizabeth had five children: Eldridge (1850-1916), Thomas Pierson (1854-1921), knowns as T. Pierson, Phebe R. (1857-1891), Sallie (1866-1866), and Albert S. (1871-1913). In the 1840s, Thomas purchased land from James Verree Sr. and others at the intersections of Krewstown, Welsh, and Verree Roads in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia, Pa., which became the Tomlinson farm.
On March 21, 1878, T. Pierson Tomlinson (1854-1921) married Mary R. Peters (1852- 1919), daughter of John Peters (1832-1918) and Margaret Perkins Hallowell (1832-1917). T. Pierson and Mary lived on the Tomlinson Farm and had one son, Ritner Walter (1880-1949).
On November 14, 1911, Ritner W. Tomlinson (1880-1949) married Caroline Friedrika Foehr (1890-1981), daughter of William A Foehr (1858-1953) and Wilhelmina Wolf (1856-1944). Following the death of his father, T. Pierson Tomlinson, Ritner inherited the Tomlinson Farm. Ritner and Caroline had four children: twins Isabel Ruth (1915-2010) and Esther Rita (1915-1938), Ritner Pierson “Buddy” (1922-1944), and Thelma Claire (1924-2006). The family continued to live on the Tomlinson Farm until the mid-1930s when, due to several poor investments, the family lost this farm, and relocated to another farm property owned by a family in nearby Huntingdon Valley (Montgomery County) located at the intersection of Meetinghouse Road and 2nd Street Pike (now Huntingdon Pike).
Twins Isabel, also known as “Belle,” and Esther were both accomplished equestrians. In May 1938, Esther was killed in a riding accident.
In December 1938, Belle married Robert W. Parks (1913-1991), with whom she had a son, Robert Wesley Parks Jr. (1942-1970). In 1940, both Robert and Belle worked at an auto body plant, he as an arc welder, and she as a rivet machine operator. Robert and Belle divorced in 1947. Later, Belle worked at Penn Plastics. There, she met her second husband, Warren Dahl (1927-2004), whom she married in 1955.
Ritner Pierson, known as “Buddy,” served in the United States Army during World War II in the Philippines. Buddy was reported missing in action on November 28, 1944 and later confirmed dead.
In 1946, Thelma married Robert Jules Plummer (1917-1988) and they had one daughter Linda Plummer (born 1947), who married Walter Chekay Jr. (born 1948). Linda has one son, Brian William Mitchell, from a previous marriage.
Robert W. Parks Jr., known as “Bobby,” was born August 11, 1942 to Isabel Ruth Tomlinson and Robert W. Parks. Bobby lived in Abington, Pennsylvania until the divorce of his parents in 1947. He then moved with his mother to the Bustleton section of Philadelphia, Pa. He attended Woodrow Wilson Junior High School and graduated from Northeast High School in 1961. After graduation, he attended the Spring Garden Institute, studying Mechanical Technology. Bobby married Susan Magee in 1967. In the late 1960s, Bobby franchised a Flying A gas station and garage located near the intersection of Route 1 and Old Lincoln Highway in Trevose, Pa.
On November 26, 1970, while driving with Patricia Ann Hoffmayer and Edward H. Comly Jr., Parks’ car was struck by another vehicle. Hoffmayer died in the crash and Comly sustained serious injuries. Parks died the next day, November 27, 1970, at Abington Memorial Hospital from injuries sustained in the crash.
Other Tomlinson Family Members
Charles T. Kline (1878-1956) was born to Phebe R. Tomlinson (1857-1891), T. Pierson Tomlinson’s sister, and Jacob R. Kline (1849-1902). The first cousin of Ritner W. Tomlinson (1880-1949), Charles Kline assisted Ritner in trying to obtain a second mortgage for the Tomlinson Farm property at Krewstown and Verree Roads. Charles married Ellen Myers Showell (1889-1970) and had one son Charles Kline Jr. (1918-2000).
William Allen Foehr (1858-1953) was born to Julius Foehr (1836-1915) and Dorothea Beck Nathler (1833-1912). On March 26, 1885, William married Wilhelmina Wolf (1856-1944) in the house of Julius Foehr. William and Wilhelmina had four children: Dorothea Sophie (1886-?), William Albert (1887-1974), Caroline Friedrika (1890-1981), and Frank Julius (1894-1905). The Foehr family lived on a farm that was located on Krewstown Road near the railroad bridge in what is now Pennypack Park. William A. Foehr sold the farm to the City of Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia leased the property back to William A. Foehr Jr., who left the property in 1953. The farmhouse was later demolished and the property is now part of Pennypack Park.
Caroline Friedrika Foehr married Ritner W. Tomlinson (1880-1949) on November 14, 1911.
Son of Emanuel and Catharine Peters, John Peters (1832-1918) married Margaret Perkins Hallowell (1832-1917), daughter of Joseph Hallowell and Rebecca Stump, in 1851. John and Margaret had five children: Mary R. (1852-1919), Jonas Dannehower (1855-1936), Annie L. (1861-1944), Ida May (1865-1945), and Walter Ritner (1871-1933).
Mary R. Peters married T. Pierson Tomlinson (1854-1921) in 1877.
Jonas D. Peters became a dentist who practiced in Norristown, Pennsylvania. His dental office was located on DeKalb and Airy Streets and was later relocated to an office attached to his home at 812 Swede Street. Jonas married Isabella Sees (1855-1912) on November 2, 1895. Jonas later married, following Isabella’s death, Mary Emma Robinson (1870-1961), better known by her middle name Emma, in 1919.
Annie L. Peters married Archie V Davis (1859-1901) in 1887 and they had one daughter, Edna Davis (1896-?).
Ida May Peters married Charles J. Kinkead (1864-1946) in 1889. They had a daughter Margaret (1894-1993).
Walter R. Peters was also a dentist. Walter moved to Santiago, Chile and there married Sara Rosa Villegas Duncan (1884-?), who after marriage became Sara Villegas de Peters, in 1900. They had two daughters: Graciela and Ida Peters Villegas. Walter later divorced Sara and moved back to the United States. Sara and her brother, Jorge Villegas Duncan, corresponded regularly with Caroline Foehr Tomlinson (1890-1981) during the 1950s through the 1970s.
Other Peters Family Members
E. Orrell Crap
John Peters’ sister Catharine M Peters (1825-1896) married Thomas J Swope (1812-1892) in 1842. They had a daughter, Anna Linda Swope (1857-1937), who married Frank Crap (1858-1932) in 1881. Anna and Frank had two sons Walter Frank (1884-1962) and Edward Orrell (1896-1962), who is better known as E. Orrell Crap. E. Orrell was Vice-Principal at Frankford High School from 1941-1960.
Keziah E. Carley Hallowell
Keziah E. Carley (1854-1928) was born December 25, 1854 to John and Mary Carley. Keziah, also known as “Kizzie,” married Jesse Trump Hallowell (1839-1905) on September 16, 1873. They had one son Clifton Carlisle Hallowell (1874-1950). Keziah’s husband Jesse was the brother of Margaret Hallowell Peters. Sometime following her husband’s death in 1905 and before her death on March 14, 1928, Keziah lived with her great-nephew, Ritner W. Tomlinson (1880-1949), and his family.
This collection consists of photographs, legal and financial documents, correspondence, diaries, ephemera, and other materials related to the Tomlinson, Foehr, and Peters families. The bulk of the material is from the Tomlinson family and predominately relates to Ritner W., his wife Caroline, and their children. Ritner and Caroline's daughter, Isabel Tomlinson Dahl, is particularly well represented in the collection as is her son, Robert W. “Bobby” Parks Jr. There is a smaller amount of material from the Foehr and Peters families, who were related to the Tomlinsons through marriage.
Materials relating to the Tomlinson family include photographs, legal and financial documents, and other materials. Photographs include loose photographs and scrapbooks of the Tomlinson family, including school photographs and photographs of Isabel and Esther in equestrian competitions. Many of the photographs are labeled. Financial and legal documents include documents related to the ownership and financial hardship of the Tomlinson family farm in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as general account books, estate settlements, and wills. There are marriage certificates, birth certificates, and death certificates for several members of the Tomlinson family.
Materials relating to Ritner P. "Buddy" Tomlinson, include letters he wrote during his service in World War II; other documents relating to his service, death, and burial; and the settlement of his life insurance. Isabel Tomlinson materials include photographs, correspondence, diaries, and other materials. Bobby Parks’ materials contain a large amount of school related documents and memorabilia from Northeast High School and the Spring Garden Institute, as well as other memorabilia and ephemera from the Boy Scouts of America, American Bandstand, and other activities dating from 1950-1970. The collection also contains several deeds, indentures, and other land documents from the early 18th century to mid-20th century related to the Tomlinson farm property, including a 1713 vellum deed from David and Jane Marple to Charles Haftee.
There are some materials from the Foehr family, many of which pre-date Caroline Foehr's marriage to Ritner W. Tomlinson. Most of the Foehr family papers are from Caroline's parents, William A. Foehr and Wilhelmina Wolf. The materials include four family photograph albums, greeting cards, property documents, marriage certificates, and other materials.
The collection includes a small amount of Peters family papers, including a family Bible and photographs, wills, and estate settlements. A significant portion of Peters Family papers relate to Dr. Jonas D. Peters and his dentistry practice in Norristown, Pa.
Series I. Tomlinson Family, 1713-1998
Series II. Foehr Family, 1885-1974
Series III. Peters Family, 1877-1963
Gift of Linda Chekay, 2007-2009.
This collection was processed as part of the HCI-PSAR Internship Program, facilitated by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) in the winter of 2015. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The HCI-PSAR Intern who processed this collection, Leigh Clark, received guidance and supervision from a professional archivist at the American Philosophical Society.
- Crap, E. Orrell (Edward Orrell), 1896-1962
- Dahl, Isabel Tomlinson, 1915-2010
- Dahl, Warren, 1927-2004
- Foehr family
- Foehr, Julius, 1836-1915
- Foehr, Wilhelmina Wolf, 1856-1944
- Foehr, William A., 1858-1953
- Foehr, William A., 1887-1974
- Hallowell, Keziah Carley, 1854-1928
- Kline, Charles T., 1878-1956
- Parks, Robert W., 1913-1991
- Parks, Robert W., 1942-1970
- Peters family
- Peters, John, 1832-1918
- Peters, Jonas D., 1855-1936
- Peters, Margaret P. Hallowell, 1832-1917
- Peters, Mary Emma R., 1870-1961
- Plummer, Thelma Tomlinson, 1924-2006
- Tomlinson family
- Tomlinson, Caroline Foehr, 1890-1981
- Tomlinson, Elizabeth Ridge, 1829-1894
- Tomlinson, Esther R., 1915-1938
- Tomlinson, Mary Peters, 1852-1919
- Tomlinson, Ritner Pierson, 1922-1944
- Tomlinson, Ritner Walter, 1880-1949
- Tomlinson, Spencer, 1826-1893
- Tomlinson, T. Pierson (Thomas Pierson), 1854-1921
- Tomlinson, Thomas, 1795-1870
- Historical Society of Frankford
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Leigh Clark
- This finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR). The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Historical Society of Frankford for information about accessing this collection.
5.75 Linear feet
This subseries consists primarily of the financial papers of T. Pierson Tomlinson and his wife Mary Peters Tomlinson. These financial papers concern the running of the Tomlinson Farm and include mortgages, insurance policies, real estate titles, receipts, and correspondence. Also included in the subseries are T. Pierson’s wallet, a map of the Tomlinson Farm located at the intersections of Welsh, Krewstown, and Verree Roads in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia, and T. Pierson Tomlinson and Mary R. Peters’ marriage license.Physical Description
0.25 Linear feet
This subseries consists primarily of the financial papers of Ritner W. Tomlinson. These financial papers concern the operation and sale of the Tomlinson Farm located at the intersections of Welsh, Krewstown, and Verree Roads in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia, as well as other financial investments that Ritner made during the 1920s and 1930s. The financial papers include mortgages, insurance policies, stock certificates, sales receipts, lease agreements, and correspondence. Also included in this subseries are Ritner W. Tomlinson and Caroline Foehr’s marriage license, Ritner’s death certificate and obituary, a newspaper clipping describing how Ritner hit a pedestrian with his car, and other miscellaneous notebooks and ephemera. Additionally, there are a small number of photographs of Ritner W. Tomlinson, his family, and the Tomlinson Farmhouse, including on tintype of Ritner in a swimming costume, circa 1900.Physical Description
0.25 Linear feet
This subseries consists primarily of the correspondence of Caroline Foehr Tomlinson. A large portion of this correspondence is from Caroline’s family in Chile, including Sara Villegas de Peters, the ex-wife of Walter R. Peters, and her brother Jorge Villegas Duncan that dates from 1952-1974. Included with the Chilean correspondence, are postcards and photographs of the Villegas family, as well as a genealogical sketch of the Villegas family written by Jorge Villegas Duncan.
In addition, this subseries includes cemetery plot records, life insurance policies, Caroline’s will, miscellaneous financial papers, and photographs. Much of the material in this subseries is dated after Caroline’s marriage to Ritner in 1911. However, there are few items from Caroline’s childhood. These items include: two photographs of her as a teenager, including a tintype of Caroline and her sister Dorothea, her baptism and confirmation certificates (both in German), and a book, Pleasant Pages: Illustrated Stories and Poems for Little People, published in 1894, which she received as a gift in 1896.Physical Description
0.25 Linear feet
This subseries consists primarily of the papers of Isabel Tomlinson Dahl. These papers include general correspondence and greeting cards sent to Isabel, correspondence regarding the estate of Jonas D. Peters, certificates and documents related to Isabel’s porcelain painting business, motor vehicle registrations, and business cards. The program and announcement for Isabel marriage to Robert W. Parks and their divorce decree is contained this subseries. Also included is a notebook that Isabel used as a diary and account book from 1932-1941, in which she describes the death of her sister Esther.
A smaller portion of this subseries is comprised of the papers of Isabel’s twin sister, Esther Tomlinson. In addition to Esther’s birth certificate and motor vehicle licenses, this subseries includes newspaper clipping, photographs, and ribbons related to Esther’s horseback riding competitions.
This subseries contains a large number of loose photographs, as well as a large portrait photograph of the twins as young girls in a bubble glass frame. Almost all of Isabel and Esther’s childhood photographs are of the twins together. These photographs are arranged at the end of this subseries.Physical Description
1.5 Linear feet
The subseries comprised of the receipts and photographs of Isabel Tomlinson Dahl’s first husband Robert W. Parks Sr.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
The subseries comprised of the papers of Isabel Tomlinson Dahl’s second husband, Warren Dahl. They include identification cards and a newspaper clipping from when Warren worked as a Laboratory Technician at SPS Technologies, real estate documents and blueprints from Warren and Isabel’s homes in Newtown, PA and Harvey Cedars, NJ, and photographs of Warren Dahl.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
The subseries primarily consists of Ritner P. “Buddy” Tomlinson’s correspondence while in the Army during World War II and correspondence to his parents, Ritner and Caroline Tomlinson, regarding the death of Buddy, his burial, and his veteran’s benefits. Also part of this subseries are cradle roll certificates, a wallet with identification cards, and photographs of Buddy, including a photograph affixed to the knob of a gear shift.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
The subseries consists of the papers of Thelma Tomlinson Plummer, which include baptism and cradle roll certificates, the program from Thelma’s marriage to Robert J. Plummer, and photographs of Thelma. These photographs include a class photo of Abington Junior High School from February 1940.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
This subseries consists of the papers of Robert W. “Bobby” Parks, son of Isabel Tomlinson Dahl. A large portion of these papers are comprised of school documents and memorabilia, including report cards, notebooks, diplomas, school newspapers, class pins, and a 1961 yearbook, from his time attending Jacobs Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, Northeast High School, and the Spring Garden Institute. Also contained in the subseries are Bobby’s resume and other career related documents, including a keychain and patch from the Flying A gas station Bobby owned in the 1960s.
Another significant portion of this subseries documents Bobby's involvement in a number of hobbies and organizations, including karate and judo certificates, and a pilot flight record book. There are also pamphlets, patches, and clothing from Bobby’s time in the Boy Scouts, as well as a patch and ephemera from when Bobby played baseball with the Bustleton Boys Club. Also of significance is memorabilia from American Bandstand, including an autograph promotional picture of Dick Clark and autographs from American Bandstand guests Sunny Gale, Gene Vincent, and Julius La Rosa, as well as WFIL-TV host Sally Starr.
Additionally, this subseries includes a large number of loose photographs of Bobby from 1942-1970. There is also a scrapbook of photos, clipping, ribbons, and certificates from Bobby’s childhood. The contents of the scrapbook have been removed from their original housing for preservation purposes and placed in a folder in their original order.Physical Description
2.25 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers from members of the Tomlinson family whose materials only consist of one or two items. This subseries includes the deeds, dating from 1713-1844, for the land purchased by Thomas Tomlinson in the 1840s that became the Tomlinson farm located at the intersections of Welsh, Krewstown, and Verree Roads in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia. Also included in the subseries are Elizabeth Ridge Tomlinson’s will and a letter to Charles T. Kline about obtaining a mortgage on the Tomlinson Farm.
This subseries also contains items that relate to the Tomlinson family as a whole. These items include a Tomlinson Genealogy, the bulk of which was written by Elsie Freed in 1977, a painting of the Tomlinson Farm by William H. West, and other miscellaneous papers whose ownership could not be identified.Physical Description
0.5 Linear feet
This subseries contains the contents of four scrapbooks arranged by a member of the Tomlinson Family. The photographs and newspaper clippings have been removed from their original housing for preservation purposes and stored in folders in their original order. The scrapbooks are arranged in approximate chronological order and were given numbers for ease of identification. The contents of scrapbooks primarily depict Ritner W. Tomlinson’s family, but also include members of the Foehr family.Physical Description
0.25 Linear feet
3.75 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers of William A. Foehr and his wife, Wilhelmina Wolf Foehr. These papers consist of financial documents, including stock certificates and receipts. This subseries also contains William’s will, an account of his estate following his death, and his obituary. In addition, this subseries includes a gold watch belonging to William and two framed items: a drawing of William and Wilhelmina’s four children and a certificate of William and Wilhelmina’s marriage that includes individual photographs of the bride and groom.Physical Description
2.125 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers from members of the Foehr family whose materials only consist of one or two items. Included in this subseries are the Cedar Hill Cemetery Deed of Julius Foehr and the memorial card of William A. Foehr Jr.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
This subseries contains photographs of the Foehr Family. These photographs include a number of loose photographs and four photo albums. These photos are predominating of William A. Foehr and Wilhelmina Wolf’s children, parents and siblings. Some of the photographs in the photo albums are identified. Contained in this series are a number of tintypes and a crystoleum of William A. Foehr’s son Frank.Physical Description
1.5 Linear feet
1.75 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers of John Peters and his wife, Margaret P. Hallowell Peters. Included in the subseries is the deed of the Estate of John Peters, portrait photographs of John and Margaret, a framed photograph of John and Margaret with their five children, and the Peters Family Bible, which contains the birth and death dates of John and Margaret’s children and two photographs of unknown family members.Physical Description
1.5 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers of Dr. Jonas D. Peters, son of John and Margaret Peters. In addition to Dr. Jonas Peters and Isabella Sees’ marriage license and an account of the Estate of Jonas D. Peters, this subseries includes several items documenting Jonas’s work as a dentist in Norristown, Pa. These items include photographs, a certificate of membership to the Dental Protective Association of the United States, and blue prints for an office/garage, which Jonas had built so that he could practice dentistry from his home. Also contained in this subseries is an autograph book, a Tiny Library book entitled Daily Manna, and silk handkerchiefs that belonged to Jonas.Physical Description
0.125 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers of Mary Emma R. Peters, Jonas D. Peters’ second wife. These papers include Mary’s will and related documents, and photographs of Mary.Physical Description
0.062 Linear feet
This subseries contains the papers from members of the Peters family whose materials only consist of one or two items. Included in this subseries are clippings of E. Orrell Crap, a cousin of the Peters, written after his death, which discuss his work as Vice-Principal of Frankford High School during 1941-1960. There are also two photographs of E. Orrell with members of the Tomlinson family. Additionally, photographs of Keziah E. Carely Hallowell, sister-in-law to Margaret Peters, and her grave in Cedar Hill Cemetery are included.Physical Description
0.062 Linear feet