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Middletown, New York

Albert & Neppie's Middletown Google Map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.00049958d6c6f5c6f3687&z=18
Middletown and environs Google map Albert & Neppie, Macardells and the Zavistowskis 18702-1900s
  http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.00049973276c80c870dfa&ll=41.51886,-74.328003&spn=0.834925,1.783905&z=10

I took a very quick driving tour of Middletown on my way home from Manya and Michael's wedding in Pennsylvania in 1999.  I hadn't brought addresses or maps and didn't find much evidence of Albert or Neppie, except the train tracks. I will have to make another trip, and would particularly like to see 15 Highland Avenue and visit the Pine Hill Cemetery (about 3 miles north of Middletown) to see if anyone besides Cornelius Macardell is buried there.  I was interested to learn that the former Erie Railroad train station is now the Thrall Library, however it wasn't built until 1896. 

Where was the train station when EJ Phillips had it stopped in Middletown on the way to the San Francisco and Seattle in 1890?  "Yes, I think there was an effort made by Mr. [H.C.] Jarrett to have the train stop at Middletown.  I had told him, and also the conductor who helped Neppie up on the steps, that I was very anxious to see you as I was going so far away."

Photographer and author Todd Vogel of Warwick NY  http://slipperyacres.com/  writes  “I suspect there is a fair amount of 100 year old Middletown still in existence.  The outskirts of Middletown got made into malls of one sort or another. The railroad station is now a library.  This part of NY is still fairly agricultural. Though some dairy farms are having a hard time of it, there are still a bunch. Goshen is big for horses and harness racing with an old historic track which I would bet your relatives went to. Between where we live and Middletown there is an area of "black dirt" which is reclaimed swamps that were lakes after the ice age and the soil is so fertile it occasionally catches fire. Some significant amount of onions are grown there. It makes for a pretty trip. Where I am is hilly, wooded and rocky. The glaciers were very good to us. It is flatter towards Middletown, but there is a ridge on the other side and beyond that the Catskill mountains start. 

Goshen Historic Track http://www.goshenhistorictrack.com/  Founded in  1838, the world’s oldest continuously operating harness racing facility.   Did Albert go to horse races? 
San Francisco 1890  "
I had a delightful drive to the seashore yesterday morning with Mrs. E.J Baldwin and Maud [Harrison]. The team would have delighted you -- one of the horses being brother to the celebrated racer -- Volante. And all that troubled Volante's brother yesterday was that the coachman would not let him go as fast as he wanted to. I drove the team for a little while in the Park but the horses pulled too hard for me to hold the reins very long."

Albert Nickinson moved to Middletown early in1886, and set up a printing business with then friend Seymour.  He contemplated moving to Texas early in his time there.

Chicago, June 9, 1886  I think the Texas scheme a very good one if you had the money to carry it out -- but there lies the difficulty.  I cannot as you know do anything more.  I am willing to pay the two $50 notes due on the 20th of this and next month respectively -- but you would want $200 more to go comfortably to Texas.  And there you would be running the risk the same as you now are doing, although I suppose there is more chance of business growth in Texas than in Middletown

TELEGRAM
June 16, 1886  from Chicago to Middletown
Glad of your decision to remain in your present position. 

June 16, 1886 letter I must say that I felt rather happier than I have done for a week, when I read your decision to remain in Middletown for the present.  I did not wish to oppose you in the Texas affair, still I could not help thinking it was a great risk.  You are now your own master, and in Texas you would again be in partnership, and with a man whom you do not know as well as you did  Seymour.

Have a little patience.  4 months is a very short time to give Middletown a trial.  I cried all the time I was writing to you on Sunday for I felt --that if you went to Texas I might never see you again. 
Albert Nickinson, Middletown photograph 
    Albert's moustache cup       Thanks to Marjorie Turner Hollman, and Caleb Rae.  

Albert was active in Middletown amateur theatrics and the volunteer fire department

Albert's Excelsior Hook & Ladder Co. card 
Albert Nickinson in his Middletown Fire Department uniform
      
Name adopted 1859 and still in existence. http://www.middletownfiredept.com/webpages/Company_ExcelsiorHookLadder.aspx

Banquet
Oct 4 1888 Monhagen Hose Co No 1 of Middletown NY at WCF Bastian's Hotel  



Amateur theatrics

Natalie Weygant, George Iseman, Bertha Cheeseborough, Albert E. Nickinson 
Mrs. Cheeseborough was Albert's first landlady in Middletown.
                                                   Arthur Fanshon and EP Nickinson [aged about 6]     
                                                                                          in The Mikado [Middletown NY] circa 1896

Philadelphia  Dec 19. 1897
I hope your Matinee yesterday netted a goodly addition to the fund for Thrall Hospital.  I did not know Albert was going to play in "Priscilla".  Am glad he made so decided a "hit".  Did he have much singing to do?  And was he is good voice?   It certainly was a most praiseworthy object and I hope yielded a good return financially for your efforts.  God Bless you all dear children.  Your loving Mother

Albert played Hatebad Higgins, agent of the Mayflower, in this play about Miles Standish, John Alden and Priscilla "the pretty Pilgrim" set in Plymouth in 1620.  

Baseball
Chicago, June 3, 1896  Hope your benefit for Asylum baseball club will net something handsome.  Baseball historian Bob Mayer of Putnam Valley NY wrote me "Albert played a limited amount of ball games in 1886 for the Wallkills Base Ball Club and as you know, married the daughter of the newspaper owner and ultimately became editor.... I can tell you that the benefit brought in $300. Not chump change at the time.  .. The Wallkill Base Ball Club was organized in 1866 by many of the leading citizens of Middletown. Their main opponents were the Delawares of Port Jervis and the Goshen Base Ball Club. The team disbanded during the 1870's then re-formed and became the leading amateur team in Middletown through the 1880's. John Degnan was the team Captain and apparently after Albert's partnership dissolved, he went to work for Degnan's plumbing company. It appears Albert played several games for the Wallkills in 1886, but none after that. The team played into 1889, but discontinued due to new local competition.
In 1888 a new team was formed at the State Homeopathic Hospital for the Insane at Middletown. The team was known as the Asylum Base Ball Club. It became highly successful and players were brought in from out of town, and given jobs at the hospital for the summer. Others were paid a few dollars for each game, so the team was a Semi-professional team. In the late 1890's baseball was getting competition for fans from many other sports (bicycle craze, kayaking, track, and basketball) which reduced interest for a while. The fundraiser referenced by E.J. was for the Asylum team".

Courtship  
Albert wrote to Neppie Feb 8, 1887  Cornelius Macardell does not seem to have approved of him. 

Miss Macardell,

If you found it a difficult matter to write the note received by me this morning, how much more so is it for me to answer it, having learned the probable cause of its indictment.

From the candid, truthful tone of the note I saw at once that the reason for your withdrawal from the engagement was not an ordinary one, and in the hope of obtaining some light on the subject I sought an interview with Walt and learned from him that in all probability your father had objected to you attending the sociable with me an entire stranger t him.

Our conversation on Sunday evening, questions I asked Walt, and the tone of your letter, all point to the above explanation as being a very plausible one, and therefore makes my position in the matter a very unenviable one and difficult to bear.

May I ask your indulgence while I recall the circumstances which have led to this condition of affairs? 

I came to Middletown just one year ago, an entire stranger. I had a partner in business who had a slight acquaintance, but it was very limited.  We worked together for three months, at the expiration of which time I purchased his interest in the business and he left town. During that time I made very few acquaintances and when he left me, I felt still more strange. I should have followed him, had not family arrangements rendered it more expedient for me to remain here. Our home in New York was broken up. Mother was just on the eve of departure upon an extended trip to California, and my sister intended spending the summer with friends in Philadelphia.  Therefore I concluded to remain here until Mother's return in Oct.  

As nearly as I can remember it was during the month of June when I first met Walt. I had met a number of the young men of the village but had not formed any friendships, preferring that the proposition of friendship should come to the stranger rather than from him.  From the first Walt seemed to have conceived a liking for me, and in an very short while his visits to my office became a daily occurrence.  At first I was inclined to resent his visits for I felt that as he was a printer, curiosity as to the amount of business done by me might be his motive in coming. I soon found however that it was his friendship he offered and his being almost the first offered I gladly accepted.

Through him, my acquaintance among the young men increased and it was not long before I became well know.  He frequently spoke of you family and home and invited me on several occasions to go there with him, and I as often declined, fearing that on his introduction I might meet with just such a rebuff as I received today.

When I received an invitation to dine at Mrs. Walton's on Thanksgiving Day, [Nov 1886] I felt very grateful to her. For six preceding years I had always been at our own home on that day but our home was broken up, Mother and sister were boarding and Thanksgiving Day was not to be with us as it had been.  If you remember it was there on that day I first met you. I found an entirely different family from my expectations and the meal at that house on that day was one of the most pleasant in which it had ever been my fortunate to participate.

What my conduct toward you, since then, has been you know as well as I. I have not forced myself upon your friendship and have accepted invitations to call with Walt only because I felt that they were extended not merely in accordance with the conventionalities of society, but as genuine expressions of a desire to continue an acquaintance formed under such favorable auspices.  You, Mrs. Walton, Crawf & Walter have all been kind to me, and I am extremely thankful to you all. My invitation to you was given with a desire to reciprocate the many kindnesses shown. That the invitation has brought about the result it has, I am extremely sorry and is no doubt my fault.  Therefore I ask your pardon for having been the means of placing you in the embarrassing position in which you must have been and can only say that the offense will not be repeated.

Asking your forgiveness for trespassing so long upon your time, in making the above statement, which for my own vindication I deem necessary with my best wishes for y our future happiness, believe me   Yours respectfully AE Nickinson

Albert and marriage prospects
New York, April 4, 1887 I know you had felt the pangs of disappointment by your manner the night we all met at Mrs. Nagle's room, for I saw you turn white when saying goodnight.  But I never thought it had been so serious as for her to give her word to you.  I should never have been pleased to have her for my daughter-in-law.  She had always too many strings to her bow to please me, and I congratulate you on your escape [from whom?].

Still you have had time to think of all that, or rather to forget it.  If I had not explained to you in my letters, and when you were here about my financial affairs, I should not be so surprised.  But I told you, so that you might be careful.  If I had the money, I would give it to you, as I have always done.  But Albert my son!  I have not got it! 

There is no use in your remaining in Middletown.  You can always succeed in that work.  Remember the money I gave you was the saving of years.  The $100 you had in the Bank for me, I had saved five years before you put it in the bank.  The four months I was idle in the summer of 1885 [when the Union Square Company was disbanded] took everything for our support except that $100.  Then I began on a reduction of $10 per week salary. 

April 11, 1887 Albert writes to Neppie about sister Hattie's wedding in Philadelphia    and by June  20th 1887 things looked better.

To: Miss Neppie Macardell,
My dear friend --
The idea of the probability of my having been caught in a heavy thunderstorm which prevailed in this section on yesterday afternoon, having excited your risibilities too such an extent that you were compelled to indulge in a broad smile. I imagine that the thought of my starting on my homeward journey in the face of the threatening elements and the seeming certainty of my receiving a thorough drenching, caused the broad smile to extend to a more hearty expression of appreciation of the ludicrous situation and that as  you sank into blissful arms of Morpheus, you had given vent to your feelings by vociferous outbursts of laughter at my pitiable plight. 

Middletown Blizzard of 1888 photos http://www.thrall.org/photos/77.htm   http://www.thrall.org/photos/78.htm  EJ Phillips was in New York for the blizzard

The first mention of "Neppie" Macardell in the letters we have from EJ Phillips to Albert  is dated July 4, 1888 "Sorry I shall not see Neppie when I visit you."

Mary Penelope Macardell Nickinson
     Albert & Neppie Macardell's  Engagement & marriage  Oct 1889  Albert and Neppie were married on Thanksgiving 1889 and celebrated their anniversary on that holiday thereafter.

47 East 21st St. N. Y. Octr 18th/89 
So you think Thanksgiving will be the time!  Is it to be in Church or at the house?  

New York, Jan 6th, 1890 Too bad you both missed the first Sunday of the new Rector in the church. I am glad he made a success and hope his influence may be the means of bringing the people together in love and harmony. Has the church "Pew seats" or "Free seats"? if rents, how much per year? 

Birth of son Edward Phillips Nickinson Oct. 1890

Neppie's parents Cornelius and Esther Macardell lived in Middletown at 15 Highland Ave.


Cornelius Macardell c. 1900

Cornelius Macardell obituary New York Sun April 10, 1904
One of the foremost citizens of Middletown, New York died yesterday of pneumonia at the age of 66 years.  He was founder of the Middletown Argus and the Middletown Mercury Democratic daily and semi-weekly papers, which his son Cornelius, Jr. . now publishes.

Mr. Macardell received his education in the public schools of Brooklyn.  In 1859 he published a paper in New Orleans. At the beginning of the War he became active in Wall Street and in 1886 was elected to membership in the New York Stock Exchange. A few years ago he sold his seat for $40,000 which was the highest price that had ever been paid for a seat at that time. Mr. Macardell has been president of the First National Bank of Middletown for the past twelve years. He is survived by his wife and seven children.

Middletown Argus April 9, 1904 obituary
Mr. Macardell was born at Darien, Ga October 24 1837. He was the4 son of Cornelius and Rebecca (Campbell) Macardell.  His father was born in Dublin and after being graduated from Trinity College, that city, came to this country. After a short stay in New York, he went to Georgia where he edited and published the Darien Telegraph, a paper which owing to the ability of its editor wielded a wide and far-reaching political influence. Mr. Macardell left Darien to edit the Savannah Daily Telegraph and in 1841 returned to new York, where death cut short a brilliant career that seemed full of greater possibilities.

His son was educated in the Brooklyn public schools, but had to leave them at an early age to begin work. His first regular employment was as a copyholder in Harper Brothers' printing office. [This would seem to be the people who founded Harper's Weekly http://www.dentongenealogy.org/Harper%20Brothers%20Publishing.htm ] Long before attaining his majority he engaged in journalism. in 1859 he became interested in a newspaper venture in New Orleans, which proved very profitable but which was brought to a sudden end by the outbreak of the Civil War.

Returning North in 1861 he became interested in Wall street matters and in 1866 was elected a member of the New York Stock Exchange. He retired from the street a few years later and bought a place near this city, where he lived for several years, removing then to this city that his children might attend the schools.

In 1876 he founded the Middletown DAILY ARGUS which in 1878, was consolidated with the Middletown MERCURY. He transferred the paper to his son Cornelius in 1896.

In 1860 Mr. Macardell was married to Esther, daughter of Oliver and Penelope Crawford, of near this city. Mrs. Macardell survives, as do the following children: Mary Penelope, wife of AE Nickinson, Jessie, wife of LD Fouquet, Cornelius, Grace, Agnes, Abram B and Esther, all of this city. Six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Macardell have died. They were Arthur, Sarah, Ruth, Susan, Rebecca, Christobel, Oliver Crawford.

Mr. and Mrs. Macardell resided at Mount Hope for a number of years, removing later to what is now the Holbert farm near Goshen. in 1886 they came to this city, where they have first resided. It was a fortunate day for Middletown when Mr. Macardell cast his lot with it. Some of the things that he did for the town are matters of public history; other things that the did for it are known only to a few, and only to his intimate friends are known some of the things that he hoped and tried to do.

He was elected president of the First National Bank in 1891. ... He was a director in several companies here and abroad; president of the Waalkill Engine Company and for many years a warden of Grace Church. He was a member of Hoffman Lodge, F and AM and also a member of the Middletown Club. ... If all those whom he helped in their time of need could follow his body to Pine Hill Cemetery, a small army would throng the city's streets.

[This obituary reports that Grace was still alive, but that Oliver Crawford Macardell had died [Albert's friend Crawf.] There had been thirteen children born between 1861 and 1881 -- Neppie, and sisters Jess, Agnes, brothers Con and Abram. Sister Grace had died at 22 in 1895.

Thrall Hospital and the Middletown Asylum
1895 photos http://www.thrall.org/photos/74.htm  http://www.thrall.org/photos/75.htm

Bartley Campbell, the playwright, died at the Middletown Homeoepathic Insane Asylum, which was about 1 mile west of town, and demolished in 1980. 
photos  http://www.thrall.org/photos/61.htm  http://www.thrall.org/photos/62.htm

Asylum History and photos http://history.tomrue.net/mpc/middletown_homeopathic_hospital.htm
Centennial History http://history.tomrue.net/mpc/1874-1974_Centennial_Chronicle_of_Middletown_State_Hospital.pdf

Grace Episcopal Church, 12 Depot St. Middletown NY Middletown: A Photographic History: Religion http://thrall.org/middletown/c9_2.htm consecrated 1848

Bibliography
Laskaris, Peter A., Middletown: A Photographic History http://www.thrall.org/middletown/ Digital History Initiative
Historical Society of Middletown photographs http://thrall.org/photos/contents.htm
Middletown Fire Department history http://www.thrall.org/middletown/c1_16.htm
Middletown Local History Links http://www.thrall.org/lhlinks.htm
Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middletown,_Orange_County,_New_York

Franklin B. Williams Middletown a biography 1928  http://www.wkfinetools.com/hUS-saws/MSW-WMC/envir/1928-Middletown-Biography/0_img-pdf/1928-Middletown-aBiography-s.pdf

Middletown Downtown video tour http://www.elocallink.tv/clients3/ny/middletown/tourplay.php?movie=miny_dt&spon=downtown

Neppie Macardell Nickinson or is this Hattie Nickinson Dolman ?
   
Entrekin, 1204 Chestnut St. Philadelphia

Last updated April 15, 2011

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