Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mrs. Joseph Ashbrook


     It is much easier to find information about the men of Powelton than to find out anything about their wives.   Joseph Ashbrook's achievements are well documented.  Fortunately, we also know a lot about his wife's background and the family they formed.
     Catherine Sinclair Ashbrook came from a solid Scottish family befitting the wife of an officer of a major insurance firm.  Her parents, Thomas and Magdalen Sinclair, were born in Scotland, as was their first born son, William (born c1826).   Their second son was born in Philadelphia (c 1829), then came two daughters born in New York.  Finally there were three daughters born in Philadelphia including Catherine and Elizabeth.
     Thomas Sinclair was a successful lithographer.  They lived at 311 Carpenter St.  Several of his sons worked in the family business.  One son, John C. Sinclair, earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1861.  In 1862, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania 15th Cavalry and was taken prisoner during the Second Battle of Murfreesboro in Tennessee.
     Catherine and Joseph moved to 3614 Baring St. in 1875  They had three sons.  William Sinclair Ashbrook (1868) joined Provident Life and Trust Co.  He lived with his parents until he got married at age 45. He then moved to 4431 Spruce, St. with his young wife where they raise three children.  Lawrence Ashbrook (b c1876) died young.  Donald S. Ashbrook (1880) became a chemist and President of Joseph Bancroft and Sons Co., a manufacturer of cotton cloth in Wilmington, Del.  He married and had at least one child before divorcing.
     Joseph Ashbrook died in 1918.  Catherine sold the house to a neighbor in 1925 and moved to the Garden Court Apartments where she lived past her 85 birthday with a nurse and a servant.
     Elizabeth Sinclair never married.  In 1870, she was 27 and living with her parents and working as a school teacher.  In 1900, she was boarding at 315 N. 37thSt. and later lived with the Ashbrooks at 3614 Baring St.
     The Asbrooks lived in Powelton for 50 years.

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