Female 1882 - 1972  (89 years)

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  • Name CADWALLADER, Bertha May 
    Born 10 May 1882  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Census 1900  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 26 Apr 1910  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 1920  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Census 1930  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • Biography by her son, Albert Cadwallader Worrell:
      Bertha Cadwallader grew up in a large sixteen-room house at 250 Center Street in Milton. Her father was a successful businessman in groceries and provisions and was active in local politics. The family was not wealthy but lived in comfortable circumstances, which usually included a live-in maid.

      Bertha was a sociable and active person and made friends easily. She and Lulu Beck and Sarah Datesman remained close personal friends for over eighty years. She apparently had good relations with her parents. "Papa" comes through in the stories as a rather strict head-of-the-house, but she always spoke of him with affection. And although letters from her mother are signed rather formally "Mother", the bodies of the letters suggest a close relationship between them.

      Bertha graduated from Milton High School in 1900. She went away to a girls finishing school for a short time in 1901, but she was unhappy with the strict discipline and isolation and would not stay for even one year. When she came home, she asked her father let her go to college the next year. He told her she could either complete finishing school or stay home (none of the girls were allowed to go to college). So she returned to a life at home with periodic visits to friends and relatives in other places. Family memory says she was engaged to be married at one point (we do not know the man's name), but broke off the engagement after a disagreement. We assume she went out with other men, but do not know whether any of those relationships were serious.

      By this time most of her brothers and sisters had left home. Iredell married in 1901 and Kate in 1903. Only her younger brother, Albert, remained at home; he was still in school. Her mother's health was deteriorating and it is possible that Bertha took over part of the management of the house.

      In March of 1905 her parents moved to Broadway House in Milton. Apparently they had sold their house, but we do not know why (probably to generate enough money for him to build the Milton Realty building the next year). Bertha was in Philadelphia, where all of her sisters were living at that time. Albert Cadwallader had planned to take his wife West to visit their son Austin in Los Angeles. On June 13, Bertha's mother wrote saying they planned to leave "on Friday morning" for their son Iredell's house in Kinzua, Pennsylvania. They arrived there but never got farther on their proposed trip. Annie Cadwallader became seriously ill, went down hill rapidly, and died September 15, 1905.

      We do not know with any certainty at this point what Bertha did after her mother died. Her sister Mary Louisa rejoined her husband Harry Hill in Milton, but sisters Gertrude and Kate continued to live in Philadelphia. Her brother Albert was a university student in Philadelphia for part of this period. Family memory says that Bertha lived with her father and kept house for him. It also says that they lived in Philadelphia, but we have no real records on this. When Bertha's father wrote his will on August 20, 1909, he included a statement to the effect that although he was temporarily making his abode in Philadelphia, he intended that his residence and domicile should continue to be in Milton.

      Bertha's father, Albert Cadwallader, remarried in May 1909 to Louisa A. Crawford of Milton. When he died in 1912, he bequeathed Louisa an annuity which his will says was in accordance with an ante-nuptial agreement in which she signed a quit claim against his estate. Apparently it was a marriage of convenience. Bertha refused to live with them, and we do not know where she lived in the following year.

      On April 27, 19l0, Bertha married Pratt Bishop Worrell of Philadelphia. They were married by George B. Bell, Pastor of the Patterson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, but it apparently was not a formal church wedding. Bertha's brother Albert and his wife-to-be Mae Schreyer stood up with them. We do not know whether any other relatives attended or not. We do not know how long Bertha had known Pratt Worrell before they married, nor how she met him. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Broad Street Station and according to family memory roomed with the family of a fellow railroad employee, William Oberdorf. On their marriage license application, Pratt's address is given as 215 W. Farson St, W. Phila. and Bertha's as 6012 Chestnut St., W. Phila. It is possible that before Bertha's father remarried, he and his daughter lived together near enough to the Oberdorfs, that Bertha and Pratt met as neighbors.

      Bertha and Pratt took an apartment in West Philadelphia. A letter dated September 20, 1911 shows their address as 48 N. 54th St., W. Phila. Whether they lived at this same address until they bought a house in 1914 we do not know. Sometime during this period they took a train trip to Fargo, North Dakota with Pop and Mom Oberdorf; clearly an exciting experience for people who had never traveled very far and one that was remembered with pleasure years later. Although the Oberdorfs were about ten years older, they continued to be among their best friends.

      Bertha's sister Gertrude died in Philadelphia in 1909, but her sister Kate and family continued to live in Philadelphia, and her brother Albert lived there for some years after he married Mae Schreyer in 1912. Bertha's father died in Milton on May 2, 1912, but by then she had established her own life in Philadelphia.

      Bertha and Pratt had one son, who was born on May 14, 1913. They named him Albert Cadwallader after his maternal grandfather. Bertha had some kind of health problems when Albert was a baby, but we do not know whether they prevented her from having other children.

      In the spring of 1914, Bertha and Pratt bought a new house at 5820 Cedarhurst Street in a new housing development in West Philadelphia. It was one of 52 row houses on a one-block street only a block from Baltimore Avenue, a main east and west street. Trolley cars ran on Baltimore Avenue and 58th Street, and the railroad station on the line from Philadelphia to Baltimore was only two blocks away. Bertha lived in this house for fifty-four years; she reluctantly sold it in 1968.

      Bertha and Pratt paid $4,000 for their new home. They signed a mortgage for $1,200 of this. We do not at present know the source of the remaining $2,800. Both of them had inherited some money and they probably pooled what they had. It was a nice house with three bedrooms, hardwood floors, hot-water heat, a full finished basement, and a handkerchief-sized back yard. The neighborhood was definitely middle-class. The house was only a short walk from Cobbs Creek Park and only about three blocks from the line between Philadelphia and Delaware County, where conditions were gradually changing from semi-rural to suburban. The children on Cedarhurst Street were not confined to strictly city living.

      Bertha and Pratt lived comfortably, if modestly. Pratt worked as a clerk, selling tickets in Broad Street Station during their early married years and later as a chief clerk in the ticket accounting office. His salary was always modest, but since, as a railroad employee, he could obtain passes on any railroad, they could travel inexpensively. Bertha visited Milton with her young son at least once a year to see her relatives and old friends. The whole family spent occasional Sundays with Pratt's brothers David and Channing on their respective farms. In the summer, Bertha and Albert would spend a week or two in Wildwood or some other seashore resort and Pratt would join them on Sundays.

      Bertha joined the Ninth Presbyterian Church, which was within walking distance, and was active in various church groups. Pratt was not a religious person, but occasionally went along. Bertha early joined The 1910 Club, an organization of wives of railroad employees, which was formed in that year. The club met periodically at the homes of members for lunch and conversation. When the members were young, they sometimes brought children along. This amazing informal group stuck together for over fifty years, its membership eventually supplemented by daughters. Bertha recorded the deaths of members over the years; she herself may have been the last survivor of the original group. In the 1920's Bertha joined the Order of the Eastern Star and was active in it for a number of years.

      Pratt's niece, Emma Longshore Worrell, lived with her uncle and aunt during the two years in the early 1920's when she was a college student in Philadelphia. After she graduated, she continued to room with them off and on while she worked in Philadelphia. Her relationship with her uncle and aunt was close and they considered her almost a daughter. Bertha's son Albert had similar feelings for Emma's parents and from the age of ten until he started college, spent most of his summers on the farm of his Uncle David and Aunt Etta.

      Bertha would undoubtedly have led a more active social life if she had been married to a different person. Pratt was a quiet man and definitely not an extrovert. They did play bridge frequently with Dr. and Mrs. Mitterling and a small group of other friends. A rather close relationship existed with the family of Bertha's sister Kate Rife. For a number of years the families regularly got together for Christmas and for Thanksgiving. But Bertha largely had to make her own social life.

      When Bertha's father died in 1912, he left in trust for his children a block of stores and apartments in Milton. The income from this property was paid out regularly to the children. Bertha thus had income of her own, which in the 1950's ranged from $500 to $700 per year and may have been larger in earlier years. Albert Cadwallader included strict provisions in his will that his daughters' husbands should have no claim to or power over the trust incomes of their wives. So when Bertha decided in 1931 that they should have their first automobile, she went ahead and bought one with her own money despite Pratt's strong objections.

      In 1931, Albert started college and, although he spent his vacations at home until he graduated, he never really lived with his parents again. He did not live very close to them either, and they did not see him for long periods, especially during World War II, when he was on the West Coast. He was faithful in writing almost every week, but after 1935, Bertha and Pratt were for all practical purposes a family of two.

      Bertha and Pratt apparently enjoyed a happy married life, and the first twenty years were clearly pleasant ones. With the onset of the depression in the 1930's, life became more difficult. Pratt was grimly holding on to his job and after he retired in 1937 he was at loose ends. Things improved when he started to work again in the 1940's, and after he retired from that job life was satisfactory, if unexciting. After the war, Albert and his family lived in Richmond, Virginia, and then Georgia, and finally Connecticut and Bertha and Pratt saw them more frequently.

      Pratt died suddenly on September 12, 1959 after having been in poor health for several years. If he had lived another seven months, they would have been married for fifty years. Bertha was then 77 years old, but active and in good health and continued to live in the Cedarhurst Street house by herself. In June of 1960, Albert and his family went to Chile for a year and a half and wanted to take Bertha along. But she made the wise decision to remain in Philadelphia where she had friends and relatives.

      By 1968, Bertha was 86 years old and Albert and his wife Helen were becoming more and more concerned about her living alone. The Cedarhurst Street neighborhood had changed, most of Bertha's friends had died or moved, and she was finally willing to consider moving. Helen made a visit to Philadelphia during which the house was sold, much of the furnishings was sold, and Bertha and her most cherished possessions were moved to Cheshire, Connecticut in the fall of 1968. There she settled into an apartment of her own attached to the house of Helen and Albert.

      Bertha was a model mother-in-law. She took her meals with the family, but spent much of her time in her own quarters. Helen and Albert were away for the summer of 1969 and for seven months in 1970. Bertha stayed in her apartment. But arrangements were made for people to live in the house and a Mrs. Michalowski was hired to come several times a week and take Bertha for outings. She also visited her niece Emma for part of this time. It was undoubtedly not the happiest period of her life, but she did not complain.

      Bertha was ill during the latter part of 1971. Tests showed that tuberculosis, which she apparently had had when young, had become active again. She was able to remain in her apartment and to take meals with the family. But she ate at a separate table and was pretty much isolated because of the danger of infecting the other family members.

      At 2:30 in the morning on January 7, 1972, she awakened Albert and Helen with the warning buzzer from her apartment. They found her coughing up blood and called Dr. Zale who called an ambulance, which took her to Yale-New Haven Hospital. On January 10, Dr. Zale had her transferred to Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford. For the next several weeks her condition fluctuated; Helen or Albert would find her feeling good one day and bad the next. On the morning of Tuesday, February 1, 1972, the hospital called to report she had suffered a massive hemmorhage in the lungs and had died. She had received letters from each of her grand-daughters earlier that morning and apparently was pleased.

      Bertha May Cadwallader Worrell was buried on Friday, February 4, 1972 in Lot 205 in the Sunnyside Section of Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She was buried beside her husband Pratt, who had purchased that lot for them in 1918. Her funeral was attended by a very small group of relatives and friends; she had outlived many relatives and most of her friends. If she had lived three more months, she would have been ninety years old.
    Residence 1948  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    at 5820 Cedarhurst St. 
    Residence 10 Apr 1970  Cheshire, New Haven, Connecticut, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    at 81 Hilltop Rd. 
    _UID 032D01DB641A874E938360E2201C1B839136 
    Died 1 Feb 1972  Drexel Hill, Delaware, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Drexel Hill, Delaware, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Arlington Cemetery 
    Person ID I1314  Milton Families
    Last Modified 14 Dec 2010 

    Father CADWALLADER, Albert,   b. 11 Oct 1841, Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 May 1912, Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Mother SUPPLEE, Annie Louisa,   b. 12 Apr 1849, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Sep 1905, Kinzua (historical), Warren, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Married 20 Oct 1868  Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • They were married at the Advent Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA by Reverend Enoch Hooven Supplee.

      We do not know for sure how they met, but can speculate. Albert Cadwallader, then twenty-seven years old, was engaged in the grocery and provision business in Milton, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War he had served as an agent responsible for getting supplies to soldiers at the front. Two of Annie's uncles were businessmen in Philadelphia and J. Wesley Supplee was head of his own commission merchant firm and a bank president. Philadelphia was the logical supply source for a firm in Milton, and Albert Cadwallader probably had business connections with the Supplees. Opportunities must have occurred for him to meet their attractive young niece.
    Residence May 1905  Milton, Northumberland, Pennsylvania, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    at the Broadway House Hotel 
    • They had sold the family home at 250 Center Street in early 1905.
    Family ID F357  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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