Margaret Marshall Strawbridge
Margaret Ely Marshall Strawbridge moved to Graeme Park in 1922 following her marriage to Welsh Strawbridge in 1922. Mr Strawbridge had purchased the property from Morris Penrose in 1920. She lived here until her death in November, 1996.
Margaret Ely Marshall was born in Philadelphia to April 24, 1898 (65) to Dr George Morley Marshall and Harriet Putnam Ely. Dr. Marshall, like Mr. Strawbridge's father, was a prominent physician in Philadelphia. Dr. Marshall's father and grandmother had been well known abolitionists and keepers of the underground railroad in Painesville, OH. Other ancestors included veterans of the Revolution and Indian Wars, and a colonial mayor of Boston (see below). (It has also been said that Mrs Strawbridge was related to John Marshall, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1801-1835, but we do not have evidence to support this).
Wedding Notice from The Evening Public Ledger on January 3, 1922: (64).
"Mr. John Strawbridge will attend as best man and Mr. H. Morris Adams, Mr. Russell H. Johnson, Jr., Mr. Robert S. Welsh, Mr. Thomas Stokes, Mr. John W. Stokes and Mr. Stephen G. Kent will attend as ushers at the wedding of Miss Margaret Ely Marshall, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. George Morley Marshall of 1815 Spruce Street, and Mr. Welsh Strawbridge, son of Mrs. George Strawbridge, of Germantown, which will be solemnized at noon tomorrow in the Calvary Presbyterian Church, to be followed by a small reception at the home of the bride's parents. Mr. Strawbridge and his bride will spend their wedding trip abroad. On their return they will be at home after May 1, at Graeme Park, Hatboro, Pa."
From an article in the Intelligencer in 1971:
When the Strawbridges purchased the house, it was "in need of repair" according to Mrs. Strawbridge. "There was no heating system, just little stoves all over the place, no bathrooms. and no electric. It must have been very inconvenient for them to have to visit the little outhouses all the time."
The Strawbridges added electricity, central heating, and indoor plumbing. They installed 3 full baths, in what had been large closets on the 2nd and 3rd floor landings in the 1810 section of the house (the pegs for hanging clothes still remain on the 3rd floor) and another on the 2nd floor of the 1859 rear addition. Another half bath was added on the 1st floor at the rear of the entryway, built into the inside of the ell shape of the building where the 1810 and 1721 sections come together. These additions may have been done between the time that the Strawbridges purchased Graeme Park in 1920 and when they moved in in May, 1922
Margaret's favorite part of the house was the dining room, or what we now call the 1721 room. The Penroses had boarded up the large fireplace in this room, and the 1st thing Mrs. Strawbridge did was open it up. (Intelligencer). Visitors reported that Mrs Strawbridge always kept a fire going in that room.
Welsh Strawbridge had been a stockbroker/investment banker but retired when he and Margaret were married. It seems they traveled quite a bit, often to equestrian events or races. They owned a number of thoroughbreds, one or more that were stabled at Pimlico at trained by the brother of Wallace Simpson, who would become the Duchess of Windsor.
One of Margaret Strawbridge's passions was flowers, in particular daffodils. She often brought new bulbs home with her from her travels to add to the hundreds of daffodils that would bloom at Graeme Park each spring. HPHA celebrates her love of these beautiful flowers with our Margaret Strawbridge Daffodil Day Spring Open House each April.
Mrs. Strawbridge was active in the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Colonial Dames, the DAR, and the Union League. She had attended the Agnes Irwin School and Lake Erie College for Women. She supposedly never missed a Friday matinee of the Philadelphia Orchestra. (66 p218)
She was also involved locally, in Horsham, with the Willow Grove NAS. She often invited the commanders of the base to tea, and was recognized by the base with a plaque thanking her for decorating the base chapel for Christmas from 1942 to 1981.