Downingtown's Most Eligible Bachelor's
In the 1890s, an unknown person in Downingtown maintained a list of the Borough’s most eligible bachelors. The list was kept "expressly for the benefit of the ladies who have not yet made selections of, or been successful in securing a husband with whom to pass along life’s rugged highway."
In January 1896 the list appeared in a local newspaper along with a brief description of each of the men’s positive qualities. Whether the approximate forty men on the list were agreeable to their inclusion is not known. Regardless, it’s quite humorous to read the depictions and one wonders if it resulted in any marriages. Here’s how some of them read (copied verbatim):
Uriah Brown, a well-known auctioneer and stock dealer, often makes Western trips, and he would like a wife to look after the cows and business at home. If you can convince him you are not marrying him for money you will be successful.
William Balentine, of the Swan Hotel, is a man that drives a fine horse and is the possessor of a very pretty mustache. If you can convince him that married life is best for him you can get him.
Barclay Beale is one of the youngest bachelors in town. He had a nice girl in West Chester, but she has moved away, and he now mourns the loss of his six o’clock chats over the telephone. But there are others, and if you try again you will succeed.
Frank Walbert is likened unto a perfect apple in the eyes of a Brandywine Avenue girl, and the result can best be solved by a preacher.
Abiah Ringwalt, the florist, has furnished flowers many times for weddings and he sometimes wishes he had a wife of his own upon whom to lavish these luxuries of nature.
Peter Sheridan, the tailor, is suave and fine looking, a pleasing conversationalist, and a man who has made profound impressions with the ladies. Why he remains single no one can guess.
Thomas Downing (1851-1940) was a banker and life-long bachelor in Downingtown.
Philip Kurtz is a little backward in the company of ladies. He is industrious, has no vices, and would take kindly to the advances of a nice young lady.
William Broschard, the tonsorial artist, is fond of the company of ladies, but he says his brother Philip has the lead of him now so many years that he has no heart to enter the wife getting race.
Despite having "cheeks as pretty as roses", Downingtown High School principal John R. Hunsicker (top-middle) never married. This photo was taken of the high school teachers in 1890.
Prof. John R. Hunsicker has cheeks as pretty as roses and there are a number of school teachers in Chester County who would be delighted to complete the handsome principal’s domestic happiness.
Samuel A. Black is one of the best looking and best dressed bachelors in the town. His glossy black hair is much admired by the ladies, and his well-groomed mustache is a joy to those who are fortunate enough to touch it. He is known in society parlance as a "lady’s man."
William Broschard (right) is seen in this undated image taken in front of his barber shop. He remained a bachelor his entire life having "no heart to enter the wife getting race."
Thomas Downing, the cashier of the Downingtown National Bank, takes a particular delight in taking the ladies out driving, and if some of his lady friends would use the proper diplomacy he might be induced to become a benedict before it is too late.
Joseph R. Downing is President of the National Bank and has lived a contented single life so long that the ladies who have admired him in vain have pronounced him a confirmed bachelor. But who knows but what he might follow the example of ex-President Harrison and yet take unto himself the luxury of a wife.
Jesse H. Roberts is one of the most gentlemanly men in the town in the eyes of the ladies, and many a fair one's heart has regretted the fact of not being able to charm the blond politician sufficiently to have him enter the matrimonial arena. If you can get him he would make a model husband.
W. H. Wells, of the firm Wells & Walker, has basked in the sunshine of many summers, and judging from the grace and activity he exercises yet in skating, he would be just as alert and obliging to a wife as many a husband or more tender years.
Samuel Worrall is one of the handsome young men of the east ward, and has so many nice girls that he is unable to select the one he would like best for a life partner. His friends think perhaps a country girl will warm his heart best.
William McFarlan has been on the list for many years, but has not yet given up the idea of getting someone to caress him in his last years.
Captain G. C. M. Eicholtz has always lived a single life, and why that has been so is a fault that has laid entirely with himself. While he remains so rosy cheeked and handsome there is yet hope for the woman who shows him attention.