Some years ago I purchased this vintage photograph of the Vandermark Bridge and recently set out to unravel the initials of the Pike County Commissioners and the Master Mason on the 1867 marble marker embedded in the stonework. Note in the photo the two idle fellows lying on the bluestone railing and the trout fisherman standing beneath the bridge.
|The stone arch bridge carries Broad Street over the Vandermark Creek, Milford Historic District #417.|
|Commissioners W. Brodhead, S. D. Van Etten, Jacob Hornbeck, and Master Mason S. T. Van Auken|
Through a process of elimination (online) the following people were identified: Samuel Van Auken's census report lists him as a Stone Mason, the only Van Auken then residing in the county with S as a first initial and mason as occupation; William Brodhead continued to serve as Commissioner and Jacob Hornbeck is cited as a commissioner in Beers' Biographical Record of NE Pennsylvania, p 1559. Possibly the S. D. Van Etten on the marker refers to either Samuel D. Van Etten or Solomon Van Etten, a wealthy farmer residing in Delaware Township, p 16 at the time. A follow-up trip to the courthouse is forthcoming.
|Samuel Van Auken, Stone Mason, 1870 Census, Milford Township, p 2.|
|William Brodhead, Commissioner, 1870 Census, Milford Township, p 21.|
|Samuel D Van Etten, Raftmen's House, 1870 Census, Milford Township, p 17.|
|The Vandermark Creek above the bridge.|
Matthews' History of Pike, Wayne and Monroe Counties Pennsylvania, Chapter I, notes an earlier bridge: The first improvement which there is any record of the commissioners making or causing to be made was the building of a bridge over Vandermark Creek, the contract for which was let August 23, 1816, to Samuel Churchill.