John D. Bridgers M.D.

Memoirs and personal remembrances

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Edie's Family

Chapter 2, 'tis a Small Connected World

I've long felt a close connection with the venerable Ben.

  • After finishing medical school in 1950, we lived a year in Boston where Franklin got his start as a "printer's devil," which led to his starting his almanac;
    • After retirement fifty-some years later, we lived near New Haven, Connecticut to whence Ben had moved from Boston;
    • There we read The New Haven Register, another publication Franklin had a hand in founding;
    • After New Haven, Ben relocated to Philadelphia, the leading city of the American colonies in those days, where he started The Saturday Evening Post, still extant as a weekly journal though lacking the eminence it once enjoyed;
    • Edie and I and our kids  --  as then existed  --  also relocated to Philadelphia after I left active duty in the Navy following the end of the Korean conflict and there I entered house-staff training in Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia later serving on the professional staff until 1962;
    • While in Philadelphia I also served briefly on the house-staff of The Pennsylvania Hospital, an antique American institution which Ben had a hand in founding.

    So you can see that Benjamin Franklin and I crossed geographic and cultural paths several times and, as I was to learn, there were yet other connections.

    To the informed and curious observer -- if taken back far enough  --  all earthly circumstances seem akin.

    There must have been a spate of "sun spots" or some such cosmic occurrences about the time this country was being settled.

    It's doubtful such was commented on in Poor Richard's Almanac  --  then as close as most came to understanding or even knowing about meteorological events -- but its editor, the venerable Ben, would soon be dealing with the aftermath of whatever happened.

    From first to last, Benjamin Franklin was a "do-gooder" for his adopted "City of Brotherly Love."

    The settlement had rapidly grown since the days of it's founding by William Penn to become the major city in colonial America.

    Wise man that he was, Franklin realized that the city was out-growing its food supply and he set about to rectify this shortage.

    In Germany the winters had become uncharacteristically frigid due to "sun spots" or some such phenomenon.

    The crops were failing, people were freezing to death and the farmers there were searching for more hospitable climes.

    It was here that Ben Franklin found his "needed" planters and he brought them to settle farms to west of Philadelphia.  

    Thus, came to America the Pennsylvania Dutch  --  farmers supreme.

    Philadelphia is considered a prime example of enlightened city planning.

    William Penn's concept was that of a central city core surrounded by small farm villages connected directly to the central city by a system of good roads allowing easy movement of farm produce to the urban population.

    This planning led to Philadelphia's rapid development into the pre-eminent metropolis in the American colonies. 

    The farm community closest in to Philadelphia was Germantown and among those early arriving settlers in Germantown were a George Hamrick and a Nancy Cook.

    Next chapter    Chapter 3, George and Nancy (Cook) Hamrick

    Previous chapter    Chapter 1, In the Beginning

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    John D. Bridgers M.D. by Carl Bridgers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Copyright ©