Aunt Kate’s Book of Receipts

As someone who has dabbled in the art of open hearth cooking and followed 18th century recipes (or receipts as they were called) an item if particular interest to me from the wash tub collection is Aunt Kate’s handwritten Book of Receipts.

Aunt Kate (Catherine) was born to John and Catherine Young in 1868.  From other documents in the collection it appears that she was part owner with my great-grandfather, Charles Young (her brother), of a property referred to as “Willistown Inn” where she lived in what is now Willistown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Kate never married and died in 1932.


Notice the names below the recipes. At the bottom right is a green tomato pickle recipe.

While not all of the recipes are dated, the earliest I have found is dated 1899 and the last date I can find is 1920.   Most recipes have someone’s name after the recipe.  My first inclination was that this was the person from whom she acquired that particular recipe.    And that may, in fact, be true. However, at the end of quite a few recipes (mostly for cakes or cookies) is my grandfather, Earl Young’s name, and sometimes that of his brother Emmett.   I believe I can say with some certainty that my grandfather did not cook!   Cakes and other sweets make up the majority of the recipes, along with some sauces and pickle recipes.  In the back of the book is an index which she began but about half way through the book the recipes are no longer numbered.

In typical fashion for this type of  book it contains not only food recipes but recipes to cure what ails man and beast. To cure scaly legs on chickens mix sulfur, lard, and coal oil adscn0601nd put on their leg. Then there is the liniment recipe who Maggie Smith says “is good for anything – will not blister” : 1 egg beat 15 minutes, 1 cup of turepin [sic] shake 15 minutes in with the egg, 1 cup of vinegar beat all together 15 minutes.   For man there is a “Receipt of Dr. Rowlands for Diarrhea,” “Spice Plaster,”and “Cough Syryup”[sic]. The cough syrup contains horehound tea, rock candy and licorice.

Every time I sit down and turn the pages in this book I come across something new. My sister was recently looking through the book and she may have stumbled upon the elusive Green Tomato Pickle Recipe (see left photo above) we remember our grandmother making.  My father loved this pickle and he would always ask me to make it after his mother no longer could but I could never get her to share the recipe with me.  I think it was something she had made for so long that it was more of an intuitive recipe than a written recipe.



Lease Stephen Girard to John Young 1831

Since Stephen Girard is in the news this week Philadelphia.   FBI Recovers Rare, Local History Stolen From Girard College « CBS …    I thought I would chime in about the relationship between Stephen Girard and my three times great-grandfather John Young.

On October 18, 1830 John Young entered into a lease agreement with Stephen Girard for ALL the messuage and lot of ground situated in the township of Passyunk aforesaid, bounded northwestward by a two perch wide lane, northeastward by land occupied by the widow Hunter, southeastward by the second street road, and southwestward by land occupied by George Sting(er) containing nine acres and three quarters, TOGETHER with all and singular other the buildings, improvements, rights, members and Appurtenances whatsoever, thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to complete tenantable repair (except the southwest end parlour and the chamber above it) . . .

Rent was set at $200 a year to be paid in four $50 installments. In turn, John Young would adhere to the following provisions of this lease: hauling on the premises a sufficiency of manure for all the purposes of the Garden- attending to the fruit trees, of which there are on the premises, three Pear, eight Plum, besides one old one, sixteen Cherry, fourteen Apple, one Peach, one English Walnut, besides one Horse Chestnut tree – also attending carefully to the Asparagus bed – to sow no grain, and if he should it is to be forfeited – and not to take anythin
g off the premises (except his own private property, at the expiration of the dscn0587lease – and leaving the said premises in good tenantable repair, except the natural and unavoidable decay.  

It appears from this lease that John and his family would be occupying the house on the property with the exception of the “parlour and chamber above it,” as noted in the first excerpt above. Was this the house that is now part of Girard Park at 21st and Shunk Street in Philadelphia ?

Stephen Girard died in December of 1831 during the first year of the term of this lease. Also contained in my family collection are two lease agreements with the Mayor Alderman and Citizens of Philadelphia. The first is dated 1850 and is between The Mayor Alderman and Citisens [sic] of Philadelphia to John Young /Girard Farm No. 1 for a term of 3 years beginning March 1, 1850. This time the lease is for Thirty-seven acres and Thirty perches, . . .  At a yearly rent of Five Hundred dollars, payable half-yearly, the first payment to me made on the first day of September next. There are very specific provisions to this lease as well:  he [John Young]will put at least three loads of manure to the acre, yearly, on such parts of the demised premises as the said agent of the Girard farm shall designate; that all manure made on the premises shall remain thereon: that they ground shall not be ploughed more than twice in two successive years: that nor more than one fourth of the ground shall be seeded in the last year of the term, the portion of ground to be seeded to be designed by said Agent: that no tree shall be cut or trimmed without consent of the said Agent: that after the grain is seeded the ground shalldscn0593 be sown with good, fresh and clean timothy seed the proper season: and that all grain raised shall be thrashed and the straw remain on the ground: and the Committee of the said farms and the Agents of the Girard Estate shall be authority, at all time, to visit the premises to ascertain whether the herein covenants are complied with.

The subsequent lease is again between The Mayor Alderman and Citisens [sic] of Philadelphia to John Young for the same property as the 1850 lease. The term for this one is to begin on March 1, 1853 and is this time for two years at the rate of $500/year. It is indicated on the document that it is a duplicate, Mayor Charles Gilpin signed the lease but this duplicate copy is not dated beyond the year and does not contain John Young’s signature.

This leads me to ponder just who was this first John Young? Unfortunately, I have no birth or death dates for him or his wife Hannah, my search for that continues. It is his son John who begins our family’s Bible and he is born in 1825. (see first post) At this time I don’t know if John (Jr) had any siblings. What I find in the Copper Wash Tub always leads me to more questions but that’s what makes this fun.