Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Lady and the Butler...Interwined Timeline and Pictures of Mary Augusta Packer and James Exel

Ahh, Victorian times, the rich and powerful and the mysteries they leave behind.  I do not want to say there is more to the facts than what is written here, but if ever there was a ready-made forbidden, perhaps unrequited loved novel packaged and ready to go, well here it is...Enjoy the pics too...Many of these photos can be viewed at the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center, West Broadway, Jim Thorpe.  The original zither is also on display there.  Most of the pictures and artifacts come from the collection of Keith Bellhorn, great grandson of James Exel.   

• 1845 – July 1 – Mary Augusta born –Father Mauch Chunk pioneer Alexander Lockhart

• 1854 – February 22 – James Exel is born in Ziethen-Ratzburg region of Austria (Northeast of present day Hamburg, Germany)

• 1872 – August 29 – Harry E. Packer marries Mary Augusta.

• 1881 – English Census – James Exel one of 7 servants working among 21 boarders at the two homes of John N. H. Hesterman (German immigrant), a retired merchant on Thrale Hall Mitchum Road, Streatham Parish, London, England. Among the boarders, ship broker John White, born in Uraguay.

• 1883 – January 25 – State of New York passport application for Mary Augusta Packer to travel abroad.

o –June 27 – James Exel arrives.

• 1884 – February 1 – Harry E. Packer dies.

• 1885 – November 11 - Hazel Packer born in New York. (This is verified in the following records: 1900 U.S. Census; Passenger list New York – September 1907 – “22 yrs, born about 1885”; March 1924 Passenger list of the ship Arcadian, numerous private family trees on Ancestry.com; One source has her even younger in 1920 U.S. Census from Philadelphia, “34 yrs, born about 1886”.)

• 1888 – October – James Exel becomes naturalized citizen of U.S.
• 1889 – January 30th – Passport application #24295 – James applies to go abroad for up to 1 year.

o January 30th – Passport application #24297 – Mrs. H. E. Packer, 1 child, 2 servants apply to go abroad for about one year. Lists servants as James Exel & Joanna O’Connor. Lists Hazel’s birth place as New York, November 11, 1884.

• 1890 – James builds yellow frame home just north of Packer property on Front Hill. Marries Fredericka ‘Fredia’ Miller (b. March 22, 1866 to German immigrant parents).

• 1895 – James leases the Hotel Wahnetah. The busy summer season not enough to offset the slow winter. He gives up the enterprise after one year.

• 1896 – May – Letter of reference for James from Mary.  Mary Augusta also gives him this gold watch.

• 1900 – James, “Fredia,” and Celia are listed in Buffalo Ward, Erie, New York census records.
• 1907 – December 20 – ‘Widow of H. E. Packer’ applies with the title of “Lady” for a passport for one year.

• 1910 – May 12 - Fredia dies of cancer. Census records Celia 19, Dorothy 5, Dora Miller, Fredia’s sister, age 27 also resides under James.

• 1911 – Spring – Mary Augusta Packer dies in Peking, China during a world tour.  One source says she went there on missionary work.
     - A forest fire closes the Hotel Wahnetah.
• 1917 – March 5 - James dies of ‘dropsy’ (edema).
     -Another forest fire closes the Hotel Wahnetah forever.


  1. Ron,

    Great post and photos. Love the tour of your country, makes me want to travel and write and paint. And blog more. Question--how do you get the sidebar--virtual tour of Lehigh in the sidebar?


  2. Stories of past times, pictures reminding one of the days when today's petty photograph were close to a miracle...Lovely!

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