Mary Erskine

Mary Erskine

The following article is taken verbatim from an old newspaper, the Philadelphia Press, of Thursday, March 21, 1912. The main headline is “Served in Family for 75 Years”; the subhead is “Mrs. Mary Erskine, Nurse and Maid in Welsh Household Since 1837, Dies at 93.” The paper carries a photograph of Mrs. Erskine, which is the same as the one shown at the top of this page, taken from a family photograph album. Here is one other photograph, date unknown, found among the Strawbridge family papers:

Here is the text of the newspaper article:

Mrs. Mary Erskine, who for seventy-five years was employed in the family of the late John Welsh, a former Minister to England, and president of the Fairmount Park Commission, died at her late residence, 758 Carpenter Street, Germantown, on Tuesday, after a brief illness.

Mrs. Erskine was the last of her family, but she will not lack veneration nor loving mourners this afternoon when her body will be laid in its last resting place for in three of the wealthiest homes on Wayne Street, Germantown, are people who remember the old woman as one of their dearest friends, and cannot recall a time in their lives when the tender caresses and dutiful care of “Mollie,” as she was known, was absent.

For nearly seventy-five years “Mollie” was the white-aproned and solicitous house mistress in the home of the late Minister to England, John Welsh, and at ninety-three years of age, up to the time of her death, she was still to be seen as a welcomed visitor and “member” of the third generation of the Welsh family.

In her last years “Mollie” became too old to be an active maid, so Mrs T.P.C. Stokes, of Wayne Street, one of the daughters of the late John Welsh, bought for her a little plaster cottage of “Mollie’s” choice in the shadow of the Stokes mansion. The little cottage was just right for “Mollie’s” taste, for it resembled for all the world in “Mollie’s” mind the little cottage that was her home in old Ireland.

Here she lived during the last four years, tenderly cared for by the children and grandchildren of John Welsh.

She left a husband in Ireland and ran away to this country when she was eighteen years old, in 1837, and, coming to this city, was engaged by Mr. Welsh to nurse his first child. Thereafter she was devoted to the Welsh family and followed them wherever they went. When Mr. Welsh was appointed Minister to England, in 1878, “Mollie” was taken along to be the maid in their London house, and on their return to this country she accompanied Mr. Welsh’s daughters on frequent trips to Europe and traveled over all parts of the Continent with them until she was retired. She suffered no sickness.