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True Crime in 1831, Part 18 - The Other Victims


Andalusia College

When Lucretia died, all five of her children became orphans. They were minors, except for Mary, the oldest. It would appear that Lucretia's family, the Winslows from Massachusetts, intervened and helped the children.


Mary Chapman, was the oldest child, born about 1820. Not much is known about her life after her mother died. She allegedly died on 7 July 1884 and was buried in the Philadelphia Almshouse Cemetery.


Lucretia Francis Chapman was born on 24 September 1821. She is probably most memorable for being a star witness for the defense during her mother's murder trial. She lived with her three younger siblings for a period of time before moving back to Philadelphia by 1860 where she worked as a teacher. It is unsure when she died.


William Zenas Winslow Chapman was the oldest son, born 14 September 1823. He attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, Class of 1847. In 1850 he was living in Brewster, MA, and became a dentist. In 1855 he was residing in New York City with his brother John and practicing dentistry. He married a woman named Elizabeth and remained in New York City until his death. His will was written on 19 July 1876 and probated on 7 March 1877. In his will he requested that his wife care for his sisters to the best of her ability in accordance with verbal instructions he had given to her during his life.


Abigail Ann "Abby" Chapman was born 8 August 1825. Like her sister Lucretia, she became a teacher and they were living together in Philadelphia in 1860. She died 14 February 1883 and was buried in Mount Peace Cemetery in Philadelphia.


The youngest child, John Winslow Chapman, was born 15 January 1828. He was only three years old when Lino entered his life and changed it forever. Like his brother William, he became a dentist. In 1855 he would live with William in New York City and practice dentistry. Moving back to Massachusetts by 1860, he eventually settled in Barnstable. He would then marry Ella D. Coleman on 17 April 1870. They would have two sons, Nathan C. W. Chapman and John Winslow Chapman, Jr. Both would die without issue. John Sr. would die on 23 September 1897.


It would appear that none of the daughters married and raised a family. Only John would have children and, without any heirs, this line of the Chapman family would end.


Another "victim" of Lucretia's actions was the home where they had lived and William had died. It had witnessed the tragedy that had unfolded within its walls and was ultimately neglected and abandoned; a silent sentinel.


The large old mansion was located at the junction of the Hulmeville Road and the Bristol Turnpike. It was a four-story, French roof house, built of stone, plastered over, and surrounded by a large grove of fine cedar trees.


For several years, as Lucretia toured various parts of the country with her children and in the company of performers, the house stood vacant. After her death, the property was sold at auction on 3 May 1841 for $824.00. Robert B. Knight was the guardian for the minor children of William and Lucretia and notified the Orphan's Court of the sale of the property previously owned by the deceased parents. Mr. Christian F. Hoeckley, a lace and fringe weaver and coach trimmer from Philadelphia, was the new owner.


In 1854 it was the old Union Tavern, locally known as the "Hornet's Nest."


Reverend Dr. Horatio Thomas Wells, an Episcopal minister, purchased the property in 1859 and reopened it as a school. The Andalusia Institute was a home boarding school for boys and cost $300 a year for tuition and board. It was advertised as "a safe and pleasant home for boys, and a school of unusual merit, in point both of teaching and of moral and religious influence."


The school was successful and Dr. Wells decided to apply for a charter as a college. The charter changing the name to Andalusia College was granted by the State Legislature at the start of the 1865-66 session. In 1870, Dr. Wells, holding the title of president, built a hall to serve a department for younger boys, from six to thirteen years of age. He named it Potter Hall.


After a short illness, Dr. Wells died on 19 December 1871. The school passed into the hands of Professor Adam Fetterolf, the head master of the college. When elected to the presidency of Girard College, Fetterolf discontinued the school. The property was sold and the school buildings were used for other purposes.


The house was still standing in 1887 and later torn down. The St. Charles Borromeo Church currently stands at its location.

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