Plainfield Garden Club








Member: Fraker, Mrs. Philip W. '32

1929 Treasurer Book lists in ink Mrs. Warren Fraker Active April $5.00. Then penciled above the name "Mrs. Warren Fraker" is "Philip J."
1930 Treasurer Book "Mrs. P. J. Fraker" Active
1931 Treasurer Book "Fraker, Mrs. P. J." Active
1932 Treasurer Book "Fraker, Mrs. P. J. 1/32 Dec'd" (last word difficult to read)

1932 Address: 757 West Eighth Street, Plainfield

Last mention in the roster: 1932

Related to:

Mrs. H. C. Fraker '26
Last mention in the roster: 1932

757 West Eighth Street

Plainfield Library

G-626 1934 Y Grimstead
House at 757 West Eighth Street 757 West 8th Street
Cross-gable house with gambrel roofs, second-storey bay window with palladian window above it in front gable, wrap-around porch with awnings.

Harry Fraker

Nantucket in the 20s
by Kenneth Turner Blackshaw

This article is based on the fascinating remembrances of Harry Fraker, now more than 90 years old. It involves side-wheel steamers and sleeping with horses. It takes us back before there was a Holland Tunnel under the Hudson in New York City and to a time when there were hardly any automobiles on Nantucket.

Most of the journey was involved with riding on the steamers of the Fall River Line, a collection of side-wheel steamers going all the way back to 1815 when one named for Robert Fulton made the journey from the East River to New Haven in 11 hours, just after Mr. Fulton passed away.

In Harry's time, the early 1920s, there were two steamboats making the run from Pier 16 on Manhattan's East River to New Bedford. One was the 440 foot Priscilla launched in 1894 and for a time the largest side-wheeler afloat, carrying 1500 passengers. The other was the Commonwealth, even larger, launched in 1908 with 450 staterooms.

Harry's journey started in Plainfield, New Jersey. Since Nantucket was devoid of automobiles they had to bring their horses along. The horses made the 27 mile journey with Harry and his family over to Hoboken where they could catch the Brooklyn and New York Ferry Company's, 23rd Street Ferry across the Hudson to New York. On Manhattan, from 23rd St. to the 16th St. pier they walked the two horses side by side on a beam so they couldn't bite each other's ears.

The Frakers originally came to Nantucket in 1921 because they were friends with Thomas E. Rutter, President of the Nantucket Athletic Club, the forerunner of the Nantucket Yacht Club. Harry remembers there were two bowling alleys in the club back then and that he used to set pins there. The pits were where the Club dining room is now. There still is a case in the Yacht Club lobby with some of the bowling balls and pins.

Harry recalls riding on both the Priscilla and the Commonwealth. The ship would leave Manhattan at six in the evening and sail through the night to Fall River, arriving at 4 a.m. Then they would continue on to New Bedford, getting in at 6 a.m. So you would go to sleep in New York and wake up the next morning in New Bedford.

The Priscilla had two side-wheel paddles and a walking beam to drive them. These were advanced paddles, automatically feathering to reduce re sistance in the water. The steamships had a high level of luxury. There was a big lobby downstairs with a string ensemble playing. You walked upstairs to the main deck from the lobby to where the staterooms were – lots of them. But that wasn't for Harry.

No, Harry's sleeping spot was downstairs with the horses. The ferry had lots of stalls for horses down in the freight area where he kept them company. Harry really enjoyed the ride on the boat with the horses. His comment: "Great stuff. The horses got so they knew you and seemed to appreciate you being with them." There was one named ‘Headlight.' Harry and he were buddies.

In New Bedford, the horses had to be walked across the dock to the Nantucket boat. That would either be the side-wheeler Nantucket, or the more modern Sankaty. Harry remembers the Sankaty being quite impressive with its two smokestacks and screw propeller.

The Nantucket boat would head first to Woods Hole and then steer to the west to Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard. At last they would head out across Nantucket Sound to arrive on the island around noon. Harry made this trip every summer, leaving New Jersey right after school let out in early June.

Other methods of arriving on the island were equally adventurous. Harry remembers taking off in a seaplane from the East River. You would get on a boat at the East River Pier to go out to the plane. They would take off and fly over Hell Gate Bridge and Long Island, and then Fisher's Island, Block Island and onward to Nantucket. There were two pilots and a steward on board plus up to 16 passengers. The flight cost $16 one way and took two hours and twenty minutes. They'd land right in the Nantucket Harbor – one flight a day and more on weekends. This was before the land-based air field was built, so seaplanes were the way to go.

Initially the Frakers lived on Walsh Street on Brant Point. The day often started with an early trip to Ashley's Meat Market at the Corner of Main and Centre Streets right across from the bank. But first you had to go and collect the horses. They were kept at the Stone Barn on North Beach Street. It cost $20 a month to board four horses. Then he, his mother, and perhaps one of his sisters would drive the wagon to Main Street.

Ashley's Meat Market was a mesmerizing place for a young lad like Harry. The floor was covered with sawdust. Half a steer would be swung out into the store from the back, hanging from hooks that were attached to a track that ran around the store. Mrs. Fraker would point to the part of the steer she wanted, and they'd cut it as customers watched. It would then be wrapped in paraffin paper and would be rushed home and put in the cooler.

No one had refrigerators back then. They had big walk-in coolers with blocks of ice. You'd order that in 30-pound cuts, one, two, or three of them, depending on how warm it was. Harry remembers the family was always admonishing him to stay out of the cooler because they were afraid he'd shut the door and get locked in.

One of Harry's earliest memories is of the huge fire at the Point Breeze Hotel on Easton Street in August of 1925. They saw the smoke from Walsh Street but couldn't get closer than the corner of Beach Street because of the tremendous heat. Lots of fire apparatus was there but apparently no pressure to operate the hoses.

But there was plenty of water in the harbor, and Harry remembers it as being crystal clear all the way to the bottom. At the yacht club there were diving birds and a house at the end of the pier. Competitive swimming events around Steamboat Wharf were all the rage.

Other summer activities would involve a trip to ‘Sconset. "That was an all-day-shuffle – really too much for the horses. The max they could go in a day was 14 miles. It was a dirt road and all and you didn't want to wear them out. So you'd try to spend the night in ‘Sconset," Harry explained.

Back then there were open fields everywhere. You could ride just anywhere, and there were a lot of sheep. Harry remembers a problem with ticks even back then. You would see sheep with their eyes closed from ticks.

Harry Gordon operated a Ford dealership out in Polpis. Harry Fraker's father bought a 1930 Ford wooden station wagon from Gordon. That was the first car the Frakers had on Nantucket. Harry was fascinated with the one-piece square windshield in front. Later his exuberance caused that car to come to a sliding stop on its side in Polpis. "Took the door handles completely off on that side," recalls Harry. The "old man" just asked if anyone was hurt and when the answer was in the negative, he seemed content.

Harry's Dad bought the old Cliffside Bathing Beach from the town and moved the bathhouses into a semi-circle. The town was losing money on the beach and wanted to sell it. Harry recalls they bought the property and the buildings for $8,000 along with some additional property over on Charles Street.

That's where the Frakers were for the hurricane of 1938. The water washed right in and took the east end of the cottage and continued on down Charles Street. The left side of the place was three feet higher than the part that washed away, with heavy steel doors that swung in and bolted down over the windows. Harry commented he was in the living room when the east end washed away. They had put pieces of wood in front of the bulkhead but they just blew away.

He mentioned their boathouse had railroad tracks that ran right into the water to roll the boats down. You can still dig down and find the rails under the sand. Next door the house now owned by Seward Johnson was owned by "Aarns, a German guy who invented the clutch." That place was built up on steel pilings so the water would run right under it.

Harry also learned to fly here in the summer and remembers soloing with Sandy Craig on a grass runway where the airport is now. "There was a flagpole at each end of the runway with a windsock on it." That was it for aids to navigating into the airfield.

He remembers a group from Pratt and Whitney flew a Sikorsky S-38 flying boat to Nantucket and landed on the outer harbor and taxied up right onto the beach next to the Fraker house. Apparently Harry's father had arranged the financing for the building of the engines for it, and they wanted to show him the results. They all went into town for dinner and then came back, only to find out the tide had gone out and left the plane high and dry, stuck on the beach. Eventually the tide came back in and they could leave, but it was quite a surprise to the guys from inland Connecticut. "The water came in those side windows on take-off and landing," Harry comments.

Harry remembers the family would stay on Nantucket until the day after Labor Day. After that the island just closed up. Most everyone would leave on the five o'clock boat on the afternoon of Labor Day. Harry's recollection is that he's been on the island very summer since that first one in 1922, except for one summer during World War II when he was in the U.S. Army.

Ken Blackshaw is an accomplished writer, mainly on Natural History subjects. He writes the "Birds of Nantucket" column weekly in the Nantucket Independent. To find out more about him and his series of books on Nantucket's birds go to: http://k-blackshaw.com/BN/BN.htm

October 20, 2011 Hillside Cemetery

Fraker Marker
We had two Frakers in the club:

Mrs. George W. Fraker (Agnes Warren Fraker) '32

Mrs. Philip W. Fraker '32

Photo by S. Fraser

October 20, 2011 Hillside Cemetery

Agnes Warren Fraker '32
Mrs. George W. Fraker (Agnes Warren Fraker) '32

The Frakers are the original owners of 1001 Rahway Avenue, a garden the PGC documented for the Smithsonian.

A few years ago, Mrs. Fraker's grandson was nominated by Vice President Biden to be the ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Photo by S. Fraser

Ellis Island Records

Port of NY Passenger Records

A list of 148 passengers on the Allianca. Listed are the following:

Margaret W. Fraker, Plainfield, NJ 50 years old
Mary Louise Fraker, Plainfield, NJ 6 years old
Philip J. Fraker, Plainfield, NJ 52 years old

Also on the passenger list are the Ackermans (which may be related to the Frakers)

Mrs. M. S. Ackerman, Plainfield, NJ 45 years old
Priscilla W. Ackerman, Plainfield, NJ 22 years old
Warren Ackerman, Plainfield NJ, 10 months
Warren Ackerman, Plainfield, NJ 24 years old

February 5, 1919 Cristobal Canal Zone

June 15, 1922 New York Times

MISS BOMANN WINS EASILY

Defeats Miss Stuart, 6 and 5, in Plainfield C.C. Golf Tourney

Special to The New York Times

PLAINFIELD, N.J., June 14 – The first round for the women's championship at the Plainfield Country Club today resulted as follows:

First Eight – Miss Kate Bomann defeated Miss Florence Stuart, 6 and 5; Mrs. C. D. Boice defeated Miss Bertha Tilney, 2 and 1; Mrs R. S. Rowland defeated Mrs. C. B. Lawrence, Jr., 4 and 3, Miss Zoe Terry defeated Mrs. W. H. Rogers, 2 and 1.
Second Eight – Mrs. L. W. Hallock won from Miss Louise Patterson by default; Miss Priscilla Fraker defeated Mrs. H. R. Moyer, 5 and 4; Mrs. W. M. Alling defeated Mrs. Frank C. Ward, 2 and 1; Miss Lillie Moore drew a bye.

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=FB0A15FC3E5D1A7A93C7A8178DD85F468285F9

December 14, 2011

Hillside Cemetery

December 14, 2011

Hillside Cemetery

December 14, 2011

Hillside Cemetery

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. George W. Fraker
315 West Seventh Street

Mrs. P. J. Fraker
757 West Eighth Street

Email Correspondence 2012 - 2013

Dear Ford:

Happy New Year. Yesterday a group of us were sorting through the '30's
archival boxes at the Plainfield Library and I discovered the attached.
Mrs. Frank D. Warren would be your great-grandmother. I thought you would like to read the tribute from her friends.

Since I was the one who discovered it (out of a room of about 10 people
sorting piles of paper) I am taking it as a sign that I am remiss from
calling your grandfather! I plan on calling next week – in the afternoon
– and I hope I don't have too many questions for him.

We just received another email from the great-granddaughter of Mrs. Mead. I have a feeling your grandfather will know the Meads as Mrs. Mead and
Mrs. Warren were good friends.

Enjoy – Susan

Susan,

Thank you for your detailed reply. I will discuss your questions with him
but can answer the following ones directly (my responses are below your
questions). I have also copied my uncles (Harrison, Ford and Chris Fraker) on this email and they may have additional comments and can correct anything I have wrong or also add additional information:

For starters, the first question would be: How is he related to the 3
Fraker members?

1. Fraker, Mrs. George Washington (Agnes Warren) '32
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4570

George was his father and Agnes was his mother.

Is Mrs. G. W. Fraker (Agnes Warren) related to Mrs. Frank D. Warren '15?
Here is the direct link to that album:

http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4522

The Warrens were Agnes' family, so this was her mother.

2. Fraker, Mrs. Philip W. '32
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5367

I do not know but will ask.

Is your grandfather the "Harry" that recounts Nantucket in the 1920's?

Yes; he is the one. I think that article appeared originally in one of the
Nantucket magazines about three years ago.

Are the Frakers related to the Ackermans?

Yes; Harry had two sisters (can't remember their first names) and one of them married an Ackerman. I do not recognize the first names below but will inquire.

Ackerman, Mrs. Ernest Robinson (Nora L. Weber) '15
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4466

Ackerman, Mrs. Marion S.(Sarah M. Wills) '35
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5586

3. Fraker, Mrs. H. C. '26
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5585

We do not know too much about this member. Was she the mother-in-law of the other two Fraker members? A sister-in-law? Any idea who Margaret Fraker is?

I do not know who she is but will ask.

When you grandfather said he grew up on "Plainfield farm" – what is that location? Is it the house on Rahway Road?

Yes, that is the house. I heard it had been restored.

Tell him that house (now #1001) has been completely renovated and is a show place. I can try to get some photographs for him.

If you or your grandfather has any photos or memorabilia, we would love to include it. Did he know any of the Detwillers? They have sent in quite a bit for the ladies in their family that belonged to the club.

I do not know; he has moved several times and now lives with my uncle (his son) Chris Fraker in Nantucket. I know he would be delighted to discuss the above with you. He can be reached at (508) 228-9501. He is best in the middle of the day or early evening. You can reach Chris on his cell at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. His email is above.

Best, Ford


On Nov 29, 2012, at 9:10 AM,
PlainfieldGC@plainfieldgardenclub.org<mailto:PlainfieldGC@plainfieldgardenclub.org>
wrote:

Dear Mr. von Weise,

Thank you so much for writing to us. It is always a thrill when a
relative discovers our little website
www.plainfieldgardenclub.org<http://www.plainfieldgardenclub.org> The garden club was founded in 1915 and we are the second oldest remaining organization in Plainfield – the Music Club is a few years older!

Two years ago we began to collect the MANY boxes of archives that have
accumulated in members' attics and basements over the past 97 years. We have only scratched the surface of piecing together this memorabilia. We created the online membership list and any time we come across something that is remotely related to that member, we scan it into their album. The plan is to go back and organize later – we will see if this happens. This is our explanation for the jumble of information that appears in your family's files. Our apologies!

We have a record of 3 "Frakers" in the club. Below are the links and a
few questions if you could ask your grandfather (Please send him our
regards. Did he happen to know Barbara Sandford? We just celebrated her 94th birthday a few weeks ago. If he did, I will send you some photos to show him.)

For starters, the first question would be: How is he related to the 3
Fraker members?

1. Fraker, Mrs. George Washington (Agnes Warren) '32
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4570

Is Mrs. G. W. Fraker (Agnes Warren) related to Mrs. Frank D. Warren '15?
Here is the direct link to that album:

http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4522

2. Fraker, Mrs. Philip W. '32
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5367

Is your grandfather the "Harry" that recounts Nantucket in the 1920's?
Are the Frakers related to the Ackermans?

Ackerman, Mrs. Ernest Robinson (Nora L. Weber) '15
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=4466

Ackerman, Mrs. Marion S.(Sarah M. Wills) '35
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5586

3. Fraker, Mrs. H. C. '26
http://andyswebtools.com/cgi-bin/p/awtp-pa.cgi?d=plainfield-garden-club&type=5585

We do not know too much about this member. Was she the mother-in-law of the other two Fraker members? A sister-in-law? Any idea who Margaret Fraker is?

When you grandfather said he grew up on "Plainfield farm" – what is that location? Is it the house on Rahway Road? Tell him that house (now #1001) has been completely renovated and is a show place. I can try to get some photographs for him.

If you or your grandfather has any photos or memorabilia, we would love to include it. Did he know any of the Detwillers? They have sent in quite a bit for the ladies in their family that belonged to the club.

Thank you again for writing to us. Let me know about Barbara and the
house on Rahway Road – he would probably like to see the photos.

Sincerely,

Susan Fraser
co-President Plainfield Garden Club
www.plainfieldgardenclub.org


You've received a new submission from your "contact us" through your
"Plainfield Garden Club" Andy's Web Tools web site.

name: Ford von Weise
email: ford@vonweise.net
phone: (XXX) XXX-XXXX

message:

My daughter came across the article on your website about my grandfather,Harry Fraker, who is till alive today at 94 and living on Nantucket. He grew up in Plainfield on Plainfield Farm, went to Lawrenceville, and then Princeton served in WWII at an artillery officer and then raised his family in Princeton. The article asked questions regarding if he was Mrs. H.C. Fraker's husband. The answer is no; he is the husband of the former Marjorie Tomlinson. She died in 1986. I would be happy to answer any questions. Please feel free to call or email.

_______________________________________
Thanks for using Andy's Web Tools!

Bradford L von Weise
ford@vonweise.net<mailto:ford@vonweise.net>

+1 XXX XXX XXXX Work
+1 XXX XXX XXXX Work
+1 XXX XXX XXXX Mobile

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