6026 Germantown Avenue
Wyck, the Haines House
Thomas H. Shoemaker Collection, folios 10 and 18
Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Images and text include:

Folio 10:

Folio 18: "Wyck Germantown Ave & Walnut Lane." (photograph of the main doorway by Ph B Wallace, 1912).

Newsclipping (undated) found in folio 10:

An Old Mansion of Great Interest to Visitors.
A House Built in the Seventeenth Century, Used as a Hospital During the Revolution, and in Which Lafayette Received."

"Among the old properties in Germantown none attract the attention of the visitor more than the one on the southwest side of Main street, below Walnut lane, with its quaint and comfortable looking mansion and its spacious and well kept grounds, shaded by majestic trees. The Chew house...excepted, there is no place in Germantown with as interesting history as this one, which is owned by members of the Haines family, to whom it has descended in a direct line...from the original owner, Hans Millan, two centuries ago.

"Hans Millan was a Hollander, who, it is supposed, came to Germantown along with Francis Daniel Pastorious, and from whom he received his grant of land...While it is thought that he settled here earlier, the first mention of his name among the settlers occurs in 1689. Presumably about 1695 the rear portion of the present house was built, it being, it is said, the first stone house erected in Germantown. A few years later the front portion was erected, an open passage or cart way dividing the first stories, the buildings being joined from the second floor. This cart way led to a small brewery, which was built some years later by Reuben Haines, and which stood on a spot where West Walnut lane now is. In 1824 this passageway was closed and the house consolidated.

"Allied with the Janssen, Wistar and Haines Families.
"Just before the beginning of the seventeenth century Dirk Janssen...was married to Margaret, a daughter of Hans Millan. By her he had five children, the oldest of whom, Catharine, who was born in 1703, married Caspar Wistar. Margaret, a daughter by this union, married in 1769, Reuben Haines...

"A Hospital During the Revolution
"During and after the battle of Germantown the house was used as a hospital, several British officers and men being cared for there. Two swords belonging to officers are yet in the possession of the Haines family. When the wounded men were brought in they were laid on the floor in the hall, and the blood from their wounds soaked into the wood. When the house was altered, in 1824, these blood stained boards were carefully taken up and relaid on a floor in the second story. The blood marks are said to be as plain to-day as they were a century ago.

"In the central part of the house was an immense Dutch oven and fireplace, which when if was torn down yielded sufficient stone to build a long and thick stone wall over three feet high, in the rear of the place.

"General Lafayette's Reception
"On July 20, 1825, General Lafayette gave a reception in this house. The following taken from Paulson's American Advertiser of July 28, 1825, is an account of how the distinguished Frenchman spent the day in Germantown: [quoted extensively]....

"The Trees on the Grounds
"The trees on the grounds are nearly all venerable specimens, the greater number of which were planted at the beginning of the present century. Among them is a huge Spanish chestnut, a seedling of the one planted by General Washington in front of the mansion of Judge Peters, now Belmont Mansion, while he was a guest of the Judge. Another tree standing near by is an enormous willow, now fast failing with decay. The girth of the tree is in the neighborhood of 18 feet. There is also a fine specimen of a papaw, not common in this locality, which was planted near the lower boundary line by Miss Ann Wistar about 1835."

Manuscript text found with newsclipping on the back of four photographs of Wyck, in folio 10:

"Haines Barn
"This old barn is a most familiar land mark to all passers on Walnut Lane and belongs to 'Wyck,' the Haines house. In the middle of the lane opposite the barn stood the large walnut tree which, I think gave the name to the street. It was about ten feet in circumference at the base, with the road passing on either side. About 1875 it was cut down, probably when the road was macadamized.

"The small house
"On a line with the barn, a couple of hundred feet in from the lane, stands the small two story house equally familiar to us all. For what it was originally built, the family do not know, as for years it has done duty as a shelter for the carriage, and is only now known as the carriage house.

"In the pictures of the mansion we have in one the whole house and in the other, clearly shown, the wide hall where Lafayette stood to receive the crowds who passed in one gate, through the hall and out the other gate. The Haines barn, the date stone of which shows that it was built 1796, was in the fall of 1890, sold to M. Fielding, the architect, who altered it into a dwelling."

Text by Jenkins from 1913 pamphlet in folio 10:

"The early descriptions of Germantown tell of the long and crooked Main Street, the fruit trees lining it and the fact that many of the houses had their gable ends to the street. It is therefore of interest to note that 'Wyck,' one of the oldest houses standing in Germantown, is the only dwelling on the Main Street that now shows its gable end to the passerby.

"No one knows just when 'Wyck' was built. The house originally consisted of two parts, and the one further from the Main Street is thought to have been erected about 1690 by Hans Milan, and the part toward the street at a later period. "The property was given its name by Reuben Haines, one of Germantown's distinguished men, who called it 'Wyck' after the estate of Sir Richard Haines in England, who was said to have been an ancestor. It was later discovered that Reuben Haines had no connection with this family, but the name 'Wyck' was retained.

"Like almost all houses of importance along our Main Street, 'Wyck' was used as a hospital after the battle of Germantown. It stood in the thick of the fight and it is known that a party of British were in possession of the big house on the opposite corner of the street and that they were vigorously attacked by the American troops.

"The covered passageway between the two buildings was used as an operating room and the blood-stains of the wounded are still to be seen on the floor boards.

"In 1824 this passageway between the two buildings was built up and the house presented one continuous front as it does today.

"Here in 1825 was given a reception to General Lafayette, then on his triumphal visit to the United States. He had come to Germantown on a hot morning of July 20th. He had been received by the whole town at Neglee's Hill, had been asked to breakfast at the Chew house, visited the Mt. Airy Military Academy, journeyed up to Chestnut Hill for a view of Barren Hill, the scene of the skirmish of that name, and early in the afternoon the party had returned to 'Wyck.' Here Lafayette stopped for an hour, 'where he again received visits from ladies and gentlemen of respectability.' The presentation of the townspeople was made by Charles J. Wister, for many years one of the best known and most active citizens of the town...

"Just where these interesting ceremonies occurred can only be conjectured, but it is known that the reception took place in the passageway through the center of the house. There is a tradition that the General, fatigued by the labors of the day, was seated during a portion of the reception in an arm chair, still carefully preserved in the Haines family. The tradition is that it was one of two chairs which Franklin brought with him on his return from his service abroad as Minister of the United States to France...

"'Wyck' stands in the midst of the noise and bustle of our Main Street, a quiet and peaceful memorial of the past. The house is one continual delight to every one fond of the old days and ways. It is not provided with either gas or electric light, candles and lamps being all that is used, in keeping with its low ceilings and furniture of the olden times. Among the trees about the house is a Spanish chestnut, a seedling from a tree which Washington had planted for Judge Peters on the lawn at Belmont in Fairmount Park. In the olden days a brewery stood on Walnut Lane which was built by Caspar Wister Haines and which was torn down about 1842. The present garden wall was made from stones taken from the Dutch oven which originally stood in the present dining room. Many amusing anecdotes are told of Reuben Haines. He was deeply interested in agriculture and was one of the projectors of the turnpike road. Of the horrors of the Main Street in the early days, before it was turnpiked, many stories are told. It was deep with mud in the winter and spring and almost as deep with dust in the summer. It is related that at one time Reuben Haines wished to cross to the other side, and in order to get safely over he saddled his horse and rode. A portrait of him by Rembrandt Peale is preserved in the house.

"For many years 'Wyck' was the home of Miss Jane R. Haines, who preserved it in its ancient form. In 1890 the large old- fashioned barn which stood on the place was altered into a comfortable dwelling which has its entrance on Walnut Lane."

Manuscript text found on back of J. Richard sketch in folio 10:


"This old homestead derived its name, Wyck, from an English residence. The work means white, and, by a coincidence, the house well deserves the appellation it being plastered and frequently white-washed.

"On Zimmerman's plan it is marked lot no. 17 toward the Schuylkill, being located at Main & Walnut Lane and running back originally as far as the Township Line. It has ever been in the same family, though inherited for a long time through the female line. In 1697 Hans Milan purchased the property and probably erected part of the house. His daughter Margaret married Deidrick, called Dirck, Jansen, now Johnson. Their daughter Catherine married Caspar Wistar and their daughter Margaret married Reuben Haines, born 1728, and they were married 1760. By this marriage there was only one son, Caspar Wistar Haines, who was probably the first of this name to come to Germantown. He was one of the originators of the turnpike and became its treasurer. His only son, Reuben, was a member of the Philosophical Society and in the first year of the Academy of Natural Sciences; of the latter he was secretary until his death.

"Considerable additions were made to the house in the last century and some alterations about sixty years ago. It is a striking looking building, standing with the gable end to the avenue, its front of 80 ft. facing south eastwardly; its width varies from 20 to 30 ft. Of course Wyck bore its part in the battle and its floor is yet stained with the blood of wounded soldiers who were carried into the house during the engagement.

"When General Lafayette visited this country in 1824 he was entertained by Reuben Haines and held a reception in the old house when he was introduced by Mr. C.J. Wistar to the ladies of the town.

"When this house was first built it is doubtful if the Main St. occupied its present location, as the Indian path which formed the first road followed the low ground further to the west, where Honey Run crossed the grounds.

"The old rifle was owned by a German soldier in the British army, probably a Hessian, & was found on the Haines property after the battle, & is now in the possession of Miss Haines.

"See Smith & Botton for Brief of Title. The family think the house built by Hans Milan is all gone, & that the original part of the present house was built by Dirck Jansen between 1710 & 1720."

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