Ruth Stonaker Worthington

Interviewee:  Ruth Stonaker Worthington
Date of birth/age at interview:  1908/77
Interviewer:  Rita Durrant
Interview date:  July 3, 1985
Interview location:  Rabbit Run Farm on River Road, Solebury, PA
Interview length:  1 hour, 30 minutes
Time span discussed:  1929 to 1985

Summary:  This long interview opens windows into our community’s activities more than one initially suspects upon first hearing the opening minutes. Look for the history of a small town Chevrolet dealer, a bank founder and director, and the story of the registered nurses’ altruistic work and sacrifice of their time and patience. Discussions cover artists, the school board, family histories, the New Hope Playhouse opening, and actors Ruth met. The evolution of the New Hope borough and Solebury Township to a tourist center and weekend retreat is behind many of Ruth’s reflections about change. Running through the entire interview, is a testimony to the life of country doctors and nurses and their dedication to people and the needs of the time.

Time markers:
00:00:00 – introduction
00:41:00 – born in Trenton
00:01:15 – arrived New Hope 1929 after marriage; lived in Logan Inn, other places in New Hope
00:02:30 – husband Alvin’s Chevrolet dealership, located where four Season’s Mall now located on Main Street; husband Alvin, born 1900
00:03:57 – her wedding; Logan Inn apartment $29.00 a month
00:05:10 – Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson of the Logan Inn; layout of apartments
00:07:34 – 1950 moved to Rabbit Run Farm; remodeled entire house; Don Hedges architect of project
00:09:00 – Rabbit Run owned by Worthington family since 1749; history of the Worthington family; her husband born on Ely Road; his mother Lotte Wismer; four Worthington sons including Alvin
00:16:07 – Chevrolet business, their first car in 1929 for $600
00:16:49 – 1932 Chevrolet pick-up truck
00:19:14 – car repair business, getting dealership, training mechanics
00:21:44 – businesses in New Hope in 1929 including Cryer’s Hardware and Solebury National Bank
00:23:35 – money needed for car business
00:24:08 – Depression impact on car business, names of some employees; stretching food dollar in Depression
00:27:20 – 202 bridge took 10 acres from farm; 9-hole private golf course across road
00:28:33 – nursing work for Dr. Raymond Wallace
00:31:05 – took care of Dr. Flood’s patient Alvin for three weeks, married him
00:34:51 – artists; Bill Nye; Nye painting they owned
00:36:00 – Edward Redfield; their children attended Solebury one-room schoolhouse  together; Solebury High School
00:37:52 – Mercer Hospital Trenton for nursing training; other Trenton hospitals
00:39:12 – Trenton discussed, her family history, names of family members
00:48:07 – phaeton carriage her father used during her childhood
00:48:50 – grocery store business, took orders and delivered before telephone
00:49:20 – Playhouse and how it helped some New Hope businesses
00:50:10 – Stars she met:  Helen Hayes and her daughter Mary McArthur, Grace Kelly, Faye Emerson, who was wife of Elliott Roosevelt, Jr., Eleanor’s brother; Eleanor Roosevelt stories of visits to New Hope Playhouse
00:55:08 – 4th of July parades, picnics by the river
00:57:14 – New Hope Public Health Nursing Association Board; review of founders; baby clinic
00:59:27 – Depression and nursing work
01:00:10 – New Hope doctors up to 1970s, house calls; first Dr. Leiby killed trying to race a train to cross track in Titusville; other doctors
01:06:54 – Alvin’s 17 years on school board; fight to keep high school in New Hope
01:09:13 – Solebury National Bank, father-in-law and other started, Alvin became a director
01:11:22 – bank building (corner Bridge and Main streets) was Delaware Hotel, then apartments and library
01:12:15 – most children born at home; nursing duties; families in New Hope with many children
01:17:00 – Ruth’s daughter joins the conversation; parts indistinct; mini recap
01:21:15 – Parry girls: anecdotes about the sisters and the Parry Mansion, World War II and blackout stories; Parry sisters stayed in Logan Inn in the winter; daughter speaks, indistinct; recap
01:27:30 – Elizabeth Price home on canal near Rabbit Run Bridge
01:28:33 – William Lathrop, Edward Redfield, Harry Leith-Ross; memory of Redfield painting in town just after a snow storm,  description of his clothes (matches Redfield’s own oral history description of his outdoor winter gear and painting habits–minute 00:24:20); John Folinsbee, Daniel Garber;   showing of Pennsylvania Impressionists at Brandywine Museum

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