The Caleb Clothier House
Dating to 1851 and designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan as an Italianate Villa, the iconic Caleb Clothier House remains as one of the several founders’ “cottages” along the Delaware River bank in Riverton.
The Riverton Improvement Company
Caleb Clothier and nine other prominent Philadelphia Quaker merchants initially established Riverton as a summer resort for their families. They then founded the Riverton Improvement Company in 1852 offering building lots to other would be residents.
An ardent advocate for the abolition of slavery, Caleb was a founder of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society; president of the Friends for Advocating the Cause of the Slave and Improving the Condition of Free People of Color; and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society. He was a founder of Swarthmore College and a manager of the Pennsylvania Hall Association.
Caleb and his wife, Hannah Fletcher Hallowell Clothier, had six children. Their son, Isaac Hallowell Clothier, partnered with Justus Strawbridge to found the Philadelphia department store, Strawbridge & Clothier
Edward and Sarah Ogden
In 1863, Edward H. Ogden and Sarah Morris Perot Ogden purchased the Bank Avenue home. Edward, a Civil War veteran, served as the first mayor of Riverton in 1893. He was a founder and first president of the Riverton Country Club and founder and commodore of the Riverton Yacht Club. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, he was vice-president of T. Morris Perot Company, inventors of an Army hospital and medical wagon adopted by the U.S. Government during the Civil War. He was president of the Water Company and vice-president of the People’s Gaslight Company of Jersey City.
His wife, Sarah, was a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America; Philadelphia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution; and president of the Philadelphia Home for Incurables. Many meetings of the Porch Club were held on the Ogden’s front porch; and Sarah served as the second president of the Riverton Porch Club. In 1908, she presented the town with the local library in honor of her husband.
Based upon oral history from Ogden descendants, “Edward and Sarah would assist runaway slaves escape in any way possible as they opposed slavery.” Coupled with Clothier’s abolitionist participation, it is likely that these early owners of this home played a role in the Underground Railroad.
Ogden Celebration at Riverbank Manor
On July 30, 2017, a family reunion of Ogden descendants was hosted by Mary Louise Bianco-Smith and Ken Smith at their Riverbank Manor home. The event, attended by local officials, historians and residents, was a celebration of the lifelong accomplishments and contributions to Riverton of Edward and Sarah Ogden.