By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
One of the more notable members of the Troop who is sadly, not remembered by most
Troopers today was Homer Hungerford, No. 1607. Non Active Hungerford was one of the few
Troopers who was a professionals soldier most of his professional life. A Main Line native,
Hungerford graduated from the Haverford School and entered Princeton University in July 1944.
With World War II raging, he was eager to get into the fight and left Princeton during his freshman
year. Volunteering for the paratroopers, he joined the 513th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 13th
Airborne Division as a private. He transferred to the 82d Airborne Division and by 1946 had won
himself a commission as an infantry officer with the 11th Airborne Division. The Korean War found
him in in the 3rd Infantry Division and in combat. While a platoon leader with the 3rd Infantry
Division, Homer volunteered to lead a 12 man patrol into enemy territory to recover the body of a
fallen American soldier.
Hungerford’s men set out on their mission “in the cold half-light of the Korean dawn. They could
faintly see the body lying in full view of the Communists. When there was no more cover to follow,
they strung out in a line and raced toward the body. Chinese machine-gun bullets whizzed by all
around them, but they reached the body and carried it to their own lines.” The dead soldier’s
pockets were found to be stuffed with Communist propaganda leaflets. Interviewed by the
Philadelphia newspapers in 1952, his wife Mary said, “ As long as there was a mother’s son to be
rescued, he wouldn’t hesitate.” For his actions on that cold Korean dawn, Non Active Hungerford
was awarded the Silver Star in 1953. He resigned his commission in 1954 shortly after returning to
Philadelphia and joining the Troop. Troop duty, while fun was not exciting enough for Hungerford,
who was elected to the Non Active Roll in 1956. He joined the Hawaii National Guard in 1968
before transferring to the Regular Army in time for service in Vietnam. In Vietnam he served with
the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment then volunteered for Special Forces. After winning his green
beret, he served another tour in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group as an E-7. By
1972, Homer, now a Master Sergeant was with the 10th Special Forces Group out of Bad Tolz,
Germany. His last assignment was at Special Forces Headquarters at Fort Bragg, NC. He retired from
the Army in in 1983. His awards besides the Silver Star included four Bronze Star Medals, two
Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Medal, four Army Commendation Medals (one with a V
device for Valor), the Air Medal, six Good Conduct Medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the US
Parachutist Badge, the Vietnamese Parachutist Badge, and two Combat Infantry Badges. All told.
Homer spent 52 months in combat. He retired with the permanent rank of First Lieutenant. He was
married four times, his first three wives dying and he fathered eight children. An avid sailor, he
once sailed a ketch from Tonga to Tahiti. Non Active Hungerford retired to Beaufort, South Carolina.
He passed away at age 88 on December 11, 2014. Truly one of the Troop’s most colorful and heroic
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
Every November our Troop celebrates the anniversary of its founding with a dinner at the
Armory. One of the more solemn moments in an otherwise raucous evening is the reading of the
names of Troopers who have died in combat during America’s wars. When the names of the World
War I dead are read, one name called is that of Richard Stockton Bullitt, Volunteer Troop of 1917.
Our Archives contain a memorial book written about Trooper Bullitt which sketches out his life and
recounts his death as a member of the 110th Infantry, 28th Division.
Dick Bullitt was born in Philadelphia on April 22, 1896. His family was prominent; he was the
great-great-great grandson of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A
graduate of Episcopal Academy and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bullitt
moved to Detroit to begin his career in business one year before the United States entered the First
World War. He returned to Philadelphia and joined the Troop as a member of the Volunteer
Troop of 1917, replacing those First City men who had taken commissions in other units. The
Troop, now designated as the 103th Trench Mortar Battery went to Camp Hancock, Georgia on
August 25, 1917. On January 5, 1918, Bullitt was appointed as a cadet in the Third Officers’ Training
Camp. Of the 500 cadets in this camp he was one of 70 who won their commissions and was
commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry on April 19, 1918 and assigned as a Platoon Leader
in Company K 110th Infantry. The 110th sailed for England on May 2, 1918 and arrived in Liverpool
on May 16th. By July 15th the 110th was on the Western Front in France at a town called Conde en
Brie. On July 29th Company K was entrenched near the River Ourcq on a gently sloping hill not
far from a wheat field. The terrain they held was an open field except for a stand of woods on the
crest of the hill. These woods were the immediate objective of an attack Company K was to lead that
day. The woods were filled with German machine-gun nests. Without any cover whatsoever, and
without artillery support, Bullitt led his platoon across the field. The men had been without food for
two days, and water for 24 hours. The Germans were in the woods, waiting.
Lieutenant Bullitt led his platoon around the north side of the hill and was attacking the woods
from the northeastern approach when he was hit in the thigh by a machine gun bullet. He could no
longer walk, but seeing an automatic rifle squad near him he crawled over to them and finding its
corporal dead he manned the machine gun until his ammunition gave out. In the process he
received four more wounds in his chest from machine gun bullets. Several times he was approached
by stretcher bearers, but he refused to be carried from the field until all of his wounded men were
cared for first. Although suffering intensely from five bullet wounds, Dick Bullitt continued to direct
fire and encourage his men. A final shot struck him in the forehead, killing him instantly.
Bullitt was buried with his men in a shallow grave, the rifles of the dead stacked over their resting
place. Dick’s canteen hung from one of the bayonets. Inside a note was placed with his name and
the date of his death. Shortly afterwards, the men of the 103rd Trench Mortar Battery, First City
Troopers all, visited the grave to pay their respects to their fellow fallen Trooper. Later his body
was removed to the American Cemetery at Seringes et Nesles.
Dick Bullitt died a soldier’s death, but while he lived he lived a soldier’s life. Perhaps the most
telling aspect of how he saw himself and his duty can be found in a letter he wrote on July 14th,
fifteen days before he was killed.
“ I can truthfully say I am devoted to my work. I think more of my platoon than of anything else in the world. It seems as though every man in it had become a vital part of me. I am crazy about them all, and what pleases me most is to know that every man does what I order not because I hold a commission, but because they respect me and want to do things for me… I cannot express how wonderful it is to be the leader of fifty-seven men who will follow you through hell…They know my heart and soul is in my work, and they know I think of them first- myself last.”
This year, when we read his name and raise our glasses to “To His Memory” know that he was
more than just a name on a brass memorial plaque. He was a man, a soldier, a Trooper.
He was one of us.
November is special for the First City Troop. Not only is it the month of our unit’s 1774 founding, it’s also “Movember,” an annual event when mustaches are grown to raise awareness for issues of men’s health and suicide.
As old photos attest, mustaches were exceedingly popular among First City Troopers during the “wild years” of the 1970s and early 80s. This begs two questions. Was the Troop mustache a product of 1960s hippy fashion? Or was it part of a deeper military tradition? The answer is probably “yes” to both.
A lazy internet search reveals that military facial hair was common during the Troop’s 19th century glory years, and that its origins where probably British. Between 1860 and 1916, British Army uniform regulations required every soldier to keep the hair on his head short, the chin and under lip shaved, and the upper lip free to grow as it pleased. That is, mustaches were MANDATORY. The act of shaving one’s upper lip brought disciplinary action.
The British probably adopted this custom for strategic imperial reasons. In India, bare faces were scorned as being juvenile and un-manly. In Arab countries, mustaches and beards were likewise associated with power. In France, Napoleonic armies required men to have facial hair as marks of bravery and aggression.
Americans also adopted this idea throughout the 19th century, which is why anyone who stops shaving for a long time gets a "Civil War" look to him. Military facial hair came to an abrupt end in World War I, when it became essential to keep the face cleanly shaven for gasmask seal. But beards have had a 21st century renaissance among combat and peacekeeping operators in the middle east.
For those who like word derivations, our English “mustache” comes from the French “moustache,” which came from the Italian “mostaccio," which came from the Latin “mustacium,” which came from the ancient Greek “mustax,” which means “upper lip.” As you can see, the word has been around.
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
With the advent of the Troop Social season: Anniversary Dinner, Church Service, Debutante Ball
and the George Washington Dinner, the Troop silver will be on display again. Our collection of
silver, which resides in the safety of the Troop Silver Vault deep in the bowels of the Armory is
truly a delight to behold: goblets, punch bowls, loving cups and candelabras all in gleaming,
ornately carved brilliance. But how did our tiny organization come to acquire such an eclectic and
magnificent assemblage of silver? The story can be found in the Troop Archives in a nine page
single spaced typed document written on onion skin paper. While the author is unknown, it is
believed to be the work of Colonel William Innes Forbes, No. 989 who died in 1967.
According to this account, the genesis of the Troop silver came as a result of the Spanish American
War. Prior to the 1898 conflict, there were some silver pieces in the Armory, usually two handled
loving cups given by the Active Roll to departing Troop Captains upon their change of command.
For their part, the Troopers didn’t care about silver as long as the food was decent and the liquor
was plentiful at monthly dinners and on special occasions when the Troop dined together.
The Troop was called to active duty and ordered to Mt. Gretna on April 28, 1898, after being the
first militia unit to volunteer for service in the War with Spain. On July 29, 1898, the Troop
embarked for Puerto Rico from Newport News, Virginia. The Troop landed at Ponce, P.R. and its
area of operation was on the south side of the island between Ponce and Guyamas. The 1st Army
Corps to which the Troop was assigned received exceedingly poor rations, namely the so-called
“Alger Beef”, named after Secretary of War Russell A. Alger. “This beef was canned and from which
all the blood had been extracted, leaving a white slimy pulp. This pulp was supposed to be cooked
with vegetables to make it more palatable. The Troop called it “Dead Baby.” The rest of the food
was equally bad. Because of the poor rations that it was provided, the Troop’s members returned
to the United States in September 1898 emaciated, underweight and sick. Once landing in Hoboken,
the Troopers boarded a train for Philadelphia where they were met by cheering crowds and then,
mounting police horses, they rode to Horticultural Hall at 260 South Broad Street where the City
Fathers gave them a banquet.
This banquet which consisted of terrapin, chicken salad, champagne and ice cream almost
wrecked the men physically as their systems which had been deprived of good food for the past
three months were simply unable to handle the richness of the menu now spread before them. As
the banquet progressed many Troopers sweating profusely and in apparent gastrointestinal
discomfort were seen to dash out of the meal with great haste headed for the nearest rest room
where they proceeded to “relieve” themselves of the newly consumed delicacies. Present at the
banquet was one Dr. William Smith Forbes, Professor of Anatomy at the Thomas Jefferson College
of Medicine and himself a veteran surgeon with the 13th Corps of the Union Army in the Civil War.
His son, William had deployed with the Troop to Puerto Rico.
The next morning, Dr. Forbes said to his son, “William, my son, I never saw men so emaciated,
under weight and in such poor condition , as the Troop looked last night.” His son replied. “Well,
father, that was the result of our Puerto Rican Campaign.” Dr. Forbes then said that he thought the
Troop parents should do something to honor their sons’ service and asked Will what the Troop
might need. His son suggested a fine silver service similar to those used in the crack British
Regiments. With that, Dr. Forbes, who had himself volunteered as a surgeon with the British Army
in the Crimean War in the 1850’s, decided to approach the fathers of other Active Roll Troopers to
see if a committee might be formed to purchase a fine silver service for the Troop to commemorate
its Spanish War Service. In the end, thirteen Troop fathers joined a “Committee of Fathers of
Troopers” and from their efforts over $5,800 was raised to purchase a 24” Silver Punch bowl, four
10” Silver Candelabra and two tall sterling silver flagons. These pieces were manufactured by the
firm of J.E. Caldwell & Company and were presented to the Active Roll on April 27,1899, a year and
a day after their call to active duty. At the banquet, Dr. Forbes, as Chairman of the Fathers’
“And now on behalf of these parents and kinsmen it becomes my pleasing duty to convey to the Troopers through you, their Commanding Officer, this Memorial, as an expression of the permanent satisfaction they have in regard to the gallant bearing of the Troop during the entire war with Spain.”
From that bequest, the Troop silver collection has grown to include silver pieces commemorating
the Troop’s service in the World Wars as well as subsequent deployments to Bosnia and Iraq. In
2003, our original Spanish American War Silver Service, purchased for $5846.00 in 1898 was
valued at $125,782.77. Fourteen years after that appraisal its value has no doubt increased even
more. To members of all Rolls, our silver, a memorial to our Troop predecessors is indeed priceless.
Does anyone recall a Trooper who went by the pseudonym J. Beauregard Pepys? In 1983, he composed a map of the United States featuring only those town names with sexual double meanings. Although bawdy in general, and obscene in some particulars, it reflected a literature professor's understanding of the English language. It was called Randy McNutty’s Map of the UXA.
The idea for making the map struck Mr. "Pepys" in the 1960s when he was working for the Pennsylvania Rail Road. The old “Pennsy” used to name its sleeping cars after towns along the railroad. Most of these were humdrum enough, but one day he noticed a sleeping car called French Lick, after an Indiana town of that name. After giggling about this like a college sophomore, he wondered, “How many other places in the US have even funnier names?”
To investigate, he went to the Free Library of Philadelphia and found a massive directory listing every town name and zip code in the entire United States. Working on weekends, he combed every page to find any town name which contained the slightest possible hint of double entendre. Places like Intercourse, Blue Ball, and Bird in Hand (all in Lancaster county Pennsylvania) immediately came to mind as obvious examples. But others like, Hot Coffee, Mississippi, Center Sandwich, New Hampshire, and Bend, Oregon required more imagination.
After months of painstaking scholarship, Mr. “Pepys” amassed a daunting list of 3000 place names. With a little help with fellow wits in the First City Troop, he narrowed the list to 1200 winners, and then had them printed into a wall map for sale to the public. Launched in 1983, the map became an instant hit with friends in the Philadelphia area. As Mr. "Pepys" recalls, “It took a lot of effort to find the right names. My reading glasses went up a couple of prescriptions for the eye strain.” He adds, the map was so subtle that you had to really think about some of the names to get the joke. The more you look at it, the funnier it gets.”
Although no longer in print, original copies of the Randy McNutty map can still be found on eBay.
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
The Louisiana Maneuvers, 1941. The Army was preparing for war, and to train up for the coming
action in Europe, the National Guard was Federalized. From June to August 1941 over
400,000 men conducted extensive war games in Northern and Western Central Louisiana.
The Troop almost lost a future captain during these exercises when Robert Sturgis Ingersoll, Jr.
No. 1376 became all too familiar with a deadly coral snake. Ingersoll, who The Philadelphia
Inquirer described as a “socialite young Philadelphia attorney” was training as a member E Battery,
166th Field Artillery Regiment when he picked up a deadly coral snake. Ingersoll, then a
First Lieutenant had been transferred to the unit with a number of other First City Troopers when
the 166th was Federalized in 1941. An avid snake collector since his boyhood, Ingersoll had in the
past caught six foot rattlesnakes with his bare hands. While on the great Louisiana Maneuvers with
the 166th he found a coral snake in the forest and picked it up. Unfortunately the snake had
other ideas about the meeting and writhed away before striking Ingersoll with it fangs. The coral
snake is the most venomous snake in North America and in 1941 no anti venom then existed.
Not to be out done (or killed, for that matter) by a mere inhospitable reptile, the redoubtable
Ingersoll, exhibiting remarkable sang froid directed several other soldiers to cut a gash where the
fang marks were and suck out the venom. This being done, he was evacuated from the field to Camp
Shelby, Mississippi for observation. Arriving back on post he telephoned Roger Conant, the curator
of the Philadelphia Zoo and told him of the steps he had taken and asked for his advice. Conant told
him there was nothing to do but wait 24 hours and see if he was still alive. Ingersoll did wait,
found himself alive in the morning, and went back to duty. He served in Europe in World War II,
earning a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart before returning to the Troop and eventually
being elected Captain on July 6, 1948.
One side note, while the saga of the snake bit socialite ended in 1941, the snake bit curse
continued to dog one of the Ingersoll family business for many years and endures to this day. His
father R. Sturgis Ingersoll, Sr. was one of the owners of the “loosingist” franchise in major league
baseball, those fighting Philadelphia Phillies.
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
With AT 2017 behind it, the Troop can be proud of yet another training year brought to a successful end. AT 2017 was just one in a long list of past Troop annual trainings that are remembered fondly (or not) by generations of First City Troopers. The Archives contain a charming little pamphlet called Recollections of the Troop March of 1882. Bound in a gold and brown (FTPCC colors) heavy paper, the pamphlet was written by Sergeant Anthony M. Hance No. 894 and privately printed in 1910. It tells the story of the Troop’s 1882 Annual Training and gives us a glimpse of the lives of our predecessors both in and out of the saddle from an earlier era.
The Summer of 1882 was a hot one and many Troopers had by August fled Philadelphia for the seashore or the mountains. With N.G.S. General Order 1882, the men were called back to the Armory to assemble on August 4, 1882 at 1600 hours and in “heavy marching order” proceed to Camp John Fulton Reynolds in Lewistown, PA for the Division Encampment. There they were to be inspected by Adjutant General James W. Latta before passing in review before the General and other assorted state brass.
In the words of Sergeant Hance, a pharmaceutical executive in civilian life, the situation at the Armory was transformational when “straw hats and sticks were replaced by forage caps and sabres: travel-stained linen by regulation flannel; and soon the civilian was metamorphosed into the conventional cavalry-man, with belts, buckles and spurs.”
The Troop entrained to Lewistown and upon arrival were inspected, paraded and then ordered to ride immediately back to Philadelphia, 169 miles away. The Troop was ordered to make the trip in no more than six days. The men mounted up for the return trip just 48 hours after leaving the Armory and without the chance to get any sleep since the night before reporting for duty.
While it’s at times difficult to understand some of the terms used by Sergeant Hance in his reverie, one can deduce their meanings if one understands that the City Trooper of 1882 was in many ways not too dissimilar from the 2017 edition. Hence, the meal “which out of politeness to Quartermaster Craig we called dinner “ was preceded by the Troop first finishing “fragrant Ediths.” While the definition of a “fragrant Edith” is lost to history, could it possibly have been some liquid concoction used by the “mens” to slake their trail thirst? Or maybe it was just a strong cigar.
The 1882 march was no walk in the woods, with Reveille often being blown at 0300, the men immediately watering, feeding, rubbing down and grooming their horses, grabbing a quick breakfast and then falling in to the bugle call “Boots and Saddles”. Each day’s ride was made in plus 90 degree temperatures, the men wearing cork pith helmets to shade them from the unremitting sun. A chocking dust from the trails was everywhere, often turning their blue uniforms the color of chalky grey. Every night the Troop bivouacked in a pasture or a ploughed field, the men often sleeping between the furrows in the field. The daily tedium of the trail march was only broken by the occasional fording of a stream or river which the men often turned into an impromptu bath. On one crossing, one of the mounts decided to lay down in a small tributary of the upper Schuylkill taking his rider and equipment with him.
Surgeon J. William White No. 875 only had two patients on the march, a Trooper Smith who suffered a sprained ankle on a fall from his horse and an unnamed Trooper who claimed to be undergoing withdraw symptoms from civilian life, wishing he was back at “the old Bellevue with a kidney omelet and a pint of Pommery (champagne)”.
Upon reaching the western suburbs of Philadelphia, life for the men improved considerably since many Active Roll members as well as Non Actives and Honoraries maintained estates on the Main Line. Accordingly, the hospitality of several local Trooper-owned homes opened to the men.
The last two days of the march were spent in feasting with the Troop lunching first at the Bryn Mawr estate of Trooper James Rawle No. 903 and later having dinner at the estate of Trooper John C. Groome No. 906 in Haverford. Dinner consisted of corn-beef hash, chicken croquettes, bacon and filet Mignon a la Bearnaise with ice cold champagne.
The next morning the men arrived back at the Armory where they were feted with a magnificent breakfast provided by Troop Captain E. Burd Grubb, No. 839. The march of 1882 was over, and while generally uneventful, it was the longest ride made by the Troop since its participation in the Civil War.
Foreign Awards to City Troopers in World War I
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
So begins the citation for the British Order of Saint Michael and Saint George awarded to Colonel (and former Troop Captain) John C. Groome, No. 906. He represents just one of a number of City Troopers who were decorated for bravery or meritorious service in World War I. The United Kingdom also invested Colonel Groome with the Order of the Bath while France awarded him the Order of the Black Star. Estonia and Imperial Russia also honored Groome with military decorations. Colonel Groome was arguably our most decorated World War I era Trooper although others received impressive gallantry awards.
1LT Frederick Collins Wheeler, No. 1220, while serving as a Marine officer in France received both the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross in addition to the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. France awarded him its Croix de Guerre with Palm. Wheeler’s French citation reads:
“On July 19, 1918, near Vierzy, he led his company to an advanced position in spite of serious losses caused by the machine guns and artillery of the enemy. Although severely wounded he continued his march under the fire of the enemy to indicate to his men the position to occupy. He refused the service of a runner knowing that this man would be exposed to the danger of certain death.”
Major Effingham B. Morris, Jr, No. 1107, later to become Troop Captain was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Legion d’ Honor and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, along with the Purple Heart. The citation to Morris’ Croix de Guerre is insightful:
“An admirably courageous officer. While leading his battalion to the attack when a captain, he was wounded in the leg. Surmounting his pain, he remained at his post for the four following days displaying the finest example of abnegation and contribution largely to the success of the operation.”
Morris and Wheeler along with Captain Harry Ingersoll No. 1112 were the three Troopers who received the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. Other awards were made to Major Barclay Harding Warburton, No. 923 who was made a member of the Order of British Empire and a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order of Great Britain and a chevalier of the French Legion d’ Honor. Major John Houston Merrill, No. 917 was also made chevalier of the Legion d’ Honor while France honored Major Schofield Andrews, No. 1156 with the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star for his service as a staff officer with the 90th Infantry Division during the attack on St. Mihiel. Major William E. Goodman, Jr, No. 1019 was decorated with the French Order of the Black Star.
Fighting on the Italian front, two City Troopers were decorated by the Kingdom of Italy. Major Robert E. Glendinning, No. 949, was made an Officer of the Order of the Iron Crown for his service as commander of the US Army and US Navy Air Services in Italy. Flying bombers against the Austrians, Norton Downs, No. 1170, was awarded the War Cross of Merit before losing his life when his plane crashed into the English Channel on October 23, 1918.
Another pilot, John H. Hunter, II, No. 1250 who later became a Brigadier General in World War II, flew in France where he was wounded and awarded both the French Wound Medal and Engage Voluntaire Medal. William G. Price, Jr, No. 1347 who later became Adjudant General of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard was awarded both the French and Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Major J. Franklin McFadden No. 934, finished the war with the French Legion d’ Honor and the Order of the Rising Sun (fifth class) of Japan. McFadden’s medals along with his American awards are in the Troop Museum collection. While our many of our members earned numerous awards serving in our armed forces, our allies too recognized the valor and merit of Troopers serving in the War to End All Wars.
By Jack Thomas Tomarchio
Most of us are familiar with the Troop’s distinguished record in the Revolutionary War, but few of us know that of the original 28 Associators one actually switched sides! Andrew Allen, Troop No. 2, was from high born stock, and probably the most high born of the original members of the Troop. Allen was born in 1740 into an extremely wealthy family. His father, William Allen, was a merchant and lawyer who eventually became Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Andrew graduated from the City College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) and read law under the mentorship of Benjamin Chew. He completed his legal education in London where he studied at the Inner Temple. Returning to Philadelphia in 1765, he practiced law and was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. Within a year he became the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. In 1770, his brother in law, Governor John Penn gave him a seat on the Governor’s Council. With tensions increasing with Great Britain over the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774, Allen signed the non-importation agreement boycotting British goods and the same year helped organize the Troop at Carpenter’s Hall. On June 30, 1775, he was appointed to the Committee of Safety by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. And later was elected by the Assembly to be a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. Allen was a conservative and adhered to instructions given to him by the General Assembly to refrain from any legislative actions that would lead to independence from the mother country. Indeed, Allen hoped that Congress would seek a reconciliation with Great Britain rather than walk the path to independence. Dismayed when he saw that the colonies were seeking a break with the Crown, Allen resigned from the Troop in 1776 in April of that year. When the Continental Congress began considering a resolution of independence in June 1776, Allen withdrew from Congress and stopped attending any sessions after June 14th. In December 1776, Allen formally switched sides and decamped for New York and the protection of British General Howe. When Howe and the British Army occupied Philadelphia in 1777, Allen returned to our city. His stay was brief and he again left for New York when Howe and his army evacuated Philadelphia in 1778. He sailed for England soon after, and commenced the practice of law in London. He was indicted for treason by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1781 and his properties were confiscated. After the war, the British government reviewed his losses and Allen was awarded a lifetime pension of 400 pounds. In 1792, Allen was pardoned by Pennsylvania and he returned to Philadelphia in 1794 in an attempt to recover some of the old payments due to him. He was unsuccessful and returned to London and his law practice, dying there in 1825.
From the Archives by Jack Thomas Tomarchio
When Non-active Corporal Evan Hunt No. 2200, watched his daughter Gwen get sworn into the U.S. Navy Medical Corps on June 3, 2017, upon her graduation from Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine, he was likely unaware of the historical link between the Navy’s Medical Corps and the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. That historical link can be found in Honorary William Paul Crillon Barton No. 261. Barton was born in Philadelphia in 1786. His father, a prominent lawyer, was the designer of the Great Seal of the United States. Barton graduated from Princeton University in 1805 and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1808. In 1809, he received his commission in the navy, and for the next thirty-five years, he devoted himself to reforming the Navy’s system of medical care for its sailors and marines. Among Barton’s reforms were his insistence that ship-board medical supplies contain lemons and limes for the treatment of scurvy, his drafting of rules to govern naval hospital administration, and his establishment of what would eventually become the Navy Nurse Corps. In 1830, he became the commanding officer of the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, VA, and he also developed the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. President John Tyler appointed Barton as the first head of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in 1842, making him the first (unofficial) Surgeon General of the Navy. (The official post of Navy Surgeon General was formally created in March of 1871). In addition to his naval duties, Barton served on the faculties of both Thomas Jefferson Medical College, where he eventually became Dean, and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Barton died in Philadelphia in 1856, his accomplishments to benefit the navy and the country esteemed by all.
By Honorary AQM Jack Thomas Tomarchio No. 2219
Everyone in the First City Troop has a Troop Number, right?
Trooper Andrew Condon was elected at the March dinner meeting and, Troop Number 2464 was assigned. However there are quite a few more than 2,464 members of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry.
The reason for this is twofold. Over the Troop’s history various men have been elected directly to the Honorary Roll without having served on the Active Roll. Most of these have been men of exceptional military merit: generals, admirals, service secretaries and the like. Customarily these distinguished individuals were elected and given a rosette, but not a Troop number. These Honoraries enjoyed full membership privileges, everything except a number.
The first man elected directly to the Honorary Roll was Major J. Harvey Hurst in the year 1800. Some of the more famous Honoraries in this category included Generals George Gordon Meade, William Tecumseh Sherman and Phil Sheridan, as well as Admirals David Dixon Porter and David G. Farragut, all of Civil War fame. In later years Generals John J. Pershing, Wesley Craig and H. R. McMaster were also elected with Troop Numbers being assigned to them.
The other category of numberless troopers are members of the Volunteer Troops of 1898, 1916 and 1917. These men volunteered to join the Troop in time of grave national emergency. They served with us but were never elected to the Active Roll. In 1937, it was determined that these men should be entitled to Troop membership and thus the Bylaws were suspended and twelve from 1898, six from 1916 and fifty-three from 1917 were elected unanimously to the Honorary Roll. Finally, in 1940, one more man from the Volunteer Troop of 1917 was elected to the Honorary Roll.
To celebrate these elections, a special dinner was held at the Armory on May 10, 1937 which was attended by more than 300 members to welcome these numberless Troopers to the Honorary Roll.
Of Polo, Ponies and Precedent
By Honorary AQM Jack Thomas Tomarchio No. 2219
One of the big stories in Philadelphia in 1909 was the curious tale of City Trooper John W. Converse, No. 1035 and John L. Douglas, Jr. (or Dougherty, as some papers reported it).
Prior to World War I, Trooper Converse was a wealthy business executive as well as one of the best polo players in Philadelphia. On June 30, 1909, while playing polo in Devon, he ran down nine-year-old John L. Douglas, Jr, who was watching the game with a group of boys 23 feet beyond the boundaries of the polo field.
The ball was smashed towards the boys and the riders galloped in their direction. All of the polo players were able to pull up, except for Converse, whose pony trampled young Douglas causing serious injuries.
The boy’s father sued Converse for negligence. The case was non suited for failure to prove negligence and the plaintiffs appealed to the Superior Court which ruled that spectators in polo matched were entitled to be protected from out of control polo ponies. Given this new precedent, Mr. Converse and his lawyers promptly settled the case in 1915.
Converse gained a bit of fame next year by becoming the first Pennsylvanian to volunteer for duty on the US-Mexican Border when he requested leave from the First City Troop to join a flying column of regular United States cavalry on their first mission into Mexico to hunt for Pancho Villa.
His request was denied and Sergeant Converse had to settle for mobilization to the Mexican Border with the rest of the Troop in 1916. There he served as the Troop’s Stable Sergeant. After the deployment Converse decided to stay in the National Guard, eventually becoming our First Sergeant and later Cornet.
He saw action in France in World War I as an artillery officer. Ultimately, he retired from the Army in 1935 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Honorary Cornet Converse died in 1944
By Honorary AQM Jack Thomas Tomarchio No. 2219
As we all know, the Troop carries the unique rank of Cornet, the junior-most officer in the unit. From whence did this rank come and why is it that only the Troop enjoys the privilege of having a Cornet on its rolls? Back in 1963, Lieutenant and Assistant Quartermaster, Roger Bradford Hull, No. 1627 addressed these questions to the Active Roll in a “Dear Trooper” letter. That letter is quoted in its entirety.
Many of you have asked about the rank, status, correct title and prerogatives of the Cornet. Here are the facts:
The Cornet is the junior line officer of the Troop. No other unit has one. This rank is recognized by the Regular Army and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you want to read what the Army says, there’s a paragraph in 21-13, the “Soldier’s Guide”. The Troop’s right to a Cornet is established in the Pennsylvania Military Code, 1949, as amended.
The Cornet originally was the troop officer in a British cavalry unit who was given the honor of carrying the standard. With passing years, this custom was dropped. The mortality among officers was too great.
In our Troop, the Cornet has always been the junior line officer. He’s a full officer, not a warrant or candidate, or anything of that ilk.
The incumbent should be addressed as “Cornet”. The word is pronounced “cor net”, with the accent on the first syllable. Troop officers are not synonymous with musical instruments.
Since the Troop carried a Cornet on its rolls when it was associated in 1774, and has held the rank continuously, since that time, the Department of the Army has recognized that the rank of Cornet is “an ancient and honorable privilege” accorded to the Troop, thus permitting us to maintain the rank in our “force structure”. As the only Cornet in the Army, and thus junior in grade to a second lieutenant, our Cornet enjoys the distinct honor of being the lowest ranking commissioned officer in the United States Army and moreover in the entire Department of Defense. An optimist would liken our Cornet to Atlas holding up the entire officer corps! Or maybe not.
The Godfather and the Surgeon
By Honorary AQM Jack Thomas Tomarchio No. 2219
Upon my return from a business trip to Madrid, Spain three years ago I found myself sitting next to a woman who was reading the University of Pennsylvania Alumni magazine. Striking up a conversation with a fellow Penn alum (her a B.S. from the College, me a Masters from the Fels School), I learned that she was an architect who practiced in Madrid, but had deep Philadelphia roots. Her name was Alexandra Rush Dominiquez. Recognizing the name Rush I asked if she any relation to the famous Revolutionary War surgeon Dr. Benjamin Rush. In fact, she was a direct descendant of the esteemed doctor. Something else was familiar about her name though and I asked her if she was any relation to the long-time Troop Surgeon, Dr. Alexander Rush, No. 1349. Indeed she was his daughter and she related a curious story about one of his most infamous patients. Surgeon Rush graduated from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Elected to the Troop in 1933, he served seven years on the Active Roll before being elected to the Non Active Roll in 1940. Rush was commissioned in the Medical Corps and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, earning three battle stars, and being discharged as a Major. He was elected Troop Surgeon in 1946 and served for many years in that capacity before being elected to the Honorary Roll in 1979. When not drilling with the Troop, our Surgeon became prominent as one of the leading gastroenterologists in Philadelphia with offices at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). One day in the 1960’s two men presented themselves at Dr. Rush’s offices. They said their boss needed to see the “doc” for a painful stomach ulcer and that he was in his car in the hospital parking lot and needed to see the “doc” now. Dr. Rush’s receptionist, a stalwart woman in her fifties politely informed the gentlemen that since their boss had no appointment he could not be seen that day. The men, two swarthy rough-looking characters, informed the receptionist, that it was unwise to say no to the boss and they told her in no uncertain terms that if the “doc knew what was good for him, he’d see the boss now.” Being a quick study, the receptionist consulted with the doctor who came out to size these characters up. Inquiring of the men the name of their boss, Dr. Rush learned it was Angelo Bruno, the Godfather of Philadelphia’s Mafia. On the spot, he decided it would be a prudent career move to see the patient post haste. After the initial consult, Dr. Rush embarked upon a course of treatment that eventually cured Mr. Bruno of his ulcer, no doubt an occupational hazard of Mafia dons. With a healthy and satisfied patient to his credit, Dr. Rush resumed his practice. Several weeks after Mr. Bruno’s last visit, the two gents returned to Dr. Rush’s office bearing an envelope. They asked to see the “doc” and informed him a grateful Mr. Bruno was presenting Dr. and Mrs. Rush a two week all expenses cruise to Italy (where else) aboard the S.S. Leonardo DaVinci. At first Dr. Rush demurred, noting that he had billed Mr. Bruno for his services and this further largesse was wholly unnecessary. Again the visitors reminded Surgeon Rush, that it wasn’t advisable to turn the boss down, and that he should go to Italy and have a nice time with his wife…or else. It was one of the best vacations the Rushes ever had! Surgeon Rush passed away quietly in 1983. His famous patient died not as quietly in 1980, a shotgun blast to the back of his head as he sat in his car on a South Philadelphia street.
"In Boston they ask, how much does he know? In New York, how much is he worth? In Philadelphia, who were his parents?” - Mark Twain
[Author's note: this post is an excerpt from The Gentlemen of Gloucester, a book available here on Amazon.]
In 1963 and 1964, Anwar Kemal studied in Philadelphia as a recipient of the Troop's Boyer Scholarship.
A native of Pakistan, Kemal arrived in the United States at a special moment in history, at the peak of Pax Americana, before the country got fully embroiled in Vietnam. When he returned home, he became a diplomat in Pakistan, helped by his experiences and connections with the First City Troop.
Last year Kemal discovered an undeveloped roll of color film from his time in Pennsylvania, and was able to develop all the photos. These fresh prints—almost eerie in their newness—capture daily life in suburban Philadelphia at that time.
The images show that, although it’s easy for current generations to view the 1960s through a lens preoccupied with hippie counterculture, free love, and Woodstock, many of the young “baby boomers” who joined the Troop in that decade reflected another aspect of America then.
In his book Past Imperfect, Julian Fellowes likened the era to a Janus head, facing both ways into the past and future. Large segments of society still looked back to the 1950s, with behavior based on much older patterns, when girls wouldn’t kiss on the first date, boys weren’t fully dressed without a necktie, and mothers wore hats and gloves when they left the house. Contemporary photographs and snapshots of Troopers demonstrate that they fell into the latter category.