Hargrave House is Home to a Budding Journalist

When stone monument maker John P. Stilwell died in 1928, his wife, Harriet, moved out of the house at 50 S. Main St. and rented the property to the Trauch family. According to the 1930 federal census, Ira E. Trauch, a baker, and his wife, Mary, who worked at a laundry, rented the house for $37 per month.

The oldest son of that family was 23-year-old Lester. He had recently graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown and began working for the W. Atlee Burpee Seed Co. at the edge of town. Later that year, he took at job as a court reporter for the town’s newspaper, The Daily Intelligencer. Trauch, who was nicknamed “Scoop,” would work for that news publication for more than 50 years. He eventually became an associate editor and creator of the popular “Man About Town” column.

While John Stilwell was active in his marble business when he was alive, his wife was an active member of the Doylestown community. She was instrumental in establishing the first Doylestown Emergency Hospital, working for many months on Village Improvement Association committees that steered its opening. She also was busy as a member of Salem Reformed Church, the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the American Legion and the Doylestown branch of the Needlework Guild.

Sadly, both her children preceded her in death. Son Samuel, an assistant district attorney, died of Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 34, leaving behind a wife and two children. Then daughter Susanna died in Philadelphia at the age of 43.

In 1934, a year after Harriet Stilwell lost her last child, Harriet died at the age of 77. She had been in ill health for two years, and she died at the home of her daughter-in-law on East Court Street. Her will stated that the house and lot at 50 S. Main St. were to be sold.
The marble business would continue with the next owners, but it would be five years before another sale of the property took place.