|Birth: ||Apr., 1874|
|Death: ||Oct. 4, 1959|
The man was gone before I was born, but I owe many happy childhood summers to him. My fondly-remembered summer camp is gone now too, a victim of governmental folly.
The proposed (but thankfully never executed) Tocks Island Dam project would have dammed the mighty Delaware River and wiped out thousands of acres of natural beauty, prized historic structures, and much local history. Along with many old farms and homesteads, my camp was bought up by the federal government and knocked down for this ill-advised scheme. It is in recognition of how much was lost and how much more would have been lost that I have a number of virtual cemeteries called "Tocks Island Dam Project" which cover many of the cemeteries that would have been destroyed and left underwater if this plan had come to fruition. But, back to Peter P. Hagan, and my camp.
For a long time I had wondered why my beloved summer camp was called "Camp Hagan" and today I found out. The June 23, 1937 Reading Eagle newspaper (of Reading, Pennsylvania) reported that Camp Miller (for boys, which my father once attended) was marking its 16th season, while it was the first year of operation for Camp Hagan for girls. It went on to note that the ground for Hagan was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter P. Hagan of Philadelphia. I spent some time trying to assemble bits of the life of Mr. Hagan (which are below), but the best expression of his life is from his obituary from the New York Times on October 6, 1959:
Peter P. Hagan, 85
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 5 - Peter P. Hagan, retired carpet manufacturer and Lutheran layman, died yesterday at his home in suburban Jenkintown. He was 85 years old.
Mr. Hagan was a former director of James Lees and Sons Company, a former president of Charles P. Cochrane Company, and a former chairman of the board of the old Lees-Cochrane Company.
As a Lutheran layman Mr. Hagan has served as vice-president of the board of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, as a trustee of Tabor Home for Children in Doylestown, as treasurer of the Parish and Church School Board and as a member of the Board of Pensions of the United Lutheran Church in America.
For many years Mr. Hagan had been president of the Philadelphia Lutheran Inner Mission Society and vice president of the Lutheran Laymen's Movement for Stewardship.
Camp Hagan for girls at Shawnee-on-the-Delaware was his gift to the Ministerium of Pennsylvania. In 1945 Muhlenberg College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.
Mr. Hagan was a member of the Union League and the Old York Road Country Club.
Surviving are his widow, Elizabeth; two daughters, Mrs. Russell C. Gebert and Mrs. A. Grant Stevens; six grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Peter was a son of John A and Mary Hagan of Philadelphia. His dad John's parents were born in Ireland, while his mom's father was born in France and and her mother in Baden. His father was a laborer on the 1880 census.
By the 1900 census, our Peter was a widower in his twenties. In his household at 3128 G Street in 1900 were his children Iva and Elmer, and his brothers John, Frederick, and William. An obituary for his first wife has been found.
The November 9, 1912 Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
[The J. T. Jackson Company has] sold a new dwelling located on the north side of Prospect avenue, west of Spring avenue, in the new Melrose Park section, also a lot immediately adjoining the same. This property was purchased by Peter P. Hagan and is to be occupied by him for his residence. The property was built and owned by Charles T. Walker. The total consideration was $20,000.
I found several references online where Mr. Hagan was a breeder of rather rare Berkshire pigs, which originate in Britain. These fast maturing pigs said to be "Britain's oldest pig breed" are prized for their heavily marbled pink meats, boasting a high fat content, rendering the cooked product tender and flavorful.
"Peter P. Hagan" shows up repeatedly in histories of the Lutheran church in the United States, both online and in books, frequently in a leadership role, frequently in fundraising and money management. To recount it all here would be tedious for most readers, but clearly Mr. Hagan's life was one devoted to service as a layman in the Lutheran church.
Because of the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Hagan thousands of girls treasure memories of singing at vespers in the outdoor chapel, ghost stories of "Bloody Mary" returning for her lost head, washing our hair in the Delaware, and floating hundreds of tiny candles down the river the last night of each session. The sisterhood established there lives on in the happy minds and hearts of many a former Hagan Hag.
Many thanks to Bob for sponsoring this memorial of an outstanding man from whom anyone would be proud to descend.
Anna Maria Freeman Hagan (____ - 1900)
Elizabeth B Wilson Hagan (1873 - 1962)
Amanda Hagan Stevens (1893 - 1966)*
Iva Lillian Hagan Gebert (1895 - 1976)*
West Laurel Hill Cemetery
Plot: Worcester 20
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Apr 26, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51666150