Matthias Meeker (1744-1832), father of William Parson Meeker and brother of the sitter’s father Captain Samuel Meeker, leads Springfield NJ in giving hope to the citizens of Philadelphia in 1793.
The yellow fever raged through Philadelphia in the year 1793 and the citizens could find no refuge in other cities and towns…
“While our citizens were proscribed in several cities and towns—hunted up like felons in some— debarred admittance and turned back in others….it is with extreme satisfaction I have to record a conduct totally different, which ought to make a strong impression on the minds of the people of Philadelphia, and call forth lively emotions of gratitude.
…At Woodbury, in NJ, at an early period of the disorder, a meeting was held for the purpose of determining on what steps were requisite to be taken…A respectable number of the inhabitants of Springfield, in NJ, met and after full consideration of the distresses of our citizens, passed a resolve, offering their town as an asylum to the people flying from Philadelphia and directing their committee to provide a suitable place as an hospital for the sick. The Rev. J. Artsdalen, Matthias Meeker, and Matthias Denman, took the lead in this honourable business.” From "Miscellaneous Essays Matthew Carey" ~Originally published Philadelphia, 1830~ Ayer Publishing 1966 p. 64
This room, in a five-bay, two-and-one-half-story stuccoed stone house with gable roof, built by Mr. Deshler in Germantown on the Schuylkill River in about 1777, was rented to President Washington during the yellow fever outbreaks in Philadelphia.
Here you can see how a portrait was typically hung in this time period. The portrait of Isaac Franks (1759-1822) (above fireplace mantel) is by Gilbert Stuart.
From Lawrence Park:
Isaac Franks was a son of Moses and Sarah Franks of New York City, and served under Washington during the whole of the Revolution, during which he received several wounds. After the peace of 1783 he filled various civil commissions. In 1782 he married Mary Davison of Philadelphia, and lived in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and at the time of his death was prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Philadelphia. About 1805 he removed to Ephrata, and about 1815 to Philadelphia. It was to Franks' house in Germantown that Washington retired from Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemic.
It can be easily speculated that Samuel Meeker and others from the family retired to their country villa on the banks of the Schuylkill River. This villa was called "Fountain Green." More on that later!