View of Vandewater Street, corner of Frankfort Street, 1863

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Lithograph of Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway, N.Y.
Valentine's Manual


Collection of author
By the late 1850s, both Philip White and Albro Lyons had moved to Vandewater Street, Philip to number 40, and Albro to 20. Vandewater was a typical Lower Manhattan Street, comprised of buildings that were both residential and commercial, tall and low, frame and brick. Since Marticha noted in her memoir that her family lived in a large brick building, her home might well have been one of the structures on the left side of the street. In addition to being the family residence, it housed a Colored Sailors' Home run by her father, and was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Philip White lived a few doors from the Lyons; his drugstore was located right around the corner. Indeed, if instead of going up Vandewater, you turned left onto Frankfort you'd find it at the very next corner. Like Lyons’s Sailors Home, it was an important landmark in the black community. Visiting New York some years earlier, black Bostonian William C. Nell had praised Philip as a “practical man” who “conducted his business, preparing medicines, etc., etc., etc. with as much readiness and skill as any other disciple of Galen and Hippocrates.”



Lithograph of Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway, N.Y. , “View of Vandewater Street, corner of Frankfort Street, 1863,” Black Gotham Archive, accessed March 21, 2018,