Edward “Ned” A. Hodge collection of Pusey & Jones Corporation photographs1938-1962
0.25 Linear Feet
Edward “Ned” A. Hodge (1896-1978) was the Vice-President of the Pusey & Jones Corp. in charge of engineering and shipbuilding. Hodge was descended from telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872). His great grandfather Richard Cary Morse (1796-1858) was Samuel Morse's brother.
Richard Cary Morse, had three daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth Morse (1828-1891), had married, in 1857 Samuel Colgate (1822-1897), the founder of Colgate Palmolive, a leading soap and oral hygiene manufacturing company. The couple had six sons, three who were interested in sailing, Richard Morse Colgate (1854-1919), Russell Colgate (1874-1941), and Sidney Morse Colgate (1862-1930). Ned Hodge’s cousins were members of the New York Yacht Club. This family connection gave Hodge’s an entry into the exclusive club as well.
Ned Hodge's father Dr. Richard Morse Hodge (1864-1928), was a Presbyterian minister, author and lecturer, described as follows in his NY Times obituary, 5/17/1928: “Author, lecturer and educational executive….from 1907 to 1919 he lectured on Biblical literature..(at) Columbia University and for the previous six years had been in charge of extension courses for lay students at Union Theological Seminary.” The Morse family contained a line of Presbyterian ministers going back directly twelve generations to Anthony Morse (1607-1686) in Newbury, Massachusetts. Samuel F. B. Morse's grandfather, the Reverend Jedidiah Morse (1761-1819) was part of the original Puritan Colony in Massachusetts with Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
Richard M. Hodge was also descended from Charles Hodge (1797-1878), founder of the Hodge Theological Seminary at Princeton. Richard M. Hodge was a man of God who advised well known, wealthy industrialists of the era. He was the personal minister to the prominent financier and banker John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan (1837-1913) who regularly invited friends aboard his yacht, The Corsair to hear Hodge's sermons.
In 1888, Richard M. Hodge married Alice Austen (1860-1939). The couple had two children, Genevieve Austen Hodge (1894-unknown) and Edward “Ned” Austen Hodge.
Ned Hodge was born in Virginia but the Morse family had been in New York for seven generations. He attended Princeton University but left because of World War I. Soon after leaving Princeton, he was made Superintendent of the Port of New York at age nineteen, one of the youngest man ever to hold that position.
In 1924, he married his first wife Olive Jackson (dates unknown) in Norwalk, Connecticut. They had two children George Hodge (dates private) and Barbara Hodge (dates private). In 1929, after the stock market crash, the couple divorced and Hodge's moved to Paradise Island (Nassau) to pursue his passion for sailing.
In 1934, through his friend Alfred E. “Bill” Luders Jr. (1909-1999) of Luders Shipbuilding in Stamford, Connecticut, Hodge had met his second wife, Eleanore Mulgrew (1911-1973) from New York. In 1939 they eloped to Wilmington, Delaware where Hodge had been hired by the Pusey & Jones Corp as a Vice-President in charge of engineering and shipbuilding.
In Delaware, they met Philip Laird (1888-1947) and Lydia Laird (1895-1975) who owned the historic George Read House in New Castle, now owned and operated as a historic house museum by the Delaware Historical Society. During the 1920s, The Lairds played a significant role in preserving many historic homes in New Castle. They purchased and rented homes in town to friends and relatives. The Hodge's rented a house at 25 The Strand in New Castle, Delaware from the Lairds and remained there for sixteen years. In 1955, they moved to Montchanin, Delaware to a seventeen-acre property adjoining the Winterthur Museum.
In 1944, the Hodge's had a son, Richard “Peter” Morse Hodge, who later graduated from Wilmington's Tower Hill School in 1962. During this period Hodge designed most of Pusey & Jones' ships for the United States Navy and after the war, designed paper-making machines more than a mile in length. He held several patents (notably #'s 2677898 & 2677899) on the Fordrinair Dryer.
Through the New York Yacht Club, and as Chairman of the Race Committee at the American Yacht Club in Rye, New York, Hodge had re-written racing rules for Long Island Sound in the 1920s. From his yacht club and sailing friend Henry Ford (1863-1947), he had bought a mahogany “tender” (or a 'launch') for the Ford yacht, and used it to commute during World War II to Pusey & Jones (on the Christina River) from New Castle. During the war, he kept that boat in the Lairds' New Castle “yacht basin,” which, during the 1940s was still in service. Hodge commuted to work on the Delaware River.
In 1941, Hodge purchased a 1940 Lincoln Continental from Edsel Ford (1893-1943). The car was built by the Ford Motor Co. specially for Ford in 1940 as a birthday present, (the dash plated in 24k gold). Ford disliked the car because it weighed 4 tons and was difficult to steer. Hodge drove the car for nearly twenty years, then put it on cement blocks covered with a white car cloth in his barn in Montchanin. He liked to take friends into the barn and show off the car by dramatically removing the cloth that covered his cherished automobile. His other passion was making chilled vichyssoise with wild Montchanin chives.
After the bankruptcy of Pusey & Jones in 1959, the Hodges continued their life in Montchanin. Hodge designed houses for friends, and his wife continued with her regular Tuesday tennis with her friend Margaretta Greenewalt (1902-1991), whose husband, Crawford Greenewalt (1902-1993) was Chairman of the Board at the DuPont Company.
In 1962, Hodge took a cruise on the SS Sun with Ernest du Pont Jr. (1903-1982) from Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania to Ingleside, Texas.
His much beloved wife died in 1973. He relocated to Coronado, California where he passed away in 1978
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- Edward “Ned” A. Hodge collection of Pusey & Jones Corporation photographs
- Laurie Sather, 2017.
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