Category Archives: Book Signings & Happenings

My new book: to be published in 2018

milfordmills-coverfrontandsideTo save time, I am cross-pollinating on my social media sites.

A link to my Twitter Account




My updated and expanded book will have 21 chapters, illustrated vintage maps, and early photographs.

Most people are intrigued with the “Bo Bo” Hoff connection – the famous Philadelphia gangster (and Al Capone’s partner-in-crime) spent five years in a mansion/hideout in Milford Mills.

Here is an excerpt from some of the “curious” landmarks

“Murder Hollow” and Other Tales

From 1836 to 1916, the miller and farmer Benjamin G. Nichols was held in high regard for his productive saw mill and a cider mill that used many varieties of apples from his farm on Creek Road.

In the 1930s, Nichols’ son, Oliver, was similarly well-known. His former store and gas station still stands at the corner of Creek and Crawford Roads, just north of the Struble trail at Dorlan’s. According to local legend and written accounts during the gangster “Bo Bo” Hoff’s residency in Milford Mills, this stretch of Creek Road was known as “Murder Hollow” after the body of an unidentified woman was found along Creek Road and a “severed head” found floating in the nearby East Branch.

Equally frightening was the area’s reputation for harboring the “Dorlan’s Devil,” an apparition that was described as “an oversized kangaroo with long black hair and eyes like large red saucers.”   One news notice in 1937, reported a sighting “after an absence of five years.” The “witnesses” included a Downingtown paper mill worker with the unusual name of Cydney Ladley as well as his “wife and Mrs. Chester Smith”who were with him in the family car, on the way to Milford Mills from Dorlan’s.   The sighting in 1932 was made by two nursery men who working in the heavily wooded area near Dorlan’s. One man, “Charles McCandless of Landsdowne” was asked, as was Ladley, if he did not mistake the “beast” for a deer – a stupid question, as the reporter suggests, knowing that deer were so common in “those parts.” The “apparition which crossed his path was no deer,” reported Ladley, who later organized a search party. “Armed with guns and accompanied by hunting dogs, the men tramped about that section for several hours without locating the menacing brute,” it was reported.

A few years later, in 1935, the myterious death of Evelyn Hoey seemed to seal the reputation of “Murder Hollow” although the “murder” took place some distance away, in what was described as a sprawling mansion on Indian Run Road in Glenmoore. Hoey, a Broadway theater torch singer and an aspiring actress who had a Paramount contract, was spending the week in the mansion, then the home of Henry Huddleston Rogers 3d, grandson of a deceased millionaire, “Col.” Henry Huddleston Rogers, who was co-founder, with John D. Rockfeller, of Standard Oil.

According to one account written decades after insident, police were called to the scene on the night of September 11th, and they found Hoey dead from a head wound in the master bedroom. Her body was taken to a mogue in Downingtown and later to the county seat of West Chester for an autopsy. A coroner’s jury returned an open verdict that Hoey killed herself, but still Rogers and a friend, William Kelly, were arrested on suspicion of homicide.[1]

[1] A Wikipedia entry for the incident presents a list of people at home in the mansion as though presenting characters in a Clue board game. In addition to Kelly, “a photographer,” there was “a Japanese cook, George Yamada, a butler, and Rogers’ chauffeur, Frank Catalano.”

It’s A Book Signing (actually for two books!)

Announcing the publication of two walking tour booklets featuring historic African-American and Civil War era sites in West Chester, Pa.

Local author and historian Catherine Quillman completed the histories with the help of grants from the Leeway Foundation and research by co-author Sarah Wesley, who grew up in the “East End,” West Chester’s historic African-American community.
A book signing is planned for Wednesday evening, October 1st , from 7 p.m. to 9 pm. at the Chester County Book Co. , at 967 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. (

The authors will be signing copies of newly released history, Walking the “Uptown” of West Chester, Pa. They will also be signing the new expanded second edition of Walking the East End: the historic African-American community of West Chester, Pa.

The new edition is designed to be a scholarly resource (and walking tour) and features a new appendix  and  special section documenting the lives of former slaves and free black residents in 19th century West Chester and their activities before and during the Civil War. 

The unusual stories of free black men like Abraham D. Shadd, whose image is found on a commemorative stamp in Ontario, Canada, are also featured.   Shadd was one of three black “agents” involved in West Chester’s Underground Railroad. He was also a mentor to  the sole black survivor of the famous Harper’s Ferry raid who went onto help publicize John Brown’s actions in the book,  A Voice from Harper’s Ferry.

Walking the Uptown  is illustrated with numerous old postcards and photographs, many of them offering a rare glimpse into the lives of early black entrepreneurs.

The authors will be happy to personalize your copy. Be the first to own these limited-edition booklets.  Each book features a pull-out map that can be used as walking tour guide.

One of two recent publications completed with the help of the Leeway Foundation
One of two recent publications completed with the help of the Leeway Foundation

Announcing the publication of the second edition of A Watercolor How-To: Tips and Techniques My Instructor Never Taught Me by Joe Kowalewski

A new book from Quillman Publications, released June, 2014
A new book from Quillman Publications, released June, 2014


Ridley Park resident (and octogenarian) Joe Kowalewski feels that he was fortunate to get his dream book published. He put “everything” he knew about the art of watercolor, but after the first edition was published, he discovered that were still some tips and techniques he wanted to impart to the beginner painter. As its title suggests, the book includes techniques  Kowalewski  discovered in his many years of painting and are not found in any other art book.

Kowalewski, said he that when he first took up watercolor painting after his retirement in the late 1990s, he read many books on the subject but found that most of them did not describe the strategies he learned along the way. Most of all, he wanted a book that would inspire others to build their own picture frames as he does.

“I like to buy and read watercolor books,”Kowalewski said, “But whenever I read them, I see that they are not geared towards the absolute beginner or the artist who wants to try techniques on his own.”

A book signing is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 28th at the Art Association at 100 N Bradford Ave, West Chester, PA (610) 696-5600  (   The public is welcome to come out, meet the author and enjoy complementary refreshments. The book will be sold at the especial price of $20. 

 From the Book Cover:  Now in its second edition, this informative book – by an artist who began to paint after he retired – focuses on the tips and techniques not found in any other art book. As the title suggests, the author discovered most of the ideas in this book after doing things the hard way and then asking: there must be a better way.  Readers will find that A Watercolor How-to imparts information in an easy-to-read format, with touches of humor, that is certain to help even the most reluctant beginner painter. 

The new edition includes practical tips to help you set-up your work space and palette. Plus there are additional chapters filled with more technical information such as “Some Perspective on Perspective”  and “Creating Textures (Without Texting), as well as  a new glossary and index.

In response to many  reader comments, the author decided to include a larger collection of  his unique frames that he  designed for his own paintings. The author hopes they will give you some ideas for framing as you go about completing works of art, and displaying them for friends and family. As Joe says, art is adventure meant to be shared.

About the Author: Octogenarian Joe Kowalewski took up painting after he retired from a long career as an engineer at a nuclear power plant in Southern New Jersey.With the exception of a few evening classes taken at a local high school and at the Schoolhouse Senior Center, near his home in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, Joe is an entirely self-taught artist. Joe enjoys painting many different subjects, and displays his work in unique and often homemade frames. Indeed, he feels especially gifted in his ability to construct these frames. As he says, ideas just come to him. In addition to painting, Joe has worked part-time as a handyman and has served as a volunteer for the past 17 years at the Chester County Art Association in West Chester, Pennsylvania.