The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Grief & Adversity
While the iron business grew, so too did the Lukens family. Rebecca had her hands full — raising children, managing a 19th century household, and partnering in decision-making for the iron mill. In 1824, Charles and Rebecca experienced tragedy and grief. In short succession they suffered the loss of their infant son, Issac, and Rebecca’s beloved father, Isaac Pennock. While still mourning these losses, their remaining son, Charles, also died.

During this time of grief, Rebecca learned that her father’s ambiguous will did not pass a clear title for Brandywine Iron Works to her, as had been expected. Her mother, Martha Webb Pennock, concerned with providing for her other children, insisted upon the repayment of loans, along with interest and rents. This caused Rebecca to think she was paying twice over for the property and the improvements she and Dr. Lukens had made.