Saturday, May 20, 2017



Communication of Assistant Engineer, Adam Steel, of the office of United States Engineer, General William F. Smith, in an effort to give a professional view of the inland waterway through the Peninsula, with special reference to the Chincoteague route, which route the War Department has accepted.

Engineer Adam Steel, under direction of General W. T. Smith, herewith gives valuable comparative data. Since 1885, $143,750 have been approated and expended when a connection was made in 1892 between the head of Little Assaawaman Bay and Indan River Bay, through Whites Creek, by the excavation across a neck of land, 20 feet wide on the bottom to the depth of 4 feet below the bays level. This gves the lower bays a northern outlet at Indian River Inlet, however, there are sand shoals in the Assaawaman and Isle of Wright Bays that prevent vessels drawing more that 3 feet of water to pass. Since the summer of 1893 operations are in progress to open to navigation the upper shore of of Rehoboth Bay to Delaware Bay. A cut 20 foot wide and 6 feet deep crossing Rehoboth Neck, but due to very heavy cutting and small appropriations it may be several years before the waters of Rehoboth Bay flow northward to the Delaware Bay. That outlet is now at Indian River Inlet which is bad obstructed by shoals, but could be put in a condition to make this outlet available to all vessels of light draft coming from below, as far south as Chincoteague Bay.

It has been found that since Indian River Bay and Assawaman Bay have been connected, that the prevailing current is from Indian River Bay into the Assawamen Bay and only during exceptional storms is that reversed. This means that the pent up waters of Indian River Bay coming in through Indian River Inlet, at high tide, seek an outlet in another direction , the cross section of the of the Inlet being too small to let out the same amount of waters that came in during the preceding high tide. So some salt waters is forced through the new canal into Assawamen Bay which will gradually produce a change in the vegetation and animal life of its waters. It is supposed, that when the outlet into the Delaware Bay is completed, the surface of Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay, which are now two feet above mean low water in the ocean , will be lowered much by these new ducts st the extreme and opposite end of the bays, and Indian River Inlet , will close after the natural scouring force which now keeps it open is drawn in another direction.

The advantage of this waterway lies in the benefits that will accrue to the cultivators of the land bordering along these bays , and in the facility with which the markets may be reached by water, once the canal is opened. There are thousands of acres of land laying idle, along this route , now unavailable but should be under cultivation. It has been thought that the whole Delmarva Peninsula
will become is destined to become the great garden spot of North American States, supplying early vegetables, fruits, flowers, &c., to te same extent and same fine quality as its surrounding waters are now doing with oysters, terrapin, crabs and fish.

To some extent this has already become true and need not to be pointed out. As the cities and populations of the adjacent states continues to grow at the present rate, the demand for garden products, the truckpatch and orchards, will increase and all the tillable land of the Peninsula will be needed to furnish the demand. It is important that the waterways should be put in order now and not wait for the developments of the future.

The railroads have already shown more foresight in this respect and new branches of tracks are being planned down the Peninsula. It is generally assumed the interest of railroads are opposed to waterway improvements, which run parallel with them and tap into their territory. Statistics of both Europe and America prove this to be not true and railroads are destined to supplement and not supplant each other.

To the railroads go the least burdensome traffic needing regularity and quick transit, to the waterways go heavy freight which need low rates. Waterway also restrain and moderate freight charges of the railroad.

There has been much agitation the past several years for extending the a waterway between Chincoteague and Delaware Bays. One plan, to continue its present the general direction along the
coast toward Cape Charles, Virginia through the many inland bays below the Chincoteague Inlet and orders for survey are now in Congress. The other plan, to connect Pocomoke River to Synepuxent Bay by a canal above Snow Hill, Maryland. Surveys and cost estimates are to be sent to Congress next winter. Such a waterway would be of benefit to traffic of small coastal vessels and bring the whole of Chesapeake Bay to our shores, and Baltimore, a major port, to the market place.


Thursday, May 18, 2017



A new government hospital at the Delaware Breakwater is to replace Lazaretto Station located above Chester, Pennsylvania on the Delaware river.

The government has commenced on a hospital at Lewes for persons affected with contagious diseases entering America from forigen countrys. For sometime past efforts have been made looking toward the removal of he quarantine station above Chester, Pennsylvania to some point near the Delaware Breakwater. The proximity of the present station buildings to the city of Philadelphia and danger arisiing to towns on the river and bay from infected vessels have made action of this kind necessary.

The new one story building is to be situated 200 yards south of the present U. S. Marine Hospital and will contain three rooms with porches on the east and west sides, the west posrch being 33feet, 6 inches, and the other being 22 feet and 6 inches. The one story building will cover space of 50 x 30, the ward room to be 38 x 30. A door from the ward room leads to the west porch and will be bright with eight 8 x 19 windows . An attendants room will locate in the southwest end, here to be the hospital and pharmacy. The kitchen with a large pantry and a water pump is to adjoin here.

Wilmington Evening Journal, Monday, May 21, 1888. Abstract Harrison Howeth 2017.



The Public are respectfully informed That a School for Young Ladies is established under the direction of Mr. R. S. Clarke, where they are instructed in the necessary parts of Female Education and in useful accomplishment, such as; English Language, Grammatically, Elocution, Writing,
Arithmetic, Geography and the use of maps and globes, &c.

And a Classical School is open under the direction of Mr. Peter Laughlin , where young gentlemen will be prepared for the Universities. They will also be instructed in all branches of English Education, Mathematics, Navigation, Surveying, Book Keeping, &c.

Morals and manners of the pupil will be particularly attended to.

We are happy to announce that from an acquaintance with Mr. R. S. Clarke as a teacher of the English Language in this place for two years past, and the proficiency which his pupils has made, we feel no hesitation in saying that all who may favor him with charge of their youth will find in him both abilities and assiduity as well as a most happy mode of governing and instructing his pupils.

And while an acquaintance with Mr. Clarke enables us to vouch for his abilities and attention , the full and ample recommendations which accompanies Mr. McLaughlin , together with a small personal acquaintance , authorizes us to place equal confidence in his abilities as teacher of the languages and mathematics.

We have no doubt that as an Academy thus established under the care and guidance of such gentlemen of merit and talents, in a place most noted for beauty and healthfulness, where Board and Tuition will not exceed One Hundreds Dollars per annum, will confer upon many the blessings of a genteel and accomplished education

Signed: Dr. Hall, Daniel Rodney, Caleb Rodney, John White, James Wilson, George Parker,
William Wolfe, James Wiltbank, Frederick Rowe and Jacob Wolfe.
Lewes on Delaware, September 13, 1803.

Source: Advertisement, Wednesday, September 14, 1803, Mirror of the Times & General Advertiser,
Wilmington, Delaware.  Abstract Harrison Howeth, Lewes, Delaware 2017.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

James H. W. Thompson son of Mary Thompson, Mosquito Lady


James Harrison Wilson Thompson was born in Greenville, New Castle County, Delaware, 21 March, 1906, to Henry Burlington Thompson and his wife Mary Wilson Thompson. Henry Thompson was born in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 6 August 1857, to Lucius Peters and Caroline Jones Burlington Thompson , and became a wealthy manufacturer in the cotton industry. He had a sister born 1859, a brother born 1863 and another sister born 1870, all born in Pennsylvania.

On the 14th of April, 1891, Henry Burlington Thompson married Mary Wilson. In addition to James Harrison Wilson Thompson, they had Elinor, born 1901; Henry, Jr., born 1897; Katherine, born 1893; and Mary born 1892. These siblings were all born in Wilmington, New Castle County. Henry and Mary both died at their Brookwood Farm

Mary Wilson was born 30 October 1866 in Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, to General James Harrison Wilson, U. S. Army Retired who lived between 1837 and 1925. The generals wife was Ella Andrews, born 1846, married 1866. It appears that this family had only the one daughter.

General James Harrison Wilson was born on September 2, 1837, in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois, to Harrison Wilson and Catherine Schneider. General Wilson died in Wilmington, Delaware, 23 February 1925 at age 87 and is buried in Olde Swedes Cemetery, Wilmington. Graduated at West Point in 1860, he was part of the Port Royal expedition and the capture of Fort Pulaski, made major 13 April 1852. He was on the staff of McClellen at South Mountain and Antietam. After Vicksburg and Chattanooga , 1863, made Lt.. Colonel. In 1864 he commanded the 3rd Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, an became a full colonel while fighting in the wilderness.
He was commander of the cavalry in Mississippi, October 1864 to July 1865 , led cavalry expeditions in Georgia and Alabama as a brigadier general. He retired from the Army 31, December 1870 and was engaged in railroad management in the United States and China. Upon the outbreak of the Spanish American War he was commissioned a major general and served until 1901 when he again retired.

This was Mary Wilson Thompson's , “The Mosquito Woman” of Rehoborth, father, and the grandfather of James Harrison Wilson Thompson, an architecture graduate at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. During WWII Thompson enlisted as a private in the National Guard Coastal Artillery and after a year service became a member of the OSS, a intelligence agency. Trained in guerilla warfare, served in North Africa and Europe, then sent to the jungles of Thailand. The end of WWII canceled assignments and Thompson went back to Thailand to help resuscitate that country's ailing silk industry. He established a network of weaver in Bangkok to produce materials of colors that attracted American fashion. This silk empire erned him the title of “Silk King” and provided funds to pursue his love of art and architecture. In 1959 he designed and erected a Thai style teak house, assembled a collection of porcelains, carvings, paintings and works of art, opened a museum.

There is a record of a marriage in Virginia, Albemarle county , that J. H. W. Thompson married a daughter of Oscar Robert Thraves, but no other data was available.

During the Veitnam War in 1967, Thompson visited friends in Cameron, Pahang, Maylaysia, while there was 'lost' while taking a stoll and disappeared. His days with the OSS and or natural hazards of the tropical jungle gave no clue. He just disappeared, the son of the enigmatic “mosquito Lade” of Rehoboth was never seen again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017




Plans for construction of a large airport here were revealed today as Air Service, Inc., of New Castle, signed a contract for purchase of a 124 acre tract of land, known as the Ebe Tunnell farm, at Midway, just one and one half miles northwest of town. The land cost $8800 it is known.

The new field, which is square, is high ground with clay soil , will be designed to accommodate the largest air transports now in service. Of the four runways planned, the longest will be 3400 feet and the shortest 2350.

It is understood that when in service nest year, the airport will be a scheduled stop for air service from Washington, D. C. and Newark, New Jersey. There will be a large hanger erected and all modern equipment installed.

Work is intended to begin September 15, 1937 according to Magistrate Leon “Blub” Thompson, the president of Rehoboth Beach Air Club. Mr. Thompson is a veteran pilot of the U. S. Navy in WWI, and is largely instrumental in having the airport placed here. A farm house and other farm outhouses now on the land will be razed and the entire tract is to be scraped and rolled.
Runways will be grass and most work complete by the first of the new year and ready for use by May 1, 1938.

When he as Chief Airport Surveyor for the Aeronautical Branch U. S. Department of Commerce, discovered the tract and persuaded Rehoboth Town Commissioners to purchase it and have the Civil Works Administration to improve it.

The Rehoboth Beach Air Club has a lease on a 45 acre tract being used as a airport which is too small for increased air traffic and unsuitable for large passenger planes.

Many Rehoboth residents advocate the choice of “Commander Thompson Field” as the name to honor Thompson who is the first licensed pilot in lower Delaware and shows continued interest in obtaining an airport for Rehoboth Beach.

Source: Wilmington Morning News, Wednesday, August 25, 1937

Monday, May 15, 2017




St. Agnes Catholic Church was completed July 1st , 1906 and was the only Catholic Church of Sussex County, Delaware, and was attended by a large number of Baltimoreans who annually visit the resort.
It is a frame built structure set to seat 200 people and adjoins the St, Agnes by the Sea summer house of the Sisters of St. Francis, Brooklyn Avenue and Boardwalk. The cost was $2300, half of which has been paid. The church has a tower that contains a powerful light for mariners and marks the wreck of the Merrimack at the foot of Brooklyn Avenue. Heretofore, Catholic Services were held in a private cottage.

A larger, $50,000 Gothic architecture church structure, two years under construction, located on a triangular corner lot at Laurel Street and King Charles Avenue, to replace St. Agnes, held its first service Sunday, May 12, 1940, is St. Edmond's Roman Catholic Church. This service was in charge of the Rev. E. J. McCarthy who had been with St. Agnes By the Sea. He was assisted by the Rev. Daniel Powers.

St Agnes By The Sea will be retained as a chapel for the Franciscan Nuns who have the convent adjacent.

St. Edmond's was built by the John Joyce contracting firm of Wilmington. Gleason & Mulrooney of Philadelphia were the architects.

Abstracr by Harrison Howeth 2017, Wilmington morning News, and Baltimore Sun, newspaper articles.

Sunday, May 14, 2017





Thursday, December 12, 1872, stockholders of “The Rehoboth Methodist Camp Meeting Ground”, met in Wilmington's St. Pauls, Methodist Episcopal Church , to prefect plans for a camp meeting city by the sea.

Rev. John Wilson acted as president and T. S. Hodson of Crisfield, Maryland, as secretary.
The following committee was appointed to prepare for the afternoon session: Rev. R. W. Todd, Chairman; T. S. Hodson, S. R. Houston, W. H. Foulk, J. J. McCollough, H. F. Pickles, Washington Hastings, R. E. Robinson, Rev. J. Todd, W. H. Billany, Rev. J. B. Qulgg, and Alexander Kelley.


Much business was transacted. Resolution adopted providing that the name of the association
be “ The Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association”. That the number of corporators shall consist of thirty, who shall be menbes of the association and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Object of the Association Shall Be; First; To hold camp meetings on the grounds according to the customs and usages of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Second: To provide and maintain a sea side resort, where everything inconsistent with Christian morality as taught by the Methodist Episcopal Church , shall be excluded and prohibited.

A resolution providing that the corporation shall elect from their own number their own officers who shall be “ex-officio” officers of the association of stockholders; that they shall appoint from their own number the necessary committees to preform the work to secure the object for which the association is formed ; that the term of office of one third of the directors shall expire at the meeting of the stockholders at the annual camp meeting foe 1873; one third at the 1874 meeting; and the remainder at the 1875 meeting. All adopted.

Also adopted was a resolution that the Directors whose term of office once expires shall be eligible for reelection.

Adopted resolution that limit the number of shares at 300 ; that no subscriber shall have at one time more that two shares, no shares to be issued except to ”bona fide” holders; that no transfer be made without concurrence of the Directors.

Adopted resolution providing that officers of the corporation and association shall be a president, vice president, secretary and a treasurer. An agent or superintendent shall be appointed by directors with powers and duties to be prescribed by them.


Resolved that each lot shall be not less than 50 by 100 feet and but one cottage on one lot: each share of stock shall entitle the holder to one first class lot; that stockholders shall draw for choice of lot in the order of their subscription and shall make their selection within ten days of the drawing or the choice shall be void.

Resolved that after stockholders have selected lots, applicants for stock and for lots too late to be included in the number, shall be entitled to select in order of application at $50 per lot.

Resolved that the President is authorized to pay $2000 out of the funds for purchase of two tracts of land near Lewes, Delaware, known as the Marsh Farm and the Downmartin Farm, in trust for the stockholders of the association.

Resolved that a committee prepare a Charter for submission to the next Legislature. Several other resolutions, that amount due on stock may be paid in installments, that the President may call corporators together anytime he deem proper, that a majority of directors may fill vacancies that may occur between the annual meeting, all passed.


The following were named as corporators; E. Stubbs, J. B. Quigg, L. C. Matlack, C. Hill,
W. M. Warner, J. Todd, R. W. Todd, J. J. Hurst, T. S. Hodson. G. P. Fisher, John Wilson, A. Kelley,
  1. Heister, H. Pickles, J. Pyle, T. Thompkingson, William Foulk, T. F. Plummer, Wm.. Billany,
C.H.B. Day, W. Hastings, C. F. Rudolph, P. F. Causey, R. Heister, T. Field, H. C. Robinson, W. F. Robinson, Jacob Sharp, Thomas Malialeiu, F. A. Ellis.
Resolved that the first camp meeting shall be held on the grounds Wednesday July 9, 1873
and continue for two weeks.

The meeting then adjourned, 'sine die'.

Abstract Harrison Howeth, 2017, Wilmington New Journal , Friday , December 13, 1872 source.