Wednesday, April 26, 2017



Milton, Delaware , Sunday , August 23, 1937: 3000 persons jammed the streets of Milton last night for the community parade , the highlight of the homecoming celebration which concluded today with special church services. The homecoming doubtless appealed to not just former residents, but also the descendents of the latter, as well as others who know how hospitable Milton folk are and what an interesting town it has always been.

The parade was headed by the band of the 198th Coast Artillery under the direction of
Lieutenant J. Morris Robinson, next the Milton Fire Company with 50 members in line, the Ladies Auxiliary with 40 in line, made up the first division.

The second division was made up of floats of the WCTU with a plea for temperance, the old time banjo band, Broadkill Ramblers, receiving a large share of applause, and “Old School Days” float, depicting a one room school class. Many businesses also had floats. There followed a 'comic division' with clowns, then decorated automobiles and bicycles.
The parade moved through the downtown streets lined solid with spectators, to the old Chestnut street school grounds where the program was presented.

One of the features was the presentation of a Masters Chair to the Masonic Order. The donor was Mr. George Hughes, a former Miltonian. William H. Welch, Sr., made the presentation speech and the chair was accepted by Masonic Master, Ralph Snowberger. The chair is unique in the fact that it was carved from a walnut log and has no screws nor nails.

The invocation was given by Charles T. Vent, of Milton, the Rev Howard Mc Dade of Frankford, was principal speaker, and a recitation was by Mrs Bertha Jackson.

Many others spoke, including , Rev. Wells Wilson, John Walsh, Jr., Ralph Smith of Philadelphia, Charles Burros of Camden, New Jersey, the Rev. Richard Green of Christiana, Dr. Robert Hopkins of Milton, and Rev. William Ward of Philadelphia.

Today church services in Milton concluded events, Rev. Richard Green preached at Goshen Methodist Episcopal, the Rev. William Ward preached at the Methodist Protestant church.

Saturday evening the Goshen Church ladies served an old fashioned 'duck' dinner in the Fireman's Hall.

Milton has a honorable history, the Ponders, pioneers and a governor, Hazzards, a governor and a Revolutionary War member, John Hazzard, the Peery Family, pioneers, and Revolutionary War heroes , and many seafaring men and their descendents. Milton has just cause to revere the memory of the past and honor those of the present generation who are keeping alive traditions of worthy ancestors.

Abstract: Wilmington Mormimg News, Monday , August 23, 1937:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



Rehoboth Beach, Delaware : Thursday, September 20, 1917:

Incendiaries succeeded early today in destroying a major portion of the factory of the Atlantic Canning Company, owned by Governor John Gillis Townsend of Selbyville and Edmund Mitchell , Jr., of Wilmington. The plant was one of the largest establishments of it's kind in this section of the state.
A $200,000 loss is estimated, which includes a large quantity of canned products and raw crops for processing. This financial loss is said to be covered by insurance.

At the time of the fire there were ten railroad carloads of raw product tomatoes and at the wharf were four barge loads of raw product tomatoes. It has yet to be determined the amount of damage that may have been done to them. A company representative has said it may be possible for the factory to utilize this raw product for it is believed work can be resumed in a day or two in the small portion of the plant that is left standing. Temporarily, there are 350 workers left unemployed.

The fire was discovered this morning about one o'clock and was started in three areas, and had gotten such headway it was impossible to take it under control even though the fire department was on the scene at once and worked very hard to contain it. The building were principally wood frame and there was some flames still seen this morning, being allowed to burn themselves out.

The four year old canning factory was one of the chief successful industries here and it's products in such demand that the capacity had been doubled this year.

A German plot is suspected in view of the fact that two attempts had been made before, and, the Rehoboth Canning Company plant, near by, was burned six weeks ago. Today's blaze bears unmistakeable evidence of incendiaries.

The office of Attorney General Reinhardt had been notified and a official investigation is already under way.

The object of the firebugs was to destroy as much food and food processing machinery as possible and a part of a pro German effort. It is significant that it is known the company was working on a government contract which arranged for the delivery of 18% of the tomato pulp for soup product which no doubt would have found it's way to the Army's camps here and abroad

The week after the Rehoboth Packing Company fire was burned, piles of inflammable material were found by the Atlantic Company watchman but the miscreants were frightened away before they had a chance to apply the match.

Efforts to disable canning plants in lower Delaware are continuing , the latest, Tuesday last, someone with a good knowledge of the machinery, entered the Lewes Packing Plant, six miles from the Rehoboth factories, and put the largest most used equipment out of commission by removing the vital parts.

Abstract: Wilmington News Journal, September 2, 1917

Sunday, April 23, 2017




Caesar Rodney was the grandson of William Rodney who came to America from England
in 1681. His father was also named Caesar and had married Elizabeth Crawford, a daughter of the
Reverend Thomas Crawford, the Episcopal missionary sent to Dover, Delaware by the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

Caesar and Elizabeth had eight children, five sons and three daughters, by this marriage.

Caesar, the first child, a son, was born October 7, 1728, East Dover Hundred, Kent county, known as St. Jones Neck. His father died in 1745, when Caesar was just 17 years old, and Nicholas Ridgely, a prominent citizen of Dover, was appointed his guardian.

Rodney entered the public political life in 1755, at the age 27, and for the next twenty years held several post in the “Government of the Three Lower Counties on the Delaware” . Between
1758 and 1776, Caesar Rodney, was was an elected delegate from Kent county to the colonial assembly in New Castle for 14 terms and was honored by this body as it's “speaker” for the last four terms. In 1778 the General Assembly elected Caesar Rodney as the second President or Governor of the state of Delaware and for three years he served as Delawares war executive . In 1783 he was elected to his last state office, when as a member of the upper house of the general assembly, was chosen it's 'speaker'.

The military career of Caesar Rodney began during the Frenc & Indian War, when he was commissioned Captain of the militia company of East Dover Hundred, during the Revolution he rose from the Colonel of the “Upper Regiment” of Kent county, in 1775, until he was commissioned Major General in command of the State Militia In 1777. Washington entrusted him with the command of the American post of Trenton and later that year the British invaded Delaware to the north, on their march to Philadelphia, Rodney commanded the only Delaware Militia troops that assisted the American Commander in Chief.

Nationally his service was equally significant, in 1765, he with Thomas McKean , represented the “Three Lower Counties” on the Delaware, in the Stamp Act Congress in New York . In 1774 the colonial assembly sent him, McKean and George Reed to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in which he served to 1776. He was a member of that body when it passed the Lee Resolution which severed relations of the 13 Colonies with the mother country. He also voted for the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th.

Caesar Rodney died on his farm , “Popular Grove”, in Kent county June 26, 1784, buried in Christ Episcopal Churchyard, Dover. He never married and his surname is carried by descendents of a brother, Thomas, and a cousin, John Rodney, who lived in Lewes.

Source: Delaware Publication “Acceptance of the Statue of Caesear Rodney”, January 3, 1935..

Sussex County Short vs Cannon for overnor Nomination. 1936


The Duchy of Delaware is the nicest, tightest little empire ever ruled by any monarch, aside of Monte Carlo, Luxemburg or Lichtenstein.

It's rulers, the du Ponts, manufacturers of gun powder, munitions, paint and the wealthiest family in the United States. The family members build highways, schools, and own the two daily newspapers that dominate the state, they elect the governor, usually from their family, They are definite, though kindly, despots.

But now, in 1936, their little duchy is torn with internal political dissension. What the du Ponts had done with the Democrats has come home to roost. du Pont spent more money to stir dissension within the Democratic Party with control of the Liberty League, and a long list of of sores, including Talmadge

The bitter feuding within the Republican Party of Delaware, unless peace is arranged, and quickly, will cause the three electoral votes of this traditional G.O.P. stronghold will bear the Democratic label.

The cause of the dissension is an alleged doublecross. The popular Sussex county leader , Adolphus Short, has laid claim that the du Pont machine promised him the Republican gubernatorial nomination which is backed by former congressman Robert G. Cannon that this assurance was given two years ago by Governor Douglas Buck, a du Pont so in law, at the G.O.P. Convention.

Buck, now looking toward senatorial ambitions, denied the statement, and had the convention nominate Shorts rival, Colonel Harry Cannon, whereas Short and his followers walked out of the convention, held a 'rump' meeting and formed an independent Republican Party which will hold a nominating convention this week where a rival G.O.P. Ticket, headed by Short , probably will be put into the field of play. The dukes of the duPont Duchy are bringing heavy pressure to bear on Short to return to the 'fold'. So far, Short has turned down all ovetures and has been in negotiation with the Townsendites for an alliance 'against' the duPont machine.

Source: Abstract Washington Merry Go Round, Drew Pearson, in the Sept. 8, 1936, Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Washington.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Biography of John Middleton Clayton



John Midddleton Clayton was a great, great grandson of Joshua Clayton who came to America with William Penn, He was a son of James and Sarah Middleton Clayton, being born in Dagsboro, Sussex County, Delaware , July 24 1796.
He graduated from Yale College in 1815 and after the study of Law in the office of a cousin, Thomas Clayton, and the famous Law School at Litchfield in Connecticut, he was admitted to the Delaware State Bar in 1819, going in practice at Dover.
He married in 1822 to Sally Ann Fisher, daughter of Dr. James Fisher, Camden, Kent county, Delaware, but lost her through death in 1825. Although he was left with two infant sons, he never remarried.
Clayton soon rose to prominence in his chosen profession and became a leader in the Delaware Bar, serving the State as Secretary of State, a member of the House of Representatives and Auditor of Accounts.
He became associated with the Whig Party in Delaware and in 1829 was elected to the United States Senate. During his term in the Senate he was elected in 1831 as a Kent County Representative to the Delaware State Constitutional Convention, where he had his plan for the reorganization of the State Judiciary adopted. He resigned the Senate in 1836, after his reelection, to accept the Chief Justice of Delaware position in 1837. In 1836 Yale College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
1845 – 1849 he was again a Senator from Delaware and in 1850 was President Taylor's Secretary of State and negotiated with Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, the Clayton – Bulwer treaty in an attempt to build a canal in Nicaragua to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He served as United States Senator from Delaware until 1856 when he died on the 9th of November in Dover.
John M. Clayton is buried at Dover, in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery.
His two sons were James Fisher Clayton and Charles McClyment Clayton who both died before they reached the age of 30 .

Publication of State of Delaware. 'Acceptance of John M. Clayton' Statue, Thursday, January 3, 1935

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



Captain Samuel Argall, renowned English mariner , sailed into the Cape Henlopen capes in 1610, a year after Captain Henry Hudson. Hudson had named the bay before him the ”South River” since he had named the Hudson River of New York the “North River”. Argall named the river at Cape Henlopen , De La Warr, after the ailing Thomas West, a leader of the Jamestown, Virginia, colony.

Thomas West was born July 9 1576, in Hampshire, England to a well to do and politically active family, had studied at Oxford, briefly a member of Parliament , and an investor in British efforts to establish settlements in the new world of America. In 1610 he was appointed governor of Jamestown, then a failing colony, where the settlers there were in preparation to return to England on the first boat available. These settlers had enough of America, out of 500 only 59 survived the “Starving Time”.

West arrived on Captain Argall's ship with supplies, took control of the colony, ordered the settlers who had already boarded a ship to leave, back to the colony and their huts, and sent the Argall ship out to find additional food stuff.

It was on this voyage that Argall found European fishermen near Cape Cod, procured cured fish, plus finding the Cape Henlopen capes and the bay and river behind them, and after a brief stay and naming the estuary De La Warr, returning to Jamestown with enough food to survive the up coming winter.

West had taken sick with with scurvy , soon left Jamestown to go to the Azores where he found fresh fruits to eat and regaining his health, only to die a few year later without recognition for saving the Jamestown settlement, nor the introduction of the cure for scurvy by consumption of fresh citrus.

Thomas West was quickly relegated to history’s bottom drawer and had it not been for Captain Argall calling the new South River, the De La Warr, West would have been completely forgotten today.

Abstract Michael Morgan, Delaware Diary, Delaware Coast Press, April 19, 2017.


Sunday, April 16, 2017



William Bright of Wilmington has definitely decided to erect a new hotel at Rehoboth, is now collecting the materials for the contractor, Jacob Webb, to commence work.

The hotel will be three stories high with a mansard type roof virtually making it a four story structure. The upper floor will be arranged in all respects like the second and third.

It will be located at Surf and Wilmington avenues, on the opposite side of Rehoboth Avenue from the Surf House, some 300 feet from that hotel. Fronting 80 feet on the ocean front and extend 80 feet on Wilmington Avenue. The main building will be 36 feet in depth. In the south end of this portion will be a parlor, 36 x 21, with a wash room and a private department , each 14 x 10, between it and the main hall, separated by a five foot hall which intersects the main hall at right angles and traverses the first floor in the main building, except that portion occupied by the parlor. The main hall is 10 feet wide and from it raises the main stairway. On the right hand side upon entering is the office and back of this in the north end a private parlor. Across the hall in the center of the building, in the L, is the dinning room. 36 x 58 , and one of the finest halls in the state. In the rear of the L is the kitchen, 25 x29, and an ironing room 10 x 20 adjoining. Under thes and a section of the dinning hall will be a cellar. A porch , 11 foot wide will extend along the front of the hotel, down the south end and along the L, forming a promenade 180 feet in length. The Second, third and fourth flloors are devoted to 80 sleeping rooms, wide and well ventilated , opening into a hallway.

The new hotel will be built neatly and substantially by contract with Mr. Jacob Z Webb. with much ornamentation and have a capacity of 200 guest and be open for the first of May next year.

Abstract of article in the December 4, 1875, Wilmington Daily Commercial.