Monday, January 11, 2010

Madam Bonaparte in Lewes

Description: Madame Bonaparte's Visit to Lewes. An Anecdote
by Local Residents:

Date of Newspaper Issue: July 18 1888

Newspaper published in: Baltimore, Maryland

Page/Column: Across The Peninsula/ Patapsco to the Delaware:

Lewes, Del., Anecdote of Madame Bonaparte:

Madame Bonaparte, the first wife of Jerome Bonaparte, youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte of France, was the daughter of a Baltimore merchant. She was best know in America as 'Betsy', full name was Elizabeth Patterson. 'Betsy' lived to be 95 years of age.

This anecdote is related of the late Madame Bonaparte in relation to Lewes and vouched for by older residents who had received the story from respectable sources.
One her way to France from Baltimore, after her marriage to Jerome, the vessel she was aboard put into the Delaware and because of the poor conditions aboard Madame Bonaparte and other passengers demanded to be put ashore. On coming to land and when in the Lewes Creek, the small boat containing the Madame and the party, capsized. Lewes pilot, Shelby Hickman, swam safely ashore with her in tow. The Madame was housed at the residence of Thomas Rowland, where, as the story goes, she soundly berated her host for not having wax candles instead of the tallow dips in her quarters. When she was congratulated on her rescue and some pious consoler remarked if the Madame had not been saved she might have been in the wisdom of Heaven. The Madame replied. to the horror of her listeners, that she would "soon to be at the court of France than live in the Kingdom of Heaven".

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Chapter II : Comprising the History of the Plotting The Village and the Business Enterprise of its Citizens:

On the 29th of October 1799, Seaford, or that part of it which lies between the river on the south, Herring Creek on the east, West Street on the north and Market Street on the west, with a few lots on the west side of Market Street, below East Street, was plotted. Prior to this time there was a landing near the point where the creek flows into the river, called Indian Landing, and later, Hooper Landing. We infer from the name Indian Landing that Seaford, in the remote past, was an Indian camping ground.
Tradition of the time says that Seaford took its name from and old white horse owned by a Scotchman then living at the landing who had named his horse after his native town in Scotland. It is probable that that is fact, as the distance from the sea and the depth of the river would make fording impracticable and the name irrelevant. The Scotchman referred to was Barnard Lidday, who was one of the first citizens of the village and who bought several lots, among them the lots owned by Capt. Benjamin Stokely who lived there up to his death. Lidday remained but a few years in Seaford them moving to Baltimore where he drowned at the docks, after which his lands were sold by Sheriff Tyndale Lidday's only child, a son, returned to the eastern shore and grew up in Hurlock, known as Barney Letta, then became a very old and highly esteemed christian gentlemen and died in Greensboro . It has been gathered that the early first settlement of Seaford was marked by dissipation where drinking intoxicant's and gambling were common practices and the debts for which the Lidday properties were sold came from gambling.
Captain Solomon Boston was another of Seaford's first citizens and was a very enterprising man and was the grandfather of Mrs. Sallie Harper who now lives at the place of his old home. He was a Virginian and a 'coaster', the master of a large vessel engaged in the coasting trade which would run up the Nanticoke for harbor during severe winter weather and lay just below the shoals about a mile below Seaford. Soon after the plotting of Seaford, Caaptain Boston was detained in harbor at Lewistown. While there, he went to visit a party of young people near Slaughter Neck where he met Sally Hines and in due time wooed and won her hand. After their marriage she sailed with him for some time during which he sailed many times up the Nanticoke to Seaford and soon he bought property in the village and settled his family there while still continuing his coastal sailing trade. Reccords show that he first purchased was the mansion house of John Hooper, December 12, 1840. It was last standing in the rear of the Thomas Cottingham store. He also bought several 50 X 51 lots on the west side of Market Street. The next year he bought lot #45 on North Street, near Water Street for $80. This section became the main trading center of town. His next purchase in 1809 were sixteen lots on West Street which became an extension of the village northward in the second plotting. In 1815 he purchased 'The Island', [which it was then and until 1825 , an island] where he built a plane two story house which stood for near a half century on the site where now stands the palatial home of Mr. Thomas Harper and Mrs. Sallie Harper. A foot bridge spaned the creek opposite the house and has been kept in good repair nearly a quarter of a century. It was thereafter the home of his wife and children and their children up to the present time and we suppose this to be the only tract, lot or plot of land about the town, except the Protestent Methodist Cemetery, that has not changed hands in these ninety years. Thomas Harper died about 1820, after which his eldest son Solomon bought out the interest of his brothers, John and Charles, then his family lived there and after his following of the coastal trade, died there. Solomon was married twice, first to Miss Ann Collins, the mother of Sallie Harper, and second to Miss Harriet Wallace, now Mrs. James.