Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Philadelphia, 24 July 1824:
A number of our ship carpenters who recently 'turned out' for higher wages and a few sail makers, with 'drink in hand', hired a small sloop for the purpose of celebrating the 4th of July at the Capes of Delaware. Upon reaching the place, however, they were unable to realize their anticipated enjoyment, so being full of independence, and gin, after weighty deliberations, resolved upon a cruise in pursuit of adventure. Their 'stores' were ample and having appointed a 'Commodore', they set sail with "buoyant hearts and spirits free as air". After cruising for sometime with out success, the U.S.Schooner Wessel hove into view and gave to the 'Commodore' a hope of accomplishing something worthy of himself. I shall not pretend to describe the soul piercing flash that darted through the mist of the liquor from his half bungled eye, when he first beheld his designed prey nor shall I describe the shouts of of which arose from the gallant crew, when orders were given to "bear down on her" and make he yield submissive to our power. The order was promptly obeyed, up went the sails, each man at his post, and as the belligerent forces floated toward each other, there was
"A Calm as Still as Death; And The Boldest Held His Breath; For a Time".
But when within musket shot, the Commodore with a degree of promptness which distinguishes our American Commanders, ordered the schooner to send her papers aboard immediately or dread impending ruin. Captain Zanisloger, who was at the loss of understanding the nature of the demand, manifeasted, as the Commodore thought, some reluctance in complying, when in order to enforce obedience to his modest request, a musket was fired from the sloop.
Captain Zanisloger, unwilling that the commodore should have all the fun on his side, ordered a 12 pounder to be fired over them and squared off to give a second broadside if necessary, but upon the clearing up of the smoke , the valour of our Commodore evaporized, and he, with half his crew were discovered on their knees exclaiming, "as you are brave, be mericifal".
The sloop was then set aboard, not with papers, but with orders to bring the Commodore and his crew aboard the schooner, where they were examined and Captn. Z having satisfied himself that they were true and loyal citizens of this commonwealth, in pursuit of pleasure, after a few sobering hours of detainment, permitted them to return to their sloop , on their promising that they would never attempt to catach "a Wessel" asleep again.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Jacob Prettyman, a distant relative of Solomon, Joel and Ashbury, Prettyman, was another of Seaford's first settlers who came from Bridgeville and engaged in the manufacturing of hats, was successful and acquired considerable property. His place of business was on the southwest corner of Front and West streets. He left Seaford many years ago, bought land in Kent county Delaware. He was twice married to two Morgan sisters of near Middleford, had but two children, one of which, his son, is living in Seaford. Ralph Prettyman, also a relative of those mentioned came to Seaford from the eastern side of the county about 1830 and worked for Robert Hopkins in the carriage business. After a year or two he married Sarah Ann Hazzard then engaged in business for himself the rest of his life. He lived in Seaford over fifty years and during those years his Christian and business character was unimpeachable. His wife, a devted Christian died in 1865 and he in 1882. They had a large family of children and gave two, Frank and Charles, to the service of their country in the Civil War. Six are still living.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

News About Seaford in 1861/Letter From Seaford

Seaford, Del., Oct., 3rd, 1861:
Dear Editor
Peninsular News and Advertiser:
I having a few leisure moments I thought it might not be amiss to give you a few lines which may include some of the passing news of this place.
The war news is of course the predominant, some fifteen or twenty young men of this town and vicinity have enlisted in the 1st Delaware Regiment Volunteers, and many more seem inclined to follow. Mr. Joseph White, a member of the Laurel Home Guards, who was accidentally shot through the abdomen a few evenings since is convalescent we learn.
"Secesh" is getting quite week here, but few advocates and less practitioners, we would advise those who wish its remembrance, to, "secure the type, ere the shadow fades".
Schooners that have lately arrived here from Washington report that they have been fired at from the rebel batteries on the Potomac but received no damage.
Business here is getting quite brisk. The oyster houses of Platt and Maler have opened and seem to be doing quite a heavy business for so early in the season. The Hall and Company from Toronto, Canada, are also fitting up a large house for the oyster business and from the manner in which they move we should consider their prospects bright. The Messrs. Platt and Malar we know to be gentlemen and men of excellent business qualities and from what we have already seen of Mr. Hall, we suspect no less of him. These eastern gentlemen are a great help to our town and through their enterprise a god number of our men have employment during the fall and winter seasons, who otherwise would be idle. We wish them much success and hope they will be amply repaid for their labors.
Several new dwelling houses are being built here, among which is one belonging to Mr. George T. Kay, one of our best citizens and for his enterprising spirit and good qualities as a citizen, he has our best wishes throughout.
Mrs. Ross, the wife of E-Governor Ross, arrived home on Saturday last. She seemed to be quite surprised at the idea of having the contents of her trunk overhauled at the depot, nevertheless, it was done. Notwithstanding the lady has been on a trip to Europe for the purpose of recuperating her health, we are sorry to say that she looked but little better on her return than when she left. She did not say when Mr. Ross would be home.
For fear that we occupy more space in you columns, then is due us, we will close by promising that when we write again we shall write someting on more importance, if we have it. Yours Truly, 'Nux Vomica"