Monday, September 6, 2010


Seaford's First Schools:
The early settlers of Seaford were careful and wise in beginning their schools with first class teachers. At that time there was some statute provision for primary schools but they were little more that an apology practically. As early as I can remember Seaford had a first class academy in moral and scientific culture. The old academy building stood on the lot adjoining the M. E. Church Cemetery. Pipkin Miner, was for most of his life, the teacher. He was a Presbyterian and inculcated morality and religion in his school. His talks to the class at the closing half hour are yet remembered some seventy years later. Schools at that time utilized switches and I think some of his cedar ones, which were toughened by the fire in the stove, were more impressive upon some of his scholars than were his lectures. He generally had, as pupils and boarders, a number of young men from the country, among them I remember Daniel Kinder and Loxley Jacobs, both life long friends of mine.

Seaford's Early Churches:
The first church built in the lower part of Sussex County near Seaford was Protestant Episcopal and built about one hundred yards from Chapel Branch on the north side of the road as you travel west from the branch. That church must have been built in Colonial times as no one living remembers its ruins.
The first Methodist Episcopal Church built in the neighborhood of Seaford was near the same branch along the same road but on the east side of the branch. There is a deed,per county record, from John Cannon and Jeremiah Rust Jackson for one acre at Chapel Branch to trustees for the M. E. Church, John Handy, Thomas Prettyman, Jeremiah Brown, Augustus Brown, Nathan Cannon, J. Rust Cannon and William Davis, the date being 8 august 1804. William Davis was for a long time local preacher at Bethel and lived his life out near there. This chapel being built a few years after Seaford was plotted it must have been selected for the village and surrounding country and was used for both school and church purposes. The church building was moved to Seaford around 1830 and set upon the Hooper Graveyard and used by the town citizens until the first M.E. Churtch was built, now called the 'Old Church'.

Another county record gives this data. A deed from James Conwell for a lot to Bochem Meeting House in Seaford to the following trustees, Henry Little, Aaron Swiggert, Robert Hopkins, Whitefield Hughes, George Hazzard, Levin Cannon and Freeman Rose. , dated 9 April 1818. This building stood, with some repairs until 1859 when a new building was erected, of which Rhodes Hazzard, Ralph Prettyman, James Darby and High Brown were trustees.

Members and friends of the Protestant Episcopal Church had religious services in Seaford as long as I remember and their first board of trustees for St. Luke's Church met in Seaford, February 20th 1837. They were William Neal, Hugh Martin, Charles Wright, Elijah Cannon and Curtis Ross.

There are no records with trustee names and deed dates, of the Methodist Protestant Church, the reason being the church division was anything but sweet. Old Sister Wallace gave me the following facts. Dr. Morgan came to her, saying he did not know where they would get a lot on which to put a church. She told him to go see Mollie Wright, Jacob Wright's widow, her mother, who was a daughter of John Hooper's, to see if she will consent to put the chapel on the Hooper Graveyard. He did so and permission was granted. The Chapel Branch Church had gone into disuse and Issac and Jacob Cannon, among the most wealthy men in the lower part of the state, had a claim upon it. Morgan made satisfactory arrangement with them and it was moved to the Hooper Graveyard.

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