Friday, November 26, 2010


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Chapter VIII History of Seaford by Hazzard

Tragic Event During First Half of 1800:

Seaford, small and quiet as it was, had it's tragic events, the first one took place eight years before my birth nd has been told to me by my mother. Shadrack Cannon lived on the Magee Farm, now the site of Nanticoke City. He went tp his home after shopping at some of the Seaford groceries in a state of intoxication and attempted to pull his dog whice was rabid from under his house and was bitten. In a few days he was a terriable madman and some friends and the physician thought necessary and humane to put him out of his misery. Some of Seafords best citizens were selected to smother him to death between two bed mattresses.

Next, when I was eight years old and on the street one day, I heard the report of a pistol and ran quickly in the direction from which it came and I was by the bed of William Nichols who had just shot himself and died in a few moments. He was a good citizen, a merchant, very gentlemanly, had a fine home for that time, married to a young wife, the daughter of Joseph Vickers. But, under some terrible mental strain or depression, he did this terrible deed.

Often we were startled with a report that someone was drowned, some promising little boy or young man would while bathing be swept off by the swift tide of the river and drown before aid could reach him. Or, in the cold hard winters we had then, with two to five feet of snow and below zero temperatures, the railroad closed, the river and creeks frozen shut, some would fall through the ice and perish.

The drowning of Cain Brown, a young married man, promising citizen, rode one day to Laurel on a blind mule. I remember this day as he passed by me on the road. Upon his return later that night he failed to arouse the ferryman and made an attempt to ford the river. His cries of distress were heard by people living along the river but were too late for anyone to rescue him.

One bright spring morning and loud report shocked the citizens of Seaford village. Joseph, a son of Joseph Wright, was born. A colored man, George, who belonged to the Wrights was ordered to fire a swivel which was sitting near Wrights Wharf, as a salute for the event. George was ramming the powder down the gun and asked Henry Hudson to hold his hand over the touch hole. The gun went off, ruining George, he lost his eyes, hands and his body was dreadfully scarred. Henry was rendered unconscious, lost a hand and finger from the other hand. My father took him to his home, more dead that alive, and Doctor Morran amputated his arm with a carpenters tenant saw without the use of any anesthetic. Both of these boys lived to be old men. George was taken to Dorchester to live with Turpin Wright until he was freed, then died in the Dorchester County Alms House. Henry Cannon prepared for teaching, made this his lifes work and died in Caroline county.

Then there was dare devil Stansbury Mezzick, a young man who had imbibed too freely , was showing his friend how he could craw from one mast of a schooner to the other on the main stay. He lost his balance, hung to the stay as long as he could, then fell to the deck. Both legs went through the two inch decking.

A very exciting thing occurred in Seaford, around 1830, that may not come under the character of tragic, perhaps ridiculous is better called for it. It had to do with slavery and what may have been what is called, the Nat Turner insurrection, a fear of such caused many to flee north with their money, mothers taking the children north to what would be a safe haven, one being the Pea Liquor Farm of the Cannon family. A look out had spotted thousands of blacks along the shore of the river which turned out to be burnt tree stumps on the farm of Silas Boyce called Bunker Hill.

End History of Seaford, by Robert Boyce Hazzard, [1824-1901]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

History of Seaford Continued

Public Buildings: The academy building became old and too small, also too far off for the new Seaford. Citizens interested in education, built a large and commodius school building in the new part of town. That one burned and was replaced with a more commodious one.
Transportation: The citizens of Seaford and the country around it became interested in better transportation to the distant cities. Business suffered, people lost time and money because of tedious travel conditions and farmers had to haul grain up to 20 miles to ship it, even by boat.
There had been , for a short time, a Norfolk Line steamer between that city and Seaford, thence from Seaford to New Castle and Wilmington by stage. About 1832 a path for a railroad was cut from the foot of of North Street in Seaford at the wharf , north across Pea Liquor farm and on up the peninsula but it lay unused until 1856.
After William Ross, later the states governor, moved near Seaford and began to develop the resources of his farm, he and other farmers following his systems of farming, became more interested in transportation systems. Ross is given credit for the building of the railroad with its terminal at Seaford, which was completed in December 1856. the service was but one train out and in each day for several years.