Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Proud of their native state and boastful  of its progress and historical prominence, more than 150 members of the Philadelphia Sons of Delaware Society visited  historic Lewes today on their annual reunion pilgrimage.

The excursion of the former Delawareans was of state wide interest. governor Charles R. Miller welcomed the visitors on behalf of the syaye; Mayor Jsames T. Thompson of Lewes and George P. Tunnell, president of the Lewes Board of Trade also extended greeting.   Many citizens of the town formed a reception committee which had made elaborate plans for the entertainment of the visitors.

An old fashion SHAD dinner, with all the trimmins, cooked by southern mammies was the central part of the celebration was held in the auditorium  after which were heard recited glories by the men who are now leaders in Delaware and Philadelphia where they are widely known in professions and business.

The Sons of Delaware traveled by special train which left Broad Street Station just afterenoon and arrived at Lewes at 3 o'clock. The Lewes station was resplendent beneath banners and flowers.  They then were driven around town in motor cars which took them to the DeVries Monument where Judge Henry C. conrad of Georgetown and Benjamin A. Hazel of Smyrna narrated the history of the settling of the Dutch and told how this small settlement had expanded into the State of Delaware.. From there the sons of Delaware were escorted to the ocean front where the Harbor and Federal Breakwater and wireless station were inspected. The group also visited the new fish factory, recently erected,  and told the plants are considered the largest and most modern on the Atlantic Coast.

Some of the noted speakers were  Dr. Charles H. Hearne, richard Fisher, Govenor Miller, Judge Conrad, Daniel O. Hastings, , ex-govenor Tunnell and ex-congressman Hiram Burton. who reside in Lewes.

Officers of the Sons of Delaware Society are; president, Dr. Hearne; first vice pressident, Charles MeGee, second vice president, Clarence Nesbit, treasurer, L. C. Dill,  secretary, John W. Graham, and Historian, W. S. Emerson.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Rehoboth Bay was named in the 17th century by explorers of the English Colony in Virginia. It is said an unknown ship captain took the name from the bible, Genesis XXVI/22, meaning, "Broad Place" in the early Hebrew language.

As early as 1677, a land grant for 'Long Neck', a parcel of 10,000 acres, uses Rehoboth Bay as a boundry.

Also, in 1643, at Massachusetts Colony, a Congregationalist, Rev. Samuel Newman, led a group to found a village, Rehoboth, on the Palmer Creek, in Massachusetts. This village was also known as Seekonk by the local Indians.

Saturday, April 28, 2012





Long before this bridge the Skinner family were the prominent area watermen, taking timber rafts down the Delaware and operating a ferry between Pennsylvaning and New York. The village of Milanville was also known as Sskinner's Falls at the time. Early 1900 , local politicians felt a bridge across the Delaware at this point would be appropriate and a private company, Milanville Bridge Company, was formed to sell stock, build and operate such for the public. Milton Skinner was the first president of this company. There were problems, first weather and an ice flow flood and then objections from nearby competative bridges built in the 1800's . These were the cochecton Bridge to the north and Narrowsburg Bridge to the south aand to make settlement the Milanville bridge was to be built as a one lane only. American Bridge Company completed the bridge in november 1902 and a cost of $14,000. Tolls were less than the two orther area bridges and tolls were collected on the Pennsylvania side the albro Dexter famly. Then in 1904 a serious flood of ice carried off the New York section.The Perkins brothers of Horsehead Bridge Company, using steel from the wrecked bridge, repaired and reopened Skinner's Bridge for $7000. After repening other businesses were attracted to the area, Erie Railroad sestablished a station, and freight siding for the Brant-Ross Chemical Company's acid factory at Milanville, several creameries were built, aiding the daiary farmers, so added business increased rhe toll income for the bridge and owners.

Luxurious tourist resorts in the beautiful and secluded river valley were a draw to New Jerssey and New York people in Spring, Summer and Fall bringing more travelers across the narrow Milanville bridge. In the 1920's Pennsylvania and New york took ownership of Delaware River bridges which increased travel in the valley. Floods in the 50' and 60's were harmless. During the summer of 1986 the Skinners Fall;s bridge was closed for repair but was reopened and in 1988 was added to the list of historic places on the National Register and still serves travelers who are not in a hurry.


History of Delaware Crossings

Frank T. Dale

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Salting Down Coon & Possum in Broad Creek Neck of Talbot county Maryland

February 2, 1898 - The Baltimore Sun Paper
  Racoons and opossums have never been in the woods of Broad Creek Neck until this winter, that is as many as there are now.  Nobody can understand the reason of their appearance. The Broad Creek woodlands have many old white and red oaks, gum trees and pines full of hollows from the decay of old age.  Sometimes coons, possum and squirrel are found together in one hollow, living amicably. The country people of Broad Creek Neck  make great sport of these animals. Some, having more than they can use fresh, are 'salting them down' for coon bacon.
 The Broad Creek Neck is a peninsula ten miles long, Broad Creek on one side and Harris Creek on the other, both of which run into the Choptank. Here the invasion of the coons and possum are farm yard pest, plundering anything edible and sometomes they are found drowned in the slops barrels.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oysters - New Type of Rat Trap

From the Philadelphia Gazette, 14 May 1910:

The London National Register contained the following singular occurence; 
A rat lately visited a tub of oysters at the post office at Falmouth and as he was whisking his tail between the open shell of one of them it closed upon him and held so firmly that he was prevented from escaping and was found in the morning with the oyster still holding fast to his tail at the rat hole enterance.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The village of Drawbridge was located on the Broadkill River, three or four miles east of the town of Milton. Today it is known as the location of Henlopen Memorial Gardens, a large cemetery, and a highrise bridge crossing the Broadkill.  Most locals call it 'Broadkill Bridge' today.
Early Sussex county days it was home to Miers and Aletta Clowes Clarke, among others,Miers keeping a sailing ship  on the river in the vicenity. Drawbridge had a store which Samuel Paynter kept. Samuel Paynter was one time govenor of Delaware. It had been passed down to his children and grandchildren until about 1857 when it became the property of a Mr. Coulter and family  for several years. It then was owned and operated by William B. Tomlinson who sold it to Captain David Burton and John B. Dorman who conducted business there many years.
In the 1860's and 1870's,  Drawbridge village had three  dwellings,  four grain mills, and a blacksmith shop and the store. At some time there was either one or two ship building sites on the river in the near vicinity. Also there was a ships landing and the hand operated drawbridge. Drawbridge had coastal vessel service to Philadelphia and New York, shipping 2500 cords of wood for fuel and 30,000 bushels of grain each year.  A post office was established in 1830 and Sam Paynter was first postmaster and John B. Dorman became postmaster in 1879.
The 1900's saw the Lockerman family at the store and tending the drawbridge.  The store eventially became an auto parts business which Layton, his wife and a sister kept many years.
From "History of Delaware"