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"