Saturday, September 28, 2013



It was 1887 and being built at the Pusey and Jones Shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware was the yacht “Volunteer”, built in 66 days, for a member of the New York Yacht Club, General Charles L. Paine. The yacht had been especially designed for the America's Cup Race by Harvard educated Edward Burgess, 39 year old yacht designer of West Sandwich, Massachusetts, who had already designed two America's Cup winners, The Puritan and The Mayflower.

Volunteer” was the first America's Cup Yacht to be built of all steel frame and hull . She had a deck of white pine and was of 130 ton displacement, 108 foot length overall, 86 feet length at waterline. She had a 23 foot 2 inch beam and a draft of 10 foot and carry 8,981 square feet of sail.

Volunteer” was skippered by Captain Hank Haff with assistance of Captains Terry, Berry and L. Jeffreys and easily beat 1886 America's Cup defender Mayflower and won both challenger trial races. In 1888 she won the America's Cup against the Scottish challenger “Thistle” in two races, first race by a 19 minute 24 second margin and the second race by a 11 minute , 49 second margin.

After the race “Volunteer” was bought by John Malcolm Forbes, who also owned The Puritan. She was altered as a schooner in 1891. In 1910 she was broken up at a New York junk yard .

Source: Wikipedia and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lewes, Delaware Again a Place of Smugglig.

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans on the 22 n of January, 1883 has told of smuggling at the Lewes Breakwater. It tells that the quaint family town on the Delaware has regained notoriety it once possessed as a haunt for smugglers as it did in 1878 before government secret service agents caused the risky traffic to abandon the Breakwater area.
Recent withdrawal of these agents has allowed the immediate revival of the nefarious business without interruption, but on a much smaller scale that the 1878 operations. Town folk know the open secret of rum and cigar smuggling to the tune of more than $30,000 annually being offloaded and brought to shore by darkness of night without knowledge of Dr. Burton, the resident Deputy Customs Collector. Lewes possesses very favorable facilities to make smuggling successful, direct on the navigational track and safe harbor, a safe stop for sailing vessels from southern ports. Traders of questionable character rarely, if ever, pass Lewes on their inward passage.
The present band of smugglers numbers near one dozen men who are notified by the pilots who have negotiated with ship captains., to make connections for landing the smuggled goods.
To effectually prevent the activity there must be established at the Breakwater a 'office' to to give unwavering vigilance day and night by government men.
Right now, the quaint village of Lewes is full of rum and cigars, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Delaware in the Civil War

Sussex Countian new edit
Contributed by Harrison

Description: September in Delaware During the Civil War
Newspaper published in: Georgetown

Source: Roger Martin Collection

Page/Column: This Week in Delaware History

September 5, 1861:
Despite the presence of Union Troops and Prisoners of War, excursion steamers continue to bring parties of men and women to Pea Patch Island where picnics were held.

September 8, 1864:
Pvt. Henry T. Thorn, company D., 2nd Delaware Infantry, became one of 10 Delaware soldiers to die of scurvy, diarrhea, dysentery, etc., in Andersonville Prison in Georgia during the month of September. Their remains have been buried there.

September 11. 1863:
Twelve Confederate bodies in coffins were placed on the wharf at Fort Delaware, the first od many, readied for burial on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at Finns Point.

September 16, 1862:
President Lincoln called for 300,000 men, 3440 of which were Delaware's quota. The draft was extended to allow securing volunteer and after funds were raised to pay bounties the quota was filled.

September 29, 1862:
The bodies of Captains Evan Watson and James Rickards of 1st Delaware Infantry Regiment, killed at Antietam lay in state in Old Town Hall then buried in Wilmington Brandywine Cemetery.

September 30, 1863:
The month ended with 340 Confederates at Fort Delaware having died during a like period from prison hardship and disease.