Sunday, April 24, 2016



The account following was abstracted from the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper issue of Sunday, December 1 1912, and appears to have been first printed in the Norfolk Ledger Dispatch at an unknown date. It evidently is a printing of a letter from Captain T. Fitzhugh, Co. F. Fifth Virginia Cavalry, Kansas City, Kansas, on February 10, 1910, to Mr. W. H. Frenger, Cape Charles, Virginia. Capt. Fitzhugh tells that time has allowed him to forget the actual dates but civil War Records of his activities are published by Congress for 1864.

It was after the Seven Days fight around richmond. Fitzhugh was on the staff of Major General Ripley who had been ordered the send a select detail of men, a reliable officer, to a headquarters at Matthews courthouse, on Chesepeake Bay. Their duty was to report to the Confederate War Department the daily movement of McCellans transports on the Chesapeake Bay. McCellans headquarters were then at Harrison Landing on the James River.

While at Matthews Headquarters Fithugh received reports from persons from the Eastern Shore, of the military situation at Cherrystone and Eastville, Northampton County, Virginia's eastern shore. A report that the Gunboat G. B. McClellen lay off Cherrystone with a small cavalry guard and that General Lockwood had headquarters in the Kerr house at Eastville with a infantry detachment camped at Fishers Farm on the sea side. This at once caught the Captains attention and he made a plan where the Confererates would cross the bay at night, capture the gunboat and its guards, use the cavalry horses to hasten to Eastville, capture the Union General Lockwood and imprison them on the gunboat and lay it up the bay, opposite Eastville. This expedition was reported to General Stuart for the needed permission and refused with his statement that he would need to arrange another expeditoion to release the men and Capt. Fitzhugh from the Union prison at Point Lookout.


Remount and recruit time was given the Fitfh Virginia Cavalry in 1864 and while at home Capt Fitzhugh asked of General Lomax for permission to go on a raid but did not mention 'the plan' with him or anyone else. Permission was granted so off to Matthews Courthouse the captain and his troops went. There were hand picked were ten men, a Lieutenant Howlett and a Sergeant Merchant. The detachment left out oe evening about dusk, arriving the Eastern Shore before dawn, landing at 'Devils Hole' a small creek below Cherrystone. Finding no assistance of the locals who were too much alarmed at the situation, a good scout was sent to gather information of Cherrystone and Eastville. The scout foundthere were fourteen cavalrymen, with a sergeant in command at Cherrystone. At Eastville was Major White and a company of cavalery on guard of a large lot of commissary supplies. The first plan of attack was to go up Cherrystone Creek , land at the wharf and hit the guards from land side. However, the pilot who brought the troop across the bay, a northampton native, deserted, foiled this plan with fear he would alert the enemy. Plans were changed, Capt. Fitzhugh took the raiders across field and woods to Cape Charles road, up this road to Cherrystone road, and during the march capturing a sentry asleep, who assisted us to the soldiers quarters and the telegraph office of the Federal forces which were then easily taken prisoners. The telegraphic communication with Fortress Monroe were destroyed. Out in the creek was found a large sidewheel steamer, the captain of which was spending the night on shore in the Eastville Hotel and so he was easily taken prisoner and agreed to submit to orders so as to save his boat from destruction.
Capt Fitzhugh, with the ship captain, and three men, wearing the top coats of the captured Federals so as to receive a cordial reception, , went on board, took the crew prisoner, escorted all below deck and put under guard. All of these actions were done so quietly a qroup of oystermen working within ear shot did not observe the Confederate's.
It was learned that the Federal ship, Titan, was due to arrive at 9 o'clock, and arrangement were made for her capture, which was easily done. All of the Federal prisoners were then placed on board the Titan, under guard, and the confederate 's proceeded to destroy all Federal property in sight. The commissary stores were burned, the telegraph cable destroyed, and there were 49 prisoners in excess of the confederate force, which some were , upon oath, liberated.
Now aboard the Titan, the Cherrystone expedition succesfully completed, moving out and away the wharf, shots were heard, and it was found they were from Captain Duval's men who were making a bold attack from ambush about a mile away. This bold attack was silenced when the confederats returned fire and Duvals men fell back double time, with two wounded and one fataily.

The Confederates took the Titan across the Chesapeake Bay to the Plankatank River, going as far as possible, grounded her, removed all of value, prisoners sent to Richmond, and set afire. Next morning the Federals sent seven gunboats up the river, shelling both shores as they proceeded.

Friday, April 22, 2016


It's name , it's owners
it's people who played a part
in making of the nation.

The Wednesday, August 16, 1899 issue of the Wilmington Evening Journal , Wilmington, Delaware published the following abstract of data which tells of characters and events during the colonial period apart from the monopoly of New England's history. Southern settlements may have been minimized or untold altogether. Stories like the founding of St. Mary's, the Annopolis Tea Party, or the exploits of the “Maryland Line” have been less heard of. This abstract hopes to correct this.
Men Who Made History
There are some Maryland sons 'as it is writ” were failed to receive the importance due them. Among them is Thomas Fenwick, whose name ws given to Fenwick's Island. He was one of the restless, adventurous men who emigrated from England to Maryland during the latter part of the 17th century. Fenwick took up a grant of land between Little Assawoman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, a narrow strip of land fringing the ocean cut by three inlets. Nothhernmost was Little Assawoman Inlet, southernmost was Green River Inlet and midway between these was Sineapuxent Inlet which evidently were all filled in by high tides and drifting sands as the island was gradually rising. The Fenwick Island Lighthouse stands near the center of this grant secured by Thomas Fenwick.
Thomas Fenwick was prominent in local affairs of both Sussex County, Delaware to the north and Worcester County, Maryland, to the south, disputed ownership by Lord Baltimore and William Penn. Under William Penn, Fenwick held positions of sheriff, notary public and other minor positions. During the late part of his life he made residence in Lewestown, On Delaware, where he died and is buried. At his death his daughter Mary took possession. When she married William Fassett about 1735 , the Fassett Family took over Fenwick Island.
William Fassett was a bold seafaring man and on one of his coastal sailing ventures was captured by pirates which infested the coastal waters just off Fenwick and was made to “walk the plank. Being close to shore and being an able swimmer, Fassett made shore alive and well. It is tradition that when Fassett landed he made a vow he would somehow find a way to take possession of this hosipitable beach upon which he had beed cast.
This vow became real when he married Mary Fenwick. The Fassetts kept possession for a very long time, at least three generations, passed to John, James and James, then to Mary, daughter of the last James. This Mary married James Hall of Berlin, Maryland who left the Island to his son, John C. Hall, who was killed wrecking a sunken barge loaded with ships mast. Sold at auction in Berlin to John Burch, who deeded it to Samuel Bennett who passed it on to the Gunn family, locally well known.
It was from the Gunn family that a stock company headed by Willard Saulsbury [Salisbury] and Captain John Long bougth the Island.


John C. Halls death date, 1831, calls to mind the great tidal wave of that year. One of John Halls best friends was Jacob Breasure,
a well know character of the Island gave verbal account of the storm. Jacob Breasure was born 1817 and living on the island in 1831. His father , James Breasure, lived on the island during the Revolutionary War. There were three homes on the island in 1831, all owned by James Fassett. James lived in one, Fassett lived in another and an old man. Joshua Morris, lived in the third. The young Breasure son, age 14, his older brothers, attended school on the mainland. Today was Friday, cold in January, with a strong northeast wind, but the boys were at school being well accustomed to sever weather. Evening brought on the fury of the storm prevented them from returning home for a week, but the father was on the island throughout its continuance and when looking out to sea noticed a great wave in the distance, coming along with great velocity, increasing in fury as it came until it struck the beach and swept entirely over the island. Joshua's house was washed from its foundation and the first floor swept away leaving the elderly Morris' stranded on the second floor. Brasure, at the risk of his life rescued the old man and his wife, carring them to his house. Three hundred head of cattle were lost, several people at Indian River Bay were killed including a man named Druley. The name of the storm was given “Druley Tide” for its future reference.


Ner the center of the island is a portion of the sandy beach which the island people called the “mony banks” due to the fact that many Spanish silver coins are washed up on the beach by the tides. Islanders were able to rake large sums of these coins and visitors came from afar to join in.
Now in 1899 there are several small truck farms and some cattle is being raised in the marshes. There were also ten to fifteen salt houses, the salt being shipped to Philadelphia and New York.

On the mailand not far from the island , at Sineapuxent, Maryland, was born , 1779, and reared Stephen Decatur a great American Commodore. In Delaware near Dagsborough, called “Blackfoot Town” John Middleton Clayton, was born in 1776.

Saturday, April 16, 2016




Over 400 planes made it to Rehoboth Beach Airport for their second annual fly-in and the pilots and their families were entertained at a beach front dinner by Grace Shockley and Alvin Simpler of the Avenue Restaurant. Other local merchants provided handsome prizes which were awarded for flight achievements. The host of the affair was Clarence Flatt, manager of Rehoboth airport, where the planes were tied down for the overnight stay.
While here there were tow air shows, the first was a demonstration of personal planes and included a Douglas DC3, flown by Leonard Smith and John Geisse, equipped with the new Geisse cross wind landing gear.
Special guest of honor was 67 year old William T. Piper who developed the Piper Cub.
Rehoboth mayor Schaffer welcomed the guest to the bonfire and dinner awards ceremony in the evening; Awards went to Commander Ferguson of Cape May for largest family to fly in and the lowest CCA license number, 1936; youngest woman flyer was 20 year old Edith Dominico of Trenton, New Jersey; farthest away , 800 miles, went to Walt Settle of Madison Wisconsin; one day flying, 385 miles, Akron, Ohio went to Art Chapman flying a Goodyear 'Duck'; oldest woman pilot was awarded to 50 year old Elsie McKoegh of New York City; Rudy Chalow of New Jersey flew in the smalles and oldest , a 1936 Waco; higest AOPA number, 50,000 went to the David Stevensons ofWashington; greatest log time, 7500 hours, was presented to Ed Marshall of Emporia Virgina; Lilliam Bradley got prize for her 10 minutes of solo time and 19 year old Rehoboth pilot, Charles Rutter got aware as youngest. For being the first plane to land at this fly in , prize went to Dan Valintine of Pennsylvania.
Washington's diplomatic service was represented by British Embassy attache Morris A. Brown, flying his British Percival Proctor.

Saturday, April 2, 2016



The Broadkill takes many twist and turns on its way from the Delaware Bay to the mill pond dam in Milton. Times past, this river, aka creek, bustled with boat traffic, both pleasure and commerce. There were docks, wharves, landings and such along the banks, with names, usually from the family farms at their location, but others from someones imagination. Wooden boats shuttled between Milton and the rest of the world, using the Broadkill River as the best available entry and exit road.
The following data was gathered and put into archives by Charlie Fleetwood from data he received from Martha Donovan that had been authored by David Donovan, all of Milton.

From the bay, on the left bank came the mouth of Old Mill Creek, supposed tributary of Coolspring Branch, aka Red Mill Pond Creek of past years.
Still on the left bank, next was Oyster Rock Landing which in colonial days was a somewhat major port. Up river, prior to the first so called 'bend', were what were called the Flat Lands to the right bank side. At the east side of a 'U' bend, next up the river, right bank, was Hazzards Landing. Northeast of Hazzards lay the marsh, and north of the landing were Island Farm and Wall Island, more than likely serviced by Hazzards Landing. Hazzard famlies owned much of this section of Broadkill Hundred in early days of settlement. At the top of this 'U' bend was Greys Ditch which runs into the Broadkill. After the river 'flattens out' , on the left bank there is a 'gut' by name of Long Reach. Above it, on the right bank were lands of the Norman Family which likely had a wharf, maybe two. Than we come to and pass Shorts Reach, Peterfield Ditch, to Wiltsbank Point that appears to have had at least three landings or docks. Wiltbanks lands were to the north and south of the river. A large tract of land and mash.
Blacks Landing is next, today we know it as Steamboat Camp Ground and I think called Steamboat Landing. Blacks Landing sits at the north edge of Whites Neck, a strip of land bordered south by a stream at one time known as Pine Ditch. It looks like Whites Neck was the homestead location of the white Holland family. Yes, there was a black family of prosperous Hollands that resided more to the south, near Oyster Rocks Road, closer to Overbrook Crossroads. Going on towards Milton, on another and much larger 'U' bend in the river were Linn's Reach, Russels Reach and Argo's Slip almost to the Drawbridge which carried the Lewes to Milford highway across Broadkill River. The drawbridge was described as a Bascule Bridge or “a structure, such as a drawbridge, of which one end is counteredbalanced by the other end, on the seesaw principle”. Now we are near the confluence of the Beavedam Branch, creek or whatever, with the Broadkill. Early on there was a village here, Drwabridge, with a post office and in colonial days a shipyard owned by one Batist Lay, said to have been the very first of the many Broadkill ship building sites. Beaverdam Creek flows to or from , whichever, Harbeson and beyond, which has several of its own mill ponds, such as hollands Mill Pond, Hunters Mill Pond, a bridge name of Round Pole Bridge, another village with a post office, name Whitesville. The river is now in the vicinity of, repete 'vicinity off' Cave Neck,which holds Holland Glade, on the rivers south bank, Jones Landing and on the rivers north bank, Cedar Landing, both of which appear to be deep in marsh lands. A south bank landing named Shorts Landing, then on toward town to Havalows Landing. Remembering history lessons, at Havelow landing there is a vaught for the burial of the Havelow family. Near here, to the north, is Reynolds road intersection with route 16 highway. Also, here the rived heads back south a bit, running by Conwell haul Landing, Old Orchard Landing, Vaughns Landing. Between Vaughns Landing and Black Horse Ditch flows Round Pole Branc or Creek, maybe once called Neibert Ditch. Next , closer to town is Brick Yard Landing, the Black Horse ditch, then past a spot where there was evidently a chemical works of somesort, and Sampson Landing on the north bank of the river just west of Rattle Snake Hill and Carey Landing Sand Haul Landing, Blacks Drain, Neals Drain. Then you are in down town Milton, Paynters Pond, aka Wagamons Mill Pond, Lavinia Street Pond, Ferby Mill Dam , Pemberton Branch to Redden Forest. Another story.