Sunday, December 31, 2017



The Wilmington News Journal , Saturday, May 16, 1942 reports steps have been taken to
establish a public library for Rehoboth Beach.

The commission appointed to handle the project is under Judge Charles Richards of
Georgetown, and members are Mrs William Baer, Mrs Harry Reed , Mrs John Lattell,
Miss Anne Hazzard and Robert Craig Green, all of Rehoboth Beach.

The Rehoboth Beach City Hall will furnish a room in City Hall for the use of the library.

The need for a public library has long been noted by both the year aeound residents and
the summer group.

Source: Wilmington News Journal, May 16, 1942: Abstract by Harrison H, December 31,


Friday, December 29, 2017



Relics of yesteryear were on display in May 1939 at the “Paynter House” of the Rehoboth

Art League during the “Festival Of Arts” at Rehoboth.

Many of the 'relics' are the furnishings of the Paynter House and many are on loan for

the occasion.

Hostess were Mrs Charles Mills and Mrs William Hamilton of Rehoboth, Mrs John C.

Truitt of Milford. Others to assist were Mrs James Hughes of Dover, Orville and

Ethel Canby Peets of Indian River and descendants of the Paynter family of Sussex county.

Mrs W. H. Hocker, Jr., of Lewes has loaned a “sampler” made by Jane Paynter in 1821

when she was 16 year old. Jane was one of nine children of William Paynter , original

owned of Paynter House.

This sample contains the names and birthdays of all nine, then the record of his second

marriage with Sarah Smith.

William Paynter Orr III of Wilmington, a great great great grandson, and his mother

Mrs W. P. Orr, Jr., loaned another “sampler” and quilt of the Paynter family. Mr. Orr

made a formal presentation of an oil portrait of his ancestor to the Art League during

the Festival of Arts show. There were two Paynter family Bibles on display also.

Calvin Paynter and Harley Paynter of Rehoboth also had relics on display. There

were many other items displayed by people of Milton, Rehoboth and Lewes.

Abstract: Salisbury Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland May 16, 1939 by Harrison H.

on December 29, 2017.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017



A controversy arose when several street names were changed last year as new street
signs were installed. There was a “passive attitude” on the part of the town fathers.

The town commissioners made no decision to change the names, they just 'came about'

by popular opinion.

Park Avenue was marked in place of Shipcarpenter Street, King Street became Kings

Highway and Knitting Street became Mulberry Street.

Judge Richard S. Rodney, an ardent supporter of historic Lewes, deplored the changes

in colonial street names and the destruction of 'Old Dutch” type homes to make way

for modern construction and questioned why their presence would impede the towns


A campaign this fall will take votes from both factions and decide whether or not

Historic Lewes will retain it's aura of antiquity.

Abstract : December 28, 2017 by Harrison H. from Wilmington News Journal

Tuesday, September 19, 1933.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017




Thursday evening, June 21st, 1934, the Sussex County Medical Society, under

the arrangements by Dr. Stambaugh, rendered a banquet in the Rehoboth Country

Club on Scarborough Avenue for Dr. William Paynter Orr., Jr. who has for the

past 50 years practiced medical service in Lewes.

Dr. Orr was born March 14, 1857 in Lewes to William P. Orr. Sr. and his wife, former

Emily Ogden Hunter. Senior Orr was a Lewes dry goods merchant.

He received his education at Lewes public school and a Lewes private school, then entered

Pennsylvania Military Academy in Chester. He later received an appointment to West Point

where he graduated. In 1884 he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine from the

University of Pennsylvania.

On the 21st of September, 1905 he took Claudia Bender Beck as his wife.

Today Dr. Orr, age 77, is president of the Delaware State Board of Health and president of

The Sussex Trust Company with banks in both Lewes and Milton. .

Abstract: Wilmington News Journal, Friday, June 22, 1934, by Harrison H. December 27, 2017



Memories of Lewes' early settlement were aroused among the towns older citizens

when old sail masts from shipwrecked vessels which were used as curbstones along

the streets near the canal before the towns sewer was system installed.

The mast were found in the back yard of one of the Maull homes and were still bearing

imprints of the iron hoops by which the sails were attached.

The hoops had long been removed by young boys who rolled them along the dirt

roadways of town.

The mast were placed along the sidewalks in order to raise an embankment that

drainage water could not flow over.

Some mast were 75 feet long and 3 foot thick and many were painted the same

color of the house they protected.

In 1901 the mast came out when the sewer was laid.

Old timers claim that from 10 to 25 four mast vessels would wreck each winter and

they found the salvaged mast made good use keeping the sewage from overflowing

the sidewalks. It the early days the sewer was a 9 foot deep by 10 feet wide open ditch

winding through town and emptied in to the creek.

Several homes had been built with limber of the mast, some of the lumber also was used

to build pieces of furniture. Much of shipwreck wood found its way into the wood

stove for warmth.

Abstract: Wilmington News Journal , Saturday, January 20, 1934, by Harrison H.

December 27, 2017.  



Some pithy remarks were made regards the 1933 repeal of prohibition by Lewes' oldest
male citizen , John Henry Mills, who is celebrating his 96th birthday this week.

“All liquor was ever good for is 'invigoration' and I don't mean 'celebration', said the
veteran who can't remember ever being intoxicated.

When I say invigoration I mean for an old worn out man like me feeling 'give out' all over,
able to take a teaspoon full of whiskey in my dinner time milk hoists me up so I can sit
around a little while longer before bedtime.
Mr. Mills is totally deaf so has to get all of his information of daily happening by reading
the newspaper front to back every day, even as his eyesight is fading, he does not yet
need reading glasses.

John Henry Mills was the first to enlist from Lewes when Abraham Lincoln issued the
the call for volunteers. He had to walk the 14 miles to Georgetown to enlist.

He served in a company that guarded bridges in Maryland and northern Virginia . After
the war he took to the sea with others of Lewes whose calling was fishing the river and bay.
He was a lighthouse keeper of the Green Hill Lighthouse near Lewes which was his last
last active job.

ABSTRACT: Wilmington News Journal , Wednesday, December 6, 1933, by Harrison,

December 27, 2017.  

Monday, December 25, 2017


DECEMBER 2, 1903


An explosion of a naphtha tank car in the center of a freight train on the Delaware
division of the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington railroad caused the death of
two, injury of a number of persons and the wrecking of several buildings and several
freight cars. The accident occurred 8 miles south of Dover and is thought to have been
the result of spontaneous combustion and the burning fluid was scattered in all directions.

Fifteen rail cars were wrecked and destroyed by fire. Several buildings near the railroad
took fire. Brakeman Edward J. Roach of Georgetown was taken from the wreck dead.
An infant died from shock. Engineer H. W. Sheppard inhaled steam and is critical,
conductor Cornelius Rath was badly burned, fireman John Barker was burned as was the
tower man, Horace Lynch of Greenwood. Dozens more town citizens were injured.

As soon as was possible a locomotive was sent to Seaford and returned some time later
doctors and other assistants. Telephone and telegraph wire were down so there was no
communication with other towns.

As the doctors worked with the injured others were busy with the fires but despite their hard
work, residences and the public school were burnt and many others rendered uninhabitable,

Abstract: Harrison H. from Oil City Pennsylvania newspaper, December 3, 1903

Thursday, December 21, 2017



The U. S. Navy has brought a halt to would be salvager's of the deBraak and it's treasure
sunk off Lewes in 1798. A Navy mine sweeper came along side them Monday and ordered them
off the site with orders from Fort Miles. The salvagers were told they were interfering with
defense installations in the Capes area.

Archie Brittingham of Lees, one of the salvage crew, said the Navy action came just as they
were preparing to send down a diver to investigate a wreck they had located two miles out in the
Delaware Breakwater.

The diver preparing to go down over the site was Harry Morgan, known for the salvage of
the USS Benevolence, a Navy hospital ship , sunk in San Frencisco Bay several years ago..Morgan
has said he was on board the deBraak several years age but salvage was not completed then.

There are seven men owners of the salvage operation. They are Archie Brittingham,
W. Harold Brittingham, Capt Charles Johnson, Henry Buckalou, and Randy McCracken all of
Lewes, J.. Rodney King of Georgetown and Harry Morgan of Florida.

Source: Salisbury Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland October 3, 1952.

Abstract December 21, 2017 by Harrison H.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017



Little Patricia Wyatt, a Lewes school third grader is having the time of her life being the
heroine of all her classmates. They envy her because she doesn't have to go to school each day and
can keep up with schooling right at home. The eight year old is confined to her bed with rheumatic
fever and faces perhaps two years of inactivity but goes to school each day by “School to Home
Intercommunications” a Bell Telephone system.

Patricia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Edward Wyatt of 117 Second Street, Lewes .
Last October a sudden illness, diagnosed at Beebe Hospital as rheumatic fever caused her to need
a long rest period. She was allowed to return home, since her mother was a trained nurse, for her
long convalescence. Her father, a Lewes town commissioner, owns the Wyatt Taxi Service here.

Patricia can sit up in bed and hear everything going on in the classroom at school by flipping
the 'on' button of the telephone gadget beside her bed. When ever the class teacher ask her a question
she can 'answer' so everyone in class can hear her as she presses the “talk key”. Miss Irene Ford,
is the teacher this year.

When school time rolls around, Patricia flips the on switch and the teacher flips the on
switch at school.

The telephone unit was installed in cooperation of Dr. John S. Carlton, director of
State Child Development and Guidance Division.

Source: Salisbury Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland, February 2, 1953. Abstract by Harrison

Howeth, December 2017.  




Rehoboth Beach Henlopen Post 5 American Legion acquired a valuable
relic Monday night February 2, 1953.

The ships compass of the HMS Lewes of the British Navy was presented to the
post by an attache of Vice Admiral L. E. Porter of the British Joint Services
Commission of Washington.

The compass had been on the navigators bridge of the HMS Lewes which was one
of the fifty lend-lease destroyers sent to Great Britain in WWII.

HMS Lewes was named for the historical Delaware town of Lewes. .

The compass, as presented, was mounted on a stand that bears a citation that it was
presented by the British Navy to Henlopen Post.

Post 5 Adjutant William S. Bean, Jr., who has served on several WWI lend-lease
destroyers had received word from Vice Admiral Porter that his attache Commander
    1. W. Barlow will make the presentation to the local American Legion at 8 PM.

The HMS Lewes had a notable record during WWII and when sold for scrap the
compass and other relics were saved to present to the local namesake community in
the United States.

In 1950 the late Benjamin Albertson of Lewes, a former post 5 commander,
had made arrangements for receiving the compass for his post, however, Albertson
died April 1951 and the presentation ceremony was delayed until now when it was
received by Post 5 Commander Archie Daniels.

Other relics of the HM Lewes were presented to the town of Lewes in 1950,
which included the Ship Seal, log, and a volume of the history of the destroyer that
are now in the Zwannedael Museum.

Abstract of Monday, February 2, 1953, Salisbury Daily Times newspaper item of

 Salisbury, Maryland, by Harrison Howeth., December 2017.

Saturday, December 16, 2017



There is no place in Delaware where Methodist roots go deeper than in Lewes.

Reverend George Whitefield came ashore at Lewes Capes in 1739 from a wrecked ship and is said to be the first to preach a Methodist sermon at Lewes from the porch of a Kings Highway house that in 1968 was still standing although it has no marker. So, Lewes, claims the first
Methodist society as the result of Whitefield's appearance.

Whitefield was a English Anglican cleric and was one of the founders of Methodism and the
evangelical movement. He was born December 27, 1714, at The Bell Inn, Southgate Street,
Gloucester, England, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Edwards Whitefield who were the
inn keepers there in Gloucester. He was educated at the Pembroke college and the Oxford
University. After his arrival in North America, he preached revivals that became known as
'The Great Awakening”. He died in 1770, age 55, in Newburyport on the shores of the
Massachusetts Bay.

At Lewes, both Bethel and Groome churches trace back to Whitefield. Together, they are a
single charge of the Peninsula Methodist Conference and are assigned one minister. Bethel
has about 540 members and Groome has about 75.

Bethel, has a big city church atmosphere, a large stone building, church school and fellowship
hall. Groome, a small frame building, with steeple or 'bell tower', at Savannah Road and
Dewey Avenue, has the country church atmosphere.

Now, remember Ebenezer Church. In 1790, Francis Asbury noted in a journal of his on
October 30, “ we have a chapel at Lewistown”. That was Ebenezer, the predeceser of Bethel
and Groome. Records show that Ebenezer was built on the N.W. Side of South Street in
Lewistown, near the S.W.end thereof wherethe main branch of Canary Creek crosses South
Street. An old cemetery remains at this location today. Ebenezer was relocated south and west
of Lewes on a country road, now Cedar Grove Road. The first Ebenezer built in 1788 burned .
The first Bethel Church sat at Third and Market, built about 1790 and was abandoned when
a larger structure was built at Mulberry and Church Streets and remained in service until 1911
when the present Bethel, with it's Gotic tower, was ready. The Mulberry Street building was
sold to the Graves family for use as a garment factory and is today an apartment building.

Groome Church took it's name from the donor of the lot the church now sits upon,
Mts Ann E. Groome. The frame building dates back to 1907

Behel Church shares fellowship with the community, allowing a skateing rink at the fellowship
hall three nights a week. It is also home to a 60 member Boy Scout Troop and a 40 member Girl Scout Troop.

 Source: Wilmington News Journal, 5 October 1968: Eileen C. Spraker Article.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017



There were only four property owners of property on Poplar Islands in 1877 through the
1880's. They were Captain Howeth, H. N. Sherwood, Captain D. Jones and the
Carroll estate on Cobblers Nexk. Until the 1920's fifteen families made their home there.

Valliant's Store with the post office was located on the smallest island. The larger island
had the school house which also served as the church, a saw mill, graveyard, a road to
at least a half dozen farms. Coaches Island, a separate island, also had several families.

The poplar Island farmers grew tomatoes, tobacco, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn and wheat.
The wheat was threshed with a steam engine powered thresher which now is said to lie about
one eighth mile off shore under water. They used oxen and horses to do the pulling of other
equipment. The people rode horses or walked as there were no carriages. Neither did they
have electricity.

Former Poplar resident Ida Richardson, now living in Tilghman, at age 87 says the church was always almost full but no preacher lived on the island. In the same building she
remembered going to school to Joseph Valiant,”a right good teacher” last ever on the

Sail canoes were the main vessel to each the mainland and oyster's were a good harvest from
the “Poplar Pot”, the natural harbor of the islands chain. Fish, especially rock fish were

Nannie Howeth,87 years old, also former resident, also lived in Tilghman, around the corner
from Ida Nannie was widow of Harvey Howeth, died at age 88. They married 7 June 1916,
lived on Poplar for four years until the brothers, Jim an Charles, sold the farms. This is the
farm the burial plot was on “ever to remain undisturbed according the deed, not accounting
for the effect of the Chesapeake.

Poplar Island was left to the moonshiners. In 1929 Federal Revenuers raided it, arrested
five, seized their yacht, and smashed the thousand gallon still.

Source: Eugene Meyer's “Maryland, Lost & Found”. 1986. Abstract December 13, 2017


Saturday, December 9, 2017


TEXAS 1835


December 9, 1835 the newly created Texan Army, under the leadership of Benjamin Rush
Milam, takes possession of the city of San Antonio in the war for independence from

Benjamin Rush Milam was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, 1788, and became a citizen soldier
of newly independent Mexico and was one of many American's who immigrated to the
Mexican State of Mexico. These immigrants found that the Mexican Government both welcomed and feared a growing number of Americans and they were treated with
uneven fairness.

In 1835 Santa Ana had overthrown the Mexican Republic and established himself the
Mexican dictator, Milam, renounced his Mexican citizenship and joined the rag-tag
army of the new formed Republic of Texas.

After the Texas Army had captured Goliad, Milam was sent into the southwest on a mission
of reconnaissance and was part of the planned attack of San Antonio only to learn that the generals had postponed the attack for the winter. Knowing that Santa Ana's troops were
already on their way to Texas to suppress the rebellion, Milam knew such a hesitation
would end the revolution, he made a impassioned 'call' for volunteers to follow “Ole Ben
Milam into San Antonio”.

Three hundred men did volunteer and made attack on San Antioio at dawn, December 5th
and by the 7th the Mexican 's defending force were badly beaten and surrendered the city.

Benjamin Rush Milam was not there to witness the results of his leadership. He was killed
instantly by a snipers bullet on December 7th. If Milam had survived he might have well
been among the doomed defenders of the Alamo, wiped out by Santa Ana's troops in March.

Source: A&E Networks, History This Day 9 December 2017.

Abstract December 9, 2017 Harrison H.   

Thursday, December 7, 2017



Out trust, rusty, bicycle, which we have not used for a long while, there it is in the shed house,
yes, with two flat tires. Why?

The valve stem. No 'air stops' are are impervious when there is pressure difference outside of
the inside.

Inner tubes are very porous for bikes, cheaper, nonbutyl, rubber, tubes tend to leak.

Besides this, there is little air in the bicycle tire, maybe a pint at 60 psi, where auto tires
have 5 pounds at 35 psi..

Bike tires require twice the psi and the cold temperature brings out Boyle's Law, which
postulates that for a body of air at a constant temperature, the volume is inversely
proportional to the pressure.

A bicycle wheel has more structural hazards. The spokes, thirty six of them, all are pinholes.

A flat bicycle tire gets far more attention that a auto tire, you know, like just when you want
to use the bike.

The bicycle industry has tried other materials, like plastic, which is less porous, but gives a
stiff, shock laden ride.

Porous rubber bicycle tires are likely to be with us for a long, long time. Grin and bare it.

 Source: David Feldman's Mysteries of Everyday Life, 1987. Abstract: Harrison H, December 7, 2017.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017




Philip Freneau, the so called poet of the revolution, was also a minister, a teacher and a
mariner. Early in 1780, during the month of May, he was aboard the privateer “Aurora” under
command of Captain John Laboyteaux, out of Philadelphia, at the enterance of the Delaware

Here they met with a British frigate, one of the fleet of British warships led by the 44 gun
Roebuck which prowled the waters near Lewes. The newly formed Continental Navy had no
match for the Reobuck and other English warships. The best Americans could do were two
“galleys”. a barge like vessel with a single sail and oars, which were effective in the low water
but no match against the heavy armed British fleet.

The British frigate, with a 12 pound shot, took the Aurora from the rightside, smashing it to
atoms. The Aurora crew was sent to a New York prison ship, crowded and virmin filled,
where Freneau was held for six weeks. He wrote two accounts “Some Account of the
Capture of the Aurora” and “The Prison Ship”. After his freedom was granted he continued to
write of the Continental victories of John Paul Jones and the defeat of General Cornwallis at

Source: Michael Morgan's Delaware Diary, Delaware Coast Press, November 29, 2017.  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

1920 S-5 Submarine disaster at Cape Henlopen.


In the fall of 1920 a U. S. Navy S-5 submarine meet with a disaster off Cape Henlopen while on a
4 hour, full power, practice run, calling for a “crash dive” at the end. During the dive, an intake
valve failed and the S-5 sank with the bow down and full of water. After the sinking there was a 35
hour bout with death, 150 feet under sea before rescue.

First class machinist mate, Frank Pendle, and another survivor, George Bradbury Conklin, tell of the
struggle, first hand.

Pendle was on watch in the engine room, the practice run ending and they were on their way to
Baltimore after starting the trip at Boston, when he felt the sub hit bottom. He had started aft to turn
on the pump to remove the water from the bilges, and as he was going aft the stern rose rapidly, and
everything went scooting forward. I found that only one pump was able to operate.

The master, Lt. Commander Cooke and other officers and some of the crew were stuck in the
control room by water backed up against the door and this did not allow that door to be opened.
A suction pump was put in operation to remove enough waster so that the door could be opened and
allow them to escape.

By this time the salt water had sloshed around the battery compatment and caused a bit of chlorine gas
to escape but not enough to do real harm. Some of the crew put on their gas masks' but it was hard
to breathe be cause the air supply had been cut off.

After everyone had settled down a bit we could hear water lapping against the stern. That was a good
sound since it ment we were part the way out of the water. The captain sent a crew member to the
tiller compartment away up aft to make a hole in the 5/8 inch metal large enough to get a hand out of
so we could get a flag out to signal for help. This hole was made with a hand drill as the electric drill
did not work. Being it was hard to breathe the whole crew had to take turns doing the drilling. After
sometime the hole was made large enough so a pipe with a flag attached could be waved outside. Also
we ccould see outside and there 300 years away was a ship but she dod not see us and soon was out
of sight. We continued to wave the flag, which was a crew members “t” shirt on a copper pole and
soon a ship only 200 yards of us heard the shouts of the captain, saw the flag, and came in close.

This was the Alanthus which stood by tooting her whistle every minute or so, aand some of her crew
came aboard our stern made the small hole big so a rpe sling could take us out. Pendel was the first
man out. Every one of the crew was in pretty good shape after we received air and water from the
rescue ship, not delirious as the story was told.

Captain Cooke was the hero here, holding us together through the hours of hell. The Baltimore
Evening Sun carried the news that the entire crew had been saved.

Source: Baltimore Sun, 6 September 1920. Abstract by Harrison H, Novemebr 25, 2017.

Friday, November 24, 2017

1903 -1951 Mayors of Rehoboth

1903 - 1951

1903 – 1905: Joseph D. Thompson ; 1905 – 1906: Allie W. Dick; 1906 – 1909: T. W. Palmer;

1909 -1910: H. S. Newman; 1910 -1911: Walter Burton; 1911 - 1912: E. B. Riley;

1912 – 1914: Frederick Ross; 1914 -1915: Dr. W. R. Messick; 1915 -1917: Walter Burton;

1917 – 1918: Fred O. Williams; 1918 – 1923: Dr. W. P. Robinson;

1923 – 1927: J. Harry Satterfield; 1927 – 1929: Ralph Wingate; 1929 – 1930: Henry Conant;

1930 -1933: Ralph Poynter; 1933 – 1937: Frederick Ross; 1937 – 1946: Arthur Downing;

1946 – 1947: Col Edgar Stayer; 1947 – 1949: Col Chaeton Shaffer;
1949 – 1951: Arthur Downing:

Source: Wilmington New Journal, Friday, November 2, 1951

Abstract Novemebr 24, 2017 Harrison H.  


1871 – 1947

Henry Conant, of Rehoboth Beach , a man of vision, came to Rehoboth Beach to extend his fishing business, from Chincogteague Virginia. Conantt was born 1871 to William N. Conant and
Sarah Melvin who had a sash and curtain manufacturing business in upper New Jersey.
In addition to his Henry Conant fising business he was president of the Chincogteague Bank.

His survey of Rehoboth impressed him with it's possibilities for development and n 1923 after he had
bought the old Thompson tract just south of Rehoboth proper and the Silver Lake, he set out selling
Rehoboth Beach to the rest of Delaware.

The real estate company he formed was the Rehoboth Heights Development Company which has in
1927 built the dilapidated old farm stead into a beautiful spot, including the Rehoboth Country Club,
a nine hole golf course and some 75 attractive beach cottages, most of these on the ocean front and Silver Lake . Sussex county has assessed this section close to one million dollars.

This section was recently annexed into the Town of Rehoboth, a result which Mr. Conant was very happy with and will lead the resort to greater improvements.

Conant had suggested the town establish a governor's summer mansion at the resort to be be used by present and future governors of the State of Delaware.

In the late 1920's Conant became Mayor of Rehoboth, retiring in August 1930 to return to Chincogteague to make his home. He also will retain a sunner cottage at Rehoboth Beach.

Hemry Warren Conant died at Chincoteague Virginia, Tuesday, September 23, 1947, and ws surived by his wife, Sarah Francis Davis Conant, and two sons Henry Warren., Jr., and Newell R. both
of Chincoteague.

Abstract of Wilmington Newspapers, 1923 – 1947, by HARRISON H. November 24, 2017.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pilottown Duke of York Petents


Basically, this is a study of how Lewes happened and uses the findings of Dr. David Marine
a member of the Sussex Society of Archeology and History back in 1955. A map that Dr. Marine
sketched outlines eight patents, located by Shipcarpenter on the SE side, Pagen Creek, now Canary, on the SW side and Lewes Creek on the NE side, and a tract of land reserved for the Town set between Shipcarpenter Street and South Street, now Savannah Road.

This area has been called “Delaware's First Square Mile” and holds the sites of the 1631 Swanendael settlement, the 1695 West India Company fort and trading post, Plockhoy's Colony, the
areas of 1617 census by Wiltbank, the 1673 “Burning of Whorekill” and several raids by Maryland's
Lord Baltimore.

The Duke of York's patents brought attention to the “First Square Mile of Delaware” which is thought had not received the due respect it deserved by the Dutch, the Duke of York nor Lord Baltimore and formed a rough neighborhood into a permenent settlement and important port of call
that was deserving greater respect and a court of law and the adjoining lands quickly filled with settlers
wanting legal protected property. This is how Lewes happened to take shape.

The list of Duke of York patents and notes of them is listed below;
#8, no date, 112 acres, to owner Cornelius Verhoofe, #7, January 15, 1675, 69 acres Jan Kipshaven
# 6 , July 7, 1675, 80 acres, owner Alexander Molleston, #5, July 7, 1676, 132 acres, owner
William Tom, #4, July 2, 1672, 150 acres, owner, Helmainas Wiltbank, #3, January 24, 1675,
50 acres, owner William Clark. #2, May 25, 1670, 140 acres , owner Helmainas Wiltbank, # 1,
July 7, 1675, 134 acres , owner Helmainas Wiltbank.

Parcels 1, 5 and 6 were laid out by Edmubd Cantwell, the official surveyor at the time. The
parcel 2, was first granted to Dirck Pieters, by Francis Lovelace, Yorks governor in New York and has a long story behined it. Parcel 3; Original patent holder was Simond Pawlin who assigned parcel to Captain Nathaniel Walker, who assigned it to William Clark, 11 June 1681.
Parcel #4; to Wiltbank , grant by Lord Baltimore. Parce #7 ; Surveyed by Capt. Edmund Cantwell.
Parcel #8, granted while Andros was governor, late in 1676.

The parcel reserved for the Town was probably surveyed in 1675. Wiltbank claimed owner
but the position against him by the Town prevailed. It was laid out by Capt. Cantwell as “Common”
for cattel feed and firewood.

Robert Shankland in 1723 survey noted that the Town tract was claimed by Dyreits Paten, however, this was never proven.

A chronological long road to Lewes follows:
1632: After the Swanendael massacre de Vries and his investors abandon their efforts in this area
and that which was purchased from the local Indians in 1629, from Bombay Hook to Fenwick was
sold to the Dutch West India Company which discouraged settlement and carried on a fur trade with the local Indians.

1638: Swedish interest headed by Peter Minuit, took advantage of Dutch lack of activity , and established a colony at Christina, called it New Sweden what grew with an influx of Swedes and Finns. The Sweds purhased the land south to Cape Henlopen annd caused a disruption to the fur trade.

1655: After years of increasing provocation the Dutch West India Company's director general , Peter
Stuyvesant, led an invasion from his post in Manhatten into Delaware and put an end to Swedish
rule there.

1656: The West India Company, in dept to the City of Amsterdam transferred ownership to them of
land from Christina River to Bombay Hook. This colony was known as New Amstel with it's center at todays New Castle.

1657, t he first director of this colony was Jacob Alricks'. Late this year, fourteen men from Virginia came ashore at Cape Henlopen, probably runaway servants, and raised concerns that the English were trying to take over lower Delaware.

1658: Stuyvesant learned that the tract from Bombay Hook to Cape Henlopen was to be purchased, the area then called Horekil by the Dutch. The West India Company's William Beckman and
Stuyvesant took steps to purchase land from the Indians to build a fort near the Cape as soon as

1659: In June of this year, Beekman for the Company and d'Hinojossa for the City, pirchased
Horekil and took twenty of the City's soldiers there with them. The soldiers were to stay and build a 'fort' on parcel #4. Maryland moved against the Dutch and demamsed them to leave Delaware. The Dutch remained.

1661 New Amstel took Gerritt van Sweringen as it's Secretary, d'Hinojoosa took City of Amsterdam
over as it's director. Maryland softened it's belligerent stand and showed interest in trade.

1662: d'Hinojossa names Alricks, who had returned to New Amstel, and was granted all rights to trade between Bombay and Cape Henlopen. d'Hinojossa made attempt to have Amsterdam take control of the Delaware River . This year Pieter Cornelis Plockhoy, a Mennonite , received grant to establish a semisocialistic society in Horekil.
1663: The ship St. Jacob brought the Plockhoy group, 41 people with baggage and farm tools , to
Horekil. D'Hinojossa took this ship to Amsterdam where Alrick's was already. Upon his return he brought workmen on a four year service term, and Sander Molleston, aka Maelstten, of Saxony.
All of Delaware River, aka South River, was turned over to City of Amsterdam.

1664: On March 12, this year, Englands King Charles II gave to Duke of York, aka James, Charles' brother, the coastal lands of America from Maine to New Jersey on the Delaware Bay.
A plan to end the Dutch hold on New Netherlands was prepared. A naval force under the
Colonel Richard Nichols caused Stuyvesant to surrender Manhatten on September 8.
Sir Robert Carr was sent to Delaware with a small force and by that October had put down
d'Hinojossa's feeble resistance and 'confiscate' Plockhoy's settlement.
In this change of masters, Alrichs lost his properties, but soon was accepted by the new
government, received most of it back, plus a liscense to trade with the Whorekil Indian

1665 – 1669 : For the next five years the Duke of York's officials in New York took no interest
in Whorekil, to them it was an unimportant place somewhere under the order of officials at New Castle.
At the same time Lord Baltimore's people, busy at St Mary's, did not push Maryland's claim
to Delaware. They were slow in getting the Eastern Shore settled. Some people from Virginia's Eastern Shore did spill over into Marylands somerset, at that time covering Maryland from the Chesapeake Bay up to Delawares Indian River, and had a settlement called “Manokin” on the Potomoke River. After the lands of Somerset were claimed, then, Maryland looked north, toward the good lands in southern Delaware.
But still the Duke of York did nothing to bring his settlers to Whorekil where land patents were
available to all comers. However, the process was confusing and slow, it strained patience of those
interesed. Who was there? The Dutch that were always there, some West India Company fur traders, The Duke of York's people did not make it easy for these old settlers to remain.

1670: Lord Baltimore had his Maryland Council lay ground work to take over what they called
S The southward 'run' into Somerset, was established later for inhabiting
“Seaboard Side” and Whorekil. Land was available through William Stevens and James Weedon , on easy terms for people of English and Irish descent, hope was they would transport themselves to Durham.
James Weedon was made surveyor and Daniel Brown was made constable of Durham. Apparently
these men and their party were well received by the Pilottown Dutch settlers when they appeared at the Whorekil . At last someone to hand out land grants.
In October, six Dutchmen were granted land at “Whorekil on the Chesterfield Creek”, the short lived name for Lewes Creek. Weedon had a problem, these were not English nor Irish names, so, he changed the Dutch spelling of names to an anglicized spelling. Otto Wolgast became Otho Walgatt,
Willem Claesen was now William Clauson, Antony Pieters became Anthony Peter, and so on.
Whorekil at this time still had a Dutch Court run by Wiltbank, but the Dutch settlers all accepted Weedon's patents. The Duke of York also issued a Pilottown road patent. So who had the control?

1671: It appears that the Whorekil Dutch Court still was accepted in the area as 'in control'.
Wiltbank was commissioned to provide a list of persons at the Whorekil which he did. It accounted for 47 “total souls” , 29 Dutch families, wives, children and servents , and 18 English families from Somerset Maryland.
JamesWeedon. The surveyor, died mid year and his family and servants went back to Maryland. The other Marylanders who came with him remained.

1672: Appears that the dutch are still in controland ignor lord Baltimores demands. Maryland
launched another plan to control Delaware, Whorekil being the chief target, Dutham was changed to
Worcester, officials were appointed but never acted in any capacities.
Pilottown Road land grants were reissued to three persons, Thomas Walker, 300 acres, John Smith, 300 acres, Frances Jenkins 600 acrea. To this tract the name of “Pershore” was given.
These Jenkins grants had no bearing on the Duke of York grants.

1673: In to Sussex county moved John Avery, John Rhodes and John King, without the Duke of York's authorizstion. This year 1600 Dutch troops overwhelemed the English at New York, New Netherlands revived, New york becane New Orange. The Delaware River was South River again

and Whorekil becane Horekil. The Swedes, Finns, Marylanders on south River were able to keep their homes. Howeverm this is the year Lord Baltimore decided to take charge and in December his aid,
Captain Thomas Howell and 40 hoesemen road in and took control for about four weeks, but cold weather and meger food supplies forced Howell to withdraw. On Christmas eve, Howell retirned and ordered the resident to muster with their guns and ammunition for drill and there he confiscated the arms, told the people to gather up their belongings as he was going to burn all dwellings and that he did. This action for sure put the resident in precarious circumstances, there was the cold, no food, several woment with child, The Dutch and some of the English who had made Whorekil home did not leave. Not long after this raid the Dutch & English war ended, New York and Delaware returned to the English and a policy of procedure to grant lands was provided.

1675 – 1676: These years brought hope as property rights and law were restored. Whorekil received and English system Court and the laws of the Duke of York were to be followed. Helm Wiltbank,
Edward Southrin, Sander Molleston, John King and Paul Marsh were ordered to be Justices of this court, and Daniel Brown was made constable. With this court in control the town of Lewes earned it's place among places, so to speak. It was said Lewes had a Dutch mother and a Maryland English father.

The early settlers of Lewes deserve full admiration for forceing a town to come about by
their persistent occupation of the Pilottown Roads patents.

The source of this abstract, repeat abstract, is Warren Macdonald's, assisted by Helens Carter
Potter, article in the 2002 Volume V, Journal of the Lewes Historical Society, which has much more detailed information of the 'people' involved and would be necessary reading to those interested.
November 19, 2017 by Harrison H.

Thursday, November 16, 2017



The Delaware Breakwater Rear Range lighthouse, better know locally as Green Hill Light, was a navigation aid to ship master to help determine an exact location as they came around Cape
Henlopen to enable them to navigate shoals of the Delaware Bay. It was in use between 1881 and
1918 when shifting sand changed the shoreline and the Green Hill Light was no longer usable as am
navigational aid.

Located two miles NW of Lewes on a slight elevation above the marsh, a Sussex county hill, it
consisted of 100 foot high steel tower fitted with a “3d order red light”, which was 108 feet above sea level . Along the side of it was a two story keepers house. Between 1881 and 1889 a kitchen was added, also a red brick shed for oil and a iron hand rail for the keepers safety for the tower. 1910 saw
a one story block structire for the assistant keeps. Shrubs and trees were set out in 1901, over 600 of them. The two story house was sold to Robert Arnell who had it moved to his Old Landing farm.

Decommissioned in 1918 the light was recycled, the lens and clockworks were moved to be used at San Francisco 's 18th Lighthouse District. The steel tower, disasembled and loaded on railway cars went to the west coast of Floiad, for use on Gasparilla Island.

The property of Green Hill was abandoned, overgrown, structures were left to deterioate, and returned to the State of Delaware in 1930 which gave the land to Lewes.

Source: Green Hill Light by Gary Grunder, Volumer V, 1002 Journal of the Lewes Historical Society.

Abstract by Harrison H, November 2017.   

Tuesday, November 14, 2017



A question arose at coffee about the early bridges which crossed Lewes Creek, now the
Lewes – Rehoboth Canal. The information below is an abstract of “ Spanning The Creek” by
Hazel Brittingham in volume V, November 2002 , Journal of Lewes Historical Society.

This is early 1900 or perhaps before, there were six, yes six, bridges to cross the creek.
Two railroad bridges and four small spans for man and beast to use to go to the bay front beach
and marsh. Three of these bradges were removed in early 1900 when the creek became the canal.

They were the South Street bridge, Savannah Road today, Market Street bridge, Ocean House
bridge and McIllvain bridge.

McIllvain Bridge was off of Gills Neck, near where the Freeman Bridge is today, probably
got the name from the land owner in the vicinity, Rev. David Mills McIllvain and was the choice of
people going to and from the Cape Henlopen lighthouse. It was used by farmers who cut marsh hay and used the marsh as pasture for their cattle. It had gates to keep cattle from meandering back to town. This bridge was also handy to the public who gatherd fire wood from the Cape Henlopen forest.

According to the journal of Fannie Marshall it was removed 29 Jamuary 1914 but when it was put across the creek is not known.

The Ocean House Bridge was built by Solomon Prettyman sometime after 16 February 1849 when the Delaware General assembly authorized a draw bridge and causeway in front of the new Ocean House at 334 Pilot Town Road leading to a Delaware Bay wharf and was toll free. It had a draw span twenty five feet lomg over the deepest channel. The bridge was in place for sometime after 1913.

Market Street Bridge was the earliest to cross Lewes Creek, authorized 6 November 1773, to be at the foot of the Lewes outdoor market which was behind the brick jail on Back Street, now2nd
Street, where Kings Ice Cream is now. It had a 'draw' of eight feet or more, with sufficient chains to
raise it up and down, so boats could pass through. A caprenter, Peter White, completed it on 12 august 1775. One reason this bridge was important was because it gave towns people good grazing for livestock and access to fishing, oysters, beach plums, cranberries and huckleberries. Market Street Bridge was in continuous use from 1775 to 1914 when the creek became the canal.

South Street, State Street, or Savanah Road Bridge, was built about 1864 or shortly before. Rebuilt, replaced, it is still there and in use.

Mention should be made of the two railroad bridges that were owned and operated by the
different rail road companies that came to Lewes.

Abstract by Harrison H , November 14, 2017:   

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bassols Sculpture

JULY 1975

The Bassols Sculture is a contemporary sculpture of welded steel and brushed aluminum which
was financed jointly by Lewes Historical Socciety and Delaware Arts Council and was valued at
least $5000. The four upright figures, eact topped with a halo , represents in abstracts the towns
architecture of church spires and victorian lines of older houses in Lewes.

Bassols, with a Cuban background, is no stranger to the arts field of Delaware. He lives at
Cool Spring and was an art teacher. He has exhibited contemporary scilpture at a number of Delaware
exhibits that reccieved both applause and criticim, some like his work, others don't, some understand it, some don't.

Early this month his contribution to Lewes was unveiled in front of a doctors historic home on
Pilottown Road. Eyebrows raised, noses stiffened, protest piled up, like “what the hell is this”. In response to criticism he quoted “ some day, this sculpture will become part of Lewes' folklore”.

November 13, Anyway, last Thursday the news was out, sad news, Bassols work has been ordered to the
warehouse, awaiting further decision, by Lewes Historical Society.

Shame on Lewes, it's Historical Society, and all of you.

SOURCE; Wilmington Morning News, Bill Frank, Monday , July 28, 1975. Abstract by Harrison,
November 13, Anyway, last Thursday the news was out, sad news, Bassols work has been ordered to the
2 2017.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

CIA at Lewes


A CIA report, noted in the Wilmingtom News Journal on June 11, 1975, states that the
Lewes Police Agency has received from the CIA, gratuties, for being helpful to the agency. The tiny police force of Lewes would hardly seem qualified to receive a high level international intrigue message of such, but it did.

The reason was that former CIA Director, Richard Helms, has been raveling back and forth between Lewes and Washington, D.C. recently to answer to congress probers about illegal spying
and assassination plots.

During his years as CIA director, Helms, would escape the battles of Washington to a summer
cottage here , Wit's End, at 1303 Cedar Avenue, which is owned by his wife, Cynthia Retcliff McKelvie. The 'gift' was , according to the report, given to the Lewes police for their assistance when it was thought that Helms life was in danger. Chief Louis Fisher, Lewes Police Department, said that if Helms life was in danger he did not know anything about it andtold us that a few year ago the department was asked “to keep an eye on the cottage when Helms was in town” by an agent of the CIA
and his men were instructed to drive by the cottage, time to time, to see if it was OK. Not a great
urgency was noticed. Most of the time we only knew he was here when we saw his car in the drive.

Just what the gift was is another question. Fisher told of a walkie-talkie they sent once but it would not work on the Lewes system and was returned. Fisher and City Manager, Ron Donovan, were guest once at the CIA in Washington for a tour, maybe that was the gift.

A case of government intrigue gone by unnoticed by the peaceful beach town of Lewes.

Source: Sussex Bureau, Wilmington News Journal , Wednesday, June 11, 1975, abstact by Harrison H ., November 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017



Bethany Beach was established in 1898 when the coastal area of Sussex county beame more
easy to reach by transportation facilities. A religious group from Scranton, Pennsylvania, by name,
Christian Church Disciples, chose it as a summer camp for it's Missionary Society. The Scranton
group formed the Bethany Beach Improvement Company that agreed to purchase land, no less than
100 lots, develop it, and provide transportation to it.

The resort was dedicated on Juky 12, 1901, and a large octagonal tabernacle built to hold the
activities of the society.

At that time the nearest railroad station was at Rehoboth Beach, to the north and seperated by
several bodies of water. The steamer, “Atlantic” was put in service and transported visitors from
Rehoboth Station across two bays, up Whites Creek to Ocean View where they then continued the
trip by horse drawn carriages'.

The deeds to the lots had clauses by the staunch Christian society which barred the sale and
possession of alcoholic beverages in the town. This “prohibition” had outlast the origional
religious fervor and for years kept the development to a minimum, preserving a quiet charm of
the town. The missionary society has continued to used it's facilities however, the tabernacle was
torn down in the 1960's.

A National Guard Coastal Artillery Camp on the northern outskirts opened after WWI and is
used as a training ground during the summer months. Bethany also was the location of a Coast
Guard Lifesaving Station and during WWII was home to a Navy radio station.

Abstract October 31, 2017, by Harrison H., from Dick Carter's History of Sussex County,

Delaware Coast News, 1976.