Saturday, September 23, 2017



Another nor'easter has cast a new hoard of 18th century vintage coins on the beaches
just a few miles south of Rehoboth Beach at Coin Beach and the residents hereabout know when
to set out a search.

The coins are copper pieces minted during the reigns of King George II and King George III
of England but it is debatable as to where they came from, ever since the first discovery by beach
combers more that a quarter century ago. Many agree that they are from some windjammer vessel
that has foundered during the savage coastal storms on these shores.

The latest 'find' , the 1953 hoard of copper coins, is said to have been found by a real estate agent who did not
wait for the nor'easter to abate, Peck Pleasanton, and his Rehoboth school teacher friend, Barbara
Boyce, who picked up 13 coins from the sand in less than a hour which had been cast into the dunes
by the strong surf.

True, many are defaced by rust and sandy water fricton, but one is clearly dated 1775, one side
inscribed with “Georgius III”, and the other side with “Britannia” . This same day, an unidentified
man gathered 29 pieces. Another successful collector, Colonal Wilbur S. Corkran , who reported he gleaned 30 coins. Lesser numbers continue to be discovered.

There are no reports of finding any silver or gold coins this time but they have been found
in the same area. Other copper pieces found have been inscribed “Hibernia”. French and Spanish
have also been picked up. One, a large silver coin, bearing the head of Louis XV, King of France
and Naverre, minted in 1756, found in 1938 in Dewey Beach, a few miles north of Coin Road.

One of the largest collectors of the copper coins is an artist, Fred Vogel, of Dewey Beach who has over 300 of them.

The popular theory as to the origin is that they came from the wreck of the Irish vessel,
“Faithful Stewart” which sank at Indian River 1785, or, the wreck of the “deBraak” off
Cape Henlopen 1798. A officer of the Delaware Historic Society , Judge Richard Rodney, hopes
to prove the “Three Brothers” a ship load of coins to the colonies is the source.

Coins are not the only treasurers jettisoned by the nor'easter's, there are hundreds of live
'conchs, rare shells. Conch shells are a pretty rare commodity on Rehoboth beaches.

Source: The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Thursday 26 November 1953.

Friday, September 22, 2017


1947 – 1949

In 1947 to 1949 the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliiate Uniontown Coal Barons were a Middle
Atlantic League baseball team which trained at Rehoboth Beach. This team had played baseball
since 1909 in a Pennsylvania-Ohio-Maryland League and later in a Pennsylvania - West Virginia

This is an abstract of a newspaper article, Monday, April 28, 1947, “The Morning Herald”
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, by Jimmy Gismonid, Herald Sports Editor, titled “Adieu to Rehoboth”

He tells that the interest in the Uniontown Coal Barons is reflected by the questions the
reporter is asked about Players, managers and camp life.

This story is set to tell of the 'camp life' for the boys on and off the field.

“ There is no reason to think the players are any different than any other group of young
boys away from home. They take advantage of any opportunity to sleep late. They like to get in
as much recreation as possible. Every other day practice starts at 1 pm so they gather extra winks.
Other days the workout start at 10 am. Each morning after breakfast there is the two mile hike to the field. Manage Stutzke does not allow the team bus to transport them unless there is real bad weather.
The hike is a good way to get them off on the right foot , says Stetzke, who with Manager Chris
Wagner, does the distance at doubletme.

Most of the team live at hotels, but there are some put up a local homes, and upon their return ,
clean up, and slip into street cloths, and at 5 they are to be at the restaruant to dig in the chow, which is a sight to behold.

The team club pays all expenses and all express the good teatment received. And by the way,
at dinner, the 'big five' of Fayette county are found in a huddle. They are Frank Smodie, Joe Potsklan, Melvin McCoy, George Varguich and Randy King.

It is imagined that the team will look back with fond memories of preseason camp, now that
they are headed back to Uniontown. While at Rehoboth, the boys gathered in groups of four or five, visited the movies, the roller rink, stops at the soda fountain, Snyders, and talk baseball ”.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017





One of the oldest ferries in continuious operation in the United States is in southwest sussex county, Delaware. It has connccted the north and south side of the Nanticoke River since around
1740, when it carried people, carts, wagons, mules or horses across the 500 foot wide river between
Seaford and Laurel. The ferry site is located at a low spot in the Nanticoke and may well have had a
ferry earlier and there is doucmentation that James Cannon had a wharf and ferry operation before he died in 1751, when Jacob Cannon took it over. Jacob died in 1780 and his wife Betty and son Isaacs
kept the ferry operating.
The ferry was just a flat wooden scow which the operated by 'poling' or rowing. Jacob
Cannon and his wife Betty charge 5 cents a person with hourse, two wheel cart was 10 cents,
and four wheel wagons and carriages cost 30 cents. Ddurinh storms, snow and such the ferry service was undependable and people had to wait hours for it to cross.
When Betty died in 1828, Isaacs and Jacob Jr., inherited the Cannon Ferry. Being shrew
businessmen, the brothers became very wealthy. They were the owners of 5000 acres of land, owned warehouses, stores, and houses. They also owned slaves and vessels that traded between Seaford and Baltimore. Their 'loan' business , lending money, extending credit, extracting fines,
confiscating goods and property, ruthless in the collecting of depts, earned them the title of despised
explotive “thugs”.
These brothers were cousins of the Patty Cannon group of slave runners.
The hatred of the Cannons came to an end April 10, 1843, Jacob was at the ferry dock, just returning from to the governor seeking protection from people he had business with and were
threatening him, when he was shot by Owen O'Day with his musket. Owen fled and Jacob stumbled home where the doctor found 27 shot in his chest and he wasgiven a large dose of opiate from which he never awoke. Owen fled to the west and was never prosecuted for the death.
Isaac took sick a month after Jacobs death and died 26 May, 1843. Both are buried in a
church cemetery at the ferry site with their mother.
Their sister, Lurana Boling inherited the Cannons Brothers businesses . The family continued
the operation of the ferry which fell into decline and Sussex County took the operation over and it was then renamed Woodland in 1883. Delaware DOT took the service in 1935, bought a new boat named
the Patty Cannon. It failed the Coast guard standards and replace in 1951 with a $50,000 all steel
boat, equipped with a diesel engine, named the Virginia C ., named for the wife of Dalas Culver, a
highway commissioner. By 1990 the ferry became deterioated and service was undependable.
Delaware spent millions in 2007 on the docks and the current ferry, The Tina Fallon, named
for a long time state representative. She carries six vehcles, run by liscensed Captains and was sbject to operational problems but now crosses the Nanticoke , free, seven days a week, Thursday mornings set aside for maintenance. The Woodland Ferry was placed on the “National Register of Historic
Places” in 1973.

Source: High Tide News, September 2017 – By Sandie Gerken of Dagsboro.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017




In the beginning, there was the Book of Genesis which told of Israelities wandering the
desert searching for a home land. When they found a well they were permmited to use, they call it
Rehoboth, “room for all”.

1873, the Methodist Camp Meeting Association , established 'Rehoboth' as a retreat and
Camp Meeting grounds. Very appropriate.

Now, Rehoboth Beach, bills itself 'the Nations Summer Capital”, and is preparing for
another tourist season, hopefully, the biggest ever, and a big 100 year birthday bash.

The noise of hammers, saws, the smell of fresh paint, new colors, new doors, etc., fill the sunny mornings. A food shop owner, George Tsoukalas , cleans and rearragnes tables and chairs.
He will open soon for his fifth season. One thing he must do is change the menu prices, thing are higher this year he says, even the onions. Tsoukalas came here from Greece in 1951, and fell in love
with the resort and its people. His two britthers are here now, both restaurent owners, the “Hi-Seas'
and “Robin Hood”. From Easter to Labor Day, it's 12 hours or more a day, 7 days and nights a
week to make a living. These summer busineses depend on the weather. The hotter and dryer, the
better. Stormy weekends are killers.

Yes, the storms of fall, wnter and earyl spring, wreck the boardwalk and beach but the town soon has them restored. The boardwalk takes one million nails it is said.

Easter Sunday, unofficially, is a traditonal opening day. The shops on Rehoboth Avenue are advertising pop corn, saltwater taffy, sun tan lotion and “help wanted”.

Dr; Lester Johnson, a Lewes native, serving Rehoboth as mayor for the past seven years, at
age 75, says Rehoboth is looking to the largest summer, the new roads and bridges and all. The
police force is ready, usually an 18 man force, it grows by 40 summer officers and 30 life guards for the beaches.

The Easter Sunrise Service at the boardwalk bandstand kicked off the season amd centennial, later there will be the Easter Parade . A 1900's bathing suit contest will be a new feature this year.
Each month will of summer will feature other centennial celebrations, May is for Church Home
Comings, June is the 'Miss Delaware Pageant” , July is fireworks and the 4th of July.

Rehoboth was laid out in lots in 1873, a hotel was built, the railrod came in 1884 to the beach front of Rehoboth. In 1925 a concrete road was built from Georgetowm, Dover and Milford, and the
rest of the world. A building boom continued until the 1929 depression and resumed during WWII.

Source: April 22, 1973, Philadelphia Inquirer, Lacy McCrary. Abstract September 19, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017


The Paper Canoe of Nathaniel Bishop
The Maria Theresa

November 1874 Bishop rowed his canoe down the Hudson River southward on a voyage
that would take him through the coasta waters of Delaware. His canoe, the Maria Theresa. Was
fourteen feet long but really narrow, only 28 inches wide. It had sail, oars, and a covered deck.
It was made of paper.

In late 1800's paper was made that was strong, inexpensive, adaptable to many uses.
Americans used this paper to make colthing, toys, dolls and other articles. Bishop was convinced
that the flimsy material, paper, could take the place of thin wood in constructing light pleasure
boats like canoes and racing shells. It would not be influenced to warping by the sun and

Upon reaching New Yotk City, Bishop used the Rartain Canal to get to Delwasre River,
rowed south, past Phiadelphia, into Delaware Bay. When off Bowers Beach he stopped to make
minor repairs, and take a nights rest. He expected to make Lewes by nightfall but a wind storm
capsized the canoe. Able to drag it ashore near Slaughters Beach. He spent another night at the
Willow Grove Inn where he described that night. “The winds had gone to rest with the sun, and
the sharp frost that followed left ice of ½ nch thick on the pools of water”.

He had much to be thankful for as he enjoyed a warm soft bed at the Willow Grove Inn and
not the icy sands of Slaughters Beach.

With help of Charles Todd, who operated Willow Grove, Bishop was able to get his boat
carted to Milton for mose repairs. While waiting for these repairs bishop visited Lewes and
declaired there will be a fortification, a railroad to being coal to ships in the Beakwater and the port
will become safe and convenient. Bishops also was impressed by the peach crop and its value to
Sussex county.

After visiting Lewes , Bishop had his canoe hauled to Loves Creek, as he did not wish to
risk another encounter with the fickle waters of the Delaware Bay, and continoed his voyage. It was
six miles down Loves Creek to the inlet at Burton Island marsh and Indian River sound.
Bishopcontinued his way across the Indian River Bay, up Whites Creek to Assawoman Bay, on to his
destination, Florida.

Source: Michael Morgan's Delaware Diary Novemner 8, 2007.

Friday, September 15, 2017



Hundred was the earliest settled in Sussex and was the most sparsely populated.
It had been divided twice, 1833 and 1861 when it lost the western half to Georgetown Hundred.
Milton was Broadkill's only major town.

The hundred gets its name from the river that flows through it's center, once an important
river. It had a ship building industry, grist mills, saw mills and such.

At one time, early 1800's, the name was spelled Broadkiln, and in 1975 Milton people had
the county council formally change the name back to Broadkill.

Broadkill, is a dutch word for 'broad river”,

The first landowner of the hundred was wily Hermanus Wiltbank who also had a strong hold
on affairs of Lewes or as it was then, Zwaanenael, who came with the second wave of Dutch settlers.
Soon after William Penn came into play in the Three Lowar Counties and both had made peace with each other, Wiltbank died but his family remained active in local affairs.

Another early landowner was William Clark, a Penn follower and his lieutenant, who
received a 500 acre tract between the Coolspring branch and Beaver Dam branch of the Broadkill
River. This was known as “Penns Worminghurst” that later passed to one Preserved Coggeshall.
Clark had also sold land to Thomas Fisher, the son of John Fisher, who came with Penn to the colony,
ancestors of Major Thomas Fisher of Lewes , an Revolutionary War figure.

Others families of early Broadkill were Hazzards, Paynters, Reeds, Dodds, Bryans,
Ponders and Clowes, all instermental in the development of Broadkill Hundred and Sussex County.

Prior to the 1900's the Broadkill River had become less the river it once was, and is now just a peaceful recreational body of water.

James Grey, in 1686, owned the land where Milton was built , which he named “Milford” , a
1000 acre tract that after a series of conveyances , the Milton portion on the south side of the
river came to George Conwell and that on the north side came to William Perry, another Revolutionary figure. Both Cornwell and Perry laid out lots and sold them so soon a village appeared.
This village took several names early on, Osborne Landing, Conwell Landing, Upper Landing,
and Head of Broadkill. In 1807 an act of General Assembly named the town Milton, it is said, to honor, the blind poet John Milton.

Milton in , 1806 had four stores and seven granaries, the granaries supporting a water borne
grain shipping business. Also in the early 1800's there was a large quantity of finished lumber
shipped from the small port. Milton was incorporated in 1865 and flourshed until the end of the sailing ship age, in the 1880's.

One of Broadkills house of worship was established before the town of Milton was by ¾
of a century. St. John The Baptist was built at Long Bridge Branch in the Broadkill Forest in 1728.
Quaakers and Presbyterians were active at the edge of the hundred at Coolspring. Goshen Methodist
came to Milton in 1820. Broadkill gave the state of Delaware five governors and one to Wyoming Territory.


Milton became a town of small garment factories, button cutting shops, a brick yard and later several canning houses.

Harbeson came about in 1869 when the railroad built a station for the Georgetown to Lewes
railroad line. The village was named for the man who owned the land the village was built upon, Harbeson Hickman. This same year there became a post office and within twenty years a school
house, blacksmith shop, two stores and maybe ten homes. Shipping of the lumber from the mills in
the nearby forest area became a big opearation at Harbeson. There was briefly a horse race track and
annualfair at Harbeson. The Delmarva poultry industry kept the town alive later on.

Drawbridge was named such, as it was the location of a draw bridge over the Broadkll River for the main road south to Lewes from the north. Paynters were the family of Drawbridge, even once named Paynters Drawbridge. It had a post office, a merchant and one of the first ship yards.

Overbrook was a neighborhood, not even a villeage, but it had a railroad stateion on the 1900's
Queen Anns RR, postoffice at the general store, even a small school . It was well know to the fox
hunters of the days.

Broadkill Beach was a summer resort, if you could handle the mosquitos of the great salt marshes.

Source: History of Sussex County by Dick Clark, July 1976:

Sunday, September 10, 2017



In 1923, the “Golden Age of Sprots” a Sussex county right handed baseball pitcher made it to
the big leagues. He was fast, a bit wild, on the field and off. His wife, former Francis Baylis, said
h played bseball for fun, he was more of a playboy, not having to play since his family was well off
and he didn't work at it. He would drink a little, smoke a little more than he should have.

This same year, his father became seriously ill and he was unwilling to accept a demotion to
a Texas League which would take him away from home, Jones dropped out of baseball.

Wednesday, September 7, 1977, at his Lewes Kings Highway home, the colorful fireballing
righthander pass away at age 78, pulling to the last for the success of his beloved Phillies.

Mrs Jones said that last night, the last we were together, he was disgusted with them, yelling, “they have thrown it away. They don't deserve to win this one”. She also told that the year Jones played for the Phillies, he would go up to New York and pitch under another name, Ableman, since Philadelphia did not allow baseball to be played on Sundays.

Jesse Jones also played a few games with the Baltimore Orioles and he and Lefty Grove were

Jones got his shot at the big leagues because of a college school mate, Huck Betts, from
Millsboro, a baseball hall of fame member. Betts and jones played baseball at Wesley College in Dover, where they took turns pitching and catching.

After baseball, Jesse Broadway Jones, became a salesman for the Swift Company, in the
meat department and retired in 1964.

Besides his wife, he leaves several nieces and nephews. His service was held by Atkins Funeral Home at St. Peters Episcopal Church and he is buried in Millsboro Cemetery .

Abstract Wilmington News Journal September 8, 1977, article by Bob Leary, abstract by Harrison H.

1977 Lewes Art Show


An exhibition of 69 entries of local art between July 4 to the 17th , located in Vessel's Store
106 Second Street, Lewes, article carried in Wilmington Morning News, Wednesday , July 6, 1977, basically list a large collection of paintings, both modern and historic, from around Lewes.

There are facinating pictures from the 'day of sail' , taking a romantic view of sailing ships
and days of swashbuckling sailors. The oldest picture, dated 1807, is “ Lighthouse on the
Breakwater” painted by artist Thomas Birch, who born in England, came to America 1793 at the
age of 14 years. He also painted several scenes of the War of 1812 and his “Mouth of the Delaware”
hangs in the White House. A painting “ Quarantine Station”, a view by an unknown artist indicates
the importance of Lewes as a seaport. Also the painting “ Lighthouse at Lewestown” helps with the
history of the port by artist Augustus Koellner, a German born lad, who was age 10 when he painted
this picture.

The steam age is featured with a painting of “Pilot Boat Philadelphia”, signed Edward Todd.
This ship, built in 1896, saw service in the Spanish American War. The 'Philadelphia II', is shown in a 1929 painting by W. H. Pettibone. Finally, a 1975 picture, “Lewes Canal and Old Pilot Boat”
painted by Theodora Kane, who is a summer teacher with Rehoboth Art League.

Howard Pyle of Chadds Ford, Is represented by his painting “ Shad Fishing on the Lower
Delaware” that appeared 1881 in Harpers Magazine.

WWII is recalled by a 1942 painting by Howard Schroeder. More of his art is some of the
“best of the show'” paintings. They are “Lewes in Winter” and “Hershells Place” the drawing
of a boats interior.

A good landscape sweep is provided by Lydia Bell Lynch in “Lewes Canal Scene”.

Old timer Jack Lewis with his “Delaware Scene” paintings , especially “Rickers & Ramsey”,
is here.

A touch of historic whimsy is found in “Lewes Still Slightly Dutch” a 1917 painting by 73
year old Orville Peets shows Captain deVries looking over a modern power boat anchored
in Lewes Breakwater.

Abstract: September 10, 2017, Harrison H for Facebook's Lewes to Ocean City site.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


900 A.D.


Ther was no written language, but the inhabitants of the continent had wisdom and used a
series of painted sticks, in various lenghts, each with inrtricate markings, known as Walum Olum, to tell their history.
One of these stick stories tells for the journey made by a nation of Indians, which became the Lenapes or Delaware Indians, from a land beyond the Mississipi, then known as the Father of Waters, left a place near the ' western sea' and made their way east. On the west shore of the Mississippi they met another Indian nation , probably the Iroquois, and the two banded together , more or less for safety and continued the journey eastward. East of a river in the area now Illinoirs, Indiana and Ohio, these tribes met with a much larger nation named Allegwi, superior in numbers and armaments , with fortified villages, and were more sophisticated, thought of being here since 900 A.D. At first the Allegwi allowed both the Lenape and Iroquois to enter their nation and when totally enveloped, made attacks which took great tolls on the travelers. However, the two tribes rallied and conquered
the Allgwi.
Continuing the journey, as the approached now Pennsylvania, the Lenape kept south while the
Irroquois went north. The Lenape, upon reaching “Lenape Wihittuck , the Delaware River, dispursed,
some moving into New york and New Jersey, and other moving into southeast Pennsylvania and the peninsula of Delmarvva.

Source: Dick Carters History of Sussex County, Delaware Coast Press, July 1976. Abstract Harrison H, September 10, 2017.

Friday, September 8, 2017



It is impossible to 'say' when the first humans found their way to view the ocean, bays, rivers,
creeks, marshes, swamps and forest of the area we call Sussex for the first time. It is likely, the
peoples were early nomadic bands which history feels crossed the ice covered 'bridge' to the north,
from Asia. These “Americans” some were called 'aborigines', however to us and American history they were Indians.
The Indians spread slowly across the continent , through 'Mexico' and into 'South America' ,
gathering differing cultural heritages and tribal customs, rich and sophisticated. One of those early
migrations found it's way to our Delmarva, formed different tribal groups and were well established
by the time of Christ. They conducted a flourishing “trade” with mid Atlantic area neighbors as was
made evident in the finding of prized shells and mother of pearl ornaments in the west, miles from the
oceans and bays. Spear heads and arrow points of stone found in the east were traced to quarries in Ohio and on west.
The dominant 'tribe' of our Sussex area were the Lenni Lenape, which translates roughly as “original men”. They later became known to the English settlers and history as the Delaware's. The many Indian tribe spoke a common tongue, Algonquin. Here in Maryand and Delaware a settlement
became the “Nanticokes”, taking the name of the river around which they lived.
The european colonization pushed these origional peoples west but left parts of their language
behind as place names. There were also, along with the Nantcokes, Choptanks, Pocomokes, Accomacs, Wiccomiss and Assateagues.
The early people led a settled life before the Europeans came, fishermen, farmers, hunters of ssmall game for food only, villages were on superior tracts of land, at a good location near rivers and abundent hunting grounds. It appears they came to the seashore in summer to feast on the seafood and one particular 'resort' was between Indian River and Rehoboth Bay, Long Neck, as it is called today. At winter time they relied on venison and nuts.
The Indians had long established a rich culture when the first european's arrived. Northern tribes of the peninsula were associated with the Lenapes while the souther were led by the Powhatan empire of Virginia.
Settlers began moving up the peninsula, and set a multitude of sins against the Indians, purchasing their lands for a sip of rum and the fact that Indians did not understand that the 'sale' of their lands, forbade them to hunt there evermore. These misunderstanding's forced the tribes to the north.
A tribe of Assateagues settled in Baltimore Hundred, about Dickersons Creek in Assawoman Neck.
These peoples became the Indian River Indians and were granted a 1000 acre tract of land as a reservation, now Millsboro.
In late 18th century this group gave up their existance with the settlers and moved north to New York and the west, except for a few stalwart members who stayed behind.

Source: History of Sussex County by Dick Carter, Delaware Coast Press, July 1976. Abstract by Harrison H. September 9, 2017 for FACEBOOK and


Wednesday, September 6, 2017



A salt industry existed along the Atlantic coast decades before the Revolution , however, very
small and of local operations.
During the Revolution, Colonel John Jones, of the Sussex County Militia, received 1000
pounds from Legislature to build a saltworks near Indian River. He was to provide 3000 bushels
of salt a year for the Continental Army troops and the state for its citizens. By the end of two years,
Jones, had yet to produce a single bushel. Early Delaware history has told that “ Along the sea shore,
at the salt lands, shalow pits are dug, had sea water gathered in them, evaporated in crude saltworks and used it that locality”. History also says that during the 1812 War salt was made on salt flats
beyon Henlopen Lighthouse which sold for $3.00 a bushel. The building used at this flat, the property
occupied by Thomas Norman, were washed away by a 1888 storm, known as “Normans Flood” .
In 1832, a report by Joshua Gilpin to Secretary of the Treasury, Louis McLane, tells there is a small salt business on the coast, conducted by poor people, boiling sea water in large pots to evaporate it, then sold in the neighborhood.
There is doubt that salt was ever produced at Salt Pond, north of Bethany, which was thought
to be too brackish for fish to live. This is denied by Willim Hall of Halls Store whose property skirts
the pond and he daily catches large numbers of fish. Halls Store is now Ocean View village.
The Fenwick salt works shut down about 1875 and there was a salt works at Cotton Patch Hill,
north of Bethany, during the 19th century. The earliest salt works is thought to have been on the old natural inlet to Indian River Bay north of Cotton Patch. The salt produced here was known as the
Baltimore Hundred salt at the markets.
Another salt works was at or near Gordons Pond, the land owned by the Dodd family and that salt was made after the summer farm season until about 1876. The account of this operation is of
interest because it demonstrates the habit of the people of the day utilizing all their resources.
History books tell that the Dodd's made salt in connection with clearing the forest for farm
lands new ground. They used the trash, stumps and whatever, as fuel for the salt operation.
After the farm work was finished, the Dodds went to the Gordon Pond salt works and took hogsheads of brine which were roll or pulled by teams of oxen to the homestead where it was evaporated and sold in neighborhood towns in the fall for curing meats.

Abstract September 6, 2017, Harrison H., from Dick Carters”History of Sussex County” in the July 1976 Delaware Coast Press.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


JULY 1976


England, no date given, was firmly in control of the mid Atlantic areas, having had the return
of previously conquered possessions from the Dutch and the Duke of York was the proprietor of
New York, Pennsylvania and the Delaware lower counties, but not for long.

William Penn, eldest son of Admiral Sir William Penn of the Royal Navy, had become the 'stalwart' of the not so respectable new sect, Society of Friends. As early Quakers went, however,
Penn was in an advantageous position with many powerful friens, such as The Duke of York. Also,
Penn, upon the death of his father, inherited considerable wealth, and a 15,000 pound debt , unpaid, against the English Monarchy. Penn, who had become interested in establishing a Quaker Colony
in the new world, suggested that insread of payment of the debt, he be granted by the King a part
of the Duke of York's domains, petition for roughly the area of Pennsylvania to the liking of King
Charles II, who was debt ridden , and the Duke of York. The King granted the land, which was
named 'Pennsylvania', to Penn who immediately petitiond the Duke of York for the “three lower Counties on the Delaware “, which he needed to protect the Delaware Bay coast and keep it out of the hands off Lord Baltimore .

The Delaware territories which were united with Pennsylvania were loosely known as two
counties under the Dutch and the Swedes were first called New Castle and The Whorekills by the
Duke of York. While still under control of the Duke of York , the lower and largest county was
divided into St. James County to the north and Whorekill , later New Deal, to the south. On the
25th of December, 1682, Kent and Sussex, became the names, as did the town of Whorekill become
Lewestown, which was the only 'fullfledged' town in the country. Charter Laws of England called
for establisment of a General Assembly, with a Lower Assembly and Upper Governors Council.
It was decades before the Assembly was a 'working' governmental body.

Also passed was the “Great Law” which in 16 sections gave the colony for the first time a basis of civil and criminal law which could be established without confusion as to what faction held
power in the colony. Some offense's were punished with “ time in the stocks”, “ public whipping” ,
and “imprisonment”. Selling rum to the Indians was an offense, hogs had to be 'ringed' , sheriffs
and “Justice of the Peace”, coroners, were elected. A 16 x 24 foot structure was erected in each
county as 'house of correction”. Grazeing cattle were ear marked and certain fields needed to be

Life in Sussex was becoming more settled, civilized, and less the rough pioneering
experience as in past years. There was one problem along the coast, that was “pirates”, from the
the bays and rivers. Lewes, other communities and farms were plundered and military force was
unfavorable to the Quakers and not provided.


Residents of the Delaware colony felt they were not getting representation in the council's
as was Pennsylvania colony and that Penn was working harder to develop that colony than they were
the Lower Three Counties.

These feelings of resentment , used by the agents of Lord Baltimore to seek a revolt of the
Delawareans against Penn, did cause a seperation of the lower counties from Pennsylvania in 1702
and creation of a Delaware colony, although still under Will Penn and his sons, John, Richard and

In a general sense, it might be said that Delaware owes its independent statehood to coastal Pirates' and the Lord Calverts.

Seperate colony or not, the dispute between Penn and the Calvetrs,which began in 1632,
with the grant of all land between the 38th and 40th parallels west of Delaware River to Cecilius
Cavert, Second Lord Baltimore, which was to run on more that a century and in final analysis
was no benefit to neither set of proprietors.

Abstract to, September 5, 2017. Har

Monday, September 4, 2017



Mary Ann Sorden was born near Greenwood on a large farm of John and Sarah Owens
Pennewill Sorden, and grew up to be one of Delaware's fiery feminists.
Her father, John Sorden was a wealthy landowner, a Delaware State Senator, liberal
in his views of the Womans Rights Movement and had repealed oppresssive laws against women.
The early 19th century there were no womens rights under law. When they married
everything they possessed became their husbands property.
In 1873 laws were passed giving women the right to make wills, own real estate. It was
five decades later that the 19th Admendment became law and women were extended full sufferage.
Miss Sorden married Dr. William W. Stuart, with a fashionable society wedding. The pair had
five children. After her husbands death in the 1870's she became active in Delaware's Women
Sufferage movement. She was an accomplished business woman , operating an excursion business,
chartering trains to carry vacationers to Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City beaches.
A Wilmington News Paper correspondent described her thus “ Mrs. Stuart dresses in black,
weighs 250 pounds, is good natured, and can talk ten hours at the rate of 200 words a minuute.”
Mrs Stuart was a 1870 delegate to a National Sufferage Association convention in Washington, D. C.
and a close friend of Susan B. Anthony.
Mrs Stuart died in the late 1880's

Source: Dick Carters 1976 History of Sussex County, Delaware Coast Press, July 1976;
Abstract September 3, 2017, Harrison H


Had it not been for some internal trouble in the Dutch West India Company the Swedes
would not have had a part in the settlement of Delaware. There were misunderstandings between
the men who controlled the money and the men who set the policies of the Dutch Company.
In 1624, William Usselinx of Antwerp who had been a director in the New Amsterdam
enterprize left Holland and wemt to Sweden with hopes to interest King Gustavus Adolphus in
a claim to land on the western bank of the Delaware River. Usselinx descriptions of the richness
and possibilities of the new world were so convincing the King granted a charter that same year, however, no action was taken for another charter was granted in the year 1626.
This new company was the Swedish South Sea Company which proposed to tke up lands
in America and other parts of the world.
An expedition set sail for America in 1626 but was captured by the Spanish. If this expedition
had reached the Delaware river, the Swedes would have taken the peninsula and a different history
of Delaware would have been written. Nothing came of the Swedish company and the 1631 voyage was the first to reach Delaware shores.
The year the Dutch, upon returning to the Lewes settlement and found it in ashes, the king
Adolphus was killed in battle between Sweden and Germany and there was no Swedish patron nor
capital for any explorations and the South Seas Company was disbanded without taking an acre of
new world land.
The Swedish King, needing to give his full attention to matters at home, was still interesed
in an American Swedish colony had early on urged the project to be continued. At his death, an
infant daughter, Christina, ascended to the throne, and, Axel Oxenstierna, became Chancellor,
the ruler of Sweden. One of the chancellor's first acts was to send Peter Spiring to Holland seeking
a man willing and capable of undertaking the colonaziation of America.
1636 , in May, Spiring reported that Peter Minuet was the ideal leader, since he had been
governor of Dutch New Ansterdam, dismissed to return to Holland and was anxious to undertake
any expedition in competition to the Dutch Company. Minuet organized the Swedish-Dutch
Company with money from both Swedish and Dutch Banks which established fur trade post in any
part of the New World not already occupied by English or Dutch, caled the land Nova Swedia on
the west bank of Delaware before the dutch could send another lot of immigants to settle it.
In 1737 Minuet went to Sweden to take active charge of preparations and the little band of colonists set sail in 1638. There were 50 imigrants, with cattle, sheep, and other animals, trading materials, food, seeds, and ammunitions. In March, 1638, they arrived at Cape Henlopen and
renamed the river “New Swedens River”.
The first landing place was on a point which they named ' Paradys Udden' meaning
Paradise Point located land just south of Muderkill Creek, originally “ Morders Kylen” .
They decided not to stay here and sailed up the bay to Minquas Creek and changed the Indian name
to “Christina” in honor of their infant Queen. Entering the creek they sailed up two miles above
the Brandywine to land at the “Rocks” being still March.
All of this land was claimed by the Indian Chief Mattahoon which was bought from the chief
as much as lay between six trees marked a good distance apart. At the rocks was built a square fort
of logs and called “Fort Christina”. Emigrant cabins were built and the settlement was called New Sweden. This settlement was protested by the Dutch, however, no serious trouble happpened
until many years afterwards.

Sunday, September 3, 2017



The Lewes High School commencement took place in the Auditorium on June 12, 1911 and was largely attended. The Rev. W. R. Mowbray opened the exercises with a prayer, followed by
the salutatory and orations of the graduates. “Delawares Place Among The State” was given by
Russell Paynter, William Thomas Manning's oration was on “Delawares Part in the Civil War”,
“Our Delaware Boundaries” was the subject of Horace Leland Brown's oration, and Julius Adolphus
Herolds was a very interesting account of “The Settlement of Delaware”. Miss Helen Townsend Hocker, the class Valedictorian, gave her essay “ Higher Education for Girls”.

Dr. Ulysses W. Hocker, president of the Board of Education, made an address to the class
and presented the diplomas. Henry Ridgely of Dover made the formal address to the class and made
compliments yo them on the patriotism shown the State.

Undelivered essays and orations were “Manufacturing in Delaware”, by Harold Willetts
Hocker, “Some Representative Delawareans” by Elverson Warren Ingram, “Interesting Historic
Spots in Delaware” by Helen Norman Carson, “Our Delaware Public School” by Richard
Courtenay Enos, “Delawares Part in the Revolution”, Linford Outten Russell, and 'Life in Delaware During the Revolution”, by Leah Burton Carter.

The Lewes orchestra furnished the music and after the commenceent an informal dance was enjoyed by the young people.

Grammer school students who were graduated to the High School were; Elizabeth Joseph, Mildred Wiltbank, Julia Steel, Katherine Lank, Mary Shutt, Beatrice Atkins, Marguerite
Lauritsen, Abraham Gutowitz, Nathen Evans, Amelia Schellenger, Edna Marvel , Hewes Messick,
William Vogel, Willam Conwell, Garretson Brown and Virden Burton.

Wilmigton New Journal, June 15, 1911, abstract Septemebr 3, 2017 Harrison Howeth




In 1717 a large tract of land in Sussex County was set aside as a Nanticoke Indian Reservation. It started from the main highway between Laurel and Seaford, went westward three
miles and extended from the Laurel River toward Seaford where it joined another five hundred acres across the river to the site where Laurel now stands. We now call this Broad Creek Hundred.

By the year 1748, the Indians felt they had been crowded so persistently by the white man
that at a Grand Council of The Nanticoke they planned a general exodus. For many weeks the Indians were busy gathering their buried dead and brought then to the very southwest corner of the
reservation for final burial of the remains of the common people. The bones of chiefs were selected separately and were carried north with the caravan.

This southwest corner became a large sand hill, a monument to a vanquished race.
Indian Hill is the mound of this common grave of a nation. Many of the Indians now up north
evidently were not satisfied to leave their ancestors in the dust of Delaware and for years Nanticoke braves could be seen on trips down the peninsula to dig up bones to carry back to new homes.

Many bones remaining in the mound for years have been dug up by the farmers and artifact collectors, were found neatly laid in order surrounded by arrow heads, stone implements and

This grave mound and its bones gave proof to stories of the Nanticoke that they were a race of
giants and supermen as all of the uncovered skeletons were above average size, very few less than six
feet and one which was well over seven feet.

Source: Wilmington News Journal, Wednesday October 1, 1930, Historic Spots of Delaware,
by Sewell P. Moore. Abstract; Sunday, September 3, 2017 by Harrison H.

Saturday, September 2, 2017



A news paper article from the Milford Chronicle in the Monday, February 18, 1924 Wilmington
Morning News, indicates a dispute bewtween the State of Delaware Highway Department and the
Sussex County Farm Bureau, toward the building of concrete surface roads against the dirt shell top
roads, as were built during the past.
It is well known that the dirt roads with oyster shell tops fail to stand the wear of carriage and wagon traffic which was in general ten years ago. That type of road 'cut' badly during the wet winter
weather, and, during summer the dry winds blew the oyster shells, dust and all, into the ditches, yards and fields and at their best, made temporary roads.
These dirt, oyster shell top, roads cost about $5000 per mile in those days when labor was
only a $1 a day and the oyster shells were sold at the oyster sheds for two or three cents a bushel.
Now, labor is $4 to $5 per day and oyster shells are delivered by train at ten cents a bushel. These
cost would make the graded dirt oyster shell top roads cost almost $15,000 per mile, depending on the location. This cost, according to the Sussex County Farm Bureau, is half the cost of a concrete
road. However, the concrete road would be permanent and usable every day in the year while the graded dirt shell top road is good for a brief , two or three years at the most, before they must be
resurfaced at a heavy cost.
It is fact that there are many Sussex county roads with very light traffic and that gravel roads would meet the requirements, and which it would be wasteful to construct concrete surface highways.

Wilmington Morning News 18 February 1924. Absract: September 2, 2017: Harrison

Friday, September 1, 2017



The Zwaanendael House in Lewes at the Kings Highway and Savannah Road split' , a model
of the town hall of Hoorn in Holland, was built by the A. L. Lauritsen, Company of New Castle County.

A Wilmington architect , E. William Martin, had made a trip to Hoorn to obtain measurements.

The Lauritsen Company's president, A. L. Lauritsen , had been born in Lewes in 1896 or so,
to a  Norwegin father and mother, Ludvig Lauritsen and Marie. Ludvig was a cook on one of the
early on pilot boats and he and his wife were heads of a house, living with Captain John Johanson, a Pilot Boat Captain, and a lighthouse keeper, Alfred Johanson.

Allen had a younger sister, Marguerite, He was married to Rae Dickerson and I believe
they had a daughter. Allen had graduated from Lewes High School and the University of Delaware.

In July 1933 the Zwannendael House had 585 visiter's that month.     Miss Anne Nichols of
Lewes, was the curator.

Abstract: Saturday, May 7, 1932, Wilmington New Journal. Hasrrison H. September 1, 2017


Thursday, August 31, 2017



The Delaware Governors that had residence in Lewes were David Hall, Daniel Rodney,

Caleb Rodney, Samuel Paynter, Joseph Maull and Ebe W. Tunnell.

David Hall was born in Lewes, 4 January 1732, was a lawyer in 1773, also a Captain in the
Continental Service in John Haslet's regiment during the Revolution, led his company in the battle of Long Island and White Plains. In 1777 he was commissioned a colonel and his regiment was part of
the famous Delaware Line. During the Battle of Germantown he was seriously wounded and unable
to do further service, returned to Lewes to paractice law. At age 50 he took the position of the 15th Governor, served the full term, retiring in January 1803. In 1813 he became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Sussex county, serving until he died September 18, 1817 and was buried in the Lewes Presbyterian Church Yard.
Daniel Rodney, the 19th Delaware Governor was born in Lewes, September 10, 1764,
and was engaged in coastal trade util after the War of 1812 when he settled in his native hometown,
married the daughter of Major Hemry Fisher and beame a merchant . He was a judge for the court of common Pleas for three years after 1817, twice was elected to Congress and for a short time was U. S. Senator. He was elected Governor in the fall of 1813. Rodney died September 2 1848 and is buried in
the Episcopal Cemetery at Lewes.
Caleb Rodney, Daniels brother, was born in Lewes, April 29, 1767, and remained a resident his whole life, then upon the death of Governor John Collins in April of 1822, became Governor, as Speaker of the House, until the next January. As a young man he was in the mercantile business as a wholesale and retail merchant. He als served several terms in Delaware's Geeral Assembly. He died
in Lewes, April 29 1840, at the age of 73, and is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery at Lewes.
Samuel Paynter, the 26th govenor, took office January 1824. He was born in and a resident of
Drawbridge, in Broadkiln Hundred where he was a merchant. He too, was a judge for the Court of Common Pleas in 1818. Twenty years after his term of governor he was, at age 76, a Representative of the State of Delaware. Paynter died in 2 October 1845 and was buried in the Episcopal Church Yard
at Lewes.
On the death of Governor Thomas Stockton, Joseph Maull, speaker of the Senate assumed
the duties of the office and became the 34th governor of Delaware. After occupying the office for six weeks he too took ill and died May 3, 1846. He had been born in Pilot Town on September 6, 1781,
and studied medicine under Dr. Wolfe a well known practicioner of the day. For many years he was
a physician in Milton and Broadkiln Hundred. He was frequently called upon to serve the State as a member of the General Assembly.
Ebe Tunnell, the 50th Governor of Delaware in 1896, was born in Blackwater, Baltimore
Hundred, December 31 1844 where he lived got many years as a merchant. In 1873 he mvoed to Lewes to join his brother in law in the drug business. He as a member of the State House of
Representatives , elected in 1870. He served a term as Clerk of the Peace for Sussex county and
was a leading and influential Democrat and was their nominee for governer in 1894 but was defeated
by a Republican, Joshua Marvil. Two years later he was renominated and was elected.

Abstract: August 31, 2017. Source of May 7, 1932, Wilmington New Journal. Harrison H.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sarah Rowland, Caesar Rodney & Colonel Samuel Davis, This Old House


The home of Dr. Henry Fisher, Pilot Town Road, is a silent witness to early Lewes hstory, and the Caesar Rodney and Sarah Rowland affair.

It was in this house that Caesar Rodney met Sarah Rowland, the fascinting young Quaker widow who was an ardent Tory. Story is that Rodney had left Philadelphia , during the Assembly Convention to travel to Lewes to quell Tory activities in Sussex county, and while in Lewes he
became infatuated with Sarah Rowland, the daughter of the Lewes postmaster. It is told she cleverly
intercepted mail sent to Rodney at Lewes from Thomas McKean, asking Rodney to return quickly to vote so that Delaware's vote would be accepted by the Declaration of Independence. It was through
the patriotism of Sarah's maid that Rodney was informed of the letter being held by the Tory widow.
As soon as Caesar Rodney became informed he at once took horse for Phildelphia, and made his
memorial ride.

Later, the same house, became the residence of Colonel Samuel Davis, the commander of the troops defending Lewes in the War of 1812. Living with Davis was a young girl, who Davis cherished
as his own daughter. She believed the colonel to be her father until remarks from friends aroused her
suspicions. Taking advantage of the Colonels church visit one Sunday morning the young girl searched
his private papers and found evidence that she was not only the ward of Davis and also was an heiress to several large estates in New Orleans. Later the family moved to New Castle and the girl ward married and became Mrs. Myra Clark Gains, probably the greatest litigant of her age.

Source: Saturday, May 7, 1932, Wilmington Delaware, News Journal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


ew post on Blogger On the Broadkill

The Milton Camp Meetings , Part I

by Phil Martin
This post is about the history of the Milton Camp, sometimes called Lavinia's Camp Ground, Lavinia's Grove camp, or Lavinia's Wood camp. Because of the camp's long history and many areas of interest, I am dividing the article into two segments. Part I will look at the history of the camp and the social drivers behind it, and Part II will present some first-hand accounts of camp meetings.
With a few interruptions, the Milton camp meeting - an outdoor "tent revival" in August that ran a week or more in Lavinia's Woods - lasted at least until 1965. There is nothing I can find in the Delaware newspapers after 1965 to indicate either that the camp meeting continued to take place, or when it was abandoned. There were actually two camp meetings every year at Lavinia's Woods - one attended by African Americans under the auspices of the local A. M. E. congregation, and one by the Milton Methodist Protestant Church attended by whites. The color line was not a solid barrier, as some members of both races attended each other's camp meetings from time to time. However, for lack of sufficient resources at my disposal, this post is limited to the white people's camp meeting.
Before I delve into what is known about the camp meetings, some historical background is necessary to explain this enduring feature of American Protestant religious life.

The Great Awakenings

In the context of religion, the term "Awakening" refers to the end of a long slumber of secularism and religious indifference. Theological historians have defined three periods in the 18th and 19th centuries when evangelism acquired renewed momentum and many new converts were brought into the Methodist and Baptist traditions. The First Great Awakening began in England in the 1730's and lasted until 1743 after being exported to the American colonies. This first revival was powered by a new style of sermonizing that eschewed the dense theological investigative sermons that ministers read to the congregation, in favor of a style of communication, often extemporaneous, that sought to spiritually energize the audience and attract converts.
The Second Great Awakening began in the United States in the late 18th century and reached its peak in the middle of the 19th. The so-called "fire and brimstone" style of preaching is one example of a new type of theological rhetoric that was not directed at the intellectual elites of society, but rather to the common, less-educated population. It was evidently quite successful. One area of western New York State (bordered by Lakes Erie and Ontario to the north and west, and including much of the Finger Lakes region) was dubbed the "burned-over district" because the sheer number of converts there meant no more "fuel" (potential new converts) to "burn" (convert). The temperance, women's suffrage, and abolitionist movements of the 19th century had deep roots in the reformist spirit that was part of the religious fervor of the "burned-over district." The area also spawned Mormonism and several utopian movements.
Western New York State was an underpopulated frontier area in the early 19th century, as were Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. It is in this period that camp meetings led by preachers of various Protestant denominations began to spring up. Presbyterian minister James McGready is generally thought by historians to have originated the first camp meeting in the U. S., in Kentucky, in 1799 - 1801. These camp meetings were described as highly emotional, and participants were susceptible to states of high excitement, rapture, "convulsions," speaking in tongues, and the like. Attendees literally camped at the meeting, as there were no hotel accommodations to be had in frontier areas.
The sustained excitement stoked by preacher after preacher for hours and days on end, and the congregation of thousands of normally isolated people at these first camp meetings bred all kinds of non-spiritual excesses, including drinking, gambling, and (according to at least one observer) sexual promiscuity and abandon. A common joke at the time maintained that frontier populations spiked about nine months after a camp meeting, and the newborns were called "camp meeting babies." There is no way to verify the truth of this assertion, facetious or not.
By the 1850's, camp meeting organizers maintained increased vigilance over attendees' behavior and the excesses of the earlier years were kept under better control. By the time of the Third Great Awakening in the latter half of the 19th century, Methodist churches in the mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, operated perennial camp meetings in the summer months in many locations; evangelism advanced on multiple fronts, including missionary work, permanent religious retreats at Rehoboth, DE and Ocean Grove, NJ,  and the Y. M. C. A.

The Milton Camp Meeting (Lavinia's Camp Ground)

The Milton Camp Meeting at Lavinia's Camp Ground just outside of town, to the best of my knowledge, has its origins in the Third Great Awakening. The earliest newspaper reference to it can be found in the September 6, 1873 issue of the Wilmington News Journal, but I believe this camp meeting, run by the Milton Methodist Protestant Church, would have begun some years before that. A report in the August 3, 1914 issue of the Wilmington Morning Journal asserted that Lavinia's Camp was about sixty-six years old, which would bring its initial year to 1848, several years before the establishment of the Milton M. P. congregation in 1857. Yet another newspaper article suggests that the camp may have been started by the Methodist Episcopal Church as early as 1835.

Lavina's Camp Ground, ca. 1911, photographed by Dr. William H. Douglas (Milton Historical Society collection)
The photograph above, found in the Douglas Family folder, is one of only two known photographs of the Milton Camp Meeting. In the background are the "tents," which were actually small cottages owned or rented by families attending the camp meeting. They are two stories tall, presumably with the bedroom(s) in the upper floor and an open sitting area on the ground floor. Some have ornamentation (the balconies and railings in the two leftmost cottages). These cottages were arranged in a circle around the tabernacle, which is not visible in the photograph but would have been just beyond the benches in the right side of the photograph. The benches themselves are arrayed in a semi-circle in front of the tabernacle.
The table-like structure in the right foreground with the wood pile next to it was the source of light for nighttime activities: four logs with a dirt-filled slab on top of them. A bonfire was built and lit at dusk on top of the dirt.

Milton Camp Meeting, ca. 1911 photographed by Dr. William H. Douglas (Milton Historical Society collection)
The photograph above, taken by the same photographer, appears to have been taken on the opposite side of the camp pictured in the first photograph. The evening fire on the raised dirt slab is smoldering at center background. That and the low position of the sun through the trees suggest that the photograph was taken in the morning. Some boys are standing under the awning, to the right of the fire platform; an automobile or truck is partially visible in the far background, to the left of the smoke. The benches facing the tabernacle, at left, are spartan; they have no backs and are just plain wood. Another interesting feature is the "boarding tent" in the center background. Meals were prepared, sold and served in the boarding tent, which was also a permanent structure rather than canvas. The boarding tent as well as several other services provided in the camp were operated by individuals as "privileges" (concessions) that the Milton M. P. Church auctioned off to the highest bidder. The following excerpt from the Milton News letter in the Milford Chronicle of July 11, 1902 provides some insight into the issues surrounding concessions at the camp meeting:
At the sale of the privileges held on Saturday, the boarding tent brought $1; the food pound $9; these were purchased by Prof. W. H. Welch. The confectionery department was bought by John Barker for $5. One of the officers of the church requests the writer to say that the small prices these privileges were sold for was due to the action of the church, which will not allow anything to be sold on Sunday; and the two Sundays that include a part of the camp are the best days the proprietors of these privileges can have. This may be all right from a moral standpoint; but as these meetings are held more for sociality than for spiritual comfort, you had better get all out of them that you can.
At the sale of the privileges for the colored camp at Hazard’s Woods, near the end of Milton Lane, the confectionery stand brought $36; and the boarding tent $12. Witness the contrast, when viewed from a financial standpoint.
The "food" pound Conner referred to may have been the horse pound or stabling area, as this was the age of the horse and buggy. Selling food or confectionery at these camp meetings would not make anyone rich. There was an additional problem: the Milton camp meeting was within easy walking distance to the center of town, and attendees did not have to rent a "tent" or buy food from the camp concessions if they chose not to. Indeed, Milton town residents had always made up the bulk of the attendance at the Milton Camp meeting, and could walk into or out of the camp without difficulty.
There is also another statement in the first paragraph: ..these meetings are held more for sociality than for spiritual comfort. By the early 20th century, the summer camp meeting was seen by many as a social event, and there were few converts made. The value of the Milton Camp meeting as an evangelical tool was called into question for years by the M. P. church, but what led to the end of the church's involvement with the camp meeting was something entirely different.

Road leading to Lavina's Woods camp, ca 1911  photographed by Dr. William H. Douglas (Milton Historical Society collection)

The End of the Milton Camp Meeting

In the July 22, 1918 issue, the Wilmington News Journal reported several cases of what was first thought to be chickenpox in one Georgetown family. The diagnosis changed to smallpox as the symptoms became more severe, and a previously unreported outbreak of smallpox in Gumboro came to light. Just two days later, the Wilmington Morning Journal reported that camp meeting season was beginning to ramp up and a full season was planned. But by July 30, organizers of several camp meetings on the Peninsula, including the Milton Camp, were advised by the State Board of Health not to hold planned meetings due to the fear of contagion. The camp meeting did not take place that year, but the decree to close it came after concessionaires and others had already invested money in preparation.
In the August 4, 1919 issue of the Wilmington Morning News, it was reported that the committee organizing that year's Milton Camp meeting had decided not to hold it. The reasons given in that newspaper were the lack of cooperation among members of the congregation and the inability to find someone to manage the boarding tent. However, David A. Conner, writing in his Milton News letter in the August 4, 1919 issue of the Milford Chronicle, gave a somewhat different view of the abandonment of the Milton camp meeting. He stated that it had for many years been a social event rather than a spiritual one; before the advent of the automobile and the railroad, the camp meeting was eagerly anticipated by country people who were far from a church, were relatively isolated, and needed a respite. Modern transportation had provided all classes with the means to enjoy alternatives to the camp meeting such as beach excursions, which were proving immensely popular.

A New Lease on Life

In September of 1897, in Cincinnati, a group of Methodist Episcopalians founded the International Holiness Union and Prayer League, which was intended to be a fellowship and not a new denomination. By 1900, however, the fellowship had acquired many adherents who were attracted by its principles and its evangelic missionary work overseas. Its name was changed to International Apostolic Holiness Union. By 1905, having grown into a formal church organization in all but name, the group was renamed to International Apostolic Holiness Union and Churches. After a further period of growth and absorption of other religious bodies, the overall organization adopted the name of one of the absorbed churches and became the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
The Pilgrim Holiness Church arrived in Milton in 1926, held their first meeting on Easter Sunday of that year, and dedicated their church building on April 11. This made a total of four Protestant churches attended by whites of the town. In 1927, the newly established church re-opened the Lavinia's Camp under their auspices. The camp continued in operation until at least 1965.
The two Methodist branches, Episcopalian and Protestant, as the United Methodist Church around 1940, with the result that the Milton Methodist Protestant Church, or Grace Church as it had been renamed, became superfluous to the administrative body of the UMC and disappeared by 1962. The former church building was restored in 2006 and is now the home of the Milton Historical Society and the Lydia B. Cannon Museum.
On June 26, 1968, The Pilgrim Holiness Church and The Wesleyan Methodist Church of America were united to form The Wesleyan Church, which is still a presence in the religious life of the Milton community.
An Account of Lavina's Camp Meeting, anonymous typewritten manuscript (MHS Collection)
Wilmington News Journal, September 6, 1873
Milton News letter, Milford Chronicle, July 11, 1902
Wilmington Morning Journal, August 3, 1914
Wilmington News Journal, July 22, 1918
Wilmington Morning News, August 4, 1919
Wilmington News Journal, July 3, 1959
Wilmington Morning News, July 10, 1965

Phil Martin | August 29, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
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