1890 SUSSEX COUNTY VACATION
The first and second week of August, 1890, a Camden, New Jersey, gentleman, age about 30 of German descent, vacationed in Sussex county Delaware, in Broadkill Hundred near Milton, Delaware, on the Cedar Landing Farm.
One very hot day, he decided to have a swim in the cool rippling waters of the Broadkill Creek and upon reaching the river banks, shed himself of his clothing, folded them neatly and placed the bundle on a tree stump that was handy, and plunged in. This is his story;
“A very large Durham bull, the property of John Conwell whose farm the bathing spot was located, was attracted from his field by a red sash, a part of the clothing bundle, laying on top and in sight of all the world. The bull came up, snorting, blowing and pawing , and when he was ready, charged the clothing bundle, tossed it well out into the creek . My first thought was to recover my clothing but the bull seemed to be in control of the rather large section of ground where I was. His 'bullship' objected to each and every move I made. Think I said to myself. After some thought I allowed myself to float with the outgoing tide to a patch of cedaer on the river bank, which hid me from the bull monster, came ashore, recovered my wet and muddy belongings and started the trip to the farm house. But the bull spied me, a I, being much frightened , lost all wits, and did nothing but stand still and contemplate my death. Just as he lowered his head to toss me into the creek, I came to a presence of mind, quickly stepped aside and grabbed his tail as he went by.
Off we went at a go as you please canter, through a melon patch, blackberry brambles and a field of new ground well abundant of tree stumps. As I was becoming faint and weak the bull also showed evident signs of exhaustion, and headed for some shade under a lone persimmon tree where he slackened his speed and I seized the opportunity to swing around , catching his tail on the tree trunk which brought him to a dead halt. While he stood there panting I figured it best to get up in the tree before he was sufficiently rested to renew his attack. I released his tail, however, the bull seemed too busy catching his breath to notice. There I sat on a lower limb, dangling my feet, enjoying security and a cool breeze at the same time, when the limb cracked, causing me the need to ascend higher which I was doing when my head struck something soft, and looking upward, beheld an enormous hornets nest, with infuriated hornets pouring out the little hole at the bottom. Each one, one at a time, finding no other intrusion except myself , proceeded to 'sting' every inch of my body which was uncovered. Now what; to go down to earth, renew acquaintance with the bull and certain death, or, remain in the tree with the hornets for the same fate. I choose the bull. Being near blinded by the stings of the hornets, as I slid down the tree, slipped, fell, flat out on the bulls back.
Off goes the bull, with me and hundreds of hornets, on his back, hornets stinging him and myself, into a peach orchard. There I was brushed off his back and lay stunned for a time. Finding my way out of the orchard I came to a seven rail fence and when climbing over it, fell onto a dry gourd with a wasps nest, which were unhappy with my breaking up their home. Trying to find my way, with hornets and wasps, I again fell, into a deep ditch with black mud and water and a foul smell , but found satisfaction when rolling in the mud I escaped the flying hornets and wasps.
Getting out of the ditch I made my way to a meadow where a small stream of fresh water ran through some witch hazel bushes. While on my knees, washing the black foul smelling mud from my face and eyes, felt a tug at the bottom of my trousers and upon looking, found a water snake with glittering eyes, fastened to my hunting pants and my prisoner. He could not release his fangs as he had struck with such force. There are no other of Gods creatures I detest more than snakes, but here I am with one in tow. Running like a deer toward a farm house, the residents there seeing me were all at the door so I could not get in and resorte to running wild around the house. There was a quilting party there, no men just young girls and their mothers, but one had the ability to kill the snake. I was furnished with soap, water and towels, and the owners Sunday Suit and sat down with the family , made acquaintance and ate dinner. Back home in Camden now I receive a note each week, signed 'Lizzy'”