Friday, February 17, 2017

Sussex Iron Ore Industry

Did you know, prior to the Revolutionary War, the Delmarva Peninsula, was looked upon a the source o new America's iron and steel? The soil in many places was rich in workable iron ore and land was being bought by businessmen of the northern states and iron furnaces were established at strategic points.

This new industry found it's center at the head of the Nanticoke River a few mile east of Seaford in Broad Creek Hundred.

In 1763 Deep Creek Furnace was built six mile up the river and this venture failed because the head of navigation was at Outten's Wharf, three miles down the river, causing the finished product needing to be hauled over land. 1766, a Philadelphia and New York company purchased the ore rich land of this neighborhood and built the Pine Grove Furnace and began the village of Concord. A large scale production operation began, experienced iron workers flocked in from all parts of the county. Broad Cree was soon the busiest industrial center below Wilmington and Philadelphia. When the Declaration of Independence was drawn Pine Grove Furnace was an iron and steel center of America.

Then war was declared, the Chesapeake was blockaded by British Ships of War and Pine Grove was unable to move its finished product to any market, the iron workers were out of work and were needed by the Continental forces After peace was declared the iron industry was dead, Concord, the town, was laid out in 1796 but Seaford, home to grist mill's. saw mill's and other industries, tanneries ,etc, gained foothold and superseded Concord as the business center of the section.

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