LOOKING AROUND DELAWARE
Lewes has been known as “the story book town” and that it is, the history the longest and richest of any other town in the state. Lewes has never lost it's nautical atmosphere nor it's characteristic quaintness.
Sitting near the capes of Cape Henlopen, where the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic meet, a settlement of Dutchmen set up in 1631, then named Fort Obdike.
It met a tragic fate, the entire settlement being massacred by local Indians over a tin sign placed at it's entrance to promote 'peace' but misunderstood by the natives.
The next band of settlers expecting to find a thriving colony, found only ashes and bones of their countrymen, in the burnt out fort. Even the post watch dog was put to death, it's skeleton found with seven arrows through it.
In 1635 a settlement of Englishmen, moving north from the Virginia's Colony's in the south, built a colony or outpost for the Dutch New Amsterdam and called it Zwaandael, after the valley of the swans as they found it. Under Dutch rule Lewes became a thriving seaport town, known worldwide of it's maritime activities. Here the Dutch held the first court and built the first court house, outside of New Amsterdam. In the center of town was a well, all seafaring men, Pirates, Sai;ors, ship masters, etc, had quenched their thirst. In 1935 it is said there were some traces of this gossip center.
The 'Jolly Roger' was well known and twice the town was 'sacked' by the 'freebooters' and 'privateers' . The Pirates were even welcomed there time to time, and saw the likes of Captain Kidd and Blackbeard.
Peninsula lore has a Edward Trach, known as Blackbird, a coastal pirate, was a Delmarva native and was the person who settled Blackbird, the town in New Castle county.
There is Henlopen Lighthouse. Next to oldest in America, built with funds of Philadelphia merchants and other Delaware River traders, fell into the Atlantic in 1926. It oversaw two historical naval events, the capture of a ships party from the H.M. S. Roebuck ,t rying to stop the landing of gun powder in June 1776, and the capture of the British Man of War, General Monk by the American Sloop of War Hyder Alley in 1782. During the Revolution and War of 1812, the Henlopen Light was extinguished and used as a lookout.
Along Pilot Town Road many old houses are homes to generations of river pilots who have called Lewes home always.
Lewes had one of the first 'free' schools in America and for many years was the county seat.
In the St. Peters Church Yard, founded in 1703, are buried many Colonial dead.
In 1798 the British sloop of war, DeBraak foundered off the cape and many attempts to recover gold said to be in the wreckage have been made without success. The ships master, Captain Drew has a monument in the St. Peters Cemetery, however, it is thought he 'went down with the ship;...............
Wednesday December 11, 1935, Wilmington Morning News, “Looking Around Delaware”.