Wednesday morning, November 18th, 1925 , were crowded in the Lewes Presbyterian church , more than 300 passengers and crew of the burned Clyde Line steamer, Lenape, awaiting the morning hours for relief trains. Some sleep from exhaustion, baby's cry, coffee and food is given to all.
The Rev. Leishman , pastor of the church, remarked “we had a lot of unexpected company, but everyone in Lewes gave their all to make the guest comfortable.
At 4 o'clock this morning the entire town was aroused by the fire whistle's long shrill blast, followed by three short blast, meaning something frightful was happening. Every available man and woman dressed hastily and rushed to the fire house. There, they learned a ship was on fire and was running into the Breakwater, ablaze from fore and aft. It was feared that the passengers and crew were still on board, but then came assuring news that all had been taken aboard the pilot boat Philadelphia and soon will be landed at the Lewes pier. Everyone who had a vehicle headed for the dock with dry clothing, blankets and food and water. It was a long wait for the Philadelphia to land and all that was seen was the burning Lenape.
The scene will never be forgot, there were many women and children among the throng, babies crying, children shrieked , and most women were terrified. Several had infants in their arms, several with just blankets for covering. No one had time to dress. Coffee, food and water, lots of dry clothing was prepared by the towns people and offered to the survivors.
Soon most were transported to the Presbyterian church, two miles away, some were walking there in groups also. Prayers of thanksgiving were offered at the alter rail. Within minutes wet clothing had been replaced with dry, some ill fitting , garments. Receivers were appreciative.
All passengers had lost their baggage, and most with out money. They were assured there was enough cash money in Lewes to send them all back to New York or on to Jacksonville and that railroad trains were due anytime now to do just that
By 9 o'clock everyone had been accounted for and made comfortable, some fell asleep from exhaustion, others huddled in the pews and aisles , chatting with one another. The ships Captain Devereaux was among the guest assuring that relief was on the way, not to worry.
SOURCE: , November 19, 1925, Wilmington Morning News . Abstract Harrison Howeth.