Monday, May 29, 2017



A story of the town of St. Mary's, the first Capitol of Maryland, as presented by James W. Thomas of Cumberand on March 6, 1894. Mr. Thomas is a grandson of Maryland Governor James
Thomas, and is a St. Mary's County native.

James Thomas was the 23rd Governor of Maryland, 1833 to 1836, was botn in St. Mary's County and died in St. Mary's ccounty. He is also buried in St. Mary's county, in the Thomas family cemeter at Deep Falls. He had practiced medicine in St. Mary's until 1812, when he became a major in the 4th Maryland Cavalry.

This is his story: St. Mary's City, first capitol of Maryland, sat on the east side of St. Mary's River which was a tributary of the Potomac, five miles away, and 16 miles of Point Lookout, all on the western shore of southern Maryland, occupies a high bluff fifty feet above the river's waters.

The early colony in it's effort to avoid hostilities with their Indian neighbors, waived the right to superior power, bought the town and territory lands of the natives with commodities useful and satisfactory. It should be known that no place other can boast of the humanity and justice shown toward the natives on all occasions. Te 'landing' on 27th March, 1634, had been made with such
formality as circumstances permitted, by Governor Calvert who proclaimed formal possession of St. Mary's, Maryland.

The settlers undisturbed several years by domestic or external factions, the colonial town grew rapidly. Brick, other builders supplies, were imported , and were abundant as building material.
St. Mary's , in a short time after settlement, had besides the home of Lord Calvert, a church, a State House, a jail, other public houses , sixty homes, two forts, with ordnance of the day.

As the 'place' for holding General Assembly, The Seat of Provincial Court , a port where all ships trading with Maryland Province had to first enter, St. Mary's became important. In 1688 it became a city with privileges above and beyond any other place of the province. It had officials, mayor, recorder, six aldermen and ten councilmen. There was a weekly market and a yearly 'fair'.

Praise be to Leonard Calvert, he who left his native land to lead the early colonist to Maryland, he who proclaimed and practiced fundamental principals, and became the Governor.

Leonard Calvert died an early age, 40 , on June 9, 1647, at St. Mary's and is buried there.

In 1694 , Francis Nicholson became Governor of Maryland and it was he who called the
death-knell of St. Mary's when he summoned Assembly to convene at Ann Arundel Town, now Annapolis. At this Assembly it was determined upon to move the government from St. Mary's to
Ann Arundel town, now Annapolis. He ordered to have the archives and records delivered to the sheriff of Ann Arundel Town , this was done, and on 28th of February, 1695, the state of Maryland
General Assembly met in its first session in the present capital.

After St. Mary's ceased to be the capital it began to decline, the loss of government officials seriously diminished the population , in 1708 it was no longer the county seat, the last symbol of official character. There being no commercial nor manufacturing interest, it had no means of support. The fort fell apart, homes fell apart , nothing remained save the old State House and a few more
durable buildings which were used as homesteads for the farms that came to be. The state house became used as a church and court for St, Mary's justices. In 1859 this historic old building was pulled down and the material used to build Trinity Church near by.

The first State House stood on St. Mary's Bluff at the northwest extremity of town, and had a view of the town, the river, and surrounding country side, making a picturesque feature to the landscape . It was 45 x 55 feet, its architectural design that of a Maltese Cross, built of large red
vitrified brick, thick walls, twenty eight inches and eighteen inches which diminished in thickness with their height.

The lower floor was divided into two halls, accommodating the Upper and the Lower Houses of Assembly. They were paved with flagstone. It was two and a half stories with a steep roof of red tiles. An iron spire, with ball, at the top a vane inscribed with “1676”, the year it was erected. This building, with a jail cost 330,000 pounds of tobacco.

The structure was built without chimneys , to make it impracticable to be uses as an “eating
house” or 'ordinary', as was the custom in those early days. For 20,000 pounds of tobacco , two years later, two massive outside chimneys were added.

The State House Square stood “The Old Mulberry”, under which assembled early colonist, St. Mary's first mass was said and governor Calvert and Chiefs of the Yacomoico Indians sat to make peace. It stood tall for two hundred years, took the tacks and nails of official notices and proclamations.

Fifteen feet of the State House is the 'Calvert Vauit' where Governor Leonard Calvert lay with other Calvert family members. Tradition has it that the entrance is covered and the key to it;s lock has been tossed in the river to allow the revered peace. Many monuments also take their place in the State house Square.

Source: The Baltimore Sun of Baltimore, Maryland, Tuesday, March 6, 1894, titled “The Rise & Fall Of A City”. By John W. Thomas of Cumberland. Abstract Harrison Howeth, 2017.

Saturday, May 20, 2017



Communication of Assistant Engineer, Adam Steel, of the office of United States Engineer, General William F. Smith, in an effort to give a professional view of the inland waterway through the Peninsula, with special reference to the Chincoteague route, which route the War Department has accepted.

Engineer Adam Steel, under direction of General W. T. Smith, herewith gives valuable comparative data. Since 1885, $143,750 have been approated and expended when a connection was made in 1892 between the head of Little Assaawaman Bay and Indan River Bay, through Whites Creek, by the excavation across a neck of land, 20 feet wide on the bottom to the depth of 4 feet below the bays level. This gves the lower bays a northern outlet at Indian River Inlet, however, there are sand shoals in the Assaawaman and Isle of Wright Bays that prevent vessels drawing more that 3 feet of water to pass. Since the summer of 1893 operations are in progress to open to navigation the upper shore of of Rehoboth Bay to Delaware Bay. A cut 20 foot wide and 6 feet deep crossing Rehoboth Neck, but due to very heavy cutting and small appropriations it may be several years before the waters of Rehoboth Bay flow northward to the Delaware Bay. That outlet is now at Indian River Inlet which is bad obstructed by shoals, but could be put in a condition to make this outlet available to all vessels of light draft coming from below, as far south as Chincoteague Bay.

It has been found that since Indian River Bay and Assawaman Bay have been connected, that the prevailing current is from Indian River Bay into the Assawamen Bay and only during exceptional storms is that reversed. This means that the pent up waters of Indian River Bay coming in through Indian River Inlet, at high tide, seek an outlet in another direction , the cross section of the of the Inlet being too small to let out the same amount of waters that came in during the preceding high tide. So some salt waters is forced through the new canal into Assawamen Bay which will gradually produce a change in the vegetation and animal life of its waters. It is supposed, that when the outlet into the Delaware Bay is completed, the surface of Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay, which are now two feet above mean low water in the ocean , will be lowered much by these new ducts st the extreme and opposite end of the bays, and Indian River Inlet , will close after the natural scouring force which now keeps it open is drawn in another direction.

The advantage of this waterway lies in the benefits that will accrue to the cultivators of the land bordering along these bays , and in the facility with which the markets may be reached by water, once the canal is opened. There are thousands of acres of land laying idle, along this route , now unavailable but should be under cultivation. It has been thought that the whole Delmarva Peninsula
will become is destined to become the great garden spot of North American States, supplying early vegetables, fruits, flowers, &c., to te same extent and same fine quality as its surrounding waters are now doing with oysters, terrapin, crabs and fish.

To some extent this has already become true and need not to be pointed out. As the cities and populations of the adjacent states continues to grow at the present rate, the demand for garden products, the truckpatch and orchards, will increase and all the tillable land of the Peninsula will be needed to furnish the demand. It is important that the waterways should be put in order now and not wait for the developments of the future.

The railroads have already shown more foresight in this respect and new branches of tracks are being planned down the Peninsula. It is generally assumed the interest of railroads are opposed to waterway improvements, which run parallel with them and tap into their territory. Statistics of both Europe and America prove this to be not true and railroads are destined to supplement and not supplant each other.

To the railroads go the least burdensome traffic needing regularity and quick transit, to the waterways go heavy freight which need low rates. Waterway also restrain and moderate freight charges of the railroad.

There has been much agitation the past several years for extending the a waterway between Chincoteague and Delaware Bays. One plan, to continue its present the general direction along the
coast toward Cape Charles, Virginia through the many inland bays below the Chincoteague Inlet and orders for survey are now in Congress. The other plan, to connect Pocomoke River to Synepuxent Bay by a canal above Snow Hill, Maryland. Surveys and cost estimates are to be sent to Congress next winter. Such a waterway would be of benefit to traffic of small coastal vessels and bring the whole of Chesapeake Bay to our shores, and Baltimore, a major port, to the market place.


Thursday, May 18, 2017



A new government hospital at the Delaware Breakwater is to replace Lazaretto Station located above Chester, Pennsylvania on the Delaware river.

The government has commenced on a hospital at Lewes for persons affected with contagious diseases entering America from forigen countrys. For sometime past efforts have been made looking toward the removal of he quarantine station above Chester, Pennsylvania to some point near the Delaware Breakwater. The proximity of the present station buildings to the city of Philadelphia and danger arisiing to towns on the river and bay from infected vessels have made action of this kind necessary.

The new one story building is to be situated 200 yards south of the present U. S. Marine Hospital and will contain three rooms with porches on the east and west sides, the west posrch being 33feet, 6 inches, and the other being 22 feet and 6 inches. The one story building will cover space of 50 x 30, the ward room to be 38 x 30. A door from the ward room leads to the west porch and will be bright with eight 8 x 19 windows . An attendants room will locate in the southwest end, here to be the hospital and pharmacy. The kitchen with a large pantry and a water pump is to adjoin here.

Wilmington Evening Journal, Monday, May 21, 1888. Abstract Harrison Howeth 2017.



The Public are respectfully informed That a School for Young Ladies is established under the direction of Mr. R. S. Clarke, where they are instructed in the necessary parts of Female Education and in useful accomplishment, such as; English Language, Grammatically, Elocution, Writing,
Arithmetic, Geography and the use of maps and globes, &c.

And a Classical School is open under the direction of Mr. Peter Laughlin , where young gentlemen will be prepared for the Universities. They will also be instructed in all branches of English Education, Mathematics, Navigation, Surveying, Book Keeping, &c.

Morals and manners of the pupil will be particularly attended to.

We are happy to announce that from an acquaintance with Mr. R. S. Clarke as a teacher of the English Language in this place for two years past, and the proficiency which his pupils has made, we feel no hesitation in saying that all who may favor him with charge of their youth will find in him both abilities and assiduity as well as a most happy mode of governing and instructing his pupils.

And while an acquaintance with Mr. Clarke enables us to vouch for his abilities and attention , the full and ample recommendations which accompanies Mr. McLaughlin , together with a small personal acquaintance , authorizes us to place equal confidence in his abilities as teacher of the languages and mathematics.

We have no doubt that as an Academy thus established under the care and guidance of such gentlemen of merit and talents, in a place most noted for beauty and healthfulness, where Board and Tuition will not exceed One Hundreds Dollars per annum, will confer upon many the blessings of a genteel and accomplished education

Signed: Dr. Hall, Daniel Rodney, Caleb Rodney, John White, James Wilson, George Parker,
William Wolfe, James Wiltbank, Frederick Rowe and Jacob Wolfe.
Lewes on Delaware, September 13, 1803.

Source: Advertisement, Wednesday, September 14, 1803, Mirror of the Times & General Advertiser,
Wilmington, Delaware.  Abstract Harrison Howeth, Lewes, Delaware 2017.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

James H. W. Thompson son of Mary Thompson, Mosquito Lady


James Harrison Wilson Thompson was born in Greenville, New Castle County, Delaware, 21 March, 1906, to Henry Burlington Thompson and his wife Mary Wilson Thompson. Henry Thompson was born in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, 6 August 1857, to Lucius Peters and Caroline Jones Burlington Thompson , and became a wealthy manufacturer in the cotton industry. He had a sister born 1859, a brother born 1863 and another sister born 1870, all born in Pennsylvania.

On the 14th of April, 1891, Henry Burlington Thompson married Mary Wilson. In addition to James Harrison Wilson Thompson, they had Elinor, born 1901; Henry, Jr., born 1897; Katherine, born 1893; and Mary born 1892. These siblings were all born in Wilmington, New Castle County. Henry and Mary both died at their Brookwood Farm

Mary Wilson was born 30 October 1866 in Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, to General James Harrison Wilson, U. S. Army Retired who lived between 1837 and 1925. The generals wife was Ella Andrews, born 1846, married 1866. It appears that this family had only the one daughter.

General James Harrison Wilson was born on September 2, 1837, in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois, to Harrison Wilson and Catherine Schneider. General Wilson died in Wilmington, Delaware, 23 February 1925 at age 87 and is buried in Olde Swedes Cemetery, Wilmington. Graduated at West Point in 1860, he was part of the Port Royal expedition and the capture of Fort Pulaski, made major 13 April 1852. He was on the staff of McClellen at South Mountain and Antietam. After Vicksburg and Chattanooga , 1863, made Lt.. Colonel. In 1864 he commanded the 3rd Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, an became a full colonel while fighting in the wilderness.
He was commander of the cavalry in Mississippi, October 1864 to July 1865 , led cavalry expeditions in Georgia and Alabama as a brigadier general. He retired from the Army 31, December 1870 and was engaged in railroad management in the United States and China. Upon the outbreak of the Spanish American War he was commissioned a major general and served until 1901 when he again retired.

This was Mary Wilson Thompson's , “The Mosquito Woman” of Rehoborth, father, and the grandfather of James Harrison Wilson Thompson, an architecture graduate at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. During WWII Thompson enlisted as a private in the National Guard Coastal Artillery and after a year service became a member of the OSS, a intelligence agency. Trained in guerilla warfare, served in North Africa and Europe, then sent to the jungles of Thailand. The end of WWII canceled assignments and Thompson went back to Thailand to help resuscitate that country's ailing silk industry. He established a network of weaver in Bangkok to produce materials of colors that attracted American fashion. This silk empire erned him the title of “Silk King” and provided funds to pursue his love of art and architecture. In 1959 he designed and erected a Thai style teak house, assembled a collection of porcelains, carvings, paintings and works of art, opened a museum.

There is a record of a marriage in Virginia, Albemarle county , that J. H. W. Thompson married a daughter of Oscar Robert Thraves, but no other data was available.

During the Veitnam War in 1967, Thompson visited friends in Cameron, Pahang, Maylaysia, while there was 'lost' while taking a stoll and disappeared. His days with the OSS and or natural hazards of the tropical jungle gave no clue. He just disappeared, the son of the enigmatic “mosquito Lade” of Rehoboth was never seen again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017




Plans for construction of a large airport here were revealed today as Air Service, Inc., of New Castle, signed a contract for purchase of a 124 acre tract of land, known as the Ebe Tunnell farm, at Midway, just one and one half miles northwest of town. The land cost $8800 it is known.

The new field, which is square, is high ground with clay soil , will be designed to accommodate the largest air transports now in service. Of the four runways planned, the longest will be 3400 feet and the shortest 2350.

It is understood that when in service nest year, the airport will be a scheduled stop for air service from Washington, D. C. and Newark, New Jersey. There will be a large hanger erected and all modern equipment installed.

Work is intended to begin September 15, 1937 according to Magistrate Leon “Blub” Thompson, the president of Rehoboth Beach Air Club. Mr. Thompson is a veteran pilot of the U. S. Navy in WWI, and is largely instrumental in having the airport placed here. A farm house and other farm outhouses now on the land will be razed and the entire tract is to be scraped and rolled.
Runways will be grass and most work complete by the first of the new year and ready for use by May 1, 1938.

When he as Chief Airport Surveyor for the Aeronautical Branch U. S. Department of Commerce, discovered the tract and persuaded Rehoboth Town Commissioners to purchase it and have the Civil Works Administration to improve it.

The Rehoboth Beach Air Club has a lease on a 45 acre tract being used as a airport which is too small for increased air traffic and unsuitable for large passenger planes.

Many Rehoboth residents advocate the choice of “Commander Thompson Field” as the name to honor Thompson who is the first licensed pilot in lower Delaware and shows continued interest in obtaining an airport for Rehoboth Beach.

Source: Wilmington Morning News, Wednesday, August 25, 1937

Monday, May 15, 2017




St. Agnes Catholic Church was completed July 1st , 1906 and was the only Catholic Church of Sussex County, Delaware, and was attended by a large number of Baltimoreans who annually visit the resort.
It is a frame built structure set to seat 200 people and adjoins the St, Agnes by the Sea summer house of the Sisters of St. Francis, Brooklyn Avenue and Boardwalk. The cost was $2300, half of which has been paid. The church has a tower that contains a powerful light for mariners and marks the wreck of the Merrimack at the foot of Brooklyn Avenue. Heretofore, Catholic Services were held in a private cottage.

A larger, $50,000 Gothic architecture church structure, two years under construction, located on a triangular corner lot at Laurel Street and King Charles Avenue, to replace St. Agnes, held its first service Sunday, May 12, 1940, is St. Edmond's Roman Catholic Church. This service was in charge of the Rev. E. J. McCarthy who had been with St. Agnes By the Sea. He was assisted by the Rev. Daniel Powers.

St Agnes By The Sea will be retained as a chapel for the Franciscan Nuns who have the convent adjacent.

St. Edmond's was built by the John Joyce contracting firm of Wilmington. Gleason & Mulrooney of Philadelphia were the architects.

Abstracr by Harrison Howeth 2017, Wilmington morning News, and Baltimore Sun, newspaper articles.

Sunday, May 14, 2017





Thursday, December 12, 1872, stockholders of “The Rehoboth Methodist Camp Meeting Ground”, met in Wilmington's St. Pauls, Methodist Episcopal Church , to prefect plans for a camp meeting city by the sea.

Rev. John Wilson acted as president and T. S. Hodson of Crisfield, Maryland, as secretary.
The following committee was appointed to prepare for the afternoon session: Rev. R. W. Todd, Chairman; T. S. Hodson, S. R. Houston, W. H. Foulk, J. J. McCollough, H. F. Pickles, Washington Hastings, R. E. Robinson, Rev. J. Todd, W. H. Billany, Rev. J. B. Qulgg, and Alexander Kelley.


Much business was transacted. Resolution adopted providing that the name of the association
be “ The Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association”. That the number of corporators shall consist of thirty, who shall be menbes of the association and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Object of the Association Shall Be; First; To hold camp meetings on the grounds according to the customs and usages of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Second: To provide and maintain a sea side resort, where everything inconsistent with Christian morality as taught by the Methodist Episcopal Church , shall be excluded and prohibited.

A resolution providing that the corporation shall elect from their own number their own officers who shall be “ex-officio” officers of the association of stockholders; that they shall appoint from their own number the necessary committees to preform the work to secure the object for which the association is formed ; that the term of office of one third of the directors shall expire at the meeting of the stockholders at the annual camp meeting foe 1873; one third at the 1874 meeting; and the remainder at the 1875 meeting. All adopted.

Also adopted was a resolution that the Directors whose term of office once expires shall be eligible for reelection.

Adopted resolution that limit the number of shares at 300 ; that no subscriber shall have at one time more that two shares, no shares to be issued except to ”bona fide” holders; that no transfer be made without concurrence of the Directors.

Adopted resolution providing that officers of the corporation and association shall be a president, vice president, secretary and a treasurer. An agent or superintendent shall be appointed by directors with powers and duties to be prescribed by them.


Resolved that each lot shall be not less than 50 by 100 feet and but one cottage on one lot: each share of stock shall entitle the holder to one first class lot; that stockholders shall draw for choice of lot in the order of their subscription and shall make their selection within ten days of the drawing or the choice shall be void.

Resolved that after stockholders have selected lots, applicants for stock and for lots too late to be included in the number, shall be entitled to select in order of application at $50 per lot.

Resolved that the President is authorized to pay $2000 out of the funds for purchase of two tracts of land near Lewes, Delaware, known as the Marsh Farm and the Downmartin Farm, in trust for the stockholders of the association.

Resolved that a committee prepare a Charter for submission to the next Legislature. Several other resolutions, that amount due on stock may be paid in installments, that the President may call corporators together anytime he deem proper, that a majority of directors may fill vacancies that may occur between the annual meeting, all passed.


The following were named as corporators; E. Stubbs, J. B. Quigg, L. C. Matlack, C. Hill,
W. M. Warner, J. Todd, R. W. Todd, J. J. Hurst, T. S. Hodson. G. P. Fisher, John Wilson, A. Kelley,
  1. Heister, H. Pickles, J. Pyle, T. Thompkingson, William Foulk, T. F. Plummer, Wm.. Billany,
C.H.B. Day, W. Hastings, C. F. Rudolph, P. F. Causey, R. Heister, T. Field, H. C. Robinson, W. F. Robinson, Jacob Sharp, Thomas Malialeiu, F. A. Ellis.
Resolved that the first camp meeting shall be held on the grounds Wednesday July 9, 1873
and continue for two weeks.

The meeting then adjourned, 'sine die'.

Abstract Harrison Howeth, 2017, Wilmington New Journal , Friday , December 13, 1872 source.

Friday, May 12, 2017


WHOREKILL 1664 – 1671


In the years between 1664 and 1671, inclusive, there were only six land transactions at the WHOREKILL.

The first of these was a condormation to WILLIAM TOM, in consideration of the “good service done and performed by him at Delaware” (an incendent to the surrender of the DUTCH to Sir Robert Carr), to certain land, formerly belongimg to Pieter Alricks, which “now stand confiscated to his majesty.” The patent was dated 3 August 1668.

The second was a conditional grant, dated 12 January 1670, to James Mills to allow him to purchase land here.

The third was a grant to DIRCK PIETERS of land which Abraham Clement, former owner, conveyed to Dirck Pieters, for valuable consideration. This patent ws dated 25 May 1670. This property was transferred to HELMANUS WILTBANCK and remained in that family for five generations.

The fourth and fifth represented simular approval by the English authorities of land transferrs already agreed upon , that the Dutch Governor at South River had granted unto WILLIAM VANDIEMAN a piece of land at “ye WHOREKILL” otherwise SWANENDAEL on Delaware Bay. . This date was June 1 1671.

The sixth and last of these early confirmations is sufficiently important to be quoted in full:
A Confirmation granted unto Hermanus Frederick Wiltbanck for a certain parcel of land at Whorekill.
“Francis Lovelace, Esqr., &c, Wheras Hernamus Frederick Wiltbanck , stands possest of a certayne parcell of land at ye Whorekill on Delaware Bay, part of which he has manured (cultivated) , the said land running into the woods, beginning, Aroskes Kill, stretching South East and North West till it comes behind ye creeke which is by ye common land of ye Whorekill , contayninh by estimacon , about eight hundred acres: Now for a confirmation unto ye said Hermanus Frederick Wiltbanck as also at his request to his two sons, Cornelys and Abraham in their possession and enjoyment of ye premises &c., yielding and paying as a quit rent &c., eight bushels of wheate yearly, dated July 1st 1671.”

This DEED should show the Wiltbanck family was the first Christian settler in the Whorekill neighborhood and that they did not contemplate a move to some other place.

Source: Genealogies of Pebbsylvania Families, Pennsylvania Genealogy, PAFamilies:
Abstract by Harrison Howeth 2017.

Susquehannah Taken By Pirate Schooner Off Delaware Capes.


Tuesday, October 24 1837: New York
At half past one o'clock this morning an express arrived of Samuel Swartwout, Esq., port collector, with intelegence of the capture of the packet ship, Susquehannah, from Philadephia for Liverpool, which went to sea Saturday afternoon. Immediately the collector sent a special messenger to the commander of the revenue cutter in port with directions to prepare for sea without delay. Also sent communication to Commodore Ridely, Commander of the Navy Yard , requesting an additional armament, with men, and to send off the squadron now in harbor. Captain Stingham, of the yard, received the communication , awaited orders of Commodore Ridgely, and by 3 o'clock the Porpoise was underway but because of heavy fog made little way until 11 o'clock this motning. The collector has suggested that commadore send any other vessel he may juudge expedient to send.

Mr. Humphrey, named as a passenger, is May Humphrey, Esq., a commercial agent of the United States Bank, to reside in Liverpool . Anothe passenger, James Saul, Esq., cashier of the bank in New Orleans. It is suggested that the pirate was in pursuit of 'specie' large quantities of which have been recently sent out by packets.

Therevenue cutter of the Delaware station is under repair at Wilmington, and there was no vessel at Philadelphia to despatch.

Sunday October 22 1837: Lewes by H. E. Rodney:

We have received information of the pilot boat “Mary” from James West and Edward Maull , two good pilots, that the packet ship “Susquehannah” which went to sea at 2 o'clock yesterday, was captured by a pirate schooner off the Five Fathom Bank. The wind being at the south, she bore off southward and at dark was off Indian River. Since the wind has been from southward all day, news has been sent to Norfolk so as to enable an armed vessel to cut her off.

The pirate vessel was a long clipper fore top sail schooner, painted black, and full of men.

Passengers of the packet ship Susquehannah , Master Cropper, sailed Saturday for Liverpool were M. Humphreys, a lady with two children, a servant, Ann Rawle, Mary Rawle, Rachel Sharp, H.C. Corbitt, Henry Martin, Edward Pleasent, of Philafrlphia, William Grey of Norfolk, Henry Fox of Bristol England, Wm B. McCrone of New Castle, and 40 in steerage.

We have just learned the Commander Stewart will despatch the revenue cutter, well manned with officers and men in pursuit of the piraye schooner. The cutter, Gallatin, Captain Gold, has been lyiing in Wilmington for several weeks past underoing repairs. Also we have learned from authority that the Liverpool and Harve packets are to go out tomorrow under convoy of the squadron now in port. The officers and men are all pressing with voluntary offers of services for the honor of the rescue of the captives and th seizure of the bucaneers

The amoubt of money on the Susquehannah first said to be $110,000, has been revised to $8000 to $10,000 . It is thought that the pirates had been lying in wait for the Chandler Price, bound Canton, from which they would have obtained a prize.

It has been learned from the United States Gazette that a force of men, directed by the commodore, proceeded down the Delaware on the steamer Piomeer to embark on board the Gallatin which was orderd to sail in pursuit of the pirate schooner.

We have been informed by a pilot that the suspicious vessel was seen off the Capes on Friday and followed in expection she might need a pilot, however being a fast sailer, they could not overtake her. Captain Dumbhy at Fort Penn piertold that Tuesday evening a suspicious vessel anchored two mile belo, remaining there until Thursday afternoon and during that time had sent a boat ashore to the Delaware side.

Abstract from Albany Argus, albany, New York, Friday October 27, 1837 / New York Commercial Advertiser, United Stares Gazette, October 23, Agent of the Underwriters, Henry F. Rodney, Cape Henlopen, Lewes, Delaware, Sunday October 22, 1837 : By Harrison Howeth, 2017.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Thirteen blocks of Surf Avenue gone, three blocks of the northern section of the boardwalk, about ten years old, carried away by the waves, the remainder badly undermined, several of the boardwalk pavilions toppled into the sea, are the result of last Saturdays nor'easter storm and Saturdays and Sundays high seas.
Rehoboth has sustained the most damage by storm this week than in the last fourteen years.

Town commissioners have ordered reconstruction to begin at once, announced Charles S. Horn, a commissioner. W. S. Downing, street and beach superintendent, will engage men and teams to begin repair work today, Monday, January 5th. The cost is not known, however Mr. horn, feels it will be greater that $10000. An available $5000 from recent bond sales for Rehoboth Improvement will be applied at once. Necessary repairs will be made at first with other work to follow as financial provisions can be made.

Charles Horn and Frank Chase are the only commissioner here in town, Mayor and head commissioner Fred Ross is very ill at Wilmington and will not be communicated with, Ben Shaw, also
ill in Wilmington, said he would be in town by next Thursday, the other three out of town, will be in touch with those here to make and carry out their plans. Necessary emergency work will proceed.

It appears that private property received little damage, the Horn Pier probably received the most
but it cannot be visited for inspection because of high seas. Except for several buildings on the boadwalk it is apparent that no damage has occurred. First reports of damage, upon inspection, proved untrue.

There was great apprehension during the storms worst Saturday for the towns new water system. As Surf Avenue was crumbling away and going out to sea, in view of the fact that a chief main for the water supply is in the roadbed of the avenue, it full length. Had there been a break the entire system would be out of service, a calamity for residents since they depend on town water for domestic use and fire protection.

It was a terrific nor'easter that developed very quickly which did all the damage. A gale wind of sixty mile per hour force, lashing the seas into a furious rage, large breakers with lightning rapidity, battered the coast with tremendous force, lasting twenty four hours or more

The boardwalk rocked like a cradle and the pavilions did likewise. Many of them, new last year at the cost of $1000 each, it is thought they can be repaired and saved. The public comfort stations placed below the boardwalk last year at a $1000 each are total wrecks. The bath houses of W. S. Hill, were badly battered and new lumber store near them was carried out to sea, however, Mr, Hill, said the bath house can be repaired at a minimum cost.

Heavy reinforced concrete parts of the retaining wall were crushed by the waves like egg shells and carried out into the seas.

Human efforts were to no avail and all the residents could do was to stand by and watch the destruction.

The nor'easter and the surf reached the height of their fury about 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon at high water, and as the tide began to recede the storm showed signs of abatement and the force of the sea swells began to diminish. Also the wind changed to the east and before dark the 60 mph winds were at 30 mph. During the storm rain fell in torrents and were a factor in the destruction. At 9 o'clock the stars were shinning. This did not last long as a fog obscured the sky and rain with winds were noticed all Saturday night and Sunday

The boardwalk from Rehoboth Avenue to the north is gone. Large sections sway back and forth with the force of the tide. Many of the wooden bridges connecting the boardwalk with streets were torn away or are unsafe to use.

Most serious than damage to the boardwalk is the wrecking of Surf Avenue, between the boardwalk and the ocean front cottages , which was laid out thirty years ago at a 100 foot wide, at high tide the ocean was 100 feet out from the roadway. At the upper end, the cottage of Alfred Poole of
Wilmington and that of B. B. Owens of Baltimore were undamaged . At Virginia Avenue the waters ate 20 feet away and the pavilion lost.

Mr. Horn and Mr Mason patrolled the sea front beach all Saturday night and found that the breaker rolled in over the marsh as far as three mile, sand dunes were leveled and new water ways were cut, and the Rehoboth Bay became part of the ocean as it overflow the narrow strip of land between the two. The new canal was not damaged and appears to be in a good condition except full of water.

Hiram Burton of Lewes has said shipping escaped the fury of the storm and Lewes did not receive the wind to effect the ships in the Breakwater harbor. The Cape Henlopen light was not seen due to foggy conditions. Wrecked telephone lines made it difficult to communicate with isolated points. Mr. Hill of Rehoboth Beach Bath house said this storm was the worst he has seen in the past 21 years.

Sunday, there were visitors, some with local interest, others, out of curiosity. Wilmington mayor, Ed Mitchell and his wife were here at their cottage to spend a few days and has said he always wanted to visit during a nor'easterner and really got to see one this time. P. J. Shockley of Wilmington, a visitor since boyhood, was also a Sunday visitor. Another visitor, Dr. Burton, a State Land Commissioner, has told the news that State Lands had suffered no serious damage from the storm.

More than likely the Rehoboth Beach town commissioners will endeavor to devise ways and means to to provide some permanent protection. Bulk heading appears to be the only solution but is expensive. Whether such a plan can be followed depends on making financial provisions.
Commissioner Horn of Rehoboth points a finger at the Delaware Breakwater at Lewes, as having the tendency to throw the force of a turbulent sea towards Rehoboth Beach. He feels that government built
protective breakers to protect the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse would help eliminate this sea surge.

As of right now, the marshes in this vicinity are flooded, the India River Lifesaving Station at Indian River is marooned and the strip of land separating Rehoboth Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is still inundated.

Abstract: Harrison Howeth, Wilmington News Journal, page 2, Monday, 5 January, 1914 .

Saturday, May 6, 2017


38.7601122 LATITUDE : -75.2035194 LONGITUDE

Red Mill Pond located 38.76 latitude x -75.20 longitude, Lewes area of Sussex county, on Delaware Highway 1, between Nassau and Overbrook when you travel north. The elevation at Red Mill is 7 feet. Also it is in Broadkill Hundred, on the southeastern boundary, of Broadkill and Rehoboth-Lewes Hundreds . You can say it 'feeds' into the Broadkill River. Some will want to say the Broadkill River, through Coolspring Branch, feed it. The east most 'branch' off of the mill pond is also known as Old Mill Creek, or Branch. Going westward, the branch or creek is the Coolspring's. 

         A Quaker Meeting House, the only existing  one in Sussex county Delaware at the time of the founding of the Cool Spring Presbyterian Church , stood on Cool Spring Creek, one mile in a northeasterly direction on a plot of ground facing what is now known as Red Mill Pond. Old gravestone and a marker are still to be found.  Wilmington Morning News, 13 October, 1930.

 Coolspring Branch begins several hundred feet from the 'mouth' of the Broadkill and on this branch was Red Mill, a gristmill, owned by Samuel Paynter. Remember we are talking about the pioneer days, around 1750. Up this branch, up meaning going west, was a wool carding mill and a leather tanyard, probably owned by Helmanius Wiltbank on the land granted him by the Duke of York. It is known Red Mill was sold to Elijah Register, timberman and ship owner, and then to Robert Hammond, who is said to have owned it when it burned in 1885. 

Wilmington News Journal , February 28, 1927:  The Red Mill grist mill, between Overbrook and Nassau, was destroyed by fire early Friday morning.  A loss of $15000 was part covered by insurance.  A  quantity of  wheat grain was destroyed also.  The owner of the mill, Arthur Sharp, of Nassau, who lives near by discovered the fire and summoned the Lewes Fire Company who arrived too late to save anything. 

A local Prime Hook old timer by name of Otis Clifton II or maybe III, has told that his grandfather, Joseph D. Sharp, operated the Red Mill grinding 'grist' for flour., in the 1920's. He also tells that Mae Ritter Dorman; who at one time lived on the SE bank of the pond and Coolspring Creek, Old Mill Creek , whatever, lets say in the vicinity, with her husband, deceased, Albert Dorman. Mae was a Ritter, sister to long time farmers, descendents of Frederick Ritter, here during the 1920's and 1930's, and still around; was the last to operate the grist mill, I will say, one of the last.

At the start of WWII, in 1941, there was an aircraft observation post located at Red Mill Pond, local Legionnaires from Diamond State Negro Post of Lewes were assigned to man it.

The Wilmington News Journal , August 9, 1952, reported Red Mill Pond, one of the larger ponds in Delaware at 150 acres, has a water depth from 6 to 7 foot, has an abundant stock of pike and largemouth bass, Crappies too, sunfish bluegills, and numerous bullhead. Harold Shaffer operates a gas station and store on the roadway over the dam, also rents small row boats, has picnic tables and offers soft drinks and ice cream for fishermen. The pond is fished very lightly and has a considerable distance of shoreline for fishing.

1959, or thereabouts, The Cool Spring Power & Water Company created interest in view of that company's plan to acquire ponds for it's future use as a water supply. John S Thatcher as principal owner , known as 'The Water King”, squelched rumors that fishing was prohibited on Red Mill Pond and that fishing without charge is permitted.

1962 , the January 27th , Wilmington Morning News reported the Millsboro and Red Mill Ponds had been sold and the control of John S. Thatcher's , Cool Spring Power & Water Company,
was acquired for $50,000. H. Rodney Sharp, III, was now president of the new company. Other officers were Jesse Loven of Odessa and Thomas Burrough, also of Odessa and Mrs. Thacther. Sharp said the deal also includes an option to purchase Wagamon's Pond at Milton.

Another Wilmington News Journal article of February 14, 1968, by Dover Bureau Chief, Larry Martin, gives the account of a carpenter, nearing retirement age, John McVerry, a native of Pittsburgh living in Delaware for the past 30 years, who had dreams of building a water mill driven wood working shop, leased the mill in late 1965, to expire in 1967, from Cool Spring Power and Water Company, . owned by Norma Thatcher and her husband, John S. of Berlin, Maryland. Terms were that McVerry would not pay any money but devote his labor to the rebuilding of the waterwheel and machinery and restoring the building which had been vacant five years or more. This he did, and spent seven months restoring the mill, machinery and shed. He build a undershot waterwheel which was running his woodworking machinery. He was in the process of connecting a stone burr wheel when his lease ran out. He had hopes of grinding grains and selling the product to the local markets. Since he lost the lease, he has removed his machinery and moved out of the one room shed.
While in full bloom the operation McVerry did furniture repair and built dog houses. Plans were to build truck bodies, and have a roadside snack bar. The lease was not renewed as Jesse Loven , secretary treasurer of Cool Spring Water & Power Company, announced the company had been put up for sale and needed to rid itself of long term leases. Also McVerry had suffered physical damage from a fall when he slipped on ice and feel into the waterwheel, bringing his 'dream' to an end.

In the Wilmington Morning News, Thursday January 24, 1974, Keith C. Myers, Sussex Bureau wrote “ John S. Thatcher, Delaware Water King, has said he will drain five prime fishing and recreational ponds in Sussex county if two area developers don't but them.
Joseph Hudson and Stanley Thompson of New Dimensions Inc., a Lewes realty agency, have a
$478,000 option to buy Red Mill Pond, three ponds in Milton, Wagamon's, Diamond and Lavinia, and Millsboro Pond. This option expires April 12, this year, and Thatcher says “the draining is no threat ,it is a promise”. “I will drain the ponds at high noon on April 13th , then I will plant wild rice, harvest it at $8 per pound. Thatcher feels the 16 foot deep soil be beneath the waters of the ponds is richer than the bottom of the Nile. Hudson & Thompson have said they intend to buy the ponds and sell water rights to property owners near the ponds.
Thatcher had purchased the ponds in 1958 and took the “water king'' title since he owned more water that did the state.

Hudson & Thompson have said the main reason they will purchase is for long term investment of selling water to the growing towns and communities and it is possible some arrangements would be made to allow public fishing” .

Hudson and Thompson bought the ponds from Thatcher in 1974, says the main edition of the Wilmington Morning News on Friday, June 6, 1975.

February 20, 1989, Joseph Hudson obtained a permit to dredge 3106 cubic yards in Red Mill pond at Overbrook Shores.

At Lewes a meeting was held at 7 pm Wednesday, March 16, 1994 , for Red Mill cleanup efforts to be presented to local residents, Red Mill Pond Citizens Advisory Committee and state officials. The privately owned pond becomes overloaded with waste from a cattle feedlot up stream, the septic tanks of residential developments on its banks and the run off from yards and fields near.

Wilmington News Journal, Monday, October 27, 2008, Molly Murray wrote “Lewes Man Hopes To Rebuild Red Mill and Its History”. During Colonial days a dam was built on Cool Spring Branch, northwest of Lewes, and Red Mill Pond formed. A grist mill ran on the power from the swift water and grain was brought by tge local farms for grinding into flour and feed for their live stock.

Now today Craig Hudson hopes to recreate that early mill which sits on his family owned property on highway Delaware 1, the Ocean Highway . Problem is, no one is sure just what the first mill looked like. The building there now is a replacement and in poor repair. It is well over fifty years of age, but still a local landmark. During the deconstruction he has run into red tape with variances', etc,, of the state due to its location on a major highway. The only history of Red Mill he has comes from Hazel Brittingham. Lewes historian, who has told him Red Mill was burnt at least two times to ashes, one time in 1885, that it was owned by Samuel Paynter, early Delaware Governor, who had Peter Parker run it for him. The second fire was in 1927, it is told.

The above are abstracts of Wilmington newspaper articles, some WWW internet data, gathered by Harrison Howeth of Lewes, Delaware, May 6, 2017. This document will be an on going project with items inserted as they may be received in the future.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017



The Lewes Board of Trade, finding that but few cattle are being kept on the Sussex county farms, hereabout, have made “A Call To Cattle Back to Farms” , and have made plans to for the building of a “creamery” at Lewes. Over $5000 worth of stocks were subscribed at a June 29th meeting and a new Lewes industry is assured. Building operations will begin in July to be completed by September.
A Certificate of Incorporation was issued at Dover , Friday. August 23, 1912, to Lewes Creamery Company, Lewes, Delaware. To construct, conduct and operate a creamery and all things pertaining thereto, with capital stock $50,000.
Wednesday, August 14th, 1912, a great many Lewes towns people and farmers financially interested , were present at the new creamery when it's first butter was turned out. Mr. Williams, is in charge
A large local farmer, William D. Wilson, on November 29, 1913, that the past year he has had dealing with the Lewes Creamery and received $711.60 in payment for cream, in addition to the milk and calves he raised and sold. He advocates the Lewes Creamery and its butter production as a valuable asset to all local farmers.
George Fisher was elected, Thursday, May 29, 1913 meeting, to act as superintendent of the Lewes Creamery plant and will have charge of the ice cream making with the new machinery having just been installed for that purpose. Fisher will fill in the place left by Fred Blandorf of Mooresboro, North Carolina who for the past three months has held the managers job he took over from Mr. Williams, but has left Lewes to go back to Mooresboro when his sister died., and has decided not to return.
The 1915 meeting of the stockholders on Monday, March 29th, were held elections for directors of the Lewes Creamery Company and they were; James T. Lank, George E. Vickers, George E. Hudson, Herbert Fisher, William D. Wilson, Joseph D. Thompson and James J. White. Evidently the annual meeting of stockholders of the Lewes Creamery Company were held the first Wednesday of March.
Also at this meeting the officers were elected, they being; Joseph D Thompson, president; W.D. Wilson, vice president; treasure, James T. Lank; secretary, James White and Harold Stevens appointed Superintendent for the ensuing year.
October 16, 1918, George fisher , manager of Lewes Creamery Company, has taken the position of assistant engineer of the pilot boat Philadelphia to succeed Charles Lofland who is now Chief of the pilot boat. Paul Carpenter will take charge of the management of the Lewes Creamery.
On December 30, 1818, Paul Carpenter resigned and John C. Ellingsworth of Milton has been appointed manager to fill his spot.
The business of the Lewes Creamery has increased to such an extent that two large rooms have been added to the plant, making it one of the finest and best equipped on the peninsula. It, however, did have it's share of problems as did most businesses, in 1913 some youngsters broke into the plant and 70 cent was taken from the cash drawer and in 1915 the scarcity of cream posed a serious problem.

Source: Harrison Howeth abstracts;
Wilmington Morning News, 1912-1920, Wilmington Evening News, 1912 -1920