Both William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania and Lord Calvert, proprietor of Maryland,
claimed Fenwick Island because of fuzzy colonial geography around the border. The dispute dragged on for decades until 1732 when Charles Calvert, 5th Lord Baltimore, met with William Penns sons to negotiate settlement. Both sides agreed that the border would be Cape Henlopen. Cape Henlopen at that time was marked on a map they used and located where Fenwick Island is today. Lord Baltimore disputed the border , however, the Penn family won out and Fenwick Island was part of Delaware.
Fenwick Island remained uninhabited, it's visitors were temporary who fished, crabbed, hunted wild fowl , gathered driftwood, and went back home.
At lighthouse was erected in 1859 and the keeper ad his assistant became residents of the southern most beach. Some years later a Life Saving Station was located a few miles north. In 1898
the first Fenwick Island Camp Meeting was held in the shadows of the lighthouse.
The early years of the 30th century, some vacationers, squatters, came a set up wooden houses with no electricity nor water. They feasted on fresh fish from the ocean, crabs and clams from the bay,
relaxed in the days heat by the ocean and the breezes at night visited by lantern light, without a concern of the ownership of the land beneath their shed.
After WWI Delaware began it's road building program and sure enough a road from Betheny Beach to Ocean City was constructed, right through the center of the squatters village. A 1929 Delaware Coast Press reported “ widespread approval is had with the road along the Atlantic coast”. Not so at Fenwick's squatters village. The state gave them the option to purchase beach front lots not in the right of way, but the $100 to $250 per lot price was too high. 1941 saw the state remove the squatters . By the end of WWII the road was finished and in 1953 the town of Fenwick Island
was incorporated. Fenwick Island had taken it's place among the quiet resorts of the Delaware coast.
Abstract Micheal Morgan's Delaware Diary, 14 July 2014, Delaware Wave . Harrison H. July 2017.