Sunday, January 29, 2017



Greater Lewes” was the slogan sounded at the Lewes Board of Trade banquet held Friday evening, March 1st, to celebrate the completion of the towns electric, water and sewerage projects. The delightful meal and speeches represented the ambition's of progressive citizens who had desire to transform the bustling “village by the sea” into a major seaport.

The citizens of Lewes can now vaunt they have the most up to date electric, water and sewerage systems in the county of Sussex, in addition to the fact that the advantages and opportunity of development abound favorably.

The electric plant has a large capacity of service, there are 96,000 gallons of water at high pressure with which to fight fire when needed in addition to the home, business or factory supply. The sewer system if fully complete and in operation.
The banquet brought together Delawareans to announce the efforts and hospitality of the pilot town. Those present were; Mayor Thompson, Charles Maull, president of the board, Delaware Governor Hunn and his Lieutenant Governor, Phillip Cannon, Insurance Commissioner Marshall, State Auditor, Purnal Norman, Port Collector, Robert Houston, senators, Richard Kenney, Charles Wright of Seaford, Franklin C Maull, Robert Holliday, superintendent of the Delaware Railroad, postmaster Carter, , Chalkey Hatton, Harry Miller, Dan Bernard, George Rommel, Jr., morris Taylor nd C. B. Halfarm of Wilmington. General George T. Hall of Milford, Dr Hearn of Philadelphia, E. A. Melson of Bishopville, Maryland, Dan Fooks of Laurel, J. F. Sipple, president of Third National Bank of Baltimore.
Dr Hiram Burton, Captain Thomas Schellinger, Harry Lyons, Bill Thompson, A. L. Burton, Dr Orr, Robert Arnold, Dr. Hall, William Teal, Art Marshall, Fred Willard, Bill Roach Miles Willard, , Charles Mason, Lewis Willard, Fred Wolfe, John Schellinger, Thomas Enos, George Lubker, Robert Waples, Charles Atkins, P. B. Vickers, C. R. Wolfe,
editor of the Pilot newspaper, all of Lewes. Ed Marshall and Joe Thompson of Rehoboth, Theodore Reed and J. W. Thompson of Philadelphia.

A tempting menu was served, the favorite dish being Diamond Back
terrapin, Lewes style, There as no limit to the hospitality and guest did justice to the foods and choice wine set before them.

Charles H. Maull presided and acted as toastmaster although he had been ill all day but was in felicitous manner this evening. He told that five years ago a progressive element gained control of Lewes affairs and this gathering was to rejoice the accomplishments. The streets were now paved from end to end and near one hundred new houses built in addition to the lights, water and sewer systems being completed. Also the town now had two banks.

Mayor Thompson welcomed the visitors, Governor Hunn said there was a peculiarity to the banquet , a feeling of good fellowship , that cannot always be found.

Director of Lewes Public Works, A. L. Burton, declared we have the best lighted town in the state, and must move forward with manufacturers and keep the two railroads busy.

Senator Kenney spoke of inland waterways which would flow to the port of Lewes which would become “The City By The Sea” where millions of tons of cargo will pass.

J. R. Sipple. President of Third National Bank of Baltimore paid tribute to the town and its people, Dr. Hiram Burton recalled historical incidents of the towns growth, and called for Congress to demand improvement of the Harbor. Robert Houston, Port Collector, said there is no port near that processes the Lewes ports advantages. Editor Wolfe calls for more railroad passenger service from Lewes, General Holiday gave high regard to Lewes citizens and offered any help he could give.

Captain Schellinger spoke in favor of coaling stations and Dr Burton signaled for a congressman with an interest in the port and pledge himself regardless of party.

Others, including Chalkey Hatton, Harry Miller, Joe Thompson, made brief remarks.

Abstract of article in Wilmington Morning News on Saturday. March 1, 1902 by a Staff Correspondent.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017




Collins Beach, located on the Delaware Bay at or near Smyrna Creek just above Bakeoven Point at the Kent and New Castle county line, a strip of sand in a large marsh, probably accessible only by sidewheel steamer, a popular , fishing, bathing and picnic center, until the great 1878 hurricane which swept over it and left no more than a strip of sand, and Cedar Swamp.

There was a hotel, The Hygenia House, forty rooms in a four story wood frame structure, built by George Collins in 1850 whose son George, Jr., was the first proprietor.

A pier was built in 1856 for the sidewheel steamer “Helen Getty”
which was called the “Helen Forget Us” by the summer visitors. This pier was destroyed the very winter after being built, by an ice pack which carried it away, being the first of a long line of disasters for the beach. Young George had several successors during the Civil War and his brother, Frank, eventually took over the property and ran it until the 1878 storm. He built another pier and a stone jetty in an effort to stop the bay from washing the beach away, however, a tidal wave of a 1887 hurricane carried away everything except the hotel, which was left on an island accessible only by a man made causeway which washed away in any storm had. Any attempt to operate the hotel failed and the building fell into a pathetic sight.
The waters of the bay crept closer to the hotel and in 1904, when the bay was but 50 feet away, the owners moved the old structure to Woodland Beach.

Source: Smyrna Times “Know Your Community” March 19 1947.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rhodes Shankland's Quakertown


Residents of the little village of Quakertown on the outskirts of Lewes were surprised the week of November 7, 1941, by the visit of three maiden sister, descendants of the Shankland family which founded the original village in the late 1700's. The Misses Caroline, Helen and Julia Shankland of Freehold, New Jersey, all retired school teachers, stopped by and made themselves known to the “town treasurer”, Mrs Colin McNichol. They did so since they had found the village founded by their ancestor, Rhodes Shankland, had a treasurer but no Treasury. Each lady contributed “three lucky pennies” as a nucleus to the town fund.

The original settlement of Quakertown disappeared many years ago, only one dwelling remains, the home of Rhodes Shankland, built as early 1725, when the Society of Friends established the settlement, perhaps of fifteen families.

The Shankland sisters also asked of the “Mayor” James T. Lank if there were any descendants of the family still living in the area which Mr. Lank said there were none. They then told that an ancestor of theirs by name of Shankland originally surveyed the town of Lewes.

The original village was later known as Prettymanville, named in compliment to the Prettyman family that then lived there. Later the name was restored to Quakertown.

In the early 1940's, in the Shankland home lived the Marshall Coverdale family, his wife Dorothy, three daughters Ann, Joan and Lenora. Marshall was a marine ship engineer with the Delaware Bay & River Pilots Association who later moved to Erie, Pennsylvania to sail the Great Lakes.

Abstract Wilmington News Journal,Wilmington, Delaware, 7 November 1941

Sunday, January 22, 2017




One boat upsets twice, two others suffer rigging damage in heavy SW winds and choppy seas.

Lewes, Delaware, July 7, 1935:

Wide tacking on windward laps into a 25 mph SW breeze broke the rigging of two sail boats, and upset another, marked the Sunday race of the Lewes Yacht Club competing for the Henlopen Trophy with eleven entries. There was a hard, heavy, rain just before the race.

The “Extra Dry” , a sneak box, of W. Virden Burton, Lewes, suffered twice, first a broken tiller, then her jib was carried away. She kept in the race and finished fourth.

The “Alibi”, of Theodore Hazzard, Lewes, a new moth boat, lost her main mast and did not finish the race.

The “Duchess” of Richard A. Shields, Lewes, , capsised twice, filling her hull full of water and did not make the starting line and was hauled to shore by the patrol boat of Fleet Captain John R.Wine, Narberth. Pennsylvania.

The “Dipper”, parrine sneak box, of George and Douglas Fleming, of Ardmore, scratch boat,
swept into lead, and with skillful tacking of windward laps finished in 51 minutes and 32 seconds, closely followed by “Blue Hen 1st”, of Wilmington's Leighton Dorsey and “Just Us” of Lt. Justice Naylor, Ithaca, New York.

The “Sea Shell” of Howard Teal of Lewes, the winner of the 4th of July Race, was swept off course by the SE winds and did not finish.

“Skippy” of Lewes, Frank and Helene Carter, leads this seasons regattas with 26 -1/4 points.

Source: Wilmington Morning News, Monday, July 8, 1935

Monday, January 16, 2017

A.I duPont divorce from Bessie Gardener.


Alfred Irenee duPont, age 42, millionaire powder manufacturer from Wilmington, Delaware, now a resident of Sioux Falls, obtained a divorce , December 8th, in the South Dakota Circuit Court at Sioux Falls, from his wife, former Elizabeth 'Bessie' Gardner, who he married in 1886.
duPont came to Sioux Falls six months ago to establish a residence for the purpose of obtaining the divorce, hoping to hide the fact that he had separated from his wife and to keep the proceedings testimony from becoming public. However, it was learned that he had for twenty years led a life of marital infelicity and that he felt he could not stand the strain of being joined in uncongenial wedlock any longer.
In spite of the bitterness that existed between duPont and his wife. It is known that he provided liberally for her support and the education of his four children who lived with the mother.
There was an amicable settlement made between the attorneys.

For six months before coming to Sioux Falls duPont had not seen his wife. They had two homes in Wilmington, the wife occupying one , the husband the other. The children lived with their mother and made frequent visits to the fathers home and this arrangement will continue.

DuPont is a graduate of the Institute of Technology of Boston and met his wife from New Haven when he was 22 years of age. They felling love on sight it is said and surprised their families when married, were forgiven, as A.I. And Bessie went to live in the home of his parents.

Not long after the marriage both found they had made a mistake and failed to get along with each other for weeks at a time, but lived under the same roof as strangers.

Abandoning his vice presidency of the A.I. DuPont Powder Company , he came to Sioux Falls and established residency. From the start he was accepted in the best set of society, spent much of his time hunting in the Black Hills, returning with many trophies of his crack shot marksmanship.

Mr. duPont's lawyer was W. G. Porter, Assistant United States Attorney, of Sioux Falls who refused to discuss the divorce saying it is of no interest to the public. It is not yet known if duPont will remain a resident here but he has said he would loath to give it up. It is expected that he will soon make a trip east to look after his business interest.


Sunday, January 15, 2017



The first and second week of August, 1890, a Camden, New Jersey, gentleman, age about 30 of German descent, vacationed in Sussex county Delaware, in Broadkill Hundred near Milton, Delaware, on the Cedar Landing Farm.
One very hot day, he decided to have a swim in the cool rippling waters of the Broadkill Creek and upon reaching the river banks, shed himself of his clothing, folded them neatly and placed the bundle on a tree stump that was handy, and plunged in. This is his story;

“A very large Durham bull, the property of John Conwell whose farm the bathing spot was located, was attracted from his field by a red sash, a part of the clothing bundle, laying on top and in sight of all the world. The bull came up, snorting, blowing and pawing , and when he was ready, charged the clothing bundle, tossed it well out into the creek . My first thought was to recover my clothing but the bull seemed to be in control of the rather large section of ground where I was. His 'bullship' objected to each and every move I made. Think I said to myself. After some thought I allowed myself to float with the outgoing tide to a patch of cedaer on the river bank, which hid me from the bull monster, came ashore, recovered my wet and muddy belongings and started the trip to the farm house. But the bull spied me, a I, being much frightened , lost all wits, and did nothing but stand still and contemplate my death. Just as he lowered his head to toss me into the creek, I came to a presence of mind, quickly stepped aside and grabbed his tail as he went by.
Off we went at a go as you please canter, through a melon patch, blackberry brambles and a field of new ground well abundant of tree stumps. As I was becoming faint and weak the bull also showed evident signs of exhaustion, and headed for some shade under a lone persimmon tree where he slackened his speed and I seized the opportunity to swing around , catching his tail on the tree trunk which brought him to a dead halt. While he stood there panting I figured it best to get up in the tree before he was sufficiently rested to renew his attack. I released his tail, however, the bull seemed too busy catching his breath to notice. There I sat on a lower limb, dangling my feet, enjoying security and a cool breeze at the same time, when the limb cracked, causing me the need to ascend higher which I was doing when my head struck something soft, and looking upward, beheld an enormous hornets nest, with infuriated hornets pouring out the little hole at the bottom. Each one, one at a time, finding no other intrusion except myself , proceeded to 'sting' every inch of my body which was uncovered. Now what; to go down to earth, renew acquaintance with the bull and certain death, or, remain in the tree with the hornets for the same fate. I choose the bull. Being near blinded by the stings of the hornets, as I slid down the tree, slipped, fell, flat out on the bulls back.
Off goes the bull, with me and hundreds of hornets, on his back, hornets stinging him and myself, into a peach orchard. There I was brushed off his back and lay stunned for a time. Finding my way out of the orchard I came to a seven rail fence and when climbing over it, fell onto a dry gourd with a wasps nest, which were unhappy with my breaking up their home. Trying to find my way, with hornets and wasps, I again fell, into a deep ditch with black mud and water and a foul smell , but found satisfaction when rolling in the mud I escaped the flying hornets and wasps.
Getting out of the ditch I made my way to a meadow where a small stream of fresh water ran through some witch hazel bushes. While on my knees, washing the black foul smelling mud from my face and eyes, felt a tug at the bottom of my trousers and upon looking, found a water snake with glittering eyes, fastened to my hunting pants and my prisoner. He could not release his fangs as he had struck with such force. There are no other of Gods creatures I detest more than snakes, but here I am with one in tow. Running like a deer toward a farm house, the residents there seeing me were all at the door so I could not get in and resorte to running wild around the house. There was a quilting party there, no men just young girls and their mothers, but one had the ability to kill the snake. I was furnished with soap, water and towels, and the owners Sunday Suit and sat down with the family , made acquaintance and ate dinner. Back home in Camden now I receive a note each week, signed 'Lizzy'”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017



For 30 years ice on the Delaware Bay and River have not been as serious as they are today. Ship John Light , north, the river is covered with broken ice flows, two to ten feet wide, flowing into the creeks and marshes on the Jersey side. At Fenton's Beach a wharf has been destroyed by a barge torn from its berth and deserted for fear it will be taken by the ice out to sea. At Deep Water Point the ice breakers have been reduced to 'kindling wood'. The pier there will most likely be destroyed when the ice moves out down the bay. A tug, fast to this pier by the ice , it's crew safe on shore, may be crushed and lost.
Large ocean going ships are the only vessels seen on the river and they have difficultly making dock.

The large ice flows reported are the worse yesterday that anytime since three weeks ago when the cold snap appeared. The Wilmington to Penns Grove Ferry is at a standstill. Down the river, the ice boat John Weaver, keeps the ice flows broken up so they will move down the river with the tides. There are vessels taking refuge in the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal. The Christiana River is somewhat free of ice.

It is hoped that the ice down river and bay will be moved to sea before warm weather breaks and gives danger to the bay shipping lanes.


Saturday, January 7, 2017



This is an abstract of a newspaper article from the Wilmington Morning News of Monday, September 16, 1889, evidently the writing of a correspondent of the “Delaware Democrat” who was at Point Pleasant, Broadkiln Beach, Delaware. Upon my knowledge, Point Pleasant, probably is Mount Pleasant, also known as Waterloo, which in 1889 was a popular summer resort at the mouth of Broadkiln River, seven miles north of Lewes, also known as Veasey's
Inlet at one time. In April of 1889, a hotel at Mount Pleasant, of Waterloo, a three story wood structure and everything near it burned to ashes at midnight, a loss of $20,000 for the owner and proprietor, D. S. Roach. Waterloo was closer to Oyster Rock Landing, to the east and south of today's Broadkill Beach.

Sunday night , with the wind at northeast, we noticed the high tide was unusually high and the
force of breakers was such that there was formed a stream of bay water, ten or twelve feet wide, reaching from the bay to the river, between which Point Pleasant sits. Monday morning the wind still northeast and the breakers considerably increased, yet nothing alarmed us until Monday night when the wind blew more violently and the tide rushed in that as far as the eye can reach, there was one vast
sheet of rushing waters.

We hear screams above the sound of winds and waves, and several men with boats went to their assistance to remove them to a safe place and 'things' were secured as best as possible.

Noticed were two vessels making for the Broadkill River, one was the Emma Burton, with Captain Burrows in command, owner D. R. Burton. The other was the three masted schooner, C. C. Davidson. Captain Hunter the master, owned by Governor Ponder. Both anchored behind the bar but owing to the increase violence of the storm began dragging anchor which added to our anxiety. At 11 pm, very fatigued, we tried to retire trusting that daylight would bring releif but our hopes were blighted as the winds became more furious and at times it seemed our shelter would be torn to bits. Then came the driving rain and we waited for daylight which when it came the sight was appalling.
The cottages nearest the river shore seemed to be falling in and men were carrying the elder women and children to boats to find refuge. One the bay side, homes of the families of Dr. Hearn, Dr. Wolfe and C. H. Atkins remained. Captain Lank, on the tug Irean . offered to take any one to Milton but owing to the strong current we feared to do so. By this time Mr Whites cottage had divided and floated away. Mrd Shockley's house had fallen and crushed all beneath it. Wilson's place floated in circles then flipped, Mr Fearing's floated from its foundation and turned backwards in the river. Several cottages are flung together, holding each other up. Foxes cottage has stood well and many are in refuge there. Dr. Hearns place, being on the highest ground and remain secure.

Tuesday at noon the tide reached it's high, the Emma Burton was ashore where the Wilson cottage was. Charles Atkins house was shoulder deep in water, inside and out.

Before night the tide subsided sufficiently to allow us to reach Dr. Hearns, for security. The C. C. Davidson was ashore after parting her chains and the Captain said she took water over her twenty feet high.

Loss of Walter McGee, Crisfield Pungy

Poplar Island wreck, the loss of the pungy Walter McGee of Crisfield and three bay sailors, and three who saved themselves in a small deck boat, as the schooner is pounded to pieces on Kilton's Point, near Eastern Bay, Poplar Island.
Louis Somers, one of the survivors of the crew of the Walter McGee, which went ashore at Poplar Island yesterday, arrived in Crisfield today , said there were six on board the vessel at the time of the disaster, all who were from Crisfield. Three were lost and three were saved. Lost were Frank T. Maddrix, Fred Ford and the colored cook, George Heath. The survivors are Captain Alfred Justis, Louis Somers and Charles Maddrix.
The lifeless body of Frank T. Maddrix was taken from the rigging by Captain Howeth and Robert Harrison, of Poplar Island, and taken to Mr. George Ustlton for care, and conveyed to Crisfield by brothers of the deceased. Mr. Maddrix was a blacksmith by trade, a respected citizen of Crisfield. 55 years of age and had a family. He had just received a patent for an improved oyster rake and had on board the iron and hardware necessary to begin manufacture.
Frederick Ford was a prominent young man of town, a nephew of Senator A. Lincoln Dryden, who is now at the wreck , hoping to recover the body from the shore.
George Heath, the colored cook, is as far as anyone knows, still lies in his berth on the McGee.
Louis Somers, a survivor, gives the account of the disaster. Tuesday morning the McGee started from Baltimore with nineteen tons of coal and some iron and hardware on board. However, from the time last week when we left Crisfield for Baltimore, with scrap iron, we met with nothing but a succession of misfortunes. The vessel was leaking and we were obliged to man the pumps continually. The wind picked up, we lost the jib carrier, and had to scud the wind twice. Tuesday night we anchored under Poplar Island, at daylight the wind was at its height, we were dragging anchor and manning the pumps. We were exhausted but were able to warm ourselves in the cabin as long are she stayed afloat. The sea spray was making ice on the rigging. Very shortly after sunup the vessel struck 400 yards from shore and the seas began pounding us apart. There were people on shore but with the strong wind and heavy sea no one could render any assistance. Although it was not bitter cold, we were still almost stiff with ice and we managed to launch the yawl, which quickly filled with water from the high sea, the men praying all the time through this ordeal.
Frank Maddrix was first to succumb, he had wrapped himself in the main sail and from there never arose. Fred Ford, helping to bail the yawl, passed next from exhaustion, Captain Justice carried his body back aboard and lashed it to the main mast. Heath, the cook, never came on deck, and perished in his bunk below.
At a length of time we managed to get the yawl free and reach shore where Maddrix and Somer passed out and were carried to near by houses and revived. The Walter McGee is a total wreck.
William Sheriff, son of the Rev. Sheriff, of Crisfield Baptist Church, went with the McGee to Baltimore from Crisfield but missed the vessels return trip, luckily.

Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun, Friday, March 31, 1899