Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Twelve and a Half


Two Twelve and a Half refers to the Delaware Department of Education school number for the Delmar Colored School, #212 ½. The White Delmar School was number 163. The Delmar Colored School operated from 1922 to 1965 teaching grades 1 to 8 originally, and in the 1955/56 school year cutting back to grades 1 to 6. It was located outside of the Delmar Town Limits on West Jewell Street in the section of Delmar known as Frogtown. A photo of it in 1941 is shown below.

Environmentally it must have been difficult for the students and teacher. The land is low in that area and subject to water standing and attracts snakes, frogs and other creatures. Behind the School house in the 1920's was a slaughter house. Later the town dump would be put in brick hole (over by the VFW) which drew rats galore. It was a commercial area and was but three blocks from the railroad tracks and train yard. It looks like, in the 1941 picture, the street was still dirt, but it did have a sidewalk. I was told the reason for sidewalks on West Jewell was because of the existence of the school.

I will not dwell on school conditions for colored students prior to the 1920’s, however in 1918 Pierre duPont funded the Service Citizens of Delaware to assimilate immigrants and naturalized American citizens, including the improvement of schools for Colored students. The group lobbied for a new school code to establish equal tax rates and dispersal of revenue.

DuPont established the Delaware Auxiliary Association to oversee the construction of new schools . Ultimately, 91 duPont schools were built or improved in Colored settlements between 1922-1925.

The Delaware Auxiliary Association hired architect James Oscar Betelle, who based his school designs on educational reform ideas of the period. Betelle’s plans were cottage-like buildings designed with gable roofs, and clad in shingles or clapboard. Architectural details included porticos with pediments supported by columns. Large banks of wide sash windows capitalized on light and ventilation. Interiors ranged from one to three rooms with moveable furniture for realization of reform teaching and learning practices.

Between 1919 and 1940, Pierre S. DuPont donated more than $6,000,000 to modernize the Delaware Public Schools. Most of these funds were directed towards Colored schools with the vast majority of expenditures being devoted to school construction. One of schools built by DuPont was the Delmar Colored School Two Twelve and a half.

In 1941 the Delmar Colored school built by Mr. DuPont was described in an insurance evaluation as being; a one and a half story, no basement, frame shingle one classroom school building, peaked wood shingle roof, interior finish wood lath and plaster walls and ceiling, wood floor, trim and door, heat is furnished by a drum stove. No electric lights and desk and seat were unattached. It had a total cubic feet of 29,633. In 1941 the depreciated insured value was $4,700.

The first school teacher was Mrs. Dillard A. Ethridge. Mrs. Ethridge was born in South Carolina about 1891 and was the widow of a Baptist Preacher, George H. Ethridge. She had no children. Altho it made little difference in that time period, the 1920 census indicated Mrs. Ethridge was a mulatto as opposed to being classified as negro. She was paid $30 a month. White teachers at the White Delmar School #163 were paid $35 a month. She taught grades 1 thru 8.

The Colored School Trustees were mostly blue collar workers. Many worked for the railroad as rail car cleaners, laborers or track walkers. In the 1921/22 school year, the school was being built so there was no teacher. The trustees were William G. Price, George H. Williams and William H. Horsey. In the school year 1922/23 the trustees were William G. Price, George H. Williams. In the school year 1923/24 the trustees were William G. Price, Isaac West, and J. W. Crippen.

Needless to say the people in the Delmar Colored School District were very proud of their school and thanked Mr. DuPont in many letters to him. As it does today, the pride in the school bought the Colored Community closer together. An example of these letters follows;

My Dear Mr. DuPont,
I am appreciating our nice school building you gave us. And I do not want to do anything to desecrate the soil of America. We are selling candy to get a dodge ball and a football to play with…. I hope you could come and see our nice school building. We have a store in our school since we wrote to you last year and are writing to you again this year.
Pearl Smiley, Delmar, Delaware, Oct. 27, 1925

Pearl was the daughter of George and May Smiley. She was born about 1917.

We are going to have a test in History and I am working very hard so that I can get a hundred…. Mr. Dupont we are having a new Classroom Leader every Monday morning we have elections and vote and now we are getting up a Jubiline Club for the Fifth, Sixth, and Eight grade…. We are going to have an entertainment Friday the 24th, we are going to have a fine time and than after the speaking we are going to have refreshments to sell. Mr. Dupont we have health rules on the board and we two ladders on the board the girls has the red one and the boys has the green one the first thing we have every morning is hear the Victrolia play, the second is to pledge allegance to the flag, it is up on the wall.
Elizabeth Dembry, 5th grade, Delmar, Delaware, October 21, 1924

Mr. DuPont we have nice library in our school and a model store, so we want you to come and see how good we have it kept it. We have also had our flag fixed, we hoist it every morning at sunrise and lower it at sunset. If it rains during our school hours we always take it down, but we never let it touch the ground, get wet or stay out after sunset.
Elizabeth Dembry, Delmar, Delaware, Oct. 27, 1925

Elizabeth Demby was the daughter of George E. and May Demby. She was born about 1915.

So school life in Delmar continued it sleepy path until 1954.

In 1952 following a lawsuit by mothers Ethel Belton and Sarah Bulah for their children to attend white schools in New Castle County Delaware, Judge Collins Seitz, ruled that black schools were offering far less to children than the white schools - a violation of the "separate but equal" doctrine enshrined in the Supreme Court's 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson.

Seitz ordered desegregation - "the first judge in the nation to order minority children admitted to public schools" for whites only, according to Schwartz, the federal judge.

The state appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court, lost, then battled on to the U.S. Supreme Court. There, the case was joined to other segregation suits from Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., and put under one name: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that all segregation in public schools is “inherently unequal” and that all blacks barred from attending public schools with white pupils are denied equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The doctrine was extended to state-supported colleges and universities in 1956. Meanwhile, in 1955 the court implemented its 1954 opinion by declaring that the federal district courts would have jurisdiction over lawsuits to enforce the desegregation decision and asked that desegregation proceed “with all deliberate speed.”

This in turn caused the Milford School Desegregation Crisis of 1954 when Milford High School attempted to integrate. In Milford there were cross burnings, school boycotts, and Bryant Bowles, President of the national association for the advancement of White People. Delaware and Milford gained national attention.

Even with Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka ruling, Delaware did not rush to carry out the Court’s will. Only in 1961, after African American parents sued for enforcement, did the state begin phasing out its designated-black schools. That process took six years.

And in 1965 the Delmar Colored School #212 ½ and Owen’s Corner Color School #213 were consolidated into Delmar School #163. It was time for it to happen altho neither Whites nor Blacks were pleased about it. One Black woman told me "in the Black school I was someone, when I was moved to the White school I knew I would never be elected to any class office or honor.”

There was an adjustment period for both white’s and blacks. When it came time for the Owen Corner (Mt Nebo) students to be bused to Delmar there was two cross burnings opposite the Owen Corner school.

The 1964/65 School trustees for the Delmar Colored school 212 ½ were Samuel Bynum, Sr, Andrew Marshall, Sr, Fred W. Nichols, Sr and William Horsey. The final school teacher was Rothert C. Blunt who taught grades 1 to 6.

Other teachers at the school 212 ½ were Mary A. Douglas (1938 -1959), Viola Maloy (1960), Ruth Lewis ( 1935- 1937 ), and E. Rebekah Ross (1933-1934).

Other School trustees over the years beside those previously mentioned were; W.H. Wallace, Isaac West, William Wailes, George H. Williams, Vernon E. Hearn, Virgil West, Herbert N. Maxfield, Herman Duffy, William H. Horsey, Robert Sturgis, Levin Horsey, Arthur Williams, Robert Bynum, Edward Green, Ada Williams, Matthew S. Kenney, Russell Horsey, Mervin Williams, Richard Hudson, Joseph Duffy, William DeShield, Richardson Hudson, Robert Allen, William Truitt, Fred Mitchell, and Granville Eugene Hearn,

Photo of area today where school was is below

1966 Train Derailment In Blades


Six cars of a Delmar to Wilmington Pennsylvania Railroad freight train derailed at Blades about noon Saturday, blocking traffic at the River Road Crossing for about seven hours.

The accident is under Investigation. Railroad repair crews called to the scene to help clear the tracks, believed that the accident was caused by too much speed maneuver when an attempt was made to join two sections of cars. The pile up barely missed a collision with a high tension power line, which might have created a serious problem.

Troopers said the 40-car train was backing from Seaford to Blades to recouple with some of the freight cars when the accident occured. Blades police said the brakes apparently failed, and the two section collided.

The derailment occurred where the tracks cross River Road, and blocked it to vehicular traffic until the scene was cleared about 7 p.m. Cranes and equipment from the Melvin Joseph Construction Company, Georgetown, were used to raise the cars from their wheel units so the latter be placed back on the tracks.

Two of the cars arched into an inverted "V" over the crossing for about three hours before they could be lowered. Blades police and a trooper from Bridgeville maintained traffic and pedestrian control at the scene while the cars were set back on the track.

R. M. Kettlet, assistant superintendent of the Pennsy lower Delaware Division attribute the accident to human error. He said damage to the six derailed box cars would amount to $3,000.

N. H. Emory, of Delmar, was identified as engineer of the train, E. L. Davis, Delmar, Brakeman.

From the State Register Feb 1966

Delmar Observes Arbor day - 1966


Court Of Oyer and Terminer - and May God Have Mercy Upon Your Soul


Earlier this week I was at the Delaware Public Archives reading microfilm on some cases tried in the Court Of Oyer and Terminer (a partial translation of the Anglo-French "oyer et terminer" would be "to hear and determine). In Delaware the court of Oyer and Terminer was around since the English predominated over the Swedes and Dutch. The court tried cases involving crimes punishable with death. In 1951 the Delaware Court of Oyer and Terminer was abolished and it's responsibilities and functions assumed by the Superior Court.

What strikes you in reading the outcome of the cases was how quickly the sentence was carried out after being determined, usually within two months in the case of death. Not all cases were guilty and not all received the death sentence. In the case of Woodrow Wilson Dickerson who was indicted and tried on Negligent Homicide by a Motor Vehicle, he received jail time of two months, a $200 fine and the cost of prosecution ($64.02.)

I would have to say most cases that I read (and it is difficult trying to read them as most of the records are in long hand) were given a death sentence and as I said, unlike today, the sentence was carried out shortly after being given. One case was Carl Asbury Skinner, colored, who on April 4th, 1927 did violently and felonously make an assault (rape) on Julia A. Bennett, a white woman. Julia Bennett lived outside of Bridgeville and was a 85 year old, crippled white woman. In Delaware, at that time, an attack on a white woman by a negro was punishable by death so his case went to the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Carl Skinner was 27 years old and had been in trouble most of his short life. He had previously been picked up and jailed in Maryland for larency but while waiting trial, with three other prisoner, cut a hole in the stone wall of the Easton Maryland jail and made his escape. Carl was the son of Robert Skinner and Annie Webb skinner and was born on March 18, 1900 in Maryland. The outcome was pretty much a given, in court on April 26th 1927 he was sentenced to hang and on May 27th he was hung. An almost standard phrase in sentencing was "you will be taken to some convenient place of private execution within the precincts of said prison enclosure and that you will then and there be hanged by your neck until you be dead, and may God have mercy upon your soul." The Certificate of Death noted he was hung but after the trap was released he lived another 23 minutes with a broken neck. He was buried in the potter's field in Georgetown Delaware. The day of execution had a Holiday like atmosphere as hundreds of farmers from the area poured in to Georgetown for the 10:30 AM hanging.

Clarence McClaine 1943


An interesting mention of Clarence McClaine was on the Well Happy And Safe Blog. Nov 21, 1943. The soldier is writing home to his parent and mentions Clarence from Delmar

Both the other operator and I are writing tonight and we both get stuck for words once in a while, so he helps me out and I help him out. I don’t think I told you about the other operator. His name is Clarence McClaine, he is married, is twenty-one years old and lives in Delmar, Delaware, about 40 miles from Harrington, Del. Delmar has a population of about 800 souls and twice as many heels.

The town is situated right on the border of Delaware and Maryland. As a matter of fact, half of the town is in Maryland, including the bank and one grocery store. However, the main street is in Delaware, so the address is Delaware. All told, the Delaware side has three grocery stores, two drug stores, and one movie besides the railroad station. Both sides have a school of their own, so the students won’t have to pay tuition if they went to the other state’s school. Also, Delaware side has a mayor and the Maryland side has a town council.

To get back to McClaine, he is quiet outspoken and gentle, but a good radio operator. His wife’s name is Virginia.

We rigged up an electric light so we could see at night in here; that’s why we write at night.

CQD 41.46 North, 50.14 West


A hundred years ago today shortly after midnight the Titanic sank leaving the few survivors to face the morning waiting for a ship to find them.

an excellent site for Titanic material and stories etc is Encyclopedia Titanic

photo of Titanic Survivors on the Carpathia April 15, 1912

one article I picked up from the site is a story about picking up the dead from the sea and how they were handled

CLASSified in Death : Recovering the Titanic's dead
by Brian J. Ticehurst

Saturday 31 March 2007
AFTER the Titanic sank in the early hours of the 15th April, 1912 the sea around the site was littered with the flotsam and jetsam of the liner. Among the broken decking, furniture and fittings were hundreds of bodies floating around. Each of these had a cork lifejacket on which would keep them afloat for weeks.

After the RMS Carpathia left the scene with her survivors she asked the RMS Californian, which had belatedly arrived to search for more survivors and bodies. Another of the unanswered mysteries is the fact that the Californian claimed not to have seen any at all. The Californian must have made a very cursory search of the area and not allowed for the fact that the wind, drift, and current would have already scattered the wreckage and bodies over a very wide area.

The officials of the White Star Line were not convinced that everything had disappeared and they set to and chartered several ships to go and search the area and recover any bodies that they could.

The SS Mackay-Bennett was the first to be made ready, she was a cable laying ship under the command of Captain F. H. Lardner. She hurriedly loaded over 100 coffins and as much embalming fluid as could be found at short notice and also loaded 12 tons of grate iron (the purpose of which will be seen later).

The Mackay-Bennett recovered some 306 bodies, 116 were buried at sea and 190 taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

To help in the recovery the cable ship SS Mina was also sent , she had 150 coffins, 20 tons of ice and 10 tons of grate iron, she was under the command of Captain W. E. S. Decarteret. She picked up 15 bodies, of these two were buried at sea and the rest returned to Halifax.

Also sent was the Marine and Fisheries vessel the SS Montmagny under the command of Captain Peter Johnson and they recovered just four bodies, one of which was buried at sea and the other three returned to Halifax.

The last ship was the Bowring brothers of St. Johns, the SS Algerine, she along with the Montmagny searched for as long as there was any possible chance of finding any bodies, they searched to the edge of the Gulf Stream. She picked up just the one body, that of James McGrady a Saloon Steward whose body was transhipped to the SS Florizel and the body was finally transported to Halifax where it arrived on the 11th June and was interred on the 12th June nearly two months after the disaster.

The Mackay-Bennett was the first vessel to return to Halifax and there were some harrowing scenes on her arrival.

The following is an extract from the Nova Scotian Evening Mail dated 31st April 1912:

‘’The first bodies taken ashore were those of the crew. These bodies had not been embalmed or even sewn up in canvas (they had been kept in the ice filled hold) and presented a gruesome sight that it would be impossible to picture. The bodies were carried on stretchers by members of the Mackay-Bennett crew and at times as many as 30-40 bodies were in a heap on the deck where they had been taken from the ice-filled hold. (It is reported that to get the bodies on to the stretchers and later into the coffins many of the frozen limbs had to be broken).

The bodies of the Second Class passengers and steerage were sewn up in canvas bags, and these were brought ashore next.

The bodies of the First Class passengers were all in coffins on the poop deck and were the last to be brought ashore.’’

To sum up the above:
◦Crew members - put in the ice filled hold
◦Steerage (Third Class) passengers - sewn in canvas bags.
◦Second Class passengers - sewn in canvas bags
◦First Class passengers - placed in coffins.

Truly they were Classified in Death

Mayflower Curling Rink, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Mayflower Curling Rink had been made ready as a temporary mortuary. Preparations had been through and every conceivable thing had been thought of and prepared for.

On arrival all the bodies were taken to the screened off embalming section and the bodies embalmed, there was a female embalmer for the women and children.

Once embalmed the bodies were placed on specially made platforms so that any identifications could take place. Many had already been identified from the contents of their pockets, clothing etc.

One undertaker Mr. Newell from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia while performing his work unexpectedly encountered the body of his uncle, A. W. Newell (First Class passenger) and he collapsed from shock.

The Nova Scotian authorities had also provided a First Aid station to console and comfort any of the relatives who became too distressed. This station was under the capable supervision of nurse Miss Nellie Remby, and it proved to be a Godsend to some of the relatives who found the whole experience too much for them.

There was also provided a writing room and offices for the Coroners staff and shipping officials - all in all it was a model of efficiency and good management.

Buried at Sea

‘Buried At Sea’ this bald statement covers a lot.

When the Mackay-Bennett arrived at the scene of the disaster there were bodies all over the place, but it was a slow painful job picking them up.

Imagine the scene, the crew of the Mackay-Bennett were using the ships heavy, awkward, lifeboats that needed at least four strong men at the oars, it was very cold so they were all frozen stiff (remember there were no ‘Thermal Clothing’ or adequate waterproofed clothing then) and then they had to pull aboard the frozen corpses from the Titanic. It is bad enough to pull a live person over the side of a lifeboat and it must have been very hard work indeed pulling the half frozen dead weights. The weather at the time was described as ‘quite rough’ to add to their troubles.

I have never been able to prove it but it seems that the orders were ‘Recover the Passengers first and Crew, second!’

That explains the grate iron, (iron bars weighing 28 lbs each two feet long, four inches wide, hole at tapered end at top. Just the thing (after removing the cork lifejacket) for tying one or two to each leg pushing the body over the side of the lifeboat and committing the body to the deep.

One hundred and nineteen bodies of the crew, identified and unidentified were committed to the deep in this way.

Anybody who was well dressed or of good appearance was kept on board. This is where the anomalies creep in, once the last lifeboats had gone, the crew and the rest of the passengers were left to fend for themselves on board.

Being men of initiative the crew (or some of them) went scavenging in the cabins of the First and Second Class passengers - that was after they had (most possibly) helped themselves to a bottle of spirits or beer - and attired themselves in suits, Astrakhan overcoats, even fur coats, remember it was bitterly cold and their own clothing was flooded in their cabins deep in the bowels of the ship. They obviously thought that having warm clothing on would mean that they might live a bit longer.

That is why some of the bodies of the crew arrived back at Halifax, in coffins, treated as First Class dressed in their Saville Row suits, that they had borrowed!

Relatives of Mr. John Jacob Astor (an American multimillionaire) had offered a $10,000 dollar reward for the recovery of his body. A body was pulled, supposedly terribly mutilated, (possibly from the crushing it received when the aft funnel came loose and crashed onto the people in the water) but from the contents of the pockets and bodily statistics it was obviously that of John Jacob Astor. So the body was returned to Halifax, and the reward claimed and shared by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett.

After body number 200 there seems to have been a change of policy or perhaps they had run out of grate iron, for there were no more ‘Buried at Sea’ after number 200 (who was poor Extra Baker, J. J. Davies of Eastfield Road, St. Denys, Southampton) every body recovered after number 200 was returned to Halifax for burial.

Incidentally no bodies that were recovered from any of the above ships were returned to Southampton - The White Star Line was charging the relatives ‘cargo rates’ to bring them home and the offer was not taken up by anyone in this area.

Attempted Rape - 1898


From The Salisbury Advertiser Feb 26, 1898

A Negro Assaults A lady and Narrowly Escapes Lynching

The good people of Delmar were roused to a frenzy of excitement last Saturday night when it became known that a negro had attempted to violate Mrs. W. W. Carey, who lived with her husband and family a short distance from the town on the Delaware side.

Mr. Carey was in Delmar when the assault was made. Mrs. Carey was at home with no company except the children.

A voice outside calling her by name first attracted her attention, and when she opened the door to answer, she was seized by a colored man who at once attempted to rape his intended victim. Mrs. Carey little girl caught up the fire poker and begin to deal the wretch blows over the head and shoulders.

The mother called to the child to get a sharp knife, which the little defender soon found and came running to her. At the sight of the gleaming blade of steel the cowardly ravisher fled.

When Mr. Carey returned home soon after he found his wife almost prostrated from the shock she had sustained. The alarm was given and the neighbors at once sought the identification and arrest of the despoiler.

Late at night a negro whose name is Dorsey, was taken into custody. A careful examination showed him to be the guilty man, and for a time the people threaten to lynch him Good counsel finally prevailed and a hearing was held before Justice Culver.

Later Sheriff Johnson of Sussex county took the prisoner to Georgetown and lodged him in jail.

The Titanic and Some Delaware Connections


On April 14th 1912 at 11:40 PM (Ship Time) the Titanic, with 2,224 people on board, hit an iceberg and two hours and forty minutes later sank. As to be expected there there are not many Delaware connections as most passengers were going to the Northern United States or Canada. Below are a few who were born in Delaware or ended up in Delaware.

Miss Emily Rugg, 21, was born at Guernsey, Channel Islands. Her father, W.H. Rugg, resided at Bus Road, St. Sampson's, Guernsey. She was on her way to her aunt at Wilmington, Delaware. To reach her destination, she boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger. She had bought ticket number C.A. 31026 for £10 10s. She travelled with, amongst others, Lillian Bentham.

Being asleep, a jar aroused her. Looking out, she saw a mass of ice. She went on deck and saw the lifeboats were made ready for lowering. Back in her cabin she dressed and aroused two women friends in the adjoining cabin. On deck a member of the crew dragged her forward to a lifeboat and lifted her into it. This boat was well overcrowded. She saw an Italian jumping from the deck into a lifeboat landing upon a woman. She saw the Titanic go down and seemend broken in half. The stern arose onto the air, the lights went out as it did so. A moment later the ship plunged beneath the surface.

Miss Rugg survived the sinking. She was rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 12. In New York, she was awaited by her uncle, Mr F.W. Queripel of 119 South Van Buren Street, Wilmington, a grocer.

Mr Elmer Zebley Taylor, 48, and his wife Juliet were living in London, England when they sailed on the Titanic. They were originally natives of Smyrna, Delaware, USA. The Taylors would spend many summers in East Orange, New Jersey, USA, and they were heading there at the time of the disaster.

Mr Taylor was a business partner of Fletcher Lambert Williams in the Mono Service Company, Paper Cup Manufacturers, and travelled extensively for the business.

They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers (Ticket No. 19996, £52), they occupied cabin C-126.

Mr Taylor reported that he was awakened by the impact. He and his wife got up and got dressed. Taylor knocked on his partner's door as he passed on his way to the deck. Williams answered and said he didn't believe it worth while to get up. He was not seen again.

Mr and Mrs Taylor were rescued in either Lifeboat 5 or 7.

After his wife's death in 1927 Elmer remarried, he lived in East Orange until his death on 20th May 1949 aged 85.

Mrs Elmer Zebley Taylor (Juliet Cummins Wright) and her husband Elmer were living in London, England when they sailed on the Titanic. They were originally natives of Smyrna, Delaware, USA. The Taylors would spend many summers in East Orange, New Jersey, USA, and they were heading there at the time of the disaster.

They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers, they occupied cabin C-126.

Mr and Mrs Taylor were rescued in either Lifeboat 5 or 7.

A few years after they survived the Titanic, the Taylors returned to live permanently in the United States - settling in East Orange, New Jersey. They continued to travel the world.

Juliet Taylor died in Atlantic City, New Jersey in April of 1927.

Mr Frederic Kimber Seward, 34, was born in Wilmington, Delaware on 23 March 1878, the son of Samuel S. Seward and Crissie Kimber.

A corporation lawyer, he lived in from New York City. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 113794, £26, 11s).

On the night of the accident Seward played cards with William T. Sloper and his church friend Dorothy Gibson in the first class lounge.

Gibson was able to help her friends to escape with her in lifeboat 7.

Whilst returning to New York on the Carpathia, Seward organised a group of other survivors (Karl H. Behr, Molly Brown, Mauritz Björnström-Steffansson, Frederic Oakley Spedden, Isaac Frauenthal and George Harder) to honour the bravery of Captain Rostron and his crew. They would present the Captain with an inscribed silver cup and medals to each of the 320 crew members.

He died in Queens, New York on 7 December 1943.

In 1987 The Titanic Historical Society (THS) Convention was held in Wilmington, Delaware, with survivors:

Mr. Frank Aks
Mrs. Ruth Becker Blanchard
Mr. Bertram Dean
Mrs. Edith Brown Haisman
Miss Eva Hart
Mrs. Marjorie Newell Robb
Mr. Michel Navratil
Mrs. Louise Kink Pope
Mrs. Eleanor Johnson Shuman

Delmar News August 1897


From the Salisbury Advertiser August 1897

DELMAR-DEL. Last Saturday night several negroes gathered in front of F. L. Buck's store to dance and when they refused to clear the sidewalk a rough and tumble fight ensued between them and the resident of the town, who succeeded in running them out of town.

Mr. Joseph Frasier is erecting a new residence at the corner of West St. and Railroad Ave.

The farmers have shipped several carloads of melons during the past few weeks.

Wednesday morning all kinds of vehicles, neatly trimmed with flags and bunting, came rattling in town to carry the M. E. Sunday-School to pic-nic in Mr. C. H. Wood's Grove. They all met at the M. E. Church and at 10 O'Clock they started for the Oaks, where long tables were awaiting the delicacies prepared for the occasion. While dinner was being arranged, the young folks were passing away the time taking straw rides, plating croquet and courting. After everyone had eaten enough for three, they decided it advisable to break camp and be more convenient to their family physician if needed.

Marion High School Class Of 59


Today was my afternoon to volunteer at the Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society. Of interest to me was three boxes of donated material that had to do with Marion Station, Maryland. I will have more about them in the future.

One of the interesting items was a couple of year books from Marion Station High School. Somerset County was one of the last Education systems in the area to go with the Central Kiddie Warehousing ideal so prominent in Wicomico County. As such it had a number of High Schools with graduating classes under 20. The 1959 Angler, Marion High School yearbook shows eight graduating that year; Iva Cullen, Carolyn Detwiler, Helen Hall, Robert Hess, Thelma Johnson, William Matthews, Anna Pusey and Ernestine Ward. Since it is small number I am showing all eight below. I think the High School was torn down in 1970. I am not sure which was the last graduating class from Marion Station, maybe 1969. It was still a time when woman put down as their future goal in life: Housewife. Love the little Dickie Collars and those sweaters that button down the back - great stories about them. As usual click on photo to enlarge it.

News of Servicemen - 1944


June 20, 1944 Journal-Every Evening Wilmington Delaware
Wesley Short, aviation radioman third class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Short, is section leader in class of aviation radio mechanics at the Navy base in Jacksonville, Fla. Short expects to be at this school for the next eight weeks after which he will begin flying.

Harold Culver, seaman second class, of Bainbridge, Md., spent a few days last week with Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Hastings.

PFC John W. Penuel has returned to Camp Stewart, Ga., after spending a twelve-day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Penuel near Delmar. Another son, Private James A. Penuel of Camp Edwards, Mass., was home on a three-day leave while his brother home.

Seaman Henry Ryall left this week for a few weeks training at San Diego, Calif., before reentering active service with the U. S. Navy. He has been spending two weeks with his family here.

Eugene Ellis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul K. Ellis, entered the U. S. Navy last week. He is stationed at Bainbridge, Md. A brother Tech. Sergt. Paul K. Ellis is now spending a three-week furlough at home after completing 27 missions over Germany. A top turret gunner Ellis is the holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Sergt Tech Oswald W. Green has returned to Camp Phillips, Kan., after spending a furlough here with his wife, and his parents Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Green.

The Freeney Cemetery


Some members of the Delmar Historical and Arts Society spent a few hours at the Freeney cemetery Saturday continuing the clean up of the grounds.

This Fox kept an eye on us the whole time. No doubt wondering what we were doing to his home. Much like the drug dealers in Delmar, who go underground when the police do a clean up then the week after they are back in business on their home turf, this Fox knows once we leave we won't be back for a while so he can go back home.

Death Of Wm Parker - 1897


From the Salisbury Advertiser July 24, 1897


Horribly Mangled By a Freight Train Which He Fell Under In An Attempt To Board

A most distressing and fatal accident occurred last Tuesday afternoon on the N. Y. P. & N. railroad in Salisbury near the crossing of the B. C. & A. railway.

Wm. Parker, of Delmar, and a companion, whose name is Lowe, were in Salisbury, and they expected to return to Delmar on the last afternoon passenger train going north. Some business matters kept them down town longer than they expected, and before they reached the station that train had gone.

A special freight train leaves here each afternoon between five and six o’clock, but does not take passengers. Parker and his companion preceded this train up the road to the B. C. & A. crossing where they awaited the train’s arrival, and as she passed by moving at the rate of a dozen or more miles per hour, they attempted to get on board. Parker was thrown under the train and his body was fearfully mutilated. His right leg was cut off at the hip and was picked up several feet from his body. His left leg was cut off between the hip and knee and also at the ankle. The right hand was ground into a shapeless mass of human flesh.

Drs. Slemons & Morris were summoned and speedily reached the scene of the distressing accident. Parker was conscious and requested the physicians to administer something to prevent pain. His torn and severed body was placed on the floor of the freight house where sympathetic neighbors strove to lessen the agony of his expiring hours. It was nearly seven o’clock, over two hours before death brought a welcome relief to his suffering. Until his death the sufferer was conscious and spoke tenderly of his mother.

The victim was twenty-five years old and the son of Scott Parker, Esq., of Delmar, where his remains was taken for interment. He was unmarried, but it is stated, was engaged to a young lady whom he expected to wed, in a very short time. A number of people witnessed the tragedy in which Parker lost his life, and as the accident occurred, the poor fellow was heard to cry “God have mercy on my soul”.

Justice Trader summoned a jury of inquest, with E. S. Adkins as foreman. The jury exonerated the railroad company.

Parker’s death is one of many that happen in the same way, and the wonder is that people have not taken warning. His companion just barely escaped a similar fate. Boarding a train in motion is always attended with great danger. Moreover there is a law which makes it a misdemeanor.

A Look At The Social Security Death Index (SSDI


The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) currently contains over 89 million records and is updated weekly. The file is created from internal SSA records of deceased persons possessing social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration SSA. The Social Security Administration sells this information to private companies and they in turn create their own Social Security Death Index (SSDI). It is quite useful in Genealogical research.

There are many SSDI search engines on the web, but because each company builds its own SSDI database from the data they purchase from the Social Security Administration, the SSDI Search Engines are not identical.

I use the SSDI to find birth dates or death dates or the last residence of the person I am searching for. It gives you one more bit of information to steer you in a direction to continue your search. In order to use the search engines you have to know at least one or two bits of information about the person you are looking up. The person’s name is obvious but some clue as to where they were born or the year they were born or the date they died etc. If you have a match most SSDI’s will give up; Last Name, First Name, Social Security Number, State Issued, Birth date, Death Date, Last residence.

The issue with the SSDI is the giving of the social security number. This feature has been used often for identify theft. Now the social security number and other information you get from a SSDI will be for a dead person but for documents it is a good number. It is good for illegal aliens. It is a good source for the social security numbers of children who died young and that social security number can be used on someone’s income tax form to claim them as a dependent. One good article on the use fraudulent social security numbers and the SSDI is found here

Some SSDI providers do not give the social security number anymore, some still do. My father died in 2006 so I entered some information on him in the search engine and no social security number was shown when his data was found. I entered some information into the New England Historic Society search engine and it gave the same information from plus the social security number.

So the Social Security Death Index is a handy Genealogical tool. Like any data base it can be used by someone for abuse

Two Canneries For Delmar - 1898


From the Salisbury Advertiser April 16, 1898

It is reported that Delmar will have two canneries this season. One owed by H. N. Messick & Co. will be located near German Brickyard, and will can the product of 200 acres of tomatoes in addition to other vegetables and fruits.

The Delmar Canning Company will have a big plant. They have one building 60 by 100 feet, and another 40 by 54 feet, also a number of sheds. They will have two fifty horsepower boilers and the machinery throughout will be the best. The P.W.& B.B.R.Co. will run their tracks to the building. The company will have a financial rating of $100,00 to $200,000.

Annie's Ghosts and some of the effects of WWII


I recently finished reading a book called "Annie's Ghosts" by Steve Luxenberg ( 2009, Hyperion Books). Steve Luxenberg is a journalist who discovers after his mother's death that she was not an only child but had a younger sister, Annie, who was physically and mentally handicapped. She had spent thirty some years in mental hospital before dieing there. He decides to search out this secret of the family and records his problems with the bureaucracy and legal issues surrounding health records and information of people who have been in institutions. Lucky for him he was a journalist and knew a number of people that could give him advise so eventually he was able to construct some facts on this unknown Aunt of his. In the process of writing about his investigation he gives a great amount of background information about various outlooks in the 1920's thru 1960's. It is an interesting book if you have tried to do any family tree research and attempted to get information from any institution regardless of how long the person you are investigating has been dead.

One item of interest, in his background information, concerned the number of marriages that occurred in the 1940 to 1942 period. We always hope love is the main reason for marriage but we know in truth there are other factors involved. In part it was an outcome of limited economy opportunities women had in that period and the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which initially had a provision exempting married men from military draft.

Altho he does not go into into it that much anyone who does family tree work can not help but be struck my the number of marriages in that time period (1940-1942). Also the number of divorces in 1945 hit an all time high after the war was over and the married man of 1942 returned home to someone he didn't really know. The usual age for women marrying in that time period was from age 16 to about age 25. Due to the lack of economic opportunities most women in that age group lived with their parents. We know at that age most were dieing to leave home and get out on their own, away from their parents, and one doorway for that was marriage.

For the men; the Army or Marines really had no appeal and one way out of the draft selection was to be married and even more insurance from being drafted was given if you had children. This would later change and men would drafted rather they were married or not.

So added to the two factors plus the sexual heat in that age group and once all your friends marry you feel you have to do likewise, a peak of wartime marriages was reached in 1942 when 1,772,000 marriages were reported compared say to 1938 with 1,331,000 marriages. Now in part, some marriages were put off until the war years due to the depression and lack of money to get married. Once the war started and the war industry was hiring everyone including women, money became available for marriage. So not only marriages but with the attraction of waiting jobs, the number of high school dropouts increased significantly, resulting in the teenage work force swelling from one million to three million youngsters.

Besides marriages and school dropouts, another event happened during the war years that when doing family tree work you will encounter and that in Delaware was called the Delayed Birth Certificate. In order to qualify for a job in a defense plant, and that was where the money was, you had to have proof of citizenship which meant you had to have a birth certificate. Most people, prior to 1930, were born at home and merely had their name and birth year recorded in a family bible, now they had to have a state document. Delaware has required a birth certificate since 1913 but since there was no reason to have one not all births were reported to the state. The state vital statistics offices were overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of requests for certified copies of birth certificates and with delayed registration of births. The delayed Birth Certificate called for submitting the family bible, maybe an insurance policy showing your age when you took the insurance policy out, marriage records showing your age, draft cards with age etc. These had to be submitted with sworn statements by your parents or family members or even a family friend. It would take awhile before the delayed birth certificate was issued.

Incorporation Considered - 1899


From the Salisbury Advertiser Feb 11th, 1899

The Delmar citizens on the Delaware side of town are taking steps to have the Delaware side incorporated which has never been done. We are glad of the move because it means better order, better sidewalks, and better lights on that half of town which has long been sadly in need of the same. This will also prevent horseracing through the business streets where the lives of citizens have been endangered by reckless and fast driving. You have our congratulations for any move for the improvement of Delmar.

Elijah Freeney Cemetery Cleanup


On a very windy day, some members of the Delmar Historical and Arts Society yesterday worked on the cleanup of the Elijah Freeney cemetery west of Delmar.

Happily OSHA was not there to observe our work habits.

The cemetery was not in as bad shape as others because the sod farm owners, where the cemetry is located, have tried to cut the larger trees down. A big thanks to them. We did try to remove the stumps. In a poor pun, Ed Ferro said we were digging out the family tree.

Chuck Swift, noted taphophile (“taph” from the Greek for tomb and “philia” meaning an inordinate fondness), volunteered to come down from Laurel and help us.

More work is to be done.

The fifty hour snow storm, Feb 18, 1899


From the Salisbury Advertiser; Feb 18, 1899

DELMAR - The fifty hour snow storm, which ended Monday night, left Delmar cut off from the outside world except by telegraph. On Friday the Thermometer registered ten degrees below zero and on Wednesday the fifteenth, a zero temperature was noted in the early morning. The North-bound Norfolk and New York express which reached here early Monday Morning with thirty-six passengers, remained until Wednesday. Part of these were soldiers belonging to the hospital corp, on the way to Manila.

Work trains started North and South on Tuesday to assist in opening the way for transportation. The railroad company has given employment to extra men at good wages. The first mail since Saturday from the north arrived late Wednesday night. Horses were ridden through the street to break down the snow and a snow plow drawn through to open a path. Huge banks of snow stand along the sidewalks. School were suspended till Thursday. A number of photographic views of the scene were taken.

M. H. German, T. A. Vessey, W. B. Elliott and J.J. Ellis have been harvesting ice.

George McNeilia and Miss Florence White were married at the M. P. Parsonage, Wednesday evening by the Rev. J. L. Straughn.

The noted Railroad Evangelist, Miss Jennie Smith, has been assisting in the extra meetings at the M. E. Church.

North To Alaska October 6, 1898


Our adventurous duo left home in January to go seek their fortune in the goldrush. Ten months later they are beating a hasty retreat from Alaska and by December had returned to the Eastern Shore. This is their final letter published in the Salisbury Advertiser.

Seattle, Washington
October 6, 1898

Dear Brother,

You can not imagine how glad we were to get on land again. We have been out on the water for forty days. We left Eagle City the 26th of August in our small boat “Mena,” and ran night and day. We would take six hours’ watches, I was on from six in the morning till twelve, and “Billy” from twelve to six and the same at night. We had to do this as we did not have any time to spare as the nights were getting pretty cold. We would average about seventy-five miles a day, often making one hundred.

We stopped at Star City the first night. On Sunday afternoon we got to Circle City; some claim this to be the largest log cabin town in the world. That may be but there is no one living in the cabins, at least not many, and things are a little dead around there since the Klondike strike. On Saturday night before we saw one of the finest exhibitions of the Aurora that it has been our pleasure to witness. It was something grand. I can only describe one scene and that was as if one had taken a fan with each fold gaily colored and open it in the sky, it being large enough to cover one half the sky. The effect was beyond description.

On Tuesday we got to Ft Yukon. There are only about a dozen log cabins there and they are nearly all occupied by the Indians. From there we proceed down the river, stopping at all the towns and villages.

The scenery was very pretty and it was an interesting trip. We had very nice weather until we passed Ft Yukon , and then it was windy and rained for four days and nights without stopping, but we pushed our little open launch along just the same, knowing that winter was coming whether it rained or not.

One day the wind was blowing so hard that we could not run at all so we stopped at an Indian Camp and spent the day, the Indians amusing us all day. As soon as we landed the old squaw came down to the boat and all she could say was to make signs and say ya kei yo hi kos ku ya kihi octi ne iska che-choc-ti, and then she left, but of course we answered her and like to tore our heads off nodding and shaking them, and say yes all the time. I suppose she was trying to sell us a fish for pretty soon she came back with a big salmon and holding it out to us saying all the time wa che-choc-ti meant we shook our heads and said no, we no che-choc-ti but would trade; we got two red handkerchiefs and offered them to her and we got the fish for two five cent handkerchiefs, instead of paying wa che-choc-ti, wa meaning one and che-choc-ti, silver money; or one dollar she wanted for the fish, but it was well worth it. Pretty soon the “old man” came down and wanted to shake hands with us and then about a dozen children and they stayed down almost all day. There was one boy that could talk English real nice, and he would translate the Indian latin to us, and he taught us a lot of Indian Language; he went to a mission school one year and learned to talk. The old squaw came out and gave us two regular Indian war dances, and they were real amusing. And the way those kids were dressed – some of them had a small piece of gingham (or something of the kind) with two arm holes cut in it and came down about three inches below the arms, and the rest was bare, nothing on at all, and it was very cold that day but they didn’t mind it.

We traded for several Indian curiosities such as tobacco pouches, a skin parka, bow and arrows, Indian knives, moccasins, etc. but I like to forget to tell you about the Indians getting after us and for a long distance our hair almost stood on end, but it was all out fault. We passed an Indian Village and just around a curve there was a Indian burial grounds and we saw some funny looking things up on high poles over the graves, knowing it was Indian carvings we were very anxious to get hold of them, so we landed down the shore and walked back to the graveyard. I suppose one saw me go up in the burying grounds and at once started and other followed. I got three of the animals and started for the boat, I didn’t think to look around to see if anyone was in sight, but pretty soon Billy met me and told me that an Indian was after me, I didn’t turn around to look, but started in a run, got to the boat and put the animals under the bed and we were not long untying the boat and getting to the oars and then we worked like good boys , had a swift current and made pretty good time, but the Indians had little bark canoes and they would go right through the water. Finally they left us, or rather we left them, and then we took a rest but did not loose much time in getting as far away as possible.

As for wild geese and ducks I don’t think there can be any place in the world to equal that country, they seem to go in flocks by the thousands , and not very wild. If we had only had a shotgun we would have lived on geese and ducks.

We saw the river was about to freeze up so we stopped at Holy Cross Mission, which is only 400 miles from St. Michaels, September 11th, and waited for a steamer, but only had to wait a few hours. After we got on the steamer we thought our trouble all over but we got stuck on a sand bar and had to wait twenty-four hours for the tide to come in, then we arrived St. Michaels September 16th. we looked around for the best steamer, and one that was able to go to sea without too much risk. We bought passage at once so we would not have to pay any board (board $8.00 a day) and left Monday night, September 19th.

The Indians at St. Michaels are not as civilized as the up-the-river Indians. They bury their dead on the ground – too much trouble to dig a hole as the ground is frozen all year around. Then they get logs and pile upon the coffin, or box, to keep the dogs and things off, and then tin cans, bottles, bow and arrows, and in fact almost everything within the power of Mr. Indian to think of is put upon the poles. When the next generation dies their boxes are put on top of their father’s and mother’s just as they were laid on their ancestors, and the result is that there is quite a large mound of boxes.

They live mostly in turf houses. Their houses are made of a frame of driftwood ( no timber for hundreds of miles) covered with the mud or grass turf they dig up there.

When two days out we found that our trouble had only begun. The sailors say you can’t find a worse place anywhere than on the Bering sea during a storm, so you see it must be pretty bad. The waves run in three different directions and when they would all three strike the boat at one time you would think she was smashed to pieces from the way the timbers would crack and she trembled like a leaf. When three days out from the Yukon one of the worst storms the captain ever encountered burst upon the staunch little craft tearing away the mainsail and foresail, besides playing havoc with the rigging, the gale raged with unabated fury for twenty-four hours nearly every sea breaking over the steamer, and it not been for the fine seamanship of the Captain and crew all would have been lost.

It makes a fellow feel a little funny to see the wind tearing away both sails and playing havoc with the rigging and the waves breaking over the ship, and just to think we just outside the harbor but it impossible to get in between the rocks. Never did I realize the meaning of the word harbor as I did when I heard the mate say, within one hour we will be in the harbor. After we got in the water was as nice and smooth as you please. We went ashore and walked over to Unalaska, about half a mile, stayed there a while then went back to the boat.

Next morning the wind was not blowing so hard so the captain started again but had not gone far out on the Pacific when it came up stormy again and for seven solid days it was nothing but squalls and storms, some days a squall every hour, but most of the wind struck the ship astern, driving her along some of the time at the rate of fourteen knots an hour. Those waves on the ocean seemed to be 100 feet high but I guess not so bad as that; just imagine a man walking down the dining room and the first thing he knows he lying across the table, then he looks to see what takes him there, and by that time he is lying across on the other side of the room he raises up to see where he is, then he is away up in the bow of the boat trying to knock the partitions out with his head, then he raises up and the boat is still for a few seconds, he thinks he had better go his room, he gets up and starts, walks a few steps and he is landed down in the other end of the room knocking the feet from under another man; and then he gets to his room, goes to bed, takes hold of the rails with a dying grip, goes to sleep, wakes up in the morning, rubs his eyes and says he had a night mare.

Well I will tell you the rest next time if I don’t forget it. We have taken out “dust” up to the government assay office to have it coined into money. We saved out a few nuggets to look at when we get old, and to remind us of our trip through the land of gold. I suppose there is about seventy-five dollars worth of them. We will express them home in a few days for safe keeping.

We have now about shed our Klondike dirt and rags and are beginning to feel like civilized beings again. Just think! Fried Chicken yesterday, buckwheat cakes and sausage this morning and all the fruit we can eat, and in fact everything. Only those who have been deprived of those things for about eight months can appreciate the pleasure of having them. Not for money would we go down to bacon and beans again. We are fully satisfied now to stay in God’s Country, but I think it will be quite a while before we go east again. We have heard of the west and are anxious to see it.

Wm T. Hearn

North To Alaska July 21 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry Hearn from Wm T. Hearn

Dawson City, N. W. T.
July 21, 1898

Dear Brother,

We leave here today for Seventy Mile creek, it is in the United States territory, about 150 miles from here, think there is a better chance there, we have a job there for all winter if we like it. We will be at least 100 miles from postoffice, so you need not expect another letter before next summer and may be home before or by then, but will write if I see anyone going to the postoffice. Forgot to tell you the price of white potatoes, they sell for a $1 per pound or $60 per bushel, turnips 25 cents each, milk $1 a glass, coal oil $3 a gallon, etc. Those Wicomico farmers would go crazy if they could get that much for truck.

Why do they call this the frozen north? Thermometer registered 110 in the shade on July 18th.

W.T. H.

North To Alaska July 20 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Mr. B. Frank Kennerly from Wm R. Bacon

Dawson City, N.W.T
July 20, 1898

Dear Frank,

I take the time to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along.

We got in Dawson July 9th, too late for the Fourth fun. Had a fine trip down. Was fifteen days on the water our fourth was spent on the banks of the Lewie. Dismal and Dreary? I should say yes; rained all day.

The rapids are not what lots of people imagine, and the worst piece of water on the whole route is the little stream between Lakes Lindman and Bennett. Next is Thirty Mile river. No one ever heard of it before, and no one expected to get in any trouble there. There is one rock in Thirty Mile on which more outfits have been lost than in all the rapids combined. We paid $13 for a pilot through Miles Canyon and White Horse and came through O.K. We ran Five Fingers and Rink rapids ourselves. Five Fingers is all right if you keep to the right. Rink Rapids are not much as the swells are only about two feet high.

I was disappointed in White Horse, it is a nasty bit of water when the water is low, that’s what they say, but when we came it was not half so bad as Miles Canyon. The land is low and level and in fact from an artistic point of view is not worth seeing.

The waves on Lake Lebarge were 10 to 13 feet high when we crossed. One that was never on it in a wind storm could never believe they could roll so high. We had a passenger, a Mr. Jo Langraham, he and Will got sea sick, I didn’t have time for anything like that, had all I could do to keep our little 18 ft boat from swamping by the waves breaking over the stern. I found my little knowledge of boating, gained while at Bivalve was worth more to me there than my life. But we got here safe and here we are, but not for long; will start for Uncle Sam’s territory tomorrow and will winter, as far as we can tell now, down about “Seventy Mile,” on the American side of the line about 100 miles from here.

Dawson is dead, at least for this year; mis-rule the cause of it; Major Walsh and his Northwest mounted police are the cause of the mis-rule.

Mine owners are not working their claims on account of the Royalty of ten per cent on everything. A man pays $10 license and then is not even allowed to catch a log drifting down the Yukon and should he go out and cut a tree down they charge 50 cents stumpage, and if you sell the wood you are liable to be fined or the wood taken away. Get a permit to build a cabin and after you get it built some one gets a grant for that piece of land and orders you off. Catch a fish and sell it and you get “pulled”, and dozens of other things. Of course you can get a permit for all these things, if you are in the ring or have a friend who is.

The miners have a meeting every two or three days and have sent a delegation to Montreal, or Otttawa rather; or wherever the head of government is.

There are thousands of people here and in a week or two men will be working for $5 a day. Now no man can afford to stay here for $5 a day and I am going to Alaska, where I am almost sure of making my expenses, as well as looking out for a good claim for myself. They are getting very scarce and the prospectors are getting discouraged. Hundreds have already gone home and they will number thousands before summer ends. None of the river boats have come up yet although one is reported 40 miles below on a sand bar. Four that were froze up came up the first of July but they were frozen about Circle City.

Dawson is not the Hot Town that they say of it ( thermometer only 110 in shade on July 18th). You never see a man packing more than $300 worth of gold at the most, and $50 to $75 is like the average. Of course the big companies handle lots of it, and I have seen $75,000 worth of gold lying on an old box in the corner of their office, just like you would throw that many sacks of tobacco.

When you buy and pay with gold dust you hand your sack over, the man takes out what he wants. When a man goes in a gambling house and buys chips, he puts up his bag, gets what chips he wants. If he loses they take out enough to pay, if he wins put it in. But gold is not flowing around like the papers use to say; and if a man loses a $100 gambling here it hurts him as bad as in the States. They call a man who uses paper money “checkawker” but everyone wants “Checkawker’ money and will even discount their bills if given that instead of dust.

Everything very cheap here: flour $12 per hundred, was $50 one while last winter, fresh beef 50 cents per pound, turnips and potatoes 25 cents each, beans 10 ½ cents, bacon 25 cents, fresh beef was $1.50 to $2 per pound in June, lots of cattle in now. A simple iron wedge can’t be bought and an 8 X 10 glass sells 75 cents to $1, we paid $1.50 for two, and paid $10 for a small grind stone without handle or trimmings. It’s the supply and demand that regulates those things.

I did not intend to write so much, but one more thing, “Swiftwater Bill” is broke, has built the finest house in town, but didn’t pay for it, so it belongs to someone else now; same way with a piano he brought in. He is at the end of his rope and a mere nobody now. Never was much but a famous liar as was lots of others that helped the Klondike boom.

You’ve heard of Berry Bros. and you would think they would have to cart their Gold down. Well they run their sluce box all day long and some time two or three days and never examine it to see if there is any gold there and when they do it is not choked up by any means, and they might run it a week or more if they liked. Lots of dirt they got out last winter not worth washing. Spent all winter drifting it out to let it lay where they put it.

Some few men have mines that pay and have got a good thing out of them but they are very few, and they don’t throw their money away and would kick as much over a dollar as you would or I would. But I still feel sure I will go out of the country with a little dust and at least be as well off as when I started, and the trip is already worth more than the expense.

W. R. Bacon

North To Alaska July 15 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry Hearn from Wm T. Hearn

Dawson City, N. W. T.
July 15, 1898
Dear Brother,

We have arrived at Dawson City and I suppose you want to know something about our trip down the lakes and rivers. We left Lindman Thursday, June 23rd; run down to Lake Bennett in about one hour. There is a canyon between Lindman and Bennett where the water runs very swift and is full of rocks also which makes it almost impossible to run a boat through; nine cases out of ten you will strike a rock and tear the boat to pieces unless you have experienced men to run her. We gave a man three dollars to run our boat through, but he let us go with him, we wanted the experience of riding on bad water, enjoyed it very much, came through all right. Then we met a friend that we got acquainted with in Dyea and he said he would like to come down with us. He gave us $40 to bring him down. We left Bennett Friday with a good wind so we made good time, it was not too long before the wind got stronger and the waves rolled about eight feet high, but “Mena” rode them beautiful. We camped at the head of of Tagish Lake, the next morning was calm and clear so we had to row, in about three hours we came to Windy Arm, thinking we could get over all right by rowing we started across, the wind was getting stronger every minute but there was nothing to do but stick to the oars, we pulled three solid hours but then we could pull no longer and we saw the wind was getting the best of us so we raised our sail and started for shore; just as we reached the shore our boat filled with water and everything we had got a good soaking . We unloaded the boat and pulled her up out of the water to keep the waves from beating her to pieces. We spent the balance of the day drying our outfit; there were others. Next morning it was calm and we got out of that place as soon as possible, we reached Tagish house a while before Midnight, but did not leave there until the following Monday . Before leaving we had to have our boat inspected register and numbered. Our number is 13,980, so you can imagine something about the number of people that come up here; each boat will average at least four people. When the ice first broke up there were as many as 700 registered one day. Then we went on down six mile river to White Horse Rapids. The rapids was not just what I expected to find, but it is a swift piece of water, about midway there is a fall of about five feet, that is where its rough, after you shoot over the falls; but we got through all right kept everything in the boat covered with the tent. Wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Left there at 3 o’clock and by ten were at Lake Lebarge, and as we had a fair wind we decided to run all night as that is a bad piece of water to get over. About Midnight the wind begin to blow to beat the band, but we could not stop as the shore was very rocky and the waves rolling from ten to fourteen feet high. I lay down and was soon rocked to sleep in the cradle of the deep. Mena behaved nicely and was obliging as the two girls she is named after. We got across about eight o’clock and had breakfast and went to bed and slept all day. When we were building out boat the people at Lindman told us that it was no use to go to so much trouble to build a boat just to go down the river in but I remember what Mr. Hill had told me, “that anything worth doing at all, was worth doing well,” and I also knew whose life depended on that boat; and I was glad that night that our boat was well built, had it not been it would have gone down with some of the others. We were told by an old shipbuilder that it was the best built boat he had seen on the river. We started again at six in the evening and run down thirty mile river until midnight, went in camp by two big scows that had been wrecked they had an $8,000 outfit, lost half. Thirty Mile River is the most dangerous piece of water on the whole trip (I mean of any length) there are so many big rocks just under the water. There are lots of wrecks on that river but we had no trouble at all.

Continued on down to Five Finger rapids. There is but little danger there, very swift, but short and sweet. An hour’s run brought us to Rinks Rapids, there is no danger at all.

Fourth of July it rained all day so we stayed in camp. Tuesday about noon we entered the broad waters of the Yukon. The current in the river is so strong that we floated about five miles an hour and we had nothing to do but lie around and enjoy the beautiful scenery, which was very pretty. We arrive here Saturday, took a walk down town and to my surprise I found that one can buy almost anything here that you can in the States, and cheap too; pretty good oranges and lemons for fifty cents each, newspaper $1 each, chairs that sell for $2.50 a dozen in Salisbury, $10 each, and a coffin for $500. If I had brought some embalming fluid, case of instruments and a set of tools, I could make a fortune within a year, but I haven’t got them.

I think we go to work next week at $8 per day, unless I can get some tools and start up a shop, haven’t decided yet just what to do. It is no use to go out prospecting around here, for one hundred miles it is all staked off, and there is a ring here and unless you can get into the ring you can’t do much.

I have gained 25 pounds and am four inches larger in the waist, clothes all too small, healthy country, I have never felt better.

Since I have wrote the above we have got another job for three or four weeks at $15 a day. I have taken a trip up to the mines but they are nearly done washing and the nuggets on the bushes are not quite ripe yet, so I didn’t get any to send home.

Life here is altogether different from life in the States, it seems that we are living in another world. We are camping on the Klondike River, only about four feet from the water’s edge. Dawson is a city of tents of five and ten thousand possibly, more. They are just as close together as they can be and are a pretty sight. It is almost impossible to get into the postoffice, you have to stand outside and wait for about twelve hours. If you will give a policeman two dollars he will go in the side door and get your mail.

From Your Brother,
W.T. Hearn

North To Alaska June (Second Sunday) 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Frank Kennerly from Wm R. Bacon

Lake Lindeman, B.C.
June (Second Sunday)
My Dear Frank,

This is a fine, fine country, but d--- the mosquitoes, they worry us night and day, and to make it worst they are getting thicker every day. I was up on Long Lake yesterday where there is not much but ice and snow and the mosquitoes were as thick there as any where; they seem to breed right in the snow. The first arrivals were big black ones, and now we have all sizes. I think after we have been bothered with them for a few weeks we will be like the river men – won’t mind them much.

Will has gone to church this morning, didn’t suit me. The Salvation Army holds service in a big tent not far away, but most people don’t have time for church, so the attendance is very limited. A pack train of burros has just gone by with one of the drivers swearing at them by the yard. Guess he will interrupt the service. By-the-way that reminds of the one fact that I never told you before and that is one can hear more oaths on this trail in an hour than in Salisbury in a month. Everybody swears, and they seem to always find something to swear at. The pack animals get the most of it.

We had a drove of about one hundred head of fine fat steers brought in yesterday; I tell you they looked fine. We haven’t seen a piece of steak since we left the states and hardly anything else except bacon and beans, until this morning we each had an egg, and to say they were fine is hardly expressing it. I never liked eggs at home but I surely enjoy that one, first I have eaten since I left Wicomico.

Taking everything into consideration I think we fare very well here. We have granulated potatoes, just about like new potatoes only they are ground up and served like mashed potatoes, evaporated onions, evaporated soup vegetables, and a condensed vegetables soup, beef extract, condensed milk, “crystalized “ eggs, haven’t used any yet, we have oatmeal and milk every morning, rice and fruits, corn meal, etc. we can really get up a fair meal but as we haven’t much of a change we get tired.

We have got our boat very near complete, would have had it entirely complete, except corking, had we not run out of lumber. Fair lumber here sells for $250.00 per 1000 feet, so we laid up today debating whether to buy more or go in the woods and “whip” it out. We tried whipping before and soon gave it up and cut our logs and pulled them on skids across three quarters of a mile of flats to the stream, coming near “pulling the liver” out of us. We got them down and rafted them and got on to come down, and down we did come. The current runs about twelve miles an hour and is full of rocks and short curves at that. It was more exciting than riding down from the Scales to Sheep Camp. Think I told you how, when the snow was on, some of the people used to coast about three miles on a stretch, I have seen them going so fast that they would strike a lump and jump 20 or 30 feet. We didn’t jump on the raft but we ran into the bank very often. We got down safe and had our logs sawed one half for the other.

It will soon be two weeks since we began to hunt our timber. The logs we get are only about six to eight inches through.

Our boat is 18 X 3 ½ ft bottom and 20 X 6 ft top with 2 ½ ft sides, built on skiff style. We are rigging a square sail like the Chinese junks have, fasten to the mast in the middle. That the way most of them are being rigged, although some have the schooner sail and some have three cornered one. They are beginning to go down pretty lively now and in course of a few weeks Lindeman will be entirely deserted.

We will be here only a few weeks longer when we join the happy throng and see what is to come next. Only hope we will not see the bottom of “hoss” rapids instead of Dawson.

After this batch of letters goes out we will not write anymore for “Lords Know When.” We have no idea yet where we will locate but feel quite sure we will visit “Uncle Sam” territory before we stop for very long. Don’t like living under the Queen very much. Have to get a license to live almost, at least for everything you do, and then pay the crown a royalty on what you happen to make.

There is an Indian at the Scales about my height only a little stouter built that won a bet the other day of $400 that he could put 280 pounds up the summit without resting but three times and those rests to be limited. He did it and is now ready for bets that he can carry more. Carrying that up the summit and carrying it to level ground is far different.

From what I can see since I have been in this section I think the firm of Kennerly Mitchell and Co., must be enterprising men, and from the trademark “I X L” I suppose they must have sent “Mr. Othello” out here to do a little advertising, we caught a view of two of them, one on a snow bank about seven miles from Dyea, the other at the beginning of the Canyon about two miles from Lindeman.

Frank, the spring here is something wonderful, “today we have snow on the ground, tomorrow flowers are blooming,” almost expresses it. The sun shines for eighteen hours and everything grows by magic. There is a stream between Long and Deep Lakes one can wade across it with rubber boots and in some places might jump across. On one side snow is ten or twelve feet deep and on the other side flowers in full bloom. Long Lake is full of ice, people walking over on the ice, and yet along the shores you can find flowers almost anywhere - some thing certainly new to me.

Will and I have turned out to be barbers, I cut his hair and trim his whiskers and he does the same for me. We now have our hair clipped as close as we can get it, it saves the trouble of combing you know. A big item, Supper is ready so will close.

Regards to all the boys
Wm R. Bacon

North To Alaska June 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry W. Hearn from Wm. Hearn

Lake Lindeman, B.C.
June, Don’t know.

Dear Brother,

We are getting along finely and will so long as we can get plenty of beans and fried mosquitoes; and that just reminds me, when you boys come out here bring a plenty of barbed wire fencing to fence in your tent to keep out mosquitoes. I like Alaska much better than I did some time ago. The snow is nearly gone except in places and there are lots of different kinds of wild flowers in bloom; we can find pretty flowers not five feet from a snow bank, and there are lots of wild berries ripe. They are ripe before the snow goes off, don’t know when they bloom; that is what so many birds are after up here. It seems right home like to hear the (wait till I kill and skin this mosquito) Robin sings; I found a Robin nest this week with four eggs in it, was tempted to take the eggs home for breakfast but thought it would be to bad to do so. But “Billy” saw a chicken rooster yesterday running around, the only chicken we have seen in Alaska, and not far away he found a hen’s nest and we had eggs for breakfast this morning.

On the coast of Alaska is a great summer resort for the people living in the west. I am glad I can spend a summer at a summer resort.

I have had my hair cut and my whiskers trimmed English style, my hair was about five inches long and had not cut it before since last August.

If the people who write to me didn’t have any more paper than I have they would use both sides, but possibly they think I am short of paper and will need one side to answer. I walked thirty miles to the post office a few days ago to get my mail and received one from Minnie, and one from New Haven, Conn., he said he felt just like dropping me a few lines, he must be very high if he can drop a letter to me for I am about thirty five hundred feet above sea level. Sometime the clouds come down all around us and we can see only a few feet from us.

When I was coming from the post office a big mosquito pitched on my hand and I was going to let him “fill up” and then kill it and send it home, but I was afraid I would never get home if I should loose that much blood, so by the use of rocks I managed to kill it, and carry it home by its hind legs.

We have got our boat about done and now we can’t decide what to name it. Every boat must be inspected, named, numbered and registered. Our boat is eighteen feet long, three feet six wide in the bottom and six feet wide at the top, but I suppose you want to know how we like whipsawing and how it is done; first you must walk about five miles to find timber and then hunt half a day to find logs long enough, then after you get the logs the next thing is the saw pit, which is a framework about eight feet high, then get the logs on the pit, line it up, then you are ready for the saw. We put one log on the pit and decided it would be easier to put them out to the water edge and build a raft and float them to the saw mill and have them sawed, so we took the one we had on the pit and started to the water; we got nearly there and that was hard that we thought we had rather whip saw, so we went back and put two logs on the pit and put our saws together and begin to saw, we sawed about twelve inches and then we had enough of whip sawing. We didn’t have money enough to buy a boat and we couldn’t buy lumber; boats cost 125.00 and lumber twenty-five cents per foot, so what were we going to do? It looked like we were going back home, so the next morning we left our saw home and took our axes determine to pull those logs to the water, and they went along pretty well after we determined to do it, and after a little more than two days work we had them all to the water, and the next day we made the raft; we had 125 feet of 5/8 rope to make it with. Then came the fun for we had to build the raft on land as the water ran so rapidly that it was impossible to build it in the water. We build our raft on the banks of the rapids, brother to the White Horse rapids, where the water runs about twelve miles an hour. One man said he would not ride a raft through those rapids for a $1000. Another man said it was too big to go through. We left our watches home and everything that water would hurt, expecting to get a ducking. When it struck the water we jumped on and it started off as Ashland Malone said about the cars “H—bent for Dublin” it didn’t go far before the stream turned and we found that we could not do anything toward guiding it so we just let go. In turning the corner it struck the bank and swung around and started the other end first. I think it was the most crooked stream I was ever on, but we saw that if the rope would hold we were all right, but if it should break it was all over with us. That ride was the most fun and the most excitement I have had since I have been in Alaska and now wish we had another to bring down. We expect to leave here in a day or two if our boat don’t leak too bad; have not put her in the water yet.

These flowers were pulled only a few inches from a snow bank, there are lots of them here and any number of snow balls.

It costs us twenty-five cents every letter we mail or receive here, and will cost a dollar after we leave here.

Regards to all.
Wm. Hearn