Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lilly Brook Mill

Mr. W. L. Williams, who owns the mill above Leonard mill, heretofore known as Williams Mill, is preparing to put the property in first class order.  He is adding a new brick foundation corn runners, crushers etc.  The mill in the future will be known as the Lilly Brook Mills.

From the August 1888 Salisbury Advertiser.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sugar Cane

From the Salisbury Advertiser 1905

Altho a crop not normally thought of being grown on Delmarva, sugar cane was grown up thru the 1930s

From the Wicomico News June 1920

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Too proud to whitewash and too poor to paint

Historically buildings and houses on Delmarva were "painted" in Whitewash as opposed to oil based paint.  It was a cheaper alternative and was used more often than oil based paint.  Because it was cheaper it was associated with poor areas of the country.  This gave birth to the phrase "Too proud to whitewash and too poor to paint."

Whitewash is a lime-based product which was quicklime that had been saturated with water then mixed with binders to improve the durability and chalking resistance.  The binders could be glue, salt, flour (rice, wheat, rye, buckwheat) skim milk, and borax. Because it is thick, it was applied with a coarse brush that left brush strokes on the surface.

Why is the White House white?

The building was first made white with lime-based whitewash in 1798, when its walls were finished, simply as a means of protecting the porous stone from freezing.  Why the house was subsequently painted is not known.  Perhaps presidents objected to the dirty look as the whitewash wore away.

"WHITEWASH, as used on the President's house, in Washington, is made as follows: Slack half a bushel of unslacked lime with boiling water; cover it during the process. Strain it, and add a peck of salt dissolved in warm water, three pounds ground rice, boiled to a thin paste, put in boiling hot, half a pound Spanish white, and one pound clear glue, dissolved in warm water. Mix and let the whole stand a few days. Keep in a kettle, and put on hot with a brush."
The above paragraph was from "the Ohio Valley Farmer" publication of June 1860.

Besides buildings, whitewash was also used to paint the bottom trunks of fruit trees to prevent sun scald and to prevent the tree from warming to rapidly in the early spring and causing blossoms to appear before all the frost was over with.  Therefore preventing the blossoms from freezing and destroying the crop.

Below is a postcard that says "a scene near Delmar Del." Perhaps about the 1870s as one of the men is wearing a civil war style hat (one with the dog).  The point of showing it is to show the whitewashed trunks of the trees.

an 1891 ad, for among other things, Whitewash.  E. E. Jackson (one of the owners showed at top of ad) besides becoming governor of Maryland also was one of the first storeowners in newly created Delmar Delaware.

Friday, April 22, 2016

June Baker To Graduate In January 1944

From The Twig Newspaper  at Meredith College Raleigh NC Jan 22 1944

Lime Kilns

When the first colonist came to Delmarva there was a lack of mortar to build with.  Fireplaces and the chinks between logs and board walls were filled with mud.  This was short term, however, as when the next rain came it would wash out the mud.  What was needed was lime to created cement, plaster, whitewash, etc.   With no natural stone and certainly no limestone available on Delmarva the Colonist turned to oyster shells and other sea shells. 

Exposed to high heat the calcium carbonate in the shells would make calcium oxide or “quicklime”.  This was slaked in water prior to use in mortar and plaster.

Stacks of logs were put on ground or in a pit and shells were stacked on top of the logs.  This created a lime rick.  The fire had to reach 1800 degrees and the burn would last for about 24 to 36 hours. 


It was very hot work and considering the caustic effect of lime on human skin it made for very unpleasant work. The long term effect on one's lung most have been horrible.

The finished lime from the ricks were hauled to where the construction required it. 

At first the lime ricks were placed near the Indian middens of shells (those massive piles of discarded shells bones and other detritus built up over hundreds of years by local Indians ) and they continued to be placed near the source of the shells as the oyster industry took off.  Seaford had a large lime kiln.  The map of Fairmount shows they also had a lime kiln. It was located over by the ice house and packing sheds.

When the railroad line to Crisfield was built it changed things.  Crisfield with its huge piles of discarded oyster shells supplied many oyster kilns that were placed near to the rail lines such as the one in Fruitland in the 1920s.  

While all lime used for building purposes had to be thoroughly burned, it was not crucial for mortar lime to be pure, and it was  commonly known as “lean lime”.  However plaster lime was known as “fat lime” which required a higher calcium content.  Thus partially burned shells may be present in shell lime mortar but seldom will be found in shell lime plaster.

Because burned lime absorbs water over time, it is considered as a perishable product that must be used in a set period of time or it becomes useless for construction purposes.  By adding sand to the lime the bonding between the sand and lime creates a hardened product (mortar or cement).

Lime kilns went from being the simple lime rick to lime kilns where a tower with an inverted cone shape inside the tower and a firebox at the bottom would generated more lime than the simple rick.

Altho there were a number of Lime Kilns on the Eastern Shore about the only remains of them are in the name of roads or geographic points. 

Above notice from the Salisbury advertiser 1888

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Mid Life Crisis Of M. H. German

Mitchell H. German was born in what was to become Delmar, Sussex County Delaware about 1851.  He was the son of George W. German (1827-1888) and Matilda J. Hastings German (1827-1863).  He would marry in 1873 to Francis Ann Hearn, born in 1849, and daughter of Jonathan Hearn of Harford County. They would live on the Maryland side of town or on their farm outside of town in Wicomico County. 

They would have as children; Marion H. (1873-1898), Rosa B. (1874-), Matilda Ellen (1876- ), Sadie E. (1878-), Harry L. (1881- ), Loren Halbert (1884- ) and Roberta B. (1889-).

Mr. German was an entrepreneur type and was active in the social life of Delmar.  He started a number of businesses from a brick plant to a Dry Goods Store to a drug store.  He built what is referred to as Brick Row (Seven brick homes city row style along the rail road tracks).  He was a director of the Bank of Delmar and a leader of the choir of the Methodist Protestant Church.

In August of 1901, he got on the train to travel to Aberdeen, MD with the ideal of locating a piece of land to put a brick yard on.  He was not heard from again until December.  No one knew what had happened to him.  They did know he was carrying a large amount of cash on his person ($16,000) with which to set up the brickyard.  There was much speculation as to what happened to him.  A person from Delmar had seen him meet a Mrs. Frank Harmonson at the Philadelphia train station and it was known in Delmar he had a special relationship with her when she was the housekeeper for W. L. Sirman in Delmar.  He did have a history also of being very attentive to a Mrs. Lecates in Delmar.  Speculation was he had run off with Mrs. Harmonson, as he was 50 year olds and men sometime did those things at that age.  Investigation found he had heavily mortgaged all his properties and taken out loans from various people before leaving.

Mrs. German did what any self respecting wife would do; she filed for a divorce.

His disappearance was of interest to the newspapers and various reports were written on it.  A fire destroyed part of Delmar in September and, no pun intended, took the newspaper heat off of Mr. and Mrs. German's problems.

In December of 1901 Mr. German had decided he had enough.  He had traveled to Liverpool, England as he put it; trying to put as many miles between him and his creditors, but he was not that kind of man and returned to Delmar to make his amends.  There was no mention of Mrs. Harmonson.  Mrs. German dropped the divorce action.  They continued to live on their farm outside of Delmar.  Up until 1901 there were many land transfers as Mr. German bought up land,  after 1901 there were many land transfers as Mr. German sold off property.

Mitchell H. German would die in 1915 and would be buried in Delmar.  His wife would go to live in Norfolk with Loren, her son and his family.  She would die in 1925

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Surname German or Jarman

Around Delmar there are families with the Surname German.  In researching some of these families (not all)  I find at some point (around 1850) the name would be written as Jarman or Jerman.  It seems to a common feature of the surname everywhere in the USA.  It could be because of the cursive handwriting of the time in which the letter "J" and the letter "G" look alike.  An interesting comment is below from a surname website.

JARMAN:    This interesting surname is English. It is however of pre 9th century Old French origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be an ethnic name derived from the term "germain", itself from the Roman (Latin) word "germanus". As such the name was sometimes used to denote a man from Germany, but was also used in the case of a person who had trade or other connections with the country. The ultimate origin of the Latin tribal name "Germanus" is obscure, but it is thought to mean the "spear-men", with "geri, gari", meaning spear, as the first element. The second possible derivation for the surname is from the Old French and later medieval English given name "Germa(i)n", which itself derives partly from the tribal name as before, and partly from the Latin and Old French "germa(i)n", meaning "full brother, cousin". This is originally from the Latin "germen", literally a bud or shoot, and used to mean "of the same stock". The given name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Germanus", and Jerman Willelmi is listed in the Feet of Fines for the county of Essex in 1248. The surname spellings include German, Germaine, Germing, Jarman, Jerman, Jermyn and Jarmain. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Jarman. This was dated 1227, in the "Patent Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames
in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more:

Last name: German

Recorded in many spelling forms including German, Germann, Germain, Germing, Jerman, Jarman, Jarmain, Jarmains, Jermyn etc.(England & Ireland), Gherman (Hungarian), Germani (Italian), Germain (France), Germano (Spanish) and De Germano (Sicilian), this surname can be of either nationalistic, locational, or job descriptive origins. Firstly it can obviously mean a 'man from Germany'. Such names were given when a person moved from one country to another. The easiest method of identifying a 'stranger' being to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and dialects very thick, lead to 'sounds like' spellings of the name. For many nameholders in England the name is probably not Germanic at all, but locational and Norman-French. The entry into England dates from about the time of the 1066 Invasion, and it probably describes a person from the town of St Germain in Normandy, France. Taking the French connection further, the name can also be one of relationship, and derive from the pre 8th century Old French word "germain", meaning cousin or person of the same stock. Another possible origin is that people with the name were originally 'spear-men' engaged as mercenaries by different monarchs throughout Europe. The derivation here being from the German word "geri" meaning spear plus "man(n)", meaning one skilled in its use. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Jermain. This was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls" of the county of Oxfordshire". Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more:

Monday, April 18, 2016

1920 Auction Ad Of Brick Row

This full page 1920 newspaper ad describes the brick row houses.
It describes the houses as six of them having 6 rooms each, 2 porches, pantry, 2 halls, bathroom, city water and gas for lighting and cooking.

The 7th house had ten rooms and had been the residence of Mitchell H. German when he built it. 

The property in 1920 was owned by Mr. Jay Williams.  At the auction J. Frank Brown purchased it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Some 1942 graduates from Wi Hi That were born In Delmar

From The 1942 Tom Tom Yearbook Wicomico High School Salisbury MD
Some People who gave Delmar as their birth town

Jeanne Kay Long born August 12, 1925

Flossie Lee Spry, Born July 3 1924

Joseph Franklin Callaway Jr, Born September 11, 1925

Alyce Anne Kennedy, born July 1, 1924

Evelyn Marie Owens, born June 22, 1924

Anna Virginia Donoway, born October 2, 1925

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Irish Genealogy

Irish Genealogy

The Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society is proud to present

 Mike Healy  

Irish Genealogy: Tips, Techniques, Tales, and Lessons Learned

Mike Healy is an Irish American United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) graduate, whose Irish grandparents came to America in May 1912.  He has been active in the Irish American community for over 30 years, with a number of past and present Irish American community affiliations

The presentation is an entertaining, beautiful pictorial presentation of Mr. Healy’s extensive Irish genealogy research experiences.  He will discuss proven research methods for finding your Irish ancestors’ origins and historical records, to include researching on-line genealogy resources such as Ellis Island passenger lists, U.S. and Irish census records, and 19th century Griffiths Valuation records.

This event is open to the public and is free.


Wednesday afternoon at 2 PM April 27th at the Ocean Pines Community Center, 235 Ocean Parkway, Ocean Pines, MD 21811

Bark Mills

There were many types of mills on Delmarva; they ranged from saw mills to grist mills, one type, not often thought of was the Bark Mills.  The Bark Mill would grind bark into a powder, which was shipped to a tannery to be used in tanning hides.  In our area Oak bark was favored because of the high tannin levels in oak.  The bark is about 10% tannin and the oak wood is about 6 %.  The color of tanned hides from oak bark is usually a yellow brown color.

Since a bark mill was sometimes part of a saw mill operation and sometimes part of a tannery operation they were not often marked on maps in the 1800's, instead the title "saw mill" or "tannery" was shown on the map.  There were however bark mills that stood alone by them selves.

The Bark mill may have been as simple as this one shown above in Connecticut, almost similar to a sorghum mill operation only on a larger scale.  Sometimes the bark was ground by stone mill stones the same as flour and grain mill stones.

usually though purchased cast iron mills made to grind bark were used. 

The mill was turned by a mule (frequently a blind mule as all it had to do all day was walk in a circle).  Usually boys operated it by thrown bark in the mill than shoveling up and packing the powdered bark into barrels.  In turn the barrels were shipped to a tannery, (local or by ship to Baltimore) where the powder was watered down in vats and allowed to sit for several weeks to absorb the tannin in the bark and then the liquid was drawn off to other vats where hides were soaked in the solution it for six months to a year. 
In the July 24, 1880 "Salisbury Advertiser and Eastern Shoreman" Newspaper  is the above article about John,  a bark mill horse.

Interestingly in China in the 1800 and 1900's a blind man was used to push or pull the shaft on the grinder, as it employed the person and he worked cheap.