Monday, July 9, 2018

A Little About The Marvel family of Delmar

William Staten Marvel (1845-1935 ) was the son of Lemuel H. (1821-1900) and Ann Elizabeth Knowles (1816-1887) Marvel Georgetown.  Lemuel was a laborer and part of the many Marvel families in Georgetown.  They trace their family tree back to John Marvel (1632-1707) and his wife Ann West (1632-1707) who arrived from England to Virginia in 1652 and died Somerset County, Md.  William Marvel moved to Delmar about 1865 where he set up a Blacksmith shop on Grove Street and First Street.  About 1875 he established a funeral home.  He was married to Sallie Ann Hearn (1844-1914).  They had a number of children, mostly daughters.  He was a member of the Old School Baptist church.  His business and home was destroyed in the fire of 1892 (W. S. Marvel, residence, barn, smith shop, $3500, total loss;) and once again in the fire of 1901.  Each time he rebuilt.  

At that time his business was across the street from the present funeral home.  Not much is known about his operation prior to 1910.  At that time the deceased was usually displayed in his or her house so the undertaker would go to the house and measure the body with what was called a two knotted rope.  With this length of rope he would tie one knot as a measurement for the width of the deceased and the second knot would be for the length of the person.  With those measurements he would have a proper size casket built.  If outside of town, the embalming would take place at the deceased house with the liquid involved being put in buckets and dumped out by the barns.  If it was done in town it was dumped in the ditch on the property.  There was also the business of railroad accident deaths of people who did not live in Delmar.  The parts were cleaned and shipped to a funeral home close to the deceased family. Since most services for an undertaker occurred at the house of the deceased a large funeral parlor attached to the embalming business was not required.

Since William and Sallie had so many daughters when Sallie died in 1914 her pall bearers were her six son-in-laws.  William and Sallie are buried at St Stephens cemetery.

In 1931 Dr. Ellegood decided to leave Delmar.  This made available his home and the Doctors Office/Drugstore building he had across the street from William S. Marvel, Jr.  The Marvels purchased the property.  In 1937 they expanded to serve the Salisbury area by building a funeral home on East Church Street.  In 1950 they added the Chapel part of the Grove Street operation.   In 1972 they sold the undertaker business to William S Short and his wife Sarah Penuel Short.

The known children of William and Sallie Marvel (and it is felt there are more that died before 1900) are:

Ida E. Marvel (1863-1946) She would marry William Fairchild Peters (1849-1903) in Wilmington Delaware in 1883.  They would have as a child; Randolph Peters (1886-1945).  They lived in Philadelphia.  William's father, Randolph ,ran a large nursery in Wilmington Delaware.  Ida is buried in Drexel Hills.

Emily “Emma” J. Marvil (1867-1914) married in 1886, Henry Claude Ker, who was ordained a minister in the Old School Baptist Church by 1897.  They would have two children; Louisa (1887-1964 born in Delmar) and William Stewart Ker (1889-1917) who would become an undertaker. Emma would die in New York State where she is buried with her son.

Laura Leticia Marvel (1869-1947) married at 16 years old in 1886 to Harry D. Renninger.  They would live in Pocomoke where he worked for the railroad.  They would have three children; Ada, Clara, and Charles William Renninger.

Clara Elizabeth Marvel (1872-1950)  married Charles Henry Mahoney (1863-1944) who was the son of Henry M. Mahoney (1826-1889) and Angelina Wilkerson Mahoney (1836-1871) of Milford.  The couple would move to Glenolden, Pennsylvania where Charles would work as a telegraph operator for the B and O railroad, retiring in 1932.  After Charles passed away Clara would move back to Delmar and take up residence in the house at 7 E. Jewell St that her sister, Mary Agnes, and Brother-in-law, Clarence Hezekiah Matthews, had owned.  Both Clara and Charles are buried in St Stephens cemetery as are most of the Marvel family.

Fannie Marvel (1876-1942) married in 1896 to Benjamin E. Cubbage, an Elder in Old school Baptist church.  They lived outside of Dover.

Mary Agnes Marvel (1879-1960 ) would marry in 1904 to Clarence Hezekiah Matthews (1879-1958).  They lived in Philadelphia and Norfolk  before returning to Delmar to live at 7 E. Jewell Street in Delmar since 1913.   Clarence and Agnes had two daughters; Blanche Sallie Matthews (1906-1957) and Elizabeth Mary Matthews (1907-1942).   Clarence was the son of Henry Clay Matthews (1834-1917) and Sarah Gordy Matthews (1854-1900). 

William Staten Marvel jr (1881-1941) He is the first to be considered an undertaker in the family.  His father always listed Blacksmith first as an occupancy and undertaker second.  He was a funeral director for 33 years and active in the Republican Party which was very unusual in his profession as undertakers do not like to discourage business by having politics enter into it.  He married on Christmas day in 1901, Bertha Gertrude Sturgis (1882-1963).  Both are buried at St Stephens cemetery. They had two sons; William jr (1921-1975)and Charles (1906-1967) and a daughter; Louise (1904-1964).   Bertha obtained her mortician license in 1920 and became the first female mortician in Delaware. After her husband died Bertha and the two sons ran the business.

Salle Blanche Marvel (1882-1965) married in 1906 to Charles Norman Jefferson (1880-1967).  Norman was the son of Charles H and Margaret H Jefferson.  He was born near Smyrna, Delaware.  He was a teacher for a while then became a businessman in Easton, Maryland.  Blanche and Norman are buried in Chestertown, Maryland.

Henry Lester Marvel (1886-1934) There is a hint that he may have married young to a woman in Philadelphia and had a son, however by 1911 he had married Frances Elveura Ketterer of Georgia.  He moved to the Waycross area of Georgia and set up a funeral parlor where he practiced the trade.  He is buried in the Oakland cemetery in Waycross.

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