Saturday, December 11, 2010

The DHAS Holiday House Tour - 2010

I declare the Delmar Historical and Arts Society Holiday House tour a success. A big thanks to the gracious homeowners who opened their house to visitors this year. Also, a big thanks to Faith Krebs and Denise Cugler who organized the event.

I cannot gave a fair review of the home tour as I was a greeter in the Joy Fothergill's house and did not take the tour. Joy’s house is well decorated bungalow built in the 1920’s by the Workman family. The homes in Delmar rarely go beyond the early 1900’s due to the fires the town have had.

Those houses on tour were; The Steve Liller house, The Sue Reszutek house, The Bob and Bobby Hettinger house,The Dorene and Keith Davis House, The Sharon Levodnik house, and the Audrey Serman House (out in the Shadow Hills development). The Del-Mar-Va Model Railroad Club, the Delmar Library, the Delmar Wesleyan Church the Masonic Lodge and St. Stephens Church were open for the tour. Cookies and Hot Chocolate was served at the Masonic Lodge. Jerry Carr displayed part of his enormous Delmar Memorabilia.

This was the First House Tour the the Delmar Historical and Arts Society has put on. Hopefully they will continue annually and it will become a quintessential holiday tradition.

Now since this was the first house tour we know there are many areas for the society to improve in future house tours. We would like your comments and you can post them here or send an email to

Hopefully we will see you next year on the tour.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Airport Opens 1943

In October 1940, the Civil Aeronautics Administration decided an airport in the Salisbury area should be part of the national defense plan. On November 25, 1941 seven farms containing 695 acres were purchased (for $41,452) near Mt. Hermon Road.

Following a basic design of 3 5,000 feet concrete runways, round the clock construction begin. Due to the war time labor shortage of men really good wages were paid and lots of overtime was available.

A lot of people were required as seen in the above ad from B. Perini and Sons. As usual the construction contract did not go to a local company.

E. Clarke Gardner, director of Salisbury public works and Work Project Administration (WPA) labor cleared the land and paved the runways in 51 weeks, at a cost of $1,500,000.

On November 11th, Thursday, 1943, Armistice day at about 2:30 PM the dedication of the Salisbury-Wicomico county airport took place.

Salisbury stores closed for the occasion.

Before a crowd of 6,000 on a very cold, wind swept, snowy day at the airport the "Dawn of a new age" was announced by the politicians. Winters back in the 1940's were much like the winter we had last year. Cold weather started in September and snow was on the ground by November. A number of airports on the East Coast were closed due to the snow so many of planes scheduled to fly in for the opening ceremonies didn't make it. The politicians from the western shore that did make it were forced to spend the night in Salisbury due to the weather. The high winds and failure of the public address system prevented many from hearing the speeches. Today that may be considered a blessing but in the 1940s Politicians were still respected and feared. The Navy group of commanders came in a B-26 Martin Marauder and it was commented on that the B-26 used only a third of a mile of runway to land and take off. It was pointed that the Salisbury-Wicomico airport was one of 865 completed in 1943.

On May 15, 1944 the city and county signed a lease with the navy for one dollar for the airport to become the Salisbury Naval Auxiliary Air Station.

After the war, on November 15, 1945 the airport reverted back to civilian use.

In 1946 Chesapeake Airways (as shown in the above postcard) started operations at the Salisbury Airport. The officers and Directors were; Fred P. Adkins president, Charles D. Briddell and Enos Valliant vice presidents, Stanley Robins secretary, Ralph Grier treasurer, John Downing, Ralph Dulany, Avery Hall, Edgar Bennett and George Radcliffe, officers. It sounded like a who-who of the 1940s and 1950's in the Salisbury area. On April 4, 1946 the first Chesapeake planes arrived, with appropriate politicians giving speeches and taking credit. Mostly their planes were C-47’s and DC-3’s. They handled 25,000 passengers in the first 18 months. At $6.50 for passenger fare from Salisbury to Baltimore the airlines couldn't make it and stumbled on until 1949 and folded. Chesapeake Airways does still exist but as a part supplier. Followed by several other short lived local airlines it was not until Mr. Richard Henson moved his commuter service to Salisbury in 1968 as Henson Airlines that the airport found some stability.

In 1992 U.S. Airways purchased Henson Airlines and made it a part of its U.S. Airways Express system. The name was changed to Piedmont Airlines and the Salisbury operation grew to over 800 employees, as it became the maintenance center for U.S. Airways Express commuter aircraft.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Delmar Water Treatment Plant - 1997

Today in 1997 Delmar Broke ground on the "new" Water Treatment Plant on York Street.

George T. Jones and the Bi-State Weekly

The newspapers business in Delmar centered around George T. Jones and his wife, Mrs. Jones. Interesting altho the two ran the newspaper jointly I have found no reference to her first name. Prior to Mr. and Mrs. Jones entering the scene in Delmar there was the Delmar American newspaper run by William H. Hayman and the Delmar News, run by Frank A. Robertson. The papers were printed in Dover and sent to Delmar by rail each week. The Delmar American dropped out of existance around 1900. In 1911, Mr. and Mrs. Jones begin publishing The Herald. Shortly afterwards the two papers consolidated into the Delmar News-Herald. In 1913 Mr. and Mrs. Jones took control of the paper and renamed it the Peninsula News. In 1920 the publishing rights were sold to the Wicomico News of Salisbury, Maryland. After a short span Mr. and Mrs. Jones repurchased the paper and edited it again in Delmar, until 1927 when it was sold to Loren Quinn of Crisfield, Maryland. In 1932 Mr. and Mrs. Jones began publication of the Bi-State Weekly. The Bi-State Weekly would continue under various people until 1964. Altho later picked up as part of the State Register of Laurel it was never a Delmar paper after that. To this day Delmar does not have a paper it can call it's own.

Mr. Jones was born near Whitesville, Delaware in 1879. Mrs Jones was born in 1885 near Ward. Mr. Jones had a photography business in Ocean City until he was married in 1903. In 1903 they opened a photograph and print studio on the corner of East and South First street where they mainly printed circulars. After beginning the paper they continued to be the print shop for the town. Later the paper was moved to a shop behind their home on Delaware Avenue. Mr. and Mrs. Jones had one daughter Mrs. Myra Parks.

In 1948 Mr. and Mrs. Jones sold the Bi-State Weekly to two World War II veterans; William C. Calloway and Vernon L. Livingston. They continued to publish the paper until 1962 when it was sold to James K. Hazel, Jr. The paper struggled on, but by 1964 was done for.

DHAS Meeting

The Delmar Historical and Arts Society (DHAS) will hold it's monthly meeting November 11th at the District office at the High School at 7 PM. The public is welcome to attend.

Double Mills meeting

The next Double Mills meeting will be Tues. Nov. 23, 7 pm, at the Lodge Hall on Brattan St. in Mardela. Anyone interested in restoring the Double Mills grist mill is invited and encouraged to attend

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Baptist Church - 1963

From July 12, 1963 Bi-State Weekly

Groundbreaking services for a new church plant of the First Baptist Church of Delmar will be held Sunday, July 14, at 3:30 p.m. on the four-acre site on Route as-A just south of Delmar.

Plans for the new church building include an auditorium that will seat approximately 300 with an educational building caring for about 400 for Sunday School and various other church organizations.

George D. Savage, of Narberth Pa., is the architect. Plans had previously been approved by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention at Nashville, Tenn. Savage will continue to supervise the work until the building has been completed.

Sealed bids were received on July 2 and the low bidder was John L. Briggs and Company of Georgetown, Del., with a low bid of $76,235 for the general construction. The architect fee, sewerage and water will bring the total cost to an estimated $82,707 for the project.

The building will include 7,354 square feet of floor space and is designed as the first unit in a long-range building program. The structure will be of contemporary design of brick with a blend of pink and rose shale colonial brick. the interior will have an all-tile floor, hot air forced heat and the educational department will include a kitchen, with a kitchenette for the nursery.

Taking part in the groundbreaking ceremonies will be the following: Dr. Roy Gresham, executive secretary, Baptist Convention of Maryland; Elmer F. Ruark, president State Mission Board, Baptist Convention of Maryland; the Rev. L. P. Bernette, associational missionary, Eastern Baptist association; the Rev. Archie Prevatte, moderator, Eastern Baptist association; the Rev. Joseph E. Edmonds, president, Ministers Conference Eastern association; Building and Groundbreaking Committee C. Edward Culver, chairman, Marion Calloway, J. B. Moore, Earl Brannock, Mrs. Luther Mitchell; church department leaders; C. Edward Culver, chairman of deacons; Levin Lowe, chairman of trustees; Eugene Ross and Larry Hearn, senior church members.

Carlton Hastings, superintendent of Sunday school; Paul Mitchell, Training Union director; Mrs Mabel Elliott, president, W. M. U.; Ira Burton, president, Brotherhood; the Rev. Frank B. Robinson, pastor; and any other members of the congregation who wish to participate.

A cordial invitation is extended to all churches of the Eastern Baptist Conference and the town of Delmar to take part in the ceremonies. The public is invited and all former pastors of the church.

Friday, October 22, 2010

1722 Peace Treaty

October 22, 1722 - A Peace Treaty was signed between the Assateague & Pocomoke Indians, & Lord Charles Calvert, Governor of Maryland

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1943 Memorial plaque

On Sunday September 12, 1943 the American Legion of Delmar presented the Town of Delmar with a memorial plaque for the 271 men and women from the Delmar area who was serving in the Armed Forces in 1943. As listed in the September 10, 1943 edition of the Bi-State Weekly these are the men and women on the memorial plaque that was available at that date, it is not the total 271 that were presented a week later. I have no idea where the memorial plaque went. Since the war would continue for another two years and more men and women from our area would have joined I assume it was considered outdated and discarded. Roland E. Galusha had a gold star by his name as he was killed in action.

Carlton M. Adkins
Howard L. Adkins
William Lewis Adkins
William L. Atkinson
Mark M. Atkinson
Roy R. Aydelotte
James Bacon
Cecil W. Baker
Lee P. Baker
Raymond J. Baker
Warren W. Baker
Carroll S. Barr, Jr.
William K. Beach
George W. Beasley
Charles Beauchamp
Stanley J. Boyle
Charles H. Brittingham
Doris H. Brittingham
Oscar E. Brown
Harry N. Burrows
Cecil J. Burton
Willis E. Burton
Paul Bramble
Joseph N. Byrd
Samuel L. Byrd
Jack H. Calloway
Marion H. Calloway
Maurice E. Cannon
Everett T. Carey
Richard L. Carey
John P. Caulfield
James T. Caulfield
John E. Collins
Luther C. Collins
Carlton J. Conoway
Edward C. Conoway
Oliver L. Cook, Jr.
Charles H. Crowley
Clayton D. Cugler
Walter G. Cugler
William S. Cugler
Richard E. Cullen
William J. Curdy
Harry B. Cutter
Albert U. Davis
James W. Davis
Paul J. Davis
J. A. Dennis
Mitchell F. Dennis
Olin W. Dennis
Paul H. Deshields
Donald M. Dickerson
Joseph C. Dickerson
Paul L. Dickerson
John M. Disharoom
William R. Draper
George W. Duncan
James R. Dutton
Alvin A. Elliott
Alvin E. Elliott
Calvin J. Elliott
George W. Elliott
William M. Elliott
Jackson P. Ellis
Leslie E. Ellis
Paul K. Ellis
Samuel M. Ellis
William H. Ellis
James deFelice
Sewell R. Fields
Harold W. Figgs
Henry G. Fisher
William H. Fisher
William E. Fitzgerald
David J. Foskey
Guerney G. Gaines
Irving R. Gaines
Robert E. Gaines
Tennyson W. Gaines
William C. Games
Amos C. Galusha
*Roland E. Galusha
Bayard J. Gordy
George J. Gordy
Howard W. Gravenor
Charles A. Green
Oswald W. Green
Lloyd V. Hall
Eugene F. Hammond
Louis M. Hartman
Carlton J. Hastings
Clyde T. Hastings
Clifford L. Hastings
George H. Hastings
Glen T. Hastings
Howard E. Hastings
Louis M. Hastings
Odell M. Hastings
Ralph H. Hastings
Willis D. Hastings
Vaughn E. Hitchens
Robert B. Hayman
Edwin T. Hearn
James Hearn
John W. Lavater Hearn
William E. Hearn
William H. Hearn
William M. Hearn
Omon Higgins
Paul E. Hill
James R. Hitchens
M. L. Hitchens
William W. Hitchens
Alvin T. Hoffman
Joseph S. Holden
George E. Hopkins
Levin J. Horsey
Thomas W. Horsey
Elston G. Hovatter
Paul A. Howard
Thomas O. Hoxter
Marion C. Hudson
George W. Hudson, Jr.
Everett R. Hutchison
James A. Johnson
Robert P. Johnson
C. William Jones
E. G. P. Jones, Jr.
George Kerekesh
Mike Kerekesh
Peter Kerekesh
George W. Kirk
Chester R. Lake
Norman E. Layfield
William Leadbetter
Linwood C. Lecates
Robert W. Lecates
William M. Lecates
James H. Long
Joseph W. Lowe
Edward H. Lynch
William S. Marvel, III
James S. McAlister
Paul H. McAllister
Ralph C. McCain
Clarence L. McCaine
Robert McCain
Brian C. McLaughlin
John T. McLaughlin
Elsie Northam Meyer
Roland L. Mills
Walter T. Mills
Luther W. Mitchell
Milton E. Mitchell
James C. Morris
William A. Morris
William R. Morris
Benjamin H. Mitchell
John H. Martin
Charles W. W. Mitchell
William R. Neff
Robert L. Neill
William W. Neill
Charles S. Nelson
Sylvia B. Nichols
Francis E. Nunvar
George H. Oliphant
William W. Parker
Robert W. Pennewell
John W. Penuel
James A. Penuel
Earl G. Perry
Davis N. Phillips
G. Wright Phillips
Joseph H. Phillips
Luther L. Phillips
William J. Phoebus
Charles Powell
Irving Powell
Robert E. Powell
James R. Powell
Robert O. Pote
William T. Pritchett
Paul A. Pusey
Maurice C. Reddish
Fred I. Rider
Harry P. Ring
Jenn W. Roberts
Charles V. Robertson
Calvin E. Ross
George E. Ross
Henry C. Ryall
Robert H. Ryall
Frank B. Sample
John W. Sample
Kathryn E. Sample
George O. Searcey
John D. Searcey
Lewis S. Selby
Margaret C. Sherwood
Carroll Smith
Joshua J. Smith
Millard C. Smith
Oliver K. Smith
Ross M. Smith
Clarence T. Smithers
Earl L. Smullen
George W. Sparrow
Walter J. Stephens
Robert R. Stewart
Arthur R. Studley, Jr.
Norman G. Sullivan
Norris H. Sullivan
Orville H. Sullivan
Walter G. Sullivan
Joseph L. Superka
Peter Tamburino
Curtis Taylor
Howard F. Taylor
James L. Taylor
Walter E. Teets
Joseph E. Tinley, Jr.
James E. Thompson
James R. Truitt
Louis H. Truitt
Elmer R. Twilley
Levin C. Twilley
Robert J. Vincent
Wilton C. Wailes
George B. Walker
Howard T. Waller
Glen W. Ward
William T. Ward
Earl F. West
Henry P. White, Jr.
John F. Whitley, Jr.
Raymond B. Wilkinson, Jr.
Francis P. Williams
Melvin L. Williams
Howard M. Wilson
Isaac A. Wingate
Samuel B. Wright
Melford L. White

Wilcher Park

On my walk today I walked thru the Wilcher Park development. Wilcher park is east of Holloway Town and North of Delmar Elementary school. It is best known for the lighting displays the residents have at Christmas time. The development is located on the 200/300 block of Popular Street and Spruce Street outside of Delmar, Maryland. The original 1958 Plat called for 28 houses and I assume Wilcher is some combination of words that had some meaning to the developer J. William Gordy. Most of the homes are the “rancher” style from the 1960’s and in fact most were built in the 1960’s. As was the thing for developments of that era there are not sidewalks in the development, with the exception of those lots bordering Second Street which are in the town limits. The rest of the lots are out of the town limits with the exception of four lots that are split between being part in town and part out of town. The development was owned by J. William Gordy Fuel Co and was developed by J. William Gordy. The lot sizes are generally about a quarter acre (85 ft by 140 ft) . The development has Delmar town water and sewer and since Delmar would be the First responder it also has Delmar police protection.

Living With The Blue Laws

Sunday shopping, in a few hours stores will be opened (some already are) and everyone will rush out to shop on Sunday. WalMart and the Centre at Salisbury, like many retail outlets, is a crowded place on Sunday. It is hard to think that twenty-one years ago the Mall in Salisbury was closed on Sunday and the grocery stores and the lumber yards of the time like Lowes and Moores were also closed, but that was the way life was on Delmarva. Back then Delmarva had what was called “the Blue Laws.”

Blue Laws were laws promulgated to ensure we observed Sunday as a day of worship or rest. They simple said you could not sell anything on Sunday unless it fit a certain narrow classification. As I recall the items you could sell on Sunday were; drugs and medicines, gasoline and oil, tobacco, prepared meals, milk, bread, fruit, confectioneries, newspapers and magazines. It seems strange, today, that tobacco products would be allowed to be sold but not other items like food. Each county could modify these laws to allow the sale of other items or to allow entertainment. I think Wicomico County was one of the more strict counties. The only businesses I remember being open on Sunday were Drug Stores, Restaurants and gas stations.

The general concept of what could be sold on Sunday revolved around Sunday being a day of rest for the family. So items of limited recreational use for a family which might take a Sunday ride into the country and they would need gasoline for the automobile and may wish for a soft drink or fresh fruit or a meal at a restaurant or those who go to the beach may wish ice cream or some other item normally sold there and of course newspapers and drug products should always be available to the public. The Sunday ride was an institution in my family.

Because a Drug Store could sell medicine on Sunday the Blue Laws created the modern Drugstore as we know it in America. The reason they carry all those items beside drugs was because they could stay open on Sunday and they had no competition, now they legally were not allowed to sell most of the items they had in the store but some drugstores did, others didn’t. Reads, Central, Gordy’s, and Salisbury drugs are the main drug stores I can think of in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Later Dart drugs and the rest of the chain drugstores would come to town. I can remember going in to Salisbury Drugs on a Sunday and seeing most of the aisle marked off with rope preventing Sunday sales of those items. Come Monday the ropes were removed and business was normal. Sometimes there was simply a poster that said these are the items we can not sell on Sunday. I read somewhere that the Ice Cream Sunday was created due to the Blue Laws that prevented selling “soda water” on Sunday. I asked Dick Dykes about the drug stores at the time and he said “ I remember the Peoples Drug Store always sold anything on Sunday and then suddenly they weren't allowed to by law! I think the downtown merchants in Salisbury were responsible for this. They were a pretty powerful bunch in town then you know. The Benjamins, The Hess's, The Powells and a few others.”

Maryland has always been known as a corrupt state where favors can be purchased, so it was no surprise that lobby efforts were made to have products moved into one of the exempt from Sunday Blue Laws classes. The medical supply classification was popular as was the the other strange exempt class of novelties and souvenirs . Items such as shampoo, body soaps, tampons, toothpaste ( I have second thoughts on toothpaste, I think toothpaste may have been an item they couldn't sell on Sunday - I just don't remember) etc were available on Sunday. As time moved on into the 1970’s even more exceptions and exemptions were made to the Sunday Blue Laws.

Along a similar line the Blue Laws created today’s convenience store. Since Gasoline Stations could stay open on Sunday they started selling Bread, Milk and newspapers and evolved into today’s convenience store. Certainly in the 1950’s Bank’s Cash Market on College Avenue and Division Street in Salisbury was a busy place because of that. The Banks Market would form the center of a chain of Banks Convenience stores later, and in turn, they would be bought by the Shore Stop Chain of convenience stores. Others market stores of these type were; the Tony Tank Market, Campbell’s Market, Bob’s Cash Market on Baker street and Price’s Pickup Store on Alabama Avenue.

Back in the 1950’s there was a limited number of chain stores. As I have said in previous posts Woolworth, Wards, Sears and Penneys were the main ones in Salisbury with Safeway, Colonial, A&P, and Giant being the chain grocery stores. The rest of the stores were Mom and Pop operations and I think they must have liked the blue laws as they worked six days a week in their store and the only way they could get a day off was by way of the blue laws. They knew if they were closed, the chain grocery stores such as Safeway, Colonial Store, and Giant Food would also have to be closed thusly the chain stores would not have an unfair competitive advantage over them by staying open on Sunday. It was also a time when you were known by your reputation and a store owner had to pretty much be in church on Sunday otherwise he would get a reputation as a heathen who didn’t believe in God and no one would come to his store.

As for entertainment some places (bowling alleys) could be open from 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. it was assumed you would be in Church before that time and after that time. If you lived in Wicomico County and wanted to see a movie you went to Delmar, Delaware because Delaware allowed movies to be shown on Sunday - if they were in the corporate limits of a town. Because of this Blue Law, Delmar Delaware added an odd town limit boundary line. When the Drive In wanted to open in Delmar they requested they be put in the town limits due to the Blue Laws. So Delmar annexed a narrow ten foot wide strip of land by the railroad tracks and ran it North to the Drive-in movie where it was extended to their land creating a hatchet head effect on the town limits. Later Wicomico County relaxed the laws on entertainment and movies etc could be shown after 2 PM until midnight.

Living under the Blue Laws was like everything else - you adjusted to them. You had to plan ahead for what ever items you would need on Sunday. It may have been lumber for a home repair project or food for the Sunday Dinner or car parts for a home car repair project – you had to buy it Saturday. If you did need some item on Sunday and didn’t have it you had to find someone who did have it so you could buy it or borrow it until Monday (dare we say the blackmarket). The image of the housewife running next door to borrow a cup of flour came about in part from the Blue Laws. In the case of alcoholic beverages there was none sold on Sunday but there was always the local bootlegger. In this case bootlegger didn’t mean moonshine but simply pint bottles and half pint bottles of regular liquor that the person sold on Sunday or after liquor store hours. They would also make home deliveries the same as the milk man. I understand there was a bootlegger that hung out at Reuben Holden Pool Hall in Delmar.

So why put up with them? In 1960 a case was bought before the Supreme Court against Maryland Blue Laws. The case was known as McGowan vs Maryland, in it the
“Appellants, employees of a large department store on a highway in Anne Arundel County, Md., were convicted and fined in a Maryland State Court for selling on Sunday a loose-leaf binder, a can of floor wax, a stapler, staples and a toy, in violation of Md.Ann.Code, Art. 27, § 521, which generally prohibits the sale on Sunday of all merchandise except the retail sale of tobacco products, confectioneries, milk, bread, fruit, gasoline, oils, greases, drugs, medicines, newspapers and periodicals.”
The end result of the case, in 1961, was the Supreme Court decided in favor of Maryland and held .

“Art. 27, § 521 does not violate the Equal Protection or Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or constitute a law respecting an establishment of religion, within the meaning of the First Amendment, which is made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.”.
“The present purpose and effect of most of our Sunday Closing Laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens, and the fact that this day is Sunday, a day of particular significance for the dominant Christian sects, does not bar the State from achieving its secular goals.”

So the courts said the Blue Laws were fine and legal.

The reasons why the Blue Laws went away are many; shopping pressure from the wife in the family taking a job, the divorce rate going up so there was only one adult per family, and the replacement of Mom and Pop Stores with chain stores. I think I can say when the chain stores replaced the small stores, shopping became more convenient but family values eroded. No law can be enforced by government if the majority of the people are not in favor of it. As long as Wicomico County remained isolated, the prevailing powers could enforce the Blue Laws. Once the “outsiders”, in this case, Chain stores, started moving into the county, Wicomico County was no longer able to control the enforcement of Blue Laws. No longer was there a “day of rest” in which all family members were home at the same time. I think in the last election there was some talk of a “Day of Rest” once a week by Obama and Clinton, were they talking about a return to the Blue Laws?

In July of 1987, the State of Maryland repealed the Blue Laws everywhere in the State except Washington, Allegany and Wicomico countries. So on Sunday, July 5th the Malls were open, there was an extra day of shopping and an extra day of work for some people in all of Maryland except for those three countries. As I recall shortly after this, maybe in the fall of 1987, Giant Food told Wicomico County they had had enough of the Blue Laws and starting on Sunday they intended to sell everything in their store the same as they would any other day. There was no legal action taken against Giant Food and the enforcement of the Blue Laws collapsed in Wicomico County which ended most of the Blue Laws.

Today; you can still see the effect of the Blue Laws more in tradition than actual law. Banks, the Post Office, Government offices, Chick-fil-a and other stores, are closed on Sunday or have hours that are after Church. In some cases it is law as in Car Sales, the signing of contracts, the hours and dates you can hunt wildlife, etc. look around you, you can see some Blue Laws and the aftermath of the Blue Laws still.

Heart Sunday

One of those random memories of the 1950’s and 60’s happened to have crossed my mind this past Sunday. Back in that time period, the last Sunday of the month would be “Heart Sunday.” I think today the American Heart Association still has a campaign in February for donations. In February on top of Heart Sunday there was also March of Dimes and the United Way, everywhere you went someone had their hand out. Heart Sunday was an involved campaign and the actual logistics of it was quite involved with pre-training sessions for the Heart Fund volunteers and a packet of instructions with donation sheet to each volunteer. In Delmar, Mrs. William Gordy was very active. It would start at the being of February with collection containers in the shape of red plastic hearts being put in stores and businesses everywhere in town for donations. On "Heart Sunday", women volunteers would have a street assigned to them and they would go house-to-house knocking on doors asking for donations. This was usually in the afternoon (after church) when they would take to the streets. Other towns and counties would use a different approach to the Heart Fund collections but as I recall Wicomico County always went with “Heart Sunday.”

In looking at a 1960 Bi-State Weekly some of the Delmar, Maryland people assigned on “Heart Sunday” were;
Spruce Street, Mrs. Lawrence Disharoon
S. Second Street, Mrs. Charles Holloway
Pine Street, Mrs. Darrell Stearns, Mrs. Evelyn Williams and Miss Sandra Perry
Chesnut Street, Mrs. J. William Gordy, Mrs. Otis Mitchell, Mrs. Smiley Hastings and Mrs. Eugene Ross
Elizabeth Street, Mrs. Clifford Sturgis, Miss Barbara Hudson, Mrs. Leslie Smith, Mrs. Vogel Moore and Mrs. James Banks
East Street, Mrs. Mary LeCates, Mrs. Walter Fisher, Mrs. Carlton Hastings, Mrs. Claude LeCompte and Mrs. Edward Shedaker
Maryland Avenue, Mrs. Louis Truitt,
West of Railroad, Mrs. Lamont Williams and Mrs. Joseph Triglia
State Street, Mrs. Allison Webster, Mrs. Howard Hastings, Miss Virginia Brittingham and Mrs.Woodrow Moore
Woodlawn, Mrs. Weslena Furr

Today some of the Maryland neighborhoods are so rough even Jehovah Witnesses don’t go into them. Perhaps that is the reason some streets had multiple people assigned to them instead of one – safer in numbers.

Home Demonstration Clubs

“To fashion from simple everyday materials a house of comfort and cheer, to create through tolerance and wholesome interests a home of peace and pleasure; to inspire respect for the lowly duties of daily life; and to kindle love and understanding of people and all expressions of beauty – this I would do.” Homemakers Creed by Mrs Clarence Melson

What could be more representative of social life for women in Sussex County in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s than Home Demonstration Clubs. Home Demonstration Clubs taught good farm and homemaking practices to the women of Sussex County. Using 1954 as an example there were 91 clubs in Delaware with 3,500 members. Since this was mostly a white woman’s club and the population of Delaware in 1954 was only about 325,000 this was a fairly high percentage of the population for this type of club. Most clubs had a membership of about twenty members. The clubs usually would meet once a month and the Home Demonstration agents would try to attend as many meeting as possible. With 91 clubs they were busy people.

The Home Demonstration Clubs served many purposes, they served as a class in which homemaking practices were taught, they were a clearing house for women expressing their common interests and problems, and they were social gatherings. They were not designed to be a community civic club, although they did do many community and social projects.

They were among the first groups that the federal government experimented with by giving direction under the disguise of education. Food production, conservation nutrition, civil defense, salvage and rural health were all programs directed by the Federal Government and taught at Home Demonstration Clubs via the Extension Service.

The University of Delaware Extension offices would offer educational training courses on home making topics. Each club would send one to two members to the courses, referred to as short courses, the members would returned to their clubs and teach that subject to the other members.

So how did this outreach of the University Of Delaware come in to being? The Cooperative Extension Service developed out a system of Federal Acts. The 1862 Morrill Act established land grant agricultural colleges. In the act, the purpose is stated in the following words:

. . . the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the states may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.

Besides agriculture you will note it also included military education. Since this act was passed during the civil war the United States needed officers in the military so they included this catch line in the act they passed. The Morrill Act was one of the first steps of the Federal Government telling the states what they would teach in college. They did this by giving money to the colleges by way of passing on the income the federal government obtained from public lands to the colleges. Each Representative and Senator was to receive the income from 30,000 acres of federal land for these colleges. Because the income came from public lands these colleges became known as land grant colleges. Each state was to have at least one land grant college. Most have two because in 1890 they also established a Negro land grant college in each state also. In Delaware the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are land grant colleges. In Maryland the University of Maryland is a land grant college (Maryland State College in Princess Anne was the Negro land grant College in Maryland but it was swallowed into the University of Maryland College system).

The Hatch act of 1887 created the agricultural experiment station program for these colleges. To spread the word about the research information obtained from the experiment research stations the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created the agricultural extension service (later in the 1960’s it became the Cooperative extension service). Each county ended up with an extension office. This office usually consisted of a basic staff of three people; a county agent, a 4-H club agent, and a home demonstration agent. The Home Demonstration Agent assisted with creating and educating the Home Demonstration clubs.

The early 1900’s was a period of great change in rural America. The use of motor vehicles came into wide spread use. The increase in better constructed roads allowed the farmer to a wider range for the sale of his products. Rural electrification was made available to the farms and with that came lights, refrigeration, radios, telephones, electric irons and fans. The Home Demonstration Agent was there to inform women on gardening practices, poultry raising, Civil Defense, the use of the pressure cooker to preserve meats, fruits, and vegetables, preparation of nutritious meals, sewing clothing, and household sanitation.

The first Sussex County Home Demonstration club was started in 1915. In 1936 there were 51 home demonstration clubs in Delaware with 1,373 women as members. They continued to grow, reaching their peak in the 1950’s, by the 1960’s they had started their decline and today there is only one Home Demonstration Club in each county. In Sussex County the last club is the Harberson Home Demonstration Club. Today the Sussex County Home Demonstration Agent from the extension service is referred to as a Family and Consumer Science Educator and her name is Anne Camasso.

Using 1957, as an example of the number of Home Demonstration Clubs, we find there were 24 clubs in Sussex County. They were; The Atlanta Club, The Bacons Club, The Broad Creek Club, The Columbia Club, The County Seat Club, The Delmar Club, The Ellendale Club, The Georgetown Club, The Greenwood Club, The Hollymount Club, The Indian River Club, The Merry Homemakers Club, The Millsboro Club, The Mt. Pleasant Club, The Nanticoke Club, The Nassau Club, The Omar Club, The Piney Grove Club, The Rehoboth Beach Club, The Reliance Club, The Shawnee Club, The Shawnee Evening Club, The Slaughter Neck Club, and the Wesley-Cannon Club. The one Home Demonstration agent for Sussex County was a busy person with 24 clubs.

Those were of course, in that time period, the white Home Demonstration clubs. The Negro Home Demonstration Clubs are less known and didn’t seem to start until the early 1950’s. They also seemed to be handled on a statewide basis instead of by county. Some Negro Home Demonstration Clubs were; Owen’s Corner, Harrington, Milton, Trinity Community, Bridgeville, Greenwood, Cheswold, and Milford.

Let’s look at three Home Demonstration Clubs in the Delmar area; Delmar, Bacons and Columbia. If you are a native of this area you may notice in the member names that the Delmar, Bacons, and the Columbia home demonstration clubs were made up of members that were related to one another. Most of the information came from newspapers of the 1950’s and 1960’s time period. Since this was still a time when married women didn’t have first names but went by their husband first name (Mrs. Paul Dickerson) some members may be repeated.

The Delmar Home Demonstration Club would meet on Tuesday afternoon usually at the American Legion home, or a member’s home. The Home Demonstration Agent attended the meeting usually every other month.

Some member names of this club, I picked up from newspapers of the 1950’s period were; Mrs. Elin Sullivan, Mrs. Dora Layfield, Mrs. Marie Adkins, Mrs. Sallie Baker, Mrs. Dallas Gordy, Mrs, Ella Nichols, Mrs. Frances Arbogast, Mrs. Beulah Littleton, Mrs. Elnora Whaley, Mrs. Elsie Parsons, Mrs. Lillian Phoebus, Mrs. Helen Sullivan, Mrs. Isabell White, Mrs. Annabel Cordrey, Mrs. Charlotte Acker, Mrs. Rose Baker, Mrs. Marie Collins, Mrs. Dallas Hitchens, Mrs. Erma Beauchamp, Mrs. Metha Hastings, Mrs. Buelah Littleton, Mrs. Lucille Alsop, Mrs. Annabelle Sahre, Mrs. Ethel Gordy, Mrs. Anna West, Mrs. Sallie White, Mrs. Mamie Gordy, Mrs. Josephine Jackson, Mrs. Emma German, Mrs. Myrtle White, Mrs. Nora Bailey, Mrs. Lizzie Littleton, Mrs. Blom West, Mrs. Grace Whitley, Mrs. Mazie Hudson, and Mrs. Pearl Brumble.

In 1962 The Delmar Home Demonstration Club elected as their president, Mrs. Carlton Adkins, Vice-President Mrs. Floyd Hastings, Secretary Mrs. Medford White, and Treasurer Mrs. William Layfield.

A smattering of topics taught would be; Planned Recreation for Teenagers, Stool Making, Interior Decorating, Use of Patterns and the Care of New Fabrics, Wrapping and Preparing of Food to be Frozen, Gourmet Cooking, Civil Defense, and Picture Framing and Hanging.

The Bacons Home Demonstration Club was formed in 1947 and would meet on Thursday afternoon usually at the St. George’s Community Hall. In looking at newspapers from the 1950’s some of the members that were in the Bacons Club were; Mrs. Mildred Gould, Mrs. Bernice Brittingham, Mrs. Paul Dickerson, Mrs. Alan Culver, Mrs. Charlotte Gould, Mrs. Margaret Ann Nicholson, Mrs. Lottie Masten, Mrs. Helen Elliott, Mrs. Beatrice Ralph, Mrs. Maggie James, Mrs. Joyce Culver, Mrs. Lillian Messick, Mrs. Ethel Workman, Mrs. Carlos Elliott, Mrs. Ruth Hearn, Mrs. Ethel Elliott, Mrs. Elsie Brittingham, Mrs. Bernice Brittingham, Mrs. Ethel Foskey, Mrs. Sarah Jones, Mrs. Alma Smith, Mrs. Grace Nichols, Mrs. Minnie Jackson, Mrs. Mabel Elliott, Mrs. Pauline James, Mrs. Elizabeth Workman, Mrs. Carmelia Porter, Mrs. Susie Wilson, Mrs. Lorence Campbell, Mrs. Irene Culver, Mrs. Irene Adams, and Mrs. Alice Tull.

In 1957 the club President was Mrs. Albert Brittingham, the Vice-President was Mrs. Elijah Elliott, The secretary was Mrs. Arba Culver, and the treasurer was Mrs. Joseph Elliott.

Topics talked about were; International Relations, Table Linens and Table Settings, Pruning Shrubbery, Proper way to brush hair, Sharpening knives, Easy Ironing, How to Iron, Quick Sandwiches, Dressings for salads, and Civil Defense.

The Columbia Home Demonstration club would meet on Wednesday afternoon at the Columbia Grange Hall or the Mt. Hermon Community House.

Some of the members in the club mentioned in 1950’s and 1960’s newspapers were;
Mrs. Ralph Ellis, Mrs. Paul Kenney, Mrs. George Moore, Mrs. Everett Calloway, Mrs. Frank Collins, Mrs. Edgar Hastings, Mrs. Doris Twilley, Mrs. George White, Mrs. Nema Beach, Mrs. Althea Kennedy, Mrs. Ruth Rider, Mrs. Erma Rider, Mrs. Helen Owens, Mrs. Harry Beach, Mrs. Charles Smithy, Mrs. Elva LeCates, Mrs. Victor Beach, Mrs. Mac Dickerson, Mrs. Florence Stephens, Mrs. Marilyn Cooper, Mrs. Isabel Wright, Mrs. Dorothea Ellis, Mrs. Ruth Phillips, Mrs. Agnes Johnson, Mrs. Anna Tomlinson, Mrs. Myrtle Wilkinson, and Mrs. Anna Hudson,

In 1961 the Columbia Club president was Mrs. Levin Twilley, the Vice-President was Mrs. Holland Twilley, the Secretary was Mrs. Marvin Bradley and the Treasurer was Mrs. Paul Kenney.

Some of the topics taught at the Columbia Club were; Care of the Skin, Color in the Home, Picture Framing, Selection and use of patterns, New Trends in Frozen Foods, How To Cook the cheaper cuts of meat.

Some Sussex County Home Demonstration agents were; in 1940 Miss Gertrude Holloway, in the 1950’s Nancy (Nan) E. Ratliff Shelton, in the 1960’s Miss Frances Shoffner, and today, Anne Camasso.

In the 1960’s the decline of the Home demonstration Clubs started. The decline can be seen in the newspaper columns written by the Home demonstration agent. In the 1950’s Nan Ratliff Shelton wrote a weekly newspaper column. In the column there were household hints and discussions of activities of the individual Home Demonstration Clubs and state activities. In the 1960’s when Miss Frances Shoffner wrote the column there was no mention of individual clubs. Today there is no column written at all. I think the home extension service itself helped with the decline in clubs by not giving them the support and publicity they had in the 1950’s. As the membership in the clubs decreased they would merge with other clubs, sometimes this created conflicts and more members dropped out. The wife instead of staying home went to work and didn’t have time for afternoon clubs. There was less emphasis in Sussex County on farming and more on the modern office job. There was also a social outlook in the 1950’s that farming was very uncool. The end result is there is one Home Demonstration Club in Sussex County today.

The information in this post came from newspapers of the period and help from Anne Camasso – University of Delaware, Lisa Dennis and Dan Tabler – University of Maryland.

The Year Without A Senior Class

Back, what seems like a long time ago, there were two school systems in Delmar. One on the Delaware side of town and one on the Maryland side of town. Many people are saying that is what the present school system is aiming to go back to, but that is a story for another post. This post is about one of the two schools, the Maryland High School. Up until 1949, the Maryland High School only required eleven years of school to graduate. Like wise for the Delaware High School but Delaware didn't increase the years of schooling until much later. In 1949 the State of Maryland required 12 years of school for a high school diploma. 1949 was the first year in which the 12 years of schooling took effect and because of this the tenth grade (juniors) of 1948 which should have became Seniors in the 11th grade in 1949, remained Juniors because they had another year to go to make it to the 12th grade. So the Delmar Maryland High School had no senior class nor a graduating class in 1949.

Now the above is based on what I read in some of the Bi State Weekly newspapers in 1949. I called the Wicomico County Board of Education and asked if this was true of all schools in Wicomico County, seems to me like it would be. I got the usual Board of Ed response of "we will get back to you." I am still waiting. Assuming a great deal, I guess you could project this out and say there was no graduating high school class in the state of Maryland in 1949, but I don't really know that.

I also have been told that Delaware High School graduates with only eleven years of schooling compared to the Maryland twelve years of schooling had difficulty finding jobs in Maryland because they were not viewed as having a High School education.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Delmar Drive In Movie - 1950

The entrance to the Delmar Drive-In
The Delmar Drive-In was built in 1950. In 1950, the Drive-In had as competition; The "Avenue" in Delmar, the "Waller" in Laurel, and in Salisbury the "New" theater, "Ulman's", and the "Boulevard" theater. The drive-in charged 50 cents a person on Friday and Saturday and thru the rest of the week $1.00 a carload. After a couple months of operation the owner, Nat Rosen, requested the Drive-In be annexed into the Town of Delmar, Delaware. At that time there were "blue" laws on the book that prevented a movie theater that was not in a town limits to show movies on Sunday and he wanted the Sunday revenue. After a heated debate, and a referendum vote on July 1, 1950 the drive-in and a 300 foot wide strip from Francis Lane running north by the railroad tracks about 3,000 foot to the drive-in was made part of the town. Prior to the referendum vote, Councilman A. E. Hantwerker expressed concerns that the idea was not a good one as the town could not support the annexed land by providing services (water, sewer, police protection). This has been a continuing concern of many people to this day. We have had an inquiry from the owner of the property in 2005 for the availability of water and sewer. The Delmar Drive-In spend it last remaining days showing X rated movies in the town limits of Delmar.

This photo is of the snack bar that is on the property. Well, it is hard to see due to the height of the weeds and shrubs. In the weeds you can see the white speaker posts are still there. When my parents use to take us kids to the Delmar drive-in it had a playground and pony rides. It was quite an event.

This is the road leading thru the Drive-in.

Delmar's First Drive In Movie Theatre

As you may have noticed I have been posting a number of ads from the 1940 to 1944 time period. This is because I have been trying to research Delmar's First Drive In Movie Theatre, which was in that time period. I have not been that successful in my research. Neither the State Register newspaper in Laurel, nor the Bi-State Weekly in Delmar had much to say about it other than running the ads for the drive-in. What little I have been able to determine is it seems to have been in business from July 1941 thru 1943. In Various ads it shows the location of one mile north of Delmar on (Old) RT13, some ads show it to be two miles north of Delmar. If the town limits in 1941 were close to what they are today this would place the drive-in at the feedmill and Allen Mill Road. If it was two miles north it would where the used furniture store is (Mr. T's Furniture).

Advertising was interesting as they said in some ads the movie was free but parking was 30 cents.

Like the Delmar Drive-In that would come along in the 1950's this one had live shows also. Acts such as Vince Arvey and his Ramblers, Bill Dove and His Maryland Yodelers, and of course, Susabelle and Hessie Robinson.

The only reference I came across to the Drive-In was in the July 4, 1941 Bi-State Weekly.

An Open air movie park has been opened on US Route 13, one mile north of here.

The park is similar to that near other eastern cities and motion pictures are viewed from the car.

Now this was in a time when the local newspapers would write reviews of current movies showing and list upcoming movies with photos of the stars (Free advertising) plus run the ad for the local theatre. The above ad did not sound like the town was wild about the concept of a Drive-In Movie coming to town. There was nothing mentioned in the Laurel paper.

My guess is what killed the drive-in movie theatre was gas rationing in WWII. But it may have been it just was not popular and didn't financially panout.

Anyway I have more of a collection of ads and article from that time period that I will post.

Whitman's Chocolate - 1941

Even Whayland Drug Store in Delmar was into the Whitman's Chocolate promotion

"A Touch of Home in a Box That's Known"

House To Rent - 1941

Click To enlarge

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Delmar Bakery and R-B Baking Co - 1940's

The Delmar Bakery was built in 1939 and in January of 1940 The Delmar Bakery opened for business. Described as being located on North State Street, it took the place of the old bakery building at North Second and Grove street where the bakery had been operating for over 25 years. It employed 16 people and had six delivery trucks to cover the Sussex area. Alfred Goetz was manager of the firm and the bakery supplied bread, rolls, cakes, pies and pastries.

At some point in 1941 however the Delmar Bakery was sold and the new company was R-B Baking Co. They however had the same operation as the original Delmar Bakery. Their line of baked goods were label "Gingham Girl".

The building cost $50,000 to build. This "new" building had a storage room capable of holding 12 carloads of flour, an office, a makeup room, a boiler room, a loading platform and an apartment on the second floor. It could bake 1,800 loafs of bread an hour. The bakery was acquired by G. D. Rugeriis of Philadelphia from Carroll Elliott of Delmar. The bakery later was acquired by the William Freihofer Baking company. It ceased operations I believe in the 1960's. William Freihofer Baking Company sold "Hollywood" Bread

The William Freihofer Bakery at 500 North BiState

Delmar Theatre Ad - 1941

Yes, a reshowing of "Gone With The Wind"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Death of Three Delmar Girls - 1935

April 20, 1935 The Salisbury Times

Three Delmar Girls and three Salisburians Are Victims Of Accident In Powellville At 12:15 A. M. This Morning


Bodies Were Crushed As Front Of Car Is Driven Back To Rear Seat. Girls Had Attended Rehearsal of Church Pageant

All six occupants of an automobile were killed early today when their machine crashed into the rear of a lumbertruck parked just off the road in Powellville.

The dead are;
Thaddeus Dykes, 25, Washington Street.
Norris Dykes, his brother, 22, Washington Street.
Wisehart Mumford, 19, East Locust Street.
Violet Templeton, 17, Maryland Ave., Delmar.
Evelyn Willey, 17, Chestnut Street, Delmar.
Agnes Taylor, 20, Maryland Ave., Delmar.

All died at the scene of the accident except the Taylor girl who died four hours after being brought to the hospital here. She did not regain consciousness and none of the six victims lived to tell their own story of the tragedy.

The bodies were brought to the undertaking establishment of Holloway and Company and later claimed by the relatives and were taken to the several homes.

State Attorney Rex A. Taylor said investigation showed the cause of the accident to be so apparent a coroner inquest would serve no purpose.

“It was one of the worst accidents I have ever seen since working on the State Police force,” said Corporal C. E. Minnick “ the occupants of the machine never knew what hit them, the crash was so terrific,” “the Car must have been traveling at least seventy miles an hour at the time the crash occurred,”

The incident occurred almost in the center of town at 12:15 A. M. The machine failed to negotiate a sweeping curve in the state highway and went across the road to hit the truck parked three feet off the left side of the concrete thoroughfare.

As the motor clashed into the rear of the lumber the top part of the radio, hood, and entire front of the machine was either sheared off or pressed backward against the rear seat. The impact crushed all occupants.

No actual eyewitnesses were found by Corporal Minnick, who continued an investigation until 8 A. M. He had Sheriff Charles H. Truitt notify the relatives of the victims.

Roger Jones and Henry Kelly were standing about 100 feet down the highway when their attention was attracted by the sound of the crash.

Jones said he first noticed steam rising from the wreckage and with Kelly went to the scene. They found all occupants inside the wrecked car. A superficial examination revealed that the three Salisbury men and one of the girls were dead. Life appeared to be lingering in two of the girls and they pulled the wreck apart to rescue them. One of the girls died as soon as she was extracted.

Jones put the Taylor girl in his car and rushed her to the hospital. The State police sub-station was notified and Corporal Minnick arrived with Dr. L. A. Radenmaker. The four bodies remained in the car.

Minnick said Thaddeus Dykes body was taken from the wrecked driver’s seat. Dykes was married and is survived by a widow and three children. The oldest is four and the youngest seven months old. He was employed as a cutter at a local shirt plant.

The three young women had attended the rehearsal of a pageant by the Methodist Protestant Church last night. Afterwards they joined the men and the six set off on a pleasure ride with no definite destination.

State attorney Taylor was informed they had been to a road house near Salisbury sometime during the evening. The machine was driving into Powellville from the direction of Snow Hill.

Charles Coulbourne, driver of the truck owned by Edwin Jones, Whiton, had parked the load of lumber along the roadside and went to his home in Powellville to obtain sleep, expecting to deliver it to Hebron today.

The lumber was scattered over the ground and the wrecked car. The trailer was also badly damaged.

Mumford is survived by three sisters, Mrs. Blanche Young , Mrs. Gladys Ennis, Mrs. Catherine Baker and a brother, William Mumford. Funeral Services will be conducted from St. Andrew’s Church at 3:30 Monday afternoon, Rev. R. P. Edwards officiating.

Violet was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Templeton; Evelyn; the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Willey; Agnes of Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Taylor. The fathers of the three girls are all railroad trainmen.

April 26, 1935 The Milford Chronicle

Delmar News- Funeral Services for Miss Agnes Taylor and Miss Evelyn Willey, two of the three women who with their escorts, were crushed to death in an automobile accident near Salisbury Friday night, were held on Monday. The services for Miss Violet Templeton, the third victim, were held from her late home on Tuesday. Services for the other victims, Salisbury Men, were held on Monday.

William Mill Pond

Williams Mill Pond Road, off Stage Road, East of Delmar Maryland crosses its namesake Williams Mill Pond. Altho no longer there, at one time a saw mill and a grist mill operated on this pond. As you drive along Williams Mill Pond Road you can see where it crosses Jackson Branch there also are the characteristics of an unknown mill being there.

In the 1870's, John Williams had a saw and grist mill at a pond along Rum Ridge Branch, upstream of Leonard Mill. Today Rum Ridge Branch is called Andrews Branch. Andrew Branch and Williams Pond flow into the North Prong and Leonards Mill Pond.

In the 1880 census; L. Catherine Williams had a sawmill on Williams Pond with 1 employee, who also did the logging. A 4-foot fall on the pond drove a 5 hp turbine to cut 68,000 ft of lumber in 1880.

The Outflow into the North Prong.

The Day Chestertown Exploded

On a sweltering July in 1954 a devastating explosion rocked Chestertown’s tranquility. Abruptly at 10:30 a.m. chaos erupted in the Eastern Shore town of 3,200 people when a blast jolted the county seat. Stunned people, many thinking the Russians had bombed the defense plant or the gas plant blew up, reacted. As they worried about the safety of friends and family, the telephone switchboard buzzed to life, many of the tiny signal bulbs lighting up all at once. The fire siren joined in, wailing out a most urgent plea for aid. Terror stricken people called the operator to say a bomb had gone off or to inquire about the blast. In minutes, a second, larger detonation ripped through the humid morning air shattering windows downtown.

At Kent Manufacturing, a company that made detonators and military fireworks for the government, the accidental blast sent the roof of one building into the sky. Shrieking workers ran for their lives while fireworks shot aloft and burst in the air. In town, the Associated Press reported that hundreds, including mothers wheeling baby carriages, fled across the Chester River bridge to safety in Queen Anne’s County. Firefighters prepared to fight their way into the blazing ruins of the plant to rescue injured workers.

Read more of this interesting article on Reflections of Delmarva Past.

Draft Dodger Poem - 1943

Poem from the State Register - Oct 14, 1943 from "contributed".

We are writing a short letter
And every word is true
Don't look away "Draft Dodger",
For it is addressed to you.

You feel at ease and in no danger.
Back in your old home town
You cook up your pitiful story
So the draft board will turn you down.

You never think of the real men,
Who leave their homes day by day,
You just think of those girl friends
That you can get while they are away,

What do you think Draft Dodgers?
That this free nation would do
If all men were slackers
And scared to fight like you?

We guess that is all, Mr. Slacker,
Your face should be awful red,
America is no place for your kind,
And we mean every word we say --
Keep away from our girl friends,
For we are coming back some day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Lower DelMarVa Genealogical Society (LDGS) September meeting

Last night I attended the Lower DelMarVa Genealogical Society (LDGS) meeting. Aaron Horner, a research assistant from the Nabb Center in Salisbury, spoke on ways to determine the age of an ancestor if birth records are not available. The main time period he focused on was from 1580 to 1775. During that time period the main record of births were church records. Many of those records have been lost so other records must be examined to estimate the age of a person.

In Maryland there were tax lists. These tax list recorded all white males over 16, all slaves, and some widows who were Head of households. The age was not recorded on the tax list but it shows the person on the tax list was at least 16 years old and it is grouped by household. You can see when a new name appeared on the tax roll that they must have just arrived in the area or just turned 16. Likewise when they were dropped from the tax record they left the area, dropped dead, or moved out of a household to start their own household. From that you can go to other records.

Land Commission records - when there were disputes over land boundaries (as you know Delmarva has no stone so they used trees to mark land boundaries and the trees would died over time so the boundary would become disputed) dispositions would be taken by the different parties. In the disposition the person's age would be recorded.

Orphan records - When orphans would be assigned a guardian they would have their age recorded.

Court determination of age - when indentured whites, free blacks or slaves were assigned to a master in some cases they did not know their age so a court had to determine an age. This was for a number of purposes, one was so the master could be taxed if the person was over 16 years old. Another reason for age determination was so a set time period existed until that child would be set free from his indenture at age 21. A number of methods were used beside height and weight such as the condition of the teeth and outward signs of puberty.

Wills - are also a good source as frequently the age of the people listed in the will can be determined by the way they are mentioned in the will.

All of this is, of course, just an approximation of the birthyear of an individual.

It happens that on October 2nd at the Delaware Archives there is a similar talk called "Vital Records: Beyond Births, marriages, & Deaths.

The LDGS meetings are held at 7 PM the third Wednesday night each month at the LDGS library downtown Salisbury. Next meeting is on October 27th.

Cozy Cabin - 1943

Betty Lee Elliott, Otes Jester and his orchestra

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jacob Bros - 1943

A Black-out test in 1942

From the State Register March 5, 1942

The chimney fire in the Masonic Temple of Delmar lent a realistic atmosphere to the tests in the stateline town. Firemen worked in the darkness and air raid wardens were given their first bonafide job of dispersing some 200 spectators who had gathered to watch the fire.

Mayor LeRoy T. Lockerman of Delmar supervised 135 men in the defense of the town and ambulances service and first aid facilities were given a trial. Off to the south could be seen the dull glow of Salisbury, Md. but out of Sussex County all was darkness, said Mayor Lockerman.

The Women's Industrial Exchange

Last Wednesday I went to the Snow Hill Library to listen to a talk given by Eleanor Mulligan on the Women's Industrial Exchange. The Women's Industrial Exchange I knew nothing about but thought it might be interesting and it was. Eleanor Mulligan gave an excellent presentation of the subject. She amplified on the exchange movement talk by going into a number of time-related subjects.

As we know the United States has had constant economic up and down swings thru out it's history. In the 1830's there was also economic problems resulting in the male bread winner being bankrupted. The woman of the house hold had no way to earn money without the disgrace of working outside the home in a factory. As Eliza Doolittle said in "My Fair Lady" " I sold flowers; I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me, I'm not fit to sell anything else." So short of selling themselves the other skill they were trained in was fancy hand goods, fancy lamp shade, china painting, linen and other hand crafted popular in that period. In 1832 a depository for such items opened in Philadelphia so those items could be sold discretely. This movement spread across the states and territories and there were shops in a number of places to sell these items. The Woman's Industrial Exchange began shortly after the Civil War in the home of Mrs. G. Harmon Brown of Baltimore, where women brought their handwork to be sold to local citizens and visitors. Mrs. Harmon's endeavor was part of a nationwide Exchange Movement to help "gentlewomen of diminished means" to discreetly earn a living.

The Woman's Industrial Exchange of Baltimore City (333 N. Charles St) continues today as a non-profit organization that was founded in 1880, incorporated in 1882, and continues to serve the same mission of providing local people the opportunity to earn income by selling handmade items to the public. The Maryland State Legislature incorporated the organization "for the purpose of endeavoring by sympathy and practical aid to encourage and help needy women to help themselves by procuring for them and establishing a sales room for the sale of Women's Work."

Perhaps one of the memorable items about the Woman's Industrial Exchange of Baltimore City was the restaurant. It was a relic of that genteel age when a lady simply never appeared in public without gloves and a hat, the Exchange was a step back to a time of Chicken salad, tomato aspic and cucumber sandwiches (without the crust, and ice cream with a chocolate sauce. Also memorable was a group of waitresses who started there in the 1930's and continued working there until they were in their 80's and 90's. They always used that Baltimore tradition of referring to you as "Hon." When "Sleepless in Seattle" was being filmed in Baltimore, the producers of the film discovered the place and was fascinated by the waitresses - to the extent they were a bit of a pain. One waitress (in her 80's) told them not to worry about her as she was preserved in aspic. Marguerite Schertle (93), one of the waitresses, was even given a part in the movie. The restaurant however closed about 2005. I have heard of another restaurant going into the building (Dogwood's).

Most of those 19th-century Woman’s Exchanges have closed now. The remaining ones open are;
Brooklyn Women’s Exchange in New York
Woman’s Industrial Exchange of Baltimore City in Maryland
Woman’s Exchange of St. Louis in Missouri
Woman’s Exchange of St. Augustine
Woman’s Exchange of Memphis in Tennessee

The window of Woman's Industrial Exchange of Baltimore

Eleanor Mulligan pointed out that much of her presentation came from the book
"The Business of Charity: The Woman's Exchange Movement, 1832-1900" by Kathleen Sanders.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Culvers Men's Shop - 1943

Afternoon with Elsie - Snow Hill library

An Afternoon with Elsie: A ninety year old waitress?
Are you serious?
Eleanor Mulligan speaks about the Exchange Movement at the end of the 19th century which gave an enormous boost to women as well as the American economy.
From the century’s outrageous styles and social development, the country’s status grew from primitive conditions and the horror of the Civil War to the establishment of the Red Cross and women emerged as a gentle power the nation recognized.

Wednesday, September 15 at 2 pm Snow Hill Branch

MidAtlantic Small Craft Festival Oct 2nd

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is hosting one of
the nation’s largest gatherings of small boat enthusiasts
and unique watercraft at the 28th Mid-Atlantic Small CraftFestival from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, October 2. More than 100 kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, rowing shells, sailingskiffs, prams and one-of-a-kind boats will be on display and in the water throughout the family-oriented event. The event includes a boat competition, craft workshops, boat building demos, children’s activities and sailing, rowing and paddling races throughout the day.

Boat owners hailing from throughout the country will offer boat building demonstrations while also participating in the races during the event. Awards will be given for traditional and contemporary design and construction, restoration, and paddling craft, with special awards for peoples’ choice, experimental and 1st launching.

The Museum’s Boat Yard staff and instructors from the Chesapeake Wooden Boat Builders School will also be on hand to offer maritime demonstrations.
The Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival is free to Museum
members and children five and under – otherwise admission is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children ages 6 to 17. For more information, call CBMM at 410-745-2916, or visit

At The Crisfield Library

Root Doctors, Midwives, and Granny Doctors
Crisfield Library
Thursday, November 4 1pm

There was a time before hospitals, synthetic medicines
and technology when people lived closer to the
earth, when plants and herbs were more than ways to
color our gardens, decorate our homes, and brighten
our culinary efforts - they were the difference
between life and death. In the hands of skilled folk
doctors, these humble, amazing plants sustained life.
Discover what miracles thrive in our own backyards
and by roadsides as we learn about these medical

The Delaware Archives Genealogy series

October 2, 10:30 a.m. - Genealogy Series: Vital Records - Beyond Births, Marriages and Deaths.

Presenter: Nancy Lyons

Vital records of birth, marriage, and death allow us to document the dates and parent-child relationships of each generation in a family tree. As primary sources these records offer dates and places of the event, parent names, and places of origin. Information from these documents can help lead a researcher to other valuable records. This presentation will include visual examples and handouts concerning where to locate these genealogical gems, and how to utilize the information they contain. This is the third workshop in the series of genealogy workshops presented Nancy Lyons, a highly respected genealogist whose programs have been well received by beginners and advanced genealogists alike.

The LDGS Symposium

The Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society will hold a symposium on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at the Holiday Inn (formerly Ramada) On US Route 13 south, Salisbury, MD. from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The fee is $40, registration by September 30th, $50 late registration or walk ins, coffee and pastry included. No scrapple sandwiches. A buffet lunch will be available for attendees at the Holiday Inn restaurant for $12.

See the data sheets below, click to enlarge

O! Say can you see

The war of 1812 was well into its second year, and things did not look promising for the 16 United States of America. Despite the repeated violation of American ships that precipitated the war, it was not a popular conflict. Many Americans referred to it disdainfully as "Madison's War", Attorney Key among them. As it had dragged on the people of the United States tired of the conflict and opposition to the war had grown. Then, on August 25, 1814 it became personal. General Robert Ross and 4,000 combat veterans of the British Army had marched almost unopposed into the Nation's 14 year old capitol city of Washington, D.C. When they left the following day the city was ruined, every Federal building burning or in ashes, the President and his wife hiding in nearby Virginia after narrowly escaping capture.

After destroying the Capitol and heady with their easy victory, the British headed north into Maryland. With them they took an elderly and well respected American physician, Dr. William Beanes. Dr. Beanes was accused of spying, and was taken as a prisoner aboard the British Flag ship Tonnant anchored in Baltimore harbor. The remaining population of Washington, D.C. feared that the beloved doctor would be hanged and appealed to attorney Francis Scott Key to intervene. On August 27th President Madison slipped back into what remained of the Capitol and gave Mr. Key an official sanction. On September 3rd Key and Colonel Skinner, who was experienced in negotiating prisoner exchanges, sailed for Baltimore. They reached the Tonnant under a flag of truce on the morning of the 7th and had been held as prisoners themselves ever since. The release was secured on September 13th, but Key was detained on ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore.

On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem.

Colonel Armistead, commander of Fort McHernry, commissioned Mary Youngs Pickersgill, a local seamstress and flag maker to make two flags for Fort McHenry in 1813 - a large flag and a smaller one to fly in bad weather. She was paid $500 for both flags, the large one being 30 x 42 feet, so it could be seen from a great distance. She was asked to sew a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, the number of states then in the Union. Armistead anticipating an attack on Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812, asked that the flag be made extra large so that it would be plainly visible to the English Fleet. He had also hoped the large flag would lift the spirits of the Baltimoreans, allowing them to see this flag fly in defiance of the British.

United States Code, 36 U.S.C. § 301, states that during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed. The national anthem is also played on U.S. military installations at the beginning of the duty day (0600) and at the end of duty day (1700). Military law requires all vehicles on the installation to stop when the song is played and all individuals outside to stand at attention and face the direction of the music and either salute, in uniform, or place the right hand over the heart, if out of uniform. Recently enacted law in 2008 allows military veterans to salute out of uniform, as well.

The song itself is difficult to sing. It has been totally messed up by amateurs and professionals, but mostly at ball games where celebrities try to turn it into a stage act.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Delmar Starts Plans For 100th Birthday in Fall of 1959

From the Bi-State Weekly August 8, 1958

Delmar Starts Plans For 100th Birthday in Fall of 1959

The Towns of Delmar are beginning to think about the celebration for their 100th anniversary to be held around October 16th 1959.

The President of the Maryland Town Commission M.B. Sherwood and Mayor A. E. Hantwerker are setting their heads together to study what sort of celebration will be possible and to stir interest in the movement.

According to records the last spike in the railroad from Wilmington to Delmar was driven on that date and it is generally accepted the town sprang up at the same time.

Sometime soon the town fathers will get together with the heads of organizations and go over the possibilities of such a celebration. Already facts and figures have been gathered from towns that have previously held anniversary programs.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Delmar 1916 Graduation Announcement

This is Miss Helen Frances Chipman's graduation announcement. Her and the other four graduates were to graduate on May the 19th at 8 PM at the Elcora theater in Delmar. A good class motto of "To be actors, not spectators."

The other four students were;
Elsie Franklin Hearne
Arva Luce Marvel
George Merle Nelson
Samuel Hearn Culver

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Delmar News Item - 1943

This article is from the May 20th, 1943 "State Register." I am sure it was the cause of a lot of gossip at the time.


Two Salisburians, identified by Delaware state police as George Raymond Carey, 46 and Mrs. Irma Pearl Griffith, 36 were found suffocated by illuminating gas in a tourist cabin about three miles north of Delmar early Saturday morning.

A verdict of accidental death by asphyxiation was given by N. W. Conoway, Sussex County coroner, police said.

The bodies of Carey, whose address is Penn Street, Salisbury, and Mrs. Griffith, whose residence is on Pond Street, the same town, were found in the cabin by Mrs. Ernest Morando, wife of the operator of the Empire State Inn. Mrs. Morando told police she was making a routine check of cabins before retiring for the night when she discovered the bodies in the gas-filled cabin. she called her husband and police and a Delmar Physician.

Police learned the couple had come from Salisbury Friday afternoon in a taxicab and engaged the cabin.

The cabin in which the couple died was heated by gas heater and apparently the flame extinguished when the oxygen in the small room was used up, police said.

The Laurel ambulance was summoned and it arrived on the scene before the physician, but the driver, observing the two persons had evidently been dead for some time, did not move them, but awaited the arrival of a doctor, who appointed
them dead.

Delmar Christmas Tour

I am very excited to say the Delmar Historical and Arts Society (DHAS) will have a candlelight house tour on Friday, December 10th from 6:30 to 8 PM. There will be several houses open and the tour will wrap up at the Masonic Lodge for punch and cookies. The price is $8 per person. This event was developed by Denise Cugler and Faith Krebs and I am very impressed by such an undertaking from the small group of people that the society has. So get ready to take a walk through Delmar this holiday season as Delmar people open their doors to visitors during the 1st annual DHAS candlelight tour. Whether you’re interested in getting a glimpse inside the candlelit windows, learning more about Delmar's history and architecture, or simply looking for an excuse to check out other people's homes, you’re invited to come celebrate the holidays on the Candlelight Tour.

Worker Housing in 1943

In 1943 there was a housing shortage so Phillip Canning Co in Laurel put up these pre-fab houses for their workers. Compared to the house I am putting up obviously there was less building code and zoning requirements. They would hold two Families and they look to be 12 X 12. So what happened to them? I would be interested in any story about living in them. So please comment. Click Photo to Enlarge

October Is Family History Month

October is designated in many U.S. States as "Family History Month," and genealogists everywhere have adopted the month as their own. Whether you're new to genealogy, or have devoted a lifetime to it, celebrate Family History Month with your family this October by trying one (or more) of these ten wonderful ways to craft and commemorate your past. (Taken from modified by me)

1. Get Started Tracing Your Family Tree
If you have been curious about your family tree but just aren't sure where to start then you don't have any more excuses. As the baby boomers have gotten older they are spending more time researching their family tree, as such there are more resources and data out there, both on the Internet and in libraries and history societies. I will write more about them soon.

2. Create a Family Cookbook
For those families that keep in contact their gatherings or family reunions a perfect recipe for family history, a cookbook of collected heirloom recipes is a wonderful way to preserve memories of favorite meals shared with family. Contact your parents, grandparents, and other relatives and ask them to send you a few of their favorite family recipes. Have them include a story about each dish, where or who it was handed down from, why it is a family favorite, and when it was traditionally eaten (Christmas, family reunions, etc.). Whether you create a full-blown family cookbook, or just make copies for family and friends - this is a gift that will be cherished forever.

3. Record Family Stories
Every family has its own history - the events, personalities, and traditions that make the family unique - and collecting these singular stories and memories is one of the most meaningful ways you and your family can honor your older relatives and preserve family traditions. Recording family stories on audiotape, videotape, or in legacy journals, brings family members closer together, bridges generation gaps, and ensures that your family stories will be preserved for future generations.

4. Uncover Your Family Health History
Also known as medical genealogy, tracing your family health history is a fun, and potentially lifesaving, project. Experts state that about 3000 of the 10,000 known diseases have genetic links, and that many diseases "run in families," including colon cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and high blood pressure. Creating a family health history can be a useful tool to aid you and your medical care provider in interpreting patterns of health, illness and genetic traits for you and your descendants. What you learn now could potentially save a family member's life tomorrow.

5. Take a Trip Back in Time
Grab a map, and hop in the car for a family adventure! A fun way to celebrate your family history is to visit sites of importance to your family - the old family homestead, the house where you were born, the country from which your ancestors migrated, the hillside where you played as a child, or the cemetery where great-grandpa is buried. If none of these locations is near to your home, then consider a trip to a historical museum, battlefield, or re-enactment event that relates to the history of your family.

6. Scrapbook Your Family Heritage
The perfect place to showcase and protect your precious family photos, heirlooms, and memories, a heritage scrapbook album is wonderful way to document your family's history and create a lasting gift for future generations. While it may seem a daunting task when faced with boxes of dusty old photos, scrapbooking is actually both fun and more easy than you might think!

7. Start a Family Web Site
If your extended family relies on email to stay in touch, then a family Web site may be for you. Serving as a digital scrapbook and meeting spot, a family Web site allows you and your kids to share family photos, favorite recipes, funny stories, and even your family tree research. If you or someone in your family is a Web designer, by all means go to town. If you're more of a beginner, however, don't worry - there are plenty of free online services that make creating a family Web site a snap!

8. Preserve Your Family Pictures
Make this the month that you finally get the family photos out of the shoeboxes or bags in the back of your closet; track down the photo you've never seen of your great-grandparents; or ask your Grandma to help you put names to the faces of all of those unmarked photos in your family album. Try your hand at scanning them into your computer, or hire someone to do it for you, and then store the originals in acid-free photo boxes or albums. Same thing goes for the family movies! Then share some of your photo finds with the family, by creating a family photo calendar or a family photo book!

9. Get the Next Generation Involved
Most children will learn to appreciate their family history if you turn it into a detective game. Start your children or grandchildren on a lifelong journey of discovery by introducing them to genealogy. Here are some wonderful projects to do with your children this month including games, family history and heritage projects and online lessons.

10. Craft a Heritage Gift
From picture frame Christmas ornaments to heritage quilts, your family history makes a great gift! Homemade gifts are often inexpensive but are favorites with the recipients. They don't have to be anything complicated either. Something as simple as a framed photo of a favorite ancestor can bring tears to someone's eyes. Best of all, making a family heritage gift is often more fun than giving one!
Family Tree Projects & Gift Ideas