Sunday, July 8, 2012

The 1897 State of Maryland Health Report - Wicomico County

Wicomico County.

Dr. C. K. Truitt, Health Officer.

April 26th, 1897, I visited White Haven, and found the place

poorly drained, the ditches in bad condition. The ditch along

the county road is in bad condition and filled with mud, trash

and stagnant water. This ditch empties into another large ditch

that crosses the marsh from southwest to northeast, and is also in

bad condition. If this large ditch was cleaned out it would be

flushed by the river.

There was formerly a ditch that passed through the lands of

Mr. J. F. Bloodsworth, and drained the lands of three families.

After this ditch was closed by Mr. Bloodsworth, the storm water

ran over the lands of the other families and under their privies,

and washed out fecal discharges, over the lots and front yards,

out to the road. After the rain was over, and the sun shone

out, the odors were very bad. They have now put in an under-

ground drain to the river, and so far, I have heard no more


May 7th, 1897, I was asked by the City Council to inspect a

ditch at the head of Main street. The place is in bad condition

and unhealthy, as the water-closet from 'the Humphrey's build-

ing empties into the ditch.

May 21st. 1897, received complaint from Quantico, that Mr.

had killed an old horse, and had put it in his lot near the

Main street, and turned in hogs to devour it. The odor was very

bad. Ordered it buried and covered with charcoal; also ordered

hog pens cleaned.

June 5th, 1697, I visited Powellsville and examined the ditch

that runs through the place. Found it in bad condition, and

dangerous to health. An epidemic of diphtheria occurred there

last fall. The contract for cleaning the ditch has since been


June 8th, learned of diphtheria at Pittsvile in the practice of

Dr. Freeny. The cause seemed to be an old well. Had the well

cleaned, and had no more cases. The child recovered.

June 23d, complaint made that Johnson's mill pond was in a

state of nuisance and dangerous to health. I notified Messrs.

Johnson and Bell to abate the nuisance. There is a great deal

of sickness in the neighborhood, and most of it is laid to the

old mill pond with its stagnant pools of water. The dam is

broken, and there was not enough water to cover the bottom. I

hear that this dam has been put on the county, if so, it should be

repaired at once, as it is a road frequently used.

June 24th, complaints were made that Humphrey's mill pond

is in a state of nuisance. Nearly all the water has been run out

through the mill. I notified Mr. Phillips to cease using water

and to use stream, which they have since done.

August 19th, I received complaint from Delmar. Complaint

had also been made to the State Board of Health. At Mr. W.

B. Elliott's, I found the water running into the streets, where it

stagnated. At Mrs. Jane Elliott's, the water was running in the

street, where it became offensive. The Town Commissioners

were notified to clean out the ditch that runs east and west

through the town. People, whose property is next to the ditch,

throw into it dead animals and fowl, spoiled eggs, and all sorts

of refuse.

Thomas E. Hearn empties refuse into the ditch.

W. C. Lecates, W. O. West, W. A. Culver, Geo. A. Waller,

W. C. Truitt, B. B. Gordy, Ulyses Baker, T. A. Veasey, T. A.

Landing, tenant, M. H. German (a block of houses), all run waste

water into the street. Veasey Hotel empties sewer into railroad

ditch, also a sewer from water-closet.

The above places are in Delmar, and owners were notified to

abate nuisances in fifteen days. From later reports I learn that

they have all obeyed the notice.

August 20, 1897, I was asked to visit the Jackson farm, where

Mrs. Mills lives. There had been several cases of typhoid there

in previous years. On investigating, found surroundings filthy

and in very bad condition. Notified to clean the premises at

once, and put a new bench cover over the pump.

September 10th, 1897, complaint that the dumping grounds on

river front near old basket factory was in bad condition and

unhealthy. On investigating, found nothing unhealthy, but

much that is unsightly.

September 11th, many complaints received from Quantico, that

a bad odor filled, the town. I went again to this place, and on

investigating, found that an old mule had jumped oyer a fence

into the marsh, and had gotten fast in the mire and died, having

been there for several days. Ordered it buried, covered with

boards, and dirt put on top of the boards to keep the hogs from

rooting it out. Notified Mr. that if I had to see him any

more for maintaining a nuisance, he would certainly be prose-


September 27th, 1897, William Morris made complaint that

the water in the Cranberry Bog was stagnant and unhealthy.

On visiting the place I found no need of action.

September 28th, 1897, I visited Nanticoke. Had heard from

several persons that there was typhoid fever, and, as I had not

been notified, I went to see Dr. Ben Lankford. The cases have

recovered. I had written several times, enclosing stamped return

envelope, but received no reply.

October 11th, 1897, complaint made that the water from the

fountain, corner of Main and Dock streets, was standing in the

gutter and becoming offensive. Ordered the gutter cleaned and

the water run off, which was done.

Besides the above, outbreaks of scarlet fever have been

reported by four physicians. Outbreaks of typhoid fever by

three physicians. Outbreaks of diphtheria by four physicians.

Private nuisances inspected, 24. Dead animals removed, 3.

The Fence At The Freeney/Hearne Cemetery

The Freeney/Hearne Cemetery sits about 2/10ths of a mile south of Waller Road. It is on an 18 inch rise of land, compared to the surrounding farm land. The cemetery is enclosed by a 25' by 34' iron picket fence. The fence appears to have been installed in the late 1800's. The fence is made up of 5' 6" sections attached to 4' tall one and a half inch diameter metal post set in marble blocks. Each post has a support rod from the post to the marble block. The 1/2 inch pickets alternate between 2' uprights and 3'4" uprights. Each picket is sharpened on the top and an embellishment stuck on that makes the shape of an arrowhead. Of the approximately 310 pickets 40% are missing that embellishment.

There is no gate on the fence. In 1994 when Col. Robert Freeny Jr drew a map of the cemetery he showed a gate, so in the past 15/18 years it has disappeared.

Some photos of the cemetery in 2008 are shown here.

Mills and Company - 1921


Progessive Firm of Mills and Company Install New Roasting Device At Their Store

Large crowds of Delmar people have been admiring the new electric coffee roasters which was installed at Mills and Company's store here last week and incidentalling enjoying a cup of delicious coffee which this progressive Delmar firm were serving free to all comers, to show the excellent flavor of coffee made from the fresh roasted product.

The grand opening started last Wednesday and they had secured a demonstrator from Philadelphia for the occasion.  The new and original roaster was installed in one of the windows at the store and coffee was roasted, as well as Jumbo peanuts in view of all who cared to see.

Mr. Mills said Saturday:
"By installing this roaster, the first of its kind in this section, we are able to but our coffee green and roast it daily, thus giving our customers the benefit of a savings of over 10 cents a pound.  Our coffee at 29 cents a pound is the best that can be secured anywhere at any price.

From the Wicomico News, Salisbury Maryland 1921.

1957 Delmar Liquor Raid

From the Salisbury Times 1957

The DHAS Brick Sale

The Delmar Historical and Arts Society is selling engraved bricks to be placed in the sidewalks down town. The bricks are inscribed with the messages of friends, family, businesses, pets and more. This sale offers individuals an opporunity to place a message that will be part of Delmar history for some time to come.
For the time being, blank bricks are being mixed in with the inscribed ones so larger sections of the walkway can be redone in advance of sales. The empty bricks are only temporary, though. As more inscribed bricks are sold the blank bricks will be removed and replaced with inscribed bricks.

A regular 4-inch by 8-inch brick, which costs $100, allows for three lines of text with 15 characters per line.

Make your check out to Delmar Historical and Arts Society and mail with completed form to DHAS 34662 St. George Road Delmar DE 19940

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Art In The Park July 2012

The Delmar Historical and Arts Society (DHAS) will once again give free musical concerts in the State Street Park on Thursdays in the Month of July. They will go from 6 to 8 PM starting on Thursday July 12th and continue on July 19th and July 26th. Vendors will be at the park to sell craft items and food. So bring a lawn chair and come out and listen to the music.

Bands that will play are;

7/12 Riffshakers
7/19 Fossil Creek
7/26 Elwood Band

Saturday, May 19, 2012

History History History

History History History

I enjoy all types and periods of history and altho the transition of the 1N34 Germanium diode to the 1N34A Germanium diode is interesting what I really prefer is social transitions and my two favorable periods for this is the time between WW1 and WW2 and the 1960's.

In looking at regional history, 1966 was a pivotal year as it was the year school integration and busing took full effect. Blacks and Whites were frustrated and mad over the Federal and State Government cramping crap down their throats. School Dances and Proms became tensions ridden events, White community support of the school sports teams hit an all time low when Black players made up the majority of the team. However Blacks were now being written about in the newspapers in a positive fashion as opposed to prior to 1966 when they only made the paper when they were arrested or some White person did something charitable for a Black organization. Usually there was one positive Black (The Token Black) article in each edition of the newspaper. For a researcher of historical events even that was a blessing as now you could do a limited amount of Black Genealogy.

On April 9th, 1966, in this period of turmoil, the Ku Klux Klan made one of it's last public demonstration in Delaware. It held a rally and cross burning between Dagsboro and Millsboro with Bennie P. Sartin, the Great Titan of the area Klan, as the main speaker. The 30 foot cross was prevented from being set on fire at the end of the rally because the State officials had declared a burn ban. Tons of Delaware State Troopers were sent in to initimidate the audiance. It was followed by another rally in May at the same site. Edward Twadell from Unit 13 of the Wilmington Klan was the main speaker with additional speakers of Vernon C. Naimaster, head of the Maryland Ku Klux Klan, Charles J. Luthardt, candidate for Maryland Governor, and Michael Desmond (Sadiwhite) a Pennsylvania Klan organizer. In spite of the efforts of the State, Klan membership increased dramatically in this time period. Today one rarely hears of a KKK demonstration. Like they say it is an Invisible Empire.

1949 Legal Notice Mildred Marando

1949 Legal Notice Mildred Marando

Allan C. Gattis - 1966

Allan C. Gattis - 1966

1949 Dynamite Test

1949 Dynamite Test

From The State Register


A sudden explosion in Delmar about 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon, heard throughout the town, resulted from a prank by three teen-age boys. The ringleader said he wanted to hear what exploding dynamite sounds like.

The blast, set off by a detonator hooked by wire to a flashlight battery, occurred just behind the Maryland High school.

Millard Johnson, Jr., Route 1, Delmar, set the charge, said Maryland State Police. The other boys were: John Mezick Lowe, 15 and Larry Sinagra, 16, both of Delmar. All were seen by people living near the high school just after the blast. Further action on the case is pending.

1966 Republican Women At Conference in Washington DC

1966 Republican Women At Conference in Washington DC

From the Bi-State Weekly

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sirman And Co. Ad - 1874

Sirman And Co. Ad - 1874

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Twelve and a Half


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of area today where school was is below

1966 Train Derailment In Blades


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the State Register Feb 1966

Delmar Observes Arbor day - 1966


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


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

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

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

Clarence McClaine 1943


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

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

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

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

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

CQD 41.46 North, 50.14 West


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

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

photo of Titanic Survivors on the Carpathia April 15, 1912

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truly they were Classified in Death

Mayflower Curling Rink, Halifax, Nova Scotia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buried at Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attempted Rape - 1898


From The Salisbury Advertiser Feb 26, 1898

A Negro Assaults A lady and Narrowly Escapes Lynching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Titanic and Some Delaware Connections


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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