Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celebration of the End of the Civil War

With Heart and Hope......a Celebration of the End of the Civil War
Place:    Old Christ Church -- Broad Creek Hundred
                Chipmans Pond Road
                Laurel, Delaware
Date:     Saturday, June 6, 2015
Time:     10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
This is a free event with tours of the church and grounds, music, and Civil War reflections by 
The Right Reverend Alfred Lee, 
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware,1841 - 1887. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Delaware Highway Patrol Station in Georgetown Delaware 1924

Click on photo to enlarge

In 1924 the Delaware Highway Patrol consisted of 21 uniformed officers.  There was a station in each of the two lower counties and two stations in New Castle County

From the 1924 annual report of Deldot.

Bethesda School Nr 40

Above the Bethesda School in the 1920's, photo from the Delaware archive.

Bethesda School was a one room school house that was across the road  (Today it is called Wootten Road ) from Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church.  It was near Raccoon Pond, and is just west of Terrapin Hill (39 ft above sea level).  It was in Broadcreek hundreds, Sussex county Delaware. 

There was sufficient population in this area to support a church and a school.  The school served what at that time was called school district 40.  About a mile away was the community of Bull's Mill.  The streams around this area had been dammed for saw mills and grain mills a hundred years or so before the school came along.  With the creation of mills roads were made to get to these mills and since the mills required workers a population begin to settle around them and retail stores came into being to serve that population.  Bull's mill had a couple of stores and several houses.  It was named for Manaen Bull who was one of a series of owners of the various mills in the area.  The saw mills cut the cypress in the swamp areas around Bull's Mill.  The other type of trees were cut and made into charcoal to melt the local deposits of bog iron into ingots.  An old bog iron furnace was located just north  of Bull's mill.  Bull's Mill had a post office but by 1862 it was closed and moved to Lowes Crossroads.  The Postmaster for Bulls Mill in 1857 was James H. Boyce and in 1861 it was Ebenezer H. Tyre.  The custom of the day was to put these small post offices in general stores in the town they served so we can assume Boyce and Tyre both were store owners.
The date the school was built is unclear but by 1913 it was in existence as it is shown on this 1913 map below. 

The school was closed down on March 11th 1938 and wrapped into the Laurel School district.  In 1914  the school had one teacher and he taught grades 1 thru 7.  The teacher in 1914 was Harry F. Lewes, in 1915 it was Glen W. Thompson, in 1919 it was Mrs. Helen M. Morris and by 1921 the teacher was Mary F. West.  The school had about 30 students (22 boys, 8 girls) spread over grades 1 to 7. 
Other teachers at the school were; 1923, Norman R. Lewis, and arriving in 1924 was William J. Hitchens.  Mr. Hitchens would remain the teacher at Bethesda until 1937 when Mrs. Grace A. Hastings would wrap up the final year of it's service.
The trustees of the school were of course local residents.  From 1914 to 1937 some of those trustees were John Stanford LeCates, C. G. West, Joseph A. Whaley, Glenn W. Thompson, E. M. Mitchell, Harry E. English, McCready Whaley, Paul T. Whaley, Charles L. Hudson, and George T. Thawley.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Alfred Thompson and his still

Alfred Thompson, Negro, 30 years old, of Delmar, was placed under $1,500 bail...  Thompson is alleged to have been caught on the way to a still located about 200 feet from his home.  Thompson was arrested as he walked toward the still near Delmar.  he said he was going to cut corn.  He had a saw in his hand investigators said.  One batch of mash according to investigators had been run through the still earlier in the evening. 

State Register Aug 20, 1937

The Balloon Farm and the Big Tree

The Farm of John G. Kinnikin, just west of Laurel, was once known as "Balloon farm."  It got the name because during the American Civil war an Union Army observation balloon landed on the farm.  The next great excitement on the farm came in 1937 when the second largest white Oak in the state of Delaware was alive on the farm and it split in half from rot in the heart of the tree, damaging the house and a couple of cars when it came down.  The tree was thought to be over 300 years old.  A large portion of the people in Western Sussex County drove onto the farm to see the tree after it fell.

Orval Lee Nichols and Robert Lee Fitzgerald Enlist

Two Delmar Boys, one a resident on the Delaware side and one on the Maryland side, enlisted in the U S Army.  The Delaware boy is Orval Lee Nichols, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Nichols, and the Maryland youth is Robert Lee Fitzgerald, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Fitzgerald.  The enlistee are getting their training at Fort Meade, Md.

From The State Register January 12, 1951 edition

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mary Sweeney - 1951

From the State Register January 12, 1951


Mary Sweeney, four year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Sweeney, of Delmar, is recovering in Milford Memorial Hospital from severe burns received last Thursday at her home.  Mary was outside watching a fire when her dress ignited.

John Stanford LeCates

From The Laurel Delaware State Register February 9, 1951

John Stanford LeCates

John Stanford LeCates, 82, died Feb. 4 in the home of a daughter, Mrs. Spencer LeCates, at Seaford.  He was the son of the late Alexander and Isabella LeCates and was long a resident in the area around Lowes Cross Roads.

Survivors include three sons, Granville R. LeCates, of Wilmington; Samuel S. LeCates, of Salisbury, and Norman C. LeCates of Delmar; another daughter, Mrs. Oliver J. Collins of Baltimore; eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, one brother, William LeCates, of Parsonsburg, Md., and one sister Mrs. Martha Hearn of Whitesville.

Funeral services were held Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Bethesda Methodist Church of the Laurel Circuit.  Rev. J. B. Pettus, assisted by Rev. Oliver J. Collins, a son-in-law of Mr. leCates.  Burial was in the adjoining church cemetery.

Old Sussex New Sussex

At one time Maryland claimed over half of Sussex County.  After the ownership was settled the part that Maryland laid claim to was referred to as New Sussex and the part Delaware had always owned was called Old Sussex.  Over the years the difference was forgotten and now Sussex County is just Sussex County.

1951 Ad for Culvers Men's Shop