Monday, October 31, 2016

ELEC the 1928 Delaware Electric Power company spokesperson

1928 Delaware Electric Power Company Ad

Maryland Public Archives To Close Research Room Nov 21

Pardon our dust! Beginning November 21st, the Search Room will close as part of maintenance repairs to the building, with reopening tentatively scheduled for early January. Consequently, during that period, Maryland State Archives’ staff will offer limited in-person service Tuesdays through Fridays in our lobby only. Guests requiring documents for legal or emergency purposes will be prioritized for the duration of the repair period. Please be advised that we cannot guarantee ...staff availability to assist with genealogical or scholarly research during this time and we strongly advise that you delay your visit until after the repair period.
Though we will be able to provide limited walk-in services from November 21, 2016 - January 6, 2017, the Archives will be closed to all visitors from January 9 - January 13, 2017 as final repairs are completed. This schedule is subject to change, and we will do our best to notify the public of any adjustments to the schedule, or limitations to the services we are able to provide, as soon as possible.
As always, our staff will fulfill orders by email at, by phone at 410-260-6487, by fax at 410-974-2525, and by mail to 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, MD. Please note that maintenance in the stacks and in the Search Room may impact access to records, and potentially increase our turnaround times.
Thank you for your patience during this time as we work to enhance the customer experience for the future and maintain the best environment for Maryland's priceless permanent records.

above from the Maryland Public Archives

Saturday, October 29, 2016

William E. Freeny 1927


SALISBURY, MD: Nov. 8—William E. Freeny, 29 years old of Salisbury, who for three years was an instructor at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institution, was fatally shot about noon yesterday by a hunting companion near Yerington, Nev.  According to advices to his father, J. William Freeny, of this city, Mr. Freeny had gone to Nevada to practice law.

According to Drs. Edwards, the shooting was accidental and at close range, death resulting from loss of blood.  The body will be shipped to this city.

Mr. Freeny graduated from the Delmar High school in 1916, from St. Johns College, Annapolis, three years later, and from the law school of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in 1922.  It was attending the latter school that he taught mathematics at polytechnic.  Later he was a member of the bar at Palm Beach Fla.

 While at St. Johns he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity .  Mr. Freeny was a Mason.

 He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Freeny, who moved here about seven years ago from Delmar, Del.

Above from The Evening Journal, Wilmington Delaware  8 Nov 1927

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pulling Fodder

As the weather has finally turned a little cooler I am reminded of my father (who grew up west of Delmar)  talking about how he use to hate to pull fodder growing up. Sometime between September to December farm people would go to the corn fields and first cut the top of the stalk off down to the corn ears, bundle the tops and leave out in the field to dry. Second they would strip the leaves from the corn stalk (pulling fodder) bundle them and let dry. Third, they would pull the corn and put it in the corn crib. The tops and the leaves would be fed to the livestock as fodder through out the winter.

above painting by Arie Reinhart Taylor of pulling fodder.

In the winter a horse or mule was fed 6 to 8 ears of corn and a bundle of maybe 40 corn stalk leaves.

Maggie Mae 1928

Looking at Newfoundland school (SE of Gumboro) again in 1928, The teacher is Maggie Mae Littleton and she had 15 pupils that year.  Mae Littleton had an official home address of Frankford but since that is several miles away I would think she would board with a local family during school sessions.   

You can imagine with the amount of sand surrounding the school that the floor of the school stayed dirty all day.

In 1927 a newspaper article described rural school teachers as being "bob-haired, bob-skirted, suitcase teachers who stay in the rural schools only long enough to get a husband or a better job."  Well Mae Littleton had the bob-hair and I don't know what a bob-skirt is. 

Mae (On left) had started teaching prior to 1920.   She would teach at Newfoundland school from 1924 to when it closed in 1928.

She was the daughter of James and Lenora Littleton of Laurel.  she would marry, in 1932, William Alfred Kelley, a widower, who lived in the Millsboro area. He would die in 1945 of influenza. They would have a daughter Margaret Elizabeth in 1935. She would die in 1978.

Monday, October 24, 2016

LDGS House Tour

The Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society is proud to present

A Tour of the Calvin B. Taylor House

The Calvin B. Taylor House is a restored early 19th century house located in Berlin’s National Register Historic District.  Built by 1832 for Isaac Covington, the most famous resident of the house was Calvin B. Taylor, founder of the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company. It is handicap accessible.  

This event is open to the public and is free.

Wednesday afternoon at 2 PM October 26th at 208 North Main St, Berlin Maryland Directions; From RT50 turn right onto MD 818/ Main Street.  Continue about one mile to the Taylor House.  Parking is on the street

Saturday, October 22, 2016



A Wet Nurse is someone who breastfeeds and cares for another woman's child.  The practice of wet nursing has been around forever and the practice continues though today. As far back as biblical times breastfeeding by another woman was common.    In the 1800s and 1900s wet nursing was required for a number of families who choose not to breastfeed or for other reasons could not breastfeed.  Newspapers of the day played up the rich mother who choose not to wet nurse and lose her shape by nursing.  But the lower level economic mothers also had reasons to hire a wet nurse.

The alternative for mothers who could not breastfeed was to hand rear the baby by way of a formulation based on cow’s milk or goat milk.  It was risky, the milk was obtained and store in unsanitary conditions and baby bottles were unsterilized.  Food preservation hadn’t advanced enough to prevent bacterial infection.  A baby hand rear was twice as liable to die as a wet nursed one. 

Those who could afford a wet nurse would have the woman come live with the family but frequently if she had a child that child could not come with the woman.  The wet nurse would have to find her own wet nurse and person to care for her child.  Some families would place the child with the wet nurse at her home and the wet nurse would handle both her child and the baby placed in her care until the child was weaned.  Ads were placed in newspapers for wet nurses

 above from the Baltimore Sun 1858

Up until the end of the 20th century it was believed the suckling child would take on the appearance of the wet nurse.  Great attention was given to the character and looks in the selection of the wet nurse of course of upmost importance was the woman should have a strong body, give good milk and have an amply supply of milk, be sympathetic (it was felt that angry women produce milk that was too warm) , be clean and tidy,.  

So what about the un-rich who may be  a mother having lactation failure, a mother dying in child birth,  or women working in factories who could not afford to quit work.  Beyond newspaper ads how were the wet nurses found for this group?  Doctors and midwives were aware of who had recently given birth and might consider being a wet nurse.  This was also a period when married woman gave birth to a child every year or two so there might be a relative nursing a baby who would consider wet nursing the baby of another relative

Finally a third group requiring wet nurses was the Foundling (baby) hospitals for infant abandonment.  Usually in larger cities where a hundred to two hundred babies would have to be nursed.  A staff of 30 to 40 wet nurses were required.  On the local scene the alms houses and charity houses also would require the occasional wet nurse
1896 ad St louis dispatch
The pay for a wet nurse would vary from about $10 a month (1905) for a baby placed in a home to be wet nursed until weaned to  $20 to $40 a month (1886) for a wet nurse to live in a well off household

In the Victorian era there was a fad of having the mother’s picture taken while breastfeeding her baby, that fad produced most of the photos in this post.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Delaware Teachers Grades 1924

In Delaware, about 1924, teachers were classified in four grades of certification.

First Grade - Completed two years of Normal school after graduating high school.

Second Grade - Completed four year of high school plus six weeks of professional training and passed elementary school subjects.

Third Grade - Did not graduate from high school but completed six weeks training and past the examination in elementary school subject. 

Provisional Certificate - passed a portion but not all of the elementary school subjects and due to the shortage of teachers are temporarily engaged in teaching.

In that time period the pay was about $1,000 for 180 days of teaching for a First Grade certificate.

A second grade teaching certificate would earn $800 for 180 days of teaching.

A third Grade teaching certificate would be valued at $600 for 180 days of teaching.

A Provisional Certificate would be about $500 for 180 days of teaching.

The one room rural school house is where the third and provisional teachers went.  Because of agriculture demands on families where children were needed to help on the farm the rural school teacher rarely had 180 days as they started late in the year and closed down early in the spring so their pay was prorated over about 160 days.

Prior to the early 1920 a rural school teacher was paid between $38 a month to $60 a month and usually only worked 7 months.  The average pay being $270 a year. Even worst the pay was partly paid by the state and partly paid by the school district.  If the school district did not set a high enough tax rate to cover their share of expenses the teacher might receive for their last pay check an IOU to be paid when the tax collection cycle took place   The Millsboro school district and the Millville school district was particularly bad for this and in 1919 were sued by the teachers for back pay from the 1916-17 school year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Newfoundland School 1920 and it's window arrangement

Newfoundland school was located in Delaware east of Gumboro, near the Delaware/Maryland line.  The photo is from the Delaware Public Archives and is labeled as being 1920.  Now there is a later more traditional looking one room school house in Newfoundland that I assume came after this one. 

The school building is interesting as it only has windows along one side of the building and a single window by the entrance.  In the 1890s the popular opinion of "experts" was in schools without electricity and that did not have kerosene lanterns, there should be only windows on the east side of the building, the blackboard should be on the west side and the light should fall on the left shoulders of the pupils.  There was a fear that if windows were on both sides of the building it would allow cross lighting that would create reflections that in turn would lead to eye strain which, was felt at the time, would lead to nerve disorder.

As you can see on this side is a number of windows.  in the background is  a small stable and toilets

I have no way of knowing the orientation of the building, is the above the east side?

below is a 1934 article that mentions this left side / east side idea altho this is addressing the left handed person.

A Look At School Lunch Prices In 1914

An interesting price list from 1914 at Wilmington (DE) High School.  Don't know how they handled the half cent issue.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Discover Your ancestors

On October 11, 2016 the Laurel Public Library and the Major Nathaniel Mitchell Chapter of DAR are hosting "Discover Your Ancestors".  It is being held at the Laurel Public Library with registration and morning refreshments being at 10:00 A.M. 
  The days schedule is as follows;
10:00 - 10:30 AM  Coffee/Tea &Registration and Family networking
10:30 - 10:45 AM  Welcome & House Keeping
10:45 - 12:00 PM  Round Tables  - Discover Your Ancestors
       Table I    -  Newbies
       Table II   -  Delmarva
       Table III  -  Beyond Delmarva
12:00 -1:00 PM    Lunch (not included-- Brown bag or independent)
1:00 -  1:30 PM    Holdings of the Library to include the hidden gems
1:30 -  2:30           Organizing your Findings presented by Tom Dempsey; followed by Q & A's
 3:00 - Until            Independent research and/or Assisting with DAR research

  It is unfortunate that a mishap occurred with our advertising. Please accept our apology for the  late notice of the event. We hope that you will be able to join us on October 11th.  In the event you have questions please feel free to contact Gregg at the library at 302-8753184 or Cathy Hudson at 302-856-7904.