Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Aline Culver's Cookbook

In January 1993 the Daily Times had a food column called Home Plate by Tracy Sahler.  In the column is discussed a 1899 cookbook owned by Aline Culver (of Delmar, daughter of William H. Cannon - Delmar barber).  Various receipts were mentioned from it.  The cookbook which is on gutenberg books   gives various recipes that were used in the white house with various president wives.   The recipes are not related to a particular first lady.  Since it was a 1899 cookbook there are more wild game recipes and frugal use of leftovers in it. 

To Open Railroad Crossing - 1913

DELMAR, DEL June 11 - Albert H. Hearn, John C. Killiam, and W. Scott Parker have been appointed to a commission by the Delmar, Maryland town council to open a crossing over the New York , Philadelphia and Norfolk railroad at Chestnut street, Delmar.  It has always been a difficult matter to obtain street crossings over the railroad in Delmar because of the numerous tracks in the railroad yard being within the town limits.  The railroad company has always resisted the effort of the people to obtain crossings and on one occasion kept cars standing on the desired crossing for days.

above from the Morning News 12 Jun 1913

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Duncan YoYo Man

In the 1950s usually sometime between February to April the Duncan YoYo man would come to Salisbury and the Delmarva area to give demonstrations of his YoYo talent.  The YoYo was an early Filipino weapon (4 lb yoyo studded with spikes on a 20’ cord) and when Don Duncan Sr (previously known for introducing the Good Humor ice cream bar)  introduced it to the USA in 1929 he had a group of Filipino men demonstrate it.  YoYo in Tagalog means Come-Come.   In most all cases the demonstrator for Duncan were Filipino men.  Other yoyo makers used non-Filipinos. 
The one that came to Salisbury most often was Ceferino Ringor (Bob) Rola.  Mr. Rola was a Columbia University Graduate, a World War two veteran and a Captain in the Philippine Army.  He would go to schools, TV Stations and movie theaters (Think the Saturday matinee with 500 screaming 10 year olds, a western movie, cartoons and Mr. Rola on stage showing his skills) to put on yoyo demonstrations and judge yoyo contests.  The contestants would show their skill at “Walk the dog”, “Rock the Cradle”,”Loop the Loop,” “Rock the baby”, and “Around the Word.”   In 1965 the Duncan Yoyo company went bankrupt in a trade name lawsuit over the name yoyo and the company was acquired by a larger company; Flambeau inc.  About 1969 Bob Rola stopped demonstrating yoyos.
above photo from the national Museum of American History

Monday, January 29, 2018

Grand Opening White's Farm Store 1966

Drunk and Disorderly

Three New York negroes are serving ten days in the Sussex County jail at Georgetown after failing to pay fines on charges brought following a disturbance on a south bound Pennsylvania Railroad train.

Capt. Oscar M. Thomas, of the railroad police, said the three passengers, Janie Carey, 32, Wilson Carey, 42, and Ethel Pedro, were put in the baggage car when they begin fighting and annoying other passengers.

When the train arrived in Delmar, Capt Thomas said Carey had "passed out" and the two women, their clothing torn, put up another fight when he and Sgt Miles Fitzgerald, also of the railroad police, took them from the baggage car.

Before Magistrate P. H. Hearn they were found guilty of drunk and disorderly conduct and fined $10 each.

above from Salisbury Times, 20 Aug 1946

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Yacht "Blue Heaven"

In 1928 noted vaudeville crooner Gene Austin released "My Blue Heaven."  His actual name was Lemeul Eugene Lucas (1900-1972) and he was from Texas.  Besides "My Blue Heaven" which has been sung since by a wide number of singers, he released "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Ramona."  He lived in Baltimore for a while and in 1929 he ordered from the Salisbury Shipping Company a cabin cruiser to be built and named "Blue Heaven."

In June of 1929, 200 people came to the shop yard in Salisbury to see it launched.  The newspaper of the day reported that many people from Delmar were in the crowd. The yacht was 55 ft long, twins screw motors, accommodations for 8 passengers and 3 crew members, all at a cost of $36,000.  Kitty Morgan, daughter of Lewis Morgan, manger of the company christened the yacht by breaking a bottle of champagne across it's bow.  This was the second yacht Mr. Austin owned called "Blue Heaven."

Katherine "Kitty" Morgan would die in 1988 at the age of 89.  She was associated in business with her brother William E. Morgan of the Salisbury Pepsi Cola bottling company.

When whippoorwills call, and evenin' is nigh,
I hurry to my blue heaven.
Turn to the right, there's a little bright light,
Will lead you to my blue heaven.

You'll see a smilin' face, a fireplace, a cozy room,
A little nest that nestles where the roses bloom.

Just Molly and me, and the baby makes three.
We're happy in my blue heaven.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

James Cleary Wins Maxwell

James E. Cleary, Delaware railroad section foreman at Delmar, won the Maxwell touring car, valued at $595 offered in a prize contest by Delmar Lodge of the Brotherhood of Railroad trainmen.

Above from the Midland Journal December 8th, 916

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Esso Grill

Esso Grill - sounds tasty - from 1950

February 1946 ad - Russell J. small
In 1946 the Grill was run by Beulah  Mason
April 1946 ad Ralph Tingle in this period the Grill was run by Elmer and Madeline Freeny
About 1950 it went out of business

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Sweet Delights Bake Shop

For a brief time in 2007 Delmar had the Sweet Delight Bake Shop.
It was also the hang out of Gary Horseman. 

William H. Cannon - Barber

William H. Cannon (1883-1932) was a barber in Delmar from about 1900 till his death in 1932.  W. H. Cannon was the son of Edward and Lucy Cannon.  Mr. Cannon married Mattie Marie Hudson (1885 -1969) on June 26, 1905.  Mattie was the daughter of Thomas Henry  and Julie Beauchamp Hudson.  William and Mattie had a daughter, Aline Elizabeth, in 1906.  The marriage had difficulties and after about 1910 the couple frequently lived apart.  In 1931 Mattie Cannon filed for divorce and was granted a divorced on grounds of Mr. Cannon's Habitual Drunkenness.  

William H. Cannon would die in the Brandywine Sanatorium near Wilmington.  He had been put there for pneumonia and kidney trouble.  He was a masonic and was one of the players and sponsor of Delmar's first baseball team.  He appeared in Delmar news columns as being ill with a "nervous affliction" a number of times.

Mattie Hudson Cannon would marry in 1934 to B. Charles Williams.   Mr. Williams would die in 1941.  Mattie would die at the age of 84 in 1969.

Aline Culver would marry Daniel C. Culver in 1927.  She would be active in the town of Delmar, notably serving on the school board.  She would pass away in 1995.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Train Trivia

When the tracks were laid to Delmar in 1859 they were made of iron and rated at 60 pound.  Since that time the track has been upgraded to steel track that is rated at 100 to 135 pounds.  In general the heavier the track the more weight it can carry and the faster the trains can go.

The rated weight is based on how much a three foot (yard) section of track weighs thusly 135 pounds track should weight 135 pounds for a 3 ft section.  Most of the track in Delmar is rated at 135 pounds and it is 33'6" in length.  You would think it would be an even increment of 3 ft but it isn't. Altho the main line is rated at 100 pounds where there is switching of cars at siding and where the train rest or parks on the rails,  the track is 135 pounds.  If you can ever find a rail that is not bolted into place the rating should be imprinted at the end of the rail plus the date and month it was created.

The track on a railroad consists of the rails, fasteners (Fishplate), railroad ties, and ballast and the subgrade.

Station Design

One of the questions frequently asked is where did the design for the Delmar railroad station come from.  I don't know, but this photo below of the Saranac Lake NY train station does bear a resemblance to the Delmar station.

Saranac Lake   Saranac Lake’s Union Depot was built in 1904 by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad

above the Delmar Station

C. N. Landon promoted 1929

C. N. Landon, chief clerk in the employ of the Pennsylvania railroad company, at Delmar has been promoted to assistant yardmaster.

above from The Morning News (Wilmington DE) 1 June 1929

Sunday, January 21, 2018

1932 Walter L. Mills Ad

Masdon Hearn - Barber

Joseph Masdon Hearn ( 1868-1939) A  Delmar, Maryland Barber who cut hair for over 50 years.  He was married for 46 years to Lulu Ethel Stephens Hearn ( 1875-1943) They had one daughter Margie Hearn who would marry Elwood Dewey Stokes.  They also raised Elsie Melson Stephens (Stevens) who was Lulu sister.  Elsie would marry Earl J. Chapman.  Masdon was the son of Isaac Stansbury Hearn and Lavenia E. Hastings Hearn.  Lulu was the daughter of James Stephens (Stevens) and Sallie Griffith Stephens.   Lulu worked as a seamstress at home.

He started cutting hair so early he had to stand on a box in order to reach the head of the customers.  Masdon Hearn lived on Chestnut Street and had a barber shop behind his house that he operated with Walter Lee Mills.  Both barbers would have so many aliments from cutting hair so long that they finally had to give it up.  Masdon’s small barber shop still stands behind his house on Chestnut and is now used as shed.

Friday, January 19, 2018

1966 Family Stamps Locations

Three 1931 Nurse Graduates From Peninsula General Hospital

Three of the eleven who graduated were from Delmar

above top Mary Robinson below her is Augusta Brewington

above Margaret Harris

From the Salisbury Times 15 May 1931

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Word From Yesterday - Yegg

In researching various crimes back in the early 1900s to mid 1900s the word YEGG will come up.  Yegg refers to a burglar who was usually a safe cracker.  In Delaware post offices were favored by yeggs to blow open their safes.   Georgetown post office had several attempts (one successful in 1917) to break into the safe.

Samuel Howard Poulson Died 1944

Howard Poulson on left - George Poulson on right

above from Salisbury Times 11 April 1944

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

George Lowe - 1945

Frank Chatham - Barber

Usually in a small town that attracts traveling salesmen there are four things that are usually present; a hotel, a saloon or bar, a cigar shop and a barber shop.  In about 1860 the first hotel was built in Delmar (MD) by Miss Margaret Trifford and when the great fire came thru in 1892,  a new hotel was build that was managed by Mr. Veasey.  Some called the hotel the Veasey hotel.  At that point Delmar had all four requirements of hotel, bar, barber shop and cigar store under one roof.  Later Wicomico County decided to go “dry” and closed down the liquor sales.  When Walter Whayland would buy the hotel and put his meat market in it he did away with the bar.   Frank Chatham in 1900 was one of the first barbers to work in the old Veasey Hotel.  Mr. Chatham (Francis Marion Chatham) was a self trained barber and taught himself while in the Army.  He would marry Lillian Mae Ranklin while he was stationed in Florida.  He had enlisted in 1892 and served in the Spanish American war being stationed in both the Hawaiian and Philippine islands.  After leaving the Army in 1900 he came to Delmar.  He worked here for five years until moving to Salisbury.  His parents (Josephus and Drucilla Chatham)  originally came from Worcester County, Maryland They had moved out west to Kansas to farm and Frank was born in Kansas in 1874.  When Mr. Chatham was about two years old the family moved back to Worcester County because of the Locust plague that devastated the west.  Mr and Mrs Frank Chatham would have Francis M. Chatham, Herbert Gerome Chatham and Laura M. Chatham as children.  Mr Frank Chatham would die in 1960 continuing to cut hair until a couple years of his death.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sergeant Miles Fitzgerald of the Railroad Police

Most railroads prior to the 1900s did not have their own police force or one experienced with undercover work and investigations. They made use of contractors to investigate the loss of freight and luggage.  One of these contractors and probably the most famous one was Allen Pinkerton of Pinkerton Detectives fame.  About 1901 The Pennsylvania railroad begin creating it’s own railroad police force.  The objective of the force was to protect the assets of the railroad, the safety of it’s customers, arresting illegal train riders, investigating accidents and controlling disorderly passengers on it’s trains.  They worked closely with the local police, State police, FBI, and court system.  In some cases in smaller towns they were the only law enforcement in the area.  The police force of the Pennsylvania railroad initially generated a bad image because in Pennsylvania they received a commission for each person they would arrest and the court would find guilty and charge a fine to.  It is not known if this practice was used in Delaware or Maryland or Virginia.

above 1905 cartoon

 On the Delaware Line and the Maryland Virginia Line there was a Railroad Policeman assigned to each major railroad town.  In 1921 Captain Oscar M. Thomas was in charge of the Railroad police, taking over from Captain W. A. Palmer, and the resident plain-clothes detective in Delmar was Sergeant Miles Fitzgerald.  Miles Fitzgerald (1878-1961) and his wife; Dora Elizabeth Fleetwood, whom he married in 1910, and their son William Ernest Fitzgerald (1910-1972) lived at 507 East East street, Delmar, Maryland.  They had purchased the house in 1925 and it remained in their family until 1971 after their deaths.  Miles would work for the Railroad police until his retirement in 1949. 

Sergeant Miles Fitzgerald was put in many dangerous situations where he was outnumbered by the tramps, drunks and robbers.  He frequently broke up fights on the trains between drunken sailors returning to their ships at Norfolk (of note the Navy would put Shore Patrolmen on some trains to keep the peace).  He would arrest ten or fifteen tramps at a time whom were sleeping in boxcars or stealing items from boxcars.  He got to investigate the dead bodies found along the railroad tracks. He laid traps to capture railroad employees stealing money from the US Mail carried on the trains. In the 1930’s an average of six tramps a day was arrested in Delmar. He did not hesitate to use his pistol in the fulfillment of his job. Although he was assigned to Delmar he worked the entire line from Wilmington to Cape Charles. 

At one time Delmar was a major switching station that assembled freight cars to form different trains. Because all the trains stopped in Delmar and the cars were put off on sidings there was time for people riding the railcars illegally to jump off and hide out in the surrounding woods. Delmar had two main encampments of Hobo Jungles. One was about two miles north of town on the Delaware side. The other was on the south side of town (Maryland) and was the larger of the two jungles.

The Hobo Jungle on the North side of town was in the woods north of Old Racetrack road. It seem to have been made up of a combination of Gypsies and Hobos. My father, who lived on Old Racetrack Road when he was 8 or 9 so this would be about 1928, use to refer to them as Bohunks. No doubt today this is a politically incorrect term but my father was never much for being politically correct. It is my understanding, both from him and other people, that Delmar had a few gypsies living outside of town. The Hobos, bohunks and gypsies were constantly stealing things.

The encampment on the south side of town had a population of twenty to forty hobos.  It was in this South camp in 1939 that twenty tramps rioted and only after a fight were police able to drive them from the yard.  The Railroad Police would police the Railroad property and run off or arrest anyone on the railroad property. The tramps would than travel into town where the Delmar Police would arrest them.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Membership Information For DHAS

Annual dues are payable in January of each year and cover the period from January 1 to December 31.

Individual Membership - $12.00

Life Membership - $200.00

Student and Senior (62& over) $12.00     

Mail to: Delmar Historical and Arts Society,  PO Box 344, Delmar, Delaware 19940

DHAS Officers ;

Patsy Bridge, President

Alan Whitley, Vice President

Ginger Trader, Treasurer

Karin Walter is Secretary

The Board of Directors are;

Howard Dickerson, Shirley Martin and Wayne Mitchell.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Irving Culver 1920

The Daily Banner July 31, 1920

This week Irving Culver of Delmar, sold to a city buyer the unrippened and unpicked crop of his 36 acre cantaloupe patch.  The price paid for these melons was $10,000 cash, and the purchaser is under contract to furnish packages in which to ship the fruit.  This is one of the biggest single deals in cantaloupes which has been transacted in this county for many years.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

1977 Newspaper Photo of Baltimore and Eastern Railroad caboose

As you see in the photo the locomotive is pushing or shoving the caboose.  The caboose was sometime referred to as a shoving platform, as when the engine pushed or shoved the line of railcars the caboose would be at the front of the line.  There the crewmembers would watch the track for any objects that may be on the track.  They would have a handheld radio or access to an air horn to warn the engineer of problems.The shoving would usually be onto a siding so after the railcars would be dropped off on the siding the engine would then be in a position to "pull" the railcars with the caboose in it usual position at the rear.  

The B&E was a rail line from the Chesapeake bay ferries that would arrive at Claiborne and continue by rail to Ocean City.

1960 Pennsy Rail Track from Delmar to Bacon Hill

Odd that it is called Bacon Hill, as the elevation drops from 54' above sea level in Delmar to 37' in Bacon Hill

Sweeney's Store 1949

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Feed Sack Patterns

1943 ad for feed sack dress patterns from G. W. SparrowFeed store Delmar Delaware and Dailey's Feeds

“In the early 1940s, The National Cotton Council of America came out with a
pattern book for sewing with feed sacks” which only enhanced the booming feed sack
market (Thompson 1). Everyone was hooked. Women were searching for the best
pattern, trying to one up their prior design in hopes of receiving a compliment or winning
a competition. The little rural feed sack dress had spiraled into a full blown fashion

epidemic.  The National Cotton Council of America made claims that their pattern book
was so popular that it was “in the hands of more than one million women” by 1945
(Jones 101). Women were overcome with the fact that they could be in vogue but not
pay the extensive retail prices.

above from

Do You Know Who They are

Looking for identification of these two ladies standing in front of First Nat'l Bank Delmar Delaware

1960 Pennsy Track Map of Delmar Maryland

Train Trivia - Train Burnout

Train Trivia - Train Burnout

Train burnout occurs when the train is using multiple locomotives.  Usually there are only people in one locomotive and the other locomotives are controlled by remote control.  So the train stops and one locomotive doesn't get the word to stop so it continues to run only the rest of the train which is stopped holds it in place and the wheels just spin away wearing the track down under the wheels.
Once a divot is made in the track, the surface area of the wheel-track contact goes up and makes the whole situation even worse. Trains actually use sand to increase friction on the top of the rail while providing a barrier so the wheels in high torque, low speed situations don't melt the rails.

There are other reasons why it happens like the locomotive can't get a grip on the track and just sits there spinning.  You may recall seeing trains start up and the wheels spin until they grab traction on the  track and begin to move. Basically the engines have so much torque they if they rev too quickly the wheels just spin under the engine, grinding away at the track - with enough friction to even start melting it a bit. The load they carry has way too much mass to be pulled that quickly


From The Wicomico News, Salisbury Maryland May 2, 1907


Engineer John Phillips, of Delmar, was killed and six other trainmen considerably shaken up in a head-on collision between a southbound local passenger train and a northbound freight on the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad at Eden, early Friday morning. No passengers were injured.

The accident is said to have been caused by Engineer Phillips disregarding orders to take a siding at Eden. He jumped and was killed by striking his head against an iron frog. Conductor Sturgis and Fireman Bennett of the same train were seriously injured.

The unfortunate engineer, fireman and conductor were running an extra engine from Delmar to Pocomoke City to carry the first excursion from Pocomoke City to the Jamestown Exposition. Their engine was running at great speed when a head-on collision occurred.
Both engines were completely demolished and cars piled high in the air, stopping traffic for several hours.

Engineer Phillips had a brother killed in a like manner last fall.

The injured fireman and conductor were hurried to Salisbury hospital for treatment, and are expected to recover.
Mr. Phillips, who was killed in the collision, was one of the youngest engineers on the road and left a widow and two small children. The crews of both trains live at Delmar.

At the coroner’s inquest into the death of Engineer Phillips, Saturday, Engineer McNeile, of the freight train, who saved his life by jumping, admitted that the wreck was due to the fact that he had overlooked the scheduled time of trains when he left Loretto, the station below Eden. No 81 was the nearest to train No. 35 on the schedule , and as there was about 53 minutes difference between these trains he calculated he could make the siding at Fruitland which is the next station north of Eden, before the arrival of the train. Train 35 however, ran 53 minutes ahead of train No. 81 on the schedule.

The coroner’s inquest was summoned by Justice of the peace II. W. Lankford at Eden station. Dr. T. Jacobs Smith of Princess Anne was foreman. The Jury returned a verdict that Engineer John P. Phillips came to his death by jumping from his engine while in motion sustaining a fracture of the skull, from which he died instantly.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

1958 the Last Passenger Service

From Daily Times Jan 13, 1958

Friday, January 5, 2018

Tex Ritter Visit to Delmar

Back in January, 1973 Tex Ritter, Country singer, came to Delmar. He was doing a tour encouraging country music. He visited town officials and had lunch at Orrell's State Line Restaurant. This was his second trip to Delmar, as he had a few years earlier came to help the Delmar Fire Department with some fund raising. Tex died a year later on January 2nd 1974. I guess once he had been to Delmar, he figured he had done it all and dieing was the only thing left.

Those of us who are older, have all sit around a bar, drinking beer and singing to Tex's songs on the juke box of "Rye Whiskey", "Deck of Cards", "Wayward Wind" and that tear jerker of "Hillbilly Heaven". He sang the title song in "High Noon" of "Do not forsake me oh my darlin". His son was, of course, John Ritter of "3 is Company" fame and his grandson is Jason Ritter of "Joan of Arcadia" and "The Class" fame.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Brill Company

In 1847, Johann Georg Brill (later known as John George or J.G.), arrived in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. After working for almost twenty years with Murphy and Allison, the prominent Philadelphia railroad car firm, Brill, with his son Georg Martin, founded J.G. Brill and Son in 1868. The company was located at 31st and Chestnut Streets.

During its more than seventy-year history, the J.G. Brill Company produced over 45,000 railroad cars, buses, and most importantly, trolleys. At its height, Brill was manufacturing between one-third and one-half of the country's trolley cars, as well as being one of the world's largest producers of undercarriages. During World War I, the plant converted almost entirely to the production of war materials for the United States government, as well as for governments of several other Allies. Over 10,000 automotive trucks and ambulances were manufactured by The J.G. Brill Company during World War I for the United States military alone. Firing platforms for howitzers, limbers and caissons for searchlights, radio telegraph units, and hundreds of thousands of shells came out of the Brill factories to support the war effort. Orders from the Allies brought Brill almost $16,000,000 from 1914 to 1918.

At the same time that Brill was growing larger, the market for trolley cars and trolley buses (the company's main product) was diminishing. By the middle of the twentieth century, most American cities had focused their transportation systems around buses, a product Brill did not even begin to manufacture until the 1940s and one that would never be a major component of the Brill line. Within fifteen years of their purchase, several of Brill's acquisitions folded, and by 1937, only one still existed. In the 1930s, Brill became a part of the larger Brill Corporation, which encompassed all of the existing Brill plants as well as Fageol Motor Company, Hall-Scott Motor Car Company, and American Car #38; Foundry Motors Company. By 1940, Brill was out of the trolley car business entirely, and finally, in August 1944, the remaining Brill Corporation subsidiaries had been absorbed by larger companies not affiliated with the industry.

above from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania