Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mark Allen 1972

Homer Kelley's Orchestra

above 1940 ad

Homer Kelley was a popular band leader and square dance caller from the late 1920's thru the 1950s.  He, with other members of his family, was big into the local horseracing scene.  Plus he was a farmer so he was a busy man.  He would die in 1984 at the age of 86.  He was born in Princess Anne to Robert James and Bertha B Pope Kelley.  His son Howard Kelley was a co owner of B and K Drive In restaurant down by the Salisbury State Teacher College.

1950 ad

Last Surviving Witness of Lincoln Assassination

Today's post has nothing to do with Delmar I just thought it was interesting.

taken from the Greensboro Historical Society facebook page.

An Eastern Shore Boy ----
The last Surviving Witness of Lincoln’s Assassination Recounted the Event in a 1950s Game Show
Aug 11, 2018 Stefan Andrews
To most people, the name Samuel J. Seymour will sound unfamiliar. Seymour, born in Easton, Maryland, in 1860, was the last surviving person who was witness to President Lincoln’s assassination.
He was present at Ford’s Theater on the eve of April 14, 1865, when John Wilkes Booth fired a deadly shot at the President.
Some nine decades had passed since the event anchored itself in American history when Samuel J. Seymour, at the age of 96, took the hot seat on I’ve Got a Secret.
I’ve Got a Secret was a TV game show which originally aired from 1952 until 1967. The format was similar to What’s my Line? — a panel of four famous people were challenged to guess a contestant’s unusual or entertaining secret.
The secret was shown to the studio audience, as well as everyone watching on television, then each panelist was left with 30 seconds ask the contestant questions.
When Seymour appeared in the studio on February 9, 1956, he whispered his secret to host Garry Moore: “I saw John Wilkes Booth shoot Abraham Lincoln.”
The four panelists for the day were: Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Lucille Ball.
Shown in the presidential booth of Ford’s Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone. (See photo below)
Cullen was first to try and crack the secret of the elderly man. He would ask him if his secret held a historical and political significance. Cullen eased the job for Meadows, who was next, that this concerned a famous person who held a political office.
“You witnessed something to do with Abraham Lincoln,” correctly guessed Meadows, quickly proceeding to ask if the memory was pleasant.
“Not very pleasant I don’t think. I was scared to death,” replied Seymour.
Samuel James Seymour (See photo below) was the last surviving person who had been in Ford’s Theatre the night of the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
Seymour was five-years-old when he accompanied his father on a working visit to Washington, D.C. As his father was absent due to his work, the young boy stayed with his nurse, Sarah Cook, and his godmother, Mrs. Goldsboro. The three of them attended the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater.
Seymour remembered the theater and the balcony, adorned with the American flag, reserved for President Lincoln. The President showed up and waved at the crowd. This was apparently the more pleasant memory of the evening.
The unpleasant one was made as the play reached its third act, and, as shared by Seymour, “all of a sudden, a shot rang out–a shot that always will be remembered–and someone in the President’s box screamed.”
Before appearing on I’ve Got a Secret, Seymour’s account of the assassination night featured in the February 7, 1954, edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel. A clip of the newspaper was shown by host Garry Moore as the episode concluded.
“I saw Lincoln slumped forward in his seat. People started milling around and I thought there’d been another accident when one man seemed to tumble over the balcony rail and land on the stage. ‘Hurry, hurry, let’s go help the poor man who fell down,’ I begged. But by that time John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, had picked himself up and was running for dear life,” recalled Seymour.
John Wilkes Booth was on the run for 12 days after the assassination until he was found hiding in a barn.
Samuel J. Seymour passed away shortly after his television appearance in 1956 and a few days ahead of the 91st commemoration of President Lincoln’s death. He was laid to rest at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

1931 Seniors At Maryland State Normal school at salisbury

Catherine Lee Spry and Pauline Elizabeth Ellis

Lester Smith and his Clover Farm Store

Lester J. Smith was the son of Charles V. Smith (1879-1964) and Lillie Cordrey (1882-1942).  Charles Smith was a rural mail carrier. Mr Lester Smith graduated Delmar High School in 1929,  The class consisted of 9 girls and 3 boys. Miss Pauline Ellis was Valedictorian and Catherine Spry was Salutatorian.  He started his work career as a clerk in a grocery store.  In the late 1930s he would work at the grocery store of George Spicer.  In 1938 he married Irene Virginia Parsons, daughter of Mr and Mrs S. C. Parsons of Delmar.  In 1939 he became affiliated with Clover Farm Stores.  By the mid 1040s George Spicer had moved back to Laurel to run a grocery store in the Laurel House.  It may have been at this time Mr Smith took over the store.  The store was located in the now abandon building at the corner of State and Pennsylvania.  It was typical of the small grocery stores of the period.  Meat cutting and selection in the back, dry and can goods on shelves in the center part of store, and the check out counter by the door.  I was unable to find a photo of the store.

above 1988

The Clover Farm organization was an organization in which the grocery store that wanted to be part of it would buy at least one share of stock and them they could order the Clover Farm brand grocery items.

above example of Clover Farm Brands at a Clover farm store that was in Illinois.

In 1979 Lester Smith retired and the grocery store was turned over to his son Jimmy Smith.  Lester Smith was active in the Delmar Chamber of Commerce.

Lester Smith and his wife had for children; Constance, Janet, Craig, Calvin  and James.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Winder Hastings

Winder Hastings in 1859 owned a large amount of land in Delaware and Maryland. He, with Elijah Freeney, gave to the railroad the land to build the railroad in Delmar.  Winder owned most of the land east of the railroad tracks.  Winder married Arerenid (Irena) (1814-1875) about 1837.  They had as children Martin E. (1838-1912), Mary Ellen (1841-1932), Maria Jane (1847-1935) and William Shelly (1850- ). Winder Hastings, besides land and timber operations, also had a large apple brandy distillery which produced a couple hundred gallons of brandy a year. In 1884 he died.  Like many men of the period he had a fear of banks failing and him losing everything, plus there just was not that many local banks.  Delmar would not get a bank until after his death.  . So he kept his money at home.  The local newspaper of the time reported his death as this

Now the young wife mentioned in the article was not that young nor was she 20.  She was Sarah Ann Chatham (1837-1909).  She was the daughter of Charles Chatham and Henny Stevenson Chatham. They lived north west of Snow Hill around St Luke Church.   She married Winder in 1876.  When she left Winder Hastings she returned to the family home that was occupied by her brother, John Samuel Chatham.  She went from one miser to another.  Winder kept his money at home and her brother Samuel kept his money at home.  He had amassed a large sum from land and timber operations and in his old age mainly loaned out money.  In 1915, after Sarah Ann had died in 1909, Samuel would be bludgeoned to death and his money stolen.
above Sarah Ann Chatham Hastings

Winder Hastings, Sarah Ann Chatham Hastings, and John Samuel Hastings are all buried in Parsons cemetery in Salisbury but in different parts of cemetery.

It was felt that not all of the money hidden by Winder Hastings was recovered and no doubt remains buried on his farm or in the mill pond.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Gas Rationing in 1945

Gas rationing continues.  Catherine Hearne Aydelotte (1917-1998) of Grove St received a gasoline permit to buy ten gallons of gas for her 1936 Ford.  She was married to  Mathew John Aydelotte.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rev. Woodell and Gov Al Smith

From the early 1920s until 1944 the Rev. William Rufus Woodell worked as a minister in the Methodist church on Delmarva.  He worked all over Delmarva but ended up in Delmar where he died and later his wife died in Delmar.  He was born in 1873 around Raynham, North Carolina.  His wife was Deborah Lowry (1871-1964).  They both were one quarter Cherokee Indian.  Since they were one quarter their children were one quarter Cherokee also.  They had for children; Attie (1896-1994), Eylar (1896-1898), Calvin (1898-1948), Virginia (1900-1984), R. H. (1905-1908), Earnest (1906-16985), Edna (1907-2001), Alice  (1910-), Reatha Christine (1915-1916) and John Henderson (1912-1998).  In North Carolina besides being a minister he owned two tobacco farms.

Rev. Woodell was ordained in 1905 and was active in the church in North Carolina.  When he came north he preached at Laurel, Fruitland, Stockton, Bishop Head,  Crisfield, Cambridge, Denton and Pocomoke.   A number of his children married people in this area.  One was Virginia Mae who married  Herman L. Sterling from Crisfield,  Virginia would open the Sterling Shop in Delmar and sell women apparel until about 1974 when she retired.  Edna would also marry on the shore to Dewey Edward Bozman and live in Fairmount.  John H Woodell would also live in Delmar. He appears to have lived with his mother after his father's death at 404 East Street. John would die in 1998 in Delmar.  He was an executive for RCA.

In 1928 Gov Alfred E. Smith of New York decided to run for President on the Democratic ticket.  He ran against Herbert Hoover.  There was opposition to Al Smith because he was a Catholic and people feared the Pope would run the United States if he was elected.  In this time period the KKK was a major political influence on any election and of course Catholics did not rate very high with them.  It happened that Rev. Woodell was a Hoover supporter and was minister at St. Thomas M. E. Church in Bishop Head outside of Cambridge. In October of 1928 he chaired a rally for Hoover in Cambridge where 800 people attended.  In the course of the evening he attacked Al Smith, the Catholic Church and the Knights Of Columbus.  He then invited anyone who disagreed with him to "step outside" about 400 of the 800 people stepped outside.
above from the Baltimore Sun Oct 27, 1928

Rev. Woodell would retire from the church in 1938.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Newell Johnson and Family 1930

above from Laurel State Register Oct 31 1930

Jesse Newell Johnson (1898-1971) would move to the Lincoln Ave address and live there until his death in 1971.  He is buried, with his wife and daughter Lois, in St Stephens Cemetery.  He was a traveling shoe salesman for Endicott-Johnson for 40 years before retiring.  He moved here with his wife, Agnes Pryde Johnson (1903-1975) , his mother and two sons; Robert Pryde Johnson (1925-), Wesley Gibson Johnson (1929-1994) and their daughter Lois Ann Johnson (1926-1940).  In 1939 they would have a second daughter; Nancy Jane Johnson (1939-2006).   He was active in the American Legion, Church and was a town councilman. 

Their daughter, Lois Ann, died in 1940 at age 14 from an infection caused by a boil on her nose that spread to the base of her skull.  

Nancy would marry Wayne Fitzhugh.  At one time she was co-owner of Flowers By Hearns in Delmar.  She was a nurse.  She named her daughter Lois. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sweet Potatoes Not So Sweet

above from the Wilmington Morning News 22 April 1924

James Franklin Beach (1862-1953) was the son of Barnabus Beach.  He was married to Mary Elizabeth Ownes and the two girls mentioned were Elizabeth Adelene Beach (1912- ) and Beulah Frances Beach (1914-2014)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Virginia Sara Phillips Bride in 1930

above from the Morning News July 1, 1930

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Girl Scout Troop No 2 and Lillian Whayland Truitt

above from the News Journal August 1929

above from the morning News August 1929

above from Morning news August 1929

Mrs. J. Walter Truitt was Lillian Whayland (1907-1992), daughter of William W. Whayland, Delmar Druggist.  James Walter Truitt (1904-1955) was the son of William C. Truitt and Mary Ellen Hastings Truitt.  He started work as an assistant at Whayland's Pharmacy in Delmar, married the daughter of the owner about 1927 and became a druggist himself in Federalsburg Maryland. He operated Cantner's Drug store, buying it in 1942 and operated it  with his son, Jim.   She and her husband continued to be active in the community of Federalsburg after they left Delmar.

Mrs. Everett Hutchinson was Gladys L. Bryan Hutchinson daughter of Joshua and Linda Morgan Bryan of Seaford.  Gladys married Everett in 1929.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Bill Layfield and Beaches School

Bill Layfield recently passed away.  He was a good man.  On his farm is the old Beaches School House. 


Above is the Beaches Schoolhouse. It was on Saint Georges Road a little south of St Georges Church. It was used in the early 1900's and was no longer needed in the late 1920's. Perhaps Miss Mildred Calloway in 1926 was the last teacher the school had.   Beaches school was consolidated into the Delmar school district and the students were bused to the school new school in Delmar.  In 1928 William R Layfield and Lillie Miller were married. and a little later they purchased Beaches school house, moved it to their farm on Delmar road (RT54). They converted the 25 foot by 30 foot school into a house and they raised five children there.  

This is the school in 2010. Years ago a new house was built and the old school was recycled again and moved to the back of the lot to become a storage building with a couple of extensions for tractors. It doesn't look that great but it is over a hundred years old and still standing. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Wicomico County Pest House and the Alms House

Institutions of Mercy in Wicomico County followed the usual concept of “out of sight out of mind” and doing it with the least amount of burden on the tax payer. 

The two that stand out are the Pest House and the Poor House or Alms house.  There are others from orphanages to insane asylums but this post is only going to briefly talk about the afore mentioned.

The Wicomico County Pest House was where today’s civic center stand. It was about seven acres and was surrounded by fencing and had an armed guard at the gate.  The land was purchased in 1902 and sold in 1946 when the county stopped having a Pest House and farm.  People who went there had communicable diseases and were isolated from the rest of the community.  Visitors were not allowed.  Not pleasant, but it made the general populous safe, unlike today in which they are allowed to roam freely. Eventually Pine Bluff Sanitarium would be built and some of those inmates would be moved there.

The other alternative, if you were incapable of financially taking care of yourself but did not have a communicable disease, was the County Alms House-farm.  Alms House, an old English word, is the nicer sounding version of Poor House.  The 197 acres were bought in 1871 shortly after Wicomico County formed by cutting it out from Somerset and Worcester County.  It was the old Bounds Colonial Home, slave quarters and outbuildings out on Athol Road in the Cherrywalk section of Wicomico County.  A new house was built about 1910 for the caretaker and his wife.  When it was closed in 1925 it had eight inmates.  The inmates were segregated between black and white.  It would cost about $4,000 a year to keep the place up. When it was closed most white residents went to the crazy house in Cambridge.  The Black residents were placed with Black families.  There was a cemetery on the farm for those who died there.

In 1920 Samuel Straughn Mills (1871-1944) and his wife Della(Ardellia Frances Hurley 1865-1962) were the Alms House Keepers. Living with them were their children; Arrie Blanche Mills (1900-1997), Harvey Reginald Mills (1902-1986), Gillis Aubrey Mills (1907-1979) and Arianna White Hurley (1843-1930) who was Della’s mother.  The family acted as farmers and laborers for the farm and they kept the buildings up.

The White inmates were Peter Cox, Clara Cox, Eben Parsons, George Adkins, James Miner Charlotte Hopkins and Edward Pusey.  The Black inmates were Purnel Newman, George Gale, Williamana Evans and Noah Fooks.

All of those people from the family that managed the farm to the inmates have a story to tell and perhaps one day a more in depth post will be made about them.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Button Hook

THAT'S why you use a button hook! So you can put on your shoes after you're fully dressed... because you forgot "shoes before corset." Ha!
Photo of woman putting on a pair of Candees Rubbers protective boots with the aid of a button hook. (These are going OVER her shoes.)   From Historical Sewing With Jennifer Rosbrugh  facebook

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Join The 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 421, 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.

Franklin Elliott and Elizabeth Gordy

Above from the Wilmington News Journal July 25 1928

above from the Wilmington Morning News July 27, 1928

Edwin Franklin Elliott (1910- 1943) and Elizabeth Latitia "Libby"  Gordy (1910-2007 )were both under 20 years of age when they married.  He had graduated High School in 1927 and she had just graduated High School in 1928. Frank had an interest in entertainment and was frequently in various High School drama productions.  as the below  1927 photo shows

Frank Elliott was the son of Benjamin Franklin Elliott (1889-1962) and Helen Mae Smith (1889-1954).  Benjamin Franklin Elliott worked for the railroad.  Libby Gordy was the daughter of Edward Ross Gordy ( 1882 -1933)  and Gertrude Phillips Gordy ( -1923). Ross Gordy also worked for the railroad.  His wife, Gertrude Gordy, had died in 1923 of an unusual problem.  She had gone to a dentist to have a tooth extracted and part of the tooth went down her air passage and lodged in her lung. She was sent to John Hopkins Hospital but the tooth chip was so close to her heart they could not operate and after a couple of days she died.    

Frank and Libby lived in Delmar for a short period of time and he worked for the Telephone company.  Eventually they moved to Salisbury.  By 1940 he was working as a Bartender at the Wicomico Hotel.  He died in 1943.  Frank and Libby would have for children; Ann (1929-2003 ), Barbara (1933-2013)  and Patsy (1935-).  Libby would later marry Arthur Potts.  

Monday, September 3, 2018


It was not until the 1920s that undertakers would tend to have just one job.  The Marvel Funeral home in Delmar also did blacksmithing and in Pocomoke, Stevenson and Bros were dealers in Sewing machines and Ace Washing Machines.

1912 ad