Thursday, April 30, 2020

Navy Log Books

The National Archives has recently released over 600 Navy Ship Log Books, most are of Civil war vintage to about 1907.  The log books are in cursive handwriting so don't expect them to be easily read.

below is the the address

There are also Navy muster rolls that have been put on-line*:*&f.parentNaId=563603&f.level=fileUnit&sort=naIdSort%20asc

The muster rolls of the US Coast Survey Steamer A D Bache 1871-1879 has a number of men that enlisted in Delaware and Maryland.

US Coast Survey Steamer A D Bache  built in Wilmington Delaware in 1871

St Stephen's Parsonage

Well the title is a bit misleading as it is no longer the parsonage.  St Stephens church sold  the 102 East State street property in 2014 to a private individual.

The building was built about 1917.  There was a prior parsonage on the property and it was sold and removed.  In classic Delmar fashion the church is located in Delaware and the parsonage is in Maryland.

It was built for about $6,000 under the leadership of Reverend Frank Nelson Faulkner (1868-1931) and paid for by the members of the church. Rev. Faulkner, his wife Cora Wix Faulkner (1874-1958) and son James  were the first resident of the house.  Realtors describe it today as 3296 sq ft 4 bd 2 bath.  It has had a couple owners since the church sold it.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

1913 Cornmeal whiskey


George W Gordy Goes To Jail

above from the Wilmington Morning News August 16, 1906

above from the Wilmington Evening Journal December 14, 1906

all to no avail as the Board of Pardons turned him down and he did his five months. It seem to have little effect on his career as he had been a constable and was later made  a constable in Sussex county

George Gordy had a Delaware License to distill liquor as did T A Veasey in Delmar.

1906 State of Delaware Revenue you could buy a distiller license by the month for $20.  George made a product referred to locally as Gordy's "Jersey Lightning" which was a common name for applejack brandy.

George Gordy had married Edith May Conner in 1896.  They had a son Olin Gordy and a daughter Gertrude Gordy.  Both George and his son would die in 1919.  Gertrude Gordy would marry George Stanley.  She would die in 1924 leaving Edith Gordy to live by herself until 1938 when neighbor children would find her body.  All are buried at St Stephen Cemetery.

Maryland Cracks Down on Blue Law Violators 1912


1953 George B Truitt Shoe Repair Shop

1953 George B, Truitt Shoe Repair

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Replacement for Lower Delmarva Rootsweb

For genealogy people Mike Adkins has started a facebook page that is similar to the old Rootsweb mailing list.  It is some place to ask questions regarding family tree research.  It is a facebook group so you will have to join but take a look and see if it is something for you.  

Friday, April 24, 2020

2014 Contour Map

Looking at the 2014 Delaware Elevation map we see Delmar runs about 53' above sea level but the downtown area has a hole that drops to about 51',39.6857,-75.7205,39.7035

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thomas or William B Parker 1913

Child Dies, of Blood Poisoning. 

DELMAR, Del., May 8, Thomas Parker, the ten-year-old son of T. Edward Parker, died at his home here to-day of blood poisoning. The little fellow was struck with a stick about two years ago by a playmate, and for some months was near death He recovered, however, and it Is thought that he was entirely cured until two weeks ago, when the disease broke out afresh, and the boy was In terrible agony until death relieved him.

from The Wilmington Morning News May 9th 1913

Thomas Edward Parker (1875-1946) and Maggie Ellen LeCates Parker (1881 -1978) were married 20 Nov 1901 in Wicomico County. He worked for the railroad.  Altho the newspaper reported their son's name as Thomas he is buried at St Stephens cemetery as William B. Parker 1903-1913. Buried along side his father and mother. 

above 1917 WW1 Civilian registration card

above 1946

above 1978

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Talking Trash 1975

From the State Register September 25, 1975

Effective September 26, the Town of Delmar will discontinue twice-a-week trash and garbage collection.

Effective September 30, the regularly scheduled pickup on the Delaware side on Tuesdays will go into effect, with the Maryland side on Thursdays, according to Bob Martin, Town Manager.

To assist residents in disposing of falling leaves containerized leaves only will be picked up from both sides of town on the following Mondays: October 30, 20 and 27 November 3, 10, 17. Residents are asked to leave containerized leaves at the curb by 7 AM on the referred to Mondays.

Maryland residents are reminded that their trash will be picked up on Friday November 28, instead of the regularly scheduled Thursday November 27, which is Thanksgiving day.

Residents with suggestions for the betterment of the town, or for those with complaints are to call call Bob Martin at 896-2777 or 846-2320.

Trash pickup has always been one of the town's problem area as it is in any town.  From when Delmar had a trash dump over at brickhole west of Delmar - to when they would pick up trash twice a week and once a month you could throw out anything you wanted to in order to get rid of it, -  to buying trash trucks,-  to employing about eight people (including work release prisoners) to ride the trash truck to pickup the trash,-  to the on going war with the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA), - to DSWA examining the Delmar trash to make sure Delmar Maryland trash was not included in it, - to DSWA performing vehicle inspections on the Delmar trash truck,-  to a contractor taking over trash pickup and acting as a buffer between the town and DSWA, - to finally today when no one wants to pickup trash and spring clean up day has a ton of restrictions and is kept secret as to when it is to occur.  Wow talking trash today


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Salisbury Howard Johnson

In 1957 Edgar Bennett built a Howard Johnson restaurant and Lodge.  It was a franchise operation Mr. Bennett brought to Salisbury.  Built for $225,000 by Albert Disharoon the restaurant would have seating for 160 people.

above ad from 1959 Delmar Centennial Program

In 1962 Mr Bennett sold the franchise back to the Howard Johnson Corporation

By 1992 Zia restaurant had acquired the restaurant part of the Howard Johnson Restaurant.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ginger Joints, Jake and Jamaica Ginger

In 1901 the Delmar Maryland side of town decided to vote for the repeal of the sale of liquor.  The vote passed, and Delmar Maryland was dry.  Mr Vessey who owned the hotel and bar in Delmar Maryland had to shut the bar down.  He built a new hotel and bar across the street in Delaware.  In 1906 the Delmar, Delaware side of town voted to go “dry,” Leaving both sides of town without a legal place to drink.  Several other towns in lower Sussex county voted to go dry also.

With no legal place to buy liquor the populous had to turn to illegal “bootleggers” or legal “over the counter” drug tonics with a high alcohol content.  One such tonic was extract of Jamaica Ginger, a tonic to settle your stomach problems. 

Extract or Essences of Jamaica Ginger was made by maceration of Ginger root in cognac and that was distilled once again.  The tonic it produced came in at 150 proof.  In it’s popularity instead of referring to it as Jamaica ginger it was given the slang name of “Jake”.  A 4 ounce bottle could be purchased at a drug store or general store for about twenty-five cents.  Drank straight or mixed with a soft drink it was in common use.

Those places in which Jake was sold more as an alcohol beverage instead of a tonic became known as “Ginger Joints”. 

In 1912 the State of Maryland tried to prohibit the sale of Jamaica ginger.  It was not successful.  In the below article you will notice Delmar is mentioned at end.  

In 1920 when national prohibition hit the United States Jake was a favorite with low income people who could not afford the bootlegger liquor.  The federal government in an attempt to make the Jamaica ginger tonic taste worst required the manufacturer to add a certain amount of solids from the ginger root to the tonic.  This made it taste very bitter.  The government ran a test of the tonic by boiling off the alcohol and weighting the solids to see if it was the correct ratio.  In order to get around this the manufacturer decided to add other things beside ginger root to the tonic to make up the solid weight and retain the taste.  

The manufacturer, actually two Boston brother-in-laws bootleggers named Max Reisman and Harry Gross, decided to add triortho cresyl phosphate to the product to replace the “solids”.  The chemical is used as a solvent in industry.  This proved to cause a paralysis of the legs and feet and 30,000 to 50,000 people developed it from drinking the tonic.  The condition was referred to as Jake-Leg Shuffle due to the limp all of them had.  Many victims of this lived another 40 years with the walk using canes to walk with.

The end result for Jamaica Ginger tonic was no one wanted to drink it as they could not be sure it was the good stuff or the bad stuff.

However Jake Leg became a popular subject for Blues songs and is even mention in the book “Grapes of Wrath.”

“Then he would eat of some craved food until he was sick; or he would drink  Jake or whiskey until he was a shaken paralytic with red wet eyes.”
-- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Hastings Building

A close up of the 1925 aerial Delmar Photograph showing Railroad Ave (today Pennsylvania Ave)  and Grove Street.  The low wood frame building with the awning over the sidewalk at the bottom of the picture is the Hastings building, going east (up) you can see the two funeral home buildings, then crossing First street the tall two story building is the Delmar Delaware high school which today is where the postoffice is and the next building is a home that is still here.

above is a different shot of Delmar - way off to the left you can see part of the Hastings building (last building in row of building)

It is difficult to determine how old the building is - maybe built about 1892 after the 1892 fire.  It had a number of retail stores on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor.  It was originally owned by Levin Staton Hastings (1812-1884) who owned half of Delmar and Elijah Freeny owned the other half.  Mr Hastings ran his store in the building.  When he died in 1927 his property went to his two sons; Chauncey and Theodore.

Theodore continued to run the Hasting store in the building.  Chauncey, who worked for the railroad, sold a lot of his property in 1928.

Theodore Hastings died in 1950.  It is unclear if the property was sold after his death or if he sold it a couple years before his death.  The property was purchased  by Tony Nero.  He had the Hastings Building moved from the corner lot to the lot that was to the north of it's original placement.

The building was reworked into apartments about 1950 and called the Nero apartments.  It still exists today. 

The empty lot that remained was sold by Nero to to E N Holloway in 1953.  Eventually the funeral home acquired the property and it became a parking lot

1953 Mary Ann Hastings and Family

1953 Bi-State Weekly July 24, 1953

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Delmar Chinese Hand Laundry 1929

1929 ad for Dong Wee Laundry in the old hotel or Whayland Building Delmar Maryland.

Always hard to find information on Chinese laundry owners, there was a Dong Wee laundry operating in Wilmington up until 1926 may be the same man.

Jim Duffy of Secrets of the Eastern Shore has a good post on a Chinese Laundry in Cambridge the address is here

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Delmar Maryland School

In 1896 a four room school was built in Delmar, Maryland at the intersection of what today is Chestnut street and Bi-State Blvd.  Later it had another four rooms added to it.  It handle the elementary school students and the high school Students.  In 1920 the new brick school was built and the high school was moved to it.  In 1932 the elementary school was moved to the new brick school.
Below in the 1925 aerial photo of Delmar the large white building slightly to the right of center is the school.  It appears to have had a large front yard with flag pole.  Today in that spot is the Catholic church.   

Graveyard Jars

In researching family trees and regional history I will sometime go to cemeteries to look for a grave.  Usually if I find the grave I try to photograph the headstone.  Some of these markers and headstones are overgrown with grass, and sand has covered part of the marker.  To handle that problem I carry with me a cleanup kit, of whisk brush, spray bottle of water, cleaning rag, grass clippers, and an old butcher knife for outlining the marker.  In cleaning up the marker I have found an assortment of items left behind by the grieving to show respect for the person.  I leave them there, only moving them around to get the photo and then place them back where they were.  Now it is not up to me or anyone else what is placed on a grave.  Whatever people want to leave as a measure of their grief is up to them.  I will say I have seen a large  increase in the amount of material put on graves in the last 50 years. 

The most common items I find on graves are plastic flowers, solar lights and wind chimes.  Smaller items however are stones, coins, matchbox toys, stuffed animals, golf balls, pencils, military ensignias, bullets and sea shells.  The ones I find interesting and scary are the jars. 

When I first started looking at graves on rare occasions I would find the old mayonnaises jar with the lid on it and a letter or note inside.  Since I was doing research I thought it might be a note from another researcher asking for information or giving family contact information.  One time I found a note like that, the other three times were very bitter letters sent to the deceased.  I now leave any jar with a note inside alone and untouched by me.

The other form of gravestone jar is what I call spell jars.  I have found maybe three of these type jars on graves over fifty years and at least one had animal bones scattered on the grave also.  The jars appear to have fruit, keys, nails, and coins inside them.  I have no idea why they were put there nor do I know what their true purpose is.  I assume someone had cast a spell using the jar either on the deceased or using the grave as a transmitter to someone else.  Anyway I leave the jar alone. Let the cemetery maintenance person worry about what to do with it.  The couple of photographs I had of these spell jars were destroyed in a house fire.  I will put this photograph found on facebook as an example of a spell jar. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

1925 photo of Delmar

Delmar 1925 part of a larger photo at the Hagley by the Dallin Aerial Survey Company Hagley ID 1970200-00939

below original complete photo

The DAV Keychain Tags

From the early 1940s to the mid-1970s, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV)  mailed these tags to owners of registered vehicles in various states. The license plate number was on one side and the DAV’s address and instructions were on the other to serve as a means for returning lost keys. Also included was a request for a donation to the DAV. When a set of lost keys with this tag was found, following the directive to drop them in a mailbox would get them to the DAV where the staff would match the plate number on the tag with the address of the registered plate owner, and then the keys would be returned.

1947 Taste Treat


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday Dinner At The Holiday Inn 1964

above from the Salisbury Times March 28 1964

1955 Ocean City Best Dressed

1955 The days of getting dressed in your Easter best and going to Ocean City to walk the Boardwalk and be judged.

Easter Sunday delmar 1919

above from the Christian Advocate May 8 1919

Culvers Men Shop 1953


Easter Sunday Whitesville 1982

Line Church WHITESVILLE - An Easter sunrise services will be held at Line United Methodist Church here at 6 a.m. Jerry Campbell of Delmar will be the guest speaker. There will also be a special prayer. A breakfast will be served following the service.

above from the Daily Times 10 April 1982

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Comparison of State and BiState over 109 years

above 1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance map for Delmar (intersection of State and BiState) BiState was then called 3rd street and had no gas stations, no commercial buildings at intersection.  It does the "S" curve where people had to turn from 3rd st to State street then back on to 4th street to continue into Maryland.

Below a 2020 image of the intersection of State and Bistate

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

1988 Delmar varsity girls basketball

1988 Delmar varsity girls basketball

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday Dinner At The Pony Pines 1984

The Pony Pines in Chincoteague Virginia
Mrs Teresa Judge owner in 1984
after 65 years in business it was auctioned off in 2003 and is no more
Started by Vaughn Mumford sold to Harry and Teresa Messantonio Judge then sold to Ronnie and Pam Malano.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

1918 California Spanish Flu

1918 California Spanish Flu

The Gypsy Campground

The earliest named Gypsy in America was Joan Scott who in 1695 was charged with fornication and bearing a child out of wedlock.  The Henrico County Virginia court records describe her as “an Egiptian and noe Xtian woman (Egyptian and non-christian)”.  Her case set the tone for negativity against Gypsies. 

By 1767 people described as Gypsies had scattered across the colonies.   In August of 1767 three servant men ran away from forges at the Patuxent Iron Works on the Patuxent river about twenty miles south of Baltimore.  They had been transported to America as convicts from England and they were purchased for a seven year contract to serve as bound labor.  Below is the ad in the Maryland Gazette that described them as Gypsies.

The previous two paragraphs were based on works by Ann Ostendorf.  So early on any recorded media showed the Gypsies in a negative light.  Gypsies are usually defined as any member of a traveling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling.  They speak the Romany language that is related to Hindi and are believed to have come from a group of people from north west India. So much for definitions, by the 1800s they were all over America.  Traveling in bands, making their living from horse trading and tinkering for the men, removing sickness, giving curses and fortune telling for the women.   Today with so many amusements at our viewing pleasure Gypsies are not as much a factor as they were from 1850 to 1950. 

In 1900 about every six months a tribe of Gypsies would go down the Delmarva Peninsula stopping every week or so at a different location.  The men and women would go house to house selling their trade be it tinkering (tinsmithing, basketmaking, leather work and shoe repair), selling good luck charms and potions, fortune telling, horse trading, selling  lawn chairs made from branches, etc.  Some time smaller groups would follow the crops working as itinerant workers in the canneries and fields.  In larger cities they might stay for a month or so.

above 1938 Salisbury Times

As bad publicity spread about their actions (they would always be accused of stealing chickens, stealing children, or stealing money) the local governments would try and enact regulations against them.  In 1964 Wicomico county required the below licensing fees mostly pertaining to gypsies.

When they passed through Delmar they would frequently camp at Leonard Mill pond.  Since all traffic traveling what is today RT13 had to cross Leonard Mill pond it was noticeable spot for all travelers be they gypsies or non gypsies.  In the 1850 to 1950 time period there was grove of trees by the pond and travelers would camp there over night or for a couple of days.  It had the requirements of water, trees and owners that would allow people to camp out there.  They would park their covered wagons start their campfires, visit local houses to sell their wares and return to the grove to play their music at night and locals would visit the camp for the adventure or to buy what ever they were selling.  After a couple of days they would continue on down the shore. 

I am sure there are still followers of a good fortuneteller but today they are not as prevalent as before 1960 in which many of our relatives would seek out fortune tellers and for five or ten dollars be told a great story of events to befall them.  Gypsy fortune tellers rated high above all others.

above 1954 ad

One of the family stories we have in my family is when my grandmother ran a small grocery store in Venton, Somerset county in 1920.  When the gypsies came through my grandmother had to keep an eye on the Gypsies and her younger sister, who would give away anything in the store if they would read her hand and tell her fortune. 

The Gypsy was romanticized in the movies, plays, books etc.  Local groups performed what was called Gypsy entertainment sometimes in churches sometimes in schools.

below is a 1929 Delmar Maryland High school play that included Gypsies. 

Front Row; Nadine Hudson and Frances McGuinness
back row; Thelma Powell, Irene Parsons, Catherine Elliott, Pauline Small, Jeanette Walls, Virginia Hudson

above the Wilmington Morning News 9 Nov 1899

1939 cartoon