DELMAR, Del., Oct. 15. Alleging that Mrs. S. T. Adams severely beat his boy over some minor affair, Elijah W. Wootten of this town had sworn out a warrant for her arrest. Wootten claims that this is the second time his boy has been beaten by Mrs. Adams. - from The Wilmington Morning News 16 Oct 1913
An interesting 107 year old story that brings up more question than answers. The three primary players in this story are; Mrs. S. T. Adams, Elijah Wootten and the boy. A little about them; Mrs. S. T. Adams is Sallie Mary Baker Adams (1873-1942). She is the wife of Stephen Tilghman Adams (1877-1958). Stephen was a locomotive engineer and they lived on Chestnut Street on the Maryland side of town. At this time the Maryland side of town had a large number of railroad Brakemen and Engineers living in it. Sallie at this time would be 41 years old. She had three children; Florence, Stanley, and Lee. The Adams were originally from the Harrington area. They had married in 1898 and lived in Philadelphia, moving to Delmar by 1910.
Elijah William Pargen Wootten (1877-1950) had married in 1897 in Wicomico County to Olivia V. Truitt. At the time they married she was 19 years old and he was 21. They lived on Pine Street and he too was also a railroad engineer. They had three children; Blanche. Marion and Myrtle.
The Boy was Marion “Monk” Ellegood Wootten. He would have been 12 in 1913. He would later in life become a railroad engineer living in Delmar.
Now we don’t know if Monk was a real pain and problem child or not, nor do we know if Sallie was a real shrew and with a 107 year old story we are not going to ask anyone.
What we do know is that three weeks after this story there was a fire of unknown origin in Stephen Adams house. Sallie and the children were away visiting relatives but Stephen was home. He was forced to jump from the porch roof to save himself. The recently formed Delmar fire department arrived and sprayed water on the surrounding houses while Stephen’s house burn to the ground.
We don’t know when ( I suspect shortly after the fire) but by 1917 Stephen Adams and family had moved back to Philadelphia and was working for the Baldwin Locomotive Works as a traveling engineer. The Baldwin Locomotive Works was founded by Matthias W Baldwin a jeweler who had opened a machine shop. By 1918 the company had built their fifty thousandth locomotive. Stephen Adams job, as a traveling engineer, was to go with the locomotives when they were sold to break them in (putting up the engine) and provide technical expertise for several weeks after they were delivered.