Saturday, November 28, 2020



uniform size box 10 x10x 4 1/2 and weight 11 pounds                                      

Better known as the Red Cross Box, the American Red Cross Prisoner Of War Food Package NO 10, was sent to American POWs in whatever country they were in during WW2.  Those prisoners in Europe such as Sgt Thomas Mirando of Delmar fared better in receiving the package then Sgt George Kerekesh and Pvt Millard C Smith, both of Delmar, who were in Japan occupied territory.  In many cases the Germen let the POWs have the entire box, in other cases they would only let them have the candy and cigarettes and keep the rest for the prison cookhall where they were combined with the German POW food.  The Japanese rarely let the POWS have anything.

100,000 boxes a month were filled in Philadelphia  and shipped to Geneva Switzerland where they were distributed across Europe.   Some packages were shipped and stored at Vladivostock and stored on site until Japanese vessels picked them up for possible distribution to prison camps in Asia.

Letter from William H Jopp of Denton, Maryland POW in Germany

Dear Mother,

Well, it is your turn to get a letter although there isn't much to write about.  I hope you and Daddy are ok. The only thing I can think to write about now is the Red Cross parcel we get every week and today is the day.  We get 1 can of corned beef, can of minced pork (lunch meat) 1 box of cheese, 4 to 6 packs of smokes, 1 can butter, 1 can of liver paste, 1 can powder milk, 2 candy bars, 1 can of orange juice, 1 can salmon, 1 box of crackers, 1 box sugar cubes, 1 box of prunes, or raisins, 2 small bars soap, and 1 can coffee. It sure is a nice box. With this box and the German rations I can make out all right. We have plenty books to read. I will write again next week,


 From the Denton Journal 10 Mar 1944

Thursday, November 26, 2020

1909 Thanksgiving Song


The Colfax Gazette, Washington, November 19, 1909

1941 Thanksgiving Football


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

1929 Thanksgiving Parachute Jump


Mickey ‘Bat’ Efferson, A noted wing walker and parachutist of the period.  He seemed to have been several people; one was the version he gave to the press and the other was what documents would show. He gave his name as Michael Patrick Ryan Efferson and used different versions of the name during his lifetime.  Regardless of his name you can not take away the daring he displayed and the adventures he had. 

He says he has been jumping since 1919 and Efferson, according to his account, had worked with Ivan R. Gates Flying Circus in 1927 as one of the Diavolos.  Ivan Gates would prepare advance posters for each town they would be visiting.  The posters would name the star stunt man and in a period of a year several of them died performing which meant the posters had to be reprinted at a loss of money.  Gates decide who every the stuntman was he would be called El Diavolo (The Devil) and that way he would not have to reprint posters if they died on him.  Gates also was the first to only charge a dollar a ride to the public and some days he (or his flyers) would make $2,000 a day.

above 1927

His account says he was born in Brady, Texas, his marriage licenses says he was born in Syracuse, New York. He said he was in WW1 and always maintained a soldier of fortune attitude.  He selected Wilmington as his home and base of operations in the late 1920s and into the early 1930’s.  From Wilmington he would fly across the country performing shows.

In 1930 he married Mildred Hitch (1909-1990) who was from Greenwood.  They did it in a Bellanca six seater aircraft while flying over Wilmington, Delaware.  Allison Buck was the pilot and the Rev. Ralph Minker officiated. By 1934 she had filed for divorce.  She would later marry Harry T. E. Schechinger.

Efferson would be in Tampa Florida in the 1930s for the Tampa Times newspaper selling ad space. He went by the name Mike Ryan while there. In 1941 he joined the Royal Air Force Ferry Command and was in Gander Newfoundland.  Later in the 1940s he would work for the Tampa Times and run his airplane business of Effeson and Associates, which bough surplus planes and parts.

above 1942

In 1949 he married Esther Gertrude Murray in Washington DC using the name Michael Efferson.  A few weeks later in April he died in a hospital in Washington.  It is unknown where he is buried. 

1953 Acme Store Prices


1941 Thanksgiving Dance at The Cosy Cabin


Monday, November 23, 2020

The Erie Railroad 160 ton wreck crane

The United Railroad Historical Society of NJ recently posted a photo of inside the Wreck train crane they have rebuilt.  Delmar did not have this model but it did have a wreck train unit with crane stationed here in Delmar.

 see their facebook page for videos of it in action 

From their page 

Exciting news: Our Erie Railroad 160-Ton wreck crane can now be counted among our operating artifacts in Boonton Yard! This project was a labor of love by one of our volunteer mechanics, Erik Stenzel, who has been rebuilding components in his home shop over the past year. Check out his startup and operating demo in this video.

No. 03125 was built in 1926 by Bucyrus as a steam-powered crane. In the late 50s, the Erie converted it to diesel, and it now runs on a 6-cylinder Caterpillar D327. Rather than an electric starter, it has a pony start, which is a 2-cylinder gasoline engine that warms and starts the diesel. In this video, you’ll first hear the smaller (and much louder) pony motor before seeing the exhaust from the big motor.

Winter Vegetable Storage

 With Thanksgiving arriving everyone prior to 1950 was busy getting ready for winter.  Livestock is slaughtered, firewood and coal is stored, the final crops are harvested, the windows on the house are chinked with newspapers to stop the draft.  Since cellars and thusly root cellars are rare on Delmarva due to the high water level, a variety of root vegetables for the family winter use and for livestock feed were stored outside in kilns (clamps, tumps, etc the name widely varied).  Vegetables such as apples, white potatoes (sweet potatoes were always stored in heated potato houses), celery, turnips, carrots, beets, and cabbages would be stored in these kilns.  Some farmers would have several kilns because different vegetables (cabbages, apple, celery) would not be stored together due to the ethylene gas they produce, smell or moisture.

The construction of the kiln and the placement of the vegetables in the kiln was highly personal based on the family creating it.  Each family felt their way was best.  The basic kiln however was a clear spot of land that straw or pine shats were put down in a layer, then a layer of vegetable placed on that, followed by another layer of straw, followed by more vegetables until a cone shape pile was created.  The pile would then be coved in straw, pine shats and/ or fodder plus an outside layer of dirt.  The center of the pile would just be straw or cover by a slab of rock or tarp to allow for ventilation of the pile.

Bob Jones facebook page Worcester County History had a writeup by Estel Holland on making a kiln, again different from my description but as i said every family did it different.

Storage in the earth: Another thing Daddy used to do in the early fall was build a kiln."" This was done by digging a hole in the ground, approximately four by four feet, maybe 18 to 20 inches deep — not too deep because water could spring in. The pit would be lined with old boards or old tin, tin being best because that would help keep the rodents out. After this was done, you would line the kiln really well with pine shats. After this was done, you would store your cabbage, turnips, and potatoes — usually red skins for they kept better. Cover the top with more boards, leaving a opening in the side for a small door so you could reach in and take out your vegetables as needed. You would pile dirt on your kiln, approximately 1 to 2 feet deep, surrounding all of it except for your little door. This would keep your vegetables from freezing in the winter. You would usually build your kiln near the house so if the weather turned bad with snow, ice, or extreme cold — you never had to walk too far. Other parts of the country have more elaborate systems than this, and are often called root cellars. We kept sweet potatoes, sometimes apples, in a vacant room upstairs near the chimney.

1926 Coal from E E Freeny


coal sizes

Name of size Diameter of mesh

Broken 4-1/2
Egg 3-7/16
Stove 2-1/2
ChestNUT 1-9/16
Pea 1-1/16
Buckwheat 1 ½
Buckwheat 2 ¼

Big size hotter burns faster. Small size not as hot burns longer.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

1977 Delmar High School Library Aides


Sunday Dinner at German and Bryan


On June 1, 1927  Fannie German and Julia Bryan (sisters) open a restaurant in the Stone House called "German and Bryan".   They were daughters of Levin Lowe and Mary Ellen Waller Lowe.   Fannie German was Mrs. Mary Frances German (1865 -1941) and Julia Bryan ( -1937) was her sister and she was married to George Bryan. Referred to as Aunt Fannie, Fannie German was well known to the railroad people that rented her rooms and ate at her restaurant.   Fannie German had been married twice; once to William Thomas Gillis and second to Harvey German.


Princess Anne, March 18 Funeral services for Mrs. Mary Frances German, who died here Sunday at 5 P. M March 16, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary E. Byrd, will be conducted at 3 P. M., Thursday from the First Baptist Church, Delmar, Del. The Rev. L. A. Thomas, pastor of the church, will be in charge of the services.

The deceased, a native of Delmar, was born March 12, 1865. She was the daughter of the late, Mary Elizabeth Waller and Levin Lowe of Delmar. She was a charter member of the Delmar Baptist Church, members of the Trainmen's Auxiliary, and a member of Daughters of Liberty. She entered the restaurant business in Delmar in 1912. Later she operated the Stone House Hotel with her sister under the trade name of German and Bryan.

Mrs. German had been living with her daughter here for the past, seven years.

She was well known on the Delmarva Peninsula and she was known as "Aunt Fannie" to a large circle of P. R. R. trainmen, who patronized her business establishments, and who were included in her large host of friends.

She is survived by three children: Mrs. Mary E. Byrd of Princess Anne, Mrs. John J Feehan of Denver, Colorado, and Mrs. E. W. Dozier of Philadelphia, Pa. Two sisters, Mrs. Nettie Williams of Delmar and Mrs. Ida Ellis of Bristol, Pa.; also nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren also survive.

She was twice married; William Thomas Gillis, and Harvey German, respectively.

Above from The Salisbury Times 18 March 1941

Friday, November 20, 2020

Baione and DelGuercio1989


1989 Wilmington News Journal 

The Price of Oysters

 At Thanksgiving oysters are a traditional dinner table favorite.  Below are some some bushel of oyster retail prices over the years.  This is just a general price as it varies greatly with type and spot pricing.  Based somewhat on a hundred oysters to a bushel.

1903 - $1.25 per bushel

1944 - $2.50 per bushel

1981 - $14 per bushel

1990 - $25 per bushel

2014 - $65 per bushel

2020 - $100 per bushel

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Work continues on the caboose


Work continues on the caboose

Monday, November 16, 2020

Jane Culver Waller


above from the Salisbury Daily Times 2006

The above waitress, Jane Waller, was from Delmar.  She was the daughter of Adlai Handy Culver and Georgia M. Nichols.  She had married, in 1931, Harry Edward Waller (1908-1993). Born in 1914 in Cape Charles, Virginia Jane Culver was the granddaughter of Ernest Nichols and Annie Beauchamp Nichols.  Her uncle was Howard Nichols who ran the Avenue restaurant so she probably was around food service most of her life.  In fact after leaving waitressing at the English Grill she became a school cafeteria worker and manager at Pinehurst Elementary school.  She died of a stroke at Harrison House (nursing home) in Delmar in 1987.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the English Grill North


Up until 2004 our Delmar family could go south a few miles and have Sunday dinner at the English Grill on North Salisbury Boulevard.  It was Diner No 3 of the English Chain of restaurants.  By 2006 all the restaurants were gone except the one in Ocean City.  Open 24 hours 7 days a week (closed on Christmas) you could always get a good meal at one of several locations.  It also had a popular meeting room that was used by a wide range of organizations. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Leonard J Moore Grocery Store 1927


1927 Leonard Joseph Moore Grocery Store

Leonard Moore (1889-1943) ran a store in Delmar in the 1900s.  He was married to Effie M Holloway (1885-1932) and they had a son, Leonard Clifton Moore.  After Effie died he moved his business to Dover where he would meet Marie Julia Watson Hines and marry her in 1933.  They would move to Michigan.

Gettysburg Dead

 On October 15, 1863, David Wills posted advertisements across Gettysburg for contractors to remove the dead from the battlefield. He asked for a sealed proposal and a price for those interested in two job opportunities. The first was to identify and disinter the Union dead on the battlefield. The second was to work with William Saunders to rebury the remains into the new cemetery.

Within a week, Wills received 34 bids that ranged from $1.59 to $8.00 a body. On October 22, James S. Townsend, of Rahway New Jersey, was hired to work with Saunders to rebury the dead.
Townsend was instructed to place the coffins three feet deep and to dig a trench above each row for the granite headstones. Each headstone, if possible, listed the name, rank, company, and regiment the soldier fought for in their respective state plot. If not, they were given a headstone with a number in the unknown sections. The identification that Townsend used to mark each headstone was provided by Samuel Weaver’s notes. Townsend personally made sure every grave was buried to the correct depth and accounted for 3,512 Union graves from 1863 to late 1864.
However, the Confederate dead would not be disinterred until the 1870s. Southern aide societies worked with several contractors, including Samuel Weaver’s son, Rufus, to identify Confederate remains and send them south. From 1871 to 1873, Rufus Weaver sent 3,320 remains to southern cemeteries.
Most of the Gettysburg reburials occurred between 1863 and 1873. However, bodies continued to be discovered and reinterred by the Gettysburg community for over a century after the battle.

from the Gettysburg National Military Park Facebook page

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Armistice Day at the 11th hour

 Armistice Day by Staz Johnson

Armistice Day football battle 1935


Delmar Alumni Gridmen Drop Tilt to Wicomico


DELMAR. Del, Nov. 12 (Special).


Delmar Delaware High School Alumni and Wicomico High School Alumni, of Salisbury, met in an Armistice Day football battle yesterday before the largest crowd ever to witness a sporting event in this section. At least 1500 persons jammed the sidelines as the Marylanders won, 14-0.


The game was all Baker. The former Washington College star, now coach of the Wicomico High eleven, was the star of the fray.


 It was the first time in five years of football between the two schools that Salisbury was able to score a point against Delmar. The game became bitter in spots, and several players were hurt.


 Larry Horseman, former local backfield luminary, was injured in the fourth quarter when Baker charged into him as Horseman was about to receive a forward pass from Lockerman. Plans are being made to stage another game between the rivals on Thanksgiving Day at Delmar.

Above from the Wilmington News Journal 12 Nov 1935

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

It's Planning Time For The Thanksgiving Dinner

 There are perhaps two times a year that families try to cook traditional Eastern Shore food.  One is when you have to bring a dish to the family reunion and second is Thanksgiving.   So this is the time of the year when people are planning and shopping for the Thanksgiving dinner.  Deciding how many muskrats to buy, where is that corn pudding recipe, where is that English Grill sweet potato biscuit recipe, where to get the best turnips and greens, where is Uncle Carl’s corn bread recipe, finding a  can with a label for the green bean casserole recipe, how many gallons of dumplings to make, trying to find a good price on oysters, deciding should you include sauerkraut for the Baltimore woman your son married who feels that strange dish belongs on a Thanksgiving table.   The list goes on and let’s face it you can never have too many starches at a Thanksgiving dinner.

It is also the time of year when the search for Hayman sweet potatoes is in full throttle.  Haymans ARE the traditional Eastern Shore sweet potato. A small gnarly shaped white skinned, light green fleshed potato that has become difficult to find.  Good ones are so sweet they drip sticky black sap from their ends when baked

What is known as Haymans arrived in the United States via the West Indies in 1856, when Capt. Daniel Hayman sailed into Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with a cargo of semitropical white sweet potatoes in his hold. A Methodist minister bought the lot of them and distributed them through a network of Methodist preachers. Since Methodists were dominant on the Eastern Shore and the sandy, slightly acidic soil is prime for growing sweet potatoes.

Today due to low production of the Hayman and a weakening of the seed stock, finding them is difficult. When you do find them frequently the taste that made them so well loved is gone.  You are most likely to find an O Henry Sweet potato, an almost close rival of the Hayman or a Nancy Hall sweet potato – both are good but still not Haymans. 

above 1942 ad

above from albemarle enquirer 07 nov 1878

Interesting comment in the above article about if his children were boys being voters-  this was of course before women were given the right to vote

Monday, November 9, 2020

Work has started on the caboose


Work has started on the caboose

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Dutch Mill Farm Restaurant

Back in the 1950s our Delmar family may have been returning to Delmar after a visit to the western shore.  There were a number of restaurants available to stop at on the way back; Busch’s, the Log Inn, the Wagon Wheel, Etc., but the windmill of the Dutch Mill Farm Restaurant may have attracted their attention. 

The restaurant was started in the 1940s, in a time when restaurants tried to make their property unique so you had Burger places shaped liked burgers and coffee shops shaped like coffee pots.  In 1944 Leroy Corcoran built the restaurant and ran it for 20 years.  In 1965 it was purchased by Arthur Steiner and the name was changed to Old Mill Pancake House.  

After his son came back from Vietnam in 1967 and joined his father at the restaurant, ownership moved to his son, Robert Steiner and in 1988 when attempting to change it to an Italian restaurant his wife shot and killed him. 

In 1989 it was purchased by a group led by Harvey LeRoy “Lee” Atwater (Republican National committee consultant) and renamed ‘Texas Steak and BBQ” and later changed it to “Red Hot and Blue” which it is known as today.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Tropics and Hotcha Drew


above 1954 ad

In the early to mid 1950s there was a supper club over top the Avenue Restaurant (Today known as the Sports Nut Bar) .  Based on advertisements the club would provide food and drinks, dancing and entertainment.   The entertainer were mostly mid-atlantic entertainers who seem to play a circuit of clubs in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

An entertainer who appeared at the Tropics a number of times was Hotcha Drew.  Unless the entertainer is really famous it is hard to research them as they change names and reinvent themselves.  Hotcha Drew is no exception.  She first appeared under the name Drusilla Drew about 1932.  She was from New York and was born in 1915.  She had a dancer, singer entertainer act and was popular from the 1930s through the 1950s.  About 1956 she disappeared and it is unknown if she died or just reinvented herself under a different name.  

In the early 1930s she hooked up with Jackie Johnson and they made a name for themselves in Pittsburgh and New York.  The photo above is from when they were playing Derby Dad's 

 In the 1940s she worked in Atlantic City where she married Le Roy Miles, manager of the Club Harlem.  She played the Apollo with Cab Calloway and was on the billboard of all the big known clubs.