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Gazetteer of Delaware

By Henry Gannett

General Description of the State

Town and City Directory A ~ M
Town and City Directory M ~ Y

Delaware is one of the Middle States, and borders upon Delaware Ba}r and the Atlantic Ocean between latitudes 38° 30' and 39° 15', and between longitudes 75° 00' and 75° 50'. The east boundary of the State is Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The south boundary is a line beginning at Cape Henlopen, as the name was originally applied, in latitude 38° 27', and running due west 34 miles 309 perches. The west boundary is a straight line, commencing at the westernmost point on the southern boundary and running northward 81 miles 78 chains and 30 links until it touches and makes a tangent to the western periphery of a circle with a radius of 12 statute miles from the center of the town of Newcastle. The north boundary is the periphery of this circle as far as Delaware River.

Delaware was first settled by the Dutch in 1629. In 1638 the Swedes made a settlement and held the colony until 1655, when it was surrendered to the Dutch. In 1661 this region, with the other Dutch possessions, was acquired by the Duke of York. In 1682 this territory passed from the Duke of York to William Penn by deed, and was held by him until 1701, when he granted it a charter enabling its people to set up a separate government. Delaware is one of the thirteen original States, and was the first to adopt the Constitution, taking this step December 7, 1787.

The population of the State in 1900 was 181,735. The following table gives the population at each census since 1790:

1790 ~ 59,096
1800 ~ 64, 273
1810 ~ 72, 674
1820 ~ 72, 749
1830 ~ 76, 748
1840 ~ 78, 085
1850 ~ 91, 532
1860 ~ 112, 216
1870 ~ 125, 015
1880 ~ 146, 608
1890 ~ 168, 493
1900 ~ 184, 735

The density of population in 1900 was 94.3 inhabitants to a square mile. The chief city is Wilmington, with a population of 76,508 in 1900; the capital is Dover, with a population of 3,329 in 1900. The urban population in 1900 amounted to about 54 per cent. As to sexes, the population is divided in the proportion of 51 males to 49 females. The State contains 30,697 Negroes, five- sixths of the population being white, while one-sixth is colored. The proportion of foreign born is small, only 7.5 per cent of the inhabitants being foreign born, to 92.5 per cent native born.

Of the total population 10 years of age and over, 12 per cent were unable to read and write. This illiteracy was, however, found mainly among Negroes. The illiterate element of the whites consisted of only 7 per cent of the whole number, while that of the Negroes constituted 38 per cent. Of the total population over 15 years of age, 36 per cent were single, 55 per cent married, 8 per cent widowed, and 0.2 per cent divorced.

Of the entire number of inhabitants over 10 years of age, almost exactly one-half were engaged in gainful occupations. Of the males not less than 81 per cent were wage-earners, and of the females 18 per cent. The wage-earners were distributed in the following proportions among the five grand divisions of occupations:

Proportions of wage-earners in Delaware in 1900.
Agriculture 26%
Professions 4%
Domestic and personal service 23%
Trade and transportation 16%
Manufacturing 31%

In 1900 there were 9,687 farms in the State, of which more than nine-tenths were operated by white farmers. Of the entire number of farms, just one-half were operated by their owners and the other half by tenants. The area of land in farms was 1,066,228 acres, of which 751,010 acres were improved. The average size of the farms was 110 acres, which is considerably less than the average of the country. The improved area amounted to 71 per cent of the total farm area and 60 per cent of the total area of the State. The value of all the farm property was 140,697,651, of which 134,436,040 consisted of land and buildings, $2,150,560 of farm implements and machinery, and $4,111,054 of livestock. The farm products were valued at $9,290,777. The average value per farm of all farm property was $4,201, and the value of products per farm was $959. The following table gives the number of animals upon farms:

Animals on farms in Delaware in 1900.
Meat cattle 54, 180
Horses 29, 722
Mules 4, 745
Sheep 11, 765
Swine 46, 732.

The following table gives the amounts of farm products in 1900: Farm products of Delaware in 1900.

Corn bushels 4, 736, 580
Wheat bushels 1, 870, 570
Oats bushels 131, 960
Hay and other forage tons 128, 193
Potatoes bushels 414, 610
Sweet potatoes bushels 222, 165
Dairy products $1, 092, 807

The total number of manufacturing establishments in the State in 1900 was 1,417, with a total capital of $41,203,239 and 22,303 employees. The wages paid annually amounted to $9,259,661, the value of materials to $26,652,601, and the value of products to $45,387,630.

Town and City Directory A ~ M
Town and City Directory M ~ Y

 Source: Gazetteer of Delaware, Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Bulletin #230, Series F, Geography 38, Government Printing Office, 1904.

 
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