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Duck Creek Hundred, Kent County, Delaware

Early Settlement Assessment List, 1785 Roads
Schools Churches and Cemeteries Industries
Smyrna Circut Preachers .. Smyrna

The term "Hundred of Duck Creek" is found on record in 1685, and is given as embracing the land lying between Duck Creek and its southwest branch, called Little Duck Creek, and extending westward to the Maryland line; but the region was not finally settled until many years later. This division left Bombay Hook Island in New Castle County. Old Duck Creek was a very crooked stream, and made a sharp turn about a mile from the bay, and then ran thirteen miles to the point where it joined Dona River and entered the bay. Sometime previous to 1740 the route to the bay from the landing was shortened by cutting a thoroughfare at the turn, and Hon. Jacob Stout, in 1820, cut the Leipsic or Little Duck Creek through. In 1841 this thoroughfare was made a part of the northern boundary of Kent County, thus placing Bombay Hook Island in Duck Creek Hundred.

The hundred is well watered by Duck Creek and Little Duck Creek and the branches of those two streams, Sheeney's Branch, Irons' Branch, Dawson's Branch, Mill Creek and several other smaller streams. These branches drain nearly every farm in the hundred, making the land exceedingly fertile. Wheat and corn are the principal cereals produced. Great crops of wheat are grown, and in Raymond's and White Hall Necks, near the town of Leipsic, the wheat average is equal to any section in the United States. A large portion of the land near the bay and creeks was formerly marsh, of which much has been drained and reclaimed.

Peaches are raised in large quantities in the western section, the planting of the trees and shipments having been commenced about the same time as in Kenton Hundred. Other vegetable products are grown in large quantities. The Delaware Railroad runs down the western side, and forms the on ly rail communication. The creeks have been the main arteries for the wheat products of Upper Kent for years. Duck Creek is navigable to Smyrna Landing, and before the railroad was built as many as twenty vessels were employed in the wheat trade. Little Duck Creek, or Leipsic Creek, as it is now called, is navigable to the town of Leipsic, the northern part of that town being in this hundred.

From the marshes near Leipsic in early days large numbers of muskrats were caught, and as many as one hundred thousand skins in one year have been shipped from there. The population of Duck Creek Hundred, exclusive of Smyrna is, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.

Early Settlements

The causes of the settlement of this section are fully shown in the general history. One of the earliest tracts of land to be located was Bombay Hook, which was granted by patent from Governor Edward Andros, December 15, 1676, as follows:

"Whereas, there is a certain parcel of land called Bombey's Hook, lying and being on the west side of the Delaware Bay, the which by virtue of a warrant hath been layd out for Peter Bayard, the 8*d land lying on the mouth of a certain creek in the Bay called Duck Creek."

It was surveyed by Captain Edward Cantwell, and returned as containing six hundred acres.

Peter Byard or Bayard was the ancestor of the Bayard family in this county and a son of Nicholas Bayard, who married Anneke, a sister of Peter Stuyvesant, and immigrated to New Amsterdam. Peter Byard removed to "Bohemia Manor" with the labadists, and resided there four years after the warrant was granted. He purchased the Indian right, and the transaction is thus recorded:

"Be it known unto all men by these presents that I, Mechacksit, chief Sachem of Cohonsink, an old Indian owner and Proprietor of all that tract of land commonly called by the Christians Bompeis Hook, and by the Indians Novsink, for and in consideration of one Gunn, four handfull of powder, three motts coats, one anchor of liquor and one Kettle before the signing. . . .

"The tract remained in the possession of the family many years.''

A great part of the island was marsh land and has been reclaimed. There are now about eleven thousand acres of marsh and good land in the island. The present owners are William Reybold, Jane Smith, William D. Hayes, Lucius P. Campbell and Lydia A. W. Pyle. From the earliest times the island was a pleasure resort. Parties would organize from the surrounding country and either tent out or form excursions for the day. The first hotel was built in 1848 by John R. Brick, who managed it until 1859, when it was sold to Eli Logan, who sold the property to William Reybold. This hotel still stands but has not been used for ten years.

In 1868 James W. Spruance, of Smyrna, built the present hotel near Pearson's Cove. He also built a number of tents for the accommodation of families, a dance hall and a pier. In 1870 the steamer "Pilot Boy" made regular trips between the Hook and Philadelphia, the "Ariel" and "Thomas Clyde" succeeding. At present the hotel is conducted by Lucius P. Campbell and is the most popular resort on the bay. In 1870 Enoch Spruance erected a hotel and pier two miles below, and gave the place the name of Freeland. This property was destroyed by fire in 1876 and never rebuilt.

The Bombay Hook Light House, at Bombay Hook Landing, was erected in 1829 and its keeper was Dun-can Stuart, an old soldier of the revolution, who died in 1859. During the war of 1812, British soldiers frequently landed on the island and robbed the farmers. In 1813 a company was organized at Smyrna to defend the island with Denney Stevenson as captain.

Francis Whitwell in 1868 was elected one of the justices of Whorekill County, then embracing the territory of Kent County, he purchased several tracts of land on each side of Little Duck Creek near its mouth. The land on the north side is now known as White Hall Neck, Dutch Neck and Raymond's Neck. The tract called White Hall Neck was the first fast land on the north side of Little Duck Creek up from the mouth and contained four hundred acres. It was warranted in 1675. "Whitwell's Chance," lying on Little Duck Creek adjoining White Hall on the west, was warranted August 14, 1675, and contained one thousand acres. These tracts passed to William Frampton, whose daughter Elizabeth sold five hundred acres to Joseph Growden and five hundred acres to Griffith Jones, 10th of June, 1686. William Frampton and Francis Whitwell died in 1686 and their large properties passed to other families. White Hall Neck still bears the name given by Francis Whitwell to the place that probably was his home, for in the early days it was very desirable to be near a navigable stream.

Francis Whitwell and John Richardson (who took up large tracts in the western section of Duck Creek) on December 27, 1680, petitioned the court of St. Jones for two thousand acres of land "in some convenient place so that they could clear for the building of a mill, the aforesaid promising to perform as soon as the workmen and necessaries could be provided." Land was granted and surveyed on the north side of Duck Creek in Kent County west of the King's Road in the western part of the hundred. "White Hall" came into the possession of Andrew Hamilton, who sold it to Samuel Chew, January 28, 1742. Chew died in 1744 and in the settlement of the estate in 1748 it passed to Elizabeth, his daughter, the wife of Edward Tilghman. Parts of this land are now owned by Mrs. Mary Hoffecker, Samuel Harrington, Alexander G. Cummins, J. Frank Denney, James Starling and Dr. Henry Stout. On the property held by Dr. Henry Stout, Governor Jacob Stout lived in a house erected by Thomas McElroy in 1756. In one corner of the yard is an old tree used at one time as a whipping-post.

Adjoining White Hall on the north was a large tract of land called ''Petty France," which in 1678 was warranted to Nicholas Bartlet, who also owned other large tracts. Jacob Allee July 7, 1741, took up a tract of land in Tadpole Neck, through which Taylor's Gut ran, containing one hundred and thirty-three acres and March 26, 1757, four hundred and fifteen acres adjoining the smaller tract. He also about 1743, by a resurvey, took up two hundred and forty acres in Little Creek Hundred.

"Westmoreland" a tract of two hundred acres and "Coventry," a tract of four hundred and twenty-five acres, west of the tracts mentioned, were in 1680 surveyed to John Hillyard. "The Mother Plantation" of two hundred acres was also taken up by him in 1675 and was adjoining "Petty France" and "White Hall."

Francis Whitwell purchased several other pieces of land besides those mentioned. A large tract of two thousand acres lying on the south side of the main branch of Duck Creek, warranted December 15, 1681, was assigned to William Frampton, April 22, 1686, and surveyed to his daughter Elizabeth, April 24, 1687, as the "Bear Garden." Hay Point Landing is on George Short's land west of Fleming's wharf, where the iron bridge now is. These lands were sold as the property of Isaac Short. A road built by Hon. Jacob Stout ran through Smyrna to Bombay Hook Light House. There is a brick hotel there which has been standing since 1812. This was all in the "Bear Garden," which is now owned by William C. Mitchell, Jerry Goldsborough, Joseph Bewley and others. "The Watering Point" has been a stopping place for vessels since 1760.

John Hillyard, one of the first Justices of the Peace of Kent County, upon its organization, and a member of the Council in 1683-84, probably resided at first upon the property that he called "The Mother Plantation" adjoining "Petty France," and "White Hall." He also took up other tracts, one of which was "Hillyard's Adventure," containing six hundred acres. It was surveyed to him November 26, 1677 and lay between Iron's Branch and Hillyard's Branch, west of the fast land of Bombay Hook about three miles. Hillyard sold to Simon Irons March 1, 1684; and February 12, 1705, the property was sold by Francis Irons to John Brinekloe, and the greater part is now owned by John M. Voshell. A tract of five hundred acres called "Roberts Chance" situated on the south side of Duck Creek and west of the Jay land was surveyed to Robert Palmatry November 6, 1679, by a grant from the Court of Sussex County, conditioned upon payment of one bushel of wheat for ever hundred acres. This grant was confirmed by William Penn, January 26, 1684, and sixty acres are now owned by Daniel Palmatry (a direct descendant of the original patentee); one hundred and fifty-four acres by Samuel Catts; one hundred and thirty-five acres by the heirs of Dr. William Cummins; ninety-five acres by John Hart-man and fifty-six acres by the heirs of Robert Robinson; about the same time a tract called ''Golden Grove" was granted to Robert Palmatry. It next came into the possession of David Fury, who sold it to John Jay, November 16, 1778. John Jay also received several other grants of land between "Golden Grove" and Smyrna, which are now owned by Matthew Ford, William H. Ford and George W. Cummins. At the intersection of Green's Branch with Duck Creek, a short distance above Smyrna and on the southwest side of the branch, at the mouth, William Green had laid out for him on a warrant November 17, 1680, one thousand acres of land called "Gravelend," formerly laid out for William Shurmer, of which he sold one-half February 15, 1687, to Frances Barney. The remainder he retained, and it passed by gift March 6, 1723, to his three sons, George, John and Thomas. George inherited the old plantation and also purchased of Christopher Stoutry "Belle's Endeavor," November 12, 1716. This tract lay in Little Creek Hundred on Little Duck Creek. The sons John and Thomas became possessed of large landed estates, and were leading men in the vicinity. James, the son of Thomas Green, inherited the land at the Cross Roads and sold it in small quantities to settlers who built up Smyrna. Thomas, also a son of Thomas and brother of James, owned the old landing property, which he sold August 13, 1772, to William Jordan. This old landing which was such an important point in days past, is nothing now but a few ancient houses and a store kept by Captain Alexander Scout. The population is now not over thirty persons. At one time it was a great grain centre. In 1812 grain was shipped in large quantities, and the British would chase boats up the creek. In 1837 a steamboat, the "Oscar Thompson," afterward the "Kent," ran between there and Philadelphia. About 1851 the wharves were covered with bark, wood, coal, lime, lumber, ship timber, etc. Grain was brought not only from the surrounding country but from Kent, Queen Annes and Caroline Counties, Maryland. It was sold to Smyrna merchants, the largest buyer being John Cummins, and deposited in the granaries, of which there were seven at one time. As many as seven vessels a day loaded with grain at the wharves, sloops, schooners and packets were constantly plying up and down the creek carrying away the products of the surrounding country to New York, Philadelphia and Boston, and bringing back lime, stone, grain, coal and merchandise of every description. The price of grain for the surrounding country was regulated by the price here. The granaries still stand, but are rapidly going to ruin. Two ship-yards gave constant employment to a large number of working men. Among the boats that ran to Philadelphia were the "Swan," "Star," "Wilson Small" and "H. S. Bright." The large boat owners were Robert Patterson, John Cummins and John Darragh. These boats were built by John Mustard. In 1854 Sutton & Cloud launched two vessels, the "Amanda" and "Cathay," for McCraken & Kennedy. From 1866 to 1874, nineteen boats were built by R. F. Hastings, with a tonnage of five thousand five hundred and forty-five tons, and valued at $314,100. The largest vessel ever built here was the "A. H. Howe," launched August 26, 1871. It was of six hundred tons, one hundred and twenty feet long, thirty-two and one-half feet beam, and eleven and one-half feet depth of hold. Rothwell's Landing, two miles below, is now the landing place for Smyrna. The bridge at the old landing was built in 1833, the Levy Court of New Castle County paying $250 and the court of Kent county $250.

A part of Gravesend lying in the forks of Dutch Creek and Green's Branch, at the mouth of the latter, parsed to Benjamin Shurmer, who in August 19, 1716, sold eight acres to William Down, who on March 28, 1767, conveyed to Thomas Woodward thirteen hundred and sixty-one square feet adjoining a burying ground belonging to the Quakers. This is recorded as being in the place laid out for a town called Salis-bury. This town is now known as Duck Creek, so called because it is near the head of Duck Creek, and was the first town in this vicinity. It was laid out by Benjamin Shurmer before 1718, as in that year Abraham Cuff, who was one of the first purchasers of lots in the then new town of Dover, is mentioned as being of the town of Salisbury, Kent County. Samuel Taylor sold a lot in Salisbury. February 19, 1776, which he had bought of Benjamin Shurmer. Shurmer sold it on August 10, 1732, to William Hammon, who on August 9, 1749, sold it to Ellinor Wooten.

Silas Spearman was one of the first to build a store in Salisbury. He was father of the Spearman who first planted peaches for the market in Kenton Hundred. The old Spearman store is still in existence, and is a brick building on the southwest corner of the roads. It is now occupied by W. Glanden, and is the only store there. In 1832 there were three stores in the town, kept by James Legg, John Anderson and Robert Bailey. A free Negro kept a blacksmith-shop, and nearby was a saw, and grist and bolting-mill, kept by Robert Holden. There are now two blacksmith-shop and sixteen dwelling-houses, with a population of eighty.

Between Smyrna and the Landing is an old place called Wapping, so named after a suburb of London. It is now chiefly occupied by Negroes, but in the flourishing times of Smyrna Landing was a stopping place to water horses. A Dr. Lovegrove kept a drug-store there in 1830.

The Bristol Naval Store Company, through Benjamin Shurmer, took up twenty-five acres of land, which he, in 1720, sold to the Pennsylvania Land Company, which had obtained about five thousand acres of land in Milford Hundred. These lands were all kept under lease until July 5, 1762, and August, 1765, when they were sold at auction in Philadelphia along with one hundred and fifty acres of the manor of Freith, which had been bought of Shurmer. On August 20, 1766, Michael Offley bought four acres along Green's Branch, including the new mill house and mill property. He had purchased of Roger Pugh (Miller) ninety-five acres, Henry Troxson, October 27, 1770, three and three-quarter acres and of Samuel Morris eight acres. Denny's Mill is located on this property.

"Pearman's Choice"' was granted by William Penn, March 26, 1684, to Henry Pearman. It was on the south side of the branch of Duck Creek, afterwards called Pearman's Branch, and contained six hundred acres. Two hundred acres of it was sold to Andrew Love, June 10, 1691. He died intestate and the land escheated. William Strickland petitioned for the tract November 16, 1743. He came in possession May 28, 1752, and shortly after sold to John Cook. It is now owned by Mrs. C. E. Peterson and the heirs of A. E. Mitchell. Another tract of two hundred acres Pearman conveyed in 1686 to William Edwards, from whom it passed to Philip Denny, who, on the 12th of August, 1741, by deed of gift, conveyed it to his sons, John and Christopher Denny, who divided it equally, May 8, 1765. A part of this tract is now owned by George W. Cummins, who married a granddaughter of Philip Denny. Another portion is owned by J. V. Hoffecker. Henry Pearman's daughter survived him and afterward sold to William Cahoon, who sold to John Jay. This land is also owned by George W. Cummins at present.

Belmont Hall is on the Pearman tract and is now the home of Mrs. C. E. Peterson. It was formerly owned by Governor Thomas Collins, who purchased it May 24, 1771, from John Moore. It descended, at his death, to his son, Dr. Wm. Collins, and was by him sold, January 3, 1827, to John Clark, who left it to his granddaughter, Mrs. Carrie E. Peterson, into whose possession it came in 1867. The house is one of the oldest in the county and was built in 1753. When Governor Collins moved into it he improved it. The grounds are beautifully laid out, and it is probably the finest home in the county.

Thomas Collins was High Sheriff of Kent County in 1767, governor in 1787, '88, '89, four years a member of the council, and brigadier-general of the militia from 1776 to 1783, and Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He organized and maintained at his own expense a brigade during the Revolution, and died March 29, 1789. During the war a sentinel was posted on the observatory and was shot by a British scout. In the fire-place of the old house, Ebenezer Cloak's wife and the wife of Governor Collins moulded bullets for the American soldiers. Ebenezer Cloak was a great-grandfather of the present proprietor. In 1776 he fitted out a privateer, the boat was chased aground by a British Man-of-War, and Cloak captured and confined in an English prison, where he died. The story is current that during the lifetime of Governor Collins the Delaware Legislature met at the hall. This is an error, for the reason that it was not until May 4, 1792, three years after the death of Governor Collins that the Legislature met in Smyrna. It was on that date that, owing to a difficulty with the county authorities, the Legislature adjoined to meet at the house of Thomas Hale, who kept the hotel now known as the Smyrna House.

Thomas Collins, on April 1, 1767, took out a warrant for four hundred and seventy acres of land called "Gloster," where he then lived, on the south side of Dawson's Branch. The property was origin-ally warranted December 13, 1677, to George Morton. He also purchased "Elk Home" and "Coventry" tracts adjoining, the latter having been originally granted to John Hillyard, March 15, 1680. Collins was sheriff at the time of the purchase of "Gloster." The old house in which he lived stood until 1881, when it was replaced by a large frame structure. In the rear of the house about two hundred yards is the cemetery of the Collins family, where the Governor is buried. These tracts are now owned by Miss Julia Ann Collins and Mrs. Dr. B. S. Goatee (great-grand-daughters of Governor Collins), Mrs. Carrie Cavender, Thomas Denny and the Alexander Peterson heirs.

"Sheerness," a tract east and northeast of "Gloster," lying between Dawson's and Sheerneas' branches of old Duck Creek, contained two hundred and twenty acres and was warranted to Peter Baucom November 9, 1680, and by George Morton as his administrator, was sold to Robert French, who left it by will to his wife, Elizabeth, who married Dr. John Finney, of New Castle. Their son, David, October 18, 1760, conveyed it to Thomas Collins, and it is now owned by John Mustard, of Smyrna.

North of "Sheerness" and between Dawson's and Iron's branch, was a tract of three hundred acres called "Islington," granted to Tompass Batha September 22, 1681, and assigned soon after to Francis Whitwell. It was sold by Wm. Berry, his administrator, to Francis Richardson, February 22, 1688. It is now owned in part by John A. Nicholson and the heirs of A. Peterson.

"Benefield," a tract of one thousand acres, is described as being on the north side of the southwest branch of Duck Creek (Little Duck Creek) and was between Banister's branch and Frenchman's branch. Evan Jones, by will, March 21, 1721, gave his dwelling and plantation, a part of "Benefield,'' to George Martin and Philip Denney, for thirty years in partnership and for ninety years to their heirs. George Martin died leaving his son, George, who, with Philip Denny, son of Philip, Sr., possessed the land. George Martin died without issue and Philip Denny left seven children, of whom Francis and Philip Denny were administrators. These lauds are in the possession of Wm. Denny, of Dover, one of the heirs.

On the 14th of January, 1712, Evan Jones sold to Isaac and Elisha Snow a tract on the north side of Little Duck Creek, containing one hundred and ninety-nine acres, between "Whitwell's Chance" and "Benefield," and south of "Coventry."

Elisha Snow lived on this plantation, and on the 9th of May, 1741, Isaac conveyed his interest to him. The house which stands on the tract is occupied by James Snow, a direct descendant, and was built by Elisha. His son. Captain James Snow, was a soldier in the War of 1812. A number of British soldiers attacked the house in 1818 and carried the Captain away. He died on an English ship. Elisha, Joshua, Isaac and Israel Snow, all owned large tracts of lands on the north side of Little Duck Creek, west of Snow's branch to the railroad. This property has nil passed out of the Snows' hands, and is held by J. Truax, J. W. Denney, Mrs. Dr. Fisler and others.

The following are the names of persons Assessment List in Duck Creek Hundred in the year 1785.

Roads

The state road, an account of which will be found in the general history, passes through about four miles in the hundred, entering at Smyrna, and leaving near the farm house of J. W. Denny. The road from Smyrna to Bombay Hook Light House was planned by Hon. Jacob Stout in 1830, and a few years earlier, about 1824, he in connection with Hon. Thomas Clayton laid out the road from Leipsic to Severson's Methodist Episcopal Church. The road upon which Seversons is located, was laid out much earlier. Previous to Governor Stout laying out the Light House road, there had existed as far back as 1760, a road to what is now Rothwell's landing.

Churches and Cemeteries

The first religious organization to hold services in Duck Creek Hundred, was the Society of Friends. It was also the earliest official meeting of Friends in Kent County, and was held at Duck Creek (now Salisbury, or Old Duck Creek) on the 19th of December, 1705. The record is as follows:

"This day was held the monthly meeting of Friends at Duck Creek, it being a monthly meeting by approbation and order of the quarterly of the people called Quakers at Chester County, Pennsylvania, continue for the establishing and helping up the Gospel of Truth and to monthly henceforward the 3rd fourth day of the week in each month until further order."

No business was accomplished at the meeting except the election of Absalom Cuff as clerk. The next meeting was on the 16th of ye 11th month (January) 1705, when it was reported that "none appeared for George s Creek, neither any from the lower parts." It was "agreed upon that the meeting-house must be floored, and the grave-yard made, but the time not prefixed, but referred to next monthly meeting.''

It would appear from this action that a meeting-house had been begun but was not yet completed. Further action was deferred from time to time, and finally dropped, as far as record of it is concerned. No record of deed is made prior to 1769, but a meeting-house was built and the grave-yard used on the present site before that date, as mention is made of them in the deeds. On June 17, 1769, Thomas Woodward conveyed to Richard Holliday and Jeremiah Fisher, Trustees of the Quakers, a lot on which to build a meeting-house. They were then in possession of the site, and had been before the purchase of surrounding property by Woodward. On December 6, 1801, Robert Holliday, of Duck Creek Hundred, sold to Solomon David, David West and Charles Green, belonging to the Preparative meeting of Duck Creek, eighty perches of ground. It appears by this deed that the Friends had by mistake placed a portion of their meeting-house on property which did not belong to them, and made the second purchase in order to become owners of all the ground which it covered.

At the meeting in January, 1705, the following names were recorded; Benjamin Gumley, John Gumley, Phillip England, Robert Ashton, John Hales, Alexander Adams, John Whee, John Ashton, Joseph England, Absalom Cuff, Thomas Shaw, Caleb Offley, Hasadish Offley, Ralph Prime, John Wood, Margaret Cohane. The old meeting-house went rapidly into decay after 1800, until, in 1830, nothing but its ruins stood. It was of stone and about thirty by twenty-five feet in dimensions. At present not a vestige appears except a shallow cavity in the earth to show where its foundations were laid.

A school-house was built of frame and was probably the first free school-building in the hundred. It also has disappeared. The old grave-yard is the sole remaining evidence of what was formerly the most prosperous religious denomination in this hundred. There is not a known Friend in the hundred at the present day. The grave-yard is still used by their descendants. The oldest tomb with an inscription on it is that of Sarah Joyce, who died September 20, 1787. Ebenezer Blackiston, who was a large land owner in Kenton, was buried here, December 11, 1829, and the ground contains the graves of the Holdens, an old and influential family of past days.

The Old Duck Creek Presbyterian Church, in 1773, stood in the graveyard now used by that denomination. The land was a part of "Pearman's Choice" and was panted by deed in 1740. A sketch of the church will be found in the chapter upon Smyrna. The old cemetery is one of the prettiest spots in the county. It is beautifully shaded and is kept in excellent condition. It covers about two acres of ground.

One of the oldest graves is that of David Kennedy. The inscription reads: "He was born March 17, 1741, in Antrim, Ireland, landed at New Castle, Delaware, May 8, 1760, and took an active and decisive, though humble, part with the patriots of the Revolution and died December 26, 1802. Diligent and successful in business, serving the Lord."

David Kennedy, who is buried here, was one of Smyrna's old merchants and sailed grain vessels from Smyrna Landing to Philadelphia.

Another Revolutionary officer is buried here. Captain John Matthews, who died March 3, 1854, in the eighty-first year of his age.

John Clark, at one time Governor, is buried in the northeast corner, the date of his death being August 14, 1821. At the age of sixty years and six months.

Here is also the grave of United States Senator Presley Spruance, who died February 13, 1863, aged eighty-eight years.

Among the other old graves are those of
Annie Jamison, died February 4, 1785
Anna S. Jamison, died March 81, 1785
John Caldwell, died December 26, 1782
John Clark, died February 23, 1767
James Allen McLane, died April 14, 1773
James Peterson, died November 11, 1782

Severson's Methodist Episcopal Church is a mile and a half from Rothwell's Landing. The deed conveying the church property and grave-yard bears date May 13, 1783, and is from James Severson to James Hull, Moses Thomson, Elijah Bartlett, John Jarrell, Benjamin Truax, John Conner and John David May. The first church was erected in 1784, and was described as one of the first frame churches in the county.

The old structure was twenty-five by twenty-eight, feet. The church was at one time called Carrolton, but upon the re-building, in 1874, the first name was revived. The new edifice is of brick, thirty-two by fifty feet and cost $2668.18. It was built through the efforts of the Rev. William B. Gregg. The church is connected with the Smyrna Circuit and a list of its ministers will be found in the article upon that church.

Raymond's Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1825, upon ground donated by James Snow. The bricks were burnt upon the ground and most of the work was done by members of the congregation. It is a substantial and neat building and has been kept in such excellent repair that it looks like a more modem structure.

The church was annexed to Smyrna Circuit. In 1868 Leipsic Church was separated from Camden Circuit and Raymond's from Smyrna and the two churches made a separate circuit with the station at Leipsic. The names of early ministers of Raymond's will be in the article on Smyrna Circuit.

The ministers since the organization of the separate circuit, have been:

E. B. Newnan, 1868
C. M. Pegg, 1870
C. W. Prettyman, 1871
J. A. B. Wilson, 1873
W. T. Tull, 1875
T. E. Terry, 1876
L N. Foreman, 1878
I. N. Cockran, 1880
T. O. Ayers, 1881
E. C. Atkins, 1882
James Carrol, 1884
D. F. McFaul, 1886
James Conner, 1887

The Methodists of Smyrna Landing, built a frame church in 1861, and it was dedicated August 25, 1861, by Rev. William H. Brisbane. It has never had a regular minister, nor is it on a circuit. It is rather an independent affair, local ministers from Smyrna and vicinity preaching there.

The old Episcopal Cemetery near Duck Creek, was originally established on an acre of land granted by Thomas Green to Nicholas Ridgely, for that purpose. May 17, 1840, the time of the erection of Duck Creek Episcopal Church, the parent of St Peter's, Smyrna. The church stood on the cemetery grounds until 1857, when it was moved into Smyrna. Now the cemetery covers two acres beautifully situated. In the centre is the lot of the Cummins' family, surrounded by a brick wall four feet high. One of the oldest inscriptions in the yard is that of Daniel Cummins, Jr., a brother of John Cummins, Esq., the Smyrna merchant, who was also buried here, July 29, 1833. The date of the inscription upon Daniel Cummins,' Jr., tomb is February 3, 1788. The father, Daniel Cummins, Sr., was buried here June 10, 1797. Francis Cummins' stone bears date of his death, November 11, 1784. George Cummins, Esq., a father of Bishop Cummins of Kentucky, was "buried September 22, 1827. Sarah, the wife of Governor Clark, was here interred December 12, 1790. Governor William Temple, who died June, 1863, is buried here, but no stone marks his resting place. Major James Chambers, an officer of the Mexican war was buried June 15, 1848, as was also Surgeon George S. Culbreth, lost on the United States ship "Huron," off the coast of North Carolina, May 24, 1877.

Between the Episcopal cemetery and Salisbury, and next to that town is an abandoned grave-yard, of which no record whatever exists. It is now used as a cornfield in the centre of which are two marble headstones, one with the inscription "in memory of Capt. Samuel Lloyd, who departed this life the 26th day of August, 1757, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. Behold, he is dead! O I yes he is gone. Lamented Here, but welcomed home. Let us content ourselves and seek to meet him at Emanuel's Feet. There with the Heavenly Hosts to sing Eternal Praise to our King." The other inscription: "In memory of Esther, wife of Samuel Lloyd, of Duck Creek Hundred-on-Kent upon Delew. who died Oct. the 5, 1746, aged thirty years." The county has condemned the land for a sand-pit, and large quantities of human bones have been taken out of the ground and re-interred

On the south side of Mill Creek, just out of Smyrna is the Odd Fellows cemetery. The tract was purchased January 22, 1884, of John E. Peterson, May E. Peterson, Sarah E. Peterson, of Philadelphia, and John C. Corbit, of Odessa, by Morning Star Lodge, No. 6, I. O. O. F., and McDonald Encampment of Patriarchs No. 2, 1. O. O. F., for three thousand dollars. The ground was graded, and three hundred lots, thirty by thirty-two feet laid. The site is one of the prettiest in the State, and the Odd Fellows have spared no means to improve it. A tract sixty-four by seventy-five was reserved by the grantors of the property, for the reason that it had for years been the burial ground of the Peterson family.

Schools

District No. 4 school-house is one of the original school-houses in the hundred, and is about two miles from Smyrna. It was erected in 1827. In 1829 there were nineteen scholars. The land is part of the old Snow estate. The first building was of logs, and was replaced about 1840 by the structure which still stands. At the session of the Legislature of 1887 the school committee of the district, together with Gamaliel Garrison, William M. Boyer, John H. Short and Isaac Traux were authorized to sell the old building and erect a new one. In 1886 twenty-nine pupils attended the school.

In 1829 there was one school in District No. 6, with twenty-five scholars. The original house was in Dutch Neck, and built of logs in 1810. In 1838 it was moved to its present location near Severson's Church. The building is rather inadequate, it having seen almost fifty years of service. Among the early teachers were John Dai ley, Wm. Wetherby and George Bray. In 1886 there were fifty scholars in attendance.

District No. 7 is another of the old districts, and in 1810 the first building was erected near Raymond's Church upon lands belonging to Joseph Snow. When District 88 was created the school building was moved to its present location at the cross-roads, three-quarters of a mile from the church. The present building was put up at that time. In 1886 thirty-seven scholars attended. Among the early teachers were George McClement, Simon Sweatman, James Wallace, Albert Webster, John Moore and Abram Ware. District No. 88 was carved out of No. 7 in 1853, Nos. 6 and 7 at that time comprising almost the entire western end of Duck Creek Hundred. This school was built the year the district was created, and is still standing on a plot of ground donated by Jacob Raymond, about two miles from Leipsic. In 1886 there were forty-six scholars in attendance.

In 1860 District 95 was created out of No. 6, and a school-house erected, in which sessions were held until 1877, when it was destroyed by fire and never re-built. The district is small, and so sparsely settled that it cannot well support a school. Most of the children attend District No. 6.

In 1829 District 3, west of Smyrna, but part of the town, contained one school, with twelve scholars, and No. 5, east of it, had one school and thirty scholars. These two districts have been consolidated with Districts 77 and 107 and form Smyrna public schools.

Industries

Denney's mill located on Green's Branch at Salisbury, is one of the oldest in the county. It is on the Gravesend tract, and as early as 1717, a piece of land called the Grasses was owned by Richard Empson, upon which was according to the records, "a water-grist mill, bolting-mill and other improvements." These mills were located below Salisbury a short distance above the mouth of Green's Branch. In 1753, they were owned by William Holliday, and in 1797, by A. Redgraves. About 1820, they came into possession of Richard Holden, who reconstructed the buildings and abandoned the saw-mill and the manufacture of woolens. After his death the industry was continued by his sons Abraham, Samuel and William at different times. In 1865, it came into the possession of the present owner Robert H. Denney, who has almost entirely rebuilt the old mill. It has a capacity for twenty bushels of wheat and one hundred bushels of corn a day.

In early times there were more industries in Duck Creek Hundred than at present. In old Duck Creek, a tan -yard, was operated by Peter and Daniel Lowber, and another run by Israel Peterson, near the Mill pond at Smyrna. The old ship-yards at Smyrna landing, are mentioned in the early part of this chapter. At Rothwell's Landing, Warden and Evans had a ship-yard in 1873. Alven Allen, had a tile-yard at the landing in 1865, and was succeeded by Nickerson and Jerman.

In March 1884, William M. Lewis and Lewis M. Price, formed a co-partnership and built a phosphate factory, costing seven thousand dollars, at Smyrna Landing. The firm employ twelve hands and produce four thousand pounds of fertilizer a week.

The Peninsula Bone Fertilizer Company, was organized in 1883, with J. E. Tygert, H. D. Tygert, W. C. Pierce and W. F. Brown as the corporators. The works were founded by J. E. Tygert & Company, in 1878, and by them sold to the present proprietors, who organized by electing John E. Tygert, president, and W. G. Pierce secretary and treasurer. These officers have continued until the present. The works are located at Rothwell's Landing, two miles from Smyrna, and represent a capital of forty thousand dollars. Fifty hands are given constant employment, and one hundred tons of phosphate manufactured daily.

To carry the products of Duck Creek Hundred, numerous boats had been running as far back as 1800. The first regular line of steamers was put on by J. E. Tygert & Company, composed of Jno. E. Tygert and Herman S. Tygert. The first steamer owned and run in their interests was the "W. E. Pierpont," in 1875. In July 1879, the steamer "John E. Tygert," built of iron expressly for navigating these waters, was put on in place of the "Pierpont." The boat was built by Neafie & Levy, of Philadelphia, and is complete in every respect having state-rooms and berths, air-tight compartments and every convenience for handling freight and passengers. In February 1883, the line was sold to a company called the Philadelphia and Smyrna Transportation Company, of which the original incorporators were John E. Tygert, Herman S. Tygert and John H. Hoffecker. This Company was incorporated April 13, 1883, with a capital stock of thirty thousand dollars. The first officers were John E. Tygert president and W. G. Pierce, secretary and treasurer. A. E. Jardine, is the secretary and treasurer now. Owing to want of proper depth of water the boat is unable to come nearer than two and one-half miles of the town of Smyrna, and all freights, passengers and some two thousand tons of coal have to be hauled this distance. A complete survey of the creek was made last spring (1887), and it is expected that an appropriation will be granted sufficient to bring the boat to the old head of navigation. The annual commerce of this body of water is over three million dollars in value.

Kent County

Source: History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume I, by J. Thomas Scharf, L. J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, 1888.

 
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