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Town of St. George's, Red Lion Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

Early Settlements Churches Town Council
Schools Post Office Lodges
St. George's Cemetery Hotels

Early Settlements

Quinquenium is supposed to be the original name of St. George's and of the Welsh congregation there. When the first settlement was made here and how long it was called Quinquenium is not known. In 1730 the streets were laid out as they are to-day, and lots were owned by John Gill, Thomas Griffith (cooper), Jacob Van Bebber and others. Van Bebber purchased a lot eighteen and one-half by thirty-five feet, of William Parker, of Philadelphia, on May 25th of the year above mentioned. In 1742 he inherited considerable land in St. Georges Hundred from his mother, Harmonia Van Bebber, who was the daughter of Adam Peterson. In 1735 he was the proprietor of the hotel in the village, but shortly afterwards sold it to Gabriel Cox. On Aug. 17, 1737, Cox sold the hotel and four acres of land on the main road to John McCoole. After the death of Gabriel Cox, which occurred in a short time his relict Magdalen Cox married John Gill. In April 1742 she conveyed a lot of land to the Presbyterians, and in May sold sixty-one acres adjoining the meet-ing-house lot to David Howell. The old mill-dam and the mill in St. Georges was built long before 1730, by whom it is not known. It was the nucleus of the present town. In 1749 it was owned by David Thomas and afterwards, by his son Enoch and grandson Nathan, of whom it was purchased by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and removed. The mill-race is still in existence.

John Sutton came from England and settled at St. Georges at an early date. In 1753 he married Jane Allen and had six children. John, his son, was the father of Dr. James Sutton who was a prominent physician and citizen. The family is represented at St. George's by A. N. Sutton, the son of James. The house in which he resides is one of the oldest in the town.

John Watson was a surveyor appointed by Pennsylvania to assist in making a survey of the state lines between Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. In a diary of a trip from New Castle to Cape Henlopen, made in the year 1763, is the following entry: "Had occasion to spend a night at a tavern in St. Georges and the mill-dam at that place was the resort of large flocks of water fowl." In 1762 David Thomas sold to William Robinson a lot in St. Georges which he had purchased of Andrew Jubart, Nov. 18, 1759. In 1762 the "King's Highway" passing through St. Georges was laid out. The village gradually increased in size and February 7, 1825, it was incorporated as a town. George Clark, Philip Reybold, William Guier, John Randall and Jacob Vandegrift were appointed commissioners and directed to take with them a skillful surveyor, make a survey of the town, fix the limits and boundaries and lay out, open and regulate the streets. The opening of the canal in 1829 has afforded the inhabitants of St. Georges facilities for shipping since that time. On March 1, 1877, an act was passed for the re-incorporation of the town. James Garman, D. B. Stewart, A. D. D. Taylor, J. V. Clark, A. N. Sutton and J. B. How were appointed and constituted a town council and directed to lay out the town. With the assistance of G. W. Townsend, surveyor, the town was laid out as follows.

"Beginning at a Stone in the centre of rood leading from St Georges to Odessa and running thence through the lands of the late James C. How, South 85½, East 3-85 chains; thence continuing through said How's land to F. S. McWhorter, North 46½. East 19.34 chains to a corner in a hedge, a corner for Eli Biddle and F. S. McWhorter; thence with their land North 20½ West c.70 chains north 34¾ West crossing the canal 14.75 chains to a ditch in the marsh of H. L. Peckard, dec'd; thence with said ditch North 28 West 10.81 chains to a stone wall at a bridge in the road leading from St Georges to Delaware City: thence through lands of S. B. Sutton North 35¼ West 20 chains to lands of A. M. Higgins; thence across the lands of said Higgins North 77½ West 6.74 chains to the side of the road loading from St. Georges to the Red Lion; thence crossing said road & continuing through lands of said Higgins & crossing the road leading from St Georges to Kirkwood South 64¾ West 17.90 chains to a Locust tree at the end of a stone wall in a line of W. J. Hurlock, dec'd; thence through lands of said Hurlock St crossing the canal South 25 East 45.40 chains to a point on the lands of said How & at the edge of canal; thence through lands of said How 72¾ East 8.90 chains to the place of beginning."

Since its re-incorporation considerable attention has been paid to its improvement with gratifying results. The town is nicely located and has good facilities for shipping by the canal. The railroad is two miles distant. The population is about five hundred. The merchants of the town are Bentz & Stewart, Pierce & Simpler, A. N. Sutton, H. Hamilton, E. W. Jester, Mrs. W. S. Smith, J. W. Perkins, D. W. Gush, John H. Stewart, D. Adams, J. S. Stuckert, D. B. Stewart.

The following are the Town Council since the re-incorporation:

1877. James Garman, D. B. Stewart, A. N. Sutton, J. V. Clark, J. B. How (president), A. D. D. Taylor.
1878. James Garman (president), D. B. Stewart, B. D. Longland, A. D. D. Taylor, I. V. Clark, A. N. Sutton.
1879-80. James Garman (president), D. B. Stewart, A. D. D. Taylor, Charles H. McWhorter, A. N. Sutton, J. V. Clark.
1881, James Garman (president), J. V. Clark, A. N. Sutton, A. D. D. Taylor Joseph Heisel, G. W. Simpler.
1882. James Garman (president), Frank Shonla, A. Reutter, Joseph Heisel, A. N. Sutton, Dr. I. S. Vallandigham.
1883-84. Dr. J. W. De Witt (president), Joseph Heisel, John J. Wiser, D. B. Stewart, Mark U. Pierce, W. U. Boutz.

In 1885 three members of the Council were elected for two years and three for one year, and thereafter, the term of the Council was two years. The following were elected:

One year Dr. J. W. De Witt (president), Joseph Heisel, D. B. Stewart,
two years W. H. Bents, M. H. Pierce, A. Beutter.
1886. Dr. J. W. De Witt (president), D. B. Stewart, Joseph Heisel
1887. William H. Bentz, George W. Townsend, J. W. Perkins.
 

School

On March 24, 1804, Enoch Thomas conveyed to John Sutton and Jesse Higgins, trustees of St. George's School, a "lot of land whereon stands the St. George's schoolhouse, now under the direction of James Townsend, preceptor." This was situated on the road leading from St. George's to the Presbyterian Church. The schoolhouse referred to was a small brick building built a few years previous by John Sutton, Jesse Higgins and Anthony Higgins. On the 19th of October, 1830, this schoolhouse and lot were sold to John Higgins, Elihu Jefferson and Daniel Newbold, public school commissioners. School was opened on the 21st of the same month by Alexander Cooper. Wm. D. Clark, Levi Clark and George Z. Tybout were pupils at this time. In 1842 the present schoolhouse was built on same site by Dr. Sutton and Anthony M. Higgins, who constituted a building committee.

Private schools have also been taught by Mrs. Youngman, Miss Belville and Mrs. Tilden. The school is divided into two departments, and has two teachers. Miss Hettie E. Wilson is principal. A new building will soon be erected at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars. In the last year there were seventy-seven pupils registered.

Dr. J. W. DeWitt, John W. Carrow, Sr., and Wm, H. Bentz are the present school commissioners.

Religious Matters

St, George's Presbyterian Church. The exact date of the organization of a Presbyterian Church at St. George's is a matter of uncertainty. It is contended by the members of the church that it was founded in 1698, this date being obtained from a rafter in the roof of the old church. Another version is that the congregation sprang from the Drawyers Church in 1742. Dr. Read who was pastor of St George's Church in 1768, in a history of these churches says "About the year 1742, the Drawyers Church divided. The party that withdrew, being called the New Side, were formed into a society, and erected a meeting-house about six miles north-east of Drawyers meeting-house, and formed a large and respectable congregation, denominated St. George's congregation, and very shortly after invited a Mr. Robinson to be their minister. Rev. George Foot in an address on "The Drawyers congregation with all the churches since organized on its original territory," delivered May 10, 1842, very strongly advocates the latter opinion. The former is maintained by Rev. Jas. C. How, who was pastor from 1831 until 1855, and during that time carefully prepared a written history of this church. He states also that Rev. Henry Hook was pastor in 1722, in connection with the Appoquinimink Church. But abandoning conjectures, and dealing with certainties, it is a matter of record that Magdalen Cox, widow of Gabriel Cox, on the 23rd of April, 1742, conveyed to Isaac Caanon, Samuel Clement, James Craig, John Dod, Peter Anderson, Valentine Dushane, Isaac Dushane and David Howell in the name of the congregation of St. George's, and the subscribers towards the erection of a meeting-house, a tract of ninety-seven perches, beginning on Kings road at a corner of land of James Anderson and Jacob Van Bebber. It was granted to them, "to the above and only use (as a house of worship), of such Presbyterian ministers as the majority of said congregation shall call as their minister from time to time." A brick church was built shortly afterwards on this lot, and in 1743, Rev. William Robinson was called to this charge. Rev. Robinson, was the son of a wealthy London Quaker, and officiated here until his death, which occurred three years later. Rev. Samuel Davies, who was born in this vicinity, and at a later period, president of Princeton College; was the next pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. John Rogers, who was installed, March 16, 1749. At this time it was known as the "Brick Meeting House of St. George's." In 1765 he was called to be pastor of Wall Street Church in New York City. He was also the moderator of the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. During his ministry here he built an addition to the front of the church. His wife, the daughter of Col. Peter Bayard, died in 1763, and her remains were placed under a slab in the centre aisle, in front of the pulpit. In 1776, Rev. Elihu Seucer was called, and he remained four years. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Smyth, daring whose pastorate, St. George's and Middletown became separate charges. Rev. Mr. Smyth remained with the Middletown branch, and St. George's was vacant until 1781. Rev. Daniel Jones then took charge and ministered one year, when he was succeeded by Rev. Jno. Burton, who continued until 1794. In 1787 the trustees were: John Thompson, Christopher Vandergrift, J. Monro, Anthony Dushane and John Hyatt. Christopher Vandergriff, William McKennan, Charles Jones, Nathaniel Kerr, Samuel Eccles, Isaac Cannon, William Whan and Joseph Rhodes, were elders in 1793. On May 9, 1798, Peter Hyatt and Ebenezer Roth well were elected ciders. Leonard Vandergrift and William Stewart were chosen elders May 5, 1802. On September 1, 1797, Rev. John Collins was installed as pastor of this church. At a meeting of the session held January 9, 1798, the following agreement was made:

"The Session considering the wickedness and immorality arising from the use of strong drink at Funerals, and lamenting the prevalence and strength of this custom, do hereby agree and solemnly bind themselves to each other as a Christian Society that they will, in no case, use strong drink at funerals in their families, and further they agree that they will use their influence, as far as they prudently may, to dissuade their friends and connections from the use of liquors in all such cases."

Rev. Mr. Collins officiated until his death, which occurred in 1804. In 1808 Rev. Samuel Bell was elected pastor, and he continued until 1830. He was succeeded by Rev. James C. How, who was installed in November, 1830. At this time the elders were John Sutton, John C. Clark, Levi Clark, John McCoy and Thomas Bird. In 1844, during the pastorate of Rev. Mr. How, a lot was procured in St. George's, and the erection of a church commenced. The neat brick edifice was completed, and dedicated July 27, 1845, and since that time services have been conducted in this building. John Sutton, John C. Clark, Robert Ocheltree and John McWhorter, were the elders at this time. Rev. Mr. How was pastor until his decease, August 13, 1855. Since that time the pulpit has been filled successively by Revs. D. H. Emerson, David J. Beale, Justus T. Umsted, Henry Rumer and Chas. A. Walker. In 1856 a neat parsonage was erected, by the side of the church, at a cost of three thousand one hundred and fifty dollars.

The present membership is one hundred. The present officers are: Elders, James M. Vandegrift, Theodore F. Clark. Trustees, J. F. Reybold, A. D D. Taylor, Albert H. Silver, F. S. McWhorter, Miles Clark, J. C. Stuckert.

A Sunday-school of sixty pupils, under the superintendence of Theodore F. Clark, is held in connection with the church. The scholars have the use of a small, but well selected library.

The Episcopal Church at St, Georges, The history of this church is shrouded in obscurity. When the church was founded, and at what date it was abandoned as a place of worship, are unknown. The congregation was Welsh, and was organized previous to 1707. Rev. Evan Evans, in a letter from London in that year, says: "There is a Welsh settlement between Apoquinimy and New Castle, to which the Rev. Mr. George Roes has preached frequently in the English tongue since his arrival; but that gentleman not understanding their native language, is not so capable to answer the end as the Rev. Mr. Jenkins would be, who is going missionary to Apoquinimy, who has a competent knowledge of the Welsh tongue.'' The church stood on a spot afterwards used as a lime-kiln, near the locks of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and occupied a portion of the twenty-five acres granted to the congregation by Penn. In the memory of no one living were services held here. In 1829 the canal was dug, and it passed through the cemetery, and several bodies were exhumed. At that time there were several tombstones standing, but they have since been destroyed, and with them have passed away all traces of this church and congregation.

The St, George's Methodist Episcopal Church was erected in 1852. Previous to that time the nearest Methodist Episcopal Church was Asbury, about four miles distant. In 1846 an effort was made to erect a church in St. Georges, meetings being held in the meantime in the schoolhouse. A subscription was started and land purchased in that year, but nothing definite was accomplished until about five years later, under the pastorate of Rev. Elon J. Way and James Brindle. Plans were prepared and a building committee was appointed composed of the following persons, who were also the first trustees: George W. Townsend, Samuel Boggs, Steven Lecates, Isaac Morris, E. M. Richardson and J. H. Calder. The present brick structure, thirty-eight by fifty feet, was then built at a cost of three thousand dollars. A Sunday-school was at once organized with J. H. Clark as superintendent. He retained the position for two years and was succeeded by J. H. Calder, who was superintendent far twenty years. The present superintendent is George McKee, and the membership is over a hundred.

In 1880 a large and comfortable parsonage was built by the congregation of this church. The church building was repaired in 1883 at a cost of one thousand seven hundred dollars.

The present membership of the church is one hundred. When the church was built there were eight saloons and drinking places in the town, now there are none. The last one, through the vigorous efforts of the pastor, Rev. Lay field, was closed in 1885, and since then the town has enjoyed local option.

Post Office

When the first post-master was appointed at St. Georges has not been learned, but it was at a very early date. In 1820 the post-office was in charge of Dr. James M. Sutton. The mail was brought by the stage running from Wilmington to Dover. After his decease, his widow took charge of the office for a short time and was succeeded by Webb, Robert W. Tawresy and E. W. Jester were the next post-masters. A. N. Sutton, the present incumbent, received his appointment in 1885. The St. George's Library Association was organized in the town of St. George's on the 23rd of January, 1872. In March of the following year it was incorporated in General Assembly, with Anthony M. J Higgins, I. S. Vallandigham, M. D., William H. Newton, Albert G. Osborne, Captain Charles Corbit, Theodore F. Clark, Daniel B. Stewart, Thomas J. Craven, Eli Biddle, James Garman, Andrew D. D. Taylor, John P. Belville, and others, as incorporators of the St. George's Library Association, for the term of twenty years, from the passing of this Act, and no longer."

The first officers of the association were: President, I. S. Vallandigham, M.D.; Vice-President, Captain Charles Corbit; Secretary, William H. Newton; Treasurer, D. B. Stewart; Librarian, Frank Belville; Executive Committee, J. P. Belville, T. J. Craven, Captain Charles Corbit, D. B. Stewart, A. D. D. Taylor, J. F. Reybold, I. S. Vallandigham, M.D., William H. Newton, F. S. McWhorter.

There are four classes of members, viz.; active, life, perpetual and honorary. In 1874 the library contained three hundred and nineteen volumes. This number has been increased by the addition of standard works, and at present there are one thousand volumes.

The present membership is twenty-five. The association has been of great value to the inhabitants of the town, and deserves a better support. It is officered at present as follows: President, Charles Corbit; Vice-President, I. S. Vallandigham, M.D.; Secretary, J. F. Reybold; Treasurer and Librarian, A. D. D. Taylor; Executive Committee, D. B. Stew-art, I. C. Stuckert, F. S. McWhorter, James Mc-Mullen, William H. Bentz.

St. George's Cemetery Company. On March 8, 1871, it was enacted by the Legislature of Delaware "that William J. Hurlock, Eli Biddle, George Maxwell, Curtis B. Ellison, Anthony M. Higgins, Albert O. Newton, Thomas W. Belville, James M. Vandergrift, William Reybold, Thomas Clark, Thomas Craven, George Z. Tybout, William D. Clark, John P. Belville and Francis S. McWhorter, and all who now are, or may hereafter become, owners or possessors of burial lots in any ground that may thus be obtained by purchase or otherwise, be and they are hereby constituted a corporation by the name of the St. George's Cemetery Company of Red Lion Hundred."

The object of the association was to procure the burying-ground connected with the Presbyterian Church, join to it additional land and lay the whole out in plots. In the same year in which they were incorporated they obtained from the trustees of the Presbyterian Church a grant for the burying-ground. They also purchased two acres of William J. Hurlock, which gives the present cemetery a contents of five acres. The first officers elected by the company were as follows: President, George Z. Tybout; Secretary and Superintendent, John P. Belville; Treasurer, Barney Reybold; Directors, Curtis B. Ellison, Anthony M. Higgins, James M. Vander-grift, William Reybold, George Z. Tybout, Thomas J. Craven, George Clark, Arthur Colburn, William D. Clark.

The ground was carefully and skillfully laid out and has since been attended in an excellent manner.

The present officers are: President, George Z. Tybout; Secretary and Superintendent, A. D. D. Taylor; Treasurer, E. C. Reybold; Directors, James M. Vandergrift, Joseph Cleaver, William Reybold, Dr. L. F. Ellison, J. F. Reybold, Barney Reybold, Jno. C. Higgins, Geo. Z. Tybout and George W, Townsend.

In this cemetery are buried many of the old settlers and from the tombstones we have taken the following names.

Jesse Higgins died June 10, 1810, aged forty-nine years. "His usefulness in public life renders him a great loss. "
Elizabeth Rogers, wife of Rev. John Rogers, died January 20, 1762.
Lieutenant Richard Wild, of the Delaware Line, died August, 1786, aged forty years.
Mary, wife of Samuel Alrichs, died October 27, 1753, in her twenty-second year.
"Here and near lie the Bodies of David Stewart, his Wife, a Brother, three Sons and a Grandson 1777."
Isaac Cannon, died March 27, 1762, aged sixty-seven years.
Dr. David Thompson, died February 22, 1795, aged forty years.
Rev. J. C. How is buried where the pulpit of the old church stood. He died August 18, 1856.
Elizabeth Daniel Thone, born in Pembrokshire, Wales, died October 26, 1760, in her sixty-eighth year.
Christopher Vandegrift, Sr., died June 8, 1816, in the eighty-fifth year of his age.
Major Thomas Booth, died March 25, 1804, aged forty-four years.
Charles Cannon, died October 9, 1775, aged fifty-four years.
John Dushane, died February 27, 1772, aged forty-nine years.

"Erected by the engineers of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in memory of Benjamin Raymond, Esq., civil engineer, who departed this life en the 26th Sept, 1824, aged 49 yrs. "Ob virtutes dilecto."

Rachel wife of Samuel Faries, died June 1, 1790, aged fifty -five years.
Samuel Alrichs, died December 5, 1764, aged thirty-seven years.
Rev. John Collins, died April, 1804, aged fifty-five years.
Mary, wife of Isaac Cannon, departed this life October 23, 1772, aged thirty -six years.

Hotels

At the present time there is not a hotel in Red Lion Hundred outside of Delaware City. As early as 1735, there was a hotel at St. Georges kept by Jacob Van Bebber, and a little later period by Gabriel Cox and John McCoole. The Booths were proprietors of the hotel as early as 1800. In 1830, a hotel was opened by Dr. James M. Sutton. Another hotel was opened about ten years ago. These passed through the hands of several owners and proprietors and were in the possession of Mrs. Gam and Thomas Guessford, when the licenses were revoked in 1885. They then refused to accommodate the public, and since then there have been no hotels in the hundred.

Lodges

National Lodge No. 32, 1. O. O. F., was instituted at the town of St. Georges, on May 5, 1865.

The charter members were, Charles H. McWhorter, George H. Hamlin, Edward R. Wright, James T. Pont, Charles Seiter, James N. Forman, Samuel R. Lawson and James W. Jester. In 1875, a three-story brick hall thirty-four by fifty-two feet was erected, at a cost of six thousand dollars. The first floor is divided into three store-rooms, two of which are occupied by E. W. Jester and I. W. Perkins. The second story is used as a public-hall, and the third for lodge purposes. The membership has steadily increased, and now numbers ninety-one.

The lodge has been presided over by the following Past Grands:

James T. Pont
Z. T. Harris
James W. Jester
W. C. S. Carnagy
A. P. Carnagy
George W. Grimes
S. T. Stapleford
Harry O. Taylor.
George W. Townsend, Sr.
Isaac Holston
John B. Crossland
George D. Walker
Charles Seiter
I. H. Cornelius
Wm. H. King
George V. Hastings
John C. Farran
E W. Jester
John F. McWhorter
B. M. Higby
John D. Loffland
H. C. Clark
H. A. Dennison
George H. Hamlin
J. B. Howe
John D. Sparks
W. H. Barnett
Joseph Heisel
Wm. H. Bentz
S. P. Vail
George W. Simpler
Joseph G. Grossland
George F. Clark
John A. Cleaver
S. B. Lawson
D. C. Vail
M. Beutter
James Hudson
W. P. Huggins
George E. Hopkins
A. N. Satton
James Bing

The present officers are : N. G., William L. Swan; V. G., L W. Perkins; Treas., George W. Simpler; R. S., L Harry Stewart; P. S., A. D. D. Taylor.

New Castle County

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

 
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