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Town of Seaford, Seaford Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware

Business Interests Churches Elected Officials
Property Owners, 1866 Postmasters Schools
Secret Societies

This flourishing town of two thousand inhabitants is beautifully located at the junction of the Herring Creek with the Nanticoke River, near the head of navigation. The latter stream is an important tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, sixty miles distant, and its waters at this point will float vessels having a draught of sixteen feet It it also an important station on the Delaware Railroad, one hundred and ten miles from Philadelphia, and is the terminus of the Dorchester Branch, connecting with Cambridge, on the Chesapeake Bay, thirty-three miles away. The surroundings are healthy, the country fertile, and as it has been largely devoted to peach culture, Seaford has become an important shipping point. The town has churches, schools, banks, numerous stores, and all the attributes of a progressive rural community.

Seaford was laid out October 29, 1799, by John Hooper, Thomas Hooper and John Tennant, as the heirs of Henry Hooper. At that time the place was called "Hooper's Landing," and the plat shows the dwelling-house of John Hooper, near which was a spring and a wharf.

Higher up and above the spring, Market and Front Streets made a triangular intersection, the apex being set aside for a market space.

Front Street ran due north and south, and was parallel with Herring Creek. The streets between it and the creek, and running parallel with it, were named North and South.

The transverse streets, running parallel with Nanticoke River and having a due east and west course, all sixty feet wide, received the names of Water, East and West. Most of the lots were sixty by sixty feet, and ninety-two lots were laid out

August 2, 1818, Captain Solomon Boston platted an addition of ten lots, extending along Front and North Streets.

The "second addition" was platted by James Conwell, May 16, 1814, and consisted of twenty lots. The "third addition,'' of twenty-five lots, on the river and below Market Street, at the old wharf of Henry Hooper, was platted by James Conwell, January 28, 1815.

A number of lots at Seaford were sold soon after the town was laid out and, in 1809, they were owned by Solomon Boston, Daniel Baker & William Morgan, I. & J. Cannon, James Collins, John Collins, John Cade, James Conwell, Ann Cottingham, John Green, Seth Griffith, Alex. P. Kellin, John Hooper, Thomas Hooper, William Hazzard, ' Barnard Liddy, Henry Little, James Polk, John Rust, Job Stockley, Solomon Turpin, Tennant & Hazzard, Nathan Vickers.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1886, a list of Property Owners in Seaford embraced the names of the following:

Mary Blades
John Boynton
Isaac Bradley
Alexander Campbell (cooper shop)
Jeremiah Collens
Ezekiel Cannon
Levin Cannon
David Conwell
Alfred Cottingham
Hossa Dawson
Jacob Forset
George K Hall
Roades Hazzard
William Hazzard
Heirs of George Hazzard
Robert K Hopkins
Josiah Horsey
Jacob Kinder
William Laws
Jeremiah MacNealy
Captain Hugh Martin
John Martin's heirs
Papkin Minor
Ann Morgan
Kitty Neal
William Nichols' heirs
William Roades
Benjamin Stockley
Aaron Swiggett's heirs
Henry Wallis
Jacob Wright
Planner Williams
Turpin Wright

From this time on until the railroad was projected there was but little change in the material development of the town. It remained for twenty years or more a quiet, conservative place, and its principal business outlet was the Nanticoke River, the shipments being grain and other ordinary farm products. With a new era in prospect, when the town was selected as one of the stations of the railroad, at that time building, new additions were made, Nanticoke City being platted December 13, 1856, on the lower borders of Seaford. One hundred and seventy-nine lots were thus laid out by John Dale for Rev. Thomas B. Bradford, and here was located, in 1857, the southern terminus of the Delaware Railroad. Although not included within the corporate limits of the town, it is essentially a part of Seaford, with which place its interests are inseparably connected.

The rapid growth of the town after the completion of the railroad made it desirable that it should possess a better and more independent form of government than could be had while subordinate to the hundred. Accordingly it was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, passed March 16, 1865, which named Benjamin Stockley, John E. Darbee, Isaac Willin, Henry L. Hopkins and Michael Coulbourn as the first commissioners, and directed that a resurvey and plat of the town be made. This was done in May ensuing, by James Stuart, and the following limits were placed on record June 7, 1865:

"Line to start near the centre of Jacob Williams' mill dam; thence N. W. with said mill dam and the road until a line north 3° east will strike the east most corner of Benjamin Stockley's lot, which adjoins a lot of Jacob Williams, on the east of the said Stockley lot, touch the eastward comer of said Stockley's lot and through the lands of Charles K. Gannon to the country road leading from Bridgeville to Johnson's Cross-Roads, Md.; thence running in the centre of said county road to the Delaware R. R.; thence with the said R. R. to the Nanticoke River; thence up the said Nanticoke River to Herring Ran or Clear Brook Branch; thence up the branch with the several meanderings to said Jacob Williams' mill dam, the place of beginning."

Amendatory acts were passed February 21, 1867, and April 4, 1869; and on the 19th of February, 1883, an act was passed re-incorporating the town, by repealing the conflicting legislation, but not changing the limits. By this act the corporate name became the Town of Seaford, and full power was vested in the commissioners to enact all the ordinances the welfare of the town might require.

Under the act of 1865 the first election held at Odd Fellows' Hall, in April, that year, resulted in the choice of:

Alfred Cottingham, Aldermen

Alfred Williams, Commissioner
Benjamin Stockley, Commissioner
Henry L. Hopkins, Commissioner
John Conway, Commissioner
John K. Brown, Commissioner

Since that time the offices of aldermen, clerks and treasurers have been as is shown in the appended list:

Aldermen
Alfred Cottingham 1866-70
Jesse W. Robinson 1871-79
W. W. Allen 1880-83
Wm. J. Stewart 1884
Wm. H. Stevens 1886
N. H. Brown 1886
Clerks
James Stuart 1866
John Wallen 1867-68
T. D. Price 1869
H. W. Baker 1870
J. W. Allen 1871
John E. Martin 1878
N. H. Brown 1873-74
H. B. Cannon 1875
J. H. Cottingham 1876-77

J. W. Phillips 1878
John E. Martin 1879-81
J. W. Phillips 1881-83
J. B. Morrow 1884-85
J. r. James 1886
Treasurer
Jeremiah Gannon 1866-67
Alcalde Dawson 1868
John Conoway 1860
Dr. Hugh Martin 1870
N. H. Brown 1871
Nutter Ratcliff 1872
N. H. Brown 1873-74
H. K. Cannon 1876-77
J. E. Smith 1878-81
J. H. Cottingham 1882-86
J. E. Dutton 1886

In 1887 the officers elected were:

Aldermen Commissioner
N. H. Brown J. B. Morrow, Pres.
Assessor and Collector
J. B. Cook
Treasurer Clerk
N. L. Battle
W. H. Coulbourn
Wm. M. Ross
J. F. James
E. F. Prettyman
Constable
Joseph J. Hasten
Board of Health
Dr. Hugh Martin
E. R. Sharp
H. E. Gannon
J. E. Dutton.
George W. Emer

Among the most noteworthy acts of the commissioners were the ordinances adopted April 22, 1865; beginning to pave streets with shells in 1867; the building of a town hall in 1875; the purchasing of fire apparatus, at an expense of four hundred dollars, in 1885; and the more perfect draining of the streets in 1886. In the latter year the expenses of the corporation were $1506.13, and the tax rate was fifteen cents on every one hundred dollars.

Business Interests

In the early history of Seaford the Nanticoke River was the means of communicating with Norfolk and Baltimore, and in 1825 a regular line of boats was maintained to Norfolk. This line extended to Philadelphia by means of stages to Dona Landing, in Kent County, and boats on the Delaware. About this period from eight to ten stages per day arrived and departed from Seaford. Later a line was established to Baltimore, and, after 1850, among the boats plying between Seaford and that port were the "Hugh Jenkins," "Wilson Small," "Osias" and the "Kent," the latter before 1860. The railroad destroyed this traffic, and the boats were taken off the river soon after it was completed; but, in later years, small steamers were again run between these two points, among them being the "Artisan" and the "Nanticoke," the latter making three trips per week in the season of 1887. A number of sloops and small schooners make irregular trips to meet the demands of the business offered them.

The river at Seaford was first crossed by means of a ferry, which was long operated by the Martin family. In 1832 the Legislature authorized the formation of the Seaford Bridge Company, with the following as managers: Samuel Laws, Turpin Wright, Jacob Wright, Henry Cannon, Henry Little, John Gibbons and Curtis J. Boss. The draw-bridge which this company built was sold, in 1843, to Capt. Hugh Martin, but under the act of March 17, 1865, it be-came public property, after having been rebuilt by Dr. Hugh Martin. In 1884 the wooden structure gave place to a fine iron bridge, erected by the Cleveland Bridge Company. It is on the site of the old ferry, at the foot of Market Street, and more than half a mile above the railroad bridge, which is also provided with a draw span to permit the passage of vessels. The main line of the railroad was completed to Seaford in 1857, and this bridge was built several years later. The Dorchester Railroad was completed in the fall of 1858. Major W. Allen was the first station agent, and in 1887 Henry E. Cannon served in that capacity.

For many years vessel-building was a profitable occupation at Seaford, and an extensive yard was carried on by the Wrights from 1830 until 1838. Several sea-going vessels were also built at this place, but usually the tonnage of their craft did not exceed five hundred tons to each, and the boats were intended for use on the inland waters. Other ship-builders were Captain Hugh Martin, Captain Isaac Bradley and Captain Solomon Boston. William Lamb had a yard at the foot of Market St. several years, in which employment was given to more than twenty ship-carpenters; and Michael Coulbourn also had several vessels built and was one of the most extensive ship-owners of the place. In 1884 William B. Adams opened a small yard and built a marine railway to accommodate his business. It has a good location, at the foot of Cannon Street. There are several good wharves at Seaford, owned by private parties, and the one for public use has been controlled by the Town Council since 1865.

On the mill site on Herring Creek, at Seaford, Solomon Boston put up saw and grist-mills, which be operated until his death, when they passed into the hands of the Williams family. In 1862 the saw-mill was burned, but was rebuilt by Jacob Williams. In 1882 the grist-mill was supplied with roller machinery, but was destroyed by fire soon after. In 1883 steam-power was added by Lott & Seibert, who owned the property at that time. The present mill was built in 1884, by Oliver Obier, who has since operated the mills.

In 1868 a planing-mill, sash and door factory was established in the Nanticoke part of the town by Manners, Fisher & Co., who carried on a heavy business until 1877, when it was discontinued, and the machinery was removed from town. They were also extensive builders, and employed from fifty to sixty hands.

The basket factory and planing-mill of W. H. Coulbourn, above Market Street, near the river, was established in the spring of 1887. It has capacity for the employment of fifty hands, the motor being steam from a forty horse-power engine.

In 1887 E. B. Sharp was the proprietor of marble works of established reputation; William J. Stewart was an iron founder; and J. H. Cottingham and George W. Emery operated a brick manufactory established in 1884. An earlier brick-yard, on an extensive scale, was discontinued in 1880, after having been operated a number of years by Knowles & Rawlins.

The Seaford Shell Lime Company was incorporated March 26, 1885, with corporators William H. Stevens, C. H. Rawlins, E. J. Rawlins and S. E. Rawlins. The company succeeded M. Coulbourn & Co., and extended the business which that firm had established. The works are near the railroad depot, and about six hundred bushels are burned daily.

The manufacture of phosphates and the packing of oysters and fruit constituted the principal industries in 1887, giving employment to a large number of persons and the town a reputation which extended far beyond the limits of the State. The Seaford Phosphate Works were established in 1873 by Ball & Ross, who were succeeded in 1875 by W. M., W. H. and E. C. Ross, under the firm-name of W. M. Ross A Co. The works were enlarged to embrace buildings sixty by one hundred feet, and a storage room, having ten thousand eight hundred square feet, was provided. The works had two sets of acid chambers, which were in a building, forty-seven by one hundred and thirteen feet and the motive-power was furnished by a sixty-five horse-power engine. The works are well located, having an exclusive wharf and railroad track, giving excellent shipping privileges. Since the fall of 1887 the firm has had the use of a schooner of six hundred tons burden and a steam tug employed in its transportation business, which has greatly increased. In 1873 the product was about thirty tons; in 1879 about four thousand tons; and in 1887 six thousand tons of high grade acid phosphates. Since February, 1887, W. M. Ross has been the sole proprietor, continuing business under the old firm-name.

A. S. Woolley's phosphate factory was established in 1884. It is located on the Nanticoke River, at the foot of Pine Street, and has a capacity of eight hundred tons per year. The dry mixing process is used, and a fine quality of super-phosphate produced.

The business of packing oysters at Seaford was begun soon after the completion of the railroad, which thus afforded the means of rapid shipment to Northern markets. In 1862, among the firms here located, were Piatt & Mallory, Hemingway & Chase and some others, who removed their establishments on account of the State tax imposed by the act of March 16, 1865. Most of the interests were transferred to Baltimore, notwithstanding that here are all the essentials for carrying on a successful packery, an abundance of pure water, communication by boat and rail, nearness to the oyster-beds and the markets. After this illiberal policy of the State had been modified, other oyster-packers located at Seaford, and among the firms formerly engaged in that business were Horsey A Stockley, McNeilley A Co., J. E. Parks & Co., William Williams & Co., William Dashiel and Conaway & Co. A cannery was also carried on, a few years, by I. H. D. Knowles.

In 1887 the packing of oysters exceeded every other industry at Seaford, constituting an active, growing business, which benefited at least half the inhabitants of the town. From forty to sixty boats, having an average carrying capacity of five hundred bushels each, were employed to make weekly trip* between Seaford and the oyster-beds along the Chesapeake. The packing-houses were well located on wharves below and near the railroad depot, and the products were widely and most favorably known as being among the largest and best bulk-oysters in the markets. The principal packers were these: W. W. Stevens & Co., established in 1840, and giving occupation to about eighty hands, who packed sixty thousand gallons per year. Donaho & Co. succeeded to a business established in 1871 by C. C. Donaho, who carried it on until his death, in 1887, since which time it has been in the hands of his sons; sixty hands are here employed, and about fifty thousand gallons of oysters are shipped annually.

Emery & Company carry on a packing-house which was established in 1870, and which has been under the control of the present firm the past fifteen years, George W. Emery being the senior partner, and C. H. Rawlins the associate; about forty thousand gallons are prepared for the markets each year. J. B. Morrow and J. E. Dutton, as Morrow & Dutton, established in 1879, and carrying on a business established in 1875, by Morrow & Brown; from fifty to seventy-five hands are here employed, and fifty thousand gallons per year have been shipped. The firm of Grenabaum Brothers, established a packing-house in 1882, in which there is working-room for forty-five hands, and in which about thirty thousand gallons per year are put up. This firm also carries on the fruit canning, established in 1881, by Miller Bros. &Co., of Baltimore, at the foot of Market Street.

In 1886 the present firm purchased that interest and transferred it to a new site near their oyster-packing house in the Nanticoke part of Seaford. The products of the fruit cannery are berries, tomatoes and peas, and the standard "Nanticoke brand" of the firm has a fine reputation.

Henry Adams had one of the first large stores in the town, trading at the foot of Market Street near the old wharf, and continued in business many years. Other merchants, in a period reaching up to 1830, were William W. Green, George Hazzard, Levin Cannon and Isaac Bradley. At this time Seaford had a population of four hundred and forty souls. In the next two decades, among the merchants, were Robert Hopkins, Henry Little, Solomon and Asbury Prettyman, Alfred Cottingham, Major W. Allen, John Rust, William B. Horsey, Benjamin Stockly and John Martin. Some of these own their own boats and were largely engaged in the shipping business. Turpin, Jacob and Charles Wright shipped all kinds of farm produce from their warehouse on Water Street. Among the principal merchants of a still later period, and some of them continuing to the present, were John E. Darbee, Henry Lee Phillips, Thomas C. Cottingham, George H. Baker, J. Webster Cox and William C. Tull. In the drug trade stores were kept by William I. Shipley, who sold to W. T. Haines, and Walter E. Martin, succeeded by Frank Shipley. In 1887 there were more than two dozen stores, in all branches of trade, and the aggregate business was increasing yearly.

Postmasters

The Seaford post-office was established in 1826, and the postmasters have been:

John K. Brown
James E. Darbee
Robert Hopkins
Charles Horsey
Jeremiah McNeilley
J. P. Obier
James Scott
Henry Lee Phillips
John W. Phillips
William F. Robinson
Lewis E. Wallace

Among the physicians who practiced at Seaford there have been Jonathan Cottingham, who located here in 1802 and remained until his death, several years later; John Gibbons, who came before 1815 and died in 1838; William Morgan, who was also a local preacher, from about 1820 until his death, in 1857; John Tennant and Washington Goldsboro, both of whom removed after a few years practice; Joseph Flint and Henry Taylor, who remained but a short time; Joseph Priestly Hall Shipley from 1846 for twenty-five years; Daniel Fisher from 1864 for twenty-seven years; Hugh Martin, born in Seaford in 1830 and a practitioner here since 1853; William Shipley, born at Seaford in 1848 and in practice since 1878; and Dr. J. N. Johns, born in Kent County in 1843 and professionally engaged at Seaford since 1875, having first practiced five years at Bridgeville.

Colonel Edward Livingston Martin is an attorney at Seaford, although not in active practice. He is an ex-member of Congress from Delaware and one of the most prominent peach-growers of the region. He was the youngest son in the family of ten children, of whom Captain Hugh and Sophia (Willis) Martin were the parents, and was born at Seaford, Sussex County, March 29, 1837. His first education, beyond that obtained in the schools of the neighborhood, was received at the Newark Academy, where he spent the year 1850. He then attended Delaware College and the academy of Anthony Bolmar in West Chester, Pennsylvania, after which, with thorough preparation, he entered the University of Virginia, from the Law Department of which he graduated in 1859. He continued his legal studies with Hon. Daniel M. Bates, in Wilmington.

In 1863 he was elected clerk of the State Senate, and retained that position during the term of two years. In 1866 he returned to the University of Virginia, and, after refreshing himself in the law, was admitted to practice in Dover in the fall of the same year. He opened an office in the State capital, but was soon summoned home by the illness of his father, who died in June, 1867, cared for and comforted to the last by our subject and his brother, Luther Martin. Upon these two members of the family devolved the care of their widowed mother and the management of the estate, of which they were made executors. Their mother survived only until November, 1869.

The estate, known as "Woodbum," upon which Mr. Martin now resides, fell to him and his brother, and the care of the property made it necessary for him to relinquish all professional aspirations, and he has ever since devoted himself to agriculture and horticulture.

The home estate, which consists of several hundred acres, is devoted chiefly to peach-growing, and, in addition to this, Mr. Martin owns several other farms. He has been a very successful peach-grower, and few, if any, in the region have carried on the industry more extensively or successfully. He has made & study of his calling theoretically and practically, and enjoys the confidence of all interested in this branch of horticulture, as was evinced by his being called upon in the summer of 1887 to preside over the convention of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey peach-growers, the largest assemblage of the kind ever held in the State or Peninsula. He is also a member of the State Board of Agriculture, and very influential in its councils.

Mr. Martin has been a life-long Democrat, and one of the leaders of his party in the State. He was a member of the National Democratic Convention which assembled in Chicago in 1864, of the Baltimore Convention of 1872, the St. Louis Convention of 1876, the Cincinnati Convention of 1880 and the Chicago Convention of 1884. The important matter of the State boundary between Delaware and New Jersey, involving valuable fishing rights, received his attention in 1873, 1874 and 1875, he being appointed by the Legislature, in the year first mentioned, as one of the commissioners for Delaware, the others being Chief Justice Comegys and Judge William G. Whitely and the New Jersey board consisting of Cortlandt Parker, Abraham Browning and Albert Slafe. Another important appointment he received from the Legislature was that of commissioner from Sussex County, to encourage the introduction of the sugar beet industry.

In 1878 in recognition of his fitness for the position and his valuable political services, he was nominated by the Democratic Party for Congress, and daily elected by a heavy majority. In the Forty-sixth Congress he served on the Committee of Accounts, the Committee on the District of Columbia, and on the special committee appointed to provide for the centennial celebration of the surrender of Yorktown. His course in Congressional affairs was creditable to himself and highly satisfactory to his constituents, and so it came about very naturally that he was renominated by his party, and satin the Forty-seventh Congress, being elected in 1880, defeating Superior Court Judge John Houston. He has since received the complimentary vote of his party in the Legislature for the United States Senate. He still maintains an unabated interest and activity in politics, although his business and social duties are alone sufficient to make him an exceedingly busy man, and would overtax the energies of a less healthful and vigorous constitution. His religious affiliation is with the Protestant Episcopal Church; he has been a member of the vestry of St Luke's Church, Seaford, for more than twenty years, and many times a delegate to the Diocesan Convention.

Mr. Martin was married, March 17, 1869, to Miss Clara, daughter of William W. Dulaney, of Sussex County. Five children were the offspring of this union, viz.: Woodburn, William Dulaney, Rosalie, Mabel Bayard and Edward Livingston, Jr.

As notaries and justices of the peace at Seaford, there have been Dr. William Morgan, William Hazzard, Jesse W. Robinson, Alfred Cottingham and Major W. Allen. The latter and J. W. Robinson served in 1887. N. H. Brown had an insurance agency, and John Dunning was a real-estate broker.

Near the old wharf an inn was opened soon after the town was laid out. Seth Wingate, Aaron Swiggett and Jerry Collins were among the keepers of this house, which for more than forty years past has been a residence. Nancy Martin also kept a public-house in that part of the town about 1815. Since about 1842 the site of the present Coulbourn House has been used for tavern purposes. George Frame was one of the first owners. Later this place became known as the Union Hotel, and had many successive landlords. In 1879 it was rebuilt by Michael Coulbourn, who enlarged it in 1886. It is one of the most spacious buildings of the kind in the lower part of the State, and under the management of H. C. Pennington, landlord since 1879, has also become one of the most popular.

The Nanticoke House, at the railroad depot, was built in 1869 by W. J. Marschbank, who was also the keeper for a few years, when he was accidentally killed on the railroad. It is a roomy three -story brick building, the lower part of which is now used as a station for the railroads, the upper part remaining a public-house.

Morrow's Public Hall, built on High Street, by Joseph Messick, was one of the first halls of the kind in the town. Bell's Hall, built in 1873, is a more spacious room, and Coulbourn Hall, erected by Michael Coulbourn, opposite his hotel, on the comer of Market and High Streets, has a seating capacity for eight hundred persons. It has been a popular place for amusements since its opening, in 1883.

The first monetary institution at Seaford was a private bank, which did business a short time at the beginning of the Civil War. On March 6, 1861, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating the Seaford Bank; but no organization under its provisions was effected, and the act was repealed February 6, 1862.

The First National Bank of Seaford was organized February 18, 1865, with a capital stock of $55,000. This was reduced to $50,000 in 1873, and has since so remained. Gov. William Cannon was the first president, and after his death, which occurred soon after the bank was opened, was succeeded by Lewis M. Wright. The latter gave place, in 1880, to the present president, Daniel Heam, of Laurel.

Isaac M. Fisher was the first cashier, who served until 1873, when M. J. Morgan was elected and was cashier until January, 1887, when H. W. Baker succeeded him. At the same time George H. Shipley was the teller.

The bank was opened for business on the corner of Pine and King Streets; but, in 1868, it was removed to a building erected for it on Pine Street, where it has since had commodious and well-arranged offices, and is doing a safe and profitable business.

The Sussex National Bank of Seaford, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, was organized April 6, 1887. Its first board of directors was com-posed of Thomas McComb, Jerry Long, J. B. Morrow, Dr. Hugh Martin, W. H. Stevenson, James J. Boss, of Seaford; Harrington Messick and W. A. Corbin, of Bridgeville; Dr. W. E. Wolfe, of Laurel; John H. Stack, of Federalsburg, Maryland; and Gov. E. E. Jackson, of Salisbury, Maryland. The latter was elected president; Dr. H. Martin, vice-president; M. J. Morgan, cashier; and H. M. Wright, teller. The first business was done in the town hall. May 18, 1887, but on the 23rd of September, the same year, the new banking-house on the comer of High and Conwell Streets, was occupied. It is a very neat and substantial structure, and has good safety vaults, and well-furnished offices.

The Nanticoke Loan Association, of Seaford, was organized under the act of March 17, 1865, and the amended act of February 18, 1873, with Dr. H. Martin, as president; and J. Nicholson, as secretary. These officers served through the life of the association, whose stock matured in 1884. Michael Coulbourn and Jerry Long served as treasurers. This society encouraged a number of persons to build their own homes in Seaford, and materially aided in the development of the town.

Secret Societies

Hiram Lodge, No. 21, A. F. & A. M., was instituted at Seaford, under a charter granted June 27, 1866. Since 1878 its meetings have been held in its own hall, on High Street, which was erected at a cost of one thousand dollars, and which has been well furnished. In 1887 the lodge had a membership of fifty-three Master Masons, and was reported in a flourishing condition.

Seaford Lodge, No, 7, A. O. U. W., was formed March 6, 1882, with seventeen charter members, assembled in Odd Fellows' Hall. J. W. Phillips was elected master-workman; T. E. Cottingham, foreman; and H. C. Pennington, overseer. In the fall of 1887 the lodge had thirty members, who sustained an active relation, Dr. H. F. Porter being the master-workman.

Tuscarora Tribe, No, 22, I. O. R. M., was instituted January 18, 1885, with seventeen members. In December, 1887, eighty-two persons were enrolled and the aggregate number which had joined was ninety-two. The tribe assembled statedly in Odd Fellows' Hall, and its affairs were in a very healthy condition. Its property was in charge of Trustees H. C. Pennington, J. A. Barnes and Joseph F. Willey.

Hebron Lodge, No, 14, I. O. O. F., was instituted September 23, 1847, and became an incorporated body January 12, 1849. It has since its organization been very prosperous, and had in the fall of 1887 assets amounting to more than seven thousand dollars, exclusive of the cemetery lot. Since its organization the lodge has paid in sick benefits nearly five thousand dollars. There were in December, 1887, sixty members and the following trustees: H. W. Baker, J. H. Cottingham and N. H. Brown. The first meetings were held in a hall ou Second Street, which was used until 1871, after which a lodge-room in Darbee's building was occupied until December, 1887, when the lodge took up its home in its own hall, on High Street. This was erected in the sum-mer and fall of 1887, by a committee composed of L. E. Wallace, J. H. Cottingham, N. H. Brown, L. W. Hurley, W. H. Coulbourn, T. M. Elliott and W. W. Byrd, at a cost of nearly three thousand dollars.

The Odd Fellows Cemetery was incorporated in 1886, and placed in the hands of Committeemen H. W. Baker, John H, Cottingham, N. H. Brown, J. E. Nicholson and L. E. Wallace. The grounds are well located and consist of seven acres, in the north-eastern part of the town. A portion has been improved and five hundred and sixty-five burial plats laid out. It was opened for the purpose of interment in April, 1886, and since that time a number of persons have selected this peaceful spot as a quiet resting-place for their dead kindred.

Schools of the Towns

The Sea ford Academy was incorporated January 29, 1819, with Trustees John Rust, John Tennant, Nathaniel Ross, Henry Little and Nathan Vickers. This body united with the Masons of Hope Lodge (which at that time held its meetings at this place, but which was subsequently moved to Laurel) to erect a school building and hall opposite the present St. Luke's Church. Here an academy was maintained many years, the teachers being men of ability, who attracted students from abroad in addition to the liberal home patronage. Rev. Leonidas Polk, later a bishop of the Episcopal Church and major-general of the Confederate States army, was for a time a student at this school. Before the Civil War the academy was closed, but good select schools were afterwards held in the town, and, in 1865, an effort was made to place one, called the Seaford Seminary, upon a permanent basis. An act of incorporation was secured, but no organization was effected. By legislative authority the old academy building was sold and the proceeds passed to the general school fund.

An act of the Legislature passed March 17, 1875, consolidated Districts Nos. 70, 70}, 102 and 102}, and placed them under the control of the "School Board of Seaford."

This board organized by electing Dr. Hugh Martin, president; J. E. Nicholson, clerk; H. W. Baker, treasurer; H. L. Hopkins, assessor; T. R. Harper, collector. M. Coulbourn and N. H. Brown were the remaining members. Soon after steps were taken to erect a new school edifice, on a lot purchased on Cannon Street, and, in August, 1875, the contract for building was awarded to Manners, Fisher & Co. It is a large frame structure, and in it four school-rooms were fitted up, which were first occupied in the fall of 1875. At the same time the schools were graded into four departments and placed in charge of Principal T. N. Williams. His successor in that position have been McKendree Downham, John T. Stephens, John A. Collins and, since 1885, Prof. Thomas H. Breerwood. The schools are ably conducted and are maintained at a yearly expense of about one thousand eight hundred dollars. In 1887 the president of the board was Dr. Hugh Martin, and J. T. Sharp was the secretary.

In the town are also several schools for colored children, which have proven very beneficial to those attending them.

Churches

St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by the trustees of the Beacham meeting-house in Seaford Hundred, who, on April 27, 1818, secured title for a lot in Seaford, on which was soon after built a small, plain, frame meeting-house for the use of the Methodist Church. In this there worshipped statedly, about 1820, Rhoada Hazzard, Levin Cannon, Hugh Brown, Alfred Cottingham, Robert Hopkins, Henry Little, Aaron Swiggett and members of their families. The building was repaired and was in use until 1860, when it was removed to make place for the present edifice, and was converted into a church for colored people.

St. John's Church is a two-story frame structure, which was completed under the direction of J. E. Darbee, Rhoads Hazzard and William R Horsey, as a building committee.

It was thoroughly renovated in 1886, becoming more attractive and comfortable. The cost of the church was four thousand dollars, and its trustee in 1887 were H. E. Cannon, H. Hopkins, W. B. Morrow, Jesse Sharp, Jacob Cramer and Isaac N. Kinder.

Seaford has sustained the relation of a station since 1884, and since 1876 the following have been the ministers appointed by Conference to preach on this charge:

Rev. T. J. Williams, 1876-77
Rev. H. Colelazer, 1878-79
Rev. Thomas E. Terry, 1880-81
Rev. B. W. Chase, 1882
Rev. W. Underwood, 1883-84
Rev. W. B. England, 1886-87

The church has two hundred members and maintains a Sabbath-school of one hundred and seventy-five members, which has H. E. Cannon as its superintendent.

Not long after the Methodist Protestants begun preaching in this part of the country, about 1831, a small frame church, standing on Chapel Branch, became the property of Dr. William Morgan, a prominent member of this denomination, who removed it to Seaford. It was placed on a fine site, on a lot adjoining the old Hooper burial-ground, where it stood until the present edifice took its place. On the 13th of February, 1847, the church was incorporated with a board of trustees composed of Dr. William Morgan, P. M. Rust, Samuel Lacy, Thomas J. Phillips, Henry Wallace, Tiras a Phillips and Isaiah Neal, and their successors have since controlled it. In 1862 a new church, a frame building, thirty-two by forty-eight feet, was erected, which was placed in good repair in 1887. Its value is given at four thousand dollars.

The Seaford and the Gethsemane Methodist Protestant Church at Reliance have for many years constituted an appointment, and the ministers preaching here have been the following:

Rev. S. Taylor, 1838
Rev. Samuel Rawleigh, 1833
Rev. G. D. Hamilton, 1834-36
Rev. J. W. Everiet 1837
Rev. R. T. Boyd 1838
Rev. J. K. Nichols 1838
Rev. L. A. Collins 1839-40
Rev. W. W. Tipton 1839-40
Rev. O. D. Hamilton 1841
Rev. O. D. Hamilton 1842
Rev. T. Reinick 1842
Rev. J. A. Jackson 1842
Rev. R. Adkinson 1843
Rev. J. B. Nichols 1844
Rev. J. Downing 1845
Rev. W. T. Wright 1846-47
Rev. B. Adkinson 1848-49
Rev. W. Beinick 1850-51
Rev. W. D. Hamilton 1852
Rev. T. Burton 1853-54
Rev. T. A. Moore 1856-56
Rev. T. M. Bryan 1857-58
Rev. T. A. Moore 1859
Rev. J. T. F. Ewell 1860-63
Rev. J. R. Nichols 1862-68
Rev. A. S. Eversole 1864
Rev. G. W. Simpson 1865
Rev. W. G. Holmes 1866-68
Rev. J. M. Elderdice 1869-71
Rev. O. M. Thompson 1872-73
Rev. J. A. McFaden 1874
Rev. S. B. Tredway 1875-76
Rev. S. A. Hoblitzell 1877-78
Rev. H. B. Miskimmon 1879-81
Rev. C. S. Arnett 1872
Rev. J. L. Duncan 1888
Rev. B. L. Lewis 1884
Rev. J. W. Charlton 1885-86
Rev. D. W. Anstine 1887

The earliest traces of the present Protestant Episcopal worship in Seaford are found in St. Mary's Chapel, which, in the colonial days, was established on the property now owned by J. H. Boyce, on Chapel Branch, a few miles from the town. It was a small building, erected for those adhering to the Established Church of England, and appears to have been abandoned during the Revolution. Within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants of this part of the county no traces of it were visible excepting a pile of brick. After that time there was here no consecrated place for Episcopal worship, until St. Luke's Church was established.

In 1834, Rev. Joseph Glover began a promising ministry at Seaford, laboring as a missionary, but be-fore he could form a church he was called to a higher life. He died August 19, 1834. The following year Bev. Cory Chambers began to preach and the parish was organized. The first vestry had as members Charles Wright, Jacob Wright, Elijah Cannon, Thos. Jacobs, Edward Ross and Dr. John Gibbons. Its incorporation by the Legislature took place February 20, 1837, and measures were soon after set on foot to build a church at Seaford.

In 1838 work on a brick edifice was begun, but it was not completed for consecration until May 28, 1843. On the same day Rev. John Long was called by the vestry to take charge of the parish as a deacon, and sustained that relation until March 22, 1846.

The church building has been thoroughly remodeled, and was enlarged by the addition of a vestry -room. In 1873 the parish secured a rectory, and in 1887 the entire property was valued at $4000. At that time the members of the vestry were Dr. Hugh Martin, senior warden; James J. Ross, junior warden; Wm. H. Stevens, Jerry Long, H. T. Porter, William Donaho, Wm. H. Coulbourn and John P. Dulaney. The membership of the parish was small, there being only about twenty communicants. A Sabbath-school was conducted under the superintendency of Dr. H. F. Porter.

After the ministry of the Rev. John Long the parish was under the spiritual instruction of the following;

Rev. I. Brinton Smith 1846-48
Rev. James W. Hoskins 1848-52
Rev. Richard F. Cadle1 1853-57
Rev. Samuel B. Slack 1858-59
Rev. John L. Gay 1860-61
Rev. George Hall 1861-69
Rev. John C. Tennant 1870-73
Rev. H. B. Brooke 1873-78
Rev. S. D. Hall 1878-81
Rev. George Fitzhugh 1882-84
Rev. Edward Wootten 1886-87

In the fall of 1887 the parish was without a rector, having the ministry of visiting clergymen.

The colored people of Seaford own and maintain two good churches, the "Macedonia," built in 1879 and repaired more recently; and the "John Wesley," built in 1883. The latter is an offshoot of the former, both belonging to branches of the Methodist Church. A laudable spirit of emulation has incited the members of these churches to keep their temporalities in very good condition, and both are in a prosperous state.

Seaford Branch, Woman's Christian Temperance Union, had, in the fall of 1887, seventeen members. The annual meeting of the State Association was held at this place in October, 1887, and was an occasion of much interest and large attendance "from all parts of the State.

A Young Ladies' Christian Temperance Union, organized in 1887, had, at this time, twenty-six members; and a vigorous Band of Hope, organized in the summer of 1887, by Mrs. Hester M. Rawlins had, in November, 1887, one hundred and sixty members.

Footnote:
1. Died November 9, 1857, near Laurel and is buried at St. Luke's.

Seaford Hundred | Sussex County

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

 
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