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Kenton Hundred, Kent County, Delaware

Early Settlement Assessment Roll, 1785 Churches
Schools Towns Societies
.. Manufactures ..

Kenton Hundred is in the northwestern portion of Kent County, and was carved out of Duck Creek and Little Creek Hundreds, by an act of the Legislature, passed February 3, 1869, which recited: "The said new hundred shall be called Kenton Hundred, and shall embrace all that portion of Duck Creek and Little Creek Hundreds in Kent County, as at present constituted, lying on the west side of the west line of the Delaware Railroad."

This made the bounds of the new hundred as follows: on the north by Blackbird Hundred of New Castle County and Duck Creek; on the east by the Delaware Railroad; on the south by Dover Hundred and the Fork Branch of St. Jones' Creek, and on the west by the State of Maryland.

Some of the best farming lands of the State are in the hundred, they having been highly cultivated for years. Large quantities of peaches, wheat, corn and vegetables are raised.

About 1840, Simon Spearman, who lived on the Middle Alley road, on the farm now owned by Edward Streets, shipped the first peaches for market, and the return was so profitable that a number of the farmers planted trees, until today three-fourths of the land is planted with peach trees. The shipments from the various railroad stations have approximated in one year as high as three hundred thousand baskets. The year 1887 was one of the poorest ever known, and fifty thou-sand will cover the shipment.

The Little Duck Creek runs through the centre of the hundred, and the railroad facilities are excellent, the Delaware Railroad running down the east side, the Delaware and Maryland through the centre and about one mile of the Kent County, Smyrna and Delaware Bay Railroad in the north-western section. In 1880 the population was two thousand eight hundred and seventeen. There has been no survey since the erection of the hundred, but the area is about thirty-five thousand acres.

Early Settlements

The hundred early attracted the attention of the English settlers, and in the earliest records mention is made of grants of land, both from the crown and the original proprietors, to English settlers. The descendants of these old families still comprise a majority of the inhabitants. Particularly is this true of the occupiers of the land comprised in what was known as the manor of "Freith."

The manor of "Freith" was one of the many manors in Pennsylvania and outlying territories laid off for William Penn, the warrant for this tract having been issued to the Surveyor-general May 3, 1683, and the laud surveyed November 10th of the same year, and was returned as containing over ten thousand acres.

The Bristol Naval Store Co-partnership Company formed in Bristol, England, in 1714, and composed of William Down, Absalom Lloyd, Charles Horford, Edward Lloyd, Caleb Lloyd, George Whitehead and Richard Cool, merchants of that town. The object of the company was to plant and cultivate hemp in the colonies, and Benjamin Shurmer, of Kent County, formerly of Bristol, was commissioned to purchase a tract of land for that purpose. He took up of this tract three thousand one hundred and twenty-five acres on a branch of Duck Creek, on a warrant granted September 22, 1714. In 1706 Walter Dulany took up a large part of this land, which was conveyed to him, and embraced old surveys lying largely in the northwest corner of Kent County and in parts of New Castle County and Maryland. "Caudley's Adventure," on a branch of the Chester River, on the New Castle and Maryland line, was a portion, and was taken up in 1727. Several tracts of this same land were warranted to Captain Richard Smith, January 18, 1696, and patented in 1710. They were called "the remains of my Lordship's Gracious Grant," "Mitchell's Park," "Mitchell's Risque," "Jones' Adventure," "Ellinor's Delight," and "Beaver Dam."

The present holders of the Dulany land are Samuel and George Beck, Patrick Hanifee, J. L. Holt, Henry Holt, Jacob Hartman, Frank Bowers and Bernard Donnelly.

South of the Dulany land is the Blackiston tract, called the "Deer Park" tract, and containing two thousand two hundred and fifty-five acres, which was granted to Benjamin Blackiston, June 14, 1733, upon payment of forty-five pounds and two shillings to Lord Baltimore. The greater part of this land remained in the possession of the Blackiston family as late as 1850, and over four hundred acres of it is now owned by Miss Ann Blackiston, a great-granddaughter of the original proprietor. The remainder is held by Benjamin and Herman Hazel, and Thomas Mayberry.

Along the west side of this hundred Samuel Chew took up of the Manor of Freith, about five hundred acres, and become seized of about three thousand acres of other lands in the vicinity, lying partly in Queen Anne County, Maryland, and in Kent County, Del. Chew died in 1744, leaving to survive him Benjamin Tilghman, Elizabeth Tilghman, Ann (the wife of Peter Galloway) and others. By deed of gift, bearing date May 13, 1774, he conveyed three thousand two hundred and twenty acres to his son Edward. The gift included tracts known as "Forlorn Hope," "Scotten's Folly," "Forced to it," and "Just Design." Edward conveyed all his interest to Matthew, his brother, February 4, 1786, and the land remained in the Tilghman family until April 15, 1869, when it was sold at Fox well's Hotel, Smyrna. The deeds bear date June 1, 1869, and were as follows: Henry H. Pennell, 125 acres; William Sharp, 298 acres; Franklin Griffith, 209 acres; Edward C. Coppage, 219 acres; William Hutchinson, 218 acres; and Francis H. Johnston and Matthew T. Goldsborough (heirs), 868 acres.

Another portion of the Manor of Freith was a grant of one thousand and twenty-five acres to William Ellinsworth, March 21, 1680, on the southwest branch of Duck Creek, now called Little Duck Creek. This tract was called Dun-caster, and was part of what was called the Oxford and Cambridge tracts. They were conveyed to William Mitchell, and were taken up by Simon Irons. Oxford came to Thomas Green, who, December 14, 1749, sold portions to Jeremiah Register and William Sipple.

In addition to those named, the following per-sons own lands formerly a part of the old Manor of Freith: B. F. Goodey, John Golt, Robert H. Cummins, David J. Murphey, Peter Wilson, William Davis, Thomas Rees, William Stevens, Jr., William Stevens, Sr., Robert H. Hill, William Lea & Sons Company, Charles Ross, Wesley Stevens, Charles Doolan, John Meyers, Henry Pratt and John Pratt, John Farson, and Francis M. Burrows.

"Hillyard's Exchange" was taken up by John Hillyard in 1682, and contained four hundred and twenty-six acres, and is described as being on the south side of the west branch of Duck Creek and on Hillyard's Branch. It is near and south-east of the town of Kenton, and adjoining what was called "Wapping," "Williams Range," "Baliff Hill," and others. A part of this land was by deed of gift conveyed to Arthur Cook and Elizabeth, his wife, August 8, 1720, and to Hillyard's grandson, John Hillyard.

The Hillyard tract later came into the possession of Philip Lewis, who also owned other large tracts, including the land on which the town of Kenton stands.

Philip Lewis began the purchase of lands May 2, 1791, then buying three hundred and six acres of James Hynson and sixty of Thomas Murphey; and November 8, 1791, bought one hundred and fifty-nine acres of William Dickson, which, in 1753, was part of a tract surveyed to John Faries, who, October 20, 1773, sold to William Jones, who, in turn, February 6, 1775, sold to William Dickson, Christopher Long and Samuel Jemison. These tracts extended to the Seven Hickories, an old stopping place for teams on the road from Dover to Kenton, so called for the reason that seven large hickories stood there. In 1825 the Lewis property was divided among the sons of Philip Lewis, Jefferson, Albert G., and Phocion P. The first named is still living. The lands of Albert G. and Phocion P. were conveyed to Frederick Staake and by him conveyed to Mason Bailey, and are now in the possession of Bailey's heirs, with the exception of a small strip of one hundred acres held by Elizabeth Jones.

A tract called Brenford came in possession of James Green; who owned a large tract in Duck Creek Hundred; who sold it, August 9, 1768, to Molleston Curry. He sold two hundred and ten acres to Thomas Collins. This land is now owned by Jacob P. Dickson, William Stevens, Samuel Hutchinson, Jr., Hester A. Knowles, William Saulsbury, the heirs of Samuel Catts and others.

West of the town of Moorton are a class of people who claim that they are original Moors. At one time they owned over a thousand acres between Seven Hickories and Moorton. They claim to have settled here about 1710. In 1785 there were several families owning quite large estates, among whom were John and Israel Durham. They have always lived apart from both white and colored neighbors, and have generally intermarried, and steadily refused to attend the neighboring colored schools. In 1877, Hon. Charles Brown, of Dover, gave them ground and wood for a building near Moore's Corner, and since that time they have maintained a school there at their own expense. There are about fifteen miles remaining.

The following names are of persons assessed in Kenton Hundred in 1785, and are taken from the Assessment Rolls of Little Creek and Duck Creek Hundreds, of that date:


The oldest church in the hundred is the Old Duck Creek or Bryn Zion Church, about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the town of Kenton. About 1783 eight or nine families (chiefly members of Welsh Tract Church) made a settlement at Duck Creek, in Kent County, from whence the same religion spread southward to Cowmarsh and Mispillion, westward to Georgetown in Maryland and eastward to Fast Landing. Services were held by these settlers, and occasionally a minister from the Welsh Tract would preach to them.

In 1747 William Griffen conveyed to James Hyatt, William Rees, Jeremiah Rees, James Howells, David Enos and Enoch David, all of Kent County, trustees of the Baptist Society, one-half acre of land for a church, on condition "that it now doe and shall hereafter meet to embrace and adhere freely to all the principals and articles that are compiled in a certain confession of Faith that was agreed upon and adopted by the Baptist Association that met at Philadelphia, September 25, 1742." Upon this land the church was never built. In 1749 Rev. Griffith Jones settled here and continued to preach until his death, December 4, 1757. Rev. William Davis, in 1766, came next, and continued with this branch of the Welsh Tract Church until his death, October 3, 1768. He was succeeded by Revs. David Davis, John Sutton, John Boggs, Thomas Fleeson and others. When the number of members amounted to thirty a petition to be formed into a separate church was presented to the Welsh Tract Church, and it was granted on November 24, 1781. The following persons were constituted a church : Daniel David, Rachel David, Lydia Jones, Samuel Griffin, Mary Griffin, Martha Griffin, Rachel Griffin, Mary Griffin, Jr., Elizabeth Griffin, Lydia Griffin, Lewis Williams, Ruth Williams, Rhoda Wallis, Elanor Spruance, Elizabeth Roe, Caesar Roe, Martha Meredith, Deborah Dickinson, Hugh Durborow, Martha Durborow, Mary Anderson, Rebecca McVay, Rhuhamah Parkerson, Martha Owens, Mary Thompson, Elizabeth Greedy, Moleston Curry, James Darkling, Andrew Lockhart and Mary Lynch. In the first ten years of its organization it increased from thirty to forty seven. The regular pastors of Welsh Tract who preached here are mentioned in the article on that church.

Rev. Griffith Jones was born October 8, 1696, at Alltfawr, in the parish of Llanon and county of Carmarthen. He came to America in 1749 and settled at Duck Creek. He died December 4, 1754. Rev. William Davis was born in 1695, at Castellreth, in Glamorganshire; first came to this country in 1722, but soon returned; he came back in 1737 and settled at Vincent; thence he went to New Britain and had joint care of the church until his death; he was succeeded by the Rev. Eliphaz Dazey from July 23, 1784, to October 25, 1787, and the Revs. James Jones, John Patten and Gideon Ferrel were co-pastors.

Rev. Dr. Jas. Jones was born on the Welsh Tract, April 6, 1736, and died in 1829; his remains are interred in the old grave-yard. He was educated at Newark Academy and licensed to preach November 2, 1 782. He had been a surgeon in the Revolutionary army, joining it at Valley Forge. On April 7, 1789, he, with the Rev. John Patten, took charge of the church. The latter was born at Cow Marsh December 15, 1752, and licensed by the church June 14, 1788. Meetings were held generally in the dwellings of James Hyatt and Evan David Hughes. The Independents had built a church which was called Mount Zion, where they worshipped part of the time, and upon its going to decay the Baptiste rebuilt it of brick, thirty by twenty-five feet, in 1771, when the lot was conveyed by John and Philemon Dickinson. This house still stands, and was rebuilt in 1871 and is valued at four thousand dollars. The congregation and church were incorporated July 22, 1794. The late ministers have been: Rev. Peter Meredith, for seventeen years, and died at the ripe old age of ninety-five; Rev. Thomas Barton, for ten years, and Rev. Ephriam Rittenhouse, of Hare's Comer, who has been at the church for twenty-nine years

In the graveyard attached to the church are buried a number of old families whose descend-ants still reside in the hundred, the oldest stone being that of Thomas Ringgold, who died February 21, 1790. Among the others are Jacob Anderson, August 30, 1792; Armah Wilds, October 25, 1802; the family lot of the Spruances, among whom is Presley Spruance, November 28, 1837, father of United States Senator Presley Spruance.

Blackiston Chapel was erected in 1787, the land being given by Benjamin Blackiston, and is located about two and one-half miles from the cross-roads of the same name. The old church was forty by sixty feet, and was erected from de-signs furnished by Bishop Asbury. It was for a number of years the largest in size on the Peninsula, exceeding Barratt's Chapel. The original trustees were Benjamin Blackiston, Abraham Parsons, Luke Howard, Richard Lockwood, William Kirkley, James Hall, Thomas Wilds, James Stephenson and Richard Shaw. The Methodists in the region, which was then a forest, held meetings on the farm of Benjamin Hazel before the church was erected The old church was moved away in 1847, and the present building erected in its place. It is much smaller than the original church, being twenty-five by thirty feet, and valued at fifteen hundred dollars. In the old graveyard there is buried Rev. John Asay, an elder in the church, who died September 11, 1855; the early Hurlocks and a number of the Stevens family, all old settlers. Some of the ministers of the church have been, John Humphrey, Daniel Lambert, Thomas Leadman, W. C. Leibrandt, William Sumption, Thomas Hersey, J. B. Merritt, John P. Du Hamel, _____ Johns, Enoch Stubbs, Edward Newman, J. H. Adams, _____ Warner, R. J. Stevenson, T. L. Tompkinson, J. L. Houston, Samuel Thomson, Andrew Manship, T. J. Quigley and David Price.

Downs Chapel, three miles from Kenton, is the oldest Methodist Protestant church in this section, and was built upon land conveyed by James M. Downs to Lodiam E. Downs, Arwell Durborough and James E. B. Clark, trustees, December 4, 1842. The building was erected the spring of the following year. Previous to the erection of the church. Rev. William Heritage came in the neighborhood and preached to large numbers in the woods, all that country bring at that time a forest. After the church was built, Mr. Heritage was the first minister; he afterwards abandoned the ministry and became a manufacturer of patent medicines. During the pastorate of Rev. J. M. Tingling, the church was rebuilt. At present there are seventy-five members, with a building worth eight hundred dollars. The following ministers have since preached in the church: Rev. David J. Ewell, Rev. Dr. J. E. J. Ewell, Rev. Dr. A T. Eversole, Rev. A. D. Dick, Rev. Wm. A. Crouse, Rev. Jas. M. Ellderdice, Rev. J. M. Yingling, Rev. W. J. D. Lucas, Rev. Charles M. Thomson, Rev. Benj. F. Brown, Rev. John Jackson, Rev. William Hamilton.

The Kenton M. E, Church is in the Smyrna Circuit, and was built in 1818 at the end of the town of Kenton, on the road leading to Downs Chapel. It was a frame building, twenty-four by sixty feet. The ground was donated and the building erected by Isaac Buckingham, Rev. John Durborough and James Scotten. Rev. John Durborough was a grandfather of Bishop Cummins, of Kentucky, and the first minister of the church. Previous to the erection of the building, services were held at James Scottens house. The old building was abandoned in 1877, and the present substantial building was erected in that year and was dedicated September 15, 1878, by Bishop Scott. The list of preachers will be found in the article upon the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church of Smyrna.

Ewell's Methodic Protestant Church at Clayton was erected through the efforts of Rev. David J Ewell, its present minister, and was dedicated December 30, 1860, by Rev. T. D. Valient, of Harford County, Md., assisted by Rev. John Roberts, of Centreville, Md. This is at present the only church in the growing town of Clayton and has a membership of fifty persons. The ministers who have supplied Downs Chapel have also been here.


At the time of the passage of the school law, in 1829, Kenton Hundred had within its limits Schools Nos. 1, 2, 8, 9 and 10. Since that time there has been created Schools and Districts Nos. 49, 97, 212, 42 and 114.

District No. 1 is located between Districts No. 14 and No. 2, and in 1829 contained one school, between Blackiston's Cross-Roads and the M. E. Church, with twenty scholars between the ages of five and twenty years. The old log building was erected about 1800, and stood until 1854. The building then erected remained until 1886, when it was abandoned and a new building erected north of Blackiston's Cross-Roads, about two miles from the site of the old building. In 1886 there were fifty-five scholars.

The old log building used as a school for District No. 2, which is next to No. 1, was built in 1797, at the Alley Cross-Road. The school in 1829 contained twelve scholars and the district eighty-five children between the ages of five and twenty. In 1848 the old log building was replaced by a frame. Upon this being torn down in 1876 a neat structure valued at eight hundred dollars was erected. In 1886 there were forty-two scholars. One of the first teachers was John Palmetry, a staid old Friend.

District No, 8 was south of No. 1, on the Maryland line and the western part of what was formerly Little Creek Hundred. In 1829 there were seventy-five children between the ages of five and twenty years, but no school. In 1835, Jonathan Gordon and Captain Edward Attix (father of Thomas and Samuel Attix) interested themselves in having a school. Mr. Gordon donated the ground and Mr. Attix the greater part of the material and was one of its main patrons. From this fact it received the name of Attix's schoolhouse. The building stood opposite Downs Chapel. About twenty years ago a new building was put up, which still stands one hundred yards from the old building. In 1886 there were eighty-two scholars.

Wilds' School-House was the name given to the school in District No. 9, for the reason the land upon which it was erected was given by Nathaniel Wilds, which has in its limits the town of Kenton, the building being located there. In 1829 there was a school-house a short distance below Kenton, with twenty scholars and eighty-five children between the ages of five and twenty. The old building was log and had been erected about 1800. It stood until 1839, when it was torn down and a frame building erected in its place. In 1885 the Legislature authorized the erection of a new building, the old one was abandoned and a fine brick building erected in the town of Kenton valued at three thousand dollars. In 1886 there was in it a graded school and primary with one hundred and twelve scholars.

District No. 10 is in the southeastern corner, and at the time of the passage of the school law, in 1829, was without a school building, but had seventy-five children. The land for a school building, was given by Israel Peterson, in 1835, and a building erected between Moorton and Moore's Corner. In 1860 this building was destroyed by fire, and a new one erected south of Moore's Comer, at a cost of one thousand dollars. It is still standing and in good condition. In 1886 there were thirty-five scholars.

District No. 49 is one of the new districts, and was laid out in 1846. The school building was erected in 1847, and a new building, costing six hundred dollars, erected in 1886. In this year there were forty-five scholars.

In the extreme southern part of the hundred is District 97, erected within the last twenty years. The school built at first still stands, and had fifty scholars in 1886.

District No. 114 was erected by the Legislature, in 1885, out of District No. 1. A new building was built, out of money raised by taxation, costing eight hundred dollars, at Hazel's Corner. At the time of the annual reports there were fifty-one scholars in attendance.

The Clayton District is known as 119, and was cut out of Districts Nos. 2, 84 and 49, in 1873. The building was erected the same year at a cost of nine hundred dollars, out of funds advanced by A. L Hudson. In 1887 an addition was built, and the school grade advanced, and another teacher employed. In 1886 there were sixty-four scholars. The new building, when completed, will make accommodations for about eighty pupils, and room for additional desks has been made to meet the increasing population of Clayton.


Clayton is the largest town in the hundred, and is situated in the extreme north eastern part, and is next in importance to Wilmington as a railroad centre. It is thirty-six miles from Wilmington on the main line of the Delaware Railroad. In 1854, the time of the surveying of the railroad, there was not a house in the town; all the land being owned by Richard Tibbitt. Previous to that time a little village existed about a quarter of a mile away, called Jimtown. It was a great stopping place for years for teams on their way to Smyrna Landing to unload grain. There was a large grove, and an old character, "Aunt Hetty Johnson" by name, sold beer and cake to the drivers. Tibbitt gave ground for a depot and sold land for building-lots, and, in 1859, a hotel and store were built; the store being kept by Thomas B. Lockwood in a building now occupied by Abel Sevil. Up to this time it was known as Smyrna Station, and in 1867 was named by the Legislature Smyrna Station, but the inhabitants wanted it to be called Clayton, and in 1860, Alexander McConaghy sent an application to the Post-Office Department for the establishment of a post-office. This was granted, and upon his recommendation it was called Clayton, and he was appointed postmaster, a position he held until February, 1866, when John S. Casperson was appointed. The State recognized the name of Clayton at the last Legislature.

It was generally supposed that Tibbitt held a fee-simple in the land, but after his death the land was claimed by a William Wartenby, of San Francisco, on the ground that Tibbitt, in default of heirs, had but a life interest, and the reversion in fee was in him. The case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States, Secretary of State Bayard appearing for Wartenby, and Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, for the holders of the land. The case was decided in favor of Wartenby, and the tract of one hundred and seventy acres, embracing the entire town, was decreed as his property and that of his sister, Mrs. W. Harris, of Philadelphia. The holders had to make settlements with the new owners, and Wartenby disposed of his interest to Mrs. Harris, and gave Mr. Bayard one-fourth of the tract as a fee; they still own nearly all of Clayton. In 1867 Mrs. R. S. McConaghy started the Clayton Herald and ran it until her death, January, 1868, when it was sold to J. W. Spruance, and moved to Spruance City and its name changed to Font Hill News.

The town received a boom in 1885, when the Delaware Railroad's main office was moved there and with it I. N. Mills, the superintendent and a number of other officials and employees. April 15, 1887, the Legislature passed an act appointing Hon. James R. Williams, ex-Senator C. S. Penne-will, D. J. Cummins, George W. Whitaker and ex-State Treasurer Robert J. Reynolds to lay out the town, define its limits, and to hold an election for town commissioners This duty they have performed and commissioners were elected. In 1887 there were sixty houses in the town, three general stores, kept by Abel Sevil, George Brockson and W. S. Reynolds, two millinery stores by E. O'Conner and Mrs. John Wright, three confectionery stores by John Casperson, Sarah A. Tims and W. H. Boggs, a wheelwright and blacksmith shop by Thomas Holliday, a lumber-yard by Hudson & Moore, J. Leinberger butcher, two hotels, the Bingham House, kept by William Whitlock, and the Hotel Stockle, by Michael Riley and a drug store by Dr. Charles G. Harmonson. The population is about four hundred.

Kenton, the oldest town in the hundred, and situated near the centre, on the Delaware and Maryland Railroad, was first known as Lewis Cross- Roads, afterwards as Georgetown, and by act of Legislature, in 1806, it was changed to Kenton. It was called Lewis Cross-Roads, after Philip Lewis, who, in 1791, owned all the surrounding land, and laid out the roads in 1796.

The oldest house in the town is one now occupied by Mrs. Mary Green It was built by Philip Lewis, and is of frame, and was moved to its present location about seventy years since. On the corner is an old brick house standing on the road, which was built shortly afterwards and used as the first general store in the town. The old hotel, still standing and known as the Kenton Hotel, was also built by him in 1809. It was occupied by William Arthur in 1811, and in 1812 by James Bayels, who run it for a number of years. Charles Hamm had it in 1843, and in the same year Thomas L. Temple, a brother of Governor Temple, took it and ran it for a number of years; it is now in charge of Terance Carvin.

The post-office was started in 1860, and since that time the postmasters have been W. H. Taylor, John Wilds, William C. Jump, Joseph Roop, William H. Moore and W. Denny Wilds.

The town's main growth has been since the war, and the Legislature, on April 23, 1887, passed an act incorporating it into a town.

At present there are three general stores, kept by J. M. Arthurs, W. H. Moore and W. Taylor; a millinery store, two blacksmith shops and one drug store. There are sixty houses and a population of three hundred

Blackiston's Cross-Roads was so named from the fact that when roads were laid out in 1764, running into Maryland, the land was owned by Benjamin Blackiston, and had been in the possession of the Blackiston family since 1684. At present there are twelve houses, a blacksmith shop, and a population in 1880 of fifty.

Downs Chapel is also a cross-roads, the first building having been a store erected there by William Downs, in 1838. The chapel was built in 1842, the school-house having already been there. At present there are nine houses, two general stores and a population in 1880 of forty-five persons. The post-office was established in January, 1877, with James B. Messer, postmaster. There are two general stores, kept by Enoch S. Short and James T. Jacobs.

Brenford existed only as a railroad station until 1866, and was named after the Brenford farm, near there. On the 26th day of May, 1866, it was created a post-office, with J. P Dickson as poet-master He was succeeded, November 13, 1886, by L. H. Spruance. At present there are twelve houses and a population of sixty, one general store kept by L. H. Spruance, Boyer & Wallen, fruit and grain dealers, and J. Q. & H. M. Farson, dealers in fruit packages.

Chesswold, Shortly after the railroad was completed, in 1856, John S. Moore, who owned all the land upon which this town is located, opened a store in the building now occupied by James Brown, and was appointed postmaster, in which place he has been succeeded successively by J. Dawson, J. P. Jefferson, Thomas F. Moore and C. C. Boyer. From Mr. Moore the new town was called Moorton, and continued under this name until 1888. The town has improved rapidly the last few years, and now has thirty-five dwelling-houses, a population of two hundred, and the following places of business: general stores, W. L. Collins, James Brown and T. F Moore; wheelwright, M. H. Palmatry; and Cooper Brothers, brick manufacturers and grain dealers.


Kenton has been devoted almost exclusively to farming, and only up to within the past few years has there been any manufacturing interest outside of old grist-mills.

What is known as the Casperson Mill is situated on Duck Creek, about one mile and a half from Smyrna. The mill-site was condemned July 19, 1748. The mill was erected in 1760 by Samuel Griffen, and a dispute arose over the line and it was surveyed to John Griffen in 1797. In 1789 the mill, in an advertisement offering it for sale, is described as "a grist-mill in very good repair for grinding merchant work, and having to it a good dwelling-house suitable for merchant work." The mill remained in the Griffen family until 1820, and was afterwards owned by John Shellton, John Wright, Sarah A. Brown, John R. Kees, Robert Burchop, and in 1859, David S. Casperson purchased it. In that year a dispute over the line, which had been standing since John Griffen's time, arose between Casperson and a neighbor, George Buchannon, and Buchannon killed Casperson. His sons, David and James Casperson, owned it until 1882, when the present proprietor, Ezekiel Shaw, took charge. Shaw is a son-in-law of David S. Casperson.

The Murphey mill, about a mile above the Cas-person mill on the same stream, was owned in 1832 by Samuel Murphey, who ran it as a grist, saw, and woolen mill, but shortly before his death changed it to a grist-mill. Samuel Murphey died in 1860, and up to 1880 the mill was run by David J. Murphey and Harry Murphey, sons of Samuel, and is still owned by David J. Murphey, and operated by Nathan Moore as a grist-mill. It has a capacity of about forty bushels a day.

The Cloak mill, situated on Little Duck Creek, about a mile and one-half from the Seven Hickories, was erected by Simon Kollock in 1790. He sold it to Ebenezer M. Cloak in 1824. Cloak died in 1867, and his son. Dr. E. M. Cloak, afterward ran the mill until his death, in 1886; since then it has been run by John Jewell.

Malcolm's mill is situated one and a quarter miles below Cloak's mill on Little Duck Creek, and is one of the oldest in the neighborhood, the site having been condemned by Thomas Alexander in 1806. It was a grist-mill for a long while, but was allowed to run down and was not used for some time. Samuel Keefner rebuilt it as a carding- mill in 1847, and connected with it a grist and saw-mill. He sold it to Samuel Daniels and it has been since that time owned by John Green, John Bell, John Logan and John Malcolm, the present owner, who conducts it as a grist-mill with a capacity of one hundred and sixty bushels a day.

The largest manufacturing enterprise in the hundred is the Delmarvia Fertilizer Company at Clayton. It was started in 1877 by A. Lee Cummins, and was purchased from him by the company in 1883. In that year the establishment was incorporated, with John D. Burton, Thomas T. Lacey and Herman P. Hazel as incorporators. John D. Burton was elected president; Herman P. Hazel, general manager; and Thomas T. Lacey, secretary and treasurer and general superintendent. The capital stock is fifteen thousand dollars, and the capacity three thousand tons of phosphate a year.

J. B. Messick has a small phosphate factory at Kenton, which has been in operation since 1884, and has an output of one thousand tons. W. P. Wright, since 1879, has conducted a brick-kiln at Clayton, and manufactured between three hundred thousand to four hundred thousand bricks a year. John W. Graham, at Kenton, manufactures one hundred thousand bricks a year, and has been engaged in it for seven years.

Old brick-yards have existed on the farm of James Williams, near Kenton, about thirty-five years ago, but were abandoned in 1875. John T. Poor formerly had a yard in Kenton, but it has been out of use for several years. Another old yard was operated by Nathaniel Wilds, on what is now the Underwood farm, two miles from Kenton.

Being a fruit-growing country, the evaporation and canning of fruit is naturally one of the main industries. At Kenton, J. M. Arthur has a large canning establishment, built in 1882; capable of turning out two hundred and fifty thousand cans of fruit in a season. In the same town John W. Graham built, in 1882, an evaporator capable of turning out three hundred baskets a day.

Smith & Carson have a cannery with an output of thirteen hundred cans a day at Clayton, opened this year. Other evaporators are Hardcastle & Jones, opened in 1881, at Clayton, with an output of three hundred baskets a day; J. G. & H. M. Farson, built in 1882, at Brenford, an output of four hundred baskets a day; and Smith & Brown, at Moorton, built in 1881, and capable of using two hundred baskets a day.

N. T. Underwood has an evaporator which is used at several of these factories, and has increased the quality of the fruit.

William B. Bowman ran a distillery from 1862 to 1872.


Pillman Castle No. 7, K. G. E., was organized at Clayton April 8, 1885, but interest failing, it ceased to exist, but was reorganized May 13, 1887, with forty-one members and the following officers: P. C, Thomas Downing; N. C, Wm. L Gooding; V. C, Daniel Jones; Sir Herald, George Herne; Keeper of Exchequer, Charles Brown; M. of R., W. Colpitts; H. P., John Clifton; 8. H., Hugh Fleming; C, Horace Wright; I. G., John P. Clifton.

Clayton Lodge, No. 10, I. 0. O. F., was instituted March 10, 1886, with the following officers.

W. C. T., Rev. C. M. Thomson
V. T., Miss Annie Webster
P. C. T., Charles Stevenson
W. Sec , John A. Wright
W. F. S., Miss Addie L. Williard
W. T., A. B. Mudge
Chaplain, Miss Cora Walker
Marshal, George M. Clayton
Lodge Deputy, C. E. Stevenson
O. G., Joseph Jones
I. G., Miss Minnie Williard
Asst. Sec, Miss Mattie C. Wright
Deputy Marshal, Frank Burns
R. H. S, William Webster
L. H. S., Benjamin Turner

At present there are thirty-two members, with the following officers.

Chief Templar, Frank Bums
V. T., Miss Annie Williard
R. Sec. Miss Annie Webster
Fin. Sec, Mary Paul
Treas., William A. Webster
Chaplain, George M. Clayton
Marshal, Walter J. Webster
I. G., Miss Minnie Williard
O. G., Benj. Boggs

Moorton Lodge, No 10, I. O. G. F., was instituted March 15, 1886, with the following officers.

W. C. T., C. Boggs
V. T., N. R. Simpson
Rec. Sec, M. H. Palmatry
Fin. Sec, L. Davis
Treas., S. A. Barcus
Marshal, Jefferson Cooper
G., Lizzie Bishop
Sentinel, D. M. Hardcastle
Asst. Sec Venie Palmatry
R. H. S., Elva Palmatry
L. H. S., Hattie Bishop
Deputy Marshal, Elva Palmatry

There are at present twenty members, with the following officers.

W. C. T., Charles Trout
V. T., L. M. Davis
Rec Sec, W. L. Davis
Fin. Sec, S. A. Barcus
Treas., P. L. Barcus, Sr.
Chaplain, F. J. Davis
Marshal, P. L. Barcus Jr.
G., Miss Laura Barcus
Sentinel, John Barcus
Asst. Sec, Archie Cudney
D. M., Miss Carrie Jones
P. C T., Walter Leanard

Cereal Grange, No. 36, P. of H., was organized March 12, 1886, with about fourteen members in School-house No. 8, and the following officers were elected.

Master, Wm. Hutchinson
Overseer, John N. Clark
Lecturer, David S. Clark
Chaplain John Button
Steward, Thomas English
Asst. Steward, W. W. Taylor
Lady Asst. Steward, Alma Taylor
Secretary, R. E. Cantwell
Pomona, Sarah Clark
Ceres, Susan Hutton
Flora, Lizzie B. Cantwell

Meetings are held in a building on the farm of David S. Clark, about one mile from Downs Chapel, every two weeks. There is a present membership of nineteen. The present officers are the same, except, Steward, John Craig; Overseer, John Hutton; Chaplain, John N. Clark; Gate-Keeper, W. H. Bull.

Kent County

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

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