Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Mispillion Hundred, Kent County, Delaware

Early Settlements Assessment List, 1785 Owners of Estates, 1816
Religious Matters Mispillion Preachers Schools
Villages Vernon Vernon Postmasters
Masten's Comers Farmington Harrington

Mispillion Hundred originally included in its borders all of what is now Milford Hundred, and extended from the Delaware Bay to the Maryland line, and was bounded on the north by Murderkill Hundred, and on the south by Sussex County. It was one of the original and the largest hundred in the state, and as now constituted covers more area than any one hundred in Kent County. January 2nd, 1830, the Legislature passed the following act dividing the hundred:

"The dividing line to be the road leading directly from the division line, between Murderkill and Mispillion Hundreds to Williamsville, being the same which was formerly used and occupied by the Philadelphia, Dover and Norfolk Steamboat and Transportation Company." All lying east of said road shall be called Milford Hundred.

In early time, nearly all of the present hundred of Mispillion was one vast forest of oak and pine, and all the early grants of land are designated as being in the "forest of Mispillion Hundred." The greater portion of this land has been cleared from time to time, and is now under cultivation. While there is still a great amount of wood land, there are very few of the older trees left standing, numerous sawmills having from time to time devastated the forests. The land is a sandy loam, and in the central and southeastern parts has reached a high state of cultivation. The western end, which was settled later, is good land, and in a few years, under the present tillage, will reach a high state of cultivation. The cereals are grown in abundance in all sections, tomatoes are raised in large quantities for the canneries, and some attention is given to small fruits. Within the last few years a large number of peach trees have been set out, and the land being virgin soil for that kind of fruit, first-class results are expected.

The Marshy Hope Ditch and its prongs, which enter nearly every section of the hundred, and the branches of the Murderkill and Mispillion Creeks furnish excellent means of irrigation, and are carefully taken care of by incorporated ditch companies.

On Ingram's Branch of the Choptank River, which enters this hundred in the northwestern corner, large quantities of iron ore were formerly dug and shipped to the furnaces at Milford and Baltimore, Maryland. These deposits have been exhausted since about 1888.

The main line of the Delaware Railroad passes through the eastern part and furnishes quick transportation for farm products to the large cities. The Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Railroad has its northern terminus at Harrington. The population is mainly descendants of old settlers, and in 1880 numbered, including Harrington, four thousand three hundred and thirty-four.

Early Settlements

The first settlements in this hundred were made in the northeastern part, and consisted of emigrants, from the early settlers on the bay -shore and river. The southwestern part was not settled until seventy-five years later, and then upon patents granted by Lord Baltimore, who, prior to 1763, claimed all the greater part of the present hundred south of a line drawn from Whiteleysburg to Staytonville. These grants were taken up by the early Mary land settlers, some of whom had been land holders in Maryland for years before migrating to Delaware.

The first recorded grant that there is of land in this hundred was that to Luke Watson, of Lewes, Delaware, January 21, 1681, for a tract of fifteen hundred acres called "Hunting Quarter." Nearly one thou-sand acres of this land lays in Milford Hundred. The land lay below Harrington and towards Milford. Watson, by will, September 6, 1705, left it to his wife Sarah and daughter Mary, equally. His wife married again and died, leaving as lawful issue, John, Richard and Peter Hoffman. Mary married Peter Hoffman. Matthew Helford came into possession of a large part of this tract in 1760. The portion in Mispillion Hundred is now owned by the heirs of Dr. J. R. Mitchell.

The next grant was that of "Fairfield," a tract of one thousand acres of land lying on the south side of Brown's Branch, at the headwaters thereof. It was taken up by Wm. Durvall and Wm. Clark, on the 1st of Nov., 1684. A large portion of this tract in later years came into the possession of Chancellor Samuel M. Harrington and at his death was sold. The owners of the old tract are now Thomas H. Dorman, David Harrington, Dr. F. J. Owens, Samuel Swain, Alexander Harper, William C. Qui Hen, William H. Dickinson, Giles Foot, William Morris and John Richards.

"John's Purchase," a tract of five hundred acres on the south side of the main branch of Murderkill Creek, was warranted to John Townsend, December 3, 1693, and was re-surveyed August 19, 1737, to H. Durburrow, who owned large tracts in the northern part of the county. Durburrow sold the land to Solomon Wallace, who conveyed two hundred and thirty-two acres to Robert Catlin, and March 7, 1760, the latter owner sold to William Hodgson. This tract is now in the possession of Elijah Sapp, Waitman Clark and Colin Able.

"Salisbury Plains," a tract of two hundred acres on the south side of and on the heads of Murderkill Creek, was warranted October 30, 1717, to James Thistlewood, who built the mill there. A portion of this tract has remained in the Thistlewood family since the original holder, and is now owned by John Thistlewood. William and Beniah Tharp also owns portions of this tract.

John Rudolph Bundelin took up by warrant, August 9, 1785, two hundred acres of land on the south side of Marshy Hope, opposite Booth's or Great Island and adjoining Cow Hand. This Booth's or Great Island was taken up by John Booth, who owned large tracts of land in other parts of the hundred. These lands are now nearly all in the possession of George Morris, William Seeders and Peter S. Harrington. Bundelin was also in possession of other lands also on "Marshy Hope," two hundred acres warranted by George Green, in 1718, and sold to Thomas Berry, who, in 1731, conveyed it to Bundelin. These lands were all sold by Bundelin, August 13, 1743, to Peter Galloway, and at the same time Galloway sold to Bundelin a tract called "Peiersborough," of one thousand acres, in South Murder-kill Hundred, except two hundred acres called the "Bear Garden," and Billingsgate, four hundred and sixty-three acres, which Galloway retained, parts of which are now owned by James Hopkins, Burton Townsend's heirs. These Galloway lands were all in the vicinity of lands bought of Bundelin. Peter Galloway, in 1784, took up ten tracts of land in Mispillion Forest, of which there was Wolfpit Ridge, two hundred and twenty-three acres, and "Galloway's Luck," two hundred and seven acres on a branch of Murderkill Creek, and the other tracts in all embracing two thousand two hundred acres. The name of Galloway has in later years become to be known as Calloway, and descendants of the family are still numerous in the hundred, among whom are Peter N. Calloway, Henry Calloway and Eli Calloway. Peter N. Calloway is in possession of some of this original grant.

John Johnson, who came to Mispillion about 1700, purchased of James Parker, to whom it was warranted in 1709, a tract of land in this neighborhood, and adjoining tracts, including some of the Bundelin lands. He had over one thousand acres and it has been in the family possession ever since. Ex-Senator Alexander Johnson lives on that part of it called the "Coon's Den." The tract known as "Wolfpit Ridge" is owned by Edward Reed, and other owners of these Bundelin and Galloway lands are John Traux, Daniel Anthony's heirs, Robert Raughley, Mrs. Lydia J. Harrington, C. A. Smith and Jacob Caudrey's heirs.

In the land office at Annapolis, Md., a grant is recorded of three hundred acres of a tract called "Turkey Point," July 9, 1724, to James Hayes, of Dorchester County. Henry Sapp received a patent for thirty acres with the signature of Benedict Leonard Calvert, Governor and commander-in-chief in and over the province of Maryland, chancellor and keeper of the great seal. May 27, 1728. This land come into the possession of William Hewitt, and by him sold to Eben Hughes and descended to his son, Eben Hughes, who owns the thirty acres and a part of the three hundred acres. Hezekiah Sapp and W. C. Satterfield also own portions of this land. It is described as located on the south fork of White Marsh Branch, on the south side of the Great Choptank River. It was here where iron deposits were formerly found.

"Merritt's Adventure," a tract of three hundred and twenty acres, was surveyed to Isaac Merritt March 25, 1727, and lay between Marshy Hope Creek and old Marshy Hope, a branch thereof. On May 17, 1768, a resurvey was made, including the mansion-house of Isaac Merritt and granted to Daniel Benston, whose wife was a daughter of Merritt. The land was again resurveyed to John Barnes in 1808. Among the owners of parts of this tract are Samuel Thomas, Emorton and Thomas Prettyman. "Mills' Purchase" and "McKimmey's Outlet," lying in the "forest of Misspillion Hundred," were granted by Maryland patent June 10, 1776, and were warranted by the proprietors at Philadelphia to John Fisher, and contained four hundred and six acres. Thomas Clifton, by a Maryland patent, obtained a large tract of land called "Boyer's Adventure." An addition was made to it November 23, 1739, by a warrant from the Penns. Nathan Clifton was in possession of eight hundred acres of this tract in 1816. James Rawley in 1756 obtained two hundred and thirty-five acres called "Rawley's Addition," adjoining the above mentioned tract. A large part, of these lands are owned by Elisha Booth's heirs, Mrs. E. Raughley (the modern corruption of the name), B. R. Tharp and Zebulon Hopkins.

On the heads of Marshy Hope Creek two warranto of April 21, 1735, were granted to George Manlove, containing nine hundred and twenty-eight acres. This land was resurveyed in 1766 and included an improvement where Manlove lived when he took out the warrants. It embraced an old survey of Hugh Durburrow called "Rejected Bundle." Manlove sold the land to Elijah Morris, Samuel Griffin, John Crompton, Robert .Edmunds and John Watts, in whose possession it was at the survey of 1766.

A tract called "Flowers Lot" was patented in 1736 to Samuel Fleming, and sold by him to Purnell Johnson, who left it to his daughter, a wife of ex-Governor William Tharp, who lived on the place. It is now in the possession of Mrs. R. J. Hill, a daughter of the Governor. The fine mansion-house on this farm was built in part by Purnell Johnson and completed by Governor Tharp. Robert Hill, a grandfather of Robert J. Hill, was a colonel in the War of 1812, and did service at Lewes.

William Fleming, who immigrated to this county from Scotland in 1739, applied to the land office and received a grant for four hundred acres called "Williams' Choice." This land is west of and includes the present town of Farmington. This land is owned by Moses Harrington, the oldest resident of the hundred, William Tharp, James Ross and Ruth Carlisle.

"Ranger's Chance," a tract of six hundred and thirty-nine acres, was surveyed to Jeremiah Morris, April, 1741. It is adjoining a tract called "Godeenfield." Mrs. James Tatman lived in the old mansion-house built by Morris. John Scott owns a portion of this land.

"Windsor Forest," a tract of three hundred and fifty acres, was taken up on a warrant of October 27, 1739, and a tract of one hundred and seven acres by warrant June 2, 1746, by James McNitt, and were resurveyed to him September 27, 1766. This McNitt land remained in the possession of that family up to within a few years, when it was sold to the present owners, Eli Calloway, John Jackson, Llewellyn Tharp, Nathaniel Powell and Amos Cole.

The tracts "Liberty," "Luck by Chance," "Baynard's Regulation" and "Tanton Dean," all situated in the western part of the hundred, on the Maryland line, were taken up on Maryland patents by Thomas Baynard in 1748. These lands embraced in all nearly fifteen hundred acres. "Tanton Dean" and "Baynard's Regulation" came into the possession of John Baynard, who, in 1781, built the large brick mansion-house still standing, and which remained in the possession of the Baynards until the early part of 1887, when Ferdinand Baynard sold it to a relative by marriage. This old house is one of the finest in the county, and was probably the best-built house at the time of its erection. After the long period of its existence it is in almost as good condition as when first built. John Baynard, its builder, was one of the largest mer-chants in the county, and conducted several grist and saw-mills in Northwest Fork and Nanticoke Hundreds, Sussex County, and in Caroline County, Maryland. The other present owners of "Tanton Dean" and "Baynard's Regulation" are Thomas Sipple, Ferdinand Baynard and Reuben Ross. "Liberty-Luck" and "Luck by Chance" and Hog Range are owned by Zadock Sipple, Henry Thawley and Nimrod Harrington.

A large tract of nine hundred acres was patented, in 1769, by Nathaniel Luff, and in 1794 it came into the possession of Caleb Perdue, Solomon Kimmey, Stephen Lewis and Waitman Booth. There was some dispute over the title of this land, and it was perfected by an act of the Legislature. Stephen Lewis, who was a grandfather of Senator B. L. Lewis, left his share to Jacob F. and John Lewis. These lands are now owned by Alexander Simpson, Peter Calloway, Clement Harrington and Mrs. Mary Tharp. A tract adjoining the above land was, October 30, 1750, surveyed to James Anderson. It is described as on the south side of Harris' Glade, and contained one hundred and sixty -six and three-fourths acres. It was left to Major Anderson, and come into the possession afterward of Mary P. Tharp, widow of Beniah Tharp.

Beniah Tharp, a prosperous farmer of Mispillion Hundred, was born January 23, 1805, and died June 2, 1872. William Tharp, his grandfather, was an influential citizen of the same hundred before the Revolution. James Tharp, his son and father of Beniah, was also a successful farmer, and acquired a large landed estate. He married Eunice Fleming, by whom he had twelve children, viz.: William, Beniah (the subject of this sketch), Ruth, Elizabeth, James Madison, Llewellyn, Reuben, Jehu, Jonathan, Jane, Sarah Ann and Hester.

William, the oldest son, was Governor of Delaware from 1847 to 1851; Llewellyn, the only one of the sons now living, owns and resides upon the homestead farm; Jane, Sarah Ann, and Hester are living.

Beniah Tharp (the second son), James and Eunice grew to manhood upon the homestead farm in Mispillion. His father died in 1829 and his mother a few years before. At his father's death Beniah, who was then twenty- four years old, inherited a farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Mispillion Hundred, near the place of his birth. He moved upon it in January, 1830, and there spent all his life. He was a man of sound common sense, good judgment and diligently attentive to his duties as a farmer. As a result of energy and enterprise he accumulated considerable wealth, and at the time of his death owned a number of farms, aggregating several hundred acres of land. When only twenty -seven years old Beniah Tharp was chosen one of the delegates from Kent County to the convention which met at Dover and framed the Amended State Constitution of 1831, -and when Delaware accepted the free-school system he was one of the commissioners that laid off his native county into school districts.

In politics he was an ardent Republican, the only member of the family that advocated the principles of that party. He was an ardent Union man during the Civil War.

Beniah Tharp was married, January 21, 1831, to Mary P. Anderson, of Kent County, and who now resides in the village of Harrington. Their children are William, Samuel, Beniah, Laura, married to Peter Calloway; Sarah Pauline, married to George Collins; Louisa, married to William Anderson.

William, the eldest son, married Sarah Hopkins, and lives on the homestead farm, which he owns; Samuel, the second son, married Elizabeth Redden, and lives upon and owns the "Prospect Farm," where his mother lived in her early years, and which property she inherited at the death of her father, Ezekiel Anderson. Beniah, the youngest son, married Margaret Redden. He owns and cultivates the farm formerly the home and property of his great-grandfather, William Tharp. It is situated in Mispillion Hundred, four miles from Harrington.

The Luff and Anderson lands were originally a part of a large tract of over five thousand acres that was known as the "Goldsborough Survey," It was surveyed for Henry Goldsborough about 1730, but was afterwards granted to various parties. These subsequent grants have been the subjects of frequent contention in the Kent County Courts, the lines of the grant never having been clearly defined. Those who hold portions of the old surveys besides those mentioned are Mrs. A. T. A. Torbert (of Milford), the Emory Spencer heirs, John W. Smith, Jesse Ward, Reuben Ross, Henry Calloway, George Murphy, William D. Taylor, William H. Taylor's heirs and Jacob D. Graham. The town of Vernon is on the old grant.

"Petrekin's Chance," consisting of one thousand two hundred acres, was warranted by Charles, Lord Baltimore, to David Petrekin, June 14, 1733. It is described as commencing at Marshy Hope Bridge and running north from the bridge. The land was resurveyed to John Hopkins, March 7, 1776, and again surveyed when the line was settled between Delaware and Maryland, to Zebulon Hopkins. Two hundred and ninety-six acres of this original tract is owned by the heirs of John Hopkins; the remainder is in the possession of Zebulon Hopkins, a grandson of the original warrantee, Mrs. Dr. Lobstein, Charles M. Adams, Sr., William Layton and James Stafford.

The tract "Pea Hill" was surveyed September 20, 1760, to James Anderson, and is now owned by Henry Knox, and is described as adjoining the old Bassett tract. This Bassett land is in the possession of George Collins.

"Hayfield" was granted to Zadoc Helford in 1796. It is west of the Fairfield tract, and contained six hundred acres. Tt had been surveyed in 1740, to Andrew Bentling, but given up by him; it is now owned by James J. Wood's heirs, William M. Willis, William Marvel and Nathaniel Johnson.

In the southwestern part of the hundred is a large tract of land taken up before 1785 by William and Eli Saulsbury, who had large landed estates in Mary-land. A portion of this land descended to William Saulsbury, the father of ex-Governor Saulsbury, Sena-tor Eli Saulsbury and Chancellor Willard Saulsbury. They were all born at the old homestead, still standing, about two miles above Marshy Hope Bridge, on the read to Burrsville, Md. The old homestead is owned by the chancellor.

A tract of seven hundred acres was taken up by William and Thomas Barrack, in the western part of the hundred, on a Maryland patent, June 10, 1760. A portion of this land is owned by Robert H. Smith.

Clement Cecil Simpson, farmer of Mispillion Hundred, was a descendant of one of the earliest settlers in this locality. He was born in Milford Hundred, March 29, 1809. He was the son of Thomas Simpson, a farmer, who was esteemed for his many good qualities as a citizen and religious man. Thomas was elected a member of the Legislature on the Adams ticket, in 1829, but died November 29th, of that year. Thomas was married three times, his first wife being Mary, daughter of John and Elizabeth Cecil, of Queen Anne's County, Maryland, his wedding taking place February 28. 1806. Two children of this marriage grew to maturity, the subject of this sketch and Ezekiel Merrick, who died August 24, 1875, in California. The wife died in 1813, and the following year he married Mary, widow of Beauchamp Walton and daughter of David and Susannah Harrington, by whom he had one child, William Walton. The second wife dying in 1817, in 1820 he married Rachael, daughter of Solomon and Elizabeth Griffith, and three children were the fruits of this last marriage, Silas Asbury, Margaret Anna (now deceased) and Thomas Simpson. The father of Thomas Simpson was John Simpson, born December 28, 1750, and died July 14, 1819. He married Mary, daughter of Matthew and Ann Milford, who was born January 15, 1748, and died April 19, 1826. Their children were Esther, born in 1777, and died in 1840; Nancy, born in 1773, who was killed by accident when a young woman; Clement born in 1779; John, born in 1781; and Thomas, born November 26, 1783. John and Clement immigrated, to Ohio in 1818, and raised large families. The family was originally of that hardy, thrifty class of people, Scotch-Irish, and were among the first to receive land-grant in the hundred, and in what is now Milford. They have always been among the progressive farmers, and have kept their land in a high state of cultivation. The subject of this sketch attended school irregularly until he was fourteen years of age. He was then apprenticed to a black-smith, but remained but three years, abandoning it at the end of that time on account of his health, and returned to farming. In 1852 he purchased the farm in Mispillion Hundred upon which James B. Cooper, who married his granddaughter, the eldest daughter of Alexander Simpson, now resides. He purchased several other tracts after this, among them six acres in the town of Harrington, which he divided into town lots and sold. He engaged in the growth of grain to a large extent, and was a successful cultivator of fruits. Good management and strict integrity was the secret of his success. He was one of the best known men in the hundred, and one of the leading citizens of Kent County. He was a life long Whig and Republican, and a staunch Union man during the war. He died April 3, 1883.

In January, 1832, Clement C. Simpson was married to Ann, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Morris, who had removed from Caroline County, Md., to Kent County, Del. As a result of this union six children have grown to maturity, Alexander, who married a daughter of Henry and Rhoda Lewis; Mary; Ezekiel Henry, who married Louisa Calloway, and died October, 3, 1878, aged thirty-six years; Richard John, residing in Kansas; James Thomas; and Sarah Matilda, wife of Thomas A. Melvin. Alexander, who married a daughter of Henry and Rhoda Lewis, had nineteen children, fourteen of whom are living, viz. : Anne, wife of James B. Cooper; Henry R.; Mary R., wife of Evan Lewis; Clement C; Rhoda L.; Lucy M.; Alexine; John; Sarah C.; Emma; Charles; Laura Virginia; James D. and Grace. The wife of Clement C. Simpson died February 28, 1880, at the age of seventy years.

List of persons Assessment List in Mispillion Hundred in 1785, which now includes Milford and Mispillion Hundreds

Owners of Estates exceeding three hundred acres in Mispillion and what is now Milford Hundreds in 1816.

Religious Matters

The Methodist Episcopal Church, Mispillion Hundred, while not the birth-place of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Delaware, was the place of meeting of the First Annual Conference of the M. E. Church in the United States, which met at the house of Judge Thomas White. It was held for the convenience of the preachers in the northern stations, that they might have an opportunity to confer over the state of the church. At that time the entire separation from the Church of England had not been determined upon, and it was at this Conference decided that they should not separate either directly or indirectly; and in harmony with that sentiment, Mr. Asbury, who was well-known to be opposed to separation, it was declared, ought to act as general assistant in America on account of his age and his original appointment to America by Mr. Wesley. John H. Baynard was secretary of this Conference. The second Conference of the church was also held here April 16, 1781, but adjourned to Balti-more and concluded its sessions at the latter place. It was here, in April, 1778, that a band of Revolutionary police came to the home of Judge White, who was judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the county of Kent, seized him and carried him off to jail, under the charge of being a Methodist. It was with this same Methodist judge that Asbury had been compelled to take refuge from his enemies, who would have captured him, had he not hid in the shrubbery. Judge White was held a prisoner for five weeks, and upon his trial was acquitted. The ruins of the old house are still standing upon the farm of John Bullock. The churches in the hundred have always been under one circuit, except Manship Church the first being the Caroline Circuit, then Denton, afterwards Vernon and then Harrington, and at present Farmington and Harrington. In 1814 Asbury and White's and Todd's Chapel were included. In 1836 there were Todd's, Prospect and White's. In 1851 Salem was in the circuit, and in 1859, Harrington, Salem, Asbury, Prospect, Todd's, Masten's, White's and Farmington.

Sunday-schools were established in all the appointments in 1884. Previous to that time there was a school at White's. Among the preachers who have rendered service in the hundred.

Francis Asbury
Caleb R. Pedicod
Freeborn Garrettson
Lewis Alfrey
Micajah Debruler
John Cooper
William Cannon
Jesse Lee
Joshua Humphreys
Christopher J. Crouch
Joshua Mann
John Cooper Jr.
Jacob Lewis
Christopher Green
Allen Loockerman
A. Green
J. Collison
William D. Burnham
William Spry
Lewis Storks
Joseph Mann
William E. Saunders
Thomas Hickey
Nicholas O. Smith
Charles Williamson
John Atkinson
Samuel Smith
S. C. Pelmetry
J. Bell S. Layton
William Haman
R. Owens
Joseph Gregg
S. T. Gardner
William B. Walton
Thomas E. Bell
W. W. Redman
Joseph E. Smith
S. Townsend
J. T. Van Burkalow
H. Sanderson
J. O. Sypherd
M. Barnhill
James A. Massey
J. W. Weston
W. M. Warner
A. P. Selloway
J. S. Willis
J. Conner
J. M. Williams
George S. Conoway
A. D. Davis
J. A. B. Wilson
J. W. Poole
J. L. Houston
R. B. Hazzard
J. H. Miller
John E. Mowbray
W. T. Tolbert
George W. Hardesty
E. N. Kirby
A. W. Milby
W. F. Cochran
W. S. Robinson
C. A. Grice
W. E. England
Julius Dodd
F. C. McSorley
A. W. Milby
G. W. Burke
John Warthman

As early as 1777 meetings were held in the house of Judge White, and in 1780 White's Chapel was built on his farm. At the time of its erection a vestry was attached to it, and Bishop Asbury, who preached there in 1782, declared it to be one of the neatest country chapels that there was in the whole continent The church was moved to its present location in 1859, and is a neat structure and painted white. The next building was Todd's Chapel. About 1800, meetings were held in the house of Levin Todd, near the line in Sussex County. In 1808 Olive Jump gave land to build a church, and the building was erected the same year and continued in use until May 30, 1858, when the present building was erected, at a cost of two thousand dollars. It is the largest, next to the Harrington Church, in the hundred, being thirty-two by forty feet.

Asbury, April 14, 1814, William Marten conveyed to Elisha Hitchens, Richard Harris, William Masten, Sr., Peter Hitchens and John Harris, trustees, seven hundred square feet of land, whereon a school-house and Methodist meeting-house is now begun, for worship, and Sabbath and week-day schools. This was near the road leading from Harrington to Felton. This was the first beginning of the Asbury meeting-house, which was rebuilt a few years ago. It is located about one and one-half miles from Masten's comers, and is a neat structure, twenty-five by thirty-five feet

Salem, or Farmington Church, The Farmington Methodist Episcopal Church was formerly located about one mile from the town, and was erected in 1816. A conveyance of the land is on record bearing date May 21, 1817, from Thomas Davis to Jonathan Jester, Nathan Davis, Clement Jester, Curtis Caudrey, Eli Pritchett, trustees of meeting and school-house, erected on the premises which consist of thirty-five perches of land. June 1, 1873, the church was dedicated in Farmington by the Rev. Dr. R. L. Dashiel and Rev. J. S. Willis, since which time the old building has been torn down.

Manship's Methodist Episcopal Church, The old Black Swamp Church was built early in the present century, and stood at "Whitaker's Gate" (now James G. Jester). It was abandoned and sold when Manship's Church was built farther down the road, about one-quarter of a mile east of Hollandsville. The building was dedicated December 2, 1855, and is of frame. It has sittings for four hundred persons. Rev. Andrew Manship preached the dedication sermon. It is supplied with ministers of the Felton circuit and the list will be found in the article upon South Murderkill Hundred.

Prospect Prospect Church is east of Vernon, and was built in 1834, at a cost of five hundred dollars, the ground having been donated by Isaac Graham. The present building was erected upon the site of the old chapel in 1877, and was dedicated by Bishop Scott. It is thirty by forty feet, and will seat three hundred persons.

Masten's Methodist Episcopal Church. The church at Masten's Comers was built in 1873, and was named in honor of Joseph A. Masten, who donated the ground. It is thirty-six by twenty-four feet, and cost one thousand eight hundred dollars.

Bethel Church. This church, situated three miles northeast of Marshy Hope Bridge, was built in 1830, and was one of the first of the Methodist Protestant Churches built in the country. Among the early members were Emory Graham, Dr. Luther Swiggett, Mary Swigett, Samuel Anderson, Levi King, David Taylor and Elias Booth. Among the early ministers were Thomas Melvin and Richard N. Merrikin. In 1871 the church was rebuilt of frame, and is thirty-two by forty feet. Since the erection of the Harrington church the ministers have been supplied from there.

Farmington Presbyterian, This church was built about 1840, upon the land of W. H. Powell. In 1863 it was moved into Farmington, but has been out of use for some time. A select school was conducted in it for several years by Rev. J. M. Williams, formerly president of Wesleyan College, Wilmington.

Vernon Baptist Church, Zion Church was first a congregation of Independent Methodists, and in December, 1870, Rev. D. B. Purinton began preaching, and finally baptized the congregation March 28, 1871. Rev. Richard H. Merriken was ordained to the Baptist ministry the same day, and became the pastor. A subscription was started for a church, which was dedicated November 19th of the same year. The members have mostly moved into Harrington, and services are held there.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, The last mention that is made of this church is in a report of 1836, where it is recommended that an effort be made to rebuild it. The old building has entirely disappeared. The original building was erected in 1765. The land was conveyed by John Read, October 31, 1765, to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and recites "all that small parcel of land containing two acres, whereon hath been erected a house or building called St Paul's Church, to the only proper use and behoof of the said Society for themselves, successors and assigns."


Prior to the passage of the school law of 1829 private subscription schools were in operation in nearly all the Methodist Churchs then built. In other places school-houses were built by private persons, and the teachers paid by subscription from the parents of the children.

District 33. The school-house in this district was erected in 1834, the money being raised by subscription among the inhabitants. In 1886 there were thirty scholars in attendance.

District 34. Before the passage of the school law, and down to 1834, a school was held in Hardesty's meeting-house, a short distance from where the present school building stands. In 1834 the present building was erected. Among those who had taught there are John Applegate, William Saulsbury, Waitman Jones, Hon. Eli Saulsbury, Thomas Saulsbury R. D. Cahall and Aleaid Dawson. In 1886 there were fifty-six scholars in attendance.

District 35. Thomas Short, in 1838, gave the land for a schoolhouse in this district, and the same year a building was erected. The early teachers were Sydenham Lewis, Rev. Richard N. Merriken, Stephen Kane, John R. T. Masten and Nathan B. Fleming. In 1886 there were forty scholars in attendance.

District 36, The people of District 36 in 1831, two years after the passage of the school law, built the Prospect School-house; previous to this they had maintained a school in Vernon. It was rebuilt in 1877. Among the early teachers were Jefferson L. Rich and John O. Hornett. In 1886 there were fifty-three scholars.

District 37 What is known as the Tomahawk School-house was built on the branch that bears that name in this district in 1832. James Booth gave the laud to the district, and the money to erect the building was raised by subscription. A new building was erected in 1881. Among the early teachers were John Pepper, Jefferson Rich, Waitman Jones and John Jones. In 1886 there were fifty scholars.

District 38. The inhabitants of this district had maintained a school for twenty years before the pub-lic school building was built, in 1831. It was burned down in 1864, and a new building erected the next year. Sydenham Lewis, Robert Fulton and John R. T. Masten were among the early instructors. Thirty-six pupils attended during the year 1886.

Districts 39 and 124 compose the Farmington School District. The original school-house was a short distance out of the present town, and was erected in 1835. Jonathan Tharp and Sydenham Lewis, who taught in nearly all the districts, were among the early teachers. The building was moved into Farmington in 1880, and is a neat structure, with a graded school and two teachers, with an attendance, in 1886, of forty-two pupils.

District 47. About a few hundred yards west of the site of the old Friends' Meeting-house a school was built in this district in 1844, and among those who taught there were Dr. William H. Jones, James Murine and Robert H. Smith. A new building was erected in 1862, and is still standing, forty-two scholars being in attendance in 1886.

District 48. A school was built at Powell's Comer in 1846, and is still used, and was at one time the school-house for the Harrington District. In 1886 there were thirty-one pupils in attendance.

District 56. The Pine Grove School-house was built in this district in 1857, and has been in continuous use since that time. Clement Harrington, Na-than B. Fleming and Frisby Hellis taught the first pupils in the old building. According to the report of 1886 there were thirty pupils in attendance.

District 55. About one hundred yards from the present site Outten Anderson, in June, 1855, gave the land for a school-house, which was built the same year by subscription. Clark H. Adams, 6. F. Jester, William E. Cahall and Robert H. Smith taught in the old building. The present structure was erected in 1844, and two years after had fifty-one pupils in attendance.

District 58. The Masten School-house was erected in 1857, about one mile from Masten's Corners, and stood until 1874, when it was moved into Masten's Corners and a new building erected. Forty pupils were in attendance in 1886. Among the instructors in the old building were Dr. John Warren, Martha Powell, Charles Warren, James T. Jarrell and James Townsend.

District 89. Rawley's School-house was built upon the Dawson land in 1862, and was destroyed by fire in 1884. In 1885 the school was rebuilt, and the next year had thirty-six scholars in attendance. Beniah Fleming, Nathan Anthony and John Barrett taught in the old building.

District 100. John Porter gave the land for this building, which was erected in 1867. Susanna Ann Harrington and Sally Richardson first taught school in the building, which had thirty-five scholars in 1886.


The old town of Vernon, in the centre of the hundred, was for many years the only town in the hundred. About 1780 an old man named Joshua Vincent moved there and laid out a walk and opened a store. The place then took the name of Vincent's Causeway. When the name was changed to Vernon is uncertain, but as far back as 1814 it was known by that name. It assumed considerable importance about this time, and on Thursday of every week two justices of the peace would sit in the town. These justice days were great events in the little town. Lawyers from Dover and Georgetown would journey here, and large numbers of people would attend their sittings. Then there were three stores and a hotel in the town, and as many as two thousand people would be at this little settlement attending the courts.

Lewis & Graham had a store in 1880, where W. D. Taylor now lives, and did & large business, and George Waltham ran a hotel. A store was built a short distance away by Reuben Anderson, and the place was called Greenville. The post-office alternated between these two places as the politics of the country changed.

Vernon Postmasters

Reuben Anderson
George Fleming
Zachariah Minkin
Wesley McNitt
William Lewis
John Isenberry
William H. Taylor
William Calloway
William D. Taylor
Elias Hopkins (the last one at Greenville)
John F. Thawley, present one

Robert & James Smith had a store at Greenville in 1864, since which time it has passed out of existence. All Mispillion Hundred voted at Vernon up to the time of the division of the hundred, and it was not until Harrington began to assume considerable importance that it was made the voting-place. Since then the place has rapidly gene down, and only one store, kept by William D. Taylor, and a blacksmith-shop are left to mark its past prosperity.


This is another town that came with the railroad. In 1855 the railroad company built a station and called it Flatiron. When the post-office was established in 1858, with Shadrack D. Taylor, postmaster, the name was changed to Farmington. Jesse Keenan, L. Tharp, David Johnson and William A. Reddin have succeeded Mr. Taylor. The improvement of the town has been rapid, and it has become a place of considerable importance, the shipments of fruit last season exceeding those at Harrington. The population is over three hundred, and there are two general stores, a drug-store and several small stores and a blacksmith-shop.

The most important industry is N. R. Johnson & Co.'s canning-factory and evaporator. The firm comprise ex-Representative N. R. Johnson, E. W. Russell and W. H. Murphey. The evaporator was started in 1882 by Mr. Johnson, and the cannery in 1884. The capacity of the evaporator is 1800 baskets of peaches, and cannery 100,000 cans. A capital of $25,000 is invested and employment given to 125 hands.

James C. Reed, who has the cannery at Harrington, also conducts one at this place. He employs seventy hands.

The saw-mill of J. B. Simmons was started in 1877. Seven thousand feet of lumber are cut a day, and employment given to sixteen men.

Masten's Comers

In 1842 William Masten built a store on the road leading from Harrington to Felton, and several houses having been built shortly afterward, it acquired the name of Masten's Comers. Jonathan Loper and Foster Boone were afterwards proprietors of the store. William Kelly opened a store about 1870. At present John Masten has a store, and there are about forty inhabitants.

Brownsville is a hamlet, consisting of a store and house, about three miles from the Maryland line.

Thistlewood's Mill This mill was originally built by John Thistlewood about 1780. It was rebuilt in 1825 by Hicks Dellner. It has since been conducted by John Booth, Thomas Thistlewood, David Dorman and now by Beniah Tharp, who runs it as a grist-mill.

There is also in the hundred the saw-mill of McNatt & Brother, six miles from Harrington, in District 83, which has been in operation since 1880.

The brick-yard of Wright & Calloway, near Harrington, has been in operation since 1880.


Kent County

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

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