Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




North Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware

Early Settlement Assessment List, 1785 Schools
Cow Marsh Baptist Church Baptisims
Tracts of Land - Villages
Mount Moriah Petersburg Willow Grove
Viola Canterbury Woodside
Rising Sun .. Lebanon
Town of Camden, North Murderkill Hundred
Town of Wyoming, North Murderkill Hundred

An account of the original Murderkill Hundred with its divisions, will be found in the sketch of South Murderkill Hundred.

It is bounded on the north by Tanner's Branch, otherwise Culbreth's Ditch, and by Isaac's Branch, which separate it from West and East Dover Hundreds; on the northeast and east by St. Jones' Creek, or Dover River, which separates it from East Dover Hundred; on the south by South Murderkill Hundred; and on the west by the State of Maryland. It extends from St. Jones' Creek on the east to the State of Maryland on the west, a distance of nearly fifteen miles, and is from three and a half to six miles in width in the eastern part, and from two to four and a half in width in the western part.

Early Settlements

The settlements were first made along the streams, as in other hundreds.

About one of the first tracts of land to be taken up was a lot of one thousand and fifty acres, lying on the south or southwest side of St. Jones' Creek, and between Beaver Dam Branch and Cypress Branch, under a warrant from Sir Edmund Andros to Robert Bedwell, bearing date "ye 20 day of ye 6 month, 1679." This tract was named "Folly Neck" and adjoined "Caroon Manor" on the southeast, "The Plains" on the southwest and "Cypress Neck" on the northwest. This tract is crossed by the road leading from Canterbury through Woodley Town to the White Store Landing, which, before 1730, was known as Lowber's Landing. At the landing is a brick building, eighteen by twenty-eight feet, two stories, with cellar and attic, built by Matthew Lowber, in 1772. Every alternate brick shows a glazed end, out of which has been formed the initials of Lowber and wife, and the year of building. The landing is about three hundred yards above Barker's Landing, and has three dwellings and about ten in-habitants. This tract is also crossed by the "Lower King's Road" leading from Dover by way of Frederica to Lewes. On the east side of this road and on the north side of Beaver Dam Branch, just one- fourth mile north of Magnolia, was located a Quaker Meeting-house. The land was conveyed May 12, 1760, by Wm. Jackson to John Bowers, Benjamin Warren, Samuel Dunnen, Thomas Nock and Jonathan Emerson. It consists of one acre, and is described as "part of a larger tract of land called Folly Neck," and by Beaver Dam Branch, "at the going over of the King's Road." It was known as the "Motherkill Monthly Meeting," and embraced the Motherkill and Tidbury Meetings. Meeting for worship was discontinued in 1828, and the meeting was joined to "Duck Creek" in 1838, and the name changed to "Camden Monthly Meeting." The meeting-house has long since disappeared and the ancient site is now used for a cemetery. Folly Neck is now in possession of Mrs. Mary Barnett, John Lodge, Captain Thomas Draper, Peter Massey's heirs, Samuel Wharton and Daniel P. Barnard, Jr.

North-northwest of "Folly Neck," lying on St. Jones' Creek and north of Cypress Branch, is a tract of four hundred acres, surveyed to Abraham Bratt. January 24, 1679-80. This land is crossed in its western part by the Lower King's Road from Dover to Frederica, and is now principally owned by Thos. Pickering and Cornelius Freer.

Southwest of Dover River (St. Jones' Creek), south of Tidbury Branch, and adjoining Abraham Bratt's purchase ("Cypress Neck"), is a tract of land called "Tidbury," which, under warrant of court of Kent, dated June 21, 1683, to Thomas Williams, of Nanticoke, called for four hundred acres. In 1684 Thomas Williams sold one hundred acres of "Tidbury" to Richard Levick, who the same year gave one hundred acres for the use of Kent County, upon which it was intended to lay out the town of Dover, near the present site of Rising Sun (Five Points). In a deed to William Coe from Thos. Williams, November 1, 1717, Tidbury was said to contain six hundred acres. April 18, 1746, it was resurveyed for John Houseman, and confirmed to him by letters patent under the hands of Thomas and Richard Pen n, December 18, 1747, and said to contain four hundred and eighty acres. It was crossed on the west by the Lower King's Road, cutting off about twenty-five acres on the southwest, adjoining Ezekiel Nock's land. The tract "Tidbury" is now chiefly owned by Thomas Pickering, Charles C. Babbitt, Edward Burton, William Dyer, John C. Durborough and Thos. Hanson.


Lebanon, a thriving village, located on the tract "Tidbury," is situated on St. Jones' Creek and south of Tidbury Branch, near its junction with said creek. It is sometimes confounded with "Forest Landing," a small cluster of houses on the opposite side of Tidbury Branch, about four hundred yards farther up the creek. It is distant three and one-half miles southeast of Dover, and about two and one-quarter miles east of Camden, and has long been noted as a shipping point for grain, wood, lumber, ship-timber, staves, bark, canned and evaporated fruits. Large quantities of coal, lime, fertilizers, soft-wood lumber and general merchandise are imported to this point for the merchants of Lebanon, Camden and Rising Sun. These three places hold communication with the Atlantic seaboard States, the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, and send out large quantities of home productions. The village has long been noted for its ship-building, having turned out in recent years Â" three masted schooner of eight hundred tons burden for the trade to the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico. It is nothing unusual to see three or four schooners at anchor here at a time. In the last few years steam-boats have plied regularly at stated times between here and Philadelphia. The place, also, at one time, laid claim to having the largest fruit-canning establishment in the United States, built by Collins, Geddes A Co., in 1869. It was destroyed by fire, was rebuilt on a smaller scale, and again destroyed by fire in 1884, since which time no canning or evaporating establishments have been carried on. There are at present two general stores, one wheelwright and blacksmith-shop. In March, 1870, a post-office was established and John W. Davis appointed postmaster, which he has been to the present time.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1858, under the pastorate of Revs. Robert W. Todd, and J. E. Bryan, of Camden Circuit, built a frame structure, 20 by 40 feet. The building committee was Thomas Pickering, Sr., Chas. Short and Jas. Green. It was dedicated July 18th, Revs. A. A. Rees, of Baltimore, Wm. C. Robinson, of Dover, and Jonathan S. Willis, of Milford, officiating. The trustees in 1886 were J. W. Clark, E. F. Wood, T. H. Hopkins, S. C. Wells, Geo. M. Scott, Wm. E. Maloney, H. C. Deputy, J. E. Durborrow, W. Saxton, W. J. Spencer, D. Townsend, Elisha Johnson and James Gordon.

Diamond Lodge, No. 73, Independent Order of Good Templars, was organized February 17, 1874, with thirty-five charter members. Since 1884 the order has done very little work.

Rising Sun, One mile southwest of Lebanon, on "Tidbury," lying on both sides of the "Lower King's Road," is situated the village of "Rising Sun," which was formerly known as "Five Points," taking its name from three other roads crossing the King's Road at this point. It is located about three miles south of Dover, and one and a half miles southeast of Cam-den. Before the establishment of the "Farmers' Fruit Preserving Company," in 1872, "Rising Sun" was little more than a country cross-roads with a single farm-house removed about two hundred yards north of the present site of the village. The "Farmers' Fruit Preserving Company" was organized with a capital of eighteen thousand dollars in 1872. The company organized by electing James Green, president; Thos. Pickering, treasurer; Geo. H. Gildersleve, secretary; and Jacob G. Brown, general superintendent. In January, 1876, the company was reorganized and Wm. H. Ridgeway was elected president, Thos. Pickering treasurer, and Geo. A. Gildersleve secretary and general superintendent.

The company in wealth and in prosperity is one of the strongest in the State. It is now the second largest canning and evaporating establishment in the county. In 1884, by reason of the death of some of the original incorporators, it was reorganized, with the before recited officers. The shipping points of the village are Lebanon, on St. Jones' Creek, one mile distant, and Wyoming, on the Delaware Railroad, two and a half miles distant.

There are also located at this point one wheelwright and blacksmith -shop, two general stores, and one dealer in grain, coal, lime, fertilizers, wood and lumber. In 1875 the United States government established a post-office and daily mail here, with James Anderson postmaster. In 1886 he was superseded by De Witt Freer as postmaster.

The population is about seventy -five, and the district school, which serves for both Rising Sun and Lebanon and the surrounding country, is one of the best in the county; it owes its success to the exertions of Herman Bessey, the present school superintendent of New Castle County.

North of Tidbury, lying on Wild Cat Marsh and Cripple, and on Dover River, and bounded on the north by Isaac's Branch, were two tracts, called respectively "Great Geneva" and "Reserve," surveyed to Alexander Humphreys and John Nowell, on "ye 28 day of ye 7 m, 1683," under a grant from the court of Kent County, dated the 21st and 22d days of February, 1681-82. The tract "Great Geneva" extended up Tidbury Branch six hundred and sixty perches to Nowell's Branch above the crossing over the Kings Road from Dover to Frederica, and thence northwest to the edge of Camden, "E. N. E. 2 Ds. ½ Northerly" to Dover River, near the mouth of Isaac's Branch, and contained within these bounds six hundred acres. It adjoined "Little Geneva" on the southwest, and "Brecknock" on the west, and the "Reserve" on the north. "Great Geneva" passed in time to Thos. England, who sold it to Jonathan Hunn prior to 1765.

On St. Jones' Creek, at the place called "Forest Landing," and above Lebanon, were three pieces of land granted to Robert Wilcocks, under a resurvey of June 30, 1748, and sold to Jonathan Hunn, November 12, 1761. The mansion of Wilcocks is laid down on the survey as being a short distance above the mouth of Tidbury Branch, and the land lay to the east of the tract "Great Geneva," which at the time of survey was in the possession of Jonathan Hunn, who had purchased it from Col. John Vining, and at that time was called ''Reserve." This land came to his sons Jonathan and Nathaniel, and to their descendants Ezekiel Hunn and others, who still own part of the original tract. Nathaniel and Jonathan Hunn, January 21, 1798, presented a petition lo the General Assembly to be authorized to erect a bridge over Tidbury Branch, where the Lower Road crosses the same, and that a small quantity of cripple and low ground on the branch may be condemned to enable them to erect a mill and forge.

June 7, 1793, a bill entitled an act to enable Nathaniel and Jonathan Hunn to erect a forge and saw -mill at the Forest Landing, near the mouth of Tidbury Branch, was passed, and the land condemned June 13, 1793.

In 1818, in the division of Daniel Mifflin's real estate, this mill-seat is spoken of as "Hunn's Mill-Pond gone down."

"Great Geneva" is now in possession of Ezekiel Hunn, Samuel Howell Mifflin, Webster D. Learned, Daniel L. McBride, Simeon Blood, Thos. C. Roe, Edgar H. Bancroft, John Dager and others. At the western extremity of this tract is located "The Odd Fellows' Cemetery, of Kent County, near Camden, Delaware." The land, comprising nine acres and twenty square perches, was bought September 25, 1872, and incorporated by act of that General Assembly March 28, 1873.

The tract "Reserve," touching Dover River near the mouth of Isaac's Branch, and resting upon the south side of said branch, adjoining "Brecknock" on the west, and separated from "Great Geneva" by their common boundary-line, starting at Dover River, near the mouth of Isaac's Branch, and continuing six hundred and sixteen perches southwest to the edge of the town of Camden, was taken up by John Nowell, and contained four hundred acres. The Reserve is now chiefly owned by Samuel H. Mifflin, of Camden, John Dager and by his son, Henry M. Dager.

Westward of the "Reserve" and "Great Geneva" lies the tract "Brecknock," taken up by Alexander Humphreys, by virtue of a warrant, dated the 17th day of the Ninth Month, 1680, containing six hundred acres. It lay on Isaac's Branch, and extended up it six hundred and eighty perches (a little more than two miles), to "Betty Smith's Branch," which separates Dundee and Brecknock. In 1734 John Bowers, of Bowers' Beach, bought one hundred acres of Brecknock, and at a later date four hundred and thirty-six acres came into the possession of Colonel John Vining, whose executors, January 17, 1780, sold to Warner Mifflin, who, February 13, 1783, sold one hundred and twelve acres to his brother, Daniel Mifflin. Warner Mifflin also sold to John Edmonson seventy-four acres, and to Thomas Edmonson two hundred and forty-nine acres in 1786.

Town of Wyoming

Tracts of Land

West of "Dundee," and south of Isaac's Branch, is a small tract of land containing one hundred and seventy-six acres, taken up by George Morgan under a warrant bearing date March 22, 1738, called "Morgan's Chance," and now in the possession of William B. Allaband.

To the west and southwest of "Morgan's Chance" lies a tract of six hundred acres, called "Barnes' Chance," taken up by Lewis Johnson under a warrant issued for John Barnes April 21, 1682. It is now mainly owned by the heirs of James Kersey, by the heirs of Edgar J. Kinney and by Kent County. On this tract is located the "Alms-House" of Kent County.

On the same land is the ancient grist mill seat, called by the name of the "Allaband Mill," which was known as a mill-seat prior to 1783. In 1791 part of this tract is described as being upon "School-House Branch," where the Forest Landing road crosses, and is part of Mill Pond, and contained in the aggregate about two hundred and twenty acres.

On the southwest of "Dundee," and southeast of "Morgan's Chance" and "Barnes' Chance," lies the tract called "Howell's Lott," taken up under warrant to James Wells, dated December 21, 1681, and surveyed to John Howell November 25 and 27, 1683, containing one thousand acres, now owned in part by Daniel L. McBride, by Willard A. Gray, by Dr. James Avery Draper, by John H. Berry, by Wells, late of Asa Griffith, and ten acres in the eastern corner of the whole tract by the heirs of Rev. I. T. Cooper.

Adjoining "Howell's Lott and "Dundee," on the south, is located "Longacre," containing one thousand acres, taken up by Nicholas Bartlett under warrant from Court of Kent County, dated the 20th 4 mo., 1682. In 1742 seven hundred and forty-five acres of this tract were in the possession of Andrew Caldwell. This ancient tract is now in possession of the heirs of Rev. I. T. Cooper, L. E. Neilson, John B. Cleaver, heirs of Samuel B. Cooper, Rev. Joseph E. Waugh, Mrs. C. I. Du Pont, land late of S. J. Everett, of Harvey Soper, of W. D. McGloghlan and of S. M. Thomas.

Little Geneva is a tract of four hundred acres, taken up by Alexander Humphreys, and surveyed for him March 4, 1680. It adjoins "Dundee" and "Brecknock," on the south of them, and "Great Geneva" on its southwest boundary, and lies on both sides of the Upper King's Road, just outside of the town of Camden, leading toward Canterbury, and extends to the road leading from Camden to Willow Grove. In 1745 two hundred and four acres, lying between the Willow Grove and Canterbury roads, were in the possession of Andrew Purdon. This part is now owned by William K. Evans, William P. Lindale and Matthias Jerman. The part lying east of the Canterbury road was owned in 1783 by Warner Mifflin, George Truitt and others. This part is now chiefly owned by Levi S, Proud and the assignee of Samuel J. Everett.

Upon this tract is the colored people's church, called the "Star of the East," which was described in connection with "Brecknock." There is a hamlet of colored people, who have bought small parcels and built upon them.

On the southeast side of Tidbury Branch and south-west of the tract "Tidbury" lies a tract of land containing four hundred and sixty-five acres, resurveyed August 16, 1733, for Ezekiel, Daniel and Thomas Nock, the sons of Thomas, deceased. This tract remained in possession of the Nocks as late as 1783. Sometime about 1760 Ezekiel Nock built a grist-mill there, and left his property to his sons, of whom Thomas remained on the homestead.

About the year 1783, or a little later, the mill property passed into the possession of Daniel Mifflin, who left it to his two sons, Daniel and Samuel. The mill was known as "Nock's Mill" and "Mifflin's Mill." Sometime about 1852 the property passed into the possession of James Green, now deceased. William B. Nock, druggist, of Camden, is the sole survivor bearing the name of the Nock family.

West of the Nock tract, on the opposite side of Tidbury, is a tract called "Gainsborough," comprising four hundred and forty-five acres, surveyed for John Nowell December 16, 1680.

West of "Gainsborough" and south of "Little Geneva" is a tract called "Grigg's Purchase," taken up under a warrant of December 21, 1681, containing one thousand acres. It lies on and adjoins Tidbury stream on the north, and is on both sides of the Up-per King's Road. It was originally surveyed for Alexander Humphreys, but is now in possession of Henry C. Cooper, George Gibbs, John Evans, J. B. Slaymaker and others.

South of "Grigg's Purchase," and on the south side of Tidbury, is the tract "Tiocullever," taken up under a warrant dated August 17, 1682, by Robert Betts and John King, and contained twelve hundred acres. It is now chiefly owned by Samuel W. Derby, Thomas B. Coursey, heirs of Mrs. Powell, B. F. Abbott, heirs of Dr. I. T. Cooper and others. The land late of James L. Dyer and of William T. Maloney was also of this tract.

On this tract, on the Upper King's Road from Canterbury to Camden, is situated a grist-mill. It was bequeathed by Mary Caldwell to her son, John Caldwell, for a grist-mill seat October 15, 1786, and a mill was soon after erected. The grist-mill is now owned by Thomas B. Coursey.

South of "Longacre" and southeast of "Grigg's Purchase" and "Tiocullever" is a large tract of land called "Rhodes' Forest," containing two thousand acres. It was taken up by John Rhodes, of Wherekill County (Sussex), on warrant from that court November 23, 1679. It was inherited by his son, John Rhodes, who. May 8, 1725, sold it to Andrew Caldwell, of Kent County, and took in exchange therefor parts of tracts of "Bartlett's Lott" and adjacent tracts, lying towards the mouths of St. Jones' and Murderkill Creeks. This tract, on account of the change effected, was called by Caldwell "The Exchange," by which name in subsequent deeds it is generally known. It is described as being on the west side of Tidbury Branch, beginning at the month of a small run that falls into the branch a little above an Indian path (Camden and Willow Grove road at Red House Branch) that leads from Jones' Creek to Choptank. It extended from "Indian Path," west by south nearly three miles, and southeast by south nearly two miles, and thence in a northerly direction about three miles, to the forks of Tidbury, and up Tidbury to beginning.

The Caldwells owned other large tracts. In 1746, Andrew Caldwell, Jr., owned seven hundred and forty-five acres of "Longacre." a tract of two hundred and eight-seven acres, called "Quiet Entry," situated south of the eastern part of Exchange, and partly north of "Hudson's Lott," and a tract of ninety acres called "Caldwell's Range," west of the Exchange. Besides these, he owned other large tracts in different parts of the county.

The tract "Quiet Entry," three hundred and four acres, passed into the possession of Christopher Green, in 1650. In later years it passed to Robert Catlin.

Upon this tract, one mile north of Canterbury, was located a meeting-house by the Methodists. May 16, 1781, Christopher Green conveyed one acre to Dr. Wm. Bowness, Wm. Virdin, Joseph Purdin, And. Purdin, John Gilder, Philip Barratt, Caleb Furbee, Oliver Crawford, James Green, John Morris and John Purdin, "upon express purpose of building a Preaching-House or Chapel thereon," and "that the said Preachers Preach no other doctrine than is contained in Mr. John Wesley's Notes upon the New Testament, and four Volumes of Sermons."

This meeting-house, known by the name of "Green's Chapel," continued in existence down to 1856, in which year the congregation built a new meeting-house at Canterbury, and called it "Bethesda." It was dedicated October 26, 1856, by the Rev. John D. Onins, of Philadelphia, and the Rev. Daniel Lambden, the preacher in charge. There is on the site of each meeting-house a cemetery.

The tract called "Rhodes Forest" or "Exchange" is now chiefly owned by the Rev. Joseph Waugh, Mrs. Charles I. Du Pont, Peter Crook, Mrs. Ann Bostick, the heirs of Wm. O. Kline, Wm. S. Caulk, George H. Murray, Hon. Eli Saulsbury, Ezekiel Cowgill, John J. Conner, James Anderson, of Herman (upon whose land is the old Caldwell burying-ground), and others.

Woodside, Upon this tract, "Exchange," is located the village of "Woodside." It was founded in August, 1864, when the railroad company, through the exertions of Henry Cowgill, established a depot and station-house. Ezekiel Cowgill was appointed railroad and express agent, who was succeeded by his father, Henry Cowgill, in 1867, who held the office until his death, in 1881. He was succeeded by Samuel L. Richards, November 17th the same year, who still is agent and also postmaster. In 1864 there were two dwellings and about eight inhabitants.

At the present time there are three stores, two evaporators, two canneries, one dealer in coal, lime and grain, and one dealer in fertilizers. There are twenty-five dwellings and ninety-eight inhabitants. There is also a daily mail by post route from this place via Willow Grove to Petersburg, a distance of five and a half miles. The place is noted for being in the centre of the peach belt of this peninsula, and for the quantity of fruits, vegetables and other products shipped hence, and for the numerous truck farms in the vicinity. South of "Quiet Entry," lying almost wholly on the west side of the Upper King's Road, is a tract of one hundred and twenty-eight acres, called "The Disputed Turnip Patch," taken up under a warrant dated May 15, 1740, and surveyed for the heirs of Noah Gildersleve, in 1766. It is now chiefly owned by Wm. Graham.

Canterbury, "Hudson's Lott " is a large tract lying on the north side of Hudson's or Bannister's Branch, and upon both sides of the Upper King's Road from Lewes, by way of Canterbury, to Dover. It is bounded on the east by "Norridge," and contains eight hundred acres. It was taken up by Robert Hudson by virtue of a warrant "bearing date the 2lst of the 12th month 1681."

Upon this tract is located the village of "Canterbury," lying upon both sides of the public road from Magnolia to Willow Grove and the road leading up to Camden. The land in 1769 was owned by Archibald McAllister, who also owned a mill seat south of the village called "Trippitt's Mill," which, in 1785, was called "Rickett's Mill," which has long since been abandoned and the site nearly oblitered.

The first knowledge we have of Canterbury is by the name of "Joseph Caldwell's Tavern," in the year 1782, in which year John West is spoken of as an inn-keeper. On the 1st day of November, 1789, it is mentioned as *' Irish Hill." Ou that day Ezekiel Ander-son gave his alienation bond to George and John Gildersleve to sell five acres of land, with a new two-story house thereon, adjoining the main road near "Irish Hill," formerly land of John West; also another house and lot, formerly of West, on the "road leading from Joseph Caldwell's Tavern to Peter Goforth's mill or Frederica." On the 15th of April, 1794, we first meet with the name of "Canterbury," in a deed from Gildersleve to James Foote, in which he describes the land as "a Lott or peace of ground in the village of Canterbury, being and lying on the East side of the State road." In 1811 following, Jacob Jones, John Miskimmons and Moses Sipple, kept tavern. In 1820, tavern was kept by Levi Wolcott, who had purchased two hundred acres of "Hudson's Lott."

In 1816 mention is made of a tan-yard owned by Jonathan Neal, opposite a store-house, formerly belonging to George Gildersleve. In 1845 two hotels were kept in the village by Barratt B. Conner and Henry J. Anderson, respectively. There were two stores and one blacksmith-shop. The school-house was situated half a mile north of the village and the church (Green's Chapel), about one mile. In those days, Barratt P. Conner was postmaster. The stage line to Lewes passed through the village, and Canterbury was made a distributing office for the several towns and villages lying between it and the Chesapeake Bay, all of which were served with a weekly mail.

At the present time the population is about fifty. There are one general store, one blacksmith-shop, fourteen dwellings, one school-house and one church. The church was described under the title of "Quiet Entry."

"Golden Thicket" is a tract lying west of Hudson's Lott, on the north side of Hudson's Branch, taken up by Wm. Shores, by virtue of warrant dated "ye 20th day of ye 9 int. 1681," and contained four hundred acres. In 1730 the southern most half of tract was sold to John Gordon, and the upper half to Magdalen a Thistlewood. In 1827 the greater part of the whole tract was owned by Jonathan Hamilton, who left one hundred acres cleared land, on the east end of farm, with all the improvements thereon, and one half his woodland to his granddaughter, Sarah Henderson, the wife of Giddiah Beauchamp; the remainder of cleared land and one-half of the woodland he left to his granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Henderson. The whole of the land eventually became vested in Giddiah Beauchamp.

Viola, Upon this tract is situated the village of Viola, on the Delaware Railroad, ten miles south of Dover. The village was founded August 1, 1856, when the Delaware Railroad officials established a station there and appointed James B. Conner agent, who also received the agency for Adams Express Company. Until within the last eight years the village was known as Canterbury Station, being situated one mile west of Canterbury. When the village was laid out, in 1856, an old grain car was used some time as a station house and office. There were then only three farm houses in the vicinity, which served as a nucleus for the present village, which now contains three general stores, one lumber dealer, one planing-mill, three fruit evaporators, one husk factory, one blacksmith and wheelwright shop, one dealer in coal, lime, etc., one warehouse, fourteen dwellings and a population of sixty. There is likewise a Methodist Episcopal Church building that was long known as Magee's Chapel, built in 1858, which was located at Magee's Cross Roads, nearly two miles west of Viola. In 1884, under the pastor-ate of Rev. Mr. Jewell, of Felton Circuit, the building was moved to Viola and re-habitated and now presents a modernized appearance. The present pastor is the Rev. Vaughan Smith, of Felton Circuit.

"Turkey Point" is a tract of one hundred and sixty-five acres, taken up by Thomas Blackshare, under a warrant of July 28, 1746. In 1823, in the division of the lands of Daniel Mifflin, deceased, it was assigned to Ann Mifflin, his daughter. It is now owned by Henry R. Draper, under the will of his father, Avery Draper. This tract is bounded on the east by "Longacre" and on the north by the tract "Tomahawk," which was also taken up by Thomas Blackshare, under a warrant dated June 2, 1740. Tomahawk is south and west of Howell s lot and contains one hundred and ninety-four acres. It is now owned by Martin Knight and Thomas Gooden. West of Turkey Point is a tract called the "Burkalow," taking its name from its first owners, which is now in possession of the heirs of William O. Kline, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Adjoining the tract "Burkalow'' on the west is a tract of three hundred and forty-seven acres called "Steel's Ridge," which was in possession of Robert Blackshare prior to 1768. On the 12th of February, 1829, it was conveyed by William K. Lockwood, administrator of Samuel Mifflin, to John Gooden, the elder, who died in 1867. About one hundred and seventy-two acres of this tract is now owned by W. O. Kline's heirs; the remainder is in the possession of John Gooden, the younger. Steel's Ridge lies north of Willow Grove. South of Steel's Ridge is a tract of two hundred acres, taken up by William Jackson, under warrant dated April 17, 1737, and another tract taken up by Jackson under war-rant dated April 18, 1737. This land, in 1783, was in possession of Francis Many. On the 16th of February, 1787. Many sold to Alexander Jackson, by whose family the land is still held. On the 2nd of March, 1787, Jackson sold five acres to Thomas Lockwood, upon which he had a tan-yard. About the same time a store and a shop were opened. From the establishing of the tannery Willow Grove dates its existence.

Willow Grove is situated nine and one-half miles southwest from Dover and three and one-half miles west of Woodside, the nearest railroad point. Jackson built a house on the opposite side of the Choptank Road from the tannery, called the "Jackson Mansion," a gambrel-roofed building, now in a good state of preservation and in possession of John C. Gooden. The tanning business was carried on by Thomas Lockwood till his death, in 1824. In 1857 the tannery was in possession of Ambrose Broadaway, who continued the business till his death, in 1879. In 1880 the tannery was closed and the buildings since converted into a dwelling. In 1844 there were two general stores, dealing in grain, bark, cord-wood, staves, etc., and general merchandise. The first merchant of which we have any account was doing business in 1798. There are now two general stores, one wheelwright and blacksmith shop, one steam saw-mill and basket factory employing seventy-five men and boys. In 1856 there was a steam grist-mill, which was discontinued about 1867. From 1844 to 1860 the carriage making business was carried on. The old gambrel-roofed building, now owned by J. C. Gooden, was used at one time for a hotel, the tavern-keepers being Isaac Gruwell and Waitman Vickery, the last one quitting the business in 1844. The bar-room was kept in a small building on one corner of the premises, separate from the inn.

The first resident physician was Dr. Oilman, who came in 184_, who was succeeded by Dr. Vincent Emerson in 1848, who remained to 185_, when he removed to Milford, Pennsylvannia. He was succeeded by Dr. H. C. Comegys of Greensboro who remained till 1858, when he returned to his native town. He was followed by Dr. Thomas C. Rogers, a native of Ohio, who remained till 1874, when he removed successively to Wyoming, Felton, and Harrington, at which last place he died in 1879. Since 1874 Dr. John M. Wilkinson has been the resident physician.

The first lumber mill, lying south of the village, was built by John Aaron and Alexander Jackson some-time about 1844. A little later the property came into possession of Levis Passmere of Philadelphia who built a larger and more extensive saw mill, and en-gaged in the ship-timber business. About 1853, the mill was burnt, and on its ruins a still larger one was erected. In 1865, J. Colby Smith came from Aberdeen, Maryland, purchased the mill, and in addition to general lumber and ship-timber business, engaged in the manufacture of barrel staves and heading, and at a later date embarked in the manufacturing of peach crates. This he continued but a few years when he put in peach basket machinery, and now turns out five hundred thousand baskets annually during the peach season.

A society of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized here at a very early date, the members of which usually met at Thomas Lockwood's house till 1824, when he died. After his death the congregation met a short while at William J. Needles, about one mile south of the village. On August 2nd of the same year, Thomas Jackson for the nominal consideration of six cents, conveyed unto Absalom Deharty, John Van Burkalow, Thomas Clements, William J. Needles, Parrismus Wilkerson, Absalom Stradley, and Samuel B. Cooper, Trustees, in trust, and upon express condition that they should erect thereon a meeting-house for the use of the people called Methodists. In 1850, they enlarged the area of their grounds and built a larger and more commodious building. In 1883, this was succeeded by a still more elegant building. The first preacher of which we have any account was Ferdinand Griffith, who preach for them in 1829, and was also engaged in the mercantile business in the village.

In 1850, when the new church was dedicated, the Revs. James Flannery and Louis Petit were pastors in charge, and in 1883, the building of that day was erected through the exertions of the Rev. Sewell N. Pilchard, the pastor of the circuit, (Wyoming).

The postal facilities in 1844 consisted of a weekly mail from Canterbury, on the line of the old stage route, at which time Ambrose Broadaway was post-master. In 1857, Ezekiel L. Cooper was postmaster, who at the beginning of the late civil war was succeeded by Henry C. Carter. He was soon succeeded by John Colby Smith who retained the position till 1885, when he was succeeded by John C. Gooden, whose store-house and post-office was burnt out February 14, 1887, when he resigned and was succeeded by the present postmaster, Samuel R. Meredith. There is now a daily mail.


The first district school, No. fifty-two, was organized in 1850, with Dr. Ezekiel Dawson for teacher who kept school in a private building part of the year.

Prior to the establishing of free schools in 1829, the people sent their children to a pay or subscription school at Petersburg. The teachers between 1820-29 were William Mason Stevens, William Canner, John Pepper, and John Humphreys, an Old School Baptist Preacher. In 1858, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows instituted a lodge here which was disbanded in 1861. Thornton Russell was Noble Grand, and E. L. Cooper, V. N. Grand. The population of the village is about one hundred and fifty.

One-half mile south of Willow Grove, on the old road toward Greensboro1, are two tracts of land containing in the aggregate six hundred and twenty-five acres. "Good Luck," one of these tracts, containing two hundred acres, was originally surveyed to Samuel Brooks, June 18, 1731, and later was sold to Matthew Lowber, for whom it was resurveyed June 3, 1741. "Lowber's Fancy," of two hundred and twenty acres, was granted to Matthew Lowber, December 18, 1730, where he resided. He was the son of Peter Lowber, who came from Amsterdam, Holland, to this State about 1682. His posterity comprise nearly one-half of the population in Kent County, and are scattered throughout nearly every State and Territory in the United States. On the 13th, 14th and 15th days of July, 1775, these two tracts, with additions thereto, were resurveyed to Peter Lowber. One hundred and fifty-eight acres of "Lowber's Fancy" is now owned by Alexander C. Dill, whose son resides on the site of the Matthew Lowber mansion.

"Multangulus" lies south of "Lowber's Fancy," on both sides of the Choptank Road. It was warranted to Curtis Evans, May 31, 1745, and assigned to John Meekins, for whom it was surveyed June 14, 1748, and contained two hundred and eighty-eight acres. There was also a tract called "Newell's Park," lying between "Multangulus" and Cow Marsh Ditch, containing two hundred and seventeen acres, surveyed for John Meekins, assignee of John Bowers, August 1, 1751. These two tracts, containing five hundred and five acres, were in possession of Robert Patton in 1752. This land is now owned by John H. Cook, George Cook, the heirs of Alexander Frazer and others.

"Manlove's Purchase" lay northwest of Multangulus and Newell's Park, on the opposite side of Cow Marsh Ditch, and extended up the west side thereof. A part of this tract, one hundred and fifty acres, was in the possession of Joseph Nock in 1795, who conveyed that quantity to William Morris. This tract is now owned by Ezekiel C. Frazer.

"Cooper Cemetery," lying two miles west of Willow Grove, has been used for more than a hundred years as a place of sepulture. It was incorporated by act of General Assembly, March 5, 1867, and conveyed in fee simple by Samuel B. Cooper, Esq., late Speaker of the State Senate, to the trustees of said cemetery, who were also incorporators, viz.: John Downham, William Broadaway, Thomas Gooden, John Purnell, David D. Marvel and four others.

On the 11th of April, 1887, the cemetery was re-incorporated, with the following incorporators and trustees: Thomas Gooden, John Bell, John W. F. Cooper, John Sherwood, Peter S. Cooper, John C. Gooden, William T. Gooden, Nathan Moore and Thomas Cook.

Calvin Ridge is a tract of two hundred acres, lying north of Manlove's Purchase, and on the west side of Cow Marsh Ditch, adjoining Good Luck and Lowber's Fancy. This tract is in the form of a rectangle, extending due west four hundred and twenty perches, and due south eighty perches. It is described as being "near the south side of Bear Swamp, including a certain Ridge called "Brookes his Cabin." It was taken up by Peter Voshell on a warrant of June 20, 1717, and became the property of Michael Lowber, Jr., January 3, 1744, and is now chiefly owned by Thomas Cook and William Gooden.

Muncey's Mount is a tract of two hundred and twenty acres warranted to Francis Muncey, May 4, 1737, and surveyed to his son Thomas October 15, 1741. It lies one mile west of Willow Grove, and binds on the north side of Cabin Ridge. For many years it was owned by Thomas M. Cooper, but is now the property of Dr. John M. Wilkinson. On the north of Muncey's Mount is a tract of one hundred and ninety-three acres, named "Plymouth" taken up under a warrant of March 8, 1748, by Hannah Thomas, trustee for Thomas Thomas. In 1797 this tract lying on Culbreth's Marsh Ditch, which with other tracts made four hundred acres, was in the possession of William Morris, from whom it descended to Edward Jay Morris, of Philadelphia. It is now owned by John Gooden.

Addition to Cabin Ridge is a tract of five hundred and twenty acres, lying west of "Manlove's Chance," "Cabin Ridge" and "Muncey's Mount," and lands of the heirs of Samuel B. Cooper. It is of a very irregular shape, extending northward nearly one and a half miles and then westward one mile. It was surveyed to Peter Lowber August 25, 1742, and with the exception of John Colby Smith, who owns one hundred and thirty-eight acres of the tract called the "Leak," on the north side of the road from Willow Grove to Henderson, Maryland, the land is in possession of his descendants. The remainder of the tract, south of the aforesaid road, is now owned by William Gooden, Peter L. Cooper, Peter C. Grunwell, John Bell and Nehemiah Cohee.

Petersburg is a small village of eight dwellings and about thirty persons. It is situated twelve and a half miles from Dover, and is two miles southwest of "Willow Grove" on the road to "Greensboro." It derives its name from the number of the descendants of Peter Lowber bearing his first name and residing in the neighborhood. It was, about 1840, called "Meredith's Shop," from Peter Meredith, an Old School Baptist preacher carrying on the blacksmith and wheelwright business, but about 1872, when a post-office was established here, it was changed to Petersburg. There is one general store and a wheel-wright and blacksmith shop here. The postmaster is Peter C. Frazer, the village merchant, who first petitioned for the post-office, and which is served with a daily mail.

Mount Moriah is a small hamlet situated four and a half miles southwest of "Willow Grove" on the road to "Greensboro," and contains one store, two dwellings and one meeting-house, belonging to the Old School Baptists, and a cemetery in connection with the church. On the 2nd day of February, 1868, a post-office was established here and Warren J. Reed appointed postmaster, and the office supplied by a tri-weekly mail. Mr. Reed was succeeded by Thomas D. Cubbage as postmaster and merchant, but the post-office was soon thereafter discontinued.

This place, years ago, was quite noted as a resort for the sporting fraternity, where they not only indulged in conviviality and general good cheer, but also engaged in horse-racing, gaming, and the sports of the chase. In later years all this has ceased.

"The Baptist Church at Cow Marsh" was the fourth Baptist church organized in Delaware, and was constituted as "The Baptist Church at Cow Marsh," July 18, 1781. In 1770, Rev. John Sutton, then pastor at Welsh Tract, held the first meeting here. After this period Revs. Isaac Steele, R. Kelsay, Wm. Worth and others, preached here. In 1772, Rev. James Sutton baptized four, viz.: John Price and his wife, Grace Reynolds and Elizabeth Reynolds.

The following named persons from this territory were baptized here or at Welsh Tract: 1781,

Wm. Price
John Price
John Patton
Job Merydith Sr.
Elizabeth Patton
Alice _____
Wm. Betts
Elizabeth Betts
Jacob Gruell
Susanna Robinson
Ruth Merydith
Sarah Lewis
Jacob Merydith
Davis Merydith
Elizabeth Merydith
Sarah Goodwine
Elizabeth Patton Sr.
Rebekah Price
Lucretia Bostwick
Daniel Carter
Joshua Deweese
Elizabeth Deweese
Mary McGifford

In 1802 the total member-ship was 116.

The intention of erecting a meeting-house in 1881 was abandoned on the death of Luff Meredith, an active friend, and meetings were held at the house of Job Meredith, Sr. On March 21, 1787, Rev. Eliphas Dazey took charge of the church in conjunction with the one at Duck Creek. He resigned October 25, 1788, and was succeeded by Revs. Ferrell, Deweese, and others.

At a meeting of the Church, December 10, 1791, on the second order of business, it was "Motioned whether it would be proper to give Brother Flood License to Exercise His gifts publicly where he may have an Invitation, & the Lord in his Providence may Call Him. answered in the affirmative, & appoint Br. Job Meredith, Jr to write the Credentials, which was accordingly done, & signed Next Day."

"November 10, 1792, The Church met after worship, agreed to Build a Meeting-House and appoint B. Flood to Draw a Deed.

2nd. Appoint James Fraisor and John Growell 2nd as trustees to receive the acknowledgement of the Deed for the Ground to Build the house on in behalf of the Church."

In pursuance of the foregoing agreement Job Meredith, September 7, 1793, conveyed to "Joseph Flood, professor of Theology, a parcel of ground formerly called the Stand (But now called Mount Moriah) containing two acres or thereabout."

In 1794, it seems that a house for worship had been built according to the following extract from the minutes of November 8th of that year: "Br Price, Sr Being present agreed with the Church to nominate two workmen of the Carpenters Business to Value the work done to the meeting-house by Br Price."

On the 4th of June, 1796, Joseph Flood conveyed to "Samuel Broadaway, John Price, James Frashier, William Price and John Grewell, Trustees" of the ''Baptist Church at Mount Moriah," the aforesaid tract of "two acres or thereabout.''

In 1872 the old building having become dilapidated and too contracted to accommodate the people, it was torn down and a new building, thirty by forty feet, at a cost of sixteen hundred dollars was erected in its place.

The preachers of late years were Elders Peter Meredith and Ephraim Rittenhouse, the latter taking the oversight of the church about 1862, which he has since kept.

In the extreme western end of the hundred is a tract of forty-three acres, abutting upon the Maryland Line and on the northeast side Choptank River at the head thereof, called "Milford," taken up under a warrant of February 22, 1776, by Joseph Furtad, who built a grist-mill and a saw-mill at the place, which was long known as "Furtad's Mill." It is now the property of Hon. Joseph P. Comegys, chief justice of Delaware State.

To the eastward and southeastward of Furtad's Mill, or the tract "Millford" is a large tract of land called "Towton's Field," and "Towton's Field's Addition," lying upon the eastern side of Choptank River, and embraced between the Cow Marsh and Culbreth Ditches. The tract "Towton Field's Addition" was surveyed under Maryland patent to William Hemsley and the tract "Towton's Fields," was originally taken up by Col. Vincent Lowe. The two tracts contained about two thousand acres. In 1770, "Towton's Fields," "Denton Holme" and "Taylor's Ford," were owned by Thomas Ringgold, the elder of Chestertown, Maryland. "Towton's Fields" is now owned by Edward J. Carter, Richard C. Carter, the heirs of Peter Raughley and others. "Denton Holme" is owned by the heirs of William Smith, by Josiah Steel, Henry Steel, James E. Sapp, the heirs of Isaac Gooden, and Edward J. Carter.

A list of the names of persons Assessed in the year 1785, in the territory now North and South Murderkill, West Dover, and all that part of East Dover lying west of St Jones' Creek.

Kent County

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

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