Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Town of Smyrna, Duck Creek Hundred, Kent County, Delaware

Early Settlement Bussiness Assessors
Commissioners Treasurers Industries
Banks Societies Hotels
Post Office Smyrna Circut Preachers Religious Matters
Churches of Smyrna Circuit .. Ministers of Asbury Church

Early Settlement

 The greater part of Smyrna lies in the old tract "Gravesend," taken up by William Green in 1680. By his will bearing date 1708 he devised it to his sons, John, Thomas and George. Thomas left his portion to his sons, Thomas and James. The latter owned the land through which the King's Road passed at a point where another road, leading from the old landing on Duck Creek to Maryland, intersected it. Salisbury, a little settlement northwest on the King's Road, was laid out many years before. The old landing also had been in use many years. In 1768 James Green began the sale of lands at and near Duck Creek Cross-Roads, and sold at the dates given below. To Samuel Ball, merchant of Philadelphia, March 14, 1768, fifteen acres; and November 6th following to Samuel and William Ball, sixty acres. On August 19th of the same year to William Creighton, five acres on the southwest side of the King's Road towards Salisbury. On the same day to Molleston Curry, one acre adjoining the cross-roads. On January 5, 1769, to William Jordan, one acre adjoining lots of Ball and Creighton. On January 25th of the same year Fen wick Fisher, four acres on King's Road adjoining Curry's. On March 10, 1770, a lot to William Hazel. To William Hazel, May 15, 1770, sixteen acres near the burying-ground adjoining Holliday and Curry's land. This was above Smyrna towards Salisbury, and the burying-ground mentioned was the Friends' burial-place. On July 26th of the same year to Benjamin Dawson, thirty perches on the south side of the main road, adjoining lots of Colonel John Vining, James McMullen and James Morris. On the same date to William Rees, five and one-half acres adjoining Potter's lot. To Allen McLane (leather breeches maker), January 4, 1772, four acres on the west side of the main road and one acre on the east side. To Thomas Skillington, tavern keeper, February 7, 1772, nineteen acres on the north side of the King's Road. On February 1st of same year to Joseph Shown, twenty-eight acres.

Thomas Ross had purchased one-fourth of an acre lying near the cross-roads on the road leading to Dover, and this he sold February 21, 1770, to Robert Wilds, inn-holder.

During the Revolutionary War Capt. Allen McLane and a company of thirty men from this neighborhood formed a part of the second battalion. Hon. Thomas Collins, one of the six revolutionary Presidents of the State, lived near Smyrna, and commanded a brigade of Delaware militia against that portion of Howe's army that was in New Castle en route for Brandy wine.

In 1789 George Kennard & Co. were the principal merchants in the village, and the Delaware Gazette and General Advertiser of October 28th of that year contains the following advertisement:

"JUST imported in the ships 'Lerant,' Captain Ward, from Liverpool, and 'Pigeon' Captain Sutton, from London, a very large assortment of European goods immediately from the different manufactories, and will be sold very low by the piece or loss quantity, at the store of
"George Kennard & Co.
"Duck Creek, Oct. 10th."

The village went by the name of Duck Creek Cross-Roads till 1806. In 1792 the Legislature met here, and at that time thought of making it the capital of the State. On January 16th of that year the name was changed to Smyrna by an act of the Assembly. The village increased slowly in population, and in 1815 contained about two hundred and fifty inhabitants. On January 29, 1817, the town was incorporated, and Henry M. Ridgely, William Hall, Jacob Stout, Jonathan Jenkins and Alexander McClyment appointed commissioners to survey, lay out and regulate the streets of Smyrna. They selected Nehemiah Clark as surveyor, and proceeded with their task June 20th of the same year.

The valuation of the real estate in 1818 as returned by the assessor was one hundred and fifty-nine thou-sand six hundred dollars.

The growth of the town was steady, and for many years large quantities of grain were purchased by the merchants of the town and stored in the granaries at the landing for shipment. The construction of the railroad, however, reduced the grain purchases in this vicinity.

In 1857 the town limits were extended one- fourth of a mile in every direction, making Smyrna one mile square instead of a half-mile as heretofore.

In 1857 the town contained 12 dry-goods and grocery stores, 4 clothing stores, 1 china store, 2 jewelry stores, 3 foundries, 3 coach-shops, 2 machine-shops, 6 blacksmith-shops, 2 harness-shops, 4 wheel-wright-shops, 4 boot and shoe-shops, 2 basket factories, 1 tannery with a capital of eighty thousand dollars, 2 hotels, 8 churches, 2 stove and tinware manufactories, 1 marble-yard, 1 gun and locksmith-shop, 1 select and several district schools, 3 ale and oyster saloons, 6 physicians, a barber shop and about eighteen hundred inhabitants. On December 6, 1860, the town was first illumined by gas, and since that time has been well lighted.

In 1861 a branch road was built to connect Smyrna with the main division of the Delaware Railroad. On Sunday morning, September 11, 1876, a fire broke out at the factory of Mitchell & Woddell, and before it was extinguished consumed five buildings, proving the most extensive fire ever in the town.

Smyrna is situated on a branch of Duck Creek, eight and a half miles from Delaware Bay and mid-way between Wilmington and Milford. It is surrounded by farms in a good state of cultivation and large quantities of grain are brought here for shipment. Its business interests are more extensive than those of any other town in Kent County. The population of the town, according to the' census of 1880, was two thousand four hundred and twenty-three inhabitants. According to statistics carefully gathered in 1883 by E. H. Beck, the business transactions of the two banks amounted to five hundred thousand dollars. The goods, wares, etc., sold per annum amounted to $844,600, and the goods manufactured, $495,000, making the total business interests of the town $1,339,600. There were 500,000 baskets of peaches grown in the vicinity of Smyrna in 1882, and of these 275,000 were shipped by rail, 125,000 by boat and 100,000 canned.


At the present time Smyrna contains 4 churches, a graded school of 8 departments, a post-office, 2 banks, 1 foundry and machine-shop, 8 carriage factories, 10 general stores, 9 grocery stores, 2 jewelry stores, 1 dry-goods store, 3 drug stores, 4 clothing stores, 3 flour and feed stores, 2 shoe stores, 4 millinery and trimming stores, 4 stove stores, 2 hardware stores, 3 confectionery stores, 2 furniture stores, 2 paper stores, 2 tobacco stores, 2 saddleries, 2 news-papers, 2 insurance agents, 2 real estate agents, 7 physicians, 2 dentists, an alderman, a justice of the peace, 3 barbers, 4 butchers, 2 bakers, 2 tailors, 7 phosphate agencies, 2 plumbers, 2 hotels, 1 saloon, 3 coal-yards, 2 lumber yards, 2 basket factories, 1 canning establishment, 1 evaporator, 5 shoe-shops and 3 wheelwright and blacksmith-shops.

By the act of January 29, 1817, James McDowell, Thomas Maberry and Henry Draper were appointed commissioners to hold an election at Smyrna for three commissioners, a treasurer and an assessor. They attended to their duties at the house of Mrs. Comfort Lockwood on Monday, June 2, 1817.


The following are the commissioners who have been elected at the different dates.

1817-26. James McDowell, Robert Patterson, William Kennedy.
1826. James McDowell, Abraham Pierce, George Woolls.
1826. Thomas Mayberry, Jacob Raymond, George Woolls.
1827-28. James McDowell, George Woolls, Enoch Spruance.
1829. Enoch Spruance, Piner Mansfield, Benjamin Benson.
1830. Enoch Spruance, Piner Mansfield, Thomas May berry.
183l. Benjamin Coombe, Enoch Spruance, Daniel C. Lockwood.
1832-33. Benjamin Coombe, Daniel C. Lockwood, Piner Mansfield.
1884. Joseph Hill, Benjamin Benson, Enoch Spruance.
No record until 1842.
1842. Joseph Hill, Benjamin L. Collins, George W. Cummins.
An omission of the records until 1846.
1845. William Temple, Pres., James B. Clements, Daniel Cummins, Joseph Faries, John D. Pitman.
1846. William Temple, Pres., Benjamin Enos, Daniel Cummins, James R. Clements, John D. Pitman.
1847. William Temple, Pres., Benjamin L. Collins, Benjamin Enos, Thomas Lockwood, J. D. Pitman.
1848. William Temple, Daniel Cummins, Robert Palmatary, Samuel Catts, John G. Black.
1850. Wm. B. Collins, James Millaway, Geo. W. Cummins, John M. Denning, Joseph Stayton.
1851. James R. Clements, George W. Cummins, James Millaway, Thomas P. Bryan, Samuel P. Wright.
1853. John A. Cavander, Joseph Faries, Presley Spruance, Benjamin Donoho, Thomas E. Jefferson.
1855. Dr. S. M. Fisler, Pres., Samuel Catta, John Mustard, Samuel P. Wright, R. Denny, Jos. Carrow, Jas. R. Clements.
1856. Dr. S. M. Fisler, Pres., Wm. Denny, Peter Carr, James R. Clements, Wm. C. Eliason, Enoch Spruance, Wm. Cummins.
1857. William Denny, Pres., John Eaton, Jas. R. Clements, Dr. Wm. Cummins, Wm. C. Eliason, Robert Denny, Enoch Spruance.
1858. Dr. 8. M. Fisler, Pres., William Denny, Wm. C. Eliason, Walter McMullen, John M. Voshell, Presley Spruance, Jr., Wm. Cummins.
1859. William Denny, Pres., Wm. C. Eliason, Wm. Cummins, Jno. M. Voshell, Wm. Mitchell. Samuel Reynolds. Henry Shermer.
1860. Ayres Stockly, Pres., Wm. C Eliason, Jas. R. Clements, Jno. M. Voshell, Edward Ward, Geo. H. Raymond, Wm. Cummins.
1861. John Mustard, Ayres Stockly, William Denny, Jno. M. Voshell, Edward Ward, John E. Collins, Wm. C. Eliason.
1862-63. Ayres Stockly, John Mustard, Wm. B. Collins, John Millaway, John E. Collins, John M. Voshell, Wm. M, Bell.
1864, E. J. Golt, Pres., John H. Bewley, J. A. Severson, W. C. Mitchell George H. Raymond, W. McMullen, P. Carr.
1866. N. T. Jerman, Pres , Robert Hill, James Taylor, R B. Allen, E. J. Golt, Wm. E. Spruance, John E. Collins.
1866. Wm. E. Collins, Pres., E. J. Golt, Peter Carr, John C. Bailey. John Millaway, George H. Raymond, Moses Price.
1867. Wm B. Collins, Pree., B. Deakyne, E. J. Golt, W. E. Hall, Moses Price, Geo. H. Raymond, W. D. Savin.
1868. John M. Voshell, Pres., Wm. B. Collin, John Van Gasken, Powell F. Nickerson, Geo. W. Taylor, E. J. Golt.
1869. Hyland B. Penington, Pres., John C. Bailey, Wm. B. Collins, G. W. Cummins, Jr., Moses Price, Geo. H. Raymond, Geo. W. Taylor.
1870. H. C. Douglass, Jno. C. Bailey, Wm. B. Collins, Pree., Geo. W. Cummins, Jr., Moses Price, Geo, H. Raymond, Geo. W. Taylor.
1871-72. Jno. M. Voshell, Pres., Ezekiel V. Cooper, John Van Gasken, Thomas E. Jefferson, John W Flick, N. F. Wilds, Wm. Sharp.
1873. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Thos. E. Jefferson, Saul Taylor, Jno. A. Cavender, C. C. Foxwell, N. F. Wilds, William Worden.
1874, Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Samuel Taylor, N. F. Wilds, T. K Jefferson, Jno B. Cooper, Jno. Van Gasken, C. C. Foxwell.
1876. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Jno. B. Cooper, N. F. Wilds, T. E. Jefferson, Douglass, Jno. Van Gasken, C. C. Foxwell.
1876. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Sam'l Taylor, T. E. Jefferson, J. W. Denney, N. F. Wilds, Sam'l Catts, John Cosden.
1877. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Robert Hill, J. W. Denney, John Cosden, Samuel Catts, Geo. W. Taylor, T. E. Jefferson.
1878-79. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Geo. W. Taylor, J. W. Denney, John Cosden, Jno. M. Voshell, Jno. Van Gasken, W. A. Faries.
1880. Jno M. Voshell, Pres., John Cosden, John Van Gasken, Jno. E. Collins, Jno. B. Cooper, Samuel Taylor, Jno. Mustard.
1881-82. Jno. E. Collins, Pres., Jno. B. Cooper, Samuel Taylor, W. A. Faries, John H. Hoffecker, J. Wesley Jones, E. Morris Cloak.
1883. Jno E. Collins, Pree., Jno, H. Hoffecker, John Cosden, Samuel Taylor, E. M. Cloak, W. Faries, John B. Cooper.
1884. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., James H. Groves, R. S. W. Hirons, Wm. A. Faries Geo. W. Taylor, Sam'l Taylor, Jno. B. Cooper,
1885-86. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., G. W. Taylor, Sam'l Taylor, W. A. Faries, Jno. B. Cooper, J. T. Jerman, John Van Gasken.
1887. Jno. H. Hoffecker, Pres., Wm. E. Hall, Jno. B. Cooper, O. B. Voshell, W. A. Faries, Jno. C. Bailey (resigned) Sam'l Taylor, E. V. Cooper.


The following persons have served as treasurers since the incorporation of the town.

1817-26. George Walker
1826. Ephraim Jefferson
1827-28. Colin F. Hale
1829-30. George Woolls
1831-34. Thomas Mayberry
1836-41. No records
1842. Dr. William Cummins
An omission until 1846
1846. Piner Mansfield
1840-47. Anderson Melvin
1848. Benjamin L. Collins
1860. John H. Bewley
1861-66. William Cummins
1866. Joseph C. Griffith
1856-70. Thomas E. Jefferson
1870. Henry Bearne
1871-72. John E. Collins
1873-76. J. Wesley Denney
1876-78. John E. Collins
1878-79. W. W. Techudy
1880. James P. Hoffeckar


The following were the assessors of Smyrna, with the dates of service.

1817-26. Presley Spruance
1826. Enoch Spruance
1827-30. Timothy C. Raymond
1830. Jacob Raymond
1831-34. Simon Spearman
1836-41. No records
1842. John M. Donning
An omission until 1845
1845-48. John M. Denning
1848. Thomas K Jefferson
1850. Benjamin L. Collins
1851-55. Wm. R. Cahoon
1855. John H. Denning
1856-57. Thomas L. Sutton
1858-61. William Wilds
1861. Robert Hill
1862. Joseph W. Mariner
1863. Henry Eubanks
1864. Joseph W. Mariner
1865-66. Henry Eubanks
1867. J. W. Mariner
1868. William Wilds
1869-70. E. J. Golt
1871-72. John A. Cavender
1873-78. E. J. Golt
1878. B. V. Weldon
1879-80. James Doughton
1881-82. Joshua T. Jerman
1883. J. B. Faries
1885. G. D. Stevenson
1886. Geo. M. Stevenson
1887. J. T. Jerman

Religious Matters

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Smyrna1 In 1704 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in England, sent out the Rev. Thomas Crawford, the first missionary to Kent County. Mr. Crawford was succeeded, in 1711, by the Rev. Mr. Henderson, and in 1733 the Rev. George Frazer was in charge of Kent County. The first regular effort to put the Episcopal Church on a permanent basis at Old Duck Creek was made in 1740, and to aid the effort Thomas Green, May 17th in this year, conveyed to Nicholas Ridgely and Thomas Tarrant, wardens of St. Jones' Church at Dover, "one whole and complete square acre of land to be laid out on the most convenient part of a tract called Graves End." A chapel was built, and the ground was used as a burying-ground. In 1744 the Rev. Arthur Usher, then the rector in charge, reports that there were "two wooden chapels begun, which I hope to see finished before spring." One of them was at Duck Creek, and the other at Mispillion. The deed for the glebe on which the chapel was built, dated August 17, 1744, was from Abraham Jacob and Ruth James to David Marshall and William Strickland, all of Kent County, and Alexander Chance, of New Castle County, for a tract of land in Duck Creek Hundred, laid out for forty acres in consideration of twenty pounds. An extract from the deed is as follows:

"Considering the necessity of having some place appointed for the worship of Almighty God according to the Rubric of the Church of England, established by law, David Marshall, William Strickland and Alex Chance have agreed with the aforesaid Abraham James, Jacob James and Ruth James for the aforementioned tract of land for the further Improvement of the Established Church, and for the better entertainment of a minister of the Established Church that shall be sent for that purpose by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts."

The Rev. Arthur Usher reported at this time that a brick church had been begun and finished at Dover, and this Duck Creek congregation came under the charge of the Dover Parish, and under the rectorate of the Rev. Hugh Neil, Charles Inglis and other ministers. In 1762, under the rectorate of Rev. Charles Inglis, a new brick church was erected. In his letter of date June 15, 1762, the Rev. Mr. Inglis says "the church at Duck Creek, in the upper end of the county, being too small also, and being old besides and decaying, the people unanimously agreed to build a new brick church of larger dimensions, and after a sermon I preached on the occasion, they subscribed very liberally, according to the circumstances. The church is now a building, and I expect to preach in it before next winter." On November 20, 1764, he writes, "the congregation declared that they would lay aside all thoughts of finishing their church if I removed, tho' the windows are now glazed." Dr. Inglis removed to New York in 1765, became rector of Trinity Church, and subsequently bishop of Nova Scotia. The building committee consisted of Daniel Cummins, Thomas Collins and John Cook. The Rev. Samuel Magaw was the last minister sent over in 1767 by the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He ministered from 1767 to 1775.

The Rev. Mr. Magaw records the completion of Duck Creek Church and its opening on Trinity Sunday, 1764, a large congregation present. The church had then ninety-four communicants. Rev. Mr. Magaw afterwards became rector of St. Paul's Church, Philadelphia. From the War of the Revolution the church suffered, and we find the records silent till 1786, when, on Thursday, June 23rd, the vestry of Christ Church, Dover, met and received the report of the committee appointed to meet and confer with a committee appointed by the vestry of St. Peter's Church, at Duck Creek, on the propriety of inviting the Rev. Samuel Roe to officiate in their churches; and the committee reported that it would be greatly advantageous to the said united churches of Dover and Duck Creek, and to religion in general, that the Rev. Mr. Roe should settle among them. The committee from Dover consisted of Messrs. Rodney, Taylor and Truitt; that from Duck Creek of Thomas Collins, Daniel Cummins, John Cook and Risdon Bishop. The same joint committee was reappointed to report on the subject of salary. They agreed that the sum of three hundred pounds be raised and given to the Rev. Mr. Roe for one year's service in said churches, and to be paid half-yearly in manner following, that is to say, the sum of two hundred pounds by the congregation of Christ Church and one hundred pounds by the congregation of St. Peter's. "It is also further resolved that the Rev. Mr. Roe attend the said churches alternately, on festal days altogether at Dover." Signed James Sykes, Thomas Rodney, John Baning, Joshua Clayton, Thomas Collins, John Cook, Daniel Cummins, Risdon Bishop. The Duck Creek committee also reported that St. Peter's had a glebe, which yielded twenty pounds rental annually. The glebe now forms the cemetery of the parish. The Rev. Mr. Roe continued and died in service here February 8, 1791. From this on till 1827 the parish languished and we have no records; but in 1827 the old brick church at Duck Creek was torn down and a new church was erected in Smyrna, on the lot of ground donated by John Cummins, son of the above mentioned Daniel Cummins. The building committee consisted of John Cummins, Ebenezer Blackiston, Jacob Raymond and John and Eben Clark. In 1828 the Rev. John P. Robinson was called to the charge of the parish, and he was succeeded in 1831 by the Rev. Robert S. Piggott, who was a learned and faithful pastor and a remarkable man in many ways. He was descended from Piggott, Baron of Boorne in Normandy, one of the knights who accompanied William the Conqueror into England. He was ordained deacon by Bishop White in 1823. He died July 24, 1887, at the advanced age of ninety-two years, and was actively engaged in the work of the ministry until compelled to retire by the infirmities of age, three or four years before his death. Through a long and faithful service to the church he occupied many positions as rector and professor in colleges with great credit and ability. He was a prominent Mason. In art he was said to be an engraver of no mean order. HU engravings have been pronounced by adepts as among the very best. He left one of General Washington, one of Colonel Thomas Pickering, one of Dr. Chapman, another of A. J. Dallas, others of Patrick Henry, Bishop South, Dr. Muhlenburg and Bishop Seabury, of Connecticut. During his ministrations at Smyrna he left a painted portrait of John Cummins, the chief founder of St. Peter's, which is highly prized by his family. The successors to Dr. Piggott were in order, Revs. John P. Bausman, John Woolward, Willis Peck, Daniel Higbee, Thomas D. Ozanne, James Tyng, Andrew Freeman, Samuel F. Carpenter. In 1857 the congregation enlarged and remodeled the church through a building committee consisting of George W. Cummins, Dr. William Cummins and George Henry Raymond, by the addition of twenty feet to its length and two wings, making the edifice cruciform and giving largely increased sitting capacity, but with the objectionable feature of an organ-loft, back of and over the pulpit. In July, 1868, the Rev. Dr. Julius E. Grammer, now of Baltimore, was called to St. Peter's, and remained until January, 1861. His successors were Revs. Henry S. Getz, Dr. Morsel, Jos. T. Wright, John G. Bawn, Arthur S. Johns. The lot of ground adjoining the church was bought for a chapel, and the corner-stone laid by Bishop Lee, August 21, 1872. A beautiful frame chapel in Gothic style, twenty-eight by sixty feet, was erected at the cost of four thousand dollars, the gift of Mrs. Susan H. Fisler, daughter of John and Susan H. Cummins, with stained-glass windows memorial of Dr. Fisler, her husband, and her father and mother. On August 23, 1878, the present rector. Rev. Wm. B. Gordon, took charge of the parish. In 1885 the congregation, through the building committee, consisting of Rev. Mr. Gordon, G. W. Cummins and E. A. Evans, made great improvements in the church edifice, tearing out the organ-loft and making an open chancel and putting in the large memorial window, the gift of A. G. Cummins, in memory of his father and mother, John and Susan H. Cummins. The whole inside was renovated and painted, as also the exterior, at a cost of about three thousand dollars. In 1883 a fine rectory was built, costing three thousand five hundred dollars, on lot of ground donated by Mrs. Susan H. Fisler.

Methodist Church, The first Methodist services held in Smyrna were conducted by Rev. Philip Cox in the residence of James L. Stevenson. It was a little log building, adjoining the present church-site, and was destroyed by fire in 1850. In 1780 Rev. Francis Asbury visited this place (then known as "Duck Creek Cross-Roads"), and preached his first sermon to the "three hundred people" in an orchard between Smyrna and Duck Creek village.

In 1786 the "old frame church" was erected in the "old burying-ground," which was land donated to the church by Allen McLane. It was a building thirty feet square, and in Asbury's notes is mentioned as a "comfortable house." In this building the Quarterly Conference was held for a number of years. In 1782 Dover Circuit was formed, and Asbury Church formed a portion of it until 1804, when Duck Creek Circuit was created from a part of Dover Circuit. Edward Martin, Israel Peterson, Thomas Wilds and John Lockwood were the stewards in 1790. On February 22, 1799, notice was given to the society that a meeting would be held on March 4th of that year for the purpose of electing seven trustees. At that meeting there were present John Cole, James McDowell, Israel Peterson, George Kennard, Simon Van Winkle, Peter Lowber, James Stevenson, James Henry, Messer Beaston, Philip Denny, Daniel McDowell, Benjamin Farrow, Noah Hickman, William Spearman, John Palmatary, Major Taylor, Benjamin Bassett, Robert Patterson, Thomas Hall and Molliston Curry.

They proceeded to an election with the following result.

James McDowell 20
James Stevenson 20
John Cole 19
George Kennard 19
Israel Peterson 19
Peter Lowber 11
Simon Van Winkle 11
James Henry 7
Major Taylor 6
Daniel McDowell 3
Benj. Farrow 2
Noah Hickman 1
Benjamin Bassett 1
Wm. Spearman I

John Cole was chosen president of the board, James Stevenson secretary, and George Kennard treasurer.

The certificate of incorporation was signed and sealed on same date, and recorded March 23, 1799. The deed for the property was executed by Allen McLane on the following 9th of May. On June 22, 1801, the trustees appointed George Kennard and John Cummins managers of the graveyard. On March 18, 1811, Isaac Davis and Robert Petterson were elected trustees vice Kennard and Lowber.

In 1812 sixteen churches composed the Smyrna Circuit. In 1819 the "old frame church" was enlarged. Benjamin Coombs deeded more land to the church for cemetery purposes in 1823.

In 1828 the Churches of Smyrna Circuit had the following number of members.

Union 100
Middletown 42
Lee's Chapel 66
Webster's 33
Smyrna 144
Kenton 65
Farrow's 43
Blackision's 44
Massey's 19
Head of Sassafras 34
Johnstown 24
Raymond's 67
Severson's 20
Friendship 29

In 1830 a lot on Delaware Street was purchased of Isaac Davis, and a parsonage erected. In 1848 the lot on which the present church stands, on Mt. Vernon Street, was bought of Dr. Fisler. The erection of a brick church was commenced, and the corner-stone laid May 24, 1844. This remained until 1871, when it was torn down, and on August 14th of that year work was commenced on the present edifice. The corner-stone was relaid on October 7, 1871, and the church dedicated November 24, 1872, by Bishop Foster. The new building is a brick structure, sixty by eighty feet, forty-five feet high, with two slated towers, one, one hundred and thirty-five feet, and the other fifty-five feet high. The auditorium is forty-five by sixty-two feet, and has eighty pews, which, with the gallery, will seat seven hundred and fifty persons. The cost of the improvement was $22,000. The building committee was William Worden, J. H. Bewley and John H. Hoffecker, who, with James B. Clements, Joseph Smithers, John B. Cooper and William H. Baggs, composed the board of trustees for that year. In 1860 the church purchased five acres of land for cemetery purposes. It was commonly called the "Budd Lot," and lies between Smyrna and Duck Creek.

In 1845 Smyrna was formed into a separate station and assigned a pastor of its own. A dispute arose as to whether the parsonage belonged to the circuit or the Asbury Church. As a result, it was sold, and is now in possession of Mrs. Mary E. Boyd. The lot on which the present parsonage stands was purchased of James R. Clements. The building was erected at a cost of $6500. The church is now in an excellent condition, and has a membership of six hundred.

The Sunday-school, started in 1827, has now fifty-two teachers and officers and four hundred and three scholars under the superintendence of John H. Hoffecker. The school has access to a large and care-fully selected library. The present trustees are John H. Hoffecker, Joseph Smithers, Robert D. Hoffecker, William Faries, Alfred D. Hudson, Samuel Roberts, J. W. Denney, W, W. Tschudy and J. B. Cooper.

The following ministers have been stationed as presiding elders over the several circuits with which Asbury Church has been connected.

Ministers of Asbury Church

Rev. Joseph Everett 1791
Rev. Wm. P. Chandler 1804-07
Rev. Solomon Sharp 1808
Rev. Richard Sneath 1809
Rev. James Smith 1810-14
Rev. Henry Boehm 1815-19
Rev. Wm. Bishop 1819-23
Rev. Thos. Ware 1823-25
Rev. Jacob Moore 1825-27
Rev. Lawrence Laurenson. 1827-28
Rev. Lawrence McCoombs 1828-38
Rev. Mathew Sorin 1833-36
Rev. David Daily 1836-40
Rev. Henry White 1840-41
Rev. Dan'l. Lambdin 1811-14
Rev. Henry White 1844-46
Rev. John T. Hazard 1846-50
Rev. T. J. Quigly 1850-64
Rev. Wm. McCoombs 1854-68
Rev. Thos. C. Murphey 1858-61
Rev. T. J. Quigly 1861-65
Rev. T. J. Thompson 1866-73
Rev. John Hough 1873-76
Rev. Charles Hill 1876
Rev. Thomas E. Martindale 1876
Rev. J. H. Caldwell 1884-85
Rev. John France 1885

The following is a list of the pastors who have been stationed here since Asbury Church became a separate charge.

Rev. Joseph Mason 1846-47
Rev. James M. McCarter 1847-49
Rev. Jno. A. Roche 1849-5l
Rev. H. E. Gilroy 1851-53
Rev. T. C. Murphey 1853-55
Rev. Wm. C. Robinson 1855-57
Rev. Charles Hill 1857-59
Rev. Wm. H. Brisbane 1859-61
Rev. Wm. Bishop 1861-63
Rev. Charles Cooke, D.D. 1863-66
Rev. Samuel L. Gracey l866-69
Rev. A. Rittenhouse 1869-71
Rev. J. F. Clymer 1871-78
Rev. G. A. Phoebus, D.D 1873-76
Rev. Enoch Stubbs 1876-78
Rev. T. H. Haynes 1878-81
Rev. J. D. Rigg 1881-84
Rev. J. B. Quigg 1884-87
Rev. W. S. Robinson, the present pastor 1887

The Presbyterian Church of Smyrna was probably organized in 1733. In that year they built a church edifice a little south of the town limits, on a tract known as Holy Hill, and now used as a cemetery. The first pastor was Rev. Robert Jamison, who served this congregation from December 26, 1734, until his death, which occurred ten years later. The next pastor was Kev. John Miller, who was installed in 1749 as pastor of the churches of Dover and Duck Creek. In 1763 a complaint was lodged against him in the Presbytery on the grounds that he introduced and used Watts' version of the psalms in the congregation of Duck Creek. Rev. Miller continued as pastor until his death, in 1791. For many years the church was without a pastor, and dwindled away until it finally became extinct. In 1818 the old church building was repaired, and an interest awakened. The pulpit was occasionally supplied by Rev. James Wilson and Rev. Alexander Campbell. The affairs of the church moved along slowly until 1846, when a church building on Mt, Vernon Street was purchased of the Methodist Protestants, and the church was reorganized. Rev. Thomas G. Murphy became pastor and served until Oct. 6, 1859. Rev. J. C Thompson was the next pastor, and filled the pulpit from 1860 until 1864. He was followed by Rev. John McCoy, who ministered here from January, 1865, until Feb., 1869. Rev. G. W. Kennedy was stated supply from August, 1869, until October, 1870. Rev. S. S. Sturgess preached here from June, 1871, until Dec. of the same year. Rev. Jno. Squire ministered here for about a year, and was followed by Rev. R. A. Brown, who served from Jan., 1874, until April, 1875. The present pastor, Rev. Justus T. Umsted, D. D., was installed May 15, 1877.

In 1883 it was decided to erect a new edifice, and a lot was accordingly procured on Main Street and the construction commenced. The building was completed and opened April 6, 1884. It is built of serpentine stone in the early English Gothic style. The main building is fifty-six and one-third by thirty -seven and two-thirds feet, with a tower and spire about one hundred feet high, and has a capacity for seating three hundred persons. In the rear is a chapel, forty-seven by twenty-three feet, which is used for Sunday-school purposes. The church is in a flourishing condition, and has eighty-five communicants.

A Sunday-school of seventy scholars, under the superintendence of Geo. W. Taylor, is connected with the church.

The following persons are trustees at the present time: Nathan L. Underwood, John Heitshu, William B. Collins, E. V. Cooper, Geo. W. Taylor, John Mustard, Henry C. Murphey.

Roman Catholic Church. The first meetings of the Roman Catholics were held in Smyrna in the residence of Michael Riley about 1863, and were conducted by Father Daily, of New Castle. After the first few meetings the place of holding the services was changed to the residence of Mr. McCoy, at Spruance City. The meetings were held once a month and were attended by six families. In 1881 Odd Fellows' Hall in Smyrna was secured and services conducted here until the purchase of the present church from the Presbyterians in 1883. The church was denominated St. Polycarp Roman Catholic Church and dedicated June 16, 1883, by Bishop Foster and Father Bradford. During 1883 and '84 services were held twice a month, but were again reduced to once a month. The church was named in honor of St. Polycarp, a bishop of Smyrna, Asia, who was martyred in the second century. It is now a mission with ninety communicants, but will soon be converted into a parish. The following priests have ministered here: Father Daily, Father Taylor, Father Bradford, Father Flynn and Father Graff.

The first Sunday-school in Smyrna, and the one whence all the others have sprung, was organized in 1820 by eight young ladies. Their names were Margaret Kennedy, Sally Basset, Mary Patterson, Mary Davis, Rebecca McDowell, Mary Bassett, Matilda Abbott and Ann Curry. The first service was held September 10th of that year, in a house on East Commerce Street, now owned by Mrs. Thomas Davis. After the first Sunday the Sunday-school was held in the Mechanics' Academy. Miss Kennedy acted as superintendent from the organization until April, 1821, when Miss Sally Bassett served in that capacity. In 1823 there were seventy -one scholars, thirty -seven girls and thirty-four boys, who were instructed in divine knowledge by Misses Rebecca McDowell, Sallie McDowell, Sallie Patterson, Mary Ann Wools and Mr, Joseph Farrow. The Sunday-school was continued until June, 1827, when the several denominations separated and formed distinct organizations to be conducted in connection with their respective churches.


Probably the earliest school in Smyrna, and one which attained the most celebrity, was a Friends' school, known as the Southern Boarding School. The school exercises were performed in the building on Mt. Vernon Street, now owned by Mrs. S. M. Fisler, and the students boarded in the building now the residence of John Mustard. This institution was closed before 1825, and little can be learned concerning it.

On January 29, 1817, the Mechanics' Academy of Smyrna was incorporated, with Thomas Maberry, William Kennedy, Ephraim Jefferson, James Smith, Ebenezer Blackiston, Jr., Jacob Pennington and John Denning as trustees. In September, 1820, Mr. Barstow, who had been a teacher of this institution, died. The academy was open for a few years, and then discontinued. The building stood on Mt. Ver-non Street, where the residence of Mrs. Clarissa Faries now is, and was afterwards moved to Cummins Street, and is now the property of the heirs of the Rev. T. J. Thompson.

Samuel Priestly also taught a private school, first in the building previously occupied as a Friends' academy, and afterwards in the building now occupied by the Rev. Justus T. Umsted, D. D., discontinuing it in 1825.

A select school was taught by Mrs. S. P. Mason in 1837 and 1838.

In 1866, Rev. F. M. Chatham was the principal of the Smyrna English Classical Academy, which was held in the Friends' Meeting-house. He was succeeded by Dr. J. E. Clawson, who continued the school until the building was destroyed by fire about 1874.

At other times select schools have been held in this town for short intervals.

The first free school in the town was opened in a building on East Commerce Street, now owned by Mrs. Thomas Davis. It was started by the young ladies of the town, among whom figured prominently in this undertaking Mrs. Ann Spruance and Misses Mary and Ann Patterson. It was incorporated as Female Union Society, January 22, 1818. Its object was to educate those who were unable to pay the tuition at the private schools. The school was continued until the adoption of the public school system.

By the first division of the county into school districts, according to the act of 1829, Smyrna formed a portion of Districts No. 3 and 5. Two frame school-houses were erected, one on North and the other on South Street. At a later date District No. 77 was created out of No. 3, and District 107 out of No. 6. No new buildings were erected in the new districts, but the schools conducted as before. In 1854 it was found necessary to provide more ample accommodations for the scholars, and the building on South Street was removed and a two-story brick structure, twenty-six by forty feet, erected. Both buildings are still standing, though no longer used for school purposes. The building in District No. 3 received several additions and alterations, and was used for school purposes until 1884. The growth of the schools and the advantages of the graded-school system led to the consolidation of the schools. In 1881 an act was passed enabling the commissioners to consolidate, and on April 4th of that year a meeting of the commissioners of Districts No. 3, 77, 6 and 107 was held, which resulted as follows: The board organized by electing George H. Raymond president; E. M. Cloak, secretary; P. Hoffecker treasurer. On July 13th of same year, George H. Raymond resigned his position as commissioner, and William M. Bell was chosen his successor.

In September 1881, L. Irving Handy was elected principal, which position he filled until 1887, when he resigned and accepted the position of superintendent of the public schools of Kent County. Pursuant to a notice given January 8, 1883, a meeting of the tax payers was held January 19th for the purpose of considering the advisability of erecting a new school-house. At this meeting it was resolved, "That the Board of Directors of the Smyrna Public Schools be, and hereby are, authorized and requested to ask from the General Assembly at its present session, an amendment to the act entitled an 'Act to Consolidate the Public Schools of Smyrna,' enabling the said Board of Directors to borrow, not exceeding the sum of sixteen thousand dollars, for the purpose of erecting a school-house in said district." The petition was granted, and on February 12th John H. Hoffecker, George W. Taylor, W. A. Faries and William M. Bell were appointed a committee to select a suitable site. A lot on the corner of Delaware and South Streets was selected and purchased of the heirs of Mr. Catts. The plan of a building, as draughted by C. E. Graham & Sons, of Wilmington, was adopted on April 3rd.

The contract for the building was awarded to T. W. Farree & Bro., of Yorklyn, on the 2nd of May. On May 29th William M. Bell, W. A. Faries and G. W. Taylor were appointed a building committee. The building was completed and accepted in January, 1884. It is a brick structure, cruciform in shape, having four transepts, each twenty-five by thirty-five feet, two stories high and forming eight rooms. The centre building is thirty-five feet square, three stories high, and is surmounted with a dome and belfry, making a total height of ninety-two feet. The total cost of the building was fourteen thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight dollars. The old school property was sold January 2nd of that year. The land on South Street was divided into six lots, three of which were purchased by William M. Bell, two by J. C. Bailey and one by Mrs. Hannah Surgeon. The lot on North Street was purchased by W. W. Tschudy. In June, 1884, Edward B. Gordon and Harry R. Bell were graduated as the first alumni of the public schools. The first commencement exercises were held June 26, 1885, when a class of five was graduated. At the present time twenty -three have graduated. There are at the present time in the public schools eight departments.

The corps of teachers at present is W. G. Lake, principal; Miss Lizzie Parrott, Miss Emma Hough, Miss Anna Doughten, Miss Lizzie McDowell, Miss Kate L. Storm, Miss Mary Spruance and Miss Carrie C. Budd.

The following persons have served as school directors since the consolidation of the districts:

1881. Wm. M. Bell, E. M. Cloak, James P. Hoffecker, Geo. W. Taylor, Wm. H. Garr, David T. Smithers, Wm. A. Faries.
1882 and 1883. John H. Hoffecker, E. M. Cloak, Geo. W. Taylor, James P. Hoffecker, Wm. M. Bell, David T. Smither, W. A. Fades.
1884 and '85. J. P. Hoffecker, W. M. Bell, E. M. Cloak, G. W. Taylor, W. A. Faries, J. H. Hoffecker, J. H. Groves.
1886 and 87. Geo. H. Raymond, Geo. W. Taylor, James P. Hoffecker, W. A. Faries, E. M. Fowler, John H. Hoffecker, Geo. M. Stenson.


"At no time have the manufactories of Smyrna been numerous or extensive. In addition to those in operation at the present time, there are several no longer in existence that deserve passing notice.

Green's Pottery on Main Street, on property now owned by William E. Hall, was in operation many years, and discontinued about 1840.

In August, 1824, John H. Pennington advertised that he had commenced the manufacture of "Piano Fortes'' in Smyrna. How long he continued or where his factory was situated is unknown. Mrs. Sarah P. Mason used a piano of his manufacture for a short time.

In 1830 Benson & Catts, were extensive carriage-builders. After the decease of Samuel Catts the business was transacted under the style, Benson & Co. Gaboon & Carrow were their successors, and were in the business in 1857. The factory was on land now used as a garden by John H. Hoffecker.

Col. Samuel Catts, of Smyrna, was born May 10, 1800, in Camden, Kent County, and died in Smyrna, June 23, 1856. His ancestors were English, and settled in Virginia the latter part of the 17th century. His father died when he was quite young, and left him to the care and guidance of his mother, a woman of many excellent qualities. At the age of sixteen he went to Wilmington to learn a trade, carriage-making, a most important one in the days when there were no railroads. After the usual apprenticeship he resolved to further improve himself by such an education as was within his command, and for that purpose, by means of his savings and a small legacy left him, attended for two years the Kennett Square Academy, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, an institution of learning well known at that time, where, by the exercise of that industry and perseverance which characterized him through life, he acquired what was then considered a liberal education.

In 1823 he went to Smyrna, and soon thereafter with Benjamin Benson engaged in the manufacture of carriages. At that time this was comparatively an infant industry in that section of country, but, by reason of their energy, excellent workmanship and integrity, they built up not only the most important manufacturing establishment in the county, but one of the most important in the State, their trade extending not merely throughout Delaware, but all over the Peninsula and beyond, as far north as Philadelphia, and south as Washington. They employed a large force of skilled workmen, and made every part of the vehicle, even the silver-plating, in their own factory.

In the transaction of his business he traveled much, visiting all the important towns and cities over a large section of country, and became favorably known to many people. He retired from business in 1844, having amassed a fortune. He held many positions of trust and honor. He was for many yean a director of the Farmers' Bank at Dover, director of Insurance Company in New Castle County, and was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity being one of the original members of the lodge in Smyrna. When the Delaware Railroad was projected, he subscribed liberally to its stock, and in order that Smyrna might receive the greatest benefit, earnestly advocated its construction east of the town. Surveys were made to that end, but other influences prevailed, and he died before the completion of the road.

In politics he was a liberal Whig, a great admirer of Clay, and a devoted partisan, in its higher sense, of Whig principles. He had a thorough understanding of our government and its history and the administration of its affairs, and in the politics of the State exercised a strong and beneficial influence. At one time he was mentioned with favor as United States Senator, and in the caucus of his party, then in power in the Legislature, was within one rote of the nomination. He was a Presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1848, when (General Taylor was elected; was an aide-de-camp, with the rank of colonel, on the staff of Governor Comegys, and also held local municipal office.

Colonel Catts was intellectually one of the strong men of Delaware. To a foundation of large common sense, which he used with great advantage in the discernment of men and things, he added, by study, an extended knowledge of the best English literature, of which he had accumulated a fine library; and in his discourse displayed the taste of a critic and the mind of a philosopher. He accepted no statement, argument or theory without investigation, and the final approval of his own intelligence and conscience, and, though independent in his mode of thinking, he was a Christian, and allowed the widest latitude to others. In social, as well as public, intercourse his manner was engaging and his mental strength at once apparent. To a large mind he added a large and commanding, yet companionable, presence, and though he invited friendship, he would not tolerate familiarity.

He was married in 1829 to Sarah, daughter of John Baily. Mrs. Catts is still living at the age of eighty-one, in the possession of faculties bright and unimpaired. They had eight children, five of whom are still living, viz., Sarah Elizabeth, married to Dr. John F. Cuningham, of Philadelphia, formerly of Chester County, and now deceased; Samael, Anna, Evelina, of Smyrna, and Charles W., lawyer, practicing in Philadelphia.

A building west of the present factory of the Smyrna Buggy Company was occupied as a foundry in 1854 by Bowman, Elliott & Co. On the second floor was a sash and door factory, established in 1859 by Mitchell & Bowman. In 1865 the building was purchased by Hoffecker & Brother, and used for manufacturing woolen yarn. It was next operated as a basket factory by Richard Mitchell, and while in his occupancy, in 1870, was burned, and has never been rebuilt.

In 1857 J. Millaway & Son were operating a foundry on the present site of the Town Hall. McMullen & Shermer commenced manufacturing wagons about 1850 and continued until 1870. The factory was on Commerce Street, where J. B. Cooper's residence now stands.

In 1857 J. M. Denning operated a carriage factory near the present site of Hoffecker's canning establishment.

Isaac Solomon started a soap and candle factory about 1845 on the site now occupied by L. Irving Handy's residence. Robert Denney was the next owner, who in March, 1859, sold it to A. Holmes Stockley. It was afterwards owned by A. Elton, who sold it to C. E. Foxwell and W. V. Grieves on March 28, 1866, and soon discontinued.

Clegg & Ruth were operating a foundry in 1857 on the comer of Delaware and Commerce Streets.

Pratt & Lockwood started a foundry on the site now occupied by the Smyrna Buggy Company. James Davis succeeded Thomas Lockwood in the firm, and the business was transacted as Pratt & Davis. The factory was burned while operated by them, and was rebuilt by Thomas Lockwood. It has since been operated by Dixon & Clements, J. B. Evans & Co., and from 1882 to '85 as a pickling factory by the Diamond State Pickling Company.

In September, 1860, Joseph H. Collins opened a fan factory on Market Street, near Commerce. The factory was a two-story building, thirty by forty feet, and gave employment to eight hands. On May 18, 1862, it was sold by the sheriff, and purchased by Robert Hill, but was never operated afterwards.

On November 13, 1751, Thomas James sold to An-drew Peterson, millwright, thirty acres of land and a grist-mill adjoining the meeting-house and burial-place (Holy Hill). The thirty acres were probably on both sides of the stream. The mill remained in the possession of the Peterson family many years, and then was purchased by William Sharp and known as Sharp's Mills. Sharp was unable to retain the mill, and it again came into the possession of the Petersons and became the property of Mrs. John C. Corbit, to whom it now belongs. For the past ten years it has been operated by J. B. Webb. The mill is run by water-power, and the grinding is done by burrs. It has a capacity for grinding eighty bushels of grain per day.

In 1867 Joseph V. Hoffecker opened a canning establishment on Main Street. In the following year he associated with himself his brother, John H. Hoffecker. A three-story frame building, forty-two by sixty feet, on the site of the present factory, was fitted up with the requisite machinery. This building was burned August 3, 1875, and the present building erected the following year. The front part of the building is two stories high, forty-four by forty feet, and the back part one story, forty-four by sixty feet.

In 1877 John H. Hoffecker became sole owner, and has since operated it. Tomatoes, corn, pumpkins and all fruits available are canned. During the season (from August 1st till November 1st) employment is given to one hundred and twenty-five persons. The capacity of the cannery is five hundred thousand cans. The cans used are manufactured here, and for this purpose five men are employed six months each year.

In addition to the canning industry, in 1882 a building was erected and fitted up with two Williams evaporators. These have a capacity of three hundred baskets per day, and give employment to twenty-five additional hands. The fruits and vegetables prepared in this establishment are shipped to New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

John H. Hoffecker, one of the prominent manufacturers and business men of Smyrna, is of German descent. His great-grandfather, Henry Hoffecker, many years before the Revolution, immigrated to America with his wife, four sons and four daughters, and settled on a tract of land at what is now Leatherbury's Corner, in Kent County, near Smyrna. In his native land Henry Hoffecker learned the tailor's trade and followed it as an occupation in this country. Late in life he returned to Germany to receive an inheritance, and died on his return passage to America.

John Hoffecker, his youngest son and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Kent County, and during his life was successfully engaged in farming. He was married to Catharine Slack, and three sons were born to them, namely, James, Joseph and Henry. Joseph, the second son and father of John H. Hoffecker, was a prosperous farmer, residing five miles east of Smyrna, in Duck Creek Hundred, until 1887, when he bought the Edward Joy farm, now owned by his son, John H. Hoffecker. He was married in 1826 to Rachel Van Gasken, by whom he had seven children. He died in 1851, at the age of sixty-seven years. His widow is now living at the age of eighty years,

John H. Hoffecker, the eldest son of John and Rachel Hoffecker, was born September 12, 1827, on the farm which he now owns, a mile and a half from Smyrna, and obtained his education in the schools of that town. At his father's death he succeeded to the ownership of a large farm, which he cultivated from 1851 to 1868, when he moved to Smyrna and embarked in the business of canning fruits, with his brother Joseph as a partner. The partnership was dissolved in 1877, and the business has since been conducted by Mr. Hoffecker, who has greatly enlarged the establishment and increased the facilities for canning. In 1883 he added extensive evaporators and a fifty horse-power engine to his factory. He still continues to manage his farm of two hundred and twenty-five acres, which is mostly planted in fruit trees. During many years of his life he has done a great deal of surveying in his neighborhood.

Mr. Hoffecker was one of the originators of the Fruit Growers' National Bank of Smyrna, and has been a member of the Board of Directors since its organization in 1876. He is a director in the Kent County Mutual Insurance Company, president of the Smyrna Building and Loan Association since 1875, member of the Board of Town Commissioners since 1873 and president several years, a school director since 1882, and chairman of the Building Committee that erected the handsome public school building in 1883. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia and Smyrna Transportation Line since its origin, and was greatly instrumental in securing the erection of the water-works for the town of Smyrna.

Mr. Hoffecker in politics was a Whig from 1849 to the formation of the Republican Party, and in 1856 was one of the three hundred persons who voted for John C. Fremont, the first candidate of the Republican Party for President. In 1876 he was a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Cincinnati, when Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for the Presidency, and in 1884 was a delegate to the Convention at Chicago which nominated James G. Blaine for the same office. The important position he has held has given him prominence and influence not only in the town of Smyrna and his native county of Kent, but in the entire State of Delaware.

On the 19th of May, 1853, John H. Hoffecker was married to Miss Annie E. Appleton, daughter of John Appleton, of Odessa, Delaware. By this marriage were born four children, viz.: Walter O., married to Miss Beulah C. Hance, of Philadelphia, is engaged in business with his father; John A., married to Miss Annie Waters, of Smyrna, is chief clerk in the superintendent's office of the Delaware Division of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad at Clayton; James Edwin, married to Miss Annie Scott, is employed as clerk in the same office; Annie, the youngest of the family, lives at home.

Mr. Hoffecker's first wife died June 20, 1881. Her father is living at the age of eighty-four years.

In March, 1883, Mr. Hoffecker was married to Mrs. Charlotte J. Hoffecker, daughter of Matthias German, of Kent County. Mrs. Hoffecker was a teacher in China from 1875 to 1878, living in the family of her sister, who was the wife of Rev. S. L. Baldwin, D.D., for twenty years a missionary of the Methodist Church in China.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoffecker are members of Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church of Smyrna. He has been a prominent supporter of this church and member of its Board of Trustees and Stewards since 1860.

In 1826 John and Alexander Peterson opened a tannery in Smyrna, near the corner of Mt. Vernon and Union Streets. In 1837 John Peterson sold his share to John Mustard, and the tannery was conducted by him and Alexander Peterson under the style of Peterson & Mustard, until the death of Peterson in 1868. It was then operated till 1875 by John and Horace R. Mustard, and then abandoned. In addition to tanning, quercitron bark was ground from 1850 until 1877. The quercitron bark is used for dyeing purposes, and is principally shipped to Europe. The capacity for grinding was one thousand tons per year. The tannery had a capacity of five thousand hides per year, and the principal tan was sole leather. In 1883 Horace R. Mustard and A. Lee Cummins formed a co-partnership for the purpose of manufacturing baskets. The old tannery buildings were fitted up with machinery adapted to that use, and have since been operated as a basket factory. Baskets are made during four months of the year, and employment is furnished during this period to eighty persons. The majority of the baskets are used on the Peninsula, and the rest shipped to New Jersey and New York.

William Worden erected a steam saw-mill and machine-shop on Commerce Street in 1865. The building was a frame structure, forty by seventy feet In 1867 he associated with himself J. D. Evans, and shortly afterwards the firm began to manufacture baskets in addition to the other branches of industry. Additional buildings were erected, and in the three departments employment was given to one hundred persons. In 1873 Evans withdrew from the business, and full charge was assumed by Joseph E. Worden, son of William Worden. In 1875 the Worden Manufacturing Company was organized. This company operated the works until 1878, when they were purchased by Tschudy & Catts. On December 18, 1880, the entire manufactory was burned. In 1882 the present building, fifty-six by seventy feet, one story brick, and one story frame, was erected, and has since been operated as a basket-factory by Tschudy & Catts, with J. B. Evans as superintendent. Employment is given to seventy-five persons for four months each year. With improved machinery the capacity has increased from seventeen thousand, produced the first season, by Worden & Evans, to thirty -five thou-sand per week now manufactured. The principal markets are the Peninsula and New Jersey.

In 1847 James Taylor opened a general wheel-wright-shop and wagon manufactory on Commerce Street. In 1855 George W. Taylor, a son, was admitted into partnership, and the place of business moved to Main Street. In the following year the foundry of James L. Bucke was purchased, and operated until 1861. In 1864 G. W. & S. Taylor formed a partner-ship, and in 1869 started a shop on the present site. Additions have been made at different times until at present the manufactory is one hundred and thirty-five feet front, two hundred and ten feet deep, and two stories high. In November the G. W. & S. Taylor Company was formed. In this manufactory are combined a foundry, wagon-shop and a specialty machine-shop. Basket machinery and agricultural implements are manufactured in large quantities. Employment is given to sixty persons. They manufacture annually thirty wagons, one hundred sulky cultivators, one thousand two hundred hand cultivators, and numerous other implements, and in addition a large amount of repair work.

In 1882 Joseph L. Beckett commenced to manufacture wagons on Main Street, in a two-story building, one hundred by fifty feet, erected for that purpose. He gives employment to seven men, and produces fifty wagons per year.

In 1871 Lassell & Curry began to manufacture wagons on the corner of Mt. Vernon and Market Streets. In 1882 Samuel Whitman bought the interest of Henry Curry, and the business has since been conducted under the style of J. C. Lassell & Co. In 1885 they moved into the building on Main Street, which they now occupy. Sixty- five wagons are manufactured annually, and employment is given to twelve men.

In 1865 Geo. W. Tilghman opened a factory for manufacturing wagons and agricultural implements. In 1880 a steam saw-mill was attached. He gives employment to five men.

In 1880 Voshell & Jerman erected a building on Commerce Street, in which they placed four evaporators. They evaporate nothing but peaches, and during the season give employment to seventy-five hands. The capacity is five hundred baskets every twenty-four hours. During a season fifty thousand pounds of fruit are prepared, which is shipped principally to Pittsburgh.

Water Works. The necessity of a water supply was for many years keenly felt by the citizens of Smyrna. In 1885 the Legislature was petitioned for an act authorizing the town to borrow twenty thousand dollars with which to provide a suitable supply. The act passed March 16th of that year placed the matter in the hands of the tax-payers of the town. A vote was taken July 15th of the same year, which resulted in favor of water. After examining the methods of obtaining water in use in the neighboring towns, it was decided to dig a well and erect a stand-pipe. The contract was awarded to A. H. Coon & Co., of Kingston, Pennsylvania.

The work was completed and accepted by the town on March 25, 1886. The well is eighteen feet in diameter and twenty-one feet deep, and has a capacity of six hundred thousand gallons per day. The stand-pipe is eight feet in diameter and one hundred feet high, with contents of thirty-seven thousand six hundred gallons. In the engine-room near the well was placed a forty horse-power engine and a fifty horsepower boiler, for the purpose of forcing the water throughout the town and to the stand-pipe, which is nearly a mile distant from the well, and on an elevation of thirty-four feet. In 1887 an additional thirty horse-power engine and forty horse-power boiler were placed in the engine-room. Four miles of pipe are laid through the town, to which are attached thirty-four twin hydrants for fire purposes. Water is also supplied to two hundred private consumers. Since the plant was accepted by the town, it has been under the careful superintendence of Abel Taylor.

The water commissioners appointed by the town commissioners are: 1886 E. W. Taylor, J. B. Cooper, J. Van Gasken; 1887 Samuel Taylor, J. B. Cooper, William E. Hall.

The Smyrna Coal, Coke & Gas Company was incorporated in 1857, with a capital stock of sixteen thousand dollars. The gas consumed in Smyrna was furnished by this corporation until 1870, when the plant was sold by the sheriff, and purchased by Joseph Smithers and Patrick Maguire, who have since operated it. The factory is on Main Street near the mill-pond, and contains a reservoir, with a capacity of five thousand feet. In 1870, when it was purchased by the present proprietors, seventeen burners were used for lighting the streets, and the total consumption amounted to two hundred thousand feet per year. Until 1875 the gas was manufactured from rosin, but since that time it is made from coal. At the present time there are forty -seven street lamps, and a consumption of two million feet per year. Three miles of pipe are laid through the town.


The Commercial Bank of Delaware was incorporated February 9, 1812, with a capital not to exceed two hundred thousand dollars, which was to be placed in four thousand shares at fifty dollars per share. The act provided that the main bank should be established at Smyrna and a branch at Milford. Commissioners to solicit stock were appointed as follows: Smyrna, John Cummins, Robert Patterson, Presley Spruance, Jr., Benjamin Coomb, Ebenezer Blackiston, John Clark, John Lowber and Isaac Davis; Milford, John Adams, James B. Balaton, John Mitchell, Elias Shockley, Robert Hill, John Williams, Thomas Peterkin and Louder Layton.

The first general meeting of the "Commercial Bank of Delaware," at Smyrna, was held June 4, 1812. There were present as directors of the main bank, John Cummins, Robert Patterson, Isaac Davis, John Clark, John Lowber, George Walker, William F. Corbit, Cornelius P. Comegys and Joseph G. Rowland; and of the branch bank at Milford, John Mitchell, John Adams, Samuel Neal, Walter Douglass, Elias Shockley, Louder Layton and James B. Ralston. The directors were authorized to select suitable sites for banking-houses. On proceeding to an election the following officers were chosen: Main bank â€" President, John Cummins; Cashier, Ebenezer Blackiston; Clerk, James Stevenson. Branch bank President, John Mitchell; Cashier, Jacob Biddle; Clerk, Leonard Adkins.

The bank was opened in a building on Commerce Street, recently the residence of Mrs. Ann Spruance.

John Cummins was president until 1820, when he was succeeded by John Clark, who held that position until his death, which occurred in August, 1821. Robert Wilson was chosen his successor, and continued until the election in 1822, when John Cummins was again elected. In 1824 Thomas Peterken was chosen president and continued until his death, August 23, 1826, when Robert Patterson was elected his successor. He was president until 1830, when Reynear Williams was chosen. The last president was Presley Spruance, who was elected in 1832.

Ebenezer Blackiston was cashier until 1823, when Samuel H. Hodson was elected. He continued until the closing of the bank.

James Stevenson was succeeded as clerk in 1814 by Richard Simmons. Samuel H. Hodson was elected clerk in 1816.

John Mitchell was succeeded as president of the branch bank in 1819 by Mark Greer, and shortly afterwards the office of president was discontinued.

In 1816 Leonard Adkins was promoted to the position of cashier to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jacob Biddle. Adkins was succeeded by Spencer Williams in 1826, who continued until 1830, when George S. Adkins was elected. He continued until the closing of the bank.

In 1815 James Owens was chosen clerk, which position he held until 1820, when Robert O. Pennewill was elected.

The bank was very prosperous until the Bank of Smyrna was organized and opened. After that its interest dwindled, and very little was done. On December 22, 1836, it was ordered by the directors ''that the books, papers, cash and all other property whatsoever belonging to the bank be delivered over to Ayres Stockley, cashier of the Bank of Smyrna." And on November 1, 1838, it was resolved that a final dividend of all the assets be declared.

John Cummins was a son of Daniel Cummins, who lived at the corner of Mount Vernon and Main Streets, Smyrna, in a large double brick dwelling-house, built during the early part of last century and still standing. Daniel Cummins was one of the signers from Kent County of the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, and the chief founder of the Episcopal Church, which for a century or more stood at Duck Creek.

Daniel Cummins was the son of Timothy Cummins, who was born in Scotland about 1689, was a member of the Church of England, and immigrated to America in the early part of last century, settling at Oxford, Maryland, under the Lord Baltimore patent. The Cummins family trace their origin to John Cummins, Lord of Badenoch, who was Regent of Scotland about the time of Edward I.

John Cummins, the subject of this notice, was born in Smyrna April 7, 1777, and died July 29, 1833. He was the ninth child of a family of six sons and six daughters, born to Daniel Cummins and Frances, his wife. Before he attained the age of twenty-one years, having been employed with George Kennard, the leading merchant of Smyrna, he was taken in by him as partner, and in 1801, four years from that time, he bought out the interest of Mr. Kennard, and started in the mercantile business for himself. Being possessed of great natural ability and excellent judgment, he was so successful that in a very few years he amassed a large fortune for that time. By indomitable energy he extended his business, until it included, not only his store in Smyrna, but the baying and selling of grain grown in Kent County, and a large portion of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He thus made Smyrna the greatest grain market, except Wilmington, in the State of Delaware. He built a number of large granaries at Smyrna Landing, and owned several large vessels, by means of which he shipped his grain to Philadelphia, Wilmington, New York and Boston. These vessels, on their return, brought merchandise, and a great number of the merchants on the Peninsula were supplied with their goods from Smyrna by the wagons of John Cummins. His business interests continued to increase, and by the time he attained middle life he was the most extensive individual grain-dealer in Delaware. He purchased a large mill on the Brandywine at Wilmington, which was superintended by Samuel Shipley for many years. Cornmeal ground at this mill was shipped to the West Indies, and flour to Liverpool, England.

John Cummins, being an excellent financier, was elected president of the Commercial Bank of Smyrna, but at the expiration of the charter of that institution he declined to take an interest in the Smyrna Bank, and opened a private bank in connection with his large mercantile, milling and real estate interests and conducted it successfully until his death. He was the first in this region to practically introduce lime as a fertilizer for worn-out soils, and owned lime-kilns at Smyrna Landing.

Within twenty years from the time he began business for himself he acquired, by his tact and energy, about twenty-five farms in Kent County and the section of Maryland adjoining it, a large amount of valuable town property and bank stock, aggregating in value a quarter of a million of dollars, doubtless the wealthiest man of his time in the State.

In religion, John Cummins, like his ancestors, was an Episcopalian. He was chief founder and sup-porter through his life of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Smyrna, as the memorial chancel window of this church, donated by his youngest son, Alexander G. Cummins, expresses.

He was a delegate, as long as he lived, to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. For political preferments he had no aspirations, and with the exception of serving one term as a member of the State Senate, steadily refused to accept any office which would divert attention from his large and increasing business interests. John Cummins was a man of liberal ideas in both church and State relations. He commanded the fullest confidence of a very large part of the community in which he lived and of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and of all with whom he dealt. Many people would leave large amounts of money in his possession without taking receipts. His honesty and integrity were never questioned. He was given to great hospitality, and his house, now occupied by his son, David J. Cummins, was open for the entertainment of the clergy of the Episcopal Church, of his own and adjoining States, and his numerous friends in Delaware, Maryland, Philadelphia and elsewhere. As a gentleman of the old school, he was punctilious, regular in his habits and of courtly bearing. In the domestic circle he was typical of the best example of the husband and father, educating and guiding his children in the path of morality, and offering them the best advantages that the schools and colleges of that day afforded. He was a generous and liberal supporter of the church and all religious objects, and foremost in all the public enterprises of town and county. He was a man of most indomitable will, energy and perseverance, an indefatigable worker and possessed great mental strength. It was said by many of those who knew him best that he was capable of filling, with eminent ability, the most exalted position of honor and trust in the gift of the people.

John Cummins married Susan Wilson, daughter of George and Susan Wilson, June 17, 1806. Their children were Susan H., married to Dr. Samuel Fisler (deceased), of Smyrna; George W.; John H. (deceased); Alphonsa, married John G. Black (deceased); Dr. William (deceased); Martha A. (deceased); Mary (deceased), married to D. B. Cummins, president of the Girard National Bank of Philadelphia; Daniel (deceased); Rachel W. (deceased); David J., president of the National Bank of Smyrna; Anna W. (deceased); Martha, married to Alfred Barratt (deceased); Robert H. and Alexander Griswold Cummins.

George Wilson Cummins, the eldest son of John Cummins and Susan H. Wilson, his wife, was born in Smyrna January 18, 1809. He obtained the rudiments of his education at the Smyrna Academy, an institution which his father founded and supported. At the age of thirteen years he became a pupil of the famous scholar and mathematician, Enoch Lewis, who then conducted a school in Wilmington, remaining under his instruction for three years. At the end of this period his father assigned him to a position in his store, thus giving his son at an early age an excellent opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of the mercantile business. He was put under the charge of the chief clerk in his father's large store, instructed to implicitly obey him, and faithfully and thoroughly to perform every duty assigned. In 1830 George was taken into partnership in the extensive business which his father was then con-ducting at Smyrna. In March, 1834, soon after the death of his father, he assumed charge of the business, with his brother as partner, under the firm name George W. Cummins & Brother, afterwards as Cummins & Brother. They bought large quantities of grain, which they shipped in their own vessels to Wilmington, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Boston. They also bought and shipped bark, wood-staves, quer citron and other products in large quantities. From 1856 to 1859, George W. Cummins was in business by himself. During the last mentioned year he sold out to Col. Edwin W. Wilmer. Since that time he has been devoting his time and attention to his large land interests. He now owns two thousand five hundred acres of valuable farming land in Kent County, and resides at "Woodlawn," a delightful home one mile south of Smyrna. Mr. Cummins has been abundantly successful in the cultivation of peach orchards, which have yielded immense crops of that valuable fruit. He was one of the first persons in Kent County to grow the peach on a large scale, and was also one of the first to successfully use lime as a fertilizer in the region of country around Smyrna. He has now on his farms 8500 peach trees, 1500 pear trees and 100 apple trees.

In politics Mr. Cummins is a Democrat, and was elected by that party to represent Kent County in the State Legislature during the years 1856 and 1857. He served in that position to the satisfaction of his constituents, but he has never since sought or desired any political office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business operations, which brought him a larger income and greater comfort. On account of his rare executive and administrative ability, in 1868 he was elected president of the Kent County Mutual Insurance Company, and continued to hold that office with the greatest acceptability until 1886, when he resigned. He was one of the first directors of the company when organized. He served as director in the Bank of Smyrna, and was many years a director in the Farmers' Bank of Delaware, at Dover. For forty-seven years he has been a member, and thirty years a vestryman, of the Protestant Episcopal Church of his native town.

Mr. Cummins was married June 6, 1837, to Miss Evelina M., daughter of William and Ann Denny, of Kent County. His wife's mother died in 1881, at the advanced age of one hundred and four years, retaining to her last year full possession of her mental faculties. The surviving children of George W. and Evelina Cummins are George W., of Smyrna; Walter, attorney-at-law and Municipal Court judge at Wilmington; Sarah A. and Louisa A. Cummins.

Reverend Alexander Griswold Cummins, the youngest son of John and Sudan H. Cummins, was born in Smyrna, November 12, 1833. After obtaining a good preliminary education, he entered Trinity College, at Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated with the first honors of his class in 1852. He studied law for three years in the office of Henry J. Williams, then the leader of the Philadelphia bar, and immediately after his admission to practice sailed for Europe, and spent two years in study and travel. Upon returning, he began the practice of law in the office of his preceptor. At the expiration of five years, in fulfillment of the last request of his father that he would study for the ministry, he relinquished the legal profession and entered upon the study of theology. He was ordained by Bishop Williams, at New London, Connecticut in 1861. The same year at the invitation of Bishop Alonzo Potter, he was called to the rectorship of Christ's church, Reading Pennsylvania, where he successfully administered the affairs of the parish for six years. During that period he had erected in the rear of the church a commodious Sunday school building and rebuilt the church edifice at the cost of forty thousand dollars.

Mr. Cummins was married to Miss Louisa Hayes, daughter of Alexander Hayes, late president judge of the court of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. His son, Alexander G. Cummins, Jr. is a student at Swathmore College.

Bank of Smyrna "The President, directors and Company of the Bank of Smyrna" were incorporated February 5, 1821 and extended February 7, 1822. In the latter years the bank was opened for business with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars divided into shares of fifty dollars each. Hon. Issac Davis was elected to the office of president and Samuel H. Hodson as cashier. At this time there was no bank in New Castle County south of the town of New Castle and none in the northern part of Kent County except the "Commercial Bank of Delaware," also located in Smyrna. Hon. Issac Davis held the position of president until 1844, when he resigned and Hon Jacob Stout was elected to fill the vacancy. On March 11, 1847, on account of ill health, Judge Stout resigned the position and Jacob Raymond was elected. He continued until his death, which occurred October 6, 1852, when Hon. Presley Spruance, an ex-United States Senator was chosen.

Samuel H. Hodson was cashier until 1836 when he resigned and Ayers Stockly was elected. When Mr. Stockly was elected president May 1, 1856, William M. Bell was promoted from the tellership to the position of cashier.

Mr. Bell resigned November 6, 1884 and on the 27th of the same month W. H. Janney, the present cashier was elected.

The first board of directors of which any record was found was in 1846 and was composed of the following persons: Jacob Stout, Issac Davis, George W. Cummins, M. W. Bates, Jacob Raymond, Cyrus Polk, Daniel Corbit and William J Hurlock.

The bank building was handsomely remodeled in 1856 and on January 14, 1857 was re-opened. The officers of the bank in the latter years were as follows: President, Ayres Stockley; Cashier, William M. Bell; First Teller, E. J. Golt; Second Teller, John C. Stockley; Directors, Peter F. Causey, James R. Clements, Daniel Corbit, Daniel Cummins, George Davis, William J. Hurlock, Presley Spruance, Ayres Stockly and Henry Stout.

The charter of the bank was extended by the Legislature from time to time as it was necessary till 1878, when it was converted into a national bank. The certificate of incorporation was granted by John J. Knox, comptroller of currency, on April 4th of that year. At this time the bank was officered as follows: President, David J. Cummins; Cashier, William M. Bell; First Teller, O. B. Voshell; Second Teller; Directors, James W. Anthony, John C. Bailey, John H. Bewley, D.*J. Cummins, John E. Collins, James B. Conner, Wilson T. Cavender, Peter S. Collins, Andrew B. Roe, W. C. Satterfield, John W. E. Sudler and John M. Voshell.

The bank has always been successfully managed and has proved of great worth in the development and improvement of the surrounding country. In the selection of officers good judgment has been used and the bank has always enjoyed the confidence of the entire community. The capital stock still remains one hundred thousand dollars and the surplus is forty-five thousand dollars.

The present officers are: President, David J. Cummins; Cashier, W. H. Janney; First Teller, O. B. Voshell; Second Teller, Eugene Davis; Directors, D. J. Cummins, Henry Lea, Dr. A. E. Sudler, John M. Voshell, A. B. Roe, John C. Bailey, J. B. Connor, William Hutchinson. J. F. Denney, W. J. Hill, W. C. Satterfield and J. E. Collins.

A meeting for the purpose of organizing a new bank in Smyrna was held June 17, 1876. The undertaking met with favor, and on proceeding to an election the following persons were chosen directors: Jno. B. Cooper, Henry C. Douglas, A. P. Griffith, Jno. H. Hoffecker, A. L. Hudson, Thomas James, R. C. Johnson, Samuel Roberts, George H. Raymond, Joseph Smithers, W. W. Tschudy.

The directors met June 20th, and elected George H. Raymond president and N. F. Wilds cashier.

The "Fruit-Growers National Bank of Smyrna" was the name selected for this banking institution. It was authorized to commence the business of banking by a certificate of incorporation granted by the comptroller of the currency on June 23, 1876. On July 13th of the same year S. G. Wilds was elected teller.

A building on Commerce Street was secured and fitted up for banking purposes. This building was purchased of Jno. H. Hoffecker in December, 1880, by the bank, and is still used as a banking house. On July 18, 1876, the bank was opened for deposits and the payment of checks. The first discount day was August 1st of that year. The increased business of the bank made it necessary to employ a bookkeeper. On December 12, 1882, Charles E. Moore was elected to that position. He resigned April 14, 1885, and E. M. Fowler was elected his successor. The president, cashier and teller remain unchanged from the organization of the bank. In 1884 the number of directors was reduced from eleven to nine. The following changes have occurred in the board; in 1879 Samuel Hurlock succeeded A. P. Griffith and resigned in 1884, when N. P. Wilds was elected his successor; Jno. B. Cooper was succeeded by F. H. Harper in 1880; W. W. Tschudy was succeeded by William Ellison in 1885; and Henry Douglass and Joseph Smithers were not connected with the board after 1884. The prosperous condition of the bank is due to its able management by competent and trustworthy officers and the liberal patronage extended by the citizens of this vicinity. The capital stock is eighty thousand dollars and the surplus fifty thousand dollars.

The following are the officers of the bank at the present time: President, George H. Raymond; Cashier, N. F. Wilds; Teller, S. G. Wilds; Bookkeeper, E. M. Fowler. Directors: F. H. Harper, Jno. H. Hoffecker, A. L. Hudson, Thomas James, R. C. Johnson, George H. Raymond, N. F, Wilds, Samuel Roberts, William Ellison.

The Smyrna Building and Loan Association was organized April 9, 1867, with the following officers:
President, J. W. Spruance; Vice-President, Walter McMuller; Secretary, John B. Cooper; Treasurer, James R. Clements. Directors: Edward Beck, William Worden, I. D. Hamilton, Edward Ward, W. H. Woodkeeper, Benjamin H. Smith, George H. Raymond.

The first series was issued in April of that year, and subsequently eight more series were issued, three of which have matured. Each share matures when h has attained a value of two hundred dollars. The association has assisted very much in improving and building up the town.

The present officers are: President, Jno. H. Hoffecker; Vice-President, William E. Hall; Secretary, John B. Cooper; Treasurer, Jas. P. Hoffecker. Directors: Joseph E. Carter, Charles E. Moore, E. J. Golt, E. H. Beck, E. M. Fowler, G. M. Stevenson, W. P. Legg.


Morning Star Lodge, No. 6, I. O. O. F., was instituted June 18, 1842, with Henry Van Gasken, Timothy C. Palmatary, Edward Streets, John Mustard, and John Van Gasken as charter members. At the end of the first year there was a membership of about thirty. On December 10, 1845, the building in which the lodge met was burned and the records destroyed. The officers elected December 26th of that year were as follows: N. G., Thomas Hawkins; V. G., Benjamin F. Smith; Secretary, T. P. Brown; Assistant Secretary, C. F. Foulke; Treasurer, J. W. Denney.

The lodge owns a building in which meetings are held every Friday night. It also has a half interest in a cemetery, situated near Smyrna. The present membership is ninety-six.

The officers at present are: N. Q., Joseph H. Wright; V. G., Charles A. Barnes; R. S., John R. Cameron; P. S., George M. Stevenson; Treasurer, Joseph Wright; Warden, John C. Manning; Conductor, E. J. Golt.

McDonald Encampment, No, 2, I. O, O. F., was instituted at Smyrna in 1847. The charter members were Isaac Solomon, Henry Van Gasken, Thomas P. Bryan, Peter Carr, John Millaway, John M. Denning and Joseph K Meginnis. The encampment was 80 named in honor of Robert McDonald, who died in Wilmington in July, 1887. The lodge owns a half-interest in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, near the town. There are now forty-six members of the order, and meetings are held in the 1. O. O. F. Hall on the first and fourth Tuesday evenings of each month.

The officers at the present time are as follows: C. P., Joseph H. Wright; H. P., Abel S. Faries; S. W., John P. Patterson; J. W., Carl W. Williamsen; Treas., Joseph Wright; Scribe, E. M. Fowler; O. S. S., George T. Collins; I. S. S., John R. Mannering.

Harmony Lodge, No. 13, A. F. A. M., worked under dispensation of the Grand Lodge of Delaware from November 1, 1866, till June 27, 1867, when a charter was granted. The first officers were, W. M., Isaac K. Shortman; S. W. Louis M. Bell; J. W., J. Howard Peterson; Treas., Wm. A. Clouds; Sec, J. W. Marim; Tyler, George Z. Steadley.

These, with the addition of James McCarter, comprised the charter members. The lodge increased in numbers, and at the end of a year had a membership of twenty-three. The third floor of the opera-house is nicely fitted for lodge purposes, and meetings are held on the first and third Thursdays of each month. The lodge has a membership of sixty-five, and is officered as follows: W. M., Chas. E. Moore; S. W., N. F. Wilds; J. W., Isaac H. Farin; Sec, Geo. M. Stevenson; Treas., Thos. B. Megear; S. D., James W. Anthony; J. D., John V. Spruance; Tyler, John R. Cameron, Jr.; S. S., Wm. B. Megear; J. S., D. T., Smithers.

Smyrna Conclave, No, 45, I. O. H., was instituted January 26, 1882, with the following charter members: Benton V. Weldon, W. T. Collins, Joseph E. Williams, Edward L. Staats, Wm. Walker, J. H. Groves, J. B. Evans, Robt. D. Hoffecker, O. B. Voshell, W. A. Hardcastle, W. H. Baggs, Wm. Wood, Robt. Morris, Josiah D. Evans, Edwin O. Sipple and T. B. Hazard. The society has a membership of thirty and meets in the Odd Fellows' Hall.

The following are the present officers: Archon, John Wilkinson, Jr.; Provost, C. O. Swinney; Secretary, George M. Stevenson; Warden, Joseph H. Primrose; Sentinel, Wm. E. Hall; Financier, Wm. H. Baggs; Prelate, William Watkins.

Smyrna Lodge, No, 5, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Smyrna on March 25, 1885, with a membership of fourteen. The first officers were: P. C. T., William Wood; C. T. Herman Roe; V. T., Mrs. Wm. Wood; Chap., P. H. T. Wyatt; Dep., P. H. T. Wyatt; R. S.. Miss Susie E. Wyatt; F. S., Miss Morah Colton; Treas., Edward Gilbert. The members steadily increased, and in May, 1887, there were one hundred and forty-four members. Meetings are held in Odd Fellows' Hall on Wednesday nights. The present officers are: P. C. T., T. L. Mason; C. T., Miss Sue Wright; V. T., Miss Maggie Sisco; Chap., Miss Lillie Statts; Dep., P. H. T. Wyatt; R. S.. Herman Roe; F. S., Mrs. Herman Roe; Treas., Mrs. C. O. Swinney.

The Americus Club was organized January 1, 1884, with twenty-five members. The first officers elected were: Pres., W. Geo. Hill; V. P., N. F. Wilds; Secretary, O. B. Voshell; Treas., H. S. Anthony. A room was procured in the Johnson building, and fitted up with the paraphernalia suitable for social enjoyment. In March, 1887, more commodious rooms were selected on Main Street, and are now occupied by the club. The present officers are as follows: Pres., W. George Hill; V. P., L. Irving Handy; Treas., E. H. Beck: Secretary., R. H. Hill.

The Citizens Hose Company, No. 1, was organized January 6, 1886, with twenty-seven members. B. V. Weldon was elected President; C. F. Lippincott, Vice-president; and H. S. Anthony, Secretary. Nothing further was done during the year, and on January 6, 1887, a reorganization was effected, when the following officers were chosen: President, B. F. Weldon; Vice-president, E. M. Fowler; Secretary, O. B. Voshell; Treasurer, G. A. Wick; Chief, Samuel Taylor.

In April the company purchased a new hose-carriage and hose, and thirty uniforms consisting of hats, belts and rubber overcoats and boots.

They are now in possession of two hose-carriages, one thousand feet of hose, a hook-and-ladder wagon and eighty feet of ladders.

J. R. Robinson was elected secretary June 20, 1887. With this exception the officers are as above. Meetings are held on the second Monday of each month.

There are at present thirty-two members.

Smyrna Library Association. A meeting of the citizens of Smyrna was held in Odd Fellows' Hall on November 18, 1857, for the purpose of considering the advisability of opening a public library in that town. P Spruance was called to the chair, and E. D. Dailey selected secretary. The project met with success, and a committee on plan of organization was appointed, com-posed of the following gentlemen: Dr. J. E. Clawson, Rev. W. H. Brisbane, D. Lockwood, R. D. Hoffecker, Jno. M. Denning, W. R. Cahoon and ex-Gov. William Temple. On January 29, 1868, a meeting was called and an organization effected by the election of the following persons as the first officers : President, Daniel Cummins; Vice-president, Rev. William H. Brisbane; Recording Secretary, Robert D. Hoffecker; Corresponding Secretary, Dr. E. D. Dailey; Treasurer, William C. Eliason; Managers, Jno. M. Denning, Robert H. Cummins, Dr. J. E. Clawson.

The public inauguration of the association was held in Odd Fellows' Hall on March 15, 1858.

The books were selected by Rev. William H. Brisbane, assisted by Daniel Cummins and William C. Eliason, and during the first year five hundred dollars' worth were purchased.

They were catalogued and arranged in the library room in Odd Fellows' Hall by Dr. W. T. Collins. The library was in Odd Fellows' Hall until 1870, when it was moved to a room in the Town Hall, which it has since occupied. In its infancy lectures were delivered in its interest by such men as Rev. Phillips Brooks, Frank Hum, Dr. Cook, Rev. Dr. Carrow, and the resident ministers, Dr. McCluskey, of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Crammer, of the Episcopal Church, and Rev. Brisbane, of the Methodist Church.

In 1861 Edwin Wilmer was elected president vice Daniel Cummins. He was succeeded in 1864 by Dr. J. E. Clawson, who continued until 1866, when Jno. C. Stockly was elected. In 1875 N. F. Wilds succeeded Stockly and continued until 1878, when Jno. H. Hoffecker was chosen. In 1879 H. G. Budd was elected president, which position he still holds. The library has always been in a prosperous condition, and has proved of invaluable worth in the community. At present it contains three thousand volumes of well-selected literature. They are one hundred and seventy-eight stockholders.

The officers at present are: President, H. G. Budd; Recording Secretary, Walter O. Hoffecker; Corresponding Secretary, L. I. Handy; Treasurer, W. P. Cummins; Managers, Wm. H. Baggs, Wm. A. Faries, W. H. Janney.

Town Hall. At a meeting of the town commissioners, held April 27, 1869, it was resolved that for the convenience of the inhabitants a town hall should be erected without delay. George H. Raymond, John C. Bailey, G. W. Cummins, Jr., and H. C. Douglass were appointed a committee to select and purchase a suitable lot on which to build, to procure and adopt plans and to make contracts for the erection of the building, provided ten thousand dollars could be borrowed at reasonable rates. On May 11th it was decided to purchase of Dr. S. M. Fisler a lot on the corner of Main and South Streets. A plan of the hall as draughted by Richard Mitchell was adopted. On July 8, 1869, the ground was broken for a hall, which should be fifty-six feet on Main Street, forty-five feet on South Street and three stories high. The corner-stone was laid August 19th by George H. Raymond, chairman of the building committee. Addresses were made by Alderman Penington. Colonel Raymond and Rev. Dr. Morsell. The building was completed and opened early in 1870. In 1887 the building was extended twenty feet on Main Street. The first floor is occupied by Alder-man Henry G. Budd, the Smyrna Library and the meeting-room of the Citizens' Hose Company. The second floor is used as a hall for public meetings and the third story is occupied as a lodge-room for the Masons.


In 1787 Joshua Fisher built a hotel in Symrna. In 1792, when the Legislature met in Smyrna, it convened at this hotel, which was then kept by Thomas Hale. The hotel was conducted for many years by Mrs. Comfort Lockwood, and in 1827, when Thomas L. Temple became proprietor, was known as the "Indian King Hotel." The property remained in the Fisher family until purchased by Tilghman Foxwell. While in his possession it was operated for some time by his son, Charles. Jefferson & Clayton, the present owners and proprietors, have been in possession for several years.

The house on the corner of Main and Mt. Vernon Streets was erected as a double dwelling in 1817 by Robert Patterson. In 1837 it was converted into a hotel and was known as the "Upper" or "Steamboat Hotel." It was first conducted by Thomas Jackson. It was next owned by Joseph Hoffecker and November 24, 1856, was sold by his heirs to Dr. S. M. Fisler. The building was improved and remodeled by him and opened April 26, 1856, as Delaware House, with Gilbert Leonard as its first proprietor. The property is now owned by Mrs. Wilson T. Cavender. William Fell, the present proprietor, took charge of the hotel in August, 1887.

Post Office

Previous to the construction of the railroad the mail was carried daily to Smyrna from Dover. The last mail contractor was John Van Gesal. In 1837 John S. Lambdon was postmaster and his successors were D. Lockwood, James Legg, William Ringgold, Peter Wynn, William Wilds, E. J. Golt, Marion Green, Benjamin Donoho, Jonathan Emerson, Thomas Carroll, William H. Baggs and John H. Bewley, present incumbent, who was appointed in August, 1885. There are eleven mails per day.

Kent County

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

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