Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Town of Middletown, St. George Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware

Town Commissioners Buildings Schools
Industries Churches Middletown Academy
Banking Societies Hotels
Peterson Family Cemetery
Kings Road Petitioners

The land on which Middletown is situated, and the tract immediately to the north were taken up by Adam Peterson in 1678, who, on the 14th of March, 1686, also took out a warrant for two hundred acres on a neck called New Wells, between the branches of the head-waters of Drawyer's Creek, Upon his death the property appears not to have been divided, but was mainly in possession of Andrew Peterson, who died in January, 1741; and on March 29, 1742, Thomas Noxon, Jehu Curtis, John Finney, John Goodin and John McCoole were appointed to divide the property. Adam Peterson left two sons, Andrew and Adam, and a daughter, Hermania, who married _____ Von Bebber and died comparatively young, leaving as children Jacob, Garrett, Andrew, Adam, Elinor and Elizabeth. In this division of 1742 these heirs of Hermania Von Bebber received one-fifth of the estate. Andrew Peterson died in January, 1741, leaving a widow (his third wife), Hester, who subsequently became the wife of David Witherspoon, and who, in 1742, was appointed the guardian of the children of Andrew, who were Henry, Andrew, Catalina, Jacob, Ester and Mary. The remaining portion of the Adam Peterson lands was divided between Adam, the son of Adam, and the children of Andrew. Mary Peterson, the youngest daughter of Andrew, received in the division No. 7, a tract of two hundred and five acres, three acres of which were sold August 19, 1790, to Kev. Philip Reading. Henry Peterson, son of Andrew, became a physician and, June 13, 1790, sold part of his portion of his father's estate to Jesse Higgins, of Damascus Mills.

David Witherspoon, who married the widow of Andrew Peterson, settled upon the King's Road at the place now known as Middletown, where, in 1761, he built the old Middletown tavern and kept it until his death, two years later. The following petition to the court of New Castle in 1761 is interesting as coming from the people of the vicinity:

"Whereas there hath not heretofore been any publick Road from the Lower King's Road to Samuel Vance's Mill for the Inhabitants residing in the upper part of the above said hundred (St. George's) and below the said King's Road, nor from the upper King's Road to said Mill for such of the Inhabitants who reside that way; But only such by paths as has from time to time been made use of, which is a very great Inconveniency for such of the inhabitants as do frequent the said Mill to get their own grain ground or to transport their wheat thither for sale."

The petitioner asked for a road "from the lower King's road which shall pass between the improved lands of William Golden and James Macdonough to the said mill and from thence to the upper Kings road near to the new meeting-housie or upper part of David Witherspoon's plantation." The signers were

William Whittet
William Price
William Hannoway
Daniel McConnell
F. V. Bebber
David Witherspoon
George Van Yott
James Bryan
Charles Bryan
William Golden
Isaac Vandike
Jacob Peterson
Archibald Fowler
Thomas McGraw
James Piper
Jos. Macdonough
William Hanson
Richard Cantwell
John Hanson
Francis Thornton
Andrew Vance
Henry Van Bebber
John McCoole Jr.
Leonard King
Francis King
Samuel Smith
David Thomas
John Cruzan
David Stewart

These names probably include all the leading land-owners in the vicinity at that time. The road was allowed and laid out. It began at the "Trap" (Macdonough) and passed Vance's mill at the foot of the pond on Drawyer's Creek and to David Witherspoon's plantation at Middletown. Richard Cantwell lived at Cantwell's Bridge (Odessa), and Henry Van Bebber at Kirkwood, where was an old tannery occupied many years previous as well as later by the Van Bebbers. The mill owned by Samuel Vance in 1761, was originally the property of his son John, who built it after 1733, when he came into possession of the land. He sold it to his father September 21, 1759, who, on May 19, 1766, sold it to John Jones. About 1800 it passed to William Vandegrift and is now owned by William H. Voshall & Bro.

Middletown is mentioned in official records as early as 1771, in August of which year Jonas Preston owned the old Noxon grist-mill, on one of the branches of Appoquinimink Creek, and asked for the reopening of a road towards the place "now known by the name of Middletown," which road Benjamin Noxon had fenced up.

After the death of David Witherspoon his estate passed to his nephew, Thomas, who conducted the old Peterson tannery. Thomas married Susanna, daughter of Dr. Sluyter Bouchell, who was also a resident of Middletown. A large portion of the neighboring land became vested in Dr. Bouchell, who, November 5, 1790, sold to Jesse Higgins, of Damascus, the tract formerly belonging to Thomas Witherspoon. In 1816 there were only a few houses at the intersection of Main and Broad Streets within the present limits of the town, but the village began to grow, and in 1850 there were three hundred and sixty-eight inhabitants. Previous to the construction of the railroad the town was growing toward Odessa, principally on Main Street, but since that time it has extended to the railroad, and has spread itself on other streets than Main. One of the men most prominent in advancing local interests was Robert A. Cochran, who came to Middletown in 1837, and purchased the Middletown Hotel. This he improved and purchased other property, on which he erected buildings. The growth of the town since 1855 has been quite rapid, and in 1860 there were five hundred and twenty-three inhabitants. On February 12, 1861, Middletown was incorporated and granted municipal privileges. The board of control was vested in five commissioners who were given authority to improve the old streets and open new ones. The town as laid out by the commissioners is a rectangle, and extends half a mile each way on Main Street, east and west of Broad Street, and a quarter of a mile each way on Broad Street, north and south of Main Street. With the exception of a fire which occurred May 2, 1882, and the storm of August 29, 1873, Middletown has suffered no considerable injury. This fire began in the carriage works of J. M. Cox & Brother, and destroyed that place and ten other buildings, among which was the new St. Anne's P. E. Church. Fire companies from Wilmington came and rendered much assistance in extinguishing the flames. The storm of August 20, 1873, flooded the streets, washed away the bridges in the vicinity, and made travel dangerous and difficult, besides doing considerable damage in other ways.

Col. Joshua Clayton, a retired farmer, was the son of the Hon. Thomas Clayton, formerly a United States Senator and a chief justice of Delaware, and was born at Dover August 2, 1802. When fifteen years of age he was a pupil in the classical school of Rev. Francis Hindman, at Newark, Del., and attended that school for three years. In 1818 he entered Princeton College. In the first half of his third year here his health became so much impaired that he was obliged to leave college. But in the same year, 1821, he became a student of law in his father's office, applying himself to his studies as his health would permit. In 1822 he went to spend a year in the law-office of Judge Alex. L. Hayes, a well-known jurist of Reading, Pa. In the following year, 1823, he accompanied Hon. Caesar A. Rodney, United States minister, as private secretary, to the Argentine Republic. The journey thither was made on the old frigate "Congress," by way of Spain, the coast of Africa and Rio Janeiro, to Buenos Ayres.

Three months after arriving at their destination Minister Rodney's health failed, and Mr. Clayton was sent home with dispatches for the government. Mr. Rodney's death, soon afterwards, made it necessary to reorganize the legation, and Col. Clayton remained at home.

Col. Clayton was admitted to the bar at Dover in 1825, and practiced law there until 1830, when, yielding to the force of natural inclinations, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and settled at "Choptank on the Hill," in Bohemia Manor. At the beginning of his operations here he was compelled to incur liabilities to the extent of three hundred dollars, which, at the time, appeared to be a greater undertaking than it would have seemed later. He soon liquidated this debt, however, and pressed on to greater accomplishments. For fifty-seven years Mr. Clayton left forensic competitions and juridical honors to others, "while,'' as he expressed it, "he wrestled with the clods," and with "ploughs which.

Before his death he reflected with sincere satisfaction upon the happy outcome of his unaided efforts. Four times he was commissioned colonel, first by Gov. Hazlet, then by Gov. Thos. Stockton, again by Gt)v. Wm. Temple, and lastly, when war was anticipated with England on account of the dispute over the boundary of Oregon. Col. Clayton was married, in 1833, to his cousin. Miss Lydia, daughter of Richard Clayton. She died in January, 1849, and left him three children, Thomas, Henry and Richard. On the 22d of February, 1850, he married Miss Martha E., daughter of Richard Lockwood, a well-known merchant of Middletown. She died in March, 1887, a few months before the untimely death of their youngest son, Eugene, who fell a victim to the poisonous drugs used by him in his skillful art as a taxidermist. This young man of rare taste and skill in the work to which he was passionately, too ardently, devoted, has left a large collection of birds and animals prepared with artistic excellence as proofs of his dexterity in his art, and as precious mementos of his brief life. He died in September, 1887, at the early age of twenty-seven. By his second marriage eight children were added to Col. Clayton's family. Of these six survive, viz.: Adelaide Young, McComb, Mary W., Joshua, Elizabeth and Frances. Colonel Clayton was always an adherent of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He died suddenly on February 13, 1888, at his beautiful suburban villa, close to Middletown.

Middletown has at present about sixteen hundred inhabitants. Excellent facilities for travel and transportation are afforded by the Delaware Division of the Philadelphia Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. Although almost destitute of manufactories of any Bort, the town is gradually growing and improving. Situated in the midst of an excellent farming region, employment is given to many of its citizens at tilling the soil. The business interests of the town are also affected by the sale and exchange of the abundant products of the farms in the vicinity. It has always been well lighted, first by lamps till 1880, then by gas till 1886 and since August 17th of that year by sixty ten-candle-power electric lights. Preparations are now being made to supply the town with water from drive wells, which will doubtless prove an excellent safeguard against fires.

The following have been the Town Commissioners since the incorporation:

1861. Levi Ryan, Wm. L. Bucke, E. T. Evans, John K. Smith, Chas. Tatnan, Jr.
1862. Henry D. Howell, John K. Smith, R. H. Foster, Martin E. Walker, Chas. Tatnan, Jr.
1863-64. Henry D. Howell, Samuel Penington, R. H. Foster, Martin E. Walker, Chas. Tatman, Jr.
1865. Zachariah Jones, William L. Bucke, Samuel Penington, Chas. Tatman, Jr., James Culbertson.
1866. H. D. Howell, Samuel Penington, Chas Tatman, Jr., Richard E. Smith, Clayton Wilds
1867. David McKee, Chas. Tatman, Jr., H. D. Howell, John B. Deakyne, Nimrod French.
1868. Robert A. Cochran, Zachariah Jones, J. Thomas Budd.
1869. Martin E. Walker, John Morrison, Charles Tatman, Jr., Thos. Massey.
1870. R. H. Foster, Thos. Massey, Samuel W. Roberts, G. G. Chamberlain, Chas. Tatman, Jr.
1871. R. H. Foster, Thos. Massey, G. G. Chamberlain, Thos. W. Bucke, Thos. E. Hum.
1872. R. H. Foster, Thos. E. Hum, Chas. Tatman, Jr., Jas. B. Clarkson, Wm. H. Cann.
1873. Thomas E. Hum, James H. Scowdrick, Samuel B. Stephens, John B. Roberts, Thomas Massey.
1874. Thomas E. Hum, James H. Scowdrick, J. F. Eliason, L. G. Vandegrift, J. R. Hall.
1875. K. W. Lockwood, Louis P. McDowell, J. R. Hall, Joseph H, Walker, L. G. Vandegrift.
1876. Thos. E. Hum, Geo. W. Wilson, W. W. Wilson, Thomas Massey, James H. Scowdrick.
1877. K. H. Foster, John R. Hall, S. S. Holten, Joseph W. Geary.
1878. B. W. Lockwood, two years; Thomas Massey, Jr., one year; Joseph Hanson, two years; George Eckenhofer, one year; B. H. Eliason, one year.
1879. Thomas W. Bucke, one year; R. H. Eliason, W. Scott Way, George Eckenhofer, two years.
1880. Thos. W. Bucke, Joseph Hanson.
1881. R. Henry Eliason, Wm. H. Moore, Jefferson B. Foard.
1882. Joseph Hanson, John C. Stuart.
1883. Wm. P. Biggs, Chas. H. Howell, Thos. W. Bucke.
1884. Joseph Hanson, S. S. Holten.
1886. Thos. W. Bucko, Wm. P. Biggs, John S. Crouch.
1886. Geo. Eckenhofer, Thos. Massey, two years; Jacob M. Foster, John H. Parvis, Wm K. Lockwood, one year.
1887. Geo. S. Hopkins, Harry Davis, N. J. Williams.

Sereck F. Shallcross, a farmer, was born March 29, 1816, in Oxford Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. His parents, Jacob Shallcross and Margaret, daughter of Sereck Fox, were also born in the same township, and had a family of eight children, of which the subject of this sketch was the eldest. His brothers and sisters were Ann Eliza, Mary, Catharine, Sarah, William, Thomas and Fanny. At his father's home place during his early years he was engaged in farming and continued this occupation in his native township until 1842, when he came to Delaware and settled near Odessa, where he now resides. In 1843, Mr. Shallcross was married to Ann Fenton, of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They have had five children, viz.: Jacob, James, Anna, Sereck and William. Jacob married Thirza Shallcross, daughter of William Shallcross, of Kent County, Maryland. James married Mary, daughter of Wilson E. Vandegrift, of St. George's Hundred. Anna, who died June 18, 1887, was married to Israel Williams, of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Sereck married Mary, daughter of Elias Moore, of Appoquinimink Hundred. William resides on his father's farm, the place where his father was born, in Philadelphia County. William is married to Miss Betty Deakyne, of Blackbird Hundred. Mr. Shallcross is still living on the same place to which he came in 1842. He has been elected five times as a county commissioner from Bt. George's Hundred, each term being for four years. He is now a commissioner serving his fifth term in the Levy Court. Mr. Shallcross is a man of vigorous constitution and bears his years and labors well.

Old Buildings

Perhaps the oldest building in Middletown is the frame house owned by the Middletown Academy and occupied by Jacob Heintz as a residence. It is the first west of the Town Hall and the only hip-roofed house in town. The house occupied by J. Thomas Budd is also very old and was built by a man named Lloyd from Maryland. The dwelling-house connected with the People's Bank is an old building and was for many years used as a storeroom. In 1884 a venerable structure known as the "Wren's Nest" was torn down. It stood on East Main Street, near Broad. An old log building, on the corner of Main and Church Streets, was torn down in 1887. It was owned by Mrs. Devereaux and was probably one of the first houses in the town. The Crawford farm-house on Broad Street, now owned and occupied by John A. Reynolds, dates back to the early days of Middletown.


At the division of the State into school districts, the territory in and around Middletown was embraced in District No. 60. A small school-house was erected about 1830, on a street known as "School-House Lane," near the present residence of Josiah Black ley. At a later period the district was divided and No. 94 was formed. No school-house was erected for this district, but the school was held in private houses. In 1876 an agreement was made with the trustees of the academy for the use of the academy for public-school purposes, and by the act of Assembly of January 29, 1877, Districts 60 and 94 were consolidated under the name of the Middletown schools. Since the consolidation the board of control is vested in nine directors, six elected by the people and three appointed by the trustees of the academy. The schools are in an excellent condition, and during the winter of 1886-87 there were enrolled two hundred and sixty-eight resident and fifteen non-resident pupils. Five teachers preside over the five departments. Mr. A. S. Wright served as principal from the consolidation of the schools until June 24, 1887. The first board of directors of the consolidated districts was: Edward W. Lockwood, William Green, Alfred G. Cox, John W. Jolls, Nathaniel Williams, Samuel Penington, D. L. Dunning, John R. Hall and Merritt N. Willits. With the exceptions of Edward W. Lockwood, Merritt N. Willits and John R. Hall, the board remains unchanged at the present. Their places are filled by W. P. Biggs, Thomas Cavender and Henry Clayton.

Middletown Academy

This institution was erected from the proceeds of a lottery authorized by an act of Assembly of January 3, 1824. The act named Richard Mansfield, Arnold Naudain, Outten Davis, William H. Crawford and Richard E. Cochran as managers and empowered them to "institute, carry on and draw a lottery, in one or more classes, for raising a sum of money not exceeding six thousand dollars clear of all expenses," and to apply this sum to "the erection of a building sufficiently large to contain rooms for an academy and elementary school, and also a room for public worship, with such other rooms as they might deem proper and necessary, the room for public worship to be free for all denominations of Churches." Richard Mansfield, Arnold Naudain, Outten Davis and William H. Crawford met at the house of Daniel Haines on December 13, 1824, and organized. John Ginn was elected to fill the vacancy in the board caused by the removal of Richard E. Cochran from the neighbor-hood. Richard Mansfield was elected chairman and William H. Crawford secretary. On February 9, 1825, a supplementary act was passed for raising four thousand dollars to be invested as an endowment fund. In March of the same year Outten Davis resigned and John Eddows was elected his successor. The lottery scheme was sold May 10, 1825, to John B. Yeates, of New York, Archibald McIntire, of Philadelphia, and Thomas and James Skeldig, of New York, for ten thousand dollars.

On November 19, 1825, six acres of land and a building thereon was purchased by the trustees from Outten Davis for one thousand dollars. It was that portion of Middletown fronting on Main Street from the west line of the Town Hall property to Scott Street and extending back to the present line of Lake Street at the northwest corner and to the present academy lot on the northeast corner. On January 21, 1826, an act was passed incorporating Richard Mansfield, John Eddows, John Ginn, William H. Crawford and Arnold Naudain and their successors as "the trustees of the Middletown Academy." At a meeting of the trustees in February, 1826, the chairman was instructed to advertise for proposals for "building an Academy two stories high, with two rooms on each floor, and a hall ten feet wide in the centre, with cellar underneath the whole; to be built of the best materials and in a plain but substantial manner." The contract was awarded to Henry Little for five thousand dollars.

Andrew Garretson, the tenant on the six acres purchased of Outten Davis, refused to surrender possession. In this emergency William H. Crawford donated two acres of adjoining land, and on this the building was erected. His deed bears date May 13, 1826. The corner-stone of the new building was laid August 24, 1826. In March of the following year William H. Crawford was requested to go to Philadelphia and examine the different kinds of rough-casting. He advised the imitation of marble and his suggestion was adopted. In June, Arnold Naudain was instructed to purchase a bell not exceeding one hundred and fifty pounds in weight. At a meeting in August of that year Richard Mansfield was re-elected president and John Eddows was chosen secretary and Arnold Naudain treasurer. Chairman Crawford was appointed to contract for twenty-five desks. In September Rev. Joseph Wilson was engaged to take charge of the school and open it on October 15, 1827. Miss Isabella Anderson was en-gaged to open a female school in December. In 1829 the Legislature empowered the board to elect two additional trustees, and Joseph B. Ginn and Richard Lockwood were chosen on March 27th of that year. In August, 1830, Mr. Wilson resigned and Samuel G. Appleton was elected principal. He resigned in December and the school was closed until 1832 when Henry L. Davis became principal, which position he held until 1834, when Mr. Smith succeeded him. In 1838 William Harris was elected principal, and in April, 1840, he reported that there were thirty-three pupils in attendance and the tuition fees amounted to four hundred and thirty dollars. Joseph A. White succeeded Harris in 1841 and was in turn succeeded by him the following year. Rev. I. H. Tyng was principal from 1842 until 1844, when the academy was rented by Payson Williams, of Germantown. From 1844 to 1876 the principals were Thomas D. Maddin, H. C. Fries, George F. Hitchcock, Theodore E. Primrose, James B. McDowell, Rufus Sanders, Rev. I. W. Macbeth, Charles H. Halloway, J. E. Newman, Hicks, Wood, S. B. Jones and Sumner Stevens. In 1876 an agreement was made by the school commissioners of Districts Nos. 60 and 94 and the trustees of the Academy, and the Academy leased for public school purposes for a year. Since that time public school has been held in the Academy. One of the terms of the contract was that a free school of not less than three grades and also a classical or high school should be kept open in the Academy for not less than nine months in the year. Since 1876 the academy and free school have a common history. The present trustees are John P. Cochran, Henry Davis, Nathaniel Williams, R. T. Cochran, H. A. Nowland, William Green and Samuel Penington.


The Presbyterian Church, Previous to 1742 the inhabitants of Middletown and vicinity worshipped at Drawyer's Church. In that year occurred the great division of the Old and New Schools of the Presbyterian faith, and the adherents of the New School withdrew from Drawyer's Church and established the congregations of St. George's and Forest. The site on which the original Forest Church was erected was granted by Robert Alexander to Peter Bayard, James Bayard, Sluyter Bouchell, Benjamin Sluyter, William Moore, John Moody, James Shaw, Thomas Rothwell and John Vandyke, trustees of the Presbyterian congregation of Bohemia, in Maryland, and Appoquinimy in New Castle County, under the care of the Synod of New York. The deed bears date June 6, 1750, and is for 123 perches of land surveyed and laid out for the erection of a Presbyterian Church. The churches of St. George's and Forest united under one pastorate, and were served for sixteen years by Rev. John Rodgers, who was installed March 16, 1749. Dr. Rodgers was very popular and drew largely from the other congregations. He was called to Wall Street Church, New York, in 1765. He was moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. During the Revolutionary War he took an active part in the struggle and was appointed chaplain of Heath's brigade. The next pastor was Rev. Elihu Spencer, who served until October, 1771, and was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Smith, during whose pastorate the two congregations separated. Mr. Smith continued with the Forest Church until his death, in 1792. Rev. Mr. Cheally, his successor, was at first very popular, but scandals affected his character, his congregation fell away, the glebe was lost and the church verged on obliteration. It was next supplied by Rev. Messrs. Burton and Wilson, of Drawyer's. The old edifice standing in the south-east corner of the present cemetery fell into decay, and was finally sold and removed about 1840. No services had been held in it after the removal of Mr. Wilson, and the church became extinct as a separate organization. After the abandonment a number of the people worshipped at Drawyers' Church. In June, 1851, through the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Handy, the present organization was effected. A lot of land, 120 feet front and 150 in depth, on Main Street, was purchased from R. A. Cochran. The contract for erecting the present church edifice was awarded to David Maxwell. The building was dedicated on the last Sunday of October, 1851, with ceremonies conducted by Rev. Dr. Brainerd and John Patton. The newly constituted church was composed of four-teen members, Joseph West (elder), Francis West, Sarah West, Thomas Murphey, Susan Murphey, Eliza P. Cochran, Lydia R. Rothwell, Elizabeth Price, Sarah Merritt, Lydia Jones, Mary Penington, Eliza Massey, James Burnham and Elizabeth A. Burnham.

The enterprise of erecting a building was carried on by individual effort, as the church was not organized, the session was not constituted, and no board of trustees was elected till the edifice was nearly completed. The first board of trustees of this organization was elected August 24, 1851, and was composed of Dr. Martin Barr, Dr. John Merritt, Major John Jones, Major William Rothwell, Robert T. Cochran, Robert A. Cochran, Samuel Penington, James H. Burnham, Joseph West, Thomas Murphey, Andrew Eliason and William C. Parker. In August, 1857, a lot adjoining the church was purchased as a site for a parsonage, which was soon completed. During the pastorate of Rev. W. C. Alexander the church has been enlarged and beautified at an outlay of nearly eight thousand dollars. It is now in a flourishing condition and has a membership of one hundred and fifty-eight. A Sunday-school with a membership of one hundred and twenty-five, under Superintendent Edward Reynolds, is connected with the church.

The present board of trustees is Andrew Eliason, Samuel Penington, H. D. Howell, R. T. Cochran, D. L. Dunning, J. M. Rothwell, A. P. Crockett, G. W. W. Naudain, T. C. Murphey, S. M. Reynolds and G. D. Kelley.

The following pastors have officiated since the church was erected in the town:

Rev. Dr. Handy, from June, 1851, until October 1, 1853.
Rev. Mr. Atkinson, from September, 1853, until November, 1853.
Rev. Thomas Forster, from October 25, 1851, until October 3, 1851.
Rev. W. A. Rankin, from June 4, 1857, until 1881.
Rev. Isaac Riley, from March 5, 1862, until September 27, 1861.
Rev. John Patton. D. D, October, 1865, until April, 1884.
Rev. W. C. Alexander, from December, 1880, until the present.

The lot on which the former church stood is still in the possession of this congregation and is used as a burying-ground. The present church stands on the site of the Peterson Family Cemetery, and in front of the church are four tombs with the following inscriptions;

"Here lieth the Body of David Witherspoon, Born in Ireland, County of London Derry. Departed this life April 7, 1763. Aged 58 years.

"In memory of Jacob Peterson, Esqr., Who died January 7, 1774. Aged 40 years. His abilities as a Physician, and his usefulness in Public and Domestic Life Render his Death a real Loss to all concerned in it."

"In memory of Andrew Peterson, Esq., Who departed this Life in January, 1741. Aged 68 years.
"Also of his Relict, Late Mrs. Hester Witherspoon, Who departed this life on the 18th Day of September, 1772. Aged 68 years.

"In memory of Miss Peterson, Daughter of Doctor Peterson, Who departed this Life June 5, 1784.
"This small Tribute paid," To merit unspeakable.''

Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church, Middletown, Delaware, was organized in the year 1822, by the election of Azariah Foster, Andrew Dill, Thomas Merritt, John Hays and Thomas Low as trustees to acquire and hold property in its name. During the same year a humble structure costing about nine hundred dollars was erected for the religious meetings of this people. Since it has been twice rebuilt, in 1842 under the pastorate of the Rev. B. F. Price, and in 1880, under the pastorate of the Rev. T. E. Martindale. The present building is handsomely cushioned, carpeted and frescoed, and is more than ordinarily attractive in all of its apartments. The congregations are the largest in the community, numbering, in actual communicants, about three hundred, among whom are a number of the representative business men of the town, including the Hon. B. T. Biggs, the present Governor of the State. It has been blessed with several remarkable revivals, the largest of them occurring under the ministry of the Rev. L. C. Matlack, D. D., T. E. Martindale and the present pastor. Rev. R. H. Adams. The Sunday-school connected with the congregation is one of the most thoroughly organized and best disciplined in the State. Its superintendent, A. G. Cox, was chosen at the Conference, of 1834 as a lay delegate to that great law-making body, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The benevolent contributions are large and annually increasing, ranking with the most prosperous churches of the Wilmington Conference. The Wilmington Conference held its annual session here in 1881, and was presided over by Bishop J. T. Hurst, D. D., LL.D. The entertainment furnished the ministry was of the most generous and cordial character.

Among the ministers who have served this congregation are:

James Cunningham
Edwin L. Janes
Benj. F. Price
Thomas B. Tibbles
Ignatius T. Cooper
John B. Hagany
James Cunningham
John Henry
James R. Anderson
Joseph Aspril
Robert H. Patterson
John B. Maddux
James B. Merritt
George Heacock
Thomas W. Simpers
Alfred T. Scott
William H. Urie
Henry Colclazer
Vaughn Smith
Lucius C. Matlack
Thomas C. Martindale
W. L. S. Murray
Adam Stengle
R. H. Adams

 St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Previous to 1875 the Catholics of Middletown and Odessa formed a part of the Bohemia congregation, and were only visited on week-days by stations in private houses. In that year Sunday services began to be held in private houses and later in the Town Hall. The inconvenience attending these meetings led to a desire to have a church property devoted exclusively to their use and service. A lot fifty by one hundred feet was purchased in 1883, of E. R. Cochran, and the corner-stone was laid November 18th, with services conducted by Rev. Father Murphy, of Washington. On October 15, 1884, the church was dedicated by Bt. Rev. Bishop Becker. The church is a neat frame structure, Gothic in style, sixty-two by thirty-two feet, with spire and bell, and has a seating capacity for three hundred persons. The cost was about three thousand five hundred dollars. Its erection was due to the efforts of Rev. Father John D. Gaffney, S. J. Regular services are held three times a month. The church is under the management of the Jesuit Fathers. At present there are about two hundred communicants. A Sunday-school of about twenty-five scholars is connected with the church. The priests now in charge are Rev. J. M. Giraud, pastor. Rev. J. B. Archambaud, assistant.


The earliest industry in Middletown of which there is any record was the old Peterson tannery. In 1761 it was owned by David Wither-spoon, who had purchased it of the heirs of Adam Peterson. After the death of David Witherspoon it passed into the hands of his nephew, Thomas Witherspoon, who operated it for some years. At a later period it became the property of Philip Reading, a son of the last missionary sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to St. Anne's Church. Philip Reading, Jr., married a Miss Peterson, and was the last one to operate the tannery. The old brick building, now used by William Green for a barn, was the bark-house of the tannery.

There was also an old brewery in operation for a few years in the northeastern portion of the town about 1825, but all traces of its owners and affairs have entirely disappeared.

Wm. L. Bucke & Co. opened a foundry and machine-shop in March, 1856. Their first place of business wan on the location now occupied by the residences of M. D. Wilson and E. B. Rice. In 1875 the building now occupied by them was erected. It is a one-story brick structure, forty by eighty feet. They moved into it January 1, 1876, and have since conducted business there.

Garrett Cox began the manufacture of wagons and carriages in Middletown about fifty years ago. Shortly afterwards he associated with himself his son, James M., and conducted business as Cox & Son. In 1857 the firm of J. M. Cox & Bro. was established and have since operated the carriage factory. On May 2, 1882, their works were destroyed by fire, and in a short time the present building was erected.

In 1882 W. P. Biggs, Henry Clayton, Charles S. Ellison and Joshua Clayton formed a co-partnership for the purpose of canning fruits and vegetables, under the name of Biggs, Clayton & Co. The necessary buildings were erected on the corner of Scott and Lake Streets, where the business was conducted for two seasons, of four months each, and then abandoned. Employment was given to about one hundred and twenty persons. The buildings have been unoccupied since 1884.

The Delmarvia Manufacturing Company was incorporated March 18, 1873, with a capital stock .of twenty thousand dollars. Two acres of land were purchased on the corner of Cochran and Reading Streets, and the buildings were completed in August, fitted up with four evaporators, and had a capacity of eight hundred baskets of peaches, forty-eight thousand ears of corn and three thousand five hundred buckets of berries per day. The first officers were: President, C. C. Sellers; Vice-President, James C. Jackson; Secretary, James P. Meade; Treasurer, H. N. Willits; Superintendent, J. William Cox; Directors, R. A. Cochran, Jos. Roberts, E. C. Fenimore and John Cochran.

On September 3, 1887, Mr. Sellers resigned as president and R. A. Cochran was elected. On January 10, 1874, Jos. Rogers succeeded H. N. Willits as treasurer, and on July 5th Mr. Roberts was also elected secretary to succeed James P. Meade. The factory was operated by the company until November 5, 1876, when it was discontinued. In March, 1877, the property was sold by the sheriff and purchased by R. A. Cochran. It burned down September 8, 1887, and at that time was operated by Williams & Marvel, of Wilmington.

About the year 1570, John Cochran crossed over from Paisley, in Scotland, to the North of Ireland. He was a clansman of the powerful house of Dundonald, and of kin with its noble head. For several generations his descendants were born, tilled the land, married and died in the home of their adoption. Many were of the gentry, most were yeomen, but all led sober, upright, righteous lives, feared God and kept His commandments. The family names were carefully perpetuated. James, the son of John, was succeeded by John, who, in turn, was father of another James. Then came Robert, called "honest," to distinguish him from others of the same name. His sons were James, Stephen and David, and these latter crossed the sea and settled in Pennsylvania, where unmolested they might continue to worship in the faith of their fathers.

James married his kinswoman, Isabella, the daughter of "deaf" Robert. Their children were Ann, Robert, James, John, Stephen, Jane and George. Ann married the Rev. John Roan, or Rohan, as it was indifferently spelled; Jane became the wife of Rev. Alexander Mitchell; Robert died, leaving a daughter Isabella; James died in April, 1768, preceded in his departure out of this world by his father, James, who died in the autumn of 1766.

This is the race of the Cochrans from the period when they quitted their home in Scotland to the time when their bones were first laid in the New World, James, Stephen and David settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and laid out their farms near the rippling currents of Octorara. As appears from the records, James first resided in Sadsbury, in the same county and State. In 1742 he purchased one hundred and thirty-five acres additional in the same township, but it was not until the year 1745 that a large tract in Fallowfield, owned in common by the three brothers, was divided, and a patent issued by John, Thomas and Richard Penn to James, for three contiguous lots, aggregating four hundred and thirty acres.

This tract lay to the south of Stephen's and David's shares. Through the northern portion, and near to the northwestern boundary, dividing it from the land of Stephen, ran the New Castle road, today called the Gap and Newport turnpike. There the little village of Cochranville, by its name perpetuates the traditions of the clan, whose pibroch and whose slogan have long ceased to sound on Scottish hills. These facts may be found in an article contributed by Walter L. C. Biddle to the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. III, No. 3, 1879, pp. 241, 242, and also in Judge J. Smith Futhey's "History of Chester County." One of the scions of the original Cochran stock settled in New Castle County, Delaware, near Summit Bridge, and had a son James, who also lived there and had the following children, viz.: William, who still survives, (February, 1888); Francis, Robert A., and James.

Robert A. Cochran, the subject of this sketch, was born Nov. 11, 1805, on what is known as the Levels, about three miles southwest of Middletown, New Castle County, Delaware, on the farm now owned and occupied by Joseph Roberts. Soon after his birth his father, James Cochran, who was born near Summit Bridge, New Castle County, bought and removed to a farm on Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, Maryland, near what is now Murphy's Mill, about five miles from Middletown. Up to about the time he was sixteen years of age, he worked hard on the farm for nine months in the year, and during a part of the winter months he attended a poor public school in Middletown, many times walking the five miles each way morning and night.

When about sixteen years old he went to Turner's Creek, in Kent County, Md., to clerk in a store, where he stayed about two years. He then went on horseback to Alabama with an uncle, who was a large cotton-planter, to superintend for him a portion of his business. Being very frugal, he had saved a little money during this time, and when about twenty years of age he paid his own way for tuition at a seminary for about a year, shortly after which he enlisted in General Scott's army to fight the Indians in Florida, in what is known as the Seminole War. He stayed until the war was over, and thrilling indeed it was to hear him relate the many hair-breadth escapes he made from the savages and from the dreadful fevers that prevailed in the swamps of that wild region around Tampa Bay and the Everglades. After the war he spent several years more in different parts of the South, chiefly in Alabama and Georgia, during which time he managed to save a few thousand dollars. Meanwhile he made several trips to his old home in Maryland on horseback, and finally concluded to leave the South and settle permanently near his old home. On his way back he stopped to rest at Joppa Cross-Roads, in Harford County, Md., which lies immediately on the turnpike then known as the Philadelphia and Baltimore turnpike and stage-route, and where now stands a station on the new Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad, called Joppa. Sojourning with his friends and relatives, John Rouse and family, he there and then first met the bright and beautiful girl, Mary L. Rouse, then seventeen years of age, whom he afterwards married, in little over a year. Sarah Rouse, the mother of Mary L., whose maiden name was Sarah Cochran, had removed from Delaware to Harford County some years before, and was a relative of Robert A. Cochran, and closely connected with the numerous Cochran family of Baltimore City and Harford County, Md.

The marriage took place at Joppa September 21, 1837. The bride and groom went very soon thereafter to Middletown, Del., and spent the following winter with ex-Governor John P. and R. T. Cochran. In the spring following they took board at the Middletown Hotel, and Mr. Cochran engaged in the lumber business. In about a year afterwards he bought the hotel and about seventy acres of land, lying contiguous thereto, on which a good part of the town now stands.

In 1844 he bought, on the levels near Middletown, a farm, lying adjacent to the one on which he was born, which he proceeded to improve in a vigorous manner. In 1849 he built a large brick house and commodious out-buildings upon it, and removed thereto in the summer of 1850, and by his untiring industry and good management in a few years converted it from a barren common to a rich and fertile farm.

In 1861 Mr. Cochran was elected on the Democratic ticket to the State Legislature, and served through the regular term. He also served in the extra session of 1862. Before the war he had acted with the old Whig party.

In 1866 he left the farm and removed to Middletown again, and devoted himself to building up the town and the management of his seven farms, all of which he had, by his industry, economy and good management, succeeded in buying and paying for in a few years entirely by his own exertion and unaided by anyone to the extent of five hundred dollars. He had often been heard to say that when he started south he had just ten cents in his pocket, and he never received a cent from his father's small estate.

There never lived a more industrious and economical and honest man than Robert A. Cochran. Many people say that the town of Middletown would never have been what it is today had it not been for him, and the many buildings he erected there stand as monuments to commemorate his enterprise, quite as significant as the granite shaft that marks his tomb in the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

He died November 2, 1882, being within nine days of seventy-seven years of age. His wife had died January 24, 1877. He left an estate valued at two hundred thousand dollars. The children born to Robert A. and Mary L. Cochran were as follows: Edwin R., now clerk of the peace for New Castle County, and married to Ada C, daughter of Charles Beasten, of Odessa, Del. (his home is near Middletown, in a commodious dwelling, built by his father in 1865; he has three children, Edwin R, Jr., Blanche B. and Ada L. Cochran); two sons bore the name of William H, Cochran (the first was born June 16, 1840, the second August 20, 1841; both are now dead; James F., born August 22, 1843; Sarah O., born May 17, 1845; R. Alvin, born February 24, 1849; Christopher C, born April 27, 1851; Mary L., born April 17, 1853; Florence E., born March 30, 1861; and Amanda S., born April 16, 1855, are all deceased, and, with the exception of R. Alvin, died before their father. Frances E., born May 10, 1847, is the wife of William A. Comegys, a relative of Chief Justice Comegys. He is deputy collector of Internal Revenue, and resides at Middletown. Josephine R., born November 30, 1857, is the wife of Mr. Frank Comegy, of Chesapeake City.

Mr. Cochran was an adherent and one of the founders, and from its foundation until his death one of the trustees of the Forest Presbyterian Church at Middletown.

Two children have been born to Mrs. Wm. A. Comegys, viz.: Robert A. and Joseph P. Robert A. Cochran (now deceased) left three children, viz.: Evelyn, Bertie and Louise. Mrs. J. R. Conrey has one son, Frank.

In 1874 J. B. Fenimore built a new machine works near the Delmarvia fruit factory. This was occupied for about three years by D. Woodall & Co. as a foundry and machine-shop. In 1877 it was fitted up by Wm. R. Rothwell & Co., for a basket factory, but never operated. It was next used for one season by Parvis & Biggs as a phosphate manufactory. In 1886 H. L. Arthur leased the property and fitted it up with machinery for canning tomatoes and peaches. During the season of two months per year he gives employment to seventy persons. He cans tomatoes principally and has a capacity for fifteen thousand eases per season. His principal shipments are to New York and Toledo.

In 1887 J. B. Maxwell erected a canning factory, the main building of which is two stories high and forty-eight by sixty-four feet. In the rear of this is a one-story building, thirty by eighty-eight feet. The establishment will be used during the canning season for putting up the "Lion" brand of tomatoes, and for about six months more of the year for manufacturing mincemeat and will give employment to fifty persons. The capacity for this year is one hundred and fifty thousand cans, which will be shipped principally to Philadelphia.

In 1885 G. W. Stephens opened a brick-yard within the limits of Middletown. Employment is given to ten men for seven months each year. Five grades are manufactured which aggregate six hundred thou-sand bricks per year. The majority of these are used in the vicinity.

Banking Institutions

On February 25, 1859, the "Citizens' Bank of the State of Delaware," at Middletown, was chartered. The capital stock was fifty thousand dollars, which was divided into one thousand shares at fifty dollars each. The bank was opened for business January 23, 1860, in a building on the corner of Broad and Main Streets, where G. W. W. Naudain's store now stands. The officers at that time were, President, George Derrickson; Cashier, James McDowell; Teller, John Z. Crouch; Directors, John Eliason, Benjamin Gibbs, Richard Lockwood, Thomas Murphy, Richard Seamans, Albert Penington, William C. Eliason, Robert A. Cochran.

In 1861 John Z. Crouch resigned the position of teller and John R. Hall was chosen his successor. At the decease of Cashier James McDowell in 1862, John B. Hall was elected to succeed him, and Joseph L. Gibson was chosen teller. In 1865 it was decided to convert the bank into a national bank, and increase the capital stock to eighty thousand dollars. It was officered then as follows: President, George Derrickson; Cashier, John R. Hall; Teller, Joseph L. Gibson; Directors, Thomas Murphy, Richard Seamans, Benjamin Gibbs, Wm. C. Eliason, C. B. Ellison, Jas. M. Cox, Dr. J. V. Crawford, James Garman.

In 1867 Joseph L. Gibson resigned his position and accepted the cashier ship of the New Castle County Bank, at Odessa. J. B. Clarkson was elected his successor and was teller till 1874, when he resigned and John S. Crouch was chosen.

In 1868 Wm. C. Eliason was succeeded as director by Jesse Lake, who, with Richard Seamans, was succeeded in the following year by William Green and William B. Thomas. Henry Clayton was elected in 1870 as the successor to Wm. B. Thomas. During this year a lot on Broad Street was purchased of Robert A. Cochran by the bank. In the fall the erection of a commodious brick building was begun. It was completed the following year at a cost of twelve thousand seven hundred dollars.

Since that time the building has been used for banking purposes. In January, 1871, George Derrick-son resigned his position as president, and Dr. J. V. Crawford was elected his successor. He filled the position until 1874, when he resigned and Henry Clay-ton, the present president, was chosen. The officers in this year were: President, Henry Clayton; Cashier, John R. Hall; Teller, John S. Crouch; Directors, Benjamin Gibbs, Benjamin T. Biggs, John A. Reynolds, James Culbertson, Jacob B. Cazier, Edward C. Fenimore, Martin E. Walker and Joseph Biggs. There was no change in the board until 1882, when Andrew Woodall was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Benjamin Gibbs. In the following year the decease of Martin E. Walker caused a vacancy which was filled by the election of Colonel Joshua Clayton.

In June, 1884, John S. Crouch was elected to succeed John R. Hall as cashier, and Leonidas Darling-ton was chosen teller. On May 11, 1885, the corporate existence of the bank was extended for a period of twenty years. The bank is well managed and at the present time has a surplus of sixteen thousand dollars. The officers are: President, Henry Clayton; Cashier, John S. Crouch; Teller, Leonidas Darlington; Assistant Teller, R. T. Clayton; Directors, John A. Reynolds, B. T. Biggs, J. B. Cazier, Andrew Woodall, James Culbertson, Thomas Cavender, Joseph Biggs and Joshua Clayton, of Thomas.

The Peoples National Bank of Middletown was authorized to begin the business of banking on July 31, 1883. The first meeting was held May 1, 1883, and Dr. J. V. Crawford, Andrew Eliason, William Green, Samuel Mallalieu and G. W. W. Naudain reported the following persons for the Managing Committee: T. C. Cruikshank, William K. Lockwood, Andrew Eliason, John Diehl, Samuel Mallalieu, B. F. H. Caulk, Dr. J. V. Crawford, H. H. Appleton, J. A. Pool, James M. Vandegrift, William Green, Charles Derrickson, G. E. Hukill, W. R. Cochran, Thomas Cavender, G. W. W. Naudain, E. R. Cochran and James R. Hoffecker. The disposition of the stock was left to this committee, with instructions to sell to no person more than thirty shares. On May 29th they reported the stock all taken, and notice was sent to each subscriber to pay in ten per cent, of the amount subscribed. On June 2nd a meeting of the stockholders was called and an organization effected.

It was decided to elect nine directors from Delaware and three from Maryland. The following received the highest number of votes and were declared elected: Dr. J. V. Crawford, G. W. W. Naudain, William Cochran, Z. A. Pool, G. E. Hukill, T. C. Cruikshank, Andrew Eliason, William Green, George L. Townsend, H. A. Nowland, Samuel Mallalieu and I. G. Griffith.

At a meeting of the directors held June 9th, Dr. J. V. Crawford was chosen president; William R. Cochran, vice-president; and G. W. W. Naudain, secretary. Mr. Naudain resigned his position as secretary on June 30th, and George L. Townsend was elected his successor. On the same day the corporation rented from Colonel Joshua Clayton a room on the corner of Broad and Main Streets, and proceeded to fit it up for a banking-room. George D. Kelley was elected cashier on the 21st day of July and has served in that capacity to the present time. On July 28th William A. Comegys was elected teller, which position he held until November 29, 1884, when he resigned and Sewell Green, the present teller, was chosen. The bank was opened for business on August 15, 1883. In January, 1884, Messrs. Hukill, Naudain and Eliason were appointed a committee to select a suitable bank property, and on February 16th they were instructed to purchase a house of L. P. McDowell and an adjoining lot of Miss M. A. C. Roberts, both on Main Street. The house was remodeled and fitted up as a residence for the cashier. On June 21, 1884, the contract for the erection of the present bank building was awarded to C. N. Dodd. The new building was completed and opened in December, 1884. On November 3, 1883, William Green resigned his position as director and George W. Polk was elected. In January, 1885, B. F. H. Caulk was elected the successor of Samuel Mallalieu. On April 3, 1886, I. G. Griffith resigned and G. F. Brady was elected. On May 7, 1887, George M. D. Hart was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of George W. Polk. The capital stock is eighty thousand dollars and is divided into eight hundred shares of one hundred dollars each. The surplus is two thousand three hundred and fifty dollars. The present officers are: President, J. V. Crawford, M.D.; Cashier, George D. Kelley; Teller, Sewell Green; Directors, G. W. W. Naudain, William Cochran, Z. A. Pool, G. E. Hukill, Andrew Eliason, George M. D. Hart, George L. Townsend, H. A. Nowland, B. F. H. Caulk, T. C. Cruikshank and G. F. Brady.

James V. Crawford, M.D., the president of the People's National Bank, was born in Baltimore in 1824, in which city he was educated, and where he lived until 1846, when he became a resident of Delaware.

He traces his ancestry back to James Crawford, a Scotch, or Scotch-Irish gentleman of some means and good position, who came with Sir Robert Carr, as a volunteer on the military expedition sent by the British government, in 1664, to drive out the Dutch, who had taken possession of the Delaware colony This expedition was organized in the vicinity of Windsor, England, and was composed, as military expeditions generally were at that time, of younger sons of good families, eager for any stirring adventure in western wilds. As Windsor at that time was the country residence of the Stuart Kings, who were Scotch, many of their countrymen would naturally resort to that place as applicants for place or favors. This accounts for some of the Scotch names in the regiment. Though there was difference in military rank among them, there appears to have been little or none in their social position.

After the successful result of this expedition, James Crawford concluded to cast his lot with the hardy pioneers of the English colony, and remained at or near the New Castle settlement. Several tracts of land and a house at New Castle were bestowed upon him, as the records say, in 1667, for meritorious military service. He afterwards, in 1675 and in 1682, obtained by two separate deeds eight hundred acres of land from the English Governor Nichols, and from Edmond Andross, Deputy Governor of the New York province, before the Delaware settlement was sold to William Penn. These tracts were improved and left to his heirs at his death in 1683. His widow, Judith Crawford, married Edward Gibbs, by whom she had two children, Edward and Benjamin. John Crawford, a son of the pioneer James Crawford, became an Episcopal clergyman, and went to England. George, a great-grandson, went South about 1747, and Eleanora, a sister of George, married a Porter, the ancestor of the former Commodore Porter of the United States navy. Most of the descendants of James Crawford have resided as landed proprietors in what is now the county of New Castle. Among the living male descendants are Theodore F. Crawford, of Wilmington, and the Rev. John Crawford, formerly of Wilmington.

The particular care given to education and the advancement of family interests, which distinguishes the Scotch-Irish people, has been characteristic of the Craw fords. Hence they have been found more attentive to the interests and duties of private life than solicitous of public honors. Many of them lie buried in the cemetery attached to Drawyer's Church, near Odessa, and their names are prominent in the annals of that old church. The grandfather of Dr. Crawford, whose name was also James, lost the bulk of a good hereditary estate by becoming surety for friends, and left his property in a tangled and critical condition, which was afterwards recovered by his grandson. His son Jacob, the father of Dr. Crawford, was of a delicate constitution, and died at the early age of thirty-eight. He had gone to Baltimore to engage in mercantile affairs, and there married a Miss Duchemin, of that city, a member of the Catholic Church, and who also died at an early age. On the maternal side Dr. Crawford is connected with two notable historical events. One was the slave insurrection of St Domingo, in 1793, on account of which his maternal grandfather, Francis A. Duchemin, was obliged to flee from that island. This he was barely successful in accomplishing, by the aid of two faithful slaves, who refused to leave him, and went with him to Baltimore. Francis A. Duchemin had emigrated from France to St. Domingo. He was a man of unusual ability, and had built up an extensive shipping business and a large fortune, the former of which was, of course, destroyed by the insurrection. Of his fortune, though his losses were heavy, he was fortunate enough to save a handsome competence, from remittances from consignees in foreign ports, for valuable cargoes previously shipped.

The expulsion of the French settlers from Acadia, or Nova Scotia, is the second event above alluded to, which was carried out by the British forces with great cruelty, and who scattered those once happy people to so many different quarters of the world. The story is told by Longfellow with great effect, in the poem of "Evangeline." The exile from St. Domingo, Mr. Duchemin, married in Baltimore the daughter of one of those Acadian exiles, and from this union the mother of Dr. Crawford was one of the offspring. Mr. Duchemin was one of the volunteer defenders of Baltimore during the last war with Great Britain, when his adopted city was in danger.

Dr. Crawford was educated at St. Mary's College, in Baltimore, and having chosen the profession of medicine, graduated from the University of Maryland in 1845. Before proceeding to practice medicine in the city, he felt bound to devote himself to a diligent effort to recover the estate in Delaware that had belonged to his grandfather Crawford, above alluded to. After several years of wearisome delays, disappointments, risks and much expense, his efforts were successful. He was also fortunate in selling, just before the Civil War (at an advance), a tract of land which he had bought in Virginia.

Thus placed in advantageous circumstances, and finding the practice of medicine in the country too laborious for his health, which was of hereditary delicacy, he concluded to devote himself to agricultural pursuits and the improvement of his land. This occupation was not entirely congenial to him, yet circumstances seemed to bind him to its continuance for many years, and he has been successful in its prosecution. But his main predilection is for science and literature, which he has always cultivated with unfailing pleasure.

In 1864 he was chosen director in the Citizens' National Bank of Middletown, and was afterwards elected president of the bank, serving three years in the latter capacity until he resigned this position in 1874.

In religion Dr. Crawford belongs to the Catholic Church. In politics, though raised a Whig, he has for many years acted with the Democratic Party. During the late war he followed the lead of Mr. Douglas, and was a strenuous supporter of the War for the Union. He was also in accord with the administration of Andrew Johnson in the efforts made by him to re-establish friendly relations between North and South. Dr. Crawford attended the National Union Convention of 1866, as one of the delegates from Delaware. In 1880 he accepted the Democratic nomination for the State Legislature, but the entire county ticket was defeated. In 1882 he again received the nomination of his party for the same position, and was elected. His course in the Legislature gave satisfaction to his constituents, and as "Chairman of the Judiciary Committee" of the House of Representatives he obtained the approval of both parties. Upon the establishment of the People's National Bank of Middletown, he was chosen president of the bank at the first election, which was held in January, 1884, and he still at this date, December 29, 1887, holds the same position. He finds pleasure in the fact that though the new bank has encountered opposition, yet it has enjoyed continued prosperity, and its stock now sells at a premium.

Dr. Crawford is unmarried, but has the company of two sisters who share the comforts of his household. In person Dr. Crawford is spare and not above medium height. His features and manner indicate that he has the courage of his convictions, and that he would persevere resolutely in whatever course he believed to be right.


Union Lodge No, 5, A. F. A. M,, was instituted at Odessa in 1765, and is the oldest lodge of Masons in the State. The original charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, there being no Grand Lodge in Delaware previous to 1806. On January 24, 1816, the lodge was reorganized and chartered by the Grand Lodge of this State under the same name and number under which it was originally organized.

The names of the first officers under the new organization were, W. M., Leonard Vandegrift; S. W., Thomas Belville; J. W., William Streets; Treas., Arnold S. Naudain; Sec, John Moody; S. D., Jonathan Allston; J. D., John Stuart; Tyler, Joshua Bowen.

The place of meeting was afterwards changed to Middletown, where the lodge now meets in the town hall on the first Tuesday night of every month.

The present membership is forty-nine, and the officers are, W. M., J. B. Roberts; S. W., Dr. B. B. McKee; J. W., John W. Jolls; Treas., J. L. Gibson; Sec, W. H. Johnson; S. D., T. W. Bucke; J. D., J. B. Deakyne.

Irving Lyceum was a literary association formed in Middletown during February, 1881. Rev. W. C. Alexander was its first president, and was ably sustained by the leading citizens of the place. Its membership at one time was over a hundred. And several public entertainments were given by the members in the course of its existence. It had a good hall, well equipped, with a library and a piano; but after a little over four years of good and efficient work, it disbanded.

The Mutual Loan Association of Middletown, Del., was organized February 15, 1873. The first officers were. Pres., James H. Scowdrick; Vice-Pres., H. A. Nowland; Sec, A. G. Cox; Treas., J. B. Clarkson; Directors, J. M. Cox, J. H. Gilpin, T. W. Bucke, John B. Roberts, G. E. Hukill, James R. Hoffecker, John Morrison, E. B. Rice, R. H. Eliason.

Series of stock are issued yearly, and continue till each share is worth $200. Fifteen series have been issued, of which five have matured. In March, 1878, G. E. Hukill succeeded James H. Scowdrick as president. Hukill was succeeded in 1883 by H. A. Nowland, the present incumbent. In 1883 G. E. Hukill succeeded H. A. Nowland as vice-president. In March, 1876, A. G. Cox succeeded J. B. Clarkson as treasurer. The receipts for the year ending February 15, 1887, were $31,797.31. The cash in the treasury at that time was $1785.44.

The officers at the present time are, Pres., H. A. Nowland; Vice-Pres., G. E. Hukill; Sec. and Treas., A. G. Cox; Directors, Joseph Gary, W. H. Moore, Joseph Hanson, Dr. T. H. Gilpin, J. B. Foard, John W. Jolls, James M. Cox, D. L. Dunning.

The Peninsular Agricultural and Pomological Association was organized at Middletown, January 31, 1874. At this meeting the first officers of the association were elected and were as follows: President, Charles Beasten; Treasurer, Edward Reynolds; Secretary, J. Thomas Budd.

A tract of land near the town limits was leased of William Brady and buildings erected and a race-track constructed. For the first few years the fairs were a success both financially and as to the quantity and quality of the exhibits. Gradually they became unpopular, and in 1883 it was decided to abandon them. In the following February the buildings and privileges of the association were exposed to public sale, and sold on the 21st of that month. In August, 1875, Charles Beasten was succeeded by Wm. R. Cochran, who continued to serve as president until its abandonment. J. Thos. Budd was succeeded in 1876 by J.

B. Clarkson, whom J. B. Naudain succeeded the same year. In 1880 W. S. Way was elected to succeed Naudain. Way was secretary and Edward Reynolds treasurer until the dissolution of the association.

Middletown Town Hall, The Middletown Town Hall Company was incorporated February 25, 1867. On March 2nd a meeting was called for the purpose of selecting a committee to open the books and secure subscriptions for the stock. W. H. Barr, James M. Cox, J. B. Fenimore, H. N. Willits and J. Thomas Budd were appointed as the committee. On March 16, 1868, a meeting of the subscribers was called and seven directors were elected to serve for one year. They were James M. Cox, Robert A. Cochran, Samuel Penington, W. H. Barr, J. Thomas Budd, John R. Hall and Thomas Massey. A meeting of the directors was immediately called, when James M. Cox was chosen president; J. T. Budd, secretary; and John R. Hall, treasurer. A lot of land on Main Street was purchased of Samuel Penington and the erection of a building was commenced in June. The corner-stone was laid July 27, 1868, with appropriate services conducted by the Union Lodge, No. 5, A. F. A. M. The oration was delivered by J. C. McCabe, D. D. The building was completed in January of the following year and is a three-story brick structure, sixty-eight by seventy feet, and cost thirty-six thousand dollars. The first floor is divided into three store-rooms. The second story is the auditorium and on the third floor are three lodge-rooms. The store-rooms and two of the lodge rooms are occupied. The auditorium affords a suitable place for entertainments and public assemblies". The present officers are: President, James M. Cox; Treasurer, J. B. Deakyne; Secretary, Samuel Penington; Directors, Wm. H. Moore, James Culbertson, D. L. Dunning, W. W. Wilson.

Water Works

Fires at various times called the attention of the citizens of Middletown to the necessity of a protection of some kind. On June 8, 1871, a committee on water was instructed by the com-missioners to dig a well, build a tower with a tank on it and fit it up with a pump and wind-mill. The tank was not to hold less than seven thousand gallons. The well was dug, but the supply of water was found insufficient to supply the demands and the undertaking was abandoned. In March, 1884, the question of drive wells was agitated, but without success. On February 10, 1887, an act was passed by the Legislature empowering the town commissioners to borrow fifteen thousand dollars to be expended in securing a water supply. Henry Clayton, G. W. W. Naudain, Martin B. Burris, John H. Parvis and Gideon E. Hukill were appointed to superintend the construction of the works, and when completed to surrender the management to the town commissioners. G. E. Hukill resigned and Nathaniel Williams was appointed in his stead. The commissioners decided to sink twenty drive wells at intervals of fifty feet and to erect a standpipe one hundred feet high and eight feet in diameter, with a capacity of thirty-seven thousand gallons. All the pumps connect with a main pipe, which flows into the standpipe. The apparatus is to be so arranged that in case of fire the main pipe can be disconnected from the standpipe and the water pumped direct from the wells. About two miles of pipe will be laid through the town, with fire-plugs at convenient places to cover the entire town. The work is being rapidly pushed to completion and will prove a decided advantage to the town.


The Middletown Hotel was built in 1761 by David Witherspoon, and managed by him until his death, which occurred two years later, when it was inherited by his nephew, Thomas Witherspoon, who leased it to different parties. It afterwards vested in his son David, who was owner and proprietor for many years. While under his management, James Knight, a noted character and duelist, was killed in the bar-room by him. Knight came in drunk and being refused liquor by Witherspoon, pulled his pistol and made several attempts to kill him. The weapon missed fire both times and then, to save himself, Witherspoon reached above the bar and took down a horse-pistol, with which he shot Knight. Jesse Higgins, the next owner, by his will bearing date June 13, 1810, devised the tavern and four other tenements to his daughters, Susan and Maria. In 1885 the hotel was purchased by William H. Crawford, who sold it March 25, 1844, to Robert A. Cochran. While in his possession the house was several times remodeled and was enlarged to its present size and capacity. After his decease, in 1882, the hotel property became vested in his daughter, Mrs. W. A. Comegys. Since its erection the hotel has had many proprietors, and is now ably managed by Messrs. Armstrong & Sparks, who took possession on September 1, 1884.

The National Hotel was built in 1862 by a joint stock company, and by them leased till 1878. John C. Lippincott was the first proprietor. In 1878, Alexander Maxwell, the present proprietor, purchased the property and has since successfully managed it.

New Castle County

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

Please Come Back Soon!!

This web page was last updated.
Monday, 01-Jun-2015 16:32:40 EDT

Back to AHGP

Copyright August @2011 - 2024 AHGP - Judy White
All rights reserved.
We encourage links, but please do not copy our work