Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Georgetown, Georgetown Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware

Business Interests Churches First Elections
Farmers State Bank Sale of lots ~1800 Schools
Episcopal Church Cemetery Georgetown Church Methodist Cemetery

Georgetown, the county-seat of Sussex County, is eligibly located near its geographical centre, about thirty -six miles southeast from Dover. It is a station on the Junction and Breakwater Railroad, and the northern terminus of the Breakwater and Frankford Railroad, the former completed in 1868, the latter in 1874. Much of the substantial growth of the town has taken place since the latter period, the population having increased from seven hundred and ten, in 1880, to about sixteen hundred in 1887, and since the agriculture of the surrounding county has become more diversified, thus increasing its wealth, the importance of the town as a trade centre has been proportionately increased. Within recent years many fine residences have been erected. There are also, besides the county buildings and the beautiful little public park, a branch of the State Bank, two newspaper, two society halls, an academy and a fine public school building, four churches, factories, hotels, good stores and other elements of an active, enterprising business point.

The town was located solely to afford a more convenient place to transact the affairs of the county. An act of the Legislature, January 29, 1791, authorized the removal of the county seat from Lewes, and located a new site for the county town in James Pettijohns old field, near the centre of Sussex. For this purpose fifty acres of land were conveyed, May 9, 1791, to the following commissioners appointed to carry out the provisions of the act: George Mitchell, Esq., Robert Houston, Esq., William Moore, Esq., John Collins, Esq., Nathaniel Young, Esq., William Peery, Esq., Rhoads Shankland, Esq., Thomas Batson, Esq., Daniel Polk, Esq., and Woodman Stockley. An act of October 26, 1791, declared that the name of the place where the county buildings were being erected should be Georgetown, it is said, in honor of Commissioner George Mitchell, who was active in this movement.

Georgetown was surveyed for the commissioners in May, 1792, by Rhoads Shankland, who thus explained the plot: "In or near the centre of the town is a spacious square of one hundred yards each way, for publick use; on the northeast side thereof stand the court-house and public offices. The streets run as follows: Pine, Market and Laurel Streets, Strawberry and Cooper Alleys run southwest and north-east; at right angles with them are Race, Bedford and Front Streets, North, Love, Cherry and South Lanes, and North and South Alleys.

"The lots are laid off sixty feet front and one hundred and twenty feet back, each lot having the convenience of a street or an alley for an outlet. There are eighteen lots of one acre each laid out on the north end of the town. The streets are laid off sixty feet wide and the alleys twelve feet wide."

Sale of lots in the town was made by the commissioners prior to 1800, as follows:

Town Lots ~ 1800
George Cook 1791
Jesse Grew 1791
Joseph Richards 1791
Nathaniel Mitchell 1791
Wm. Teague 1791
Thomas Marvel 1791
John Willis 1791
Robert Prettyman 1791
James Lowry 1791
Jacob Hazzard 1792
Joseph Wilson 1792
David Shockley 1792
Robert Jones 1792
Peter P. Harris 1792
John Evans 1793
Thomas Bevans 1793
Wm. G. Moore 1793
Wingate Hall 1793
Kendall Batson 1791
James Anderson 1793
Abraham Harris, 1794
George Hazzard 1794
Benton Harris 1795
Wm. Russell 1796
Lacy Morris 1795
Joseph Melson 1796
John Russell 1797
George Hazzard 1797
Eleanor Redden 1797
Peter P. Harris 1797
Kendall Batson 1797
Joshua Morgan 1797
Benton Harris 1797
Wm. Russell 1797
N. Mitchell 1797
Nicholas Ridgely 1797
Isaac Wilson 1797
N. Mitchell 1797
Benjamin Bullen 1797
Dr. Jacob Wolfe 1797
Wm. Freeman 1797
John W. Batson 1797
Philip Kolloch 1797
Thomas Bevans 1799
J. Anderson 1797

Three of the commissioners having deceased, a supplement to the act of 1791 was passed June 23, 1801, when Benton Harris, Dr. James Robertson and William Russell were appointed in the place of Robert Houston, William Moore and George Mitchell, deceased, and the court was authorized to fill future vacancies, so that clear titles could be given.

The original plat of Georgetown has been enlarged and additions were made in 1883 by John L. McKim and D. J. Layton, eighty lots and a third addition of one hundred lots was made by W. D. Albury West from the original plat, a suburban village baa been laid out by Thomas Pepper, in which about thirty buildings have been erected in recent year, and which are not included in the corporate limits.

Aside from the provisions contained in the act authorizing the location of the new county-seat, the Legislature passed sundry acts, at divers times, for the government of the town. An act of February 7, 1795, to restrain the running at large of swine in the streets of Georgetown, authorized the killing of the same for the use of the prisoners in the jail. Thin matter was again legislated upon in 1801, "as some of the inhabitants had suffered great spoil and damage by the reason of the running at large, etc." A forfeit of the animals for the benefit of the prisoners was again authorized. The school fund received the benefit of fines on unrestrained animals in 1847.

A board of commissioners to govern the town was authorized by the act of March 3, 1851, and John Richards, John B. Waples, Jonathan R. Torbert, Matthew Rench and John West were named as the first commissioners, until their successors should be elected in 1852. The powers of these commissioners were enlarged by the act of February 24, 1859, which also authorized the enclosure of the public park, the improvement of the sidewalks, and the enactment of ordinances for the sanitary and police regulations of the town. The amount of taxes to be raised was not to exceed two hundred and fifty dollars per year.

The act of March 18, 1863, extended the limits of the town one-half a mile each way, from a central point in the public square. These limits were retained by the act of March 2, 1869, under which the town has since been governed. This act provided a corporate name, the "Commissioners of Georgetown," to whom were delegated the powers customary in such cases, and enabled the election of a full set of officers, which made the town independent of the surrounding hundred.

First Elections

The first election, held March 6, 1869, resulted in the choice of the following:

Alderman James H. Runel.

Commissioners. Jacob D. Kimmey. Charles M. Gullen.
Shepard P. Martin. Jacob Moore.
Charles T. Tunnell.

Assessor, Joseph H. Marrel.
Treasurer. Charles H. Richards.

Since that period the following have served as Aldermen and Secretaries:

Aldermen Secretaries
1870. John B. Waples
1871. John B. Waples
1872. Charles T. Purnell
1873. Joseph T. Adams
1874. Joseph T. Adams
1876. Joseph T. Adams
1876. Joseph T. Adams
1877. J. P. W. Kollock
1878. J. P. W. Kollock
1879. John W. Messick
1880-87. John L. Thompson
1870. Geo. W. Faucett
1871. James P. Barker
1872. Benj. F. Butler
1873. Joseph B. Waples
1874. Charles T. Purnell
1875. James P. Barker
1876. Wm. H. Lingo
1877. Charles T. Purnell
1878. W. F. Tunnel
1879. W. F. Tunnell
1880-87. Caleb R. Layton
Geo. W. Hatfield
Chas. T. Parnell
John Barr
J. E. Faucett
Charles L. Moore

Commissioners Board of Health
Wilbur F. Tunnell
Wm. W. Rawlins
Charles L. Moore
Wm. J. Thoronghgood
Joseph T. Adams
Dr. C. R. Layton
Wm. J. McNatt
Dr. O. D. Robinson
Rufus W. Torbert
Dr. John W. Messick

Since the town baa been incorporated the streets have been well improved, and lighted since 1874. One of the most destructive fires the place has ever had, occurred May 18, 1887, when the residences of R. W. Torbert and Sarah Wingate and the store of B. W. Warren were destroyed, the total loss being about four thousand dollars.

The first fire apparatus was purchased in 1831, through the instrumentality of the "Georgetown Fire Association," which received an appropriation from the Levy Court for that purpose. In 1833 the use of the old jail was granted to house the apparatus.

General Business Interests

Georgetown has had mechanics of character and energy, whose labors have aided materially to make it a business point. As carpenters James Maull, Thomas Wilson, Gustavus Ewing, Thomas Pepper and George Harris de-serve to be noted. The latter followed his occupation for fifty-three years, from 1830. The Rogers were old-time blacksmiths and Wesley Wolfe and John Burton the carriage-makers of the town.

Dr. Robinson had a mill for grinding bark for dyeing purposes, and Eli Pepper and Joshua Layton carried on brick-yards. Robert D. Stout followed hat making, having from eight to ten men employed. One of his apprentices was Trustan P. McColley. Another shop was carried on by Renatus Thomas, who moved to Philadelphia in 1828. Dagworthy Jones was a halter at a later period.

At the lower end of Market Street, beyond the Judge Wootten place, the tanning business was extensively carried on by Thomas and Peter Robinson. With the latter, John Richards, who had learned his trade of James Clayton, at Dagsboro', became associated after 1812, and later carried on the tannery himself, being succeeded by his son, Dr. Charles H. Richards. There were about one hundred vats, in which Spanish hides were tanned, until about 1858, when the tannery was abandoned. Smaller tanneries were carried on, in other parts of the town, by William Russell, John Register and William Tunnell; but these, too, have passed away.

With the more general use of steam and the shipping facilities afforded by the railroad, after 1868, there was a greater diversity of the manufacturing interests. A steam saw-mill was operated many years, in the eastern part of the town, by Curtis A. Conaway, who also established a foundry nearby, about 1875, bringing the material from Millsboro'. The former industry was discontinued and the latter passed into the hands of George M. Thoroughgood, in 1883, who subsequently carried it on. At Georgetown plow-castings and repairs were principally made. In 1883 a new steam saw-mill was erected on the north-western part of the town by Benjamin Carmean, which is still carried on by Frederick Kreer.

The culture of small fruits, peaches and vegetables, at and near Georgetown, created a demand for canning and preserving establishments, which was first met by William H. Lingo, who opened a small cannery on Laurel Street, which he carried on a few years.

In August, 1875, an association, known as the "Fruit Preserving Company," was formed and buildings erected near the railroad depot, in which to carry on business. An Alden Evaporating Machine was secured and about forty thousand pounds of fruit preserved in the fall of that year by E. R. Sharpe, manager. By an act of the Legislature the ''Fruit Preserving Company" became incorporated February 1, 1877, with corporators D. J. Layton, C. C. Stockley, H. T. Downing, Jacob Moore, E. R. Sharp W. W. Rawlins, P. S. Faucett, J. S. Adkins, J. W. Lynch and William Tam. This company carried on operations until the interests it controlled were transferred to the C. H. Treat Manufacturing Company, and the building now forms a part of that establishment.

In 1876 the "Georgetown Packing Co." was formed, having as members E. Wilson, William A. Faucett, John West, G. C. Calhoun and G. M. Thoroughgood. In a few years Thoroughgood and Calhoun became the owners, and later D. S. Rodney was associated with them. The company put up tomatoes and peaches until 1884, when it ceased work, and the cannery was vacated.

In 1887, George M. Thoroughgood and G. C. Calhoun built and put in operation a new cannery, on North Cedar Street, which is so arranged that it has a capacity to put up eighty-six thousand three-pound cans per season, and when fully operated forty-eight hands are employed.

The cannery of William A. Faucett & Sons, which has been operated since 1883, has a somewhat smaller capacity.

In 1884 the car-shops were removed from Lewes to Georgetown, with the purpose of carrying on repair work on an extensive scale. J. D. Billings was the master mechanic, A. A. Barrett the master machinist and there were thirty skilled employees. Before these plans could be carried out, the railway passed under control of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Company, which transferred the interests to its works at Wilmington, keeping but a small repair shop at Georgetown. The first station agent, in 1868, was John M. Rawlins. His successor has been the present agent, Charles F. Tunnell.

The C. H. Treat Manufacturing Company
Georgetown, Delaware

The interests of C. H. Treat and his associates have been the most important in the industrial history of the town, and have given a new impetus to its manufacturing life. The firm first became identified with the affairs of Delaware in 1878, when the business of manufacturing wooden-ware from veneers was established at Frankford, in Sussex County. Recognizing the superior advantages offered by Georgetown, the interests were transferred to the latter place in 1883, and absorbed the plant of the "Fruit Preserving Company" near the railway station, where, under the title of The C. H. Treat Manufacturing Company, an extensive business has since been conducted. The company was incorporated April 4, 1883, with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars and the following corporators: Charles H. Treat, president; Norman B. Huxford, secretary and treasurer; Andrew B. Banghart, superintendent; Henry Treat, James M. Huxford and A. H. Montague. The latter was placed in charge of the New York agency, through which many of the products of the factories are sold. The plant comprises several acres of land, on which stand a number of three-story frame buildings, aggregating seven hundred and fifty feet in length, and varying from thirty to thirty-six feet in width, which are equipped with the most improved machinery for the purpose of manufacturing wooden novelties in three-ply veneer, butter, pie and other dishes patented by Messrs. Banghart and Treat, and the canning and preserving of fruit and other vegetables. The establishment in all its appointments is very complete and the business, still in its infancy, necessitates the employment of several hundred persons.

The Sussex Manufacturing Company
Georgetown, Delaware

The Sussex Manufacturing Company was incorporated April 10, 1886, and organized to begin business in 1886. Of this company C. H. Treat was elected president; N. B. Huxford, secretary; and Henry Treat, treasurer. An eligible location was secured at the intersection of the railroads, in the eastern part of the town, where a large manufactory has been erected. The main building is a two-story frame, thirty by one hundred and twenty feet, with two wings, thirty by forty feet, in which have been placed machinery for manufacturing baskets, barrels, casks, builders' lumber and scroll and jig-sawing. A large force of men is employed, not only in the factory, but in various parts of the State to furnish the material for the consumption of the establishment, whose business has already become a pronounced success.

Incidental to the foregoing is the extensive mercantile establishment of C. H. Treat & Co., the largest in the State outside of Wilmington. A two-story frame building, forty-six by one hundred and forty feet, is occupied, in which are handled almost every species of merchandise, and the transactions involve the sale of seventy-five thousand dollars' worth of goods annually.

A system of excursions from various parts of the Peninsula has extended the fame of this house be-yond the limits of the county.

It is said that the first store in the place was kept by Benton Harris, in a small building, one story high, near the present bank, which was afterwards occupied by Jehu Stockley as a watch-maker's shop. Harris later had a store on the site of the Brick Hotel then moved to the Faucett corner, where James A. Harris afterwards traded, the former merchandising until his death, about 1830. More than sixty years ago William Bell had a small store on the site of Dr. Richards' residence. James Anderson also traded, prior to 1810, on the west side of the square. At this place Matthew Rench subsequently did a large business, and was one of the successful merchants of the town. Joshua S. Layton and Caleb B. Sipple were a contemporary firm selling goods, and also being large contractors, they erected the new court-house, jail and the Brick Hotel. Charles Tunnell, David Moore and John B. Waples were also successful merchants in their day. In recent years the trade of the place has been divided among a large number of firms, there being in 1887 three drug-stores, several clothing-stores, hardware and general stores, to the number of about one dozen. Some of the foregoing merchants were also the postmasters, but more frequently the office was kept in private houses and shop. In 1808 the postmaster was a Mr. Frederica; and James Anderson was a later appointee. Other postmasters were Philip Short, Charles Tunnell, P. S. Purnell, James W, Lynch, Levin A. Pepper, James Maull, Greenbury Rogers, James A. Wolfe, James Barker and James Butler. The business of the office has very much increased in recent years, and improved mail facilities have been afforded.

The first public-house in Georgetown stood near the present Eagle Hotel. It was put up by Art Willis, and was kept by his family. The latter hotel was partially built in 1807, and has had many keepers, among those of earlier periods being Philip Short, David R. Smith and Philip Jones. In an enlarged condition the house has preserved its old-time popularity. On the southwest side of the Park was a frame building, set aside for the public as early as 1811, where Robert D. Stout dispensed hospitality. After him John H. Ellwood was a popular landlord until 1836, when the old house was demolished and the present Brick Hotel built. Burton C. Barker was the first keeper, and later was Adolphus Ewing. During the Civil War the place was known as the Union Hotel, but the original name now again applies. The past twelve years it has been so well kept by R. A. Rosenbaum that it is one of the most popular hostelries on the Peninsula. On the site of Raynor's drug store was an old-time tavern, after 1820, for a number of years, kept by James Gaskins as the ''Rising Sun," a fact which was indicated by its sign.

In 1823, William Russell kept this house, and later James Maull was the landlord. The latter also kept public-houses, on the Faucett comer, and in an old red building which stood on the site of Layton's drug store, and which was known as the "Wilson House."

The physicians are C. R. Richards, Joseph B. Waples, C. R. Layton, O. D. Robinson, Alexander Laws and Joseph R. Layton; the two latter retired.

One of the old-time law-offices stood on the site of the fine residence south of the bank, and has been occupied by J. W. Houston, Willard Saulsbury, Thomas Robinson, John R. McFee and John H. and Edward R. Paynter. It was torn down in 1878. South of the Brick Hotel, in the house demolished in 1887, George Alfred Townsend, the celebrated writer, was born while his father, a Methodist minister, lived at Georgetown.

One of the customs peculiar to the people of Sussex, from time immemorial, is to hold high carnival on the day when the results of a general election are announced. On this "Return Day" the official Board of Canvassers, with the sheriff presiding, meets at Georgetown at twelve o'clock, noon. But early in the morning people from all parts of the county, and even from Maryland, may be seen coming to the county-seat, some walking, others on horseback, and still others in wagons and carts, drawn by one or more oxen, by an ox and a horse, an ox and a mule, or several oxen and a horse, the vehicle being gayly decorated with bright colors or flags. Often this crowd presents a motley appearance, some being dressed in costumes which were used in primitive times, and others purposely arraying themselves in an outlandish manner to give more zest to the spirit of the occasion. The successful candidates also come to town and are met by a great crowd of admiring friends, who extend their congratulations in an unmistakable manner. Some of these candidates are taken up bodily, and are carried around on men's shoulders when the results are announced from the window of the court-house to the congregated mass below. Booths, stalls and stands are erected near the court-house, where all kinds of edibles, such as opossum and rabbit meat, fish and oysters, can be procured. The women, who constitute a considerable portion of the crowd, are generously treated to cakes, candies, and the best the booths afford. The citizens of the town hold a general reception, and all are expected to help entertain the people, especially if they are friends of the successful party. Every one endeavors to make ''Return Day" a hilarious one, and all seem willing to perpetuate a custom which is now peculiar to Sussex County alone, and which sometimes brings three thousand people to town.

The Georgetown Branch of the Farmers' State Bank began business in 1807, in a frame building, a part of which new forms the residence of Benjamin Burton, on the south side of the public square. In 1857 the bank was moved to the substantial brick building now occupied, on the comer of the square and Bedford Street. The office is neatly furnished, and has the modern appliances to secure greater protection for the funds entrusted to the keeping of the bank. The following were elected to the offices indicated below, in the years affixed to their names:

Presidents Cashiers
Thomas Cooper 1807
James Anderson 1807
Gardiner H. Wright 1862
James Ponder 1875
Charles G. Stockley 1878
Issac Tunnell 1807
James Anderson 1862
Gardiner H. Wright 1876
Wilbur F. Tunnell 1882
Caleb Ross 1808-13
Wm. Russell 1808
Ignatius Pearce 1809
Peter Robinson 1809-52
Joseph King 1810
Wm. Waples 1810
James Anderson 1810
Jesse Green 1811-12
Wm. H. Wells. 1811
Samuel Paynter 1812-37
Wm. H. Wells 1814-18
Wm. Russell 1815-16
James Anderson 1815-25
Curtis Jacobs 1818
Caleb Ross 1819-23
Benton Harris 1821
Arthur Milby 1822-32
Wm. D. Waples 1824-34
Beni. T. Fooks If 24-26
David Hazzard 1824
Jehu Stockley 1824
Philip Short 1824
Maenan Bull 1825
Wm. W. Green 1826
David Hazzard 1825
John Stockley 1825
David Hazzard 1820
Stephen M. Harris 1820
Jehu Stockley 1826
John Tennant 1820-30
Charles M. Cullen 1827
Wm. D. Waples 1827
Jehu Stockley 1827
Stephen M. Harris 1827
David Hazzard 1828
Matthew Bench 1828
Thos. Cooper 1829
James Anderson 1829-37
John Stockley 1830
Wm. D. Waples 1830
David Hazzard 1830
Matthew Bench 1830
James Barratt 1831
John Tennant 1831
Arthur Milby 1831
David Hazzard 1831
Jesse Green 1832-33
Benj. Fooks 1832
Wm. D. Waples 1832
James Barratt 1832
Wm. N. Polk 1832
Thos. Robinson 1833
David Hazzard 1833
Henry Little 1833
George Hickman 1833
W. W: Dashiell 1833
Miers Burton 1834
David Hazzard 1835
Wm. D. Waples 1835
George Hickman 1835
Henry Little 1835
Wm. D. Waples 1841
Lewis West 1841
Henry Little 1841
Wm. Dunning. 1843
Lewis West 1843
Peter N. Bust 1843
Gustavns A. Ewing 1846
Lewis West 1846
Peter N. Rust 1846
Lewis West 1847
Peter N. Bust 1847
Thomas Jacobs 1851
Matthew Bench 1861
Lewis West 1851
Benjamin Fooks 1853
Matthew Bench 1863
Lewis West 1853
Matthew Bench 1855
Henry Wolfe 1856
Elihu J. Pusey 1866
Matthew Bench 1867
Henry Wolf 1867
Wm. W. Dulany 1867
Matthew Bench 1859
Shepperd P. Houston 1859
Wm. W. Dulany 1869
Benjamin F. Fooks 1801
James Ponder 1861
Henry Wolfe 1861
James Anderson 1861
Gardiner H. Wright 1861-75
John Ponder 1851-66
W. W. Dashiell 1861-78
Joseph Kolloch 1861-72
George W. Green 1861-78
Charles Wright 1862-65
James Ponder 1863
John Turpin Moore 1863
Wm. D. Waples 1867
W. H. Ross 1860-76
James Ponder 1866-77
Wm. D. Waples 1867
John Turpin Moors 1867
Loxley B. Jacobs 1867
Wm. D. Waples 1869
John Turpin Moore 1869
Loxley B. Jacobs 1869
Edwin R. Paynter 1870-87
Wm. D. Waples 1871
John Turpin Moore 1871
Loxley B. Jacobs 1871
Harboson Hickman 1873-87
Wm. D. Waples 1873
John Turpin Moore 1873
Loxley B. Jacobs 1873
C. O. Stockley 1876-87
Loxley B. Jacobs 1875
John R. McFee 1875
Charles H. Richards 1875
Loxley B. Jacobs 1877
Robert B. Houston 1877
Lewis B. Chandler 1877
John B. McFee 1877-87
Charles H. Richards 1877-87
Hugh Martin 1879
Ebe W. Tunnell 1879
Charles B. Houston 1879
James Ponder 1881
Hugh Martin 1881
Ebe. W. Tunnell 1881
Charles B. Houston. 1881
Daniel R. Burton 1883-87
Hugh Martin 1883-87
Ebe W. Tunnell 1883-87
Charles B. Houston 1883-87

Georgetown Building and Loan Association was organized under the act of incorporation granted March 12, 1885. The first officers elected in August 1886 were: president, E. R. Paynter; vice-president, B. F. Wagamon; secretary, C. R. Jones; treasurer R. W. D. Albury; attorney, R. C. White; directors, Joseph T. Adams, John L. Thompson, W. M. Hazel, Charles L. Moore, R. C. White, James S. Maull, W. H. Boyce, H. T. Downing, Isaac N. Fooks. The association is successfully conducted.


Franklin Lodge, No. 12, F. A. M.
The dispensation for this lodge was granted June 27, 1823, and on the 21st of July an organization was effected, with the following principal officers:
W. M., Caleb S. Layton
S. W., Kendall Batson
J. W., Asaph Buck
Secretary, John Handy
Treasurer, Matthew Rench
Senior Deacon, George Fraim
Junior Deacon, Robert Burton, Tyler, John Gray.

This lodge became an incorporated body February 26 1847, but owned real estate prior to that time. The corner-stone of its hall was laid August 17, 1841, forty-three members participating in the ceremonies; but the building, which was also used for an academy, was not immediately completed. In 1843 it received the benefit of a lottery authorized for the purpose, and that year was finished for occupancy. Since that time the meetings of Franklin Lodge have been statedly held in the upper story of the building, while the lower has remained under the control of the academy trustees. The membership of the lodge has been drawn on in the formation of other lodges in the neighboring towns numbering but twenty-two in 1887. At the same time the principal officers were: W. M., Charles T. Purnell; S.W., McKendree Downham; J. W., C. Rodney Layton; Secretary, Andrew B. Banghart; Treasurer, Charles P. Purnell; S. D., George A. Jones; J. D., Alfred C. McGill; Tyler, H. H. Day.

Hope Chapter, No. 3, Royal Arch Masons, was instituted at Georgetown June 19, 1826, and had among its early members John Handy, Asaph Bock, Joseph G. Oliver, Edward Collins, Winder Dashiel, Trustan P. McColley, David R Smith and Samuel Wise.

From 1830 to 1846 no meetings of the chapter are recorded; they were then again resumed, bat once more discontinued during the Civil War. The chapter was revived in the early part of 1870, being now designated as No. 3. In January of that year there were twenty-five members, and Jacob Moore was the High Priest. . After a few years the meetings of the chapter at Georgetown were again discontinued, Franklin Lodge being the only Masonic body in 1887.

Union Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Laurel, July 4, 1833, as Bayard Lodge, No. 3. It was reinstated at Georgetown, May 19, 1846, with the present name, upon the application of Joseph Ellis, Noble Grand; Thomas I. Philips, Vice-Grand; John Stockley, Secretary; Thomas W. Records, Treasurer; Cyrus C. Windsor, Dr. Wm. B. Derrickson, James E. Ralph, Jacob Stockley and T. S. Philips. February 22, 1849, the lodge was incorporated, and an effort was made to erect a hall two years later, but this purpose was not accomplished until 186. The meetings meantime were held in the old school building. This hall was enlarged and remodeled in the fall of 1884, being completed in September of that year. It is a three-story frame building, in the second story of which is also a public hall, twenty-eight by fifty feet. This hall is under the management of Charles H. Taylor.

The lodge has prospered financially, having property in 1887 amounting to $6773.49. Its members numbered forty-two, and its principal officers were: Noble Grand, W. S. Walls; Vice-Grand, Wm. J. Thoroughgood; Recording Secretary, Charles 8. Walls; Permanent Secretary, Samuel R. Wilson; Treasurer, George A. Jones.

Sussex Temple of Honor, No. 2, was incorporated February 21, 1861, and authorized by the Legislature to unite with Rechabite Division, No. 22, Sons of Temperance, and Union Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F., to form a stock company, and erect a building for the use of these societies and for seminary purposes. This object, however, was not accomplished, and the latter society is the only one which did not soon after suspend its meetings.

Nanticoke Tribe, No. 21, I. O. R. M., was organized at Georgetown April 24, 1884, by visiting members from other tribes, to the number of seventy, and has an enrollment of forty-five members. On the 22d of January, 1886, it became an incorporated body and has been prosperous since its institution, having increased its membership to eighty-two. A neatly furnished wigwam is maintained in the second story of Odd Fellows' Hall. In 1887 the trustees were McKendree Downham, John L. Thompson and C. R. Layton.

Georgetown Lodge, No. 29, A. O. A. M. was instituted about 1871. Its meetings were held with considerable interest about three years, when they were discontinued and finally altogether suspended. The lodge had at one time forty members.

Midland Grange, No. 27, P. of H., holds its meetings at Georgetown, and had in March, 1887, R. J. Davidson as master, and Miss Effie L. Davidson as secretary.

Company G, National Guard of Delaware, was mustered at Georgetown March 31, 1887, with twenty-nine men and the following officers: Captain, Wm. H. Boyce; First Lieutenant, Charles L. Moore; Second Lieutenant, Chas. W. Cullen; First Sergeant, Richard A. Rosenbaum. A requisition was made for fifty-eight rifles, used by a former company at this place, and military duties were at once begun. At the encampment of the State Guard at Rehoboth Beach, July 27 to August 3, 1887, the company had more members present than any other organization. It also made a creditable appearance on account of its numbers and soldierly bearing at the Constitutional Celebration at Philadelphia, September 15 to September 17, 1887.


Schools have been maintained at Georgetown since the location of the town, the first school-house being twenty-two feet square, and standing on the site of Caleb Lynch's residence. In February, 1812, Isaac Tunnell, Benton Harris, William Russell, Robert D. Stout, Francis Brown and Peter Robinson were incorporated as the "trustees of the Georgetown school," and conducted it as a private enterprise. In 1886 a new school-building was erected on Pine Street, out of the accrued income of the school fund, and by voluntary contributions. This later became known as the ''old academy," to distinguish it from the new one erected in 1843. In it public schools were taught until the present school building was occupied in 1885. It is a two-story brick, twenty-four by thirty-six feet, and remains as one of the land-marks of the town. The Rev. Mr. Kingsbury was one of the first teachers, conducting what was then known as an academy. Ten years earlier, in the winter of 1825, Dr. Davis had located at Georgetown, and announced that "by Divine permission" he would open an academy January 1, 1826.

The present academy building was erected by the joint efforts of the Masons and the citizens of the town, through a board of trustees, from 1841 to 1843. In the latter year, by the help of a fund secured through a lottery, the lower story was completed for school purposes and Loren Johnson became the first principal. Subsequently John L. McKim, Oliver Wilson and others conducted the schools, which was well patronized until the breaking out of the war in 1861. In later years McKendree Downham and Elisha Conover were then principals, the latter in 1885, when the last session was held.

Under the act of March 29, 1781, a Union District was authorized, of Districts No. 67, 96, 106 and 109, to be controlled by the "Board of Commissioners of the Public Schools of Georgetown." This act was amended March 11, 1885, when the commissioners were empowered to sell the old building, secure a new site on which to erect a building, issuing bonds to the amount of six thousand dollars to pay the same, provision for which was made by a special tax. Accordingly, a fine site was secured in the northeastern part of the town, upon which was erected, in the summer and fall of 1885, a main building, thirty-two by sixty-six feet, and a wing, thirty-two by forty-two feet, each being a frame, two stories high. Four school-rooms and a hall were thus afforded, having sittings for nearly six hundred persons. The external appearance of the building is relieved by a belfry, and the whole was substantially completed at a cost of about six thousand five hundred dollars. At that time the Board of Commissioners was composed of William H. Boyce, B. F. Wagamon, William J. McNatt, H. T. Downing, Levin T. Sauls-bury, Charles R. Jones, Alfred P. Pepper, C. R. Layton and George W. Faucett.

The schools were opened in this building in December, 1885, Calvin Cubbage being the principal and having three assistant teachers. They had two hundred and forty pupils enrolled in 1887, and were maintained at an expense of one thousand eight hundred dollars per year. John A. Collins was the principal, R. C. White president of the commissioners, and Joseph B. Waples treasurer.


St. Paul's Churchy Protestant Episcopal.
The early records of this church have been destroyed, but from contemporary accounts it appears to have been organized in 1794. On the 21st of June, that year, Rowland Bevin, Edmond Dickerson, Abram Harris, Philips Kolloch, Isaac Wilson and Warren Jefferson were elected trustees, to whom was conveyed one-third of an acre of land on Pine and Front Streets, on which to erect a church. But it seems that this site was not deemed desirable, for it was sold in 1806, to William Russell, after four other lots on Pine Street had been secured, on which was begun a frame church in 1804. Owing to the small membership, there was some difficulty in completing the building for want of funds, and on the 15th of January, 1805, the Legislature passed an act to enable the vestry to raise by lottery one thousand five hundred dollars to finish the church, and to enclose the land belonging to the burying-ground.

The church was dedicated on St. Paul's Day, 1806, by the rector, the Rev. Hamilton Bell. Up to this time the services were held in the court-house. The church was not fully completed for many years, and on the 8th of February, 1827, another lottery was authorized by the Legislature to raise a fund of ten thousand dollars, for the purpose of "building an academy and Masonic Hall, and finishing the Episcopal Church." John Stockley, Thomas Robinson, Sr., and Philip Short were named as managers, but the lottery was not held.

The frame church was thirty-six by forty-eight feet, and had galleries on three sides, with a high pulpit, canopied by a sounding-board. A clerk's desk was in front of the pulpit. This building was removed in 1843 to make place for a brick church, which was erected on its site, and which was consecrated in November, 1844. The latter edifice was rebuilt during the rectorship of the Rev. B. J. Douglass, and was again opened for service October 13, 1881. It is an attractive building, in the Gothic style, with a tower having an open vestibule and a spire. Internally the church was much beautified during the pastorate of the Rev. J. C. Kerr, 1885-87, and a good pipe-organ supplied. On the same lot is a small Sunday-school chapel, erected by the Rev. Douglass, which became the property of the parish in 1886. The entire property is valued at six thousand dollars, and was controlled, in 1887, by the following vestry: Edwin R. Paynter, Wm. H. Boyce, Charles C. Stockley, Wm. H. Rawlins, David T. Marvel, Charles L. Moore and Ed. D. Hearn.

The wardens of the parish since 1838 have been Matthew Rench, George R. Fisher, James Anderson, Edward Wootten, Caleb S. Layton, Robert W. D. Albury, Edwin R. Paynter and Wm. H. Boyce.

From 1804 to 1838 the rectors of the parish were the Reverends Hamilton Bell, James Wiltbank, J. Foreman, Daniel Higbee, N. Kingsbury, C. Pleasants.

In 1838 the Rev. J. L. McKim became the rector, and served the parish two years. Then came the Revs. C. F. H. Whitesides and Walter E. Franklin. From March, 1844, until April, 1867, the Rev. John L. McKim was again the rector, his ministry being the longest in the history of the church. The successive rectors were, from November, 1867, Rev. Charles De L. Allen; December 3, 1871, Rev. Benjamin J. Douglass, who resigned September 1, 1884; January 1, 1885, to January, 1887, the Rev. J. C. Kerr, the last regular rector. In the spring of 1887 the Rev. Louis W. Wells preached several months; but since that time the pulpit has been vacant. The parish has fifty-three communicant members, and maintains a good Sunday-school, of which Edwin R. Paynter is the superintendent.

The Georgetown Methodist Episcopal Church was founded as Wesley Chapel in the early part of the present century. A board of trustees, composed of John Houston, James Prettyman, Joram Griffith, Robert W. McColley, Thomas Morrell, Peter Parker, Harris I. Wilson, William Dickerson, John McColley, James M. Rounds and Eli McColley, was chosen, who purchased a lot in 1802, on which to build a church. This lot on Pine Street was enlarged in 1806 by an additional purchase, so as to afford room for burial purposes. A brick meeting-house was begun, which was not completed for many years, since the members were few and poor. Yet, through the efforts of several devoted women, Mrs. Martha Richards, Miss Louisa Wolfe and Mrs. Margaret Rickards funds were collected, and the place made more comfortable. The first seats in the church were without backs, and everything was extremely plain. An increased interest in religious matters followed, which augmented the membership, and among those now active in church work were Jonathan R. Torbert, local preacher; William Russell, class-leader; David Moore, George Kollock, Wesley Wolfe and others. Later were added Charles and Sarah Tunnell, Kendall B. Wingate and David Dodd.

In 1859 it was determined to erect a new church on Race Street, which should be thirty-seven by fifty-four feet, and whose estimated cost was three thousand dollars. But, unfortunately, again the work of completion was deferred, and it was not until October 13, 1865, that the church was ready for consecration. That interesting service was performed by Bishop Simpson and the Rev. A. Cookman. The old church was then demolished; but the cemetery is still used, though in a neglected condition. The present church is a two-story frame, which was remodeled and much beautified in 1882. Its value has been placed at five thousand dollars, and the parsonage on the opposite side of the street at one thousand Aye hundred dollars. This property was controlled in 1887 by Trustees Charles F. Richards, Peter S. Faucett, Charles T. Purnell, Wilbur F. Tunnell, Charles P. Tunnell, Dr. Charles H. Richards and J. T. Adams.

In 1887 the church had one hundred and seventy-five members, forming three classes, led by Charles P. Tunnell, M. J. McNatt and the pastor, the Rev. W. J. Du Had way, who has had ministerial charge since 1885.

Georgetown Church has sustained a number of circuit relations, but for many years has been closed as a station. A list of ministers from 1836 to 1852, when the circuit was made much smaller, embraces the names of the Revs.

Stephen Townsend
William Spry
Solomon M. Cooper
William Mullin
William B. Messick
Arthur W. Milby
Samuel Pancoast
Jonathan Turner
R. E. Kemp
C. I. Turner
1853, Rev. J. Hough
1854, Rev. J. H. Lightbourne
1855, Rev. J. Pastorfield
1856-57, Rev. Adam Wallace
1858-59, Rev. John Talbot Gracey
1860, Rev. John Hough
1861, Rev. T. W. Maclay
1862, Rev. W. W. Wythes
1863-64, Rev. Charles F. Sheppard
1865, Revs. John Dyson and J. B. Beck
1866-67, Rev. William Merrill
1868-69, Rev. D. R. Thomas
1870-71, Rev. Elijah Miller
1872-74, Rev. A. D. Davis
1875-77, Rev. W. B. Walton
1878-79, Rev. J. W. Hammersley
1880-81, Rev. H. Colelazer
1882-84, Rev. P. H. Rawlins
1885-87. Rev. W. J. Du Hadway
1872 Rev. Eli J. Roach has been a local preacher since.

The Presbyterian Church of Georgetown was organized January 27, 1860, by a committee of the Presbytery of Lewes. Eight persons united in membership and Elisha D. Cullen was elected ruling elder. He served until his death, February 8, 1862, and on the 13th of May, 1864, John R. McFee was elected to that office, which he has since filled. In the fall of 1887 the congregation had thirty-eight members and no regular pastor, there being occasional preaching by supplies. The only regular pastor was the Rev. J. Bailie Adams who was installed April 27, 1873, and resigned March 1, 1881. Previous to his ministry the preaching was also by supplies, and the meetings were first held in the court-house. On the 6th of October, 1871, the contract for building a chapel on West Bedford Street was awarded to Hiram T. Downing and Peter Pepper for three thousand dollars, and on the 5th of December, 1872, the church building was dedicated by the Rev. Dr. Patton. It is an attractive structure, in the Gothic style of architecture, and has been kept in good repair.

African Methodist Episcopal Church
This church existed as an organized body as early as 1840, when its trustees were Moses Robinson, Isaac Kollock, George Radcliff and Timothy Jacobs, to whom William E. Harris conveyed a lot of land on which to build a church and open a burial-ground. A small frame building was erected, which stood until 1867, when the present house took its place. In this both meetings and schools have since been kept. The church has about forty members.

The Union Cemetery Company was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, March 24, 1881, and was organized by electing nine directors. John D. Rodney, president; and George W. Bennum, secretary and treasurer. In 1887 the directors were P. S. Faucett, George W. Bennum, Charles H. Taylor, W. S. Walls, I. N. Fooks, James H. McGlathen, George C. Calhoun, Joseph S. Wilson and Wilbur F. Tunnell. The cemetery contains three and three-quarters acres of land, on the east side of the town, which has been neatly enclosed and tastefully improved.

In the Cemetery of the Episcopal Church at Georgetown the following tombstones have been noted:

1823, Dr. Issac Robertson
1841, Col Wm. D. Waples
1849, Geo. David R. Smith
1840, Joshua Layton
1862, Robert Mumford
1863, Capt. Marti D W. B. Ellegood
1864, John B. Waples
1865, Matthew Rench
1873, Dr. Philip Smith
1875, Eli Wall
1877, Asbury C. Pepper
1886, Col. Gardiner H. Wright

Among those interred in the old Methodist cemetery were:

1880, J.P. W. Kollock 90
1858, Wm. Russell 84
1876, John Burton (C. M.) 82
1880, Jane W. Vaughn 83
1821, Margaret Russell 47
1853, Jonathan R. Torbert 50
1880, Charles Tunnell 76
1877, Wesley Wolfe 78
1846, Gustavus A. Ewing 57
1865, Jacob Faucett 60
1817, Philip Short 71

Georgetown Hundred

Sussex 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 16:33:07 EDT

Back to AHGP

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