Part of the American History and Genealogy Project




Lewes Business, Church, and Cemeteries, Sussex County, Delaware

Business Interests Churches St. Peter's Ministers
Methodist Ministers Cemeteries Monument in Cemetery
Presbyterian Cemetery Physicians Secret Societies
Schools   Military at Lewes

General Business Interests

For many years the manufacturing interests of Lewes were limited to the ordinary trades, and it was not until the railroad-shops were here located that the industrial life of the place was quickened into greater activity. After these were in operation other enterprises were begun and some have been successfully continued. The re-pair-shops gave employment to about fifty men until their removal to Georgetown, in 1884.

In 1882 Wm. B. Yardley erected a fruit evaporating establishment, near the depot, in which were placed two Williams' dryers, having a capacity of two hundred and fifty baskets per day. D. W. Brereton was the superintendent, and with John H. McColley, in 1885, became the owner. In the same locality W. H. Virden and Joseph Draper engaged in fruit evaporating and have since continued. About fifteen thousand baskets per year are prepared for the markets by these establishments.

The Henlopen Mills, near the depot, were built in 1882 by Wm. P. Jones and Spencer A. Phillips. On the death of the latter, in 1884, his interest passed to John W. Phillips, by whom and Mr. Jones the mills are still operated. The building is a three-story frame, thirty- two by sixty feet, and is supplied with seven sets of rollers for grinding wheat, and two com burrs. The motor is steam from a fifty horse-power engine, and about fifty barrels per day are manufactured. The plant is valued at twenty-two thousand dollars.

The town has always been a good trading point, and Adam Johnson had a store as early as 1687. In 1695 William Orr was the merchant, and in 1740 Joshua Fisher traded and was also a mariner and clerk of the Market. Caleb Rodney traded before 1812 and, later, Daniel, John, Thomas and Henry F. Rodney had stores which enriched their owners and made them the most prominent people in this section.

George Parker was a contemporary of the elder Rodneys and Lewis and Robert West and George Hickman, of those of a younger generation; and for many years these three families furnished the merchants of the town. Wm. P. Orr has been in trade since 1848, and has had since that time, as principal fellow merchants, Wm. M. Hickman, Nathaniel Hickman, Henry Wolfe, Alfred E. Burton, T. E. Record, F. C. Maull, E. J. Richardson, J. H. Dodd and E. J. Morris, the five last-named having stores in the year 1887.

The first drug-store in Lewes was opened by Dr. David H. Houston. Since 1871, Dr. David L. Mustard and Ebe W. Tunnel 1 have carried on a drug-store, in part of the old Caleb Rodney house, on Second Street, on which the principal stores have always been located. Frank Burton opened the first store in Pilot Town, in 1877. All branches of trade were represented in 1887, there being more than thirty places of business in Lewes.

A partial list of postmasters of the town embraces the names of Asa Clifton, William Morrow, Henry Wolfe, Stephen Waples, Jesse T. Pool, Edward Duffle, Henry C. Maul, E. J. Morris, D. W. Brereton, C. H. Maull and T. E. Record, the latter serving since January, 1885.

An inn was kept at Lewes, before 1700, by Richard Paynter, and Roger Corbett entertained the public in 1706. After the county abandoned the court-house, in 1792, that building was converted into a tavern and was used as such a score of years. It was in the dining-room of this house that Dr. Wilson was killed, in 1805. It was kept later by Josiah Marriner and after his death by his widow, Sarah. About the same time Philip Kollock and Cook Clampitt also kept public houses. In 1831 Samuel Walker kept a hotel near the creek and during the severe storm, that year, the sloop "Breakwater "broke from moorings and ran her bow-sprit through the windows of the bar-room, to the great astonishment of the inmates. On that occasion the tide ran higher at Lewes than since. The "Ocean House," at the upper end of Pilot Town, was built in 1846, for the Rev. Solomon Prettyman. It was intended for summer boarders and was the first hotel with large accommodations erected in the place. After the establishment of the steamboat line, in 1851, it did a large business, but was closed in 1856. Later it was again opened to the public and during the season of 1871, while kept by Walter Burton, accommodated one thousand guests. For many years it has been used as a private residence. In May, 1870, the "Atlantic Hotel," which stood on the corner of Front and King Streets, was destroyed by fire. It was a large three-story frame, and was at that time owned by ex-Sheriff Lofland. James Belt's "Pavilion House," built in 1873, near the railroad pier, for the accommodation of visitors to the seaside, was also burned down. At this place Caleb Lynch's boarding-house was afterwards erected.

The only hotel in 1887, was the "Virden House," on Front Street, near the site of the upper fort, in the war of 1812. It was erected in 1847, by Charles Wilson and Hudson Burr, and was opened as the "United States House." In 1879 the building was enlarged by Henry Virden, when the name was also changed, and it has since been known by its present title. It was exceedingly well kept in 1887, by William M. Jefferson, and had a large patronage, ranking with the best hotels in the state.

The Lewes Building and Loan Association was organized March, 1873, and issued four series of stock before its business was closed. Each series matured in the course of nine years. Its officers were James H. Russell, president; George D. Orton and D. W. Brereton, secretaries; D. L. Mustard and E. J. Morris, treasurers. The association was highly beneficial, enabling many citizens to secure homes.

Lewes has had a long line of able and honored physicians. Dr. John Rhoads, who was also one of the judges of the court, was in practice as early as 1674. Eleven years later Dr. Thomas Wynn located here. In 1695 Dr. Thomas Bowman is mentioned. In 1702 Dr. John Stewart was here, and in 1717 Dr. Nathaniel Hall. Dr. Henry Fisher, a native of Ireland, came in 1725, and settled at Pilot Town, where he built a mansion, which was regarded as palatial in those days. This property passed into the hands of the Hickman family, and the title still stands in the name of a member. Dr. Fisher was the father of the patriotic pilot, Henry Fisher, who was prominent in Revolutionary matters, and in the business affairs of Lewes of that period.

On or about the 24th day of October, 1682, William Penn arrived in the ship "Welcome," within the capes of the Delaware Bay, and with him came quite a large number of passengers with the intention of settling in the province which had been deeded to Penn by the Duke of York. Among those passengers were John Fisher and Margaret, his wife, and his two sons, John and Thomas, the latter of whom was Penn*s private secretary. John Fisher, his brother, settled near Lewes. He left three sons, the eldest of whom was John, whose son, Jabez Fisher, was the father of Thomas Fisher. The mother was Elizabeth Wright, daughter of Thomas Purnell, of Maryland, and widow of Hezekiah Wright. Jabez settled on a farm near Lewes, in Sussex County, Delaware, where his son Thomas was born on the 14th day of June, 1763.

In the severe winter of 1779-80, having just entered his seventeenth year, Thomas was seized by a press gang, and carried on board the British frigate "Roebuck," then lying near Cape Henlopen. Word was sent to his father Jabez, from the press gang that captured him, that his son Thomas and his Negro slave Samuel, also seized by the press gang, could be ransomed only by the delivery of one hundred bullocks on board the English frigate. These, from his own herds and contributions made by neighbors, were carried on the ice some two or three miles from the shore and delivered on board the frigate, and Thomas and the slave were liberated. On the death of Jabez Fisher, his father, in 1786, Thomas, being the eldest son, and then about twenty-two years of age, was left to care for the younger children, the youngest of whom was John Fisher, who afterwards became a distinguished lawyer at the Dover bar, and federal judge of the district of Delaware.

General Thomas Fisher received such education only as could be obtained in those troublous times, immediately preceding and during the Revolutionary War, at private schools in Sussex County. He managed to acquire, however, a fair English education. Being a man of commanding presence, affable manners and great popularity, he was appointed or elected to several public offices in Sussex County, both civil and military; among others, twice filled the office of high sheriff of the county. It is a singular coincidence that afterwards, having become a resident of Kent County, he was also twice made High Sheriff of Kent.

Shortly before the massacre in San Domingo, Stephen Girard, who at that time was doing business on rather a small scale in Philadelphia, started for that island, and the vessel on which he took passage was driven by stress of weather to take refuge in Lewes Creek, which then afforded a comparatively safe harbor, the Delaware Breakwater at that time not having been dreamed of. The vessel was necessarily detained at Lewes for several days, during which interval some of the creditors of Girard in Philadelphia sent an express messenger to Lewes, then the county-seat of Sussex, and served oat writs for his arrest and imprisonment, which were placed in the hands of General Fisher, who was then sheriff of that county, to be served. On repairing to the hotel and making known his business to Mr. Girard, the latter, in a sudden burst of passion, struck at him with a Spanish knife, but the general parried the thrust by a counter-stroke on Girard 's elbow, and with the other hand felled him to the floor, and kept him in durance vile until he succeeded in obtaining bail for his appearance at the ensuing term of court Having been thus liberated, Girard completed his voyage to San Domingo, and whilst there a very large number of the wealthy planters and merchants of that island made arrangements with him to take back to Philadelphia and have consigned to him there large amounts of money and other valuables which must have aggregated between five hundred thousand and a million of dollars in value, and so terrible was the destruction of life by the massacre of the white inhabitants of the island, that many families were so completely extirpated as to leave no legal representatives behind them to claim the large deposits which had been entrusted to Mr. Girard for safe keeping. This forms the basis of the colossal fortune which he subsequently amassed.

During the War of 1812, General Fisher was brigadier commanding the brigade of militia of Sussex County, and 'was present at the bombardment of Lewes by the British. At that time he resided on his farm at Milton, but in 1815 removed to Milford, in Kent, for which county he was elected sheriff in 1824, for the term of three years, at the expiration of which term he purchased a mill property and farm, upon apart of which the present, town of Wyoming has since been built. In 1830 he removed to it and there died in December, 1835, in the seventy-third year of his age, leaving but one child to survive him, Hon. George P. Fisher, a sketch of whole life is published in this work. He was by birthright a Quaker, but early in life became an Episcopalian, in which faith he died, lamented by all who knew him.


Dr. Joseph Hall, born 1748, began practicing medicine at Lewes before the Revolution, and continued until his death, 1796. His practice extended through the greater part of Lower Sussex. Dr. Wm. Robinson succeeded to the practice of Dr. Hall, which he carried on several years. Contemporary with Dr. Hall was Dr. Matthew Wilson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, who looked after the physical as well as the spiritual interests of his members. His son, Dr. Theodore F. Wilson, was killed in 18051, after practicing a few years. Near the same time Dr. John and Jacob Wolfe were in practice. The latter was killed by lightning in the court-house at Georgetown, July 16, 1805. The former also deceased before 1812. Dr. Thomas R. Blandy was here about the same time.

Dr. John White was in practice from after 1800 until his death in 1829. A little later. Dr. Henry F. Hall became a practitioner. He was a surgeon in the war of 1812, retiring from the army in 1819. His death occurred in 1866, at the age of seventy-six years. In this period. Dr. Joseph Harris, Dr. Wm. Rickards, Dr. A. L. Wiltbank, Dr. Simeon K. Wilson and others were professionally engaged at Lewes, some remaining but a few years. The connection with the profession at Lewes of Dr. Robert Burton and Dr. Robert McIlvain dates from an earlier period, both removing to the northern part of the county. After being in practice at Lewes a number of years, and serving with credit as a surgeon in the War for the Union, David H. Houston retired to his home in Broadkiln Hundred, where he still lived in 1887. Dr. Joseph Lyons was retired at Lewes, after a number of years of practice, and Dr. Rodney H. Richardson had removed to the Pacific Coast.

The physicians resident at Lewes and in active practice in 1887 were Dr. David Hall, graduated from Pennsylvania Medical School, and a practitioner since 1852; Dr. David L. Mustard, pupil of the above, and graduated from same school, in 1858 (after ten years' practice in Blackwater he removed to Lewes, where he has since resided); Dr. Hiram Rodney Burton, graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1868, in practice at Frankford, Delaware, until 1872, and since that year in Lewes; Dr. W. P. Orr and Dr. Harbeson Hickman, both natives of Lewes, and graduates from the University of Pennsylvania in 1884. Both are in the hospital service of the United States, on Cape Henlopen, in addition to being practitioners in town.

Of the many attorneys who resided at Lewes in the last century. Col. David Hall, who practiced law before he went to the Revolutionary War, stood prominent. James P. Wilson, a later attorney of promise, renounced that profession and became a Presbyterian clergyman after 1800. The resident attorney in 1887 was Charles W. Whiley.

Secret Societies

Jefferson Lodge, No. 16, A. F. A. M., was instituted at New Castle January 27, 1825, with W. T. Read, master; John Belville, senior warden; Bennett Lewis, junior warden. For a number of years its meetings were statedly held at New Castle until they were discontinued. But the charter was revived June 27, 1849, and the lodge was re-established at Lewes, where the original members were John Bur-ton, Benjamin McIlvain, Thomas Coleman, George Tunnell, Alfred P. Robinson, Hudson Burr, Joseph Lafetra, John W. Walker and John W. Dean. Since that time one hundred and fifty-six persons have been admitted to membership, and in the fall of 1887 the number in good standing was sixty-seven.

For a number of years the lodge held its meetings in the United States Hotel, but now (1888) occupies its own hall on the King's Road, in the western part of the town. The corner-stone of this building was laid December 26, 1870, and the hall was dedicated in July, 1871. The structure is a two-story frame, twenty-five by fifty feet, and was erected by a committee composed of E. J. Morris, L. L. Lyons, John A. Clampitt and William H. Orten. The hall is well furnished, and the property is valued at three thousand five hundred dollars. In 1887 it was in the care of Trustees John R. Price, Jehu Jeffers and Andrew H. Baker. C. H. Maull was the master; William P. Orr, Jr., secretary; and J. A. Clampitt, treasurer.

Atlantic Lodge, No. 15, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Lewes, December 4, 1847, with twenty-one charter members, most of whom had a former membership in the Union Lodge of Georgetown. The meetings were first held in the Long House, on Mul-berry Street; but, in 1852, a hall, twenty-four by forty feet, was built, in which the lodge has since statedly assembled. When first used, it was regarded as very fine, and has been kept in an inviting condition. The lodge has prospered in membership and financially, having in 1887 real and personal property valued at two thousand dollars and eighty members in good standing. The principal officers in the latter half of the year were as follows: N. G., Robert R. Wilson; V. G., S. M. Warren; R. S., Edward Hudson; P. S., D. W. Brereton; Treas., John W. West; Trustees, James Lewis, W. H. Virden and John West.

Ocean Encampment, No. 9, I. O. O. F., was instituted October 12, 1875, with the following members: James H. Russell, E. J. Morris, D. W. Brereton, C. T. Burton, Wrixham W. White, George R. Messick, William J. Norman, Ed. B. Mears, John A. Nixon and E. W. Tunnell.

In the fall of 1887 there were twenty-five members, with Robert R. Wilson as C. P., and William H. Virden as H. P. The meetings were held in Atlantis Hall, where also assembled "Breakwater Lodge" of Good Templars, which was organized September 15, 1885, with thirty-five charter members. This society is also prosperous; but a division of the Sons of Temperance, formerly here, has long since passed away.


In 1734, John Russell is spoken of as the schoolmaster of the town, serving also as deputy recorder, but there is no account of a school-house in that period. Two years later Thomas Penn ordered that the income from the Great Marsh should be devoted to the support of a school in Lewes, but it is probable that no building for that especial purpose was erected until 1761. That year a frame house was erected on Second Street, near Ship Carpenter Street, in which the youth of the town were instructed more than one hundred years, and which has but lately been removed. For the lot on which it stood a deed was executed. May 4, 1762, by John Wiltbank to Ryves Holt, Jacob Kolloch, David Hall, Jacob Kolloch, Jr., Matthew Wilson, Peter Razer, Daniel Nunez, James Thompson, Samuel Row-land, Daniel Nunez, Jr., Anderson Parker, John Rodney, Henry Fisher, Daniel Hosman and Reece Wolfe, Jr., leading citizens of the town, in consideration of ten shillings, "as well as for the promotion and encouragement of the youth of the county, being taught and educated in the principles of religion and virtue, useful knowledge and learning."

Of the many teachers who occupied this building. Dr. William Harris was a schoolmaster, in the early part of the present century, whose worth is best remembered. In February, 1818, a board of trustees was incorporated for this school, enabling it to be better maintained.

Before 1800, schools where instruction in the classics might be imparted were taught in Lewes, the Rev. Francis Hindman having such a school as early as 1795. This led to the establishment of the Lewes Academy soon after. A large frame building was erected for school purposes, at the intersection of South and Third Streets, which was controlled in 1803 by Trustees David Hall, Daniel Rodney, Caleb Rodney, John White, James P. Wilson, George Parker, William Wolfe, James Wiltbank, Frederick Rowe and Jacob Wolfe. That year Peter McLaughlin was the principal, but retired in 1805, and the Rev. James Wiltbank succeeded him. The latter was a graduate of Princeton College, and later be-came the provost of the University of Pennsylvania. About the same time R. S. Clarke was teaching a school for young ladies, in connection with the academy. In an announcement of his purposes he made great professions of his proficiency, assuring his patrons that he could "teach Grammar grammatically, and would also use the globes, etc." John Gibbons was a teacher of the ancient languages. The Rev. A. Strong taught in the academy for nearly twenty years, and is best remembered in connection with that old institution, which has long since been closed and the building now forms a part of a private residence. In its best days many students from abroad were in attendance.

The schools of Lewes and vicinity are now controlled by a "Board of Public Education," which was created by an act of the Legislature, passed March 9, 1875, which also consolidated Districts Nos. 14, 15, 110 and 112 for the better promotion of the schools. The first board of this union district was composed, of Dr. David Hall, president; Lemuel W. Waples secretary; William P. Orr, treasurer; Robert Arnell, John A. Clampitt, Harbeson Hickman, David A Marshall, E. J. Morris, Dr. David L. Mustard, Thomas E. Record, James H. Russell and Edward Russell. It was authorized to issue bonds for six thousand dollars to build a new schoolhouse, and to grade the course of instruction. Both were done in the fall of 1875, and a very imposing edifice, costing more than eight thousand dollars, was completed in 1876, making it the centennial building of the town. It contains seven large and well-appointed rooms, in which more than three hundred pupils are instructed in studies embracing the classics. The first class to complete the course was composed of May Hickman, Sallie Ross, Helen Marshall and Sallie Waples, and was graduated in June, 1879, under the principalship of Professor H. C. Carpenter. In 1887 the school had six departments, and the principal was Roman Tamany. The yearly expenditure was about three thousand dollars, and the property was estimated worth ten thousand dollars.

The Lewes Library Association was formed January 13, 1877, with C. W. Whiley, president; C. H. Maull, secretary; Joseph Lafetra, treasurer; H. R. Burton, E. W. Tunnel I, H. C. Carpenter, H. S. Marshall, additional trustees. Robert H. Orr was the librarian. The association has been successfully conducted and, in 1887, the library contained six hundred volumes of standard and miscellaneous books. It was kept in Odd Fellows' Hall, and Edward Duffel was the librarian.

In 1810 a library was formed at Lewes, which was maintained a score of years and contained a number of good books.


Lewes Presbyterian Church
Among the settlers at Lewes, after 1682, were a number of persons, Independents, from Scotland and Northern Ireland, who were inclined to establish worship in accordance with their belief. To this people came the Rev. Samuel Davis, about 1691, under the auspices of the "London Missionary Society" (organized in 1689, and disbanded in 1692), and if he did not immediately organize them into a congregation, at least preached to them. He took up his abode on a farm near the town, where he was visited, in 1692, by George Keith, a Friend, who speaks of the existence of a small congregation at that period. With this congregation the Rev. Davis united, in 1707, in the call for a pastor; but none being secured, he continued to preach until 1715, when he removed to Snow Hill, Md., where he died in 1725.

In 1707 the first meeting-house of the congregation was built on a lot of land which had been conveyed, May 9th of that year, by Thomas Fenwick (who had purchased the Wm. Dyre place), "for the use of the Presbyterian Professors and to build a meeting-house and a schoolhouse for the above sd Party or Company of Presbyterians, and for a burial-place forever." "One certain tract or parcel of land, situate, Lying and being butted, bounded at the end of Lewistown, between the County Road and the road that goes to Mr. Samuel Davis his plantation on the Hill, containing one hundred feet square." The house was of wood and does not appear to have been substantially built, so that in the course of twenty years it had become unfitted for use. A better edifice of brick was accordingly begun in 1727 and partially completed that year. It had a high hip-roof and end gallery, and was without a stove when first used. Repairs were made on it in 1759, and again in 1818, but after fourteen years' more service it was little used. Yet it was left standing in the same lot until November, 1871, when it was sold to Henry Wolfe, for eighty dollars, who demolished it.

The present edifice was dedicated in 1832, but had been building several years. In 1869 the windows were changed and the old pulpit, which had thirteen steps, removed to make place for one of more modern construction. Further improvements to this building were made in 1886, when a bell, weighing a thousand pounds, was placed in the steeple, which was erected that year, and a pipe-organ was also placed in the church. In 1887 the church was thoroughly modernized, at an outlay of two thousand five hundred dollars, making it one of the best edifices in the lower part of the State. A new mansion was built on an adjoining lot in 1877, and the combined value of the church property was, in December, 1887, nearly eight thousand dollars.

In 1715 the Rev. John Thompson, a native of Ireland, supplied the pulpit and continued two years, being installed the first regular pastor of the church in April, 1717. He continued until 1729, when he removed to Pennsylvania. He was a learned man, an author of considerable reputation, "able, judicious and Evangelical."

The church seems to have been without a pastor until 1734, when the Rev. James Martin, also an Irishman, entered into that office, which he acceptably filled until his death, which occurred in May, 1743. His remains were interred in front of the pulpit in the brick church. In 1876 this grave was opened and the story of his burial was fully verified by finding his bones in the spot indicated. During his pastorate, October 3, 1739, the eminent George Whitefield visited Lewes, and preached. In his account of that event he said: "The chief inhabitants prevailed on me to preach, but they were not troubled by the tender and melting story of a Saviour's sacrifice." He preached from the steps of the new court-house, since no church in the place was large enough to hold the people assembled. Another important event in the pastorate of the Rev. Martin was the organization, November 19; 1735, of the Presbytery of Lewes, the records of which have been lost.

From 1743 until 1756 the church had no regular pastor, but the Revs. Samuel Black, Hector Allison and others occasionally preached. In the latter year the Rev. Matthew Wilson was installed the pastor and served continuously from May 5th until his death, March 31, 1791, when he was interred in the church-yard. He was a painstaking, conscientious man, and "although his ministry extended through the war, they were times of peace to the church." His parish also embraced the Cool Spring Church, and at the latter church his successor, the Rev. Francis Hindman, was ordained, October 27, 1791, and continued pastor until April 20, 1795. He was also the teacher of a school at Lewes, and was a stern disciplinarian. Dr. Harris, who subsequently taught an academy, was one of his students.

December 10, 1795, the Rev. John Burton, a licentiate from Scotland, became the next pastor. He was also a thorough scholar, but plain in manners, frank in his speech, eccentric and very absent-minded. Many amusing incidents of his forgetfulness are remembered.

The Rev. James P. Wilson, a son of the Rev. Matthew, supplied the pulpit about two years, but in 1807 the Rev. Joseph Copes became the pastor, and remained the minister until his death. He was buried at the Cool Spring Church, January 1, 1822.

From 1823 to 1826 the Rev. Benjamin Ogden was the pastor, and was succeeded by the Rev. John Mitchell. The latter lost his life in March, 1834, by the burning of the steamer "Wm. Penn." His body being recovered, it was buried in Philadelphia. The Rev. Abram De Witt was the next pastor, serving from 1834 until 1838. The following year the Rev. Cornelius H. Mustard became the minister of the church and, with some interruption, served it as pastor and stated supply until 1857. Since the latter period the ministers have been: 1857 to 1859, the Rev. William C. Handy; 1860-61, the Rev. Andrew Thomas; 1861 to 1870, the Rev. G. H. Nemo. Then followed as supplies the Revs. W. E. Gaylord, C. F. Boynton, G. L. Wolf, Daniel Tourney, W. W. Reese. In November, 1881, the Rev. Austin C. Heaton became the pastor, and served the church acceptably until his resignation was compelled by ill health, in the fall of 1887.

For nearly a hundred years Cool Spring and other congregations were served with the Lewes Church, but after 1857 the only congregation thus connected was the one in Rehoboth Hundred, and since 1873 the Lewes Church has been an exclusive charge. Its membership has thus been much diminished, but ninety two communicants belonging in November, 1887. Among these were Ruling Elders James H. Russell, Dr. David Hall, Dr. David L. Mustard, Edward Russell, Alfred L. Burton and Thomas B. Schellenger. Others in that office have been William Russell, Lewis West, David Walker, John Paynter, Thomas Rowland, Henry Wolfe, Dr. David H. Houston, William E. Bingham, Thomas Walker, Henry F. Hall, Peter Waples, John Futcher, Gov. David Hall, Peter White, John Orr and Joseph Hall, all ordained after 1790.

Good Sunday-schools have long been maintained in the church, David M. McIlvain being the Superintendent of one of the first. Dr. Henry F. Hall held that position many years, until his death. James H. Russell was the superintendent in 1887, and the school had one hundred and thirty -five members.

Friends Meeting at Lewes
As early as 1692 the Friends residing at Lewes held meetings after the manner of their sect, and in June, 1712, a regular Weekly Meeting was established at the house of Cornelius Wiltbank. Members of that family, the Fishers, Miers and some others constituted this meeting, which was attached to the Camden Monthly Meeting. The meeting at Lewes appears to have been "raised" about 1800, the few remaining members becoming connected with the Coal Spring Meeting in Broad Kiln Hundred. The grave-yard at Lewes was given up about 1840.

St. Peter's Church, Protestant Episcopal
Visiting clergymen held services in accordance with the usages of the Established Church in all the larger settlements of the State, prior to 1700, but it does not appear that it was deemed advisable to organize the people of Lewes into a parish at so early a period. On the 26th of July, 1708, the Rev. William Black came to the town and remained until May 9, 1709, in which period he held meetings here and in other localities, but the interest created was not sufficient to attempt the founding of a church in Lewes; and nearly a dozen more years elapsed before that purpose was accomplished. In 1717 the Rev. George Ross was invited by Sir William Keith, at that time Governor of Pennsylvania, to accompany him in a tour through Lower Delaware to look alter the wants of the people. On this mission they visited Lewes, where Mr. Ross held divine service in the court-house ' August 6, 1717, to the great satisfaction of those assembled. Impressed with the spiritual needs of the people of this section, he returned in 1718, and during his stay of a week baptized more than a hundred persons at Lewes, Cedar Creek Hundred, and the country along the Indian River. An effort was now made to obtain a regular minister, and through the influence of Mr. Ross, the Rev. William Beckett came as a missionary under the auspices of the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," of London, to take up this work. He selected Lewes as a central point from which to carry on his operations, locating here in September, 1721. Taking what means had already been gathered, he immediately commenced to build a church, and a year later he reported to his society: "The frame of our church was raised on a high bank in the centre of our town on the 6th October last, and we hope to finish it the next summer. The other two churches we have raised at distant places. We intend to fit them up with all convenient speed." The two churches here mentioned were St. Matthew's, in Cedar Creek Hundred, and the first St. George's Chapel, in Indian River Hundred, which also belonged to the parish created by Mr. Beckett. On the 19th of May, 1724, he wrote to his society that not one of his three churches "will contain the bearer that constantly attend Divine Services." In 1728 he built "a fourth church in the middle of a forest, by the name of "St. John Baptist" and there is likely to be a numerous congregation there." The interest in his preaching in all those churches continued, and in his last letter, September 26, 1742, he says "the four churches are filled on Sundays, and I am often obliged in summer to preach under the trees, since the houses are too small to hold all who come to hear." Mr. Beckett died August 20, 1743, and was buried in the grave yard of St. Peter's Church at Lewes.

The first church building was a frame, twenty-four by forty feet, and was fifteen feet between the plate and sill, and was not completed until 1728. That year Patrick Gordon, Esq., then Governor of Pennsylvania, gave £5 to finish the gallery, after the front of it had been wainscoted with black walnut at the expense of Joseph Pemberton. The house was covered with cypress shingles, and the entire amount expended on it was £96 6s. 5¼d. These moneys were contributed by the people of the parish, and a considerable portion was secured from friends outside of the State, Governor Keith being a generous donor. On the 10th of June, 1773, John Penn, Governor of Pennsylvania and the three lower counties, presented a fine communion service to the church.

The old church having been condemned as unsafe for further use, a new house was built, of the same size, about forty feet southwest of the old one. The frame was raised in June, 1808, and by September 15th, that year, the church was completed, which was deemed very quick work for those times. After the lapse of forty years an effort was made to build a larger church, but no actual work was done until the fall of 1853, when the above building was removed to the north-west corner of the cemetery, by Dr. William M. Rickard and A. S. Wiltbank, and on the 27th of May, 1854, the comer-stone of a new church was laid on the old site. In 1855 work was continued on the building, under the direction of L. L. Lyons, H. F. Rodney, William M. Hickman, John Rodney and William P. Orr, as a building committee, but the edifice was not completed for consecration until July 15, 1858. That ceremony was performed by Bishop Alfred Lee, who also conferred holy orders upon the rector, Thomas M. Martin, at the same time. It is a brick structure, forty-seven by seventy-six feet, Gothic style, with fine windows, and cost six thousand dollars. The sitting capacity is nearly seven hundred. A tower was added and other improvements made to the Church in 1870. Other improvements have been made at a more recent period.

In 1790 St. Peter's Church was incorporated with a board of trustees composed of John Wiltbank, Recce Wolfe, John Russell, Phillip Kolloch, Hap Hazzard, George Barker and Anderson Barker. In 1797 the church-yard was enlarged by the purchase of land from Daniel Rodney and the Rev. James Wiltbank, and other property of the church was sold; the glebe, devised by Daniel Nunez, in 1791, to Peter Robinson and the old Court-House and sundry lots west from it, June 15, 1833, to H. F. Rodney and others. The property, which was in fair order in 1887, was in charge of a vestry composed of William P. Orr and Alexander Harrison, wardens; Hiram Burton, Charles Burton, Henry Marshall, Jacob Marshall, James Marshall, Clinton Long and David R. West, vestrymen. The parish embraced forty-five families, and St. Peter's was the only church within its limits, all the other churches at first associated with it having assumed different parish relations.

The Ministers of St. Peter's Church, after the death of Mr. Beckett in 1743, were as follows:

Rev. Arthur Usher 1745-54
Rev. John Andrews 1767
Rev. Samuel Tingley 1774
Rev. John Wade 1776
Rev. Stephen Sykes 1779
Rev. Wm. Skelley 1790
Rev. James Wiltlank 1795
Rev. Hamilton Bell 1811
Rev. John Forman 1818
Rev. Daniel Higbee 1821
Rev. Nathan Kingsbury 1834
Rev. Charles E. Pleasants 1836
Rev. John L. McKim 1838
Rev. _____ Whiteside 1840
Rev. I. A. Childa 1842
Rev. George Hall 1848
Rev. Thomas M. Martin 1867
Rev. George A. Crooke 1869
Rev. Edwin B. Chase 1860
Rev. George S. Lewis 1861
Rev. John B. Henry 1863
Rev. George A. Crooke 1866
Rev. John A. Parsons 1867
Rev. John L. McKim 1870
Rev. Kensey Johns Stewart 1871
Rev. George Hall 1879
Rev. John L. McKim 1882
Rev. Thomas McClintock 1883
Rev. Thos. Waterman.
Rev. Edwin B. Armstrong2 1886

The Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church of Lewes
Methodist ministers preached in this locality as early as 1774, the meetings being held in private houses. But on the 31st of March, 1788, a board of trustees was incorporated, with a purpose to build a church, namely, John Wiltbank, William West, William Coulter, Abraham Hargis, Sheppard Prettyman, Thomas Coulter and William Prettyman. This board purchased a lot of Rhoads Shankland May 7, 1788, on what was known as Shankland's Lane, on which was raised the frame of the old "Ebenezer Church." Three years later "Bethel Church" was built in Lewes, on the corner of Third and Market Streets, and for many years meetings were alternately held in the two churches. Later Ebenezer Church was allowed to go down, but the burial-place is still maintained. In 1828 Bethel Church was removed from its old site to the location of the present church, and ten feet added to the length of the house, making it twenty-five by forty feet. In a repaired condition the old church was used until the present edifice was occupied. Its corner-stone was laid August 29, 1870, but the dedication did not take place until August 28, 1872. The church is a frame, forty by sixty feet, and is thirty-two feet high, giving it lecture rooms in the basement, and a large auditorium. It was erected by a building committee composed of George Chambers, E. J. Morris and T. E. Record, and cost about six thousand dollars. In 1880 a steeple was built on the church, and it was since otherwise improved. The following year a very neat parsonage was built for the use of the minister, the church having the previous year become an independent charge. In 1887 the entire property was valued at sixteen thou-sand dollars, and was controlled by Trustees D. W. Brereton, T. E. Record, E. J. Morris, Geo. Chambers, Wm. E. Chambers and P. B. Norman, Sr.

When old "Bethel" was removed to its new location in 1828, about twenty families worshipped in it. In 1887 the membership of the church was two hundred and seventy-three, and it was under the pastoral care of the Rev. H. S. Thompson. The church also maintains a very flourishing Sunday-school of three hundred and forty-five members, of which D. W. Brereton and A. D. Mason are the superintendents.

The first Sabbath-School in Lewes was held in the old Bethel Church as a union school, in 1813, by Mrs. Sallie West, assisted by Mrs. Selfy Beebe and others. In 1816 the school was conducted under a constitution written by the Rev. John Rodney, and eight ladies, three Methodists, three Presbyterians and two Episcopalians, were selected as directresses. The school was first held in the Methodist, but later in the Presbyterian Church. In 1820 a Sabbath-school was taught in the school-house on Second Street by ladies of various denominations, those from the McIlvain, Hall, West, King, White and Rodney families being especially active in this work. This school was subsequently transferred to the Presbyterian Church, and there continued until about 1830, when a separate Methodist Sunday-school was organized. Of the latter, Bailey A. West was the superintendent. In 1834, Ferdinand Schey, a young German watchmaker, became the superintendent, and for six years greatly promoted the interest in the school.

John W. White and George W. Evans were successively at the head of the school, and under the latter the first celebration was held in 1846. Assisted by Dr. H. F. Hall, he was also instrumental in forming the first Juvenile Temperance Society. The later superintendents were Wm. A. Conwell, C. M. Marshall, and, since 1858, D. W. Brereton.

The church at Lewes has sustained many circuit relations, and at first had services only at long intervals. In 1788 it was a part of Dover Circuit; alter 1795, of Milford Circuit; in 1803, of Lewistown Circuit; 1841, Milton Circuit; 1852, Lewes Circuit, which then had eleven appointments; in 1864, Indian River Circuit was formed, and Lewes now had five appointments; and in 1880, Lewes became a station.

The following have been the Methodist ministers who preached at Lewes, with the years of their appointment by Conference:

Abraham Whitworth 1774
Philip Gatch 1776
John Cooper 1776
Nicholas Waters. 1776
Joseph Hartley 1776
Martin Rodda -1777
Joseph Cromick 1777
Rev. Freeborn Garrettson 1778
Rev. John Littlejohn 1778
Rev. Joseph Hartley 1779
Rev. Thos. McClure 1779
Rev. Wm. Glendenning 1780
Rev. James O. Cromwell 1780
Rev. John Coleman 1781
Rev. John Tunnell 1781
Rev. Wm. Gill 1782
Rev. Moses Park 1782
Rev. Henry Metcalf. 1782
Rev. David Abbott 1782
Rev. Wm. Clendenning 1783
Rev. George Kimble 1783
Rev. Nelson Reed 1784
Rev. Adam Cloud 1784
Rev. Samuel Dudley 1786
Rev. Joseph Wyatt 1786
Rev. Ira Elkis 1786
Rev. George Moore 1786
Rev. John Brush 1887
Rev. Aaron Hutchinson 1787
Rev. George Moore 1788
Rev. Benton Riggin 1788
Rev. Thos. Jackson 1789
Rev. Wm. Rodcliff 1789
Rev. James Thomas 1790
Rev. Evan Rogers 1790
Rev. John Smith 1791
Rev. Shadrack Boetwick 1791
Rev. George Moore 1792
Rev. Solomon Sharp 1792
Rev. Walter Fountain 1793
Rev. Joseph Rowen 1793
Rev. Resin Cash 1794
Rev. Walter Fountain 1794
Rev. Wm. Colbert 1795
Rev. Elisha Cole 1796
Rev. Solomon Sharp 1796
Rev. John Robinson 1796
Rev. David Bartine 1797
Rev. Thos. Jones 1797
Rev. E. Chambers 1798
Rev. Thos. Jones 1798
Rev. Wm. Mills 1799
Rev. Archibald Foster 1799
Rev. Thos. Jackson 1800
Rev. Wm. Mills 1800
Rev. Richard Sneath 1801
Rev. John Wiltbank 1801
Rev. David Best 1802
Rev. Samuel Budd 1802
Rev. Joseph Jewell 1803
Rev. Wm. Earley 1803
Rev. James Moore 1804
Rev. Henry White 1804
Rev. John Wiltbank 1805
Rev. Henry White 1805
Rev. George Wooley 1806
Rev. Thos. Dunn 1806
Rev. George Wooley 1807
Rev. George Armstrong 1807
Rev. Thomas Smith 1808
Rev. John Purden 1808
Rev. James Herrod 1809
Rev. Josiah Colborn 18.9
Rev. Thos. Walker 1810
Rev. John Wilson 1810
Rev. Sylvester Hill 1811
Rev. William Williams. 1811
Rev. Daniel Ashton 1812
Rev. John Collins 1813
Rev. William Leonard 1814
Rev. William Ross 1814
Rev. Joseph Bennett 1816
Rev. James Aiken 1816
Rev. Arva Melvin 1816
Rev. Richard Sneath 1816
Rev. James Bateman 1817
Rev. William Ross 1817
Rev. John Smith 1818
Rev. William Prettyman 1818
Rev. John Smith 1819
Rev. Jacob Moore 1819
Rev. Edward Page 1820
Rev. William Quinn 1820
Rev. Edward Page 1821
Rev. David Best 1822
Rev. James B. Ayers 1822
Rev. John Finley 1823
Rev. Thomas Smith 1823
Rev. Asa Smith 1824
Rev. John Lednum 1824
Rev. Alvard White 18-26
Rev. Edward Stephenson 1825
Rev. Alvard White 1826
Rev. John Collins 1826
Rev. William Torbert 1827
Rev. George Wilcher 1827
Rev. William Torbert 1828
Rev. William Barnes 1828
Rev. William Barnes. 1829
Rev. Joshua Humphries 1829
Rev. William Smith 1829
Rev. John Boyne 1830
Rev. John Bell 1830
Rev. John Boyne 1831
Rev. J. S. Porter 1831
Rev. J. S. Porter 1832
Rev. D. Landon 1832
Rev. D. Landon 1833
Rev. W. Allen 1833
Rev. D. Daily 1834
Rev. S. Drain 1834
Rev. D. Daily 1836
Rev. S. T. Ames. 1836
Rev. J. T. Hazzard 1836
Rev. S. T. Ames 1836
Rev. Isaac R. Willett 1837
Rev. C. Caraner 1838
Rev. William Spry 1839
Rev. William Spry 1840
Rev. Jonas Bissy 1841
Rev. J. A. Watson 1841
Rev. J. B. Merritt 1841
Rev. G. Barton 1842
Rev. Leeds K. Berridge 1842
Rev. James U Houston 1843-44
Rev. L. M. Prettyman 1845-46
Rev. Joshua H. Turner 1845-46
Rev. David L. Patterson 1847-48
Rev. Arthur W. Milby 1847-48
Rev. Samuel Pancoast 1849-50
Rev. Adam Wallace 1851
Rev. Robert E. Kemp 1852
Rev. Adam Wallace 1852
Rev. Charles Shock 1853
Rev. Adam Wallace 1853
Rev. Charles Shock 1854
Rev. D. Hough 1854
Rev. D. Hough 1866
Rev. J. Pastorfield 1856
Rev. S. Layton 1856
Rev. James Hargis 1857
Rev. Thomas T. Reed 1867
Rev. Henry Sanderson 1858
Rev. John M. Plumer 1858
Rev. Henry Sanderson 1859
Rev. Joseph N. Mulford 1859
Rev. Abraham Freed 1860-61
Rev. Edwin G. Irwin 1860-61
Rev. J. W. Hammersly 1862
Rev. J. T. Reed 1862
Rev. J. W. Hammersly 1863
Rev. _____ Conner 1863
Rev. L. D. McClintock 1864-66
Rev. Thomas B. Killiam 1865-68
Rev. G. W. Burke 1869
Rev. J. A. B. Wilson 1869
Rev. Geo. W. Burke 1870
Rev. W. M. Warner 1871-73
Rev. C. M. Pegg 1874-76
Rev. W. K. England 1877-79
Rev. C. W. Prettyman 1880
Rev. J. D. Kemp 1883-84
Rev. Joseph A. Brindle 1885-86
Rev. H. S. Thompson 1887

In 1853, Nathan Young and Solomon Metcalf were reported as colored preachers.

W. Evans was a local preacher from 1820 until 1887; and Joseph W. Hudson from 1875.

The colored people of Lewes maintain churches: St. George's African Methodist, in Pilot Town, on a lot adjoining the burial-ground, deeded to the Episcopal Church, in 1716. The present church was built in 1883, to take the place of a house homed down in 1882. It is plain but neatly kept. The second church is known by the name of St Paul's Methodist Episcopal (colored), and was completed in June, 1883, on Fourth Street, near Ship Carpenter Street; it also has an inviting appearance. Each congregation numbers about forty members.


The history of the oldest cemeteries at Lewes is somewhat obscure, but it is probable that the one at the lower part of Pilot Town, on the present Thomas Rowland place, was first devoted to the repose of the dead. As early as 1687 it is mentioned in the court records as the "Ancient Burial-Place," where the citizens of the Hore Kill section made interment, and one acre of land was ordered to be set aside for such a use. It appears to have fallen into disuse early in the eighteenth century, so far as the public was concerned, and to have become a private burial-ground for the dead of the Bailey, Jacobs and Art families, who owned the adjacent lands. A few plain head-stones to the memory of persons of those families may still be seen in this ground, which is much neglected and not separately enclosed. The oldest stones are marked "John Jacobs, died 1731, "Hannah Bailey, died, 1732, aged 72 years. "Jacob Art, died, 1769."

On the highway along Lewes Creek, and near the upper part of Pilot Town, a new burial-ground was established as early as August 7, 1716, when Samuel Rowland set aside one acre of land, lying near the town of Lewes, fronting on ye river of Lewes to build thereon a church for a religious place of worship, for the church of England and no other ways to be employed, and to pay unto me, my heirs, one grain of Indian corn yearly, forever, if demanded."

This lot is just above the African Church and has not been used for years for its intended purpose. A few graves only have been marked by low sand-stones. It is probable that when the site of the Episcopal Church was located more centrally, in Lewes, this ground was practically abandoned. The title to the acre of land, which is still reserved for interments, remains in doubt, but the property seems rightfully claimed by St. Peter's Parish, whose cemetery is at the church.

The oldest known grave in that yard is marked by a stone inscribed as follows:

"Here lyeth ye body
of Margaret, widow
of James Huling.

It is not likely that this yard was opened as early as 1707, and the above may have been a re-interment from the lower Pilot Town burial-ground. The cemetery is enclosed by a substantial brick wall and contains many graves. Four Governors of the State lie buried in it, namely:

Daniel Rodney, died 1846, aged eighty-two years.
Caleb Rodney.
Samuel Paynter, died 1845, aged seventy-seven years.
Dr. Joseph Maull, died 1847.

The first monument of any size that was erected in this yard has the following inscription:

"Here rest the remains of Captain James Drew, who commanded his Britannic Majesty's sloop-of-war, "De Braak," in which he lost his life when she foundered at the capes of Delaware the 10th of June, 1798. He was beloved for his virtues and admired for his bravery. His affectionate relict has erected this monument to perpetuate his memory."

The monument has lately been placed in good order and, in connection with the interest perpetuated to the supposed lost treasures of the ill-fated "De Braak," is an object which attracts much attention. In this yard is also a small memorial to a child of Captain Stotesburg, which is the work of an Italian artist.

It is a small block of Italian marble, on which is carved a mantle half drawn aside, so delicately cut that one looks involuntarily for an inscription underneath the raised folds. Other tombstones perpetuate the memory of: Cemeteries in Church Yard

1888, John Rodney 68
1884, Capt. Henry Virden 69
1862, Henry Maull 69
1866, John Arnall 75
1830, Capt. George Orton 67
18_4, Thomas N. Orton 27
1786, Albert Jacobs.
1846, Wm. Paynter 71
1868, Jonathan Marshall 66
1846, Jonathan M. West 61
1821, John Ware 52
1859, John M. West 64
1852, Dr. Robert A. McIlvain 48
1827, John Parker 44
1776, John Wood 41
1842, George Parker 89
1863, Thomas Nouman 88
1852, Richard Beebe 74
1842, George Parker 87
1772, Jacob Kolloch 80
1799, John Rodney 67
1829, Jacob Kolloch, Jr 63
1760, Jacob Phillips, Esq 03
1869, Henry Fisher Rodney 69
1871, Jacob Conwell 77
1860, Alfred 8. Wiltbank, MD 31
1763, Ryves Holt 67
1769, Daniel Nunes
1815, John Wolf 74
1840, John C. Burton
1846, Cornelius Paynter 81
1814, Samuel Paynter 78
1849, Robert Burton 77
1868, Henry McCracken (pilot) 77
1839, Gilbert McCracken 73

The Presbyterian Cemetery is next in importance, containing the graves of many of the former well-known citizens of Lewes and vicinity. The following inscriptions have been noted:

1844. David Mills McIlvain 71
1879, Joseph McIlvain 79
1832, Joshua Hall 83
1818, John Houston, Esq 48
1880, Robert Houston 72
1856, William Russell 86
1851, James Rowland 67
1854, Thomas Howard 76
1823, Capt. Richard Howard 67
1881, Thomas Rowland 88
1857, Lewis West 67
1870, Rev. Cornelius Mustard 66
1833, Robert West 69
1862, Hon. Elisha D. Cullen 62
1861, Burton Stockly 64
1852, John Rhoades 69
1866, Capt. David R. Blizzard 68
1851, James Newbold 82
1772, Elias Hugg 84
1800, Dr. Theodore Wilson 27
1855, Capt. Jacob Morris 27
1803, Capt. Henry Neil 61

1867, Peter Waples 86
1831, Jacob Horgie 65
1819, Wm. Shankland 51
1824, Dr. John White 64
1817, Col. David Hall1 66
1796, Dr. Joseph Hall 46
1865, Aaron Marshall 78
1820, Capt. Peter White 74
1854, Capt. Alex. Massey 60
1828, Wolsey Waples 62
1853, John Sweeney 66
1881, Henry C. Long 64
1875, David J. Rowland 70
1833, Lieut. James McIlvain, U. S. Army 44
1847, Benjamin McIlvain 92
1803, Silby Hutchens 73
1854, Reece Wolfe 62
1854, Wm. D. Waples 41
1866, Dr. Peter Fisher Hall, (Surgeon U. S. A. 1812) 76

As early as 1694 the court ordered that a tract of land near the Block House Pond be used as a place for burial. At this place, in 1727, a Friends' burial-ground was opened, Mary Miers setting aside an acre of land for that purpose. Here some interments were early made, but, after the custom of Friends were not marked by headstones. In 1813 Jane Cord, a descendant of the original grantor, conveyed the above acre and three more to the trustees of the Camden Monthly Meeting for a burial-yard. The Friends removing, the use of a burial-place was no longer required, and, in 1840, most of the ground was sold to William Russell, and has been converted to another uses. Nearby is the burial-ground of the Methodist Church, which has been secured in recent years. An earlier graveyard of this church was located on Shankland's Lane some time about 1788, and is not yet wholly abandoned, though not kept with the care that such places deserve.

The situation of Lewes, at the mouth of Delaware Bay, and its naturally defenseless condition, have exposed it to the attacks of all the foreign powers with which our country has been at war. In the colonial period, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, the coast was much harassed by the French privateers, who threatened to lay waste such towns as refused to pay them tribute. Fears were early entertained that Lewes would be singled out for an attack, and on the 15th of July, 1695, the court at Lewes took action in the matter of providing a watch for the approach of the enemy as follows:

"Present at court, Justice William Clark, John Stokely, Capt. Luke Watson, Thomas Oldman, Capt. Thomas Pemberton and Joseph Booth, when three minutes were placed upon the records:

"An order and Warrant from the Governor and Council was produced and read, Relating to a suspicion of a Designe of our enemies, the ffrench, to attack this or some of our neighboring Plantations, whereon for safe Guard it is ordered. That Two men shall be hired to watch upon the Cape every day five in the morning until seven at night until ye first day of October next Ensuing. In obedience where unto the Justices considering of Persons fitting for ye said watch and trusts and did Agree and approve of Anthony Parsly and John Pulbert, and accordingly did agree with them."

Subsequently it was deemed best that this watch should be distributed among the citizens of the town and the vicinity, and the court decreed that "Watch be appointed to be kept at Cape Inlopen" to begin Monday, June 7, 1697, and to continue until the season was ended,

"first watch by two at a time successively as they are hereafter named, at the rate of 3c. a day, per man, viz.: Jonathan Bayley and Nehemiah ffield, William Clark and Cornelius Wiltbank, Abraham Wiltbank and Issac Wiltbank, James Scattown and John Gibb, John Miers and James Walker, Jonathan Wolfinder and William Orr, John Hill and Henry Stretcher, Jacob Kolloch and Alexander Molleston, Thomas Lay and Peter Lewis, William Dyre and Thomas Oldman, John Crouch and Philip Russell, Capt. Watson and John Paynter, Caleb Herwithen and James Peterkin, William Adams and Gaines Simson, Thomas Fenwick and John Williams."

It does not appear that the enemy made his appearance that season for the purpose of pillage, but the following year the fears of the people were realized. The French pirates landed and sacked Lewes, August 27, 1698, as will be seen by the report of the court to the Council at Philadelphia, September 3, 1698:

"The Lt. Govr. acquainted the Council that he had received a Letter from ye Justices of the peace of Sussex county, which he read as follows:

"This to our sorrows, but according to our duties, is to inform. That on Friday last, in the afternoon, a small, snug ship and a Sloop came too within our Cape, not wholly undescribed, but little dreaded of being an enemy or ffrench, both which they proved, and yesterday morning landed about 50 men, well-armed and came up town and plundered almost every house yours committing great spoil, breaking open doors and chests, and taking away all money or plate to be found, as also all manner of goods and merdizes worth anything, together with rugs, blankettings and all other Bed Covering, Leaving scarce anything in ye place to cover or wear. . . .

"They all went on board last night; Killed several sheep and Hogs. They continue still at anchor in ye birth as near in the Bay opposite to this town as they well can find water to ride in, and its doubted they will be on shore again before night for more Cattle, if not to burn ye Houses, but we shall endeavor to save youe. They lye ready for all mischief, inwards or outwards, by Land or Water, and Have Pilots anyway. They are now in chase Inwards of a Brigantine with their sd sloop. The brigantine out sails youe, and we hope in God will escape; they are beggarly Rogues, and will pillage for a trifle, and do think they may tarry long enough until ye man-of-war at New York may have speedy notice. They took about eleven of ye chief of our town prisoners, and when they had made youe help on board their plunder dismist all except one man, Captain Watson, Carpenter. This place is very open for danger, and very naked for defense. Mr. Clark's3 house and goods both Hath Sufficiently shared in ye villany. We hope we need not repeat ye Calamities aforesaid, nor ye great terror yet must needs here attend all Sexes and Sizes; all which is submitted to yor Honor most serious consideration. By sir, yor Humble Servants, Luke Watson, John Hill, Thomas Oldham and Jonathan Bailey."

The people in the surrounding country were summoned to the relief of Lewes, and on the 17th of September, 1698, the court allowed payment of bills amounting to £21 13s. 1f., money "disbursed as a debt of the whole government for ammunition and provisions for ye county people summoned in and for the relief and assistance of the town of Lewes, who, on Saturday, the 27th day of August last past, were plundered by French pirates, to their great damage, which sd. pirates Left not the Bay until the Wednesday following in the morning."

Lewes contributed her share in the Revolutionary War to secure the independence of the colonies. Col. David Hall, of this place, raised a regiment in November, 1776, which was at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and did valiant service in the South. Among its members from Lewes and vicinity were John Clifton, Whittington Clifton, William Walker, Samuel Dodd, Richard Davis, Michael Dorman, Edward Robinson, Benjamin Thompson, Thomas Walker, John Norman, William Lingo, William Orton, James Marsh, Thomas Rhoades, John Cullen and Thomas Gordon.

Not all, however, were patriots. There were some pronounced Tories in Lewes, and so intense was their opposition to the war that it resulted in a riot, in the summer of 1776, of which Henry Fisher said, "That they cut the flag-staff down and sold the flag for 13d., and nearly did bodily injury to the Court."

Joshua Fisher, a rank Tory, who was at that time a merchant at Lewes, was subsequently banished to Virginia by the Committee of Safety.

Later in the Revolution, a British man-of-war, the "Roebuck," lay opposite Lewes for some time, but did not injure the town. But a party from the ship landed and burned out the interior of Cape Henlopen Light-house. They also captured some cattle feeding on the marshes, but did no damage to life. Ascending the Indian River, the crew of the "Roebuck" took captive some patriots, residing on that stream, but discharged them after they had been held prisoners a short lime.

In the War of 1812 the events at Lewes were of a more stirring nature, and embraced the investment of the town by the British. A full account of these events appears elsewhere in the chapter on the "War of 1812." The enemy appeared in the bay in the month of March, 1813, and made a demand upon the people for fresh provisions. This being refused, a bombardment was threatened by the British fleet, which consisted of two seventy-four-pounder ships, the "Pontius" and the "Belvidere," one frigate, two sloops-of-war and some barges, and the demand was renewed. It was again refused by Col. Samuel B. Davis, who had now taken command of the American forces. These consisted of some regular troops and militiamen, numbering in all about 500 soldiers. Most of these were quartered at Block-House Pond, the regular troops being in charge of the forts or earthworks at Pilot Town, on the site of the old colonial fort, and the fort on Lewes Creek, near the present Virden House. These were hastily equipped with guns brought to Lewes from the interior of the Slate. An arsenal was located between the two forts, on Ship Carpenter Street, near Second.

On the 13th of March, 1813, the bombardment of the town by the British began, and was actively continued some time. But the trees on the marsh obstructed their view to such an extent that their aim was not effective. The lower edge of the store door of Caleb Rodney (now the ____aples house) was struck, and the impact of the ball may still be seen. The McIlvain house, which stood on the site of the present hotel, near the upper fort, was also struck, but beyond this no damage was done. The gunners in the American forts fired at long intervals, since their ammunition was limited, and it is thought that one of the enemy's barges was rendered unseaworthy by a ball from one of the forts. The fleet remained off Lewes about six months, and was restrained to a great extent from passing up the river by the effective work done by the pilots under Captain Marshall. The British admiral greatly feared the marine contrivances placed in the channel, and preferred to remain in the open waters, while the fleet ascended the Chesapeake instead of the Delaware Bay. To this fact Philadelphia owed its safety, and the inroads of the enemy were thus greatly hindered. Among the militia at Lewes was a company raised in the place and which had as officers:

Military at Lewes

Captain, Win. Marshall
Lieutenant, John Gano
Art, Jacob
Art, Joseph
Art, William
Atkins, Bagwell
Barker, Charles
Batson, J W
Clampitt John
Clampitt, Cook
Conwell, Jacob, Jr
Conwell, Jacob, Sr
Davis, John
Davis, S P
Edwards, Simon, Jr
Edwards, Simon
Edwards, William
Hall, David
Hasten, William
Jeffries, William
Johnson, William
Lewis, William
McCracken, Gilbert
Newman, Nathaniel
Nichols, Moses
Nicholson, James
Norman, John
Norman, Thomas
Norwood, J W
Orton, George
Paynter, Arthur
Paynter, Richard
Rowland, John
Rowland, Samuel
Saunders, John
Schelleyger, Jersey
Thompson, Samuel
Vinder, Thomas
West, Samuel
West, William

The company remained in service until March 13, 1815. On that date Captain Marshall entered a record in his book as follows:

"This day discharged all the men, took the keys of the magazine, nailed up the Guard-house and stopped the touch-holes of the cannon."

Most of the cannon were allowed to remain at Lewes and within recent years a number have been placed in position on the creek, near the spot where they did service in 1813, and are kept as memorials of the engagement which here took place in the second struggle for American Independence.

1. Shot by one Wiley, in the hotel at Lewes.
2. Mr. Armstrong is the rector in 1887.
3. Mr. Clark, who is mentioned, was at the time in Philadelphia as a member of Council, and was sitting in the board when this letter was lead.

Town of Lewes | List of Taxables

Sussex County

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

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