here and here. After seeing the ones at Delcastle, I had the suspicion that there had to be more of them around. Then, sure enough, Tom Gears pointed out another one in Canby Park, and Ken Shelin recalled seeing one years ago in the Concord Pike/Naamans Road vicinity.
Those finds proved that the troughs at Delcastle were not unique, which made me even more sure that there had to be more out there. Well, we've got another one. Like the others, this one is located nowhere near Delcastle -- it's found in the yard of a house on Smith's Bridge Road near Granogue, in Chateau Country, northeastern Christiana Hundred. The house itself only dates to 1957, so the current owner (thanks for sending the pics!!!) believes that the trough was purchased and placed by the previous owner.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
|Armstrong House known as Hedgeland|
Hundred (and MCH-adjacent) history. This particular item is the photo you see here, sent to me a little while back by a descendant of the family in question (as well as several other families oft-mentioned in the blog), Nancy Lynam. Although the house did not technically stand within the boundaries of Mill Creek Hundred, it was featured in a post detailing the familial holdings of the Armstrong clan, located in western Christiana Hundred. And though the house was lost long ago, it stood in a prominent location, one I'm sure many of you have passed countless times (perhaps some of you on your way in to work every day).
The beautiful five-bay, two and a half story, fieldstone home shown here was the house known as Hedgeland, or The Hedge. It was located on the east side of Centre Road (Rt. 141), just north of Faulkland Road. The segment of the 1881 map below shows the estate. The house itself, as best as I can determine from historical aerial photographs, stood right about where the flag pole is today, at the South 141 entrance to DuPont's Chestnut Run Plaza. This part is even more iffy, but it appears that the house faced south, perpendicular to 141 and facing down towards Faulkland Road. The blue rectangle in the bottom, modern photo indicates approximately where the house stood.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
|Did you know what it meant?|
Researched and Written by Walt Chiquoine --
In my prior post, I introduced you to William Guest, an affluent and educated guy who settled in MCH in 1682. We know he was an attorney, judge, and representative, and he finally settled on a large tract that includes today’s Stanton. After years of litigation, he gained full control of the first mill seat at Stanton from Cornelius Empson. The mill property was sold by Guest’s estate in 1720. So for a number of years, William Guest lived in Stanton and managed the mills and tenants on his property. He must have been a very public figure to his peers at court and to his humble neighbors.
William Guest may have left another legacy for early Stanton. We know there are 18th century references to the area as Cuckoldstown, and I’ve agreed with Scott Palmer and others that this could have originated as Cocclestown for the shellfish that were plentiful in the creeks and estuaries. Other historians suggested the name may have come from an Inn that hosted adulterous trysts, but that of itself seems an inappropriate use of the term cuckold. And it just doesn’t seem that noteworthy since it was probably true of many taverns, and I struggled with that explanation.
A cuckold is a husband that suffers or tolerates (or even encourages) his wife’s promiscuity in a way that is publicly known. Then and now, I imagine it happens pretty regularly, but to name a village for it? It’s a derisive and condescending label. I assume it would require the cuckold and the cuckolding to be a well-known person that involved well-known events, something that really stood out in people’s minds like a bad joke, something to gossip about. Could the cuckold be William Guest, in the sense that it was his Cuckold’s Town? Not the plural, but the possessive…
Monday, July 6, 2015
|William Guest's Wedgebury Tract|
Researched and Written by Walt Chiquoine --
I thank Scott for another chance to talk about some of our earliest history in Mill Creek Hundred. This time, it’s about William Guest, a gentleman from West Bromwich, England who immigrated with the fleets of William Penn. Early historians list him on the Hester and Hannah, arriving at New Castle in August of 1682. Guest settled immediately in Mill Creek Hundred (MCH). And despite his appearance in the same year as Penn, he was not Scots-Irish nor was he a Quaker.
William Guest did arrive as a fairly affluent and well-educated man, since he immediately engaged in legal and civil affairs. I have not found his date of birth, but I’d guess he was around thirty – he certainly wasn’t afraid to mix it up in court with his peers, as a deputy to William Penn described him as “naturally passionate” in 1686. Within a year of his arrival, Guest was elected to Penn’s Assembly as a representative from New Castle County (1683). He later served as a judge for the Court at New Castle. Guest left an incomplete legacy in his deeds and personal records; in what we have, there is no mention of an early wife or family. But he may have a role in explaining two mysteries: what happened to the first grist mill in MCH, and where did the name Cuckoldstown (early Stanton) come from?
In this post, I’d like to introduce you to William Guest and talk about the first Stanton mill. I’ll follow with a separate post on Cuckoldstown. (Second post can be found here.)
Friday, June 26, 2015
|Invitation for the inaugural WWRR train, Oct. 19, 1872|
There were three railroad lines built through MCH in the 1800's, two along its southern portion and one up its eastern side. The two southerly ones -- the PW&B (later the PB&W, now the Amtrak line) and the Baltimore and Ohio (now the CSX line) -- were just portions of much longer lines. There were stations here, but mostly they just passed through, sort of like I-95 through Delaware today. The third line, though, weaving its way along Red Clay Creek and then away to the northwest, was much more of a local business and passenger line. More Kirkwood Highway than I-95. This was the Wilmington & Western Railroad, and it was a good example of how a business can be important without being, itself, particularly successful.
Monday, June 15, 2015
|A bridge on Milltown Road, 1921|
To be honest, this is one of those topics I had neatly avoided for years, primarily because it always seemed like more trouble than it was worth. I kind of understood what had happened, but it never completely made sense to me. Recently, however, with the help of Bob Wilhelm (who grew up very near the intersection), it all now seems much more clear. Hopefully it will to you, too, when you're done reading the post. It draws heavily upon Bob's recollections of his youth, and I thank him greatly for his help.
Monday, June 8, 2015
|Section of Lincoln Highway (Kirkwood Highway) in 1918|
Once Europeans began settling MCH in the early 1700's, the face and general feel of the area didn't really change all that drastically for the next 200 years or so. Sure, the large tracts of the first settlers were broken up, farms got a little bit closer, and some new industries popped up here and there through the 19th Century, but all in all, I don't think someone from 1720 would have felt all that out of place walking around in 1880. Heck, he would have even recognized a lot of the names! The 20th Century, however, was a whole new ballgame. (Literally. Baseball historians use 1900 as the start of the Modern Era.) Take someone from 1880 and drop them on Kirkwood Highway in 1965, and I'd bet they'd be a bit taken aback.
Friday, May 29, 2015
|William Hicks Walker|
However, since I think all of these photographs are fascinating in their own rights, I want to at least give a very short post to even the photos going onto old posts, just to make sure everyone is aware of the new additions. I'll be putting some of these up over the next week or two, starting now. The first new pictures we'll take a look at are of folks mentioned (or at least, he was) in a post from three years ago, about a family that was the source of an unusual place name in MCH.