Monday, August 9, 2010

An Extension off Old Capital Trail

In addition to doing posts about the people, places, and events of Mill Creek Hundred's history, once in a while I'd like to share some of the random little things I run across while doing "freestyle" research. Today, I found this little passage seen below:

I had to read it a couple of times, and I'm still not really sure what it's referring to. I found it in a book entitled "Laws of the State of Delaware, Volume XX", which seems to be a summary of the legislative session that began in 1895. The passage is written in a legal/legislative style that lends itself to long, confusing run-on sentences. When I first read this, I thought it might be referring to the entire length of Old Capital Trail from St. James' Church to Marshallton. However, I then found a piece of the 1893 "Atlas of New Castle County, Delaware" by William Baist, and saw that that section of Old Capital Trail was already in place by then, two years before this petition was made.

Although I was originally hoping that I had come across the "birth certificate" of a major piece of roadway, I my best guess now is that it's a bit more modest than that. Assuming that "the public road that leads from St. James' Church to Marshallton" is in fact Old Capital Trail, looking for an angle, and assuming that "the public road that leads from Kiamensi Station to Marshallton" is Stanton Road, then the new section would probably be the short cut-off of Orchard Road that intersects Stanton Road in front of Marshallton Methodist Church.

If Orchard Road really is what this is talking about, it seems a big to-do about a stretch of road that can't be more than about 100 feet long. As far as why these three men would want a road that seemingly does nothing more than give one a shortcut to Old Capital Trail (one I've taken many times), I have only one guess, and it has to do with the men themselves. I can't find anything about James T. Richardson (or the three men whose property was affected), but Pilling and Armstrong were both officers in the Kiamensi Woolen Company. From this, I can only assume that this requested roadway in some way benefited the woolen mill.

I know this isn't exactly Earth-shattering stuff, but I thought it was interesting. If anyone else has any more information on this, I would love to find out more. Thanks!


  1. I would now think that This is orchard road, it mentions a sml. Broadbent, this would be Samual Broadbent who bought a plot of land on that corner in 1896 (Now the corner of Stanton & orchard) (I have that deed)

  2. Okay….see if you can follow me on this guess why orchard Road would have been built. Just a guess mind you. A couple years ago I was on the old Springer-Cranston property with its current owner and I was shown where an old road bed is/had been. I was told it ended between the Springer Cranston House and the Marshallton United Methodist Church. That road, I believe, ran from the Kiamensi Woolen Mill up to the S-C house to Stanton Road. You can make it out on Historcal Aerials 1937 map of the area. This will take you to the current map and you will have to click on 1937.
    There is a tunnel, large enough for a wagon that runs under the B & O tracks leading onto the Springer-Cranston Property. The road itself may date to when John Reece originally owned the house back in the late 1700’s. He had grist and saw mill where Kiamensi Woolen Mill sat. Anyway, back to Orchard ……Maybe Pilling/Kiamensi Mill still used the road and for some reason wanted a more direct route to and from that old road, saving his wagons from turning off and onto Stanton Road and the same with Old Capitol Trail. Again….just a thought.