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If you appreciate the work done on this blog, please consider making a small donation. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Foard's Store

Foard's Store, Spicer's House, and "The Rock"
Of all the different types of businesses and institutions around in the 1800's, one has always held a particular interest for me -- the general country store. Maybe it's because my own great-great-great grandfather ran one in the rural Bronx, or maybe it's because Mr. Oleson is my favorite "Little House" character. Either way I've generally had little luck finding much concrete information about the various stores that once served Mill Creek Hundred. Recently, though, my (our) luck changed. I was contacted by Mrs. Ruth (Ford) Smith, daughter of Edward Ford and granddaughter of Powell Ford. She forwarded to me a wonderfully descriptive paper written by either her father or grandfather, detailing one of these businesses -- Foard's Store in Marshallton.

Foard's Store sat on the southwest corner of Old Capitol Trail and Newport Road, across that road from the present Big D's Pizza. As best as I can tell it would have stood mostly between the road and the building that stands on the corner today. The Spicer's house (seen in the top photo and mentioned in the post) would have been in the middle of the current road. Remember that until 1931 Old Capitol Trail dead-ended at Newport Road. Not until that year was the cut-off and bridge completed. So, many thanks to Ruth for sharing her family's recollections. Also thanks to Denis at the Lower Red Clay Valley Blog for use of the pictures of the store. Now enjoy your tour through Foard's Store!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Couple More Banks Family Items

Jabez Banks Sale Notice, 1889
A little while back I was fortunate enough to have a small cache of local history items given to me by Fran Casarino, a descendant of several long-standing Mill Creek Hundred families. Over the coming weeks, I'll slowly roll out some of the items that I think might be of interest, most of which relate to the Stanton area. The first items deal directly with one of Fran's family lines, the Banks family. This post could really be considered to be a continuation or addendum to the Jabez Banks Invitations post of a few months ago. The items profiled in that post also came from Fran's collection.

The first item, seen above, is a notice from 1889 advertising the sale of the "Stock and Farm Impliments" of Jabez Banks. The notice goes on to list in detail the items for sale, including horses, cows, pigs, chickens, carriages, harness, milk churns, pans, buckets, and "in fact, everything needed to carry on farming". Basically an entire farm except for, well, the farm.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Rotheram (Harmony) Mill House

Rotheram House
It's been noted before that the bulk of the mills along the Red Clay seem to have been built on the west (Mill Creek Hundred) side of the creek, especially in the lower Red Clay Valley (Wooddale, Faulkland, Greenbank, Marshallton, Kiamensi, Stanton). I'm not sure if there's any real explanation for it, but it did work out that way. Along the other border waterway of MCH, however, the mills seem to be a little more evenly placed on either side of the power source. The mills on or near White Clay Creek show up on both sides, some in MCH (Red Mill, Roseville, Curtis) and some in White Clay Creek Hundred (Dean, Tweed). One of the oldest mills along the White Clay, long out of service, sat just south of the creek in WCCH, about midway along the southern border of MCH. The mill itself is long gone, but its memory survives through the nearly 275 year old home of its owner, and the name by which it was known throughout most of the 19th Century -- Harmony Mills.

The only standing remnant of this once-thriving complex is the two-story brick Rotheram House, facing eastward on Old Harmony Road just south of Kirkwood Highway and White Clay Creek. The house was built about 1740 by Joseph Rotheram, an English Quaker who had come to America around 1723. Rotheram probably settled first in New Castle, but in 1739 purchased a grist mill and saw mill at a Sheriff's sale. The early history of these mills is unclear, but their existence along the White Clay prior to 1739 makes them some of the earliest in the area. After acquiring the mills, Rotheram quickly built a new brick house for himself and his family, which included his wife, two sons, and two daughters.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reminiscences of Stanton

The Old Stone, or Rising Son, Hotel, c.1970
I'm proud to present here the next in what I hope to be a continuing series of Mill Creek Hundred History Blog Guest Posts. Slightly different than the last one, this post is a collection of a few of one man's memories of Stanton. I was contacted a while back by Raymond Albanese, who currently resides in Conowingo, MD. But from 1962 to 1977, Raymond lived in Stanton, in Mannette Heights (between Stanton Middle School and the railroad tracks). He had some additional information about several earlier posts, and after some thought, we decided to roll them up together into one post. It's not meant to be a single narrative, but rather a collection of several separate thoughts on various topics relating to the Stanton area. I've added a few links to the original posts for reference.

Below is what Raymond sent me, with just some very minor editing to convert an email into a blog post. All the memories and stories are his, and we hope they'll spark a few of your own. As always here, please feel free to add your own thoughts and recollections. Odds are if you remember it after all these years, either someone else does too, or else they've been trying to remember it. Thanks again to Raymond for taking the time to write these up. Enjoy!

On one of your comments in reference to the Stone hotel in Stanton [post is here], where it was razed to build the Alert gas station, the question was asked if it was a doctors office at one time. Indeed it was. As I knew it in the early sixties it was a Dr. Carrol who practiced medicine there and lived there also with his wife and daughter. The daughter attended school with me at Stanton Jr. High. The house stood on the east side of Mill lane. It was razed in the late sixties or early seventies after the construction of Mitch Rd in 1969. Another part of little Delaware's history erased in the name of the inevitable thing called progress.

Monday, July 8, 2013

MCH History Blog On the Road: The Lea-Derickson House

Lea-Derickson House
Take a trip sometime into Wilmington and position yourself on the north end of the Market Street Bridge over the Brandywine. In the 18th and early 19th Centuries, this was the heart of Brandywine Village, and the engine that drove Wilmington’s early economic development. As you stand at 18th Street looking north, behind you were the mills that made Wilmington a force in the colonial economy. The “Wilmington Superfine” flour produced here was known worldwide, and was generally regarded as the best produced in America. From this trade, the men who produced the flour became very wealthy. These men, Quakers mostly, chose to build their homes very near the mills. There were a few on the south side where the first mills here were constructed, but most chose to build on the north side, and created what came to be known as Brandywine Village. Not a part of Wilmington until 1869, the village was simply an unincorporated part of Brandywine Hundred. It had no official political leadership, and any disputes were settled at the home of Squire Elliott, the Justice of the Peace. His house stood to your right, where the small park and historical sign are today.

However, for this post we shall turn our attention to our left, and the wonderful Lea-Derickson House at 1801 North Market Street. This five bay, fieldstone home was built in about 1770 by James Marshall (born abt 1735), who, along with his brother William (1735-1808), was attempting to bring milling to the north bank of the Brandywine. To this point, with the exception of one small bolting mill, all industry was along the south side of the river. The Marshalls had but one major obstacle to overcome - the rocky formations that made digging a race very difficult on this side. However, the excavated stone did make good building material, and this house, as well as the Joseph Tatnall House next door, was constructed from it. Unfortunately for the Marshall brothers, they had gotten themselves in over their heads. The north race proved to be more difficult a task than they could support, so they handed control of the project over to Joseph Tatnall, who in addition to being James Marshall’s brother-in-law, also had more money.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gettysburg Sesquicentennial

Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863

I don't often do little timely posts like this, but this seemed too important not to acknowledge. As most of
you are probably aware, we are in the midst of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Today (June 3, 2013) happens to be the 150th anniversary of the final day of the three-day ordeal of the Battle of Gettysburg. I call attention to this sesquicentennial not just to be able to use the word sesquicentennial, which I happen to think is a pretty cool word. I don't want to write up a history of the battle, which many other much more qualified people have done. Suffice it to say, it was a pretty big deal.

We were more than two years into the war by that point. Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided that if he could only bring the war to the north, win a few battles and maybe take a city or two, the northern populace would grow as tired of the conflict as the southerners, who had already seen it up close, had. In June 1863 he moved his army up through western Maryland and into southern Pennsylvania, meeting the Union Army of Gen. George G. Meade (promoted three days earlier) near the small town of Gettysburg. The three day battle that ensued didn't end the war, but it did help to make clear that ultimately, the Union would prevail.