Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- Who's Got Your Tongue?

Two weeks ago in the Newsbreak story about the horse killed by bees, I promised an even more gruesome story to come. Well, here it is. This story comes from the Juniata Sentinel and Republican, dated January 02, 1878. It relates an incident where a horse owned by a Hockessin man became spooked by an oncoming train. The farm hand who was working with the horse tried to get it to come forward, for some reason, by grabbing its tongue. The horse was so scared that it continued to back off, not stopping until it had torn out its own tongue!

To answer your first question, no, I don't know why I would post something like this. I just had it is all. The second question as to why the man would grab the horse's tongue -- I have no idea. Maybe that's a thing. I don't know. I'm not really a horse guy. Seems kind of odd to me, though. I can, however, at least somewhat clear up a few things from the newspaper story.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Yarnalls and Their Tavern

The Yarnall Tavern, circa 1895
We've featured several taverns and inns in previous posts, either directly or indirectly, such as the Riseing Son and the Stanton Hotel in Stanton, the Brackenville Inn, Polly Drummond's tavern, and even the resort hotel at Brandywine Springs. This time we'll look at one that could be called a predecessor of Brandywine Springs. One that we unfortunately don't have a whole lot of information on, partially because its tenure of operation was not all that long. And in the next post we'll also note another inn that we know even less about, and that may have been a successor to the original tavern. This first inn was known as the Conestoga Wagon, but is more commonly referred to as the Yarnall Tavern.

As you probably could guess, the Yarnall Tavern was owned and operated by the Yarnall family, and any discussion of the establishment cannot be separated from a discussion of the family that ran it. The Yarnalls' story in America began with Philip Yarnall (1664-1734), who in 1683 emigrated from Worcestershire, England to the new colony of Pennsylvania. He and wife Dorothy had 10 children, the seventh of whom was Nathan Yarnall 1707/8-1780. Nathan Yarnall lived and died in Edgemont Township, Chester (now Delaware) County, PA, but several of his children would later move south to Delaware.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- A Buzz About Horses

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Sept. 15, 1852
For the Newsbreak this week we have a bit of apian-on-equine violence at a place not specified, but I think deduced. The story comes to us from the September 15, 1852 edition of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. As it states, a horse belonging to a Mr. Hoopes was stung to death by a hive of bees, before the bees moved on to another horse. While attacking the second horse they were dispersed by (presumably a bucket of) water, at the suggestion of "a lady". I'll leave it to our female readers to expound upon the virtues of having a clear-headed woman around in a crisis.

As I mentioned, the story doesn't specifically say where this took place, but I think the real clue is in the owner of the second horse. The 1850 Census shows three Hoopes men living in Mill Creek Hundred -- Thomas, Jonathan, and William. Thomas and Jonathan both resided near Loveville, in the area around Lancaster Pike and Old Wilmington Road just below Brackenville Road. While both of them owned their own farms and William didn't, I think it was almost certainly William's horse that succumbed to the angry bees.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- Wooddale's Dynamite Goat

For this week's Newsbreak I couldn't resist using a story that not only ties directly into the community of Wooddale, topic of the last two posts (one and two), but also happens to be one of the most amusing ones I've seen. There's also an interesting phrase that may give a little insight into Wooddale, or at least how it was perceived from the outside. It comes to us from the pages of the Chicago paper The Inter Ocean, dated August 28, 1904. It's simultaneously funny, frightening, and discomforting on several levels.

As the story goes, there was a community-owned goat who lived among the quarry workers at Wooddale. And as we've all seen in numerous old tv shows (I'm looking at you, Brady Bunch and MASH), goats will eat just about anything. In this case, there was reason to believe that the goat feasted on two sticks of dynamite, the type regularly used by the quarrymen in blasting out the rock. After learning of this, the locals gave the animal a wide berth, not wanting to get caught in any sort of goatsplosion (goatastrophe? goataclysm? I can go on if you'd like). As the article below from the Alexandria (VA) Gazette noted, the goat was "struting around the neighborhood like a king".

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Hollingsworth Case and Wild Wooddale -- Part 2

[Philadelphia] Times, June 22, 1896
In the last post, we took a look at the unfortunate case of Abner Hollingsworth, a Mill Creek Hundred farmer murdered (most likely) in Wooddale in 1896. Several men were arrested, but ultimately no one was ever indicted for the crime. Just this case itself would have made for an interesting post, with many unanswered questions still lingering more than a century later.

The real and fascinating questions, however, (in my mind, at least) concern the community of Wooddale itself. We first ran across it in the post about the Delaware Iron Works, at which time I assumed that "Wooddale" was comprised of only the iron works and the workers housing directly around it. Then, while researching the Spring Hill Brewery (and here) nearby, I was reminded of the quarry on the west side of Red Clay Creek and the Wilmington & Western tracks. At the time I speculated that perhaps much of the brewery's output was sold very locally to workers at the quarry and the iron mill. After learning more about Wooddale, now I'm sure of it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Hollingsworth Case and Wild Wooddale -- Part 1

The (Phil.) North American - June 16, 1896
As we've seen in previous posts, Mill Creek Hundred was home to a number of communities mid-sized and small in the 19th Century, places like Stanton, Hockessin, Corner Ketch, Milford Crossroads, Milltown, and Marshallton, to name a few. Some have survived the years in one form or another, while others have disappeared in all but name. But for at least a few decades in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, one of the largest communities in the hundred was quite different from the rest, and for a combination of reasons has pretty much disappeared from history -- until now. The community in question was Wooddale, and I don't feel exaggeratory (yeah, it's a word) in calling it Sin City, MCH.

In a couple of previous posts we've alluded to this community, but only recently did I become aware of its true nature. Wooddale got its start (and eventually, its name) from the Delaware Iron Works, located at the top of the oxbow on the Red Clay north of Lancaster Pike. When the Wilmington & Western Railroad was built in 1872 and needed a name for the station at the factory, it was named after Alan Wood, owner of the iron works. Not long before that, a quarry was begun just north of the iron works on the west side of Red Clay Creek, south of where Barley Mill Road crosses over it. Between the iron works and the quarry there were quite a few laborers, many of them single men. What grew up around them was what you'd expect of a community of single, working men. It just may not be what you think of when you picture the Victorian and Edwardian Eras.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- Death from the Skies!

Juniata Sentinal, July 24, 1872
This week in the Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak we have a story of equine death from the heavens. Or just horses in the wrong place at the wrong time. It comes to us from the Juniata Sentinal, dated July 24, 1872. The story was a little old by then, but on Independence Day evening two of Joshua Barker's horses were killed by lighting.

Joshua Barker (1811-1891) lived with his wife Martha and their children in a stone house on the east side of Barley Mill Road, just north of where it crosses Red Clay Creek. The house is still standing, and is seen in the picture below.