Monday, September 29, 2014

Mill Creek Hundred History on the Radio (sort of)

We take a short break from our regularly scheduled Part II post about the Barkers (which will be up in a day or two), for this special announcement. Have you ever sat and thought to yourself, "Self, I really like reading about Mill Creek Hundred history on this here blog, but you know what would be way more awesomer? If I could hear someone's mellifluous voice talking about Mill Creek Hundred history on my computer machine or other assorted electronic devices!" If so, you're in luck! (And you may want to try to get out more.)

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on Delaware's Timeline, hosted by WDEL's Carl Suppa. The program has much the same mission statement as I do here, namely to get the word out about our fascinating and often overlooked local history. Carl was on the air at WDEL up until a few months ago, and hopes to have the program back on the air soon. In the meantime, he's continuing the show in the form of podcasts, which you can listen to over the internet.

My guest turn on the program is thanks largely to John Medkeff, who runs the awesomely fascinating site Delaware Beer History. He had been a guest back in the spring, and passed my name along to Carl. Long story short, Carl contacted me, and after coordinating our schedules I went into the studio a few weeks back to record the show.

We had an outline of what we wanted to cover, and I figured maybe we could stretch it out to an hour or so. Silly me. I think I was in there for almost three hours, much of that time spent talking history. I don't know how Carl ever got it all edited down, but he did. The podcast, all twelve parts, can be found here on WDEL's podcast page, just a little bit down on the left. You can also get there from the homepage by looking under "Features" along the top, then clicking on "Podcasts".

I had a great time recording the show, as anyone who's met me or read this blog knows, I love talking history. If you feel like listening in, check it out!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Barkers of Barker's Bridge -- Part I

The Barker House, c.1988
Over the nearly 350 years of Mill Creek Hundred history, many families have called the area home. Most clans currently within the MCH confines have arrived only within the last 60 years or so, mine included. But of course, some arrived much earlier. Of those older families, some had a major impact and then disappeared relatively quickly (like the Hadleys); some have been around for a long time, although maybe not prominent in MCH (like the Justis'); and some are just as visible as they were a couple hundred years ago (like the Eastburns). There's one family, though, that resided in and near MCH for over 150 years, then, with one notable exception, pretty much vanished from the area -- the Barkers.

The Barkers' history in Mill Creek Hundred may begin as early as the 1670's, in the early days of the English migration into the area. The patriarch of this branch of the family (there were several other closely related branches that sprang up in other areas) was Samuel Barker (1648-1720). Samuel hailed from Shropshire, England, in the west midlands near Wales. Exactly when he sailed for the New World seems to be in doubt, but one account has him making a petition for a parcel land before the court in New Castle in 1677. Scharf notes that he bought in 1680 and sold in 1682 land near Stanton. What seems to be more certain is that in March 1685, Samuel Barker was granted 200 acres of land in Christiana Hundred by the newly-arrived William Penn. This was before Mill Creek Hundred was created out of Christiana Hundred, so the parcel along Red Clay Creek was actually mostly in what would later be MCH.