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Friday, March 25, 2016

A Boat in a Race

In this post we'll be examining the photograph seen here, which comes to us from the collection owned by the Boulden family. When I first saw this picture, I thought, "OK, nice, it's three people standing in a rowboat." My biggest reaction was to think how brave they were to be standing on a rickety little boat in such nice clothes. However, the more I looked at it, the more it caught my interest.

I decided that I needed to figure out where the picture was taken, if I could. As it turns out, I'm sure that I do know where they are, and you'd never know it today. I can't say the location makes this photograph unique, but I'd be willing to wager that there aren't too many others like it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Mount Pleasant Inn

Possibly the semi-original Mount Pleasant Inn, maybe
A few months ago I wrote a post about the Montgomery family, and in it promised some additional posts to come regarding them. Well, here's the first one. Towards the end of that original post there was mention made of a tavern situated on the western portion of the southeastern part of the original Montgomery tract. Operating under at least three different names and numerous owners and innkeepers, a tavern was in existence here for more than a century. From the 1770's until the 1880's, the establishment last known as the Mount Pleasant Inn housed, fed, and entertained weary travelers along what is now known as Old Wilmington Road.

As I had noted in the Montgomery post, although the inn was well-known to historians not much in-depth research had ever been done on it (to my knowledge), especially relating to its early history. I am now very happy to say that that is no longer the case. The subject of the Mount Pleasant Inn caught the attention of Walt Chiquoine, and he ran with it in a fantastic way. In fact, I'm going to do something that a writer normally wouldn't do, and tell you not to even bother reading the rest of this post. Instead, go directly here and download Walt's detailed account of the history of this MCH establishment. It's informative, well-written, and meticulously researched. Absolutely well worth your time.

But, for those who can't or choose not to check out Walt's article, I'll give you my own slightly abridged version of the story, which is honestly based mostly on Walt's work. If you'll recall from the original post, John Montgomery arrived in Mill Creek Hundred about 1730 with his three sons -- Alexander, Thomas, and Robert. He purchased a large tract of land surrounding the intersection of Brackenville and Old Wilmington Roads. The southwest portion of the tract first passed from John to son Alexander, then upon Alexander's death in 1746 it went to his son John. It was this John Montgomery who may have operated the first tavern on the site.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Impressions of the Current State of the Springer-Little Farm

Remains of the south and west barn walls 
Finally, not long ago, I was able to get over to the site of the Springer-Little Farm highlighted in the recent post. Along with good friend of the blog Walt Chiquoine, I went to take a look to see what is still there, and to see how it has changed since the 1998 excavations undertaken by DeDOT. It was only right to do this, since it was the presence of these ruins and being told about them that started all this in the first place.

The short version of the story is that yes, there are still structural remains there. Although it appears that the DelDOT team rightly back-filled much of what they had excavated, there are still three separate sites readily visible. I know what two of them are and I think I know the third. From what I can understand of the 1998 report, though, there are two main ruin locations that have disappeared. What makes being sure so difficult is that starting a few years ago, DelDOT began redacting the online versions of their archaeology reports, removing many of the maps and diagrams originally included. Specifically here, the online version (which can be found here) is missing the maps showing the locations of the ruins relative to each other and to the road. However, with a careful reading and a better understanding of the site having been there, I think I know what's what.