Edward Noble Vallandigham.

Delaware and the Eastern shore; some aspects of a peninsula pleasant and well beloved online

. (page 1 of 17)
Online LibraryEdward Noble VallandighamDelaware and the Eastern shore; some aspects of a peninsula pleasant and well beloved → online text (page 1 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


DELAWARE

AND THE

EASTERN SHORE

EDWARD NOBLE
VALLANDIGHAM





THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




/^



DELAWARE

AND THE EASTERN

SHORE



DELAWARE
AND THE EASTERN SHORE

SOME ASPECTS OF A PENINSULA
PLEASANT AND WELL BELOVED

BY
EDWARD NOBLE VALLANDIGHAM

AUTHOR OF "FIFTy YEARS OF DELAWARE COLLEGE"

WITH 80 ILLUSTRATIONS







PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

1922



COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY J. B. LIPPINXOTT COMPANY



PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

AT THE WASHINCTON SQUARE PRESS

PIIII.ADELPHrA, U. S. A.



TO MT UFELONG FRIEND

GEORGE MORGAN, OF PHILADELPHIA

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED IN GRATEFUL
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE FACT THAT BUT
FOR HIS AID AND ENCOURAGEMENT IT NEVER
WOULD HA\'E BEEN WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED

E. N. V.



171.3054



PREFACE



THIS book does not pretend to be a history
of Delaware and the Eastern Shore. That
history has been written in large and in little by
many competent hands, to whose works the
author is deeply indebted. His humbler and
less laborious task was to interpret to the people
themselves of this Peninsula, as also to the
stranger, the land and its inhabitants, in the
past and in the present, to convey the rare and
somewhat elusive charm of a region without
the splendor of a bold topography, yet distin-
guished for the variety of its mainly quiet land-
scapes, the rich freshness of its woodlands, and
the unique beauty of its waters. The early
history of the Peninsula is here summarized
mainly to make clear the inter-relation of its
parts, and the relation of the whole to its neigh-
bors and to the country at large. There is also
other historical matter introduced by way of
illustrating phases of industrial and social
development, and there are personal and local
incidents and anecdotes illustrative of the char-
acter and temperament distinguishing a people



PREFACE

isolated in some measure for three centuries by
the peninsular geography of their home.

The author acknowledges with warm thanks
the readiness of friends, acquaintances, and
mere strangers to aid him in gathering facts
and illustrations. In this matter he is pecul-
iarly indebted for the suggestion and ad\ice of
George Morgan of Philadelphia, for tireless
industry in every kind of help to John S.
McMaster of Jersey City, an Eastern Shoreman
of surpassing love and loyalty to the Peninsula;
to Chancellor Charles M. Curtis, to Judge Henry
C. Conrad, to Henry B. Bradford, to "William
H. Walker, Jr., to Everett C. Johnson, to
"Wilbur W. Hubbard of Chestertown, to Thomas
F. Bayard, to Dr. Joseph S. Odell, to Levin T.
Cooper of Sharptown, Maryland, to W. H.
Schoff of Philadelphia, Secretary and Treasurer
of the Deeper Water Ways Association, to J.
Barton Cheyney, to Merris Taylor; to R. H.
Soulsby, General Freight and Passenger Agent
of the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic and
Maryland, Delaware and Virginia Railroad
companies for many pictures and permission to
use a copyrighted map; to J. M. Davis of the
same company for help in selection of pictures ;
to Wilbur T. Wilson of Newark, Delaware, for
cartographical work and much precise inf orma-



PREFACE



tion; to Jolm Jamder of Micldleto^vll, and to
Edward Herbner of Washington. Finally the
author is under great obligations to Grifl&n S.
Callahan of Philadelphia and Frank R. Webb
of Baltimore, both total strangers, each of whom
furnished a large number of photographs from
which were selected illustrations that could
hardly have been obtained from other sources.
The author has used at places in his
text a few excerpts from his own articles
published in the Philadelphia Record and the
Boston Transcript.

E. N. V.



Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts,-
June 1, 1922.



CONTENTS

I.

THE LAND, ITS ASPECTS AND STORY 15

II.

COMMX7NICATIONS 29

III.

CHESAPEAKE VOYAGES 41

IV.

THE MARE OF RACE 56

V.

HUNTING, FISHING, YACHTING " 73

VI.

HOUSES AND HOMES 85

VII.

EARLY CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS MO\'EMENTS 101

VIII.

BOHEMIA MANOR 117

IX.

MASON AND DIXON's LINE 136

X.

AN OLD MARYLAND PLANTATION 147

XI.

WILMINGTON 157

xn.

COUNTY TOWNS AND OTHERS 175

9



CONTENTS

XIII.

DOVER AND NEW CASTLE 194

XIV.
ISLANDS OF THE CHESAPEAKE 208

XV.
OCCUPATIONS 231

XVI.

HTTHORS OF LAW AND POUTICS 245

XVII.

THE WELSH TPiACT AND THE LADADISTS 267

XVIII.
EDUCATION AND CPUFT IN DELAWARE 280

XIX.

ACCOUACK AND NORTHAMPTON 294

XX.

CONCLUSION 309



ILLUSTRATIONS



FAQB

High Tide on the Sassafras Frontispiece

Pines, Chincoteague Island Title Vignette

Fishing in Untroubled Waters 20

Spring on the Eastern Shore 21

The Infant Christiana near Newark 21

Lumber Boats on the Canal 36

Steamer Leaving Delaware and Chesapeake Canal 37

Cypress Trees with Knees, Pocomoke River 37

The Peninsula's North-Eastern Water Gate 42

A Harbor of Rest 43

An Amphibian Ox-Team ". 43

The Event of The Day 46

On A Lonely Shore 47

A Light Breeze on a Pleasant River 52

"Abandon Ship" Drill, on Chesapeake Steamer 53

Fishing Craft in Harbor 58

Canoe with Lateen Sail 58

A "Far-Downer" 68

Dolce Far Niente 68

"In The Beached Margent of the Sea" 69

Surf Bathing, Rehoboth, Delaware 69

Regatta of Fishing Boats 74

Yacht "Roxana" Entering Chesapeake and Delaware Canal . . 75

Eastern Shore Fox Hunters 80

Training a Bird Dog 81

Three Gunners and a Few Ducks 81

House of W. W. Hubbard, Chestertown 86

Garden Gate, Hubbard House 87

Beverly, of the Dennis Family 90

Stairway at Beverly 91

* 'The Judges," Georgetown, Delaware 98

11



ILLUSTRATIONS



Naaman's On Delaware "^

Venerated Old Swedes 104

Barratt's Chapel, The Cradle of Methodism 105

Rehoboth Church on Pocomoke, Founded by Makemie 110

Drawyers Church, Erected 1773 Ill

Pulpit of Drawyers HI

Hernnan and His Horse 120

Shaded Highway near Bohemia Manor 121

Farm Yard with Thatched Cow Shed, on Herrman's Augustine

Manor 121

Scene Near Delaware's Northern Arc 136

Delaware's Birth Stone 137

State, City and County Building as Seen Across Rodney

Square 158

The Du Pont Building 168

Caesar Rodney House, Wilmington, An Example of Fine

Masonry 169

An Embowered Homestead at Easton 176

Pocomuke City 177

Chestertown's Lovely Water Front 180

Betterton on the Sassafras River 181

The Harbor at Snow Hill 181

Seventeenth Century Custom House, Chestertown 184

Sand Dunes and Light House, Cape Henlopen 185

Turn-Basin at Salisbury 185

Sussex County Court House 190

Cambridge, on the Choptank 191

Windy Day in Harbor of Crisfield 191

State House of Delaware 196

Old Court House, New Castle 197

An Old Georgian Mansion, New Castle 197

Tangier's Main Street 208

A Quaint Survival on Kent Island 209

Dip- Well on Chincoteague 220

Chincoteaguc Ponies in the Rough 221

A Chincoteague Cottage 221

Dredgers on a Calm Afternoon 232

Coan River: At Anchor and at Peace 233

Farm Houw, White Clay Creek Valley 238

12



ILLUSTRATIONS



Skipjack Under Sail 238

A Few thousand Baskets of Tomatoes 239

Laden Oyster Boats at Crisfield 239

Welch Tract Baptist Church 268

The Baptizing Creek 269

Beloved and Beautiful "Old College" 282

Country School for Colored Children 283

Purnell Hall, University of Delaware 288

Dormitory Doorway, Women's College 288

Mt. Pleasant, A Typical Farm Group, Occohannock Creek . . 296

Home of Nellie Custis 297

Makemie Monument, Accomack 306

St. George's Church, Called Ace of Clubs 307

An Eighteenth Century Homestead, Chincoteague Bay 307



DELAWARE
AND THE EASTERN SHORE

CHAPTER I
THE LAND, ITS ASPECTS AND STORY

CHARMING little lands, like charming little
women, excite enthusiastic love and loyalty.
A little land, indeed, may utterly lack charm for
the casual stranger, yet win and keep the
unswerving love and loyalty of its native sons
and daughters, especially if they have struck
deep in its soil their ancestral roots. Our
larger patriotism, intellectual and emotional,
resting upon loyalty to a whole people's tradi-
tions and ideals, is truly national, but our
geographic affections, so to speak, are apt to be
somewhat narrowly local. We cannot love
three million square miles of territory with the
instinctive affection that we feel for the native
parish. A Bostonian of the elder day exclaimed
with passion that he could kneel and kiss the
very stones of Boston, but he would hardly
have knelt to kiss the stones of Shreveport,
Oshkosh, Omaha, or even Lowell or Lawrence.
As to Oshkosh, the rhymed syllables of a name

15



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

that olleuds the ears and stirs the laughter of
Americans strange to the place, are said to hold
for the natives a sweet beguiling melody. We
are none the worse for our cat-like local attach-
ments. We do not begin loving our neighbors
by hating those of our own household; rather
the warmth of the domestic hearth prepares
us for universal benevolence.

Islanders are especially prone to love the
physical aspects of their native region, to con-
fuse in a fiery passionate devotion land and race,
physics and politics. Kathleen Ni Houlihan is
served and worshipped under other names in
other isles than Ireland.^ So, too, the almost
islanders of that American ** Golden Horn," the
Peninsula of Delaware and the Eastern Shore,
love their little land with like passionate devo-
tion. They too have their unswerving national
patriotism, but they love above all other hills
and vales those of the gi'acious region imme-
diately beneath the Northern arc of Delaware ;
they think no rivers so beautiful as the tidal
streams that fret their way from the central
watershed Eastward and Westward to the bays ;
they eagerly contend that the noblest oaks and
beeches glorify the hardwood forests of the Pen-

' A native of a tiny old and moribund Swedish river port
of Delaware, having traveled the world far and wide, returned
declaring that he had nowhere seen aught so beautiful as the
village of Christiana.

16



THE LAND



insula ; that * ' the greenest of all green leaves are
the high leaves of the holly" growing native in
the beloved soil ; that no pine groves answer more
sweetly and majestically to the wayward touches
of the million-fingered sea winds than those of
Delaware and the Eastern Shore. They have
faith, too, like all such lovers of little lands, that
even mere aliens have only to know the Penin-
sula to understand its peculiar charm for those
of native blood and ancestry. Perhaps in this
thought they are too sanguine ; possibly all such
local patriotism is founded in unreason, or must
be held in some sort a mere extension of per-
sonal egotism. Nevertheless, the author of this
book, a Delawarean by birth, an Eastern Shore-
man by ancestry, although much of his life an
exile, gives to all such as know not this little
land, the confident invitation, ''Come and see!"
Snugly tucked away between the parallels of
North Latitude 37° 4' and 39° 507 between
Delaware Bay and the Atlantic on the East,
and the length of the Chesapeake on the West,
lies the Peninsula of Delaware, Maryland, and
Virginia. Its land area of about 6,150 square
miles is distributed among Delaware's three

*To be precise, 39° 50' 22.33" is the latitude of the Pen-
insula's "farthest North." That of Mason and Dixon's Line
is 39° 43' 10.91". The Southern boundary of Delaware meas-
ures 34 miles, 309 perches.

2 17



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

counties, her only three, nine of Maryland, and
two of Virginia, in the respective proportions
of rather less than 2000 square miles, nearly
3400, and nearly 750. Delaware rules in addi-
tion 400 square miles of tidal water, Maryland's
nine counties include about four times as much,
Virginia's possibly twice as much. Thus the
entire area, land and water, measures nearly
9,000 square miles. Much of the Peninsula's
wealth comes out of its waters, so that the
tidal area is far more important in proportion
to its extent than the area of dry land. Indeed
the waters of the three jurisdictions plus those
of the bordering ocean and the bays, beyond
mean tide, help to determine not only the indus-
trial and economic condition of the inhabitants,
but even their political attitude, vitally affect
their social system, and greatly influence them
both physically and temperamentally by giving
to almost the whole Peninsula a liighly distinc-
tive climate. Many of the inhabitants are of
amphibian habits, with a passionate love of salt
water, an aptitude for handling line and net,
from early childhood a nautical use and wont,
making them as much at home afloat as ashore.
Maryland, Virginia, and Michigan are the only
states of the Union whose territory is divided
into two distinct parts by considerable interven-
ing bodies of navigable water, and the land

18



THE LAND



between the bays richly deserves the title that
Michigan has taken to herself and written in
Latin upon her escutcheon — "A pleasant
Peninsula."

In shape the Peninsula somewhat resembles
a hammer-head shark without tail-fins, for it
widens at the North between the Delaware and
the Susquehanna, contracts a few miles below
almost to its narrowest, attains its greatest
width about mid-length, and gradually narrows
to the Southern extremity where the Chesapeake
meets the Atlantic. From the extreme North
of the Delaware arc South-westward to Cape
Charles at the tip of the Peninsula is a trifle
over 191 miles. At the widest the Peninsula
measures about 70 miles, less than half of which
is the Southern boundary of Delaware. North
of the Virginia line the narrowest part of the
Peninsula lies approximately along the Chesa-
peake and Delaware Canal, a length of about
14 miles, and on this line Delaware is but nine
miles wide. In length the State is less than 100
miles. The two counties of Virginia are more
than seventy miles in length, and at the widest
hardly more than twenty miles,' with the land
area reduced by the sinuous fretting of innu-
merable tidal indentations that produce on both

•According to Jennings Cropper Wise, the average width
is ahout eight miks.

19



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

shores, a continuous fringe of islands and rag-
ged little peninsulas. No spot on the whole
Peninsula is ten miles from navigable tidal
water, and in a large part of the region hardly
a hamlet or farmstead is five miles from a
steamboat wharf.

Topographically the Peninsula includes in
its upper five hundred square miles, a hill coun-
try of great beauty, rising at points to a height
of nearly 450 feet above sea level, watered by
many swift, clear streams, and richly wooded
with oak, beech, birch, chestnut, walnut, hickory,
the tulip poplar, the gums, many varieties of
maple and other deciduous trees. In the extreme
North, immediately beneath Delaware's domed
roof, so to speak, narrow valleys and steep hills
produce a dramatic miniature mimicry of moun-
tain scenery. From every height in the hill
country the horizon seems forested, though in
most places the woodland areas are small. This
part of the region is rich in limestone and
brick-clay, kaolin and feldspar, and has been
mined for iron. Further South is a region of
gently rolling surface, with few trees except
along the water courses, and a little below are
wide cultivated plains, almost denuded of tim-
ber. Much of the soil below the 39th parallel
is sandy and in most of lower Delaware and

20




SPIUNC; ox THE EASTERN SHORE




THE I.NKANT (IIUISTIANA NEAR NEWARK



THE LAND



the Eastern Shore the predominant native
trees are pines. In all parts of the Peninsula
however, grow noble oaks and other deciduous
hardwood trees. Below the parallel 38° 30' the
fig ripens, though it is sometimes cut to the
ground by the frost ; holly, cypress and magnolia
are abundant, the live-oak occurs, and mistletoe
flourishes. The two counties of Virginia have
been called ''the land of the evergreen," for
here the pine and its vegetable kinf oik are pecul-
iarly rich and abundant.

Bayard Taylor sang the ''soft, half -Syrian
air" of the Peninsula, and the phrase is hardly
extravagant, for although a severe winter per-
haps twice in a decade seals up the tidal shallows
almost from end to end of the Chesapeake for
weeks together, a genuine spring normally comes
to the region even above the 39th parallel before
the end of March, to that sixty or eighty miles
further South near the middle of February. The
cold of mnter, as the heat of summer, is tem-
pered by the influence of the ocean and the bays,
and although between mid-May and the end of
September often come days of sweltering heat,
sometimes many in succession, tropic nights
are not frequent, especially near the water. For
three-fourths of the year the skies seem low and
friendly, and even in mid-winter, there come

21



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

days to the Southern half of the Peninsula with
the softness of a Mediterranean Spring, when
the heavens deepen to violet and purple, cocks
crow, birds sing, and the air is languorous.
Indian Summer runs, a red-golden thread,
through the late Autumn, reluctantly withdraw-
ing itself toward the end of November, to gleam
again with delicious soft radiance for sweetest
half-days almost up to Christmas.

Historically the Peninsula was one of the
earliest regions in the whole country to be set-
tled by men of British blood, though in Dela-
ware the Dutch and Swedes were earlier than
the British. Before the Pilgrim Fathers
reached Plymouth, Jamestown had sent a tiny
colony across the Chesapeake to what is now
Northampton county, Virginia. Delaware
seems to owe her very existence as a state to an
abortive Dutch settlement in 1631 at Zwaanen-
dael, (the Valley of the Swans) near the pre-
sent site of Lewes. In the same year William
Claiborne set up his trading station on rich and
lovely Kent Island in the Chesapeake opposite
Annapolis. Seven years after the Dutch made
their short-lived settlement at Zwaanendael, the
Swedes and Finns came to Wilmington, to be
^'conquered" in 1655 by the Dutch, who still
claimed the Delaware as their '* South" River,

22



THE LAND



as the Hudson was their North Eiver. Nine
years later the Dutch in Delaware yielded to
the English.

The conquest of the Dutch at New Amster-
dam and upon the Delaware by the English was
in pursuance of their claim to Virginia, New
England, and all between. In due ' course
"William Penn, ha^dng received the grant of
Pennsylvania, begged of James Duke of York
the ' * three lower counties on Delaware, ' ' which
form the present state of Delaware, and con-
tested the claim of the Calverts to the Peninsula
above the Virginia line as part of the Maryland
Palatinate. Penn held that he inherited the
Dutch claim to the Peninsula founded upon the
settlement at Zwaanendael, a claim that the
Dutch themselves had steadily asserted until
their empire in North America was seized by
the English. The Dutch had insisted that the
phrase ^^hactenus inculta^^ in the patent of the
Calverts gave them only such parts of the region
as had not been ^ * cultivated, ' ' that is occupied
by civilized men, before the granting of Lord
Baltimore's patent. Willian Penn strove with
the weapons of peace rather than with those of
war, but he was keen at a land bargain and he
had friends at court, as also in the courts, so
that in the end Chancellor Hardmcke of England

23



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

divided the Peninsula between the claimants.
Penn's Delaware counties won their legislative
assembly in 1703, their o^vn elective governor,
in 1776, precisely in time for the little commun-
ity to become one of the original thirteen states.
The year after the Dutch settlement was
made at Zwaanendael Cecilius Calvert, the
second Lord Baltimore, heir to an Irish peerage,
inherited the Palatinate^ of Maryland, granted
to his father in lieu of Avalon in Ne^vfound-
land, which region seemed too severe in climate
to the first Lord Baltimore and his colonists.
Although the father died before he could take
possession of the new principality, the son in
1634, made his first settlement at St. Mary's,
"West of the Chesapeake. The infant capital
was seated on a supremely beautiful affluent
of the Potomac. Lord Baltimore claimed under
the clear language of his charter the whole
Peninsula above the Virginia line, and his North-
em boundary was placed at the 40th parallel. He
found William Claiborne, an officer of the Old
Dominion, claiming and holding Kent Island as
his own, with the countenance of jealous Vir-
ginia. Claiborne and the Calverts warred over

*A palatinate is a region governed in elTect by a viceroy,
whose residence is a "palace" as becomes the residence of the
Bovereign's representative. The Roman Emperor Augustus had
his residence on the Palatine Hill; hence the word "palace."

ii



THE LAND



Kent Island intermittently for a quarter of a
century with varying fortunes, until Cromwell
reluctantly placed the latter in control of their
Palatinate, from which they had been twice
ousted by Claiborne, once as the accredited
agent of Cromwell to suppress the Eoyalists in
Maryland. With the restoration of the Stuarts
came the end of Claiborne's influence at court,
and save for a short time the Calverts exercised
authority over the whole Peninsula above Vir-
ginia until forced by a legal decision of question-
able justice to make a compromise with William
Penn. In 1691 Lord Baltimore was deprived of
his rule over Maryland, and he thus ceased to be
a viceroy with the delegated powers of a king,
though he did not actually lose his title to the
soil. The fifth Lord Baltimore, a Protestant,
recovered in 1715 his vice-regal authority. While
the Calverts were contending for all that their
patent seemed to grant, their Eastern Shore was
gradually settled in the main by British colo-
nists of various religious denominations, a few
French Huguenots, and Dutch and Swedes,
strayed in from the settlements on the Delaware.
In the course of 225 years Maryland's Eastern
Shore was cut up into nine counties, of which
Kent, dating from 1642, was the earliest
created, Wicomico the latest. All but Wicomico

25



DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE

were created before the Revolutionary War.

The history of Virginia's two Eastern Shore
counties is one with that of the Old Dominion
West of the Chesapeake, though the region
differs from the rest of Virginia, in that
it had early an interesting mixture of Dutch
and Puritan elements to the population, and
later received immigrants almost exclusively
of British, mainly, indeed, of English blood.
The whole region was for a time a single
county, but division was made in the Seven-
teenth Century. , The land in 'both counties
was from the first held in large plantations, and
with the incoming of aristocratic Royalists dur-
ing the rule of the ''saints" in England, the ten-
dency toward large holdings was strengthened.
Slavery also took root, in the region, though
later than elsewhere in the Old Dominion. Hardy
fisher folk of the coastal islands set up for them-
selves a more democratic social system, and
depended little if any upon slave labor. They
drew their living out of the free natural oppor-
tunities afforded by the tidal waters, and never
knew real poverty.

These two counties with their light warm
soil, with a climate mainly wholesome by reason
of their constant exposure to the salt-laden,
antiseptic winds of ocean and bay, their natural

26



THE LAND



riches in fish, flesh and fowl, developed a
somewhat distinctive character, and a social
condition in which aristocracy and democracy
were oddly mixed. They escaped in 1861-65,
the worst devastating effects of the Civil War,
because the region was early occupied by the
troops of the Union, and no serious conflicts took
place, though local sympathies were overwhelm-
ingly with the Southern Confederacy and many
of the inhabitants entered its armies.^

Abortive movements to unite the whole
Peninsula into a singlei state have at times
attracted more or less languid interest. One
such movement in the seventies of the last
century brought on a lively discussion. In this
instance the name suggested for the peninsular
commonwealth was '* Delmarvia." There was
some favorable sentiment in a few of the Mary-
land counties, and Delawareans would have
been glad to see the area and population of the
state more than doubled, though they had little
taste for exchanging the sonorous and histori-
cally significant name "Delaware" for the
hybrid * ' Delmarvia. ' ' Of course the Virginians


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryEdward Noble VallandighamDelaware and the Eastern shore; some aspects of a peninsula pleasant and well beloved → online text (page 1 of 17)