NOTE: HISTORY IS A W.I.P just posting what I have typed up from my written notes thus far.History:The land that is now Delaware once housed a hunter gathering people called the Paleo-Indians. They lived in the region of Delaware by 10,000 BCE. The climate at the time was much colder and spruce trees covered much of its landscape.The Paleo-Indians gathered wild plants, and hunted deer along with other small animals. Their primary weapons of choice were spears.
Delaware’s woodland cultures began to emerge around 3,000 BCE. Around this time, the climate started to become much warmer and drier. Large marshes appeared near the coast. With this new environment, people began to adapt with new ways of life. This woodland era that Delaware experienced was split up into an early period and late period.
The Early Period of Delaware's woodland era could be summed up to its people living nearest the marshes along the rivers. Their diets consisted of shellfish, especially oysters and fish. They also went to the forests to gather plants to eat as well. They began to make clay pottery; stay in small family groups isolated for others; no villages here. Jump to the Late Woodland Period, which began around 1,000 BCE. The people began carving designs into their pottery; the men also began to hunt with bows and arrows. In other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, people were settling into villages and started to cultivate corn, beans, and squash.
The Lenape people were living in the Delaware River Valley during the 1400s. Their homeland included modern-day New Jersey, Southeastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware. Their homeland was called “Lenapehoking” which means “Land of the Lenape”. The Lenape were made up of three large groups: The Munsee (Northern part of the homeland), The Unami (lived south of the Munsee), and the Unalachtigo (who broke away from the Unami). They spoke different dialects of the Lenape language; they also had different ways of living but shared the same customs. In addition to that, the Lenape didn’t have many battles. However different villages within the three large groups, did fight from time to time.
The Lenape hunted deer, bears, turkey; fish and shellfish. They used bows and arrows; sometimes they would set fire to parts of the forest to drive animals out of hiding. Bear claw necklaces were worn by hunters; a sign of strength and skill.
The Lenape believed in one God, The Creator, who lived in the highest heaven. Below the Creator were eleven other heavens; below these heavens was earth. Everything on earth was alive with manitu, a spirit being made by the Creator. Even rocks and trees had manitu. Sun, Moon, and Wind were also spirit beings. The Lenape always tried to live in harmony with nature. They didn’t want to offend the manitu by disrespecting any part of nature. Some manitu were powerful than others. One spirit was called the Masked Being, Living Solid Face, and other names. He protected deer and other large animals. The Lenape believed that this manitu could cause a person to succeed or fail in hunting. To honor this spirit, the Lenape made a sacred mask in his image. This mask was used in many ceremonies.
To send their prayers to the maker, or the Creator, the Lenape would smoke a pipe. For the most sincere of prayers, they burned leaves from a cedar tree. They believed that the smoke rising to the sky helped their prayers reach the heavens.
For recreation the Lenape played a number of games. One of these games was a type of football game called “pahsaheman”. With a ball made of deerskin stuffed with deer hair, they had women on one side and men on the other. The men only kicked the ball, and the women could only throw or pick up the ball and run.
Now the Nanticoke “Tidewater” people made home in today’s Southern Delaware and Maryland. Their territory expanded across Delmarva peninsula from Delaware bay to Chesapeake bay. They originated among the Lenape, sharing their brother tribe’s ancient heritage. They carried on extensive trade with groups in the Ohio river valley to the northeast. They often traded shark’s teeth and beads made of oyster and clam shells. In exchange for clay pipes, copper beads, and knives.
Europeans first arrived in Delaware in the early 1600s, Henry Hudson (an English exploroer) was probably the first to reach the lands that are now Delaware. In 1609, Hudson sailed in the Delaware bay. He thought that it might lead him to a route across the continent. The bay only lead to the Delaware river so he turned around and left. Meanwhile, England established the colony of Virginia, to the south. In 1610, English sea captain Samuel Argall sailed out from Virginia to east of the Delmarva peninsula. He named the bay and river after Lord De La Warr, the governor of Virginia. The Dutch were the first Europeans to actually try to settle Delaware. The year was 1631, a group of colonists from the Netherlands established a settlement called Zwaanendael, meaning “Swan Valley” at present day Lewes. Zwaanendael was suppose to be a center of farming, traveling, and whaling. So the Dutch began trading with the Lenape for beaver furs. But misunderstanding lead to conflicts between the two groups. 1632, the Settlers at Zwaanendael were massacred; historians are unsure about what actually happened to the settlers. After that incident the Dutch Colony soon collapsed. Not only because of the massacre, but the settlers were afraid and inexperienced in whaling, what the settlement was pretty much created for, so they left.
Next on the list were the Swedes; who were the next Europeans to arrive in 1638. The New Sweden Colony was established at Fort Christina, which is present day Wilmington. This was Delaware’s first permanent European settlement.Hundreds of people from Sweden, Finland, and Germany came to settle in the new colony. In its first years, the New Sweden settlers depended on the Lenape for food. They soon built breweries and planted tobacco on the land. The Dutch, however, thought the region still belonged to them. The Dutch Colony of New Netherland covered much of today’s New York and New Jersey. The Dutch established Fort Casimir at present day New Castle in 1651. The Swedes took the fort in 1654, but they didn’t enjoy the victory for long. A year later, Dutch forces moved in, capturing Fort Christina and taking over New Sweden. Delaware became part of New Netherland.
English forces took over New Netherland in 1664; the colony, which included Delaware, became property of the Duke of York. The Dutch recaptured the colony in 1673, but England got it back no more than a year later. When England conquered the Dutch colony in Delaware, they made it part of the New York Colony, settlers were forced to swear allegiance to the English crown. Sir Robert Carr changed the name of New Amstel to New Castle. Until English settlers began moving to the colony in about 1676, English occupation had little effect on the everyday life of people in Delaware. Some changes were noticeable, mainly the government of the colony. From 1664 to 1682, the English governed through magistrates, who were appointed by a royal governor in New York. Because of the continuing importance of the Dutch people and their leaders, official business was often conducted in the Dutch language. Eventually, English magistrates moved in and meetings were conducted and recorded in English.
King Charles II agreed to grant William Penn a charter to settle land in America, in the year 1681. This land was partially as repayment of political and financial debts the King owed Penn’s father. Pennsylvania was established the following year, the charter had no mention of Delaware in it; since lands South of Pennsylvania was owned by the Duke of York. Pennsylvania was lush and fertile; only problem here was, there was no coastline on the Atlantic. So all ships that sailed to the new colony had to sail up the Delaware river through the Duke of York’s lands. Settlers in Delaware didn’t pose threats to Pennsylvania, but Penn worried if another country, like France, would gain control of this territory, it would block access by the sea to Pennsylvania. Concerned, Penn asked the Duke of York to grant him the land. The Duke agreed to give Penn the territory around the Delaware River. The charter called this new grant The Lower Counties or The Lower Territories. It eventually became the Delaware Colony.
Penn organized an assembly for county leaders at Upland (renamed Chester) on December 4. At the assembly, the Lower Counties were officially united with Pennsylvania and it was decided that they would share a governor and legislature. With this agreement, present day Delaware was attached to, but not apart of, Pennsylvania. Penn wanted each colony to seem equal, so he created three counties in Pennsylvania called: Philadelphia, Chester, and Bucks. The three Lower Counties that made up present Delaware were: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. These three counties of Delaware were divided into hundreds; where were based off an Old English method of dividing land. Even today Delaware is the only state that calls its county divisions hundreds. Penn drew up a constitution for the government of Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties; called the Frame of Government. Pennsylvania’s government was representative, this meant that Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties were given the same number of members in Assembly. In short, Pennsylvania’s colonial government ruled Delaware. Delaware didn’t much like that, being ruled by the other...larger colony. I mean come on, Delaware didn’t really have much of a voice of its own in said colonial government.
Maryland lay southeast of Delaware, and had been granted in 1634 to the Calvert family, headed by Lord Baltimore. He opposed Penn’s claim to the Lower Counties, asserting that he (Lord Baltimore) was the rightful owner according to a 1632 land grant from the English crown. The King tried to clear up things by giving the Duke of York a charter for the Lower Counties proving, that the land the Duke then gave to Penn in 1682, was legally his to give. However before the King could sign it, the land grant, he was forced to give up his throne in England. As a result, William Penn and the Calvert family continued to disagree for many years over who held the rightful claim to the Lower Counties; and what would eventually become Delaware.
While at first the Lower Counties were happy with Pennsylvania, their feelings changed as said colony began to grow. Philadelphia gained importance as a main port of entry; while New Castle was a secondary port. They feared that Philadelphia would overpower them. They also feared that their voices wouldn’t be heard either. If they were swallowed up by the power of Pennsylvania government, they wouldn’t have a say in how they were governed. Though aside from what, what delaware residents feared the most out of this, was the Quakers refusal to fight and generally avoid conflict if it so arises.
Welsh Quaker, Thomas Lloyd was appointed president of the Assembly in 1684. The Lower Counties representatives walked out, refusing to attend the legislative sessions. William Penn gave in, and assigned the Lower Counties a separate governor, William Markham. They (the representatives) returned due to the fact that the new guy wasn’t a Quaker. In that same year, William Penn left Pennsylvania, returning to England. While in England, he was involved in politics; including removal of King James II (someone Penn knew personally and worked closely with). This paved the way for the new monarchs, William and Mary. Penn didn’t return to Pennsylvania for nearly 15 years; this was due to disputes with the King and Queen. They robbed him of his colonies and put New York’s royal governor, Benjamin Fletcher, in charge.
Sadly, conflict was a very difficult thing to avoid in the Lower Counties. Since France and England were engaged in war, French privateers sailed along the American coast, threatening to invade settlements there. Delaware feared an attack, and they knew the Quaker government would do little to defend them against the privateers. In 1685, Delaware began to get invaded by the pirates. They soon became aggressive, attacking Lewes in 1692 and again in 1698. Raising a militia of their own, the Delawareans decided to fight back against the pirates.
The English agreed with the Lower Counties that the Quaker government’s refusal to defend them against the French could result in a great loss for England. You know, if the French were to succeed in invading and taking over of the land. The French continued to be a growing threat. Not only were they moving south from the Canadian territories and into New England and New York. But they also controlled the Louisiana territory in the south and the west. The French pretty much had them surrounded. So in 1694, King William came to an agreement that allowed Penn to reclaim Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties. However Penn didn’t return to America until 1699. Throughout the 1690s, disagreements continued between Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties residents. After all the years of bickering about who would have more colonial power, Penn finally allowed the Lower Counties to have their own legislature in 1704. The new, separate assembly first met in November of that year. Under Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, John Evans, and representatives from the three counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. This form of government would continue until 1776, when Delaware becomes a separate state. Though the Lower Counties became a step closer to that in the year of 1701. This was when the twelve mile circle and wedge border was drawn. This finally divided Delaware’s New Castle county and Pennsylvania’s Chester county.
William Penn’s health began to fail in 1712, due to frequent strokes and his inability to care for himself. He was sent to England where he died in 1718. Penn left his land in Pennsylvania to his second wife, Hannah Callowhill Penn, and their children. At the time, William Keith was the governor of Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties. Keith made decisions by himself and after consulting with British government. The Penn family never had a say in this process at all. In 1724, Keith gave New Castle a new charter; again without consulting with the Penn family. That was the last straw for them. They fired him; and a new governor, Major Patrick Gordon, was named. When he arrived from England, he informed the Penns of their land claim being challenged by a man from Scotland. The Scot, Earl of Sutherland, was owed a great amount of money from the British government. He asked for the Lower Counties as payment. His claim was thrown out. The other person in line to lay claim to Delaware was Lord Baltimore, who based on his claim on the conditions back in 1682! In an attempt to discuss these claims, the three Penn brothers met with the King and Lord Baltimore. They agreed on a new border between Maryland and the Lower Counties. Maryland was given a strip of land that once belonged to the counties. The English court finally determined, in 1750, that the Penn family were the rightful owners. Arguments issued, which led to the formation of the Mason-Dixon line.
From 1754 to 1763, Britain fought a war with France over land claims in North America. This war was mainly fought on American soil, and both (The British and French) recruited Native Americans to fight on their side. American colonists were also made to fight in the war on Britain’s side. The war was called both “The French and Indian War” as well as “The Seven Years War”, Britain’s victory wiped out France’s claims to all territories on the mainland of North America. There was a great cost to fighting this war, well to Great Britain that is. This had the King looking for ways to pay for this war. Parliament decided to tax the American colonist to help pay their war debts. Parliament thought this was quite fair, since you know the war was fought in America; to help the colonists keep their land. The Americans on the other hand, thought differently about that. Many colonists died while fighting; they thought that that was payment enough. Also they felt that Parliament shouldn’t tax them, because they had no representation anyway.
In the end, 1765 bought with it the Stamp Act, a law that placed taxes on everyday items. These items included things made from paper, like: newspapers, playing cards, etc. Colonist called a meeting to discuss the new law. Delegates from 9 of the 13 colonies (New Hampshire, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina didn’t send delegates) attended the Stamp Act Congress in New York City on October 7, 1765. This marked the first time that government leaders from different colonies came together against Great Britain. The Lower Counties sent 3 delegates to attend; they voted to boycott taxed goods. At New Castle in February 1766, a grand jury supported the boycott by refusing to proceed unless the court agreed to stop using taxed paper. That following month a large crowd at Lewes convinced county leaders to stop enforcing the Stamp Act. The citizens forced the Stamp Act agent in Philadelphia and the Lower Counties to stop collecting the tax. The passage and attempted enforcement of the Stamp Act caused many Lower Counties colonists to rethink where they stood on the issue. Some remained loyal to the Crown and paid their taxes faithfully. They believed the British government kept them safe. They felt allegiance was to be paid to the King as well. Others thought they should be free from the British. They were better off governing themselves than allowing a King thousands of miles away to do that job. The following year came the repealing of the Stamp Act. Parliament did this because of the protests and violence that the tax was stirring up in the Colonies. It was nearly impossible to enforce it in some places. Not long after the Stamp Act; the Townshend Acts were passed in 1767, which taxed glass, paint, lead, and tea. Again under pressure by the people, Parliament repealed that as well. They were still angry, the colonist, and felt that by Parliament keeping that tea tax, they pretty much wanted to send the message. One that they had the right to control the colonies as they pleased.
John Dickenson, a wealthy landowner from Pennsylvania but grew up in the Lower Counties, argued passionately for Independence. His essays that were in favor of revolution, inspired many throughout the colonies to seek Independence. However Parliament didn’t seem to budge with the protests the colonists had about taxes and the like. This only made a bad situation, worse. With what happened in Boston, the Boston Massacre, many colonists avoided paying tea taxes. This made Britain impose the Tea Act, which required that tea from Britain be shipped directly to colonial merchants. Basically it prevented people from buying smuggled tea. In response to this Tea Act, the people of Boston took action. By simply dumping the British tea in the harbor on December 16, 1773; this became known as The Boston Tea Party. Similarly, in the Lower Counties, protesters helped block a ship with tea on board from proceeding up the Delaware River to Philadelphia. In the Lower Counties, meetings were held where the British actions (The Intolerable Acts ) were discussed and condemned. They voted to send help to the people of Massachusetts; who were losing money because few goods could come into the port of Boston. On account of it being closed by the British. Their Assembly named a committee of correspondence with five members: Thomas Robinson, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, George Read, and John McKinly. On September 5, 1774 delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies (Georgia didn’t attend this time) met at the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia to discuss how to move with a unified voice against Britain. The Lower Colonies sent Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, and George Read to Congress. Most delegates felt that the colonies as a whole, was not ready for Independence from Great Britain. Instead they hoped to work something out with Britain; a more satisfactory plan of government and law making.
The situation didn’t improve. April 1775, British and American forces clash in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord. War was unavoidable. The Lower Counties began organizing a militia for defense which soon swelled to 5,000 members. Soldiers of the Delaware Regiment fought bravely. They had a reputation for being fierce fighters. They fought in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Princeton, Trenton, Brandywine, and Camden. They also fought in South Carolina at the battles of Cowpens and Guildford Courthouse.
In June of 1776, The Lower Counties Assembly voted to break off all relations between Pennsylvania and the British government. The Continental Congress met again on July 1st, delegates Read and McKean attended without Rodney; who was busy at the Lower Counties Assembly. Read thought the call for Independence was too hasty and was gonna vote against it. McKean planned to vote for Independence; he knew if Rodney was there, he’d vote in favor of Independence as well. Word was sent to Rodney in Dover that night about his fellow delegates conflicting votes. He was needed in Philadelphia. So despite his serious illness at the time, he set off to Philadelphia, to ensure that Delaware voted for Independence. On July 2nd, delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies (New York abstained from voting) passed the resolution to declare themselves Independent states. On July 4th the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted.
On August 27th of that year, the Delaware Constitutional Convention met to begin writing a new document. September 20, 1776 saw the day that the new state constitution was adopted. With the adoption of this document, Delaware became the state’s official name. No more Lower Counties for this one. The constitution also included a section against slave trading. While slaves did remain in the state and work the land there, the new state government made it clear that slaves could not be sold in the state. No other state constitution of the time included this. It didn’t get rid of slavery, this section, but it was one more step towards that goal. Better than nothing, yes?
In the first years of the Revolutionary War, the fighting took place far away from Delaware. Mostly in New York and New Jersey. The only battle to take place on Delaware soil was the battle of Cooch’s Bridge. Which took place some way from Newark, on September 3, 1777. The colonists were greatly outnumbered by the British and had to flee with as much supplies as they could carry. Following the Battle of Brandywine, the victorious British quickly occupied Wilmington. They kidnapped Delaware’s president, Dr. John McKinly, and took him as a prisoner of war. Thomas McKean took over for McKinly and moved the capital to Newark until further notice. He instructed the Delaware militia to harass the British in order to drive them out of Wilmington. After five long weeks, the British left on October 16th and moved on to capture Philadelphia. Although the British left their state, Delawareans felt threatened. Philadelphia was very close to them, and the British still had ships on the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. They feared their safety and if the British would raid them or not. After the British left Philadelphia in 1778, most ships left the waters of Delaware. Save for the Cape Henlopen, which guarded the entrance of the bay. As the war continued, Delaware patriots and elsewhere realized this fight for Independence would be long and difficult. But they kept going; keeping their goal of freedom in their minds. The Revolutionary War continued until British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington. The place: Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781.
Six years later, Congress called a meeting in Philadelphia to discuss making changes to the Articles of Confederation. Five delegates from Delaware were in attendance (Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford Jr., Jacob Broom, John Dickinson, and George Read). The Delaware legislature instructed the delegates to agree to the new document only if it continued to provide each state with only one vote in Congress. As in the past, Delaware was concerned that larger states might gain more voting power over much smaller ones. After much talk, everyone came to the conclusion that revising the Articles would not work out. It was time to write a whole new constitution. During the debates, Delaware agreed that the central government should be stronger and have more power to make laws. However, Delaware didn’t go along with Virginia’s proposed plan. Virginia wanted the new constitution to require that the number of votes given to each state in the new nation legislature be based on the state’s population. This kids is called proportional representation; and smaller states thought this to be very unfair. This issue was a debated for some time during the convention. John Dickinson suggested that the new Congress be made up of two sections, or houses, called the Senate and the House of Representatives. Then Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed that the House should have proportional representation; while the Senate have equal representation. This meant that in the Senate, each state will have two senators. Everyone agreed to that proposal; which came to be known as The Great Compromise.
After almost four months of debating; the US Constitution was presented to the Congress on September 20th. To be made official, nine of the 13 states had to ratify it.
The Delaware legislature had little doubt that the new Constitution formed a government that would work well.
For Years, Delaware struggled to be Independent. As a colony, Delaware had no “real” name like the other Colonies. It was called the Three Lower Counties, or just The Lower Counties, or just The Counties Along the Delaware. In 1787, it became the State of Delaware and now gained a new nickname, one to be proud of. On December 7th, 1787; Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution; it is now known as the First State.
The Early 1800s saw farming as Delaware’s key economic activity. New industries began to sprang up as well, including: Mills, Mills everywhere. These mills turned out: Flour, cotton cloth, leather, and lumber. One of these mills was Gilpin’s Mill; the nation’s first paper mill. With industry booming in the small state; of course important figures would somehow be contributing to this in some way. One of these men that had a huge impact on Delaware was a french immigrant. His name was Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours, known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont. In the year of 1802, he opened a gunpowder mill on the Brandywine Creek near Greenville. This gunpowder mill became the US Government's main gunpowder supplier in the year 1825. With its steady growth, it became known as The DuPont Company; one of the largest chemical companies in the world! Members of the DuPont family would become prominent figures in Delaware business, politics, and culture for more than two centuries!
Delaware is now a crossroads for water and railroad transportation. Goods shipped between Philadelphia and Baltimore, they often passed through Delaware. Many of Delaware’s products were more than likely to be sold in either place as well. During this same year, steamboats began running between New Castle and Philadelphia. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal opened in 1829. It cut through Northern Delaware, it provided a good water route between the Delaware Bay and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad began operating in 1832. Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad opened just six years after the aforementioned railroad.
Now we’re going to blast back in time right quick. Before the American Revolution, slavery was allowed throughout the Colonies, of course you knew that. But come 1804, all Northern state had passed laws that eventually put an end to slavery. Meanwhile in the South; enslaved peoples were working on plantations. Slavery was widespread and apart of the culture. Now Delaware was a border state; neither northern nor Southern. It allowed slavery, but many of its’ citizens were on both sides of the issue. Delaware certainly learned what a house divided truly meant, well before the Civil War. Again bringing up the Revolutionary times; during that time anti-slavery societies (often led by Quakers) sprang up in Delaware and other states as well. The Delaware senate voted, in 1847, on a bill to abolish slavery. Sadly it was defeated by just one vote. By this time many Delawareans, especially the Quaker population, were fierce abolitionists. John Dickinson, a Quaker, once Delaware’s largest slaveholder, had freed all his slaves in 1777. Others started to follow his example.
In 1869, the state’s largest slave owner only had sixteen slaves. It was slowly dying out, said institution. As a result, freed blacks made up a large share of Delaware’s population. Of 90,000 people living in Delaware at the time, 20,000 were free blacks. In Delaware freed blacks had few rights. They couldn’t vote, serve on jury, testify against whites, or serve in the milita. Black stuck together to aid their fellow man. They established their own churches and schools. Delawareans played a major role in the Underground Railroad. People opposed to slavery, both black and white, helped fugitive slaves escape to freedom. Even after being convicted, John Hann, a Kent county Quaker; kept up his Underground Railroad activities. Another Quaker, Thomas Garrett of Wilmington, sheltered thousands of people fleeing slavery. He worked closely with Harriet Tubman. Garrett also worked with Samuel Burris, a free African-American, both men suffered greatly for their courage. (Garrett being incarcerated and drained of all his assets, and Burris being incarcerated and then sold into slavery. However Garrett still continued his activities after being released. Same with Burris who was bought by Friends who pooled money together to buy him and then free him.)
The conflict surrounding slavery and state’s rights led to the Civil War. Eleven Southern States left the Union to form the Confederate States of America. While Northern states fought to preserve the Union. Delaware had been the first state to embrace the union by ratifying the Constitution and would be the last to leave it! Many still enslaved Delawareans fled slavery during the war. Like clockwork they joined the Union Army. During this time, many citizens of Delaware were scared for their lives. I mean Delaware literally sat on the fence figuratively and literally all through the war. The culture of Southern Delaware was more tied to Maryland and the agricultural South. While Northern Delaware was tied to Philadelphia and the industrial north. Delaware’s ties to the North won in the end, thanks in large to Henry du Pont, leader of the fledgling Republican Party, Head of Delaware’s militia, and an important financial interest. The DuPont Company, which produced almost half of the gunpowder purchased for use by the Union, was owned by his family. DuPont made sure none of that gunpowder got into Southern hands.
This very reason, the company and financial assets the state possessed, attracted Ambassadors for the secessionists movement. They tried hard to get Delaware to join their cause. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana sent representatives to Delaware to address the general assembly and speak to the governor at the time. However, few were sympathetic to the South. An overwhelming percentage of Delawareans supported the Union. Regardless to the fact that Delawarean sons fought on both sides of the war. This conflict, strangely enough, was good in the long run for Delaware’s economy. Although no battles were fought on Delaware soil, lives were in fact lost. This can largely in part to the manufacturing of gunpowder; which is dangerous business when it comes to making the stuff. Delaware also housed prisoners of war at Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. It was not meant to be a prison, but during the war it became one. It was originally built to protect the port of Philadelphia and Wilmington. However Fort Delaware was meant to keep people out, not in. As the Union and Confederate Army captured more prisoners, Fort Delaware became the place where they were held. You see prisoners were exchanged between the North and South, much like trading cards. Though it was not always an even trade. Officers and Commanders were well worth more than soldiers. During Fort Delaware’s four year tenure as a prison camp, there were nearly 33,000 prisoners that lived there. The most prisoners on the island at any one time was shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg. In late 1863, with nearly 12,000 inmates present.
Delaware was the conduit along two underground railroads: the traditional one that passed through Camden-Wyoming area that allowed slaves to escape to the North. Then you have the second lesser known railroad. One that developed during the war; it allowed rebel-minded secessionists to slip to the South and join the Confederate Army. Delaware was a border state---if I haven’t mentioned that yet---that had the good fortune of not being directly in the path of the war.
Two months before the end of the Civil War, Delaware voted on February 18, 1865 to reject the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution; an amendment that abolished and prohibited Slavery. They voted to continue said institution well beyond the end of the Civil War. Delaware symbolically ratified the amendment on February 12, 1901---40 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Delaware also rejected the 14th amendment during the Reconsturction Era.
~Delaware has the nickname The Diamond state because according to legend, by Thomas Jefferson he described Delaware as a "jewel" among states due to its strategic location on the Eastern Seaboard.
~He is not a believer of the paranormal like his neighbor's Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
~He was constantly fought over in the past. First it was by Countries, then by fellow colonies. :C
~Dela is ambidextrous, he can use both hands to write.
~Delaware is the only state to have a designated star, The Delaware Diamond.
~Delmar is popularized as the little town too big for one state. The community has the distinction of being located partly in Delaware and partly in Maryland.
~Today about 500 descendants of the original Nanticoke Indians reside in Delaware. They celebrate their heritage each September with the Nanticoke Indian Pow Wow.
~The log cabin originated in Finland. Finnish settlers arrived in Delaware in the mid-1600s and brought with them plans for the log cabin, one of the enduring symbols of the American pioneer. One of the cabins has been preserved and is on display at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover.
~The 87-foot Fenwick Island Lighthouse was painted in 1880 for a total cost of about $5.00. [link]
~Twelve concrete observation towers along the coast were constructed during World War II to protect the state's coastal towns from German u-boat attacks.
~Fisher's popcorn is a famous coastal caramel corn. It has been ordered from as far away as Vietnam and Indonesia.
~Horseshoe crabs may be viewed in large numbers up and down the Delaware shore in May. The crabs endure extremes of temperature and salinity. They can also go for a year without eating and have remained basically the same since the days of the dinosaur.
~The Du Pont Laboratories first produced nylon at its plant in Seaford. This earned the town the distinction of being the Nylon Capital of the World.
~The Blue Hen Chicken, a fighting game cock, was the mascot of Delaware's Revolutionary War soldiers and was named the state bird in February, 1939.
~Delaware enjoys hurling pumpkins from trebuchets at insane distances. He does this every year.
~According to a survey by the National Science Foundation, Delaware has more doctoral-level (Ph.D.) scientists and engineers, as a percentage of the population, than any other state. Delaware also has a higher rate of patent awards, per person, than any other state.
~Delaware does not have a National Park, but it does have a National Wildlife Refuge, Bombay Hook. [link]
~Old Swedes (Holy Trinity Church) is one of the oldest churches in America still in use. It was built in 1698 [link]
~Tradition holds that the new 13-star flag, the Stars and Stripes, was first unfurled in the Battle of Cooch's Bridge, September 3, 1777. (Only Revolutionary battle fought in Delaware.)
~Delaware and Maryland were the last two United States states to use corporal punishment, the whipping post. In Delaware the last flogging took place in 1952. Corporal Punishment was not abolished in Delaware until 1972.
~Eldridge Reeves Johnson (1867-1945) was born in Wilmington and grew up in Dover. Johnson was inventor of the phonograph and founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company, today known as RCA. The Johnson Victrola Museum is in Dover. Designed as a 1920's Victrola dealer's store, it features an extensive collection of phonographs, records and memorabilia related to the Victor Talking Machine Company. It also has an oil painting of Nipper, the dog from the RCA trademark "His Master's Voice".
~The first tractor John Deere made is in the Messick Agricultural Museum, Inc. in Harrington, Delaware. The museum features old tractors, implements, tools, antique kitchen, smokehouse equipment, gasoline engines, treadmills, antique wagons, and more.
~The Delaware Museum of Natural History houses one of the hemisphere's largest shell collections. This explains why Delaware loves collecting seashells.
~University Gallery on the campus of the University of Delaware has one of the largest amber collections in the world. Donated by Leslie and Sarah Jastak-Burgess, the collection includes amber carvings, jewelry, and other works. The colors include many shades of amber, ranging from creamy bone and fiery red.
~In 1880, the first beauty contest in the United States was held in Rehoboth Beach. Thomas Edison was one of the three judges in this contest, called the "Miss United States" contest. This contest is considered to be the foreunner of the Miss America pageant.
Suck on that Jersey!
~Delaware is one of only five states having no sales tax. The others are: Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
~In the 1500s, the Spanish brought peaches to Delaware. By the 1600s, peaches were so plentiful in the state that farmers used them to feed their pigs. Supported by the Delaware Railroad in the early nineteenth century, Delaware became the leading producer of peaches in the United States. Almost 6,000,000 baskets of peaches were shipped to market in 1875, Delaware's peak production year. Many problems beset peach farmers throughout the latter part of the century. The peach blight, called the "yellows" forced the collapse of the industry and, in the early 1900s, many peach farmers faced bankruptcy.
Delaware!! Comments, Critiques, Questions, Suggestions...THEY ARE ALL WELCOMED!!!Delaware (c) Alexander Rowe