Saturday, December 08, 2007

St Stephens Youth Group

I encountered the St Stephens United Methodist church youth group returning from a visit to the nursing home. A nice non-money present is visit some one who is older and does not have that many visitors.

1892 Delmar Fire

Delmar has been destroyed by two major fires. The first was in 1892 and the second was in 1901. The article below describes the 1892 fire. It is interesting most of the towns on the Eastern Shore had major fires in in the 1890s. When neighboring fire departments sent aid to those towns they would load their equipment up on the train and the train would take them to the town where they would unload and start to fight the fire. Obviously the response time left something to be desired. In the case of Delmar in 1892 it was pointed out that there was no source of water to put out the fire and water had to be taken from the tanks on the train engines sitting in the rail yard at the time. It would not be until 1911 before Delmar would have a water utility that would supply fire hydrants and sufficient water pressure to put out fires.

Salisbury Advertiser August 20, 1892


Eighty-Seven Houses burned including Every Business Place, the Hotel, Railroad Station and M. E. Church

Another Peninsula town has been reduced to ashes. Delmar was burned last Tuesday afternoon. Between noon and the hour of one, Fire was seen to burst from the roof of the building, corner Railroad avenue and Grove street, occupied by Mr. Tyre as post office. Being a frame structure, the flames fanned by a brisk wind from the north-west, soon enveloped the entire building, and before the thoroughly aroused populace could take action the fire was spreading from house to house and continued to spread until ten acres on which thickly stood eighty-seven buildings of various kinds, mostly wood, had been burned over.

The burned district extends from Grove Street on the north, down Railroad avenue on the west three squares south to Elizabeth street, east from Railroad avenue two squares to Second street. In this territory stood every business house, the hotel, Methodist Episcopal Church and the railroad station, all of which were burned. The fire did no damage west of the railroad track. The origin of the conflagration is supposed to have been the igniting of a match by a mouse in an old sugar barrel which stood in the hall on the second floor of the post office building.

The Salisbury fire service responded promptly to an appeal for help, but owing to the fact Delmar is an inland town, with no artificial water supply, and having no natural streams nearer than two miles, our boys could do little toward keeping up a stream of water. What water they did get was drawn off the tanks of a number of engines.

The losers of the fire are; Levin Hastings store and goods partly insured; M. H. German private residence and several tenement houses, loss heavy, only partially covered by insurance; Joseph W. Hastings, residence valued at $1300, insured for $800; Dr. Ellegood, drug store and bedroom set $2000, insured $1200; W. S. Marvel, residence, barn, smith shop, $3500, total loss; J. M. Elliott, two dwellings and one more, partially insured; Elliott & Ellis, stock of goods, $5000, insured $4000; Cooper & Wilson store and stock of goods, $7000, insurance $4500; W. B. Elliott, post office building and butcher shop, $4000, partially insured; Mrs. Hayman, millinery store, total loss; Delmar Union store, store and stock lose $3500, insurance $1200; Perdue & Hastings millinery store , $1,000, no insurance; W. S. Hitchens, store $1500 total loss, E. J. Melson store $300, total loss; E. J. Freeny, several houses all partially insured; B. W. Freeny, green grocer, $1,000, no insurance; Jas. Mills, leather, $300, total lose; R. S. Stevens & Bro, jewelry valued $1000, no insurance ; W. I. Sirman, residence, partially insured, stock of goods$1000, no insurance; H. B. James, residence, light insurance; Methodist Episcopal church and parsonage, loss partly covered by insurance; Smiley Parker, residence, some insurance, Mrs. Sarah Williams, residence, no insurance ; James Williams, W. I. Sirman, H. B. Sirman, W. Elliott, James Venables, John Gillis, all residences, with more or less insurance; H. B. Kerr’s barber’s fixtures, no insurance; T. A. Vesseys hotel, loss, $5000, insurance $1600; L. B. Kerr’s livery stable, P. W. Vincent’s residence; W. S. Mason’s residence; B. B. Gordy; residence, Mrs. B. B. Gordy, dwelling; Mrs. Elizabeth H. Slemons, residence, office, stables, loss $1500, insurance $1000; M. M. Hill residence partly insured; John W. Melson, residence; Isaac Watson, residence and shop, partially insured, John Neugebaum, residence partly insured; Charles Hill, residence, partly insured; Mrs. Mills, residence, no insurance; Dr. Josephus A. Wright, residence, $1800, insured $800; Harry Renninger, residence, no insurance; Philip C. Hearn, residence, insured; John I. Clarke, residence, partly insured; Charles Elliott, residence, partly insured; B. W. Parker, residence, partly insured; W. C. Truitt, residence, partly insured; Roy German, residence insured; Jos. J. Restein, residence, insured; railroad station, freight house, etc $10000, partly insured; Algy Dennis, residence, partly insured; E. P. O’Neal, residence, partly insured; A. H. Morris, candy store, loss $300, no insurance; Total loss is conservatively estimated at $150,000 and the aggregated insurance is placed at $75,000. Mr. A. G. Toadvine of this city had nearly all the property destroyed on the Maryland side in his companies.

Delmar is situated six miles north of Salisbury on Mason Dixon Line, at the juncture of the P. W. & B. railroad and the N. Y. P. & N railroad, which two systems uniting at Delmar, traverse the seaboard states from New York to Norfolk. It is a new town, owing its thrift and prosperity to the railroads. Within the last decade it has grown from a hamlet of a few scattered houses to a town of 800 inhabitants.

The fire of last Tuesday was the first considerable blaze the little town ever suffered and during its progress many land marks were destroyed.

Among the first homes to burn was one as old as the town itself and in which two poor but enterprising boys- E. E. Jackson and W. L. Sirman – set out in business in 1859. The former has since amassed a large fortune and has honorably served his native state as its governor. The latter is at present speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives and has always been identified with the best interests of Delmar, where he has succeeded in acquiring a competence.

Mr. T. A. Vessey, proprietor of the hotel, was offered $4000 cash for his property on Monday by a Cincinnati gentlemen but refused it.

Dr. Josephus A. Wright had made all arrangements to move into his handsome new home on Wednesday.

Among the more prominent buildings not destroyed are the Missionary Baptist Church, O. S. Baptitist Church, and the Methodist Protestant Church. All the mills were saved.

Undauted by the diameter the people at once turned to work and began to erect temporary structures in which to do business until more substantial buildings can be put up. In twenty four hours after the fire Mr. B. W. Freeny had a house on the site of his burned butcher shop. The railroad company have a temporary station house completed and several other rough structures are up. The unfortunates whose homes were destroyed are residing for the time with those of their neighbors who were not burned out. Mrs. Slemons and her daughters are guests of Dr. F. M. Slemons of Salisbury.

Hogs and Chickens were burned as well as provisions and it is said that when night settled over the devastated town Tuesday there was not enough food in the place to give all the people a hearty meal. This alarming condition was soon relieved however by the quick and eager response of neighboring towns Salisbury, Cape Charles City, Wilmington, Laurel, Seaford and other places send food and money, Mayor Humphreys and messgrs Randolph, Humpreys, A. A. Gillis, Charles Birkhead, and R. T. Fowler, a committee to solicit aid. A purse of $445.35 was soon made up and presented to the provisional committee at Delmar.

A dispatch from Wilmington, Del. Wednesday night to Hon. W. L. Sirmen, said; “At a public meeting held in this city hall of Wilmington this morning to respond to the call for aid from Delmar $500 in cash was raised in twenty minutes and William L. Sirman of Delmar, speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives was directed by telegraph to draw on the treasurer of the meeting for that amount at once. A car load of provions, bedding, clothing and furniture will also be sent down”. The railroad are transporting provisions free.

1892 Ad - Cooper, Wilson & Co

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sweet Delights and Cookies By Design

Okay it is Christmas Time again and you have all those office parties and Christmas Parties and special gifts to bake or buy for. Two places in Delmar that may be of interest to you are Sweet Delights and Cookies By Design

Sweet Delights Bake Shop is located at 1 South Bi-State Blvd Delmar MD (By GoodFellas), phone 410-896-9922 fax 410-896-9924 Hours are 7 AM to 6 PM closed Sunday and Monday.

They have a wide array of cookies (50 cents each), Muffins (95 cents each), Donuts (85 cents each) and Scrapple sandwiches, Breads, Cakes, Cupcakes and pies. Plus an assortment of sugar free goodies.

Free advise is dispensed by Gary Horseman

Cookies By Design is located at 38650 Sussex Highway Delmar DE (at the State Line Plaza over by Delmar Pizza) The phone is 302-846-3210 Cookies By Design is of course part of a chain, so you can access their web site for a display of cookies gifts. Gourmet cookies are a dollar a piece, stocking stuffers cookies are about 7 dollars each and the gift arrangements run between $25 to $125 each.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


From the Bi-State Weekly December 8, 1939

Three local hunters accidentally discovered a still and a large quantity of mash on a farm about six miles west of Delmar, near Blackwater Creek, last Monday. Edward Hearn, Claude Calhoun, both of Delmar, and Charlie Rounds of Salisbury, were the hunters. Hearn went through a heavy thicket for a rabbit and stepped into a deep hole which was concealed by pine shats, and nearly fell into a barrel of mash. He was able to get his balance after getting one foot in the barrel. The barrel was set in the ground with the top about six inches from earth level and thin boards stretched over it and shats covering the boards. Nearby was a 30-gallon copper still, pumps, gasoline and burners. The men notified Constable Arthur L. Godfrey of Delmar, Maryland, who poured the mash on the ground and brought the still and other equipment to Delmar. The Constable stated that the farm was occupied by a man who had been convicted of bootlegging in the Maryland Courts. No arrests were made and Federal suthorities were notified.

Elijah Ruark

From the December 1, 1932 edition of the Wicomico News


Body of Elijah Ruark, Who Lived Alone Near Sharptown is Discovered in Woods.

James H. Mooney, Sharptown fisherman, Tuesday afternoon found the body of Elijah Ruark who had been missing since December 16th, 1930. Mooney, alone, was cutting wood in Miracle Bend Branch and who came across the body almost covered with brush. Ruark was identified by the clothes he wore which were in fair condition considering their exposure for almost two years. His shoes were still on his feet and his hat on his head. A wallet in the pocket contained three cents. A bullet hole in his hat and also in his skull indicated foul play. The body has not been moved but was examined by Sheriff and local physician early Wednesday morning.

Ruark, who lived alone in a small house near Sharptown, visited a local store a few days previous to his disappearance and purchased provisions and chicken feed. Neighbors saw him return home and after not seeing him for two days they began to investigate. When they reached the home they found all doors locked from the outside. The horse was nearly dead from lack of food and extremely cold weather and his chickens were nearly starved. The chicken feed on the cart had not been disturbed. They succeed in entering the house and found everything in order and the table appeared as though he had just finished a meal. For several days the woods near the house was searched but no trace of his body was then found. Neighbors have always feared foul play as he is reported to have kept a large sum of money in his pockets in preference to using the bank.

At the time of his disappearance he was 60 years old and had one daughter Mrs. Elsie Spangler, Lakehurst, N.J. and two sons, Howard Ruark of Chester, Pa. and Holland Ruark who died shortly after his father’s disappearance at the Eastern Shore State Hospital in Cambridge.

The finding of this body by Mooney recalls his discovery of the bodies of Lewis Eaton and Walter Wingate, who mysteriously disappeared several months ago while on a fishing trip. Two weeks later after a diligent search had been made by numbers of people Mooney found the body of Eaton floating down the river two miles from where it was last seen. Several weeks later he found the body of Wingate floating up the river two miles.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Improvements made to Laundromat

The StateLine Laundromat has new owners and I guess they are making improvements. They are moving the old machines out and new machines in.

William Elliott

From December 8, 1939 Bi-State Weekly


William Elliott, age 40, of this city was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon when he fell from a tree while cutting holly on the "Hastings Farm", about two miles north of Delmar. Elliott who is married and the father of five children had climbed the tree according to fellow workers to cut a large limb, when he fell twelve feet to the ground landing on his back.

Fellow workers rushed him to the office of Dr. Howard LeCates, here, who rendered first aid and ordered the injured man rushed to the Peninsula General Hospital, Salisbury. Mr. Elliott is reported to have a broken back and internal injuries and his condition was described as critical at the hospital.

1949 Ad - Delmar 5c to $1 store

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Some Thoughts on Two Years of Retirement

This morning as I sit looking out the window, drinking my coffee and brandy, watching those few snow flakes come down and watching people scurry off to work I thought about how it has been two years since I retired. It has been a great two years people, if you have a chance to retire - do it.

Back three years ago when I first started estimating income and trying to decide if I could retire at 62 the price of things were cheaper by 20% so the oil inflation has made some changes to my original plan. However given the fact you can never have enough money and I have always lived with those limitations you might as well retire now and enjoy yourself.

The best thing about being retired, besides not having an ass hole boss, is not having a place to be at a certain time and not having deadlines and your day planned for you. What ever I feel like doing that day is what I do. When I first retired I had a multi-page list of things to do on the house etc, after a few weeks I tossed that as it was killing my enjoyment of being retired. The other drawback is someone is always saying “well since you aren’t doing anything can you run Aunt Sally to the grocery store”, or something like that. Just tell them no, you didn’t retire to be an errand boy for the world.

I had thought of doing some traveling but would Rome or Paris really be as interesting as Delmar?

Let me say daytime TV sucks big time. I have never seen so many people who are trash, wanting to tell the world that they are trash. Dr. Phil and Montel are no better than Jerry Springer and what is with Dr. Phil’s wife doesn’t she realize she is a Doctor’s Wife, one of the dumbest creatures on the earth?

Being retired I seem to frequently end up at places where old people are, you know those places, McDonalds, Wal-Mart thrift stores etc. The schedule they seem to have is to go to McDonalds about nine o clock, buy something off the dollar menu and talk about the best places to buy old people sunglasses and what to do when you leave Wal-Mart and forget where you parked your car. They than go to Wal-Mart to grab an electric shopping cart. Did you know that if you hold a Wal-Mart shopping bag, click your heels together three times and say “Old People, Old People, Old People” a magic portal will open up and transport you to Wal-Mart, next to the electric shopping carts?

For anyone thinking about retiring at the earliest age they can – do it. Forget about money you are never going to have enough anyway.

Finally remember to keep paying into the social security fund as at least one old man needs for it to stay solvent.

AD Caldwell Market

Monday, December 03, 2007

It is a very Blustery day

It is a very blustery day in Delmar. With any luck my leaves will be gone from my yard by nightfall.

Picture by Harrison Ellenshaw from Sanders Art Studio

Party Lines

The Telephone Company Party Lines, I am sure a large number of you remember them. Back in those "old" days of limited telephone equipment, the telephone company would offer you a party line. The party line would allow one set of wires to ring up to four houses (maybe more, but four is usually the most I remember). The way it worked was if you had a phone call the line for the four houses would ring a combination of long rings and short rings, you would know from those rings if it was for you. If you made a phone call out you picked up the phone and if no one was on it you could dial out, if someone was talking on the line you had to wait until they finished and hung up. Needless to say you did not always get along with your party line members. Some time they would listen to your conversations, sometime they would tie up the line all day gabbing to someone, which would prevent you from receiving phone calls or making phone calls. Some party line members were friendly and would have a set time each day they would pick up the phone and talk to one another (without dialing using it as an intercom almost). Rates for party lines were cheaper than an individual line or private line. In 1948 in Delmar they were $4.25 a month for an individual line, $3.75 a month for a two party line, and $3.25 for a 4 party line. The rates don't sound that high now days but weekly wages were only in the double digits so four dollars for a luxury item was a consideration. The last time I had a party line was when I moved to a small town (Toney) outside of Huntsville Alabama in 1968. The rates were ultra high, at that time, for a private line so we had to go with party line. Since we knew few people in Alabama we had few phone calls so having a party line was not a problem.

Delmar at one time had it's own telephone company. The Delmar-Riverton Telephone Company served Delmar, Sharptown, Columbia and Riverton. It was in existence from 1904 to about 1912 when the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Baltimore took it over. The little building on First street and East street was the telephone switchboard office up until the late 1940 until the Maryland side of Delmar was transferred to the Salisbury office. As we may recall the the current 846 prefix for Delmar Delaware actually started out as being referred to as VIctoria 6 and on the Maryland side of town with a prefix of 896 it was TWining 6. Salisbury Maryland was PIoneer 2 or PIoneer 9 and the unique thing in Salisbury, due to it switchboard and exchange, was you could just dial the 9 or 2 in front on the 4 digit number with out the PI (74) and it would go thru.

Anthony J. Lofink and John R. Henry

The News Journal has been printing a number of articles that implies Anthony Lofink and John Henry, ex employee and contractor at Delaware State Finance office, of involvement in a scam that stole money from the abandoned property section. Now as must people know this is something I would normally be jumping all over as it involves fraud, state employees and relatives of our state senators and representatives (it is like an early Christmas present for Howard), but no one has been charged yet, so I am waiting for that to happen. I don't know if the News Journal thinks the case is being covered up due to the family connections (probably) and they feel they need to force the issue to a head. Yes, I think our state government employees would cover up something like this, but the News Journal need to wait until Lofink and Henry are charged or back off using their names in their articles.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Black Sheep

Every family has them - that branch of the family that seems to stay in trouble with "the law". Needless to say I have several cousins that seem to ignore the rules most of us go by and are doing well doing it. Their father was an alcoholic and you would think being brought up in that home environment the last thing they would want to be around are drunks and drug addicts. Instead they became drunks and drug addicts. They go thru life in and out of jail. Their "code" name for going to jail is "going to a family reunion". When they are out they go to charity organizations and are re-established in a house with furniture and food. They usually work in underground jobs where they are paid in cash or they bum money off relatives and friends. Having just paid my car insurance bill for six months and am still having withdrawal symptoms from parting with that amount of money I think what truly gets me is none of them have a driving license and none carry car insurance on the junk cars they drive. They are picked up routinely with no driver license and no insurance, they go to jail or court and are released within a couple of days to go back driving with no license and no car insurance. One, who had a court date for driving without a license, drove to court, paid a fine and drove back home with no license. What is wrong with the legal system? One day when they are drugged up on something and driving they will have an accident and hurt someone, that person will have no recourse but to pay their own hospital bills as the legal system keeps letting these people drive. The person who is hurt should sue the state for letting these people continue to stay out of jail.

Del Tech Tax - just say no

I had hoped to make this post last week when our own State Senator Robert Venables decided to screw us over, but I had a cold and just did not feel like it. For those who may not be following the Delaware Tech problem; due to increase enrollment Del Tech would like for the State of Delaware to make a special tax just for them. They say they can not fund the increased capital improvements they desire to do. Now readers of this blog know the questionable work ethic I hold government workers in but I have always felt college professors and educators exceeded even that and brought the concept of work to a new low. In the case of Del Tech we have a combination of educators and state workers. Delaware Tech President, Orlando George, in 2006 was the state's highest-paid employee, earning more than $392,000. Is it surprising he would feel the way to increase funding is to screw over the taxpayer a little more?

What Bond Bill committee chairmen Senator Robert Venables (D-Laurel) and north of the canal Representative Vincent Lofink (R-Bear) want to do is to raise the real estate transfer tax rate .28% (from 3% to 3.28%)to fund capital projects at the Delaware Technical and Community College. Sound harmless doesn't it? It only effects you if you are buying or selling a house. On a $200,000 house it would add about $560 to the price. The problem is it is another tax and taxes never go away, they just increase. I can see if the housing market continues to slow down, Del Tech coming back saying it still isn't making enough money, can you increase the transfer tax again? Bull shit stop it now - don't let them have a special tax. Let them find revenue by increasing the credit hour rate they charge, like other colleges. Ignore that old line of bull shit they are putting out about if you don’t support this tax you don’t support education.

Other delaware bloggers against this tax are;
First State politics

Kilroys was here

Delmar Poem from 1930

The below poem was published in the April 1930 Bi-State Weekly


Delmar where the hooting train
Pauses, then goes on again.
Placed where Calvert's sunny land
Bounds the war lord's fertile strand;
Maryland and Delaware
Delmar's pleasant dwellings share,
Where industrious lives are wrought
And Happiness, true wealth is sought.
Peaceful Delmar, pleasant place
Where Life keeps a modest pace
Not foregoing modern toys
But retaining old time joys.
Kindness and Security
Both are Delmar's surety

author unknown

Cat on a Post

Taken at Laurel campgrounds

Delmarva Model Railroad Club Exhibit

Today is the last day, until January, to visit the model train exhibit at Camelot Hall (103 East State Street). The Delmarva Model Railroad Club has once again opened their doors for the public to see their train layouts. They have N-Scale, N trak modules, HO layouts, O Gauge Tinplate, O Scale Lionels and LGB. It is today, in Delmar, from Noon to Five. Free admission.

Ad from the 1950's - Freihofer Baking Co