Saturday, May 10, 2008

Confederate Heritage Week in Delaware

God smiled on the Delaware Grays this afternoon when they had their Delaware Confederate Heritage Day event in Georgetown. It had stopped raining and it may have been overcast but it was dry during the event. There was just enough of a breeze to make the flags stand out. The event was to honor 2,000 Delawareans who fought for the Confederacy. Since the majority of them came from Sussex county it is only fitting the Confederate Soldier's Monument be in Sussex County. The event added another name to the monument and gave honor to Stonewall Jackson who died today in 1863

There was also great music given by the band "Backwoods"

Honor Guard from the Delaware Grays Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 2068.

More of the Honor Guard

Robert Eldreth Jr, commander of the Delaware Grays

Jim Bowden from the Georgetown Historical Society and Marvel Museum one of many speakers

Charlie Koskey, Georgetown Councilman giving the Confederate History Week proclamation

Joyce Zoch, President of local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy

Bruce Grant, historian

Jeff Plummer, member of the Delaware Grays

Stan Williams gave an interesting talk on his family tree which was mainly the Dennis family of the Eastern Shore. Emphasizing of course the members of the family that fought on the confederate side.

Terry Ayers, member of the Delaware Grays

Pete Vigneiri, Member of the Delaware Grays

The Laying of wreaths at the foot of the monument

The firing of the cannon

A new Delaware Confederate was added to the monument - Virginia Military Institute Cadet William Bruce Martin. Class of 1865. He participated in the Battle of New Market.

An impressive ceremony still a part of VMI life today celebrates May 15 on the Lexington campus. Selected cadets at roll call snap their replies as the names of the New Market casualties are called: "Dead on the field of honor, sir."

Chris-Craft and Delmar in 1954

In May of 1954 the town of Delmar was a buzz - Chris-Craft Corporation was looking at putting a boat building plant on the Delmar Maryland side of town. They had taken an option out on 76 acres of land a half mile south of Delmar on the Railroad tracks. Actually, Chris-Craft had taken three options out; one in Salisbury, one in Berlin and one in Delmar. Wherever they were going to build they were talking about a 92,000 sq ft plant, employing 300 people. They took as a temporary plant two buildings occupying 3 acres in Salisbury on South Division Street that had been part of the Adkins Wirebound Box Company. They were leaning toward the 50 acre site on the east side of Salisbury but due to the zoning problems (just private residences could be built) Delmar stood just as good of a chance to get the plant as Salisbury. Salisbury eventually rezoned the 50 acres so the plant could be built and Salisbury got Chris-Craft.

As we know after Chris-Craft left Salisbury the plant stood empty a number of different times. It was later occupied by Open Roads recreational vehicles and after that Condiesel. After Condiesel I lose track; a division of Nanticoke Homes was in it and after that I am not sure. I worked there when it was Condiesel and when you walked around the grounds you would find large chunks of resin from the fiberglass operations Chris-Craft had. They should not have rezoned the area for manufacturing as when I was there the apartments and private homes bitched constantly about lights at night, noise, fumes from the manufacturing process and traffic.

Friday, May 09, 2008

HOA Nut House

An interesting website is HOA Nut House. It is a compilation of news articles concerning Common Ownership Communities (Home Owner Associations, Condominium Associations and Co-Operatives). The topics range from embezzling (as you know that is a subject dear to me), trying to enforce Home Owner Association rules and the problem of owners walking out on their property when the mortgage payments become to high, failing to pay their maintenance fees and the eyesore created in the community when a property goes vacant.

Just as interesting is to just goggle Home Owner Association Forums and see what kind of problems these people complain about - makes me glad I only have to deal with the town.

Sperry Culver 1938

Event On May 9th 1938, reported Bi-State Weekly May 13, 1938


Coroner H. E. Hardesty of Sussex County, said that an inquest would not be necessary in the death of Sperry Culver, age 60, who was shot and killed by his nephew, Raymond Dickerson, age 20 years, nor for Dickerson, who drowned himself in the mill race at Leonard’s Pond, following the shooting.

Mr. Culver was shot by Dickerson Monday evening, about 7 o’clock, at his farm two miles north of Delmar. The shooting occurred in the presence of Mr. Culver’s wife. Dickerson, a nephew, had made his home with Mr. and Mrs. Culver for about 13 years. It is said that at times he would go into a tantrum about something but Mr. and Mrs. Culver had always been able to reason with him. This time, however, in his rage, he seized a shot gun and shot Mr. Culver when he met him in the yard, the full charge from the gun entering the heart and killing Mr. Culver instantly. It is said that Dickerson told Mrs. Culver he would shoot her too; but she is said to have called, “Raymond!” which seemed to bring him to a realization of what he had done. He stopped, then turned, ran toward the barn, and got in Mr. Culver’s car and drove off. Mrs. Culver summoned her son who lived near by and the police were notified.

The car, owned by Mr. Culver, and used by Dickerson to make his getaway from the Culver farm, was found Tuesday morning near Leonard’s Mill pond. In the car was the gun used in the shooting and a box of shells. One barrel of the gun had been fired, police said.

The body of Dickerson was found later, in the mill pond, by parties who dragged the pond in search of the body, it being the belief that Dickerson might have drowned himself since the car was found near the pond.

Funeral services for Mr. Culver were held at the home Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 o’clock conducted by Rev. J. C. Hanby of St. George’s Church, near Delmar, and the Rev. Woodell of Blades. Interment was at laurel.

He is survived by his wife, and two sons, Charles and George Culver, both of near Delmar.

Services for Dickerson was at the Marvel Funeral Home at 10:30 o’clock Thursday morning. Dickerson leaves a father Elwood Dickerson, and six brothers and sisters.

The Three Brothers Genealogy Myth

I was talking to Norma Jean Fowler of the Laurel library a few weeks ago and one the subject we laughed about was the genealogical "Three Brother' story. I think everyone has encountered this story when doing genealogical research. The story I was told concerning my family, when I first started doing genealogy work, fits the basic framework of Three brothers Myth. It goes like this; There were three brothers who immigrated to America. One settled in Sharptown, the second settled in Eldorado and the third headed west, never to be heard from again. I have this brick wall in doing the family tree so in hope there might be some truth to the Three Brothers story I tried to apply some logic to this story (after all it was told to me by family members and why would they lie to me), I looked for ships entering the Chesapeake Bay named the "The Three Brothers" (there is a surprising number of ships named the Three Brothers), I looked for three brothers, I looked for any combination of transportation, place name, family name etc that had three brothers in it. I wasted a lot of time. I am sure somewhere some family may have had three brothers that came to America, I don't think my family is that family. The next story to track down is that Great-great-great grandmother who was a Cherokee Indian Princess.

Shawn Brittingham

I received a phone call last night from Shawn Brittingham who spoke to me about why he didn’t show up at the Meet and Greet for School Board Candidates Monday night. He said he had told the Delaware Education Association he would attend the Meet and Greet but would not do a debate. After he received a list of questions from the Delaware Education Association he decided it was going to be more of a debate than a Meet and Greet and he contracted the Delaware Education Association and told them he would not be there.

Other comments he made concerning questions asked at the Meet and Greet are as follow; (These are in my words as I don’t do accurate quotes very well)

He is seeking a third term on the Delmar School District Board of Education. He said it takes the first five year term to become familiar with the system and after that you can begin to make confident decisions. In the ten years he has been on the school board they have expanded the school, and interviewed and hired almost the entire administrative staff.

Transparent government – He said the state has made the budget a little better to understand but he still does believe the public would not understand the budget if it was put on line. As for as putting the checkbook on line he said most of the checks for the Delmar school system are cut by the state and those that are cut locally are minor in comparison to the number cut by the state. He said the public could see the budget anytime they wanted to by filing a Freedom Of Information Act request.

Property Tax reassessment - He said the School Board has been to the Sussex County Council and begged them to reassess the real estate property. The County council does not seem interested in doing that.

In regards to the out of date information on the School Board Website he said the updates are done by one of the staff, part time. If it is out of date he will look into having it updated.

I asked him about the potential number of new students that could arrive in Delmar if the housing market was to recover and if he saw a point in the next five years in which the Maryland/Delaware consolidation of schools would cease. He said in the past year a revised agreement has been worked out with Wicomico County. The agreement has taken a while to work out because both states had to approve it; however the formal approval of the agreement should be done shortly.

Uniform policy - Five years ago the board started telling students to clean up their dress or a uniform policy would be made. No change was made by the students. A number of meetings concerning uniforms were held and only a few people attended those meetings. The board unanimously approved the uniform policy.

Let me point out that both candidates have responded to a questionnaire given by the Laurel Star newspaper and those answers are in this week’s issue.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Seaford Historical Society and Seaford Museum

Well on a day that couldn't decide if it was going to rain or not, I decided to go to the Seaford Museum. I had not been there before. Now the quality of museums really varies. You have the level of attempts that have been made in Delmar and failed due to lack of support, and on the other end of the spectrum you have the Seaford Museum. I was quite impressed. The displays are well laid out. Documentation is good. They have displays on most of the major areas of their town from the Doctor's corner, to barber shop display, to a very good police display, milk plant, mills, Patty Cannon, and the expected nylon plant stuff, etc, etc.

The Seaford Historical Society, besides the Seaford Museum, also handles the Gov. Ross Mansion. The museum is in the Old Post Office and is open 1 to 4 PM Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is $3.00 to enter, under 12 is free. The museum is located at 203 High Street.

The next big event for the Historical Society in Seaford is Heritage Days on May 23rd, 24th, and 25th out at the Ross mansion. If you go take an extra hour or two and go thru the Seaford Museum, you won't be disappointed.


The Slush Fund Story

Kilroy's Delaware?

What happened? Kilroy Delaware, the main blog I look at for Delaware School information, has gone missing. I was looking around at the sites this morning and found him gone. Delaware Curmudgeon has also pointed his deleted blog is missing.

1937 Ad Saddle and Briddle Club

V-E Day Assembly - 1945

From the Bi-State Weekly May 18 1945



On Wednesday, May 8, the High School students gathered together in the auditorium at 9:00 A.M. to hear President Truman's radio broadcast. After the broadcast, the following program was given; Opening hymn, "Abide With Me." This was followed by scripture reading, Lord's Prayer, and salute to the flag. "America" was then sung. Students of the senior class, Jack Adkins, Clarke Cuglar, Carlton Lyons, Virginia Sullivan and Norma Lee Parker, gave a summary of the war.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Meet and Greet for School Board Candidates

My wife and I went to the "Meet and Greet" for the Delmar School District Board of Education candidates last night at the Delmar Library. It was given by the Delaware Education Association. A little under 20 people were there for it and one of the two candidates, Shawn Brittingham - current Vice President of the Board, didn't bother to attend. Most people attending were school teachers or students. I think Andy Fleetwood was the only one from the school board to attend. For those who may not know there is a school board election on May 13th for a person to fill a five year term.

The candidate that did show up was Greg Cathell, shown in photo above. Greg is a 2001 graduate of Delmar and a 2006 graduate of UMES. He is married with no children. He has his own business and he is sport coach out at Delmar High School. Obviously since he is running for the school board he lives in the Delmar Delaware.

Some items discussed by him were; he wants to fill a gap and be the communicator on the board that talks to teachers, students and general public more than the current school board members. He wants a plan developed to handle the overcrowding of school classes. He thinks the School board should ask the county council for a reassessment of real estate property since it has not been done since 1974. On the subject of uniforms, he said, he personally was against uniforms as from grades one to six he had attended a private school where uniforms were mandatory and when he came to Delmar it was a sense of relief not to wear uniforms, however it was an issue that had been voted and approved and he suggests everyone gives it a try.

On the question of how many school board meetings had he attended, he said he has not attended any of them. He gave as a reason that up until a few months ago he had lived on the Maryland side of Delmar and only recently moved to the Delaware side. on being asked about the School Board website that has outdated information in regards to minutes and meetings dates he said he thought it should be updated. On the question of transparent government and putting school district checkbooks online he said he was in favor of it and it was a great ideal for accountability.

My impression of him is, he is a young man who is interested in the school but does not have much experience. I may vote for him just because Shawn Brittingham didn't bother to show up for the meeting and we need young people on these boards, the same as we need young people on the Town council and commissions.

On Tuesday, May 13th between 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. you can vote at the Delmar High School for either; Shawn B. Brittingham or Gregory A. Cathell, to fill a five year term. May 9th is the deadline to vote an absentee ballot, unless you do it in person on May 12th by noon. Voters must be 18 years of age, a Bona Fide resident of the school district, living in Delaware, and a Citizen of the United States.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Delmar Senior High Chorus

I was one of a large number of people in a packed house for the Delmar Senior High Chorus last night. This year's production was called "You Can't Stop The Beat." It was conducted by Iris Stuart.

It has been six or seven years since one of my daughters was in chorus and I was impressed with how large (70 or so members) the chorus was. More impressive was how many tried out for Delaware All State chorus (20)and out of that number, nine made it. Special attention has to be given to Katie Smith who made The American Choral Directors Association All-Eastern Honor Choir.

I think my favorite song they did last night was Shut de Do by Randy Stonehill.

Since I lost my hearing in one ear a number of years ago, music has been of decreasing enjoyment to me, but anytime you have a live performance in a small auditorium you can't help but enjoy it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cane Mills

It is hard to determine the location of Cane Mills. I think it is due to the making of syrup being seasonal and the mills for that purpose were smaller and more portable compared to grist mills. Cane Mills processed sorghum (Sargum) cane and from Sorghum comes Sorghum syrup. I am under the impression the growing of sugar cane was very limited in this area and Sorghum was more popular.

In Delmar; in the 1880's W. Burton Sirman and James Venables had a cane mill at the rear of the property of today’s Masonic Temple on First Street. To the East of Delmar, close to Whitesville, was the J. W. Smith cane mill.

Today sorghum is grown in this area but it is used for Chicken feed. Grain Sorghum has a shorter stalk than Sorghum for syrup, which is 6 to 9 feet tall. In the 1850’s, until commercial granulated sugar became more available, a farmer would grow an acre or two of sorghum for his family. From an acre of sorghum cane the roller presses of the mill would squeeze out 60 gallons of juice, which would process to 10 gallons of syrup or “molasses.”

Photos of cane mills can be seen here. And here . The mills I have seen are usually mule powered, but there is no reason they could not be powered by water or wind. The mule walks around in a circle all day hooked to a long pole that turns the rollers on the mill. The mill operator would feed cane into one of the three holes on the press and the rollers would squeeze the juice out where it would flow out a second hole. The third hole is where the mashed cane would come out of.

Just as important as the press was the evaporator pan the juice from the press would flow into. The juice would heat in the evaporator by a wood fire, for about four hours, until syrup was made. During the four hours someone would skim the scum that formed on the syrup off. Some times at farm shows you can see this process of making sorghum syrup.

Union Protest

Carpenters Union Local 2012 is protesting Rite Aid out on State Street and RT13.

Cinco de Mayo joke

Well it looks like the most hits I am getting today are for the Cinco de Mayo joke I posted last year. So I will reprint it; this is an old one that beats around the internet this time each year.

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.

The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Fish Belly White Skin and Tomatoes

Like many people this weekend I have spent a good amount of time working outside trying to tame a couple of spots in the yard that were trying to go back to the wild and work on the garden. This is the time of year when you pull last summer's tee shirts and shorts out and expose the skin that had turned fish belly white over the winter, not a very pleasant sight. It is also the time of year that produce stands are selling "vine-ripe" tomatoes. Okay, they don't taste very "vine-ripe' but they do taste like tomatoes and it gives you that hint of things to come. In a couple of months our garden should be producing tomatoes and there is nothing better than a Delmarva tomato. With the price of food on the increase maybe the home garden will take on a more serious aspect this summer and not something we play at until it is too hot to work in it.