Monday, February 27, 2006

Port Penn and Delaware Beach

Transplanted from Maryland and a Delawarean for nearly 30 years now, I still miss them rocky hills of home. Arriving here back when Jonestown held the nation's attention, I was a little concerned about living in such a flat place, fearful of mosquitoes and hurricanes and the population density here. It wasn't long before I was out trying to get lost in Delaware and experiencing the beauty of the State. I stumbled across Leipsic, Port Mahon, Woodland Beach and Port Penn, and was inspired by these wonderful old places. My family and I were amazed at the migratory birds at Bombay Hook and we came to love the salt marsh estuary. I also learned that you really can’t get lost in Delaware.

Now here is something new that I've just learned about Delaware. Steamship was a very important means of travel back in the 19th century and early 20th century. One place that I had heard nothing about until recently was the boat landing at a place called Delaware Beach. This was Port Penn or near Port Penn according to the Middletown Transcript at

Lloyd had a lot of old postcards from the Jenkins (or Reed) store, which now sits at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover, Delaware. The Jenkins' and their friends were prolific postcard senders, and one old card to Mrs. P.W. Jenkins in 1926 features a rare old scene of Delaware Beach. A lovely print of folks who have just disembarked and who are on their way home down the long, dirt, boat landing road. A representation of a simpler time, saved for us by Mrs. Jenkins and Lloyd.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mary Roberts Worth

Today I am doing a bit of research on one of Lloyd's old postcards mailed from Swiftwater Pennsylvania on July 23, 1909. These old cards amaze me, especially when there are messages. This particular card was mailed to Miss Mary Roberts Worth at the Allerton Farm in West Chester PA. I have found a record of one Mary Roberts Worth, born in East Bradford, whose parents were Moses B. Worth and Josephine Roberts Worth. Her Grandparents were Paschall Worth and Lydia Woodward. She was married to John E. Cornwell and they were probably Quakers. These Worths did have a connection to the Allerton Farm. The old card shows a scene from Buckhill Falls in PA and its an undivided-back card.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Beginnings...we all have them.

As a kid, I loved staying with my old Grammy as often as possible. Her rickety old house, which had evolved from a shack by the time I was born, still had outdoor plumbing and well water pumped with a big iron handle. Her water heater was an old propane stove and a big kettle, and she washed clothes on a metal board when I first knew her. My bath was a round metal tub with handles, retrieved from the porch and set on the planked kitchen floor, usually on evenings before an event that required some extraordinary cleanliness, like church or going visiting. Her house and sheds were the places where I had my first adventures, and where I first marveled at the treasures she had accumulated during her hard life. Among those treasures... the old furniture, crocks, tools and that WWII trunk from Uncle Floyd... well that was where I began my love of old stuff.

Both she and my Granddad Dewey, seemed happy to tell me about each big thing or little trinket that I discovered if I asked, and I did ask. Great-grandma's cracked crock, Floyd's dagger that he got in France, Aunt Neva's cupboard, Peggy's rusted sled, all things Grammy just couldn't part with. While the details of those long ago conversations have faded, for some time now I've understood her reasons for keeping those things till the day she died. It wasn't a love of things, it was a love for family.