Bits of History
We will be posting articles on this page offering insight into various events and times in the history of Delaware and Pencader Hundred. Be sure to visit often to see the latest articles. For even more information come visit us at the Pencader Heritage Museum.
1670 MAP OF CHESAPEAKE BAY AND DELAWARE BAY AREA
Original by Augustine Herman
Details drafted from copies of original map in the British Museum
by Edward H. Richardson Associates, Inc.
Augustine Herman (1621-1686) worked for ten years on his map, at the time the definitive picture of the area. Lord Calvert, royal governor of the area, awarded Herman with about 15,000 acres of land for the map and fulfilling other duties as assigned by Lord Calvert. Herman named his estate Bohemia referring to the place of his birth in the kingdom of Bohemia at Prague. The land is in Cecil County, Maryland around Chesapeake City and several place names reference Augustine Herman and Cecilius Calvert.
The Herman map is very detailed showing even the Christina River where, coincidently, Pencader is now located. A large replica of the map is on display at Pencader Museum. Of interest is the fact that so many names of counties in Maryland are as we know them today.
Source: Information which accompanies the map
DELAWARE PLACE NAMES
Did you ever wonder where Cedar Gut, Hazletville, or Fire Hook is in Delaware? Or any other unusual Delaware place name you might have come across in an old deed or newspaper. Come to Pencader Museum and have your question answered. In our reference library we have a book Delaware Place Names prepared by the US Department of the Interior Geological Survey, 1966. It’s a fun read even if you’re not looking for a particular place. It also gives names and numbers of the Geological Survey quadrangle topographic maps which are available from Department of the Interior and can be useful in locating old cemeteries or watercourses.
1894 DIARY OF MARY EVERTS (WEBB) COOCH
Mary Cooch apparently kept a daily diary for years although the only one surviving is for 1894.
Mary was the daughter of Edward Webb (1819-1898) and Nancy Allyn Foote (1825-1902) who were missionaries. She was born 18 June 1849 near Passumalie, Madura, southern India and married 12 April 1871 at Pencader Presbyterian Church to Joseph Wilkins Cooch (b. 23 June 1840 d. 26 Mar 1917). Mary died 10 July 1933, Pokomoke City, MD and is buried in Welsh Tract Church Cemetery.
Children: Caroline b. 1872; Francis Allyn b. 1873; Levi G. (1875 lived only a few days); Edward Webb b. 1876; Levi (Lee) Hollingsworth b. 1877. Mary recorded every letter, with date and to whom sent, those received with date and writer, in the back of the diary: written 167, received 156 in the year 1894.
Her husband was Joseph Wilkins Cooch who was the County Recorder of Wills during this time period. He and their eldest son took the train to Wilmington every day to work, usually from the Cooch Station along the track at Old Baltimore Pike. The track is still there, but no sign of the station.
The diary was transcribed by Mary’s great-granddaughter, Patricia Logan (Hardwick) Woods, in 2015. The original diary is on display at Pencader Museum and copies of the transcription are for sale.
In the diary Mary briefly described the weather each day, happenings on the farm which we know as the Cooch house and property on Old Baltimore Pike, some family activities and a few local items of interest.
DELAWARE 1ST MILITIA
Although the flag was made for the Delaware 1st Militia, it is commonly known today as the Dansy Flag. While the British were still in the area after the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge in September 1777, the flag was taken from the home of Col. Samuel Patterson of Christiana by British raiding parties. Capt. William Dansy took the flag home to England as a trophy where it stayed until 1927 when the Historical Society of Delaware purchased it from the Dansy family and returned it to Delaware.
The flag was on display for about 50 years at the Historical Society, until its fragile nature led to it being returned to storage. Later, due to generous donations from the Colonial Dames in Delaware, Sons of the Colonial Wars, and the Delaware Heritage Commission, the flag underwent restoration and is now occasionally on display.
Conservation work showed the Dansy flag had never been attached to a pole nor had any unit insignia sewn onto it although replicas of the flag accompanied Delaware Militia throughout the War for Independence.
DELAWARE “BLUE COATS
On December 9, 1775 the Continental Congress authorized formation of the Delaware Continentals as part of Gen. George Washington's army. Led by Col. John Haslet, the unit marched from Dover Green in the summer of 1776 to join Gen. Washington’s troops in the War of American Independence. Unlike most of their Revolutionary comrades-in-arms, who wore into battle clothes of their civilian life, Haslet’s men were known to history as one of the best uniformed and equipped in the early Continental Army.
Their coats were blue, faced and lined with red, thus earning them the name Delaware Blue Coats. White waistcoats, buckskin breeches and white woolen stockings completed the uniform. The uniform buttons of the rank and file were pewter, for officers buttons were gilt. They wore high-peaked leather hats inscribed “Liberty and Independence”.
The 800 well-dressed Delawareans arriving on Staten Island may have been from the smallest colony, but were the largest battalion to join Gen. Washington’s army. Col. Haslet wrote to Thomas Rodney, “….the regiment on its arrival in New York was highly complemented on our appearance and dexterity in the military exercises and manoeuvres” (sic).
Sources: “1776” © by David McCullough, 2005, pg. 149
“The Delaware Continentals” © by Christopher Ward, 1941, pg. 17. Published by Historical Society of Delaware.
DELAWARE STATE SEAL
The state seal was first adopted on January 17, 1777, carrying the state coat of arms and the motto “Liberty and Independence.” The seal has been revised several times, lastly on April 29, 2004.
The coat of arms has also undergone several changes, although keeping the basic elements: