The State Seal of Delaware in 1876

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.

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
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.
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.
Mary’s thoughts……………
Jan. 03Lee helping at mill with Mr. Dayett starting out.
Jan. 12My baby’s 19th birthday (marking the death at birth of her son, the first Levi)
Aug. 15Edward took girls boating
Aug. 29Young people crabbing at Locust Point
Sep. 03Smoke in air from forest fires in Minnesota
Sep. 06Edward and Lee return to Delaware College as senior and sophomore (now U/D)
Nov. 08We found that almost everything all over the U.S. has gone Republican.
Nov. 14Made bread & did a little towards housekeeping, but took all extra time on some stockings to be lengthened for Edward for football.
Nov. 24Del College was going to play football with U of P but a wreck delayed the visitors & so when they arrived late, the game was “off” & the people gone home.
Nov. 25There was notice in the paper about Frank’s coming of age birthday.
Dec. 25Wilkins gift to me of a lovely foot muff and a sweeter note
Dec. 31Ice house filled. A happy year with far more of joy & causes for gratitude & thankfulness than of sorrow or trouble. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! (note: ice would have been cut from the Christina River in front of the house).
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.
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.
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:
  • The Wheat Sheaf, Farmer with a hoe, the Ear of Corn, and the Ox signify Delaware’s agricultural vitality and importance of animal husbandry to our state economy.
  • The Ship pays homage to Delaware’s coastal commerce and its one-time ship-building industry.
  • The Militiaman with his musket recognizes the crucial role of the citizen soldier to the maintenance of American freedom, liberty, and independence.
  • The water below the ship stands for the Delaware River, once the mainstay of the state’s commerce and transportation.
  • Dates shown on some variations of the seal are 1704, the year Delaware established its General Assembly; 1776 when the “lower three colonies” of Pennsylvania became the State of Delaware; and 1787, the year Delaware became the “First State” by being the first colony to ratify the United States Constitution.