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St. Daniel’s Church & St. Thomas Church

St. Daniel’s Church St. Daniel’s Church is located on Whitaker Road on Iron Hill. Organized about 1813, the earliest meetings were held outside until the first building was dedicated the same year. The deed of incorporation reads: “The Congregation worshipping in their Church building on Iron Hill in Pencader Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, Incorporated under the title African Union Church of Iron Hill, having in convention of the whole communion of Churches held in January eighteen hundred and sixty four, Resolved to change their title held a meeting September second, eighteen hundred and Sixty seven and ordered an election of Trustees.” The name was changed to “Union American Church of Iron Hill.” It was later changed to St. Daniel’s.

The trustees elected were: James Coombs, Daniel Parker, James Potter,Sr., Isaac Daniels and William Walker. Of all these only William H. Walker was able to sign his name. The others made their mark. The 1868 Beers Atlas shows three of these men, Coombs, Walker and Parker as owning land near the church on Iron Hill. The cornerstone of the present church has two dates, 1838 and 1927. An early photo of the church exists but has yet to be verified.

St. Thomas Church St. Thomas Church, on the south side of Frenchtown Road, was organized in 1827, rebuilt in 1877 and remodeled in 1968. On February 5, 1836, Eldad Lore and his wife Priscilla, for the consideration of one dollar, deeded one quarter acre to the Trustees of the church: Henry Pratt, James Thompson, Ezekial Harrington, Joseph Pennington, James Brown, Empson Anderson and Adam Mount. The land was to be used “for the special use of a meeting house to be thereon erected for a place of worship for persons of colour (and for no other purpose whatsoever)”. Eldad was generous but not overly so; if the building was used in any other way or should “decay and go entirely down or be used as a family residence” the contract was null and void and the land reverted to him.

The little congregation persevered and purchased one more acre of land in 1897 from John R. Hogg, of Cecil County. A new church was built and the first church served as a social hall until a building was erected across the street for that purpose. Many old Pencader African- American names can be found on the gravestones. Some obviously French surnames probably have ties to families from nearby Frenchtown, which was settled by Acadians forced from their homes in Canada. The poem Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, tells their sad story. Frenchtown was burned by the British in May of 1813 and never rebuilt.

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