Fri, 23 May 2008
Dear Friends of Delaware History,

After five years of intense data collection regarding the history of Christiana, Delaware, I am glad to be able to finally put together some new light on the history, architecture, archaeology, and genealogy of this little town. I hope to explore in the months to come each of the notable buildings, people and history of this little place. I am happy to send along a digital copy of this newsletter for your enjoyment. I apologize for any double postings. Feel free to forward to anyone else you might think would be interested in its content!

Ken Baumgardt
Christiana Historical Society

The Christiana Courier
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2008

Public School #44, ca. 1912.
Public School #44, ca. 1912

In This Issue:

Journal of the Christiana Historical Society,
49 N. Old Baltimore Pike, Christiana, Delaware

Friends and Neighbors,

Welcome to springtime and a fresh start in our community. This is the first issue of the Christiana Courier, a newsletter to educate the residents of the village of Christiana about the history of our little community. Dating back more than 400 years, Christiana was one a centerpiece of New Castle County, and an important stop on the highway for many of the most important names in American history.

One of the earliest colonial towns in America, the little hamlet of Christiana, Delaware, holds a proud tradition of the past. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Christiana was the home to many of the founding fathers, unique architecture, and yes, George Washington DID sleep here!

Founded in the 17th century, the head of the Christiana River was an important landing point for the early settlers. As early as 1686 there was a bridge here, giving rise to its early name, Christiana Bridge. It was along the Kings Road from Philadelphia to Baltimore, and George Washington often stopped here to rest or for a meal. During the Revolutionary War, Colonial troops landed here to fight back a British invasion at Cooches' Bridge, the only Revolutionary War battle in Delaware. In the 19th century, it was bypassed by both the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and the early railroads, so the town passed into some obscurity. It remains today a little Williamsburg, a colonial crossroads still intact and reminding us of a quieter time in our past.

The Christiana Historical Society was originally founded in 1966 as a civic association, and reached its height during the celebration of the American Bicentennial here. During the past five years, we have been quietly building an archive and collections about the town, some of which we hope to share with the community through this newsletter. It is hoped that this newsletter will encourage the continued preservation of our community, as a place of pride in our place in history. This newsletter, issued quarterly, will provide interesting information about the people and places that formed the background of our community, as well as local news and commentary.

Ken Baumgardt
Christiana Historical Society
Even on the web at:

On the Cover:

This photograph was taken by Ed Herbener ca. 1912. Itinerant postcard photographers, lugging their cumbersome cameras in wagons, plied their trade throughout the rest of the country in the early 1900s. In this area, the man who made many New Castle and Cecil County cards was photographer Ed Herbener of Newark, DE. In 1910, the Newark Post said: Mr. Herbener is one of the pioneers in the post card business. He not only furnishes views of Newark, but makes views for the trade from New York to North Carolina. He has built up quite a business in this line. He also makes fancy cards.; And all this work is done in Newark. . . . . ." (Cecil County Historical Society)

The History Around Us: Public School #44

The Free School Law of 1829 established public funds for the construction of school buildings and the education of white youths throughout Delaware. School District #44 was the district serving the school at Christiana, and School District #43 serving the Salem School. Salem School was on Salem Church Road, across from the Methodist Episcopal Church. Christiana School was on Kings Highway, on the northeast side of the village.

Christiana and Salem schools were probably one-room frame structures typical of the period. The First Annual Report of the State Superintendent (1875/76) stated that there were 370 schools in the state, all but a few having one teacher. Most New Castle County schools of that year kept open nine months of the year, double that of the early 1800s, indicating that people cared about their children’s education.

One-room district schools had three trustees, who were neighborhood farmers, artisans or merchants. Trustees ran the school almost as their personal property. They repaired the roof, painted siding, fixed the door, delivered the wood or coal for the stove, sometimes ordered textbooks or maps, and interviewed the teacher. The district Clerk paid all bills, including the teacher’s salary once a month.

District schools were inexpensive a century ago. Salem school records show that the trustees of 1885/86 received $207 from the state dividend, and collected taxes of $169. Almost all residents paid less that $10.00 local assessments each year. Salem was somewhat more frugal than other New Castle County districts, but well ahead of downstate districts. Christiana trustees collected more local taxes than Salem but rarely reached $300 before 1915. These charges did not burden many residents. Indeed, there was little to spend the funds upon. Salem paid their teacher $1.50 a day (about $35.00 a month) for as many as fifty pupils enrolled. This was a typical salary for a rural teacher until the end of the First World War, when inflation pushed salaries all the way up to $3.50 a day (some $75 a month)! Teachers in the black schools received salaries about 80 per cent that of whites.

White Christiana children in the 1920’s, like most Delaware youth, still had to use an inadequate building. The state legislature met the schoolmaster’s needs by using the School Fund surplus to pass a series of School Building Acts between 1927 and 1935. These acts virtually rebuilt the state’s white schools.

The 1933 Act reserved $2,500,000 for school construction, including $67,200 for Christiana. All the state asked was that Salem and Eden District merge with Christiana, and that the residents agree to a small bond issue of $4,800, equal to two percent of their assessed valuation. Christiana agreed at once on May 20, 1933 (vote of 111-1); Salem later agreed on August 19, 1933 (8-0); but Eden refused. In a strange twist of fate, the one-room Eden School burned in 1934 and the state built them a new two-room school just after the completion of the Christiana-Salem School.

During 1934, the State Board and local residents each selected four members for a Christiana School Building Commission. After local residents passed the bond issue (81-0), the School Commissioners chose the architectural firm of Massena and du Pont of Wilmington, who had earlier designed Alfred I. du Pont School on Concord Pike.

The State Board accepted the building plan, a site was selected, and construction began in the fall of 1934. The Cantera Construction Company built the school. They were experienced in school construction, having just completed the thirty-three room Harlan Elementary School in Wilmington. Despite delays and problems with the well, they completed the building by the summer of 1935, about three months late. When school opened in September, the teaching force had doubled to four: Mrs. Margaret Thornton (grades 1-2) and Mrs. Elsie Stradley (7-8), who continued from the old school; and two other teachers: Mrs. Estol T. Hopkins (3-4) from the closed Salem School, and Mrs. Margaret H. Ford (5-6). The four teachers with 132 students did not fill the five-room school designed for 200 students.

There was an auditorium with a small stage and tiny dressing rooms, and a teacher’s/board room. There was also a small kitchenette from which the parent volunteers sent hot lunches to the classrooms. The Georgian red-brick building was a solid structure, located on a large site with space for several additions and ample playground. Christiana-Salem remained uncrowded for several years, since Eden District No. 101 sent only its seventh and eighth graders to Christiana.

On December 20, 1935, the new Christiana-Salem held its dedication ceremonies. State Superintendent Holloway spoke, and presented the new school’s picture to Elsie Stradley. After several music selections and Mrs. Julia Murray’s reading of Longfellow’s “Come to Me All Ye Children,” Mr. Massena presented the school to the local Building Commission. During the same month, R. Earle Dickey purchased old school No. 44 and demolished it. (From Robert J. Taggert, Ph.D, University of Delaware. Christiana Educational Heritage. )

This detail of the Herbener Postcard shows at least 13 children and the School teacher, possibly Nellie Appleby who was the teacher from 1901-1910.

Did You Know?

What is now Old Baltimore Pike was originally the King’s Highway, the main north-south inland corridor during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was the route used by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and many other well-known people to get from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Even Merriwether Lewis, head of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, passed through here on the 7th or 8th of July, 1803, enroute to the west to join with William Clark and begin their famous exploration of the western U.S., so, yes, we are even on the Lewis and Clark Trail! In those days, travel was tough, with rest stops every ten or twelve miles with taverns to provide both food and water to man and beast. The Christiana Inn and the Shannon Hotel are both reminders of the tavern stops along the route, frequented by these famous passersby. Someone leaving Philadelphia would typically make stops at Marcus Hook, Wilmington, Stanton, Christiana, Glasgow, and Elkton, before proceeding further south. By the time of the Revolution, a stage coach route was also established, with Christiana as one of the stops along the route.

Famous People who Lived Here: Lorenzo Blackson

One of the earliest black authors in America was Lorenzo Dow Blackson, born and raised in Christiana. His work, The Rise and Progress of the Kingdoms of Light and Darkness; or, The Reign of Kings Alpha and Abadon, is one of the earliest novels by an African American. Published in 1867, it is an allegorical tale illustrated with twelve wood engravings.

In his autobiographical preface, Blackson records his experience of bigotry while attending school in Baltimore as a young man. Lorenzo Blackson was born in a large free black community that once existed in the vicinity of Brown’s Lane and Neury’s Lane, Christiana, Delaware. Census records from the time record approximately a hundred families in the community, making it one of the largest free black centers in antebellum Delaware. His mother was a slave for Mr. Joel Lewis, who lived in the house now located at 9 North Old Baltimore Pike, and they attended the African Methodist Church that once existed near Schoolbell Road, just outside of town, where Blackson’s father was a minister to the early African-American community here. Lorenzo Dow Blackson lived in Philadelphia and married Susan, and had children Lorenzo D. and Henrieta Blackson (who married a Brown). He died sometime after he was recorded in the 1880 Census. His autobiography records important information about his childhood in Christiana:

“I WAS born on the 9th day of May, in the year of our Lord 1817, in the village of Christiana, Delaware. The names of my parents were Thomas and Hannah Blackson. They had both formerly been slaves, but my father being set free at the age of 35, he afterward bought my mother's time. They had seven children before my mother's freedom, who were born slaves, viz.: Rebecca, Maria, George, Adam and Eve, who were twins, Seth and Shadrach. After my mother's freedom, there were four of us who were born free, namely, Thomas, Lorenzo, William and Susan.

The knowledge I have of my predecessors does not extend far back. My father and his father and grandfather, I was informed, were each named Thomas, and I am told some of the relatives were very powerful men physically. Of a grand uncle, it is said that twenty-five men could not surround and take him. My father's mother was named Susan. My mother's father was an African prince, who, with a son and a daughter, were stolen away from that country and made slaves. He was said to have a gold chain about his neck when stolen. His African name was Palice Abrutas Darram. His son's name, who came with him, was Mounch. His daughter's name was Yambo. My uncle Mounch being a slave, ran away from Delaware many years ago, and very probably changed his name, making it hard for his relatives to find him. When my mother last heard of him, many years ago, he was then living in the city of New York, and was well to do. My aunt Yambo was taken out West, and is said to have married an Indian. My reason for particularizing these things is the hope that this may come under the notice of those spoken of, if alive, and if dead, that some of the surviving friends or relatives might see it, and be able to give us some information regarding our relatives. To return. My father and mother were for many years worthy members of the M. E. Church, and died in that faith, leaving a bright testimony behind them. The children which were under their control they endeavored to train up in the way they should go, setting them a good example, and it may be owing to this that their children who have lived to grow up, have generally been members of Church, and three of their sons are at this time preachers of the Gospel, viz.: Shadrach, Thomas and Lorenzo. The last part of my father's servitude was with a family named Steward, near St. George's, Del. My mother served the last part of her servitude with Mr. Joel Lewis, of Christiana, Delaware, who was father to William D.

Lewis, Esq., of Philadelphia. My father was for a number of years an exhorter in the M. E. Church, and was said to be very useful, and was a man much gifted and powerful in prayer; and there are those yet living who can bear witness to the efficacy of his prayers, having felt the effects thereof. He died on the 27th day of April, 1844. The last time he partook of nourishment, he said the next time he ate, he expected to do it in heaven, in his Father's house. He died soon after. My mother survived him a few years, and died as she lived, in the triumph of faith. They now rest from their labor, and their works do follow them. They were both much respected by persons of all classes in the neighborhood where they lived. My father was considered an eminently pious man, and though he was a colored man, there were many white persons who acknowledge to have been converted under his prayers or exhortations. Some, I believe, are yet alive, and can testify to the truth of this assertion, notwithstanding the prejudice to color that did then and still does exist.

Having such parents, I had, as a matter of course, religious instruction from my earliest days, and was said to be a remarkable child when quite young, and was often engaged in attempting to pray and preach, and though being too young to understand the nature of what I was doing, it is said I sometimes made very appropriate remarks. When I was 8 or 9 years of age, there were two men who were brothers, and professed to be friends of my father. They requested my parents to let my brother Thomas and myself come and live with them as their own children, and go to school, they living in Baltimore. We left home for the first time in our lives, and went, according to their request, to live with them...”

News from a Small Town – Newspaper Clippings from Long Ago

For many years, Sylvia Jones penned a column of local events for the Newark Post. Her column recorded the intimate events surrounding our little village. Below is her inaugural column from 1954.

Christiana Calling,
Sylvia F. Jones, Correspondent, Phone: New Castle 6876

With pleasure and satisfaction we announce that Christiana is to be represented again by a regular news column in THE NEWARK POST. Our aim will be to give an overall picture of the various happenings which make the town newsworthy, and we hope friends in other areas, as well as Christiana readers, will find the column of interest. Those having items of general interest are invited to phone the information to New Castle 6876, or mail it to your correspondent at P.O. Box 24, Christiana.

Ladies Auxiliary, Christiana Fire Company

Small town? Undeniably, that describes Christiana in size, yet in ideas it is as progressive as many larger towns which now provide organized recreation for teen-agers.

Last Friday evening the Ladies’ Auxiliary sponsored the first dance of a summer series for teen-agers in the fire hall with music on records. Cokes and candy were available in the hall and Mrs. A. B. Currinder and Mrs. A. B. Cleaves were chaperones, and 25 enthusiastic youngsters turned out. Another dance is scheduled for this Friday. The Ladies’ Auxiliary held its last meeting until fall on Tuesday, June 22 with a covered dish lunch with men of the fire company as guests. The ladies auxiliary turned over to the fire company a $600 donation toward the purchase of new equipment.

Delegates to the Auxiliary convention to be held in Milton in September will be Mrs. A. B. Currinder, president, and Mrs. Amanda Morris. Alternates are Mrs. Ada Cleaves and Mrs. Elizabeth Tackach. The annual trip of the Auxiliary is being planned for August 5, when the member will go to Atlantic City, by chartered bus (Newark (Delaware) Post, Thursday, July 1, 1954).

The History of Christiana, Part 1
John Ogle and his Eagle’s Point Estate

Ogle Family CrestIts common knowledge that what was to become the village of Christiana was first settled by a Mr. John Ogle. John Ogle was born on September 30, 1649, at Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland, England to John Ogle of the same place. The elder John was from Eglingham, and in 1650 received a commission as captain of militia for the four northern counties, and the next year he was under the commonwealth a commissioner and also commanding a troop of horse in Scotland. According to Mormon Church which deals in genealogy, John was a direct descendant of King Edward the First. The Ogle’s had their own castle in Northumberland, England.

Young John Ogle early became aware of the difficulties which his family were likely to experience after the Restoration, and he undoubtedly had heard tales of adventures in the New World, and so when the opportunity was presented to him, John Ogle joined Colonel Nicolls' expedition, bound for America. He was a scant 14 when he joined Nicholl’s ranks.

In March 1664, the whole of the territory in America occupied by the Dutch on the Atlantic seaboard was granted by Charles II to his brother, the Duke of York, on the plea that it was British soil by right of discovery. On 25 May 1664, Colonel Nicolls, with four ships, 300 soldiers and 450 men, sailed from Portsmouth. The expedition arrived at New Amsterdam, and without firing a shot, Governor Stuyvesant surrendered the town on 29 August and promptly changed the name to New York.

John Ogle, who had served under Captain Carr in Delaware, became a permanent resident of White Clay Creek Hundred, named from the deposits of white clay found along its banks. John Ogle first resided at New Castle, where he was a large land-buyer; he afterwards lived at various sites on his extensive holdings. He commenced acquiring land at an early date, probably as soon as the confusion of the conquest and the settlement of Indian troubles permitted it.

The first grant that John Ogle received was in February 1666, from Governor Nicolls, who had empowered the officers of Delaware to dispose of 'implanted' land there for the best advantage of the inhabitants. This tract was 800 or 1000 acres total, including a 300 acre tract known as “Muscle Cripple”. The original document omits the exact acreage, but it requires a yearly quitrent of 8 bushels of wheat, the standard being 1 bushel for each hundred acres per year. Later records record him owning 1,000 acres in Christiana, although it is unknown if it was all from the original grant or a combination of lands.

The land as platted for Ogle was a long rectangle, lying between the north side of the Christiana Creek and the south side of the White Clay Creek. It encompasses the area currently encompassing the town of Christiana, the Christiana Mall, and the Christiana Hospital Center Complex. It was bounded on the east by Hans Bones, the south by James Crawford, and the southeast by Sergeant John Erskine. The north and west were undeveloped, due to the fact that they were above the head of navigation on the streams.

The story of John Ogle is closely bound up with that of his friends Thomas Wollaston and James Crawford, who took a liking to young Ogle and formed a friendship which continued throughout their lives. In about 1670, Ogle married Elizabeth Petersdotter.

Elizabeth Petersdotter was the daughter of Peter Jochimsson, a settler in New Sweden in the first voyage in 1642. She was born in 1654, moved from her home as a teenager to help in the

household of her uncle, Anders Stille, living on Christina River. Here she met and married John Ogle. John and Elizabeth Ogle had two sons, Thomas Ogle, born c. 1672, died 1734, and John Ogle, born c. 1674, died 1720.

John Ogle and Rev. Jacob Fabritius were indicted in 1675 for inciting the Swedes and Finns to riot in opposition to orders of the New Castle Court to build a dike and road for Hans Block, a Dutchman. The three friends settled on nearby plantations in New Castle County, where their wives survived them. The Records of the Court of Newcastle give a picture of their lives after 1676.

An eye-witness account of the events of June 1675 has revealed something of the character of John Ogle of that period - swashbuckling, rash and reckless, with an amount of courage appropriate to the rough and tumble frontier environment. He was not one to be imposed on, especially by one of the Dutch who certainly did not amount to much in the eyes of His Majesty's soldiers. Under order of the Governor-General, the magistrates met at New Castle on 4 June 1675, and decided that it would be necessary to build a road across the marsh and to build a dyke in the marsh next to the town. Another dyke across Hans Block's marsh was also thought necessary, and the inhabitants were ordered to assist in the project by contributing labor or money. The project was strenuously opposed by the settlers because the dyke across Hans Block's marsh was an improvement to private property. John Ogle was a leader of the objectors and peremptorily informed the magistrates that no dykes at all would be built under any such unfair conditions. His objections stirred the people to great excitement in the church where the public meeting was held; and Ogle was put out of the church. Mathys Smith and the Rev. Jacobus Fabricius took up the cause and as a result Ogle and Fabricius were arrested. They were confined in a boat which was anchored nearby, where they continued their public imprecations. Excitement was high, and they were eventually released. Later Hans Block encountered Ogle on the street and was told that if the Finns had been drunk no good would have come from the incident. It was an affront to constituted authority and called for severe disciplinary measures.

Conditions in New Castle were not good at that time; carousals, fights and robberies were the order of the day, and it wasn't a safe place for a stranger. William Edmunsdon, 'a Public Friend' visiting there, found it difficult to secure lodgings, 'the inhabitants being chiefly Dutch and Finns addicted to drunkenness', who refused to take him in, even though he had money.

Special warrants were issued by the Governor against Fabricius and Ogle, who with others had signed a remonstrance. The two chief trouble makers were ordered to appear in the August Court, and the other signers before a later court. Fabricius appeared and the proceedings resulted in the unfrocking of the troublesome person; Ogle, who conveniently fell sick, failed to appear, and no further action was taken against him.

After the excitement of the summer of 1675, Ogle proceeded to acquire more land, and the tract known as Hampton, on the south side of St. George's Creek, consisting of 300 acres, was confirmed to him by Governor Andross on 5 November 1675.

In 1675 the Governor ordered the construction of highways, and the inhabitants of New Castle and the surrounding area, and on the south side of Christiana Creek were made responsible for constructing a highway from New Castle to Red Lyon between the first of January and the end of February. The highway was to be a good passable one, twelve feet wide, and John Ogle was appointed overseer of the residents around Christiana Creek.

Ogle was an extensive producer of tobacco, and like other planters he was continually involved in financial and other difficulties. Little ready money changed hands in those days, and the barter system was the common way of doing business. New Castle court records reveal that in February 1676 Ogle accused one of the Dutch residents of stealing his heifer.

On 25 August 1680, Thomas Wollaston of White Clay Creek wrote a letter to John Briggs of West Jersey which he gave to John Ogle for delivery. Wollaston had a debt of three years standing against Briggs. Ogle made the journey, stopping in New York, where 27 August he

made an affidavit concerning the transaction. The affidavit began: “John Ogle, aged thirty-two or thereabouts…”

Although he was given the land by patent as early as 1666, the seventy-four acre tract at what would become Christiana wasn’t surveyed for John Ogle, which he called "Eagles Point," until December 8, 1683. This tract is situated west of Old Baltimore Pike and north of Main Street. But its unknown if John Ogle even actually lived here or closer to Ogletown, because in late 1683 John Ogle died.
The original 1683 Plat of the Eagle’s Point Tract, deeded to John Ogle

Gone but Not Forgotten

Mrs. Francis A. Hales. Frances A. “Tubby” Hales, age 94, a lifelong resident of 33 N. Old Baltimore Pike, Christiana, DE, passed away Saturday February 10, 2007, at Union Hospital after a brief illness. Mrs. Hales was born on March 14, 1912, the daughter of the late Ernest and Rachel Louth. A lifelong member of Christiana United Methodist Church, she had a deep faith and love of the Lord. Until her death, Frances had more active years than any Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary member in the state of Delaware. She delivered meals on wheels until her 90th year and enjoyed canning and traveled extensively. She was a devoted and loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great great-grandmother. This remarkable woman will be missed by countless friends and family members. Her favorite quote, which summed up her philosophy of life was, "pray about it and leave it in the hands of the Lord". She is survived by her 2 sons, Raymond Hales and his wife, Betty, of Elkton, MD and Charles Hales and his wife, June, of Christiana, DE; 7 grandchildren, Sally Cole, Raymond Hales, Jr., Chris Hales, Christina Hales, Karen Angelo, Kevin Wyatt and Kenneth Wyatt; 4 great grandchildren; and 3 great great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harry S. Hales.

Mildred Cunane Smith. Mrs. Mildred Smith, age 89, of Christiana, DE, passed away on November 17, 2007 at Newark Manor Nursing Home. Born to the late Joseph and Anna (Stalena) Schurko of Olyphant, PA, she attended grammar school and Ukrainian school. At age 14, she left for New York City and began to do domestic work in a number of mansions there and later in Delaware. Mildred began to do oil paintings at the age of 20, and exhibited this wonderful talent for the next 50 years. She married Joseph Cunane in 1940 and raised 4 sons in a bucolic setting, surrounded by farms and woods. Her beloved Joseph passed away in 1965. As an active volunteer with the Christiana Fire Co. Ladies Auxiliary, she helped with many fundraising events. Also, she loved to garden, attend yard sales, collect antiques and play pinochle. Alden P. Smith and Mildred married and began a wonderful journey for the next 25 years. They enjoyed spending many winter months in West Palm Beach, FL with her sister Anna. Over the years they traveled to all 50 states. After reaching the age of 80 she enjoyed 2 trips to Ireland with family and dear friends Peggy, Betty and Bob. She was preceded in death by her husbands of 25 years each Joseph Cunane and Alden P. Smith. Also, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Survivors include sons, Joseph and his wife Nona of Newark, DE James of New Castle, DE, Thomas of Bear, DE and Robert of Newark, DE; sisters, Anna Zurko of West Palm Beach, FL and Olga Harcarik and her husband John of Trumbull, CT; 4 grandchildren, Dawn, Nona, Joseph and Christine all of Newark and 8 great grandchildren.

Alma T. Cleaver. Mrs. Alma T. Cleaver, also known as “Lovie", age 90, of Newark, died on Monday, January 28, 2008. She was born in Newark on June 5, 1917, the eldest of 13 children of the late Isaac Thorp and Alma Ross Thorp. A talented homemaker, she was an active member of Salem United Methodist Church for many years. Mrs. Cleaver greatly enjoyed reading and working in her flower garden throughout her life. Her beloved husband, Homer Orville Cleaver, Sr., died in 1996. She was also preceded in death by 3 sons, Ronald Cleaver, Homer Cleaver, Jr. and Wallace Cleaver; a daughter-in-law, Mary Cleaver (wife of Wallace); a brother, Isaac Thorp, Jr.; and a sister, Monty Radcliffe. She is survived by 3 children, Judith Bell and husband, Samuel, of Newark, DE; Eugene Cleaver and wife, Sandra, of Gulnare, CO; and Charles Cleaver and wife, Janet, of Newark, DE; daughter-in-law, Lois Cleaver (wife of Homer Jr.) of Newark, DE; 10 siblings, Albert Thorp of Romy, WV; William Thorp of Newark, DE; Herman Thorp of Wilmington, DE; Robert Thorp of Newark, DE; Charles Thorp of Wilmington, DE; Raymond Thorp of Millsboro, DE; Dora Harbeck of Shockabee, MN; Anita Harper of Ashton, PA; Evelyn Bell of Dover, DE; and Donald Thorp of Newark, DE; 10 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; and 1 great great granddaughter.

Mrs. Myrtle C. Thorp. Mrs. Myrle C. Thorp, Age 77, passed away peacefully on January 29, 2008, surrounded by family and friends after a very brief illness. A lifelong resident of Wilmington, DE, Myrle was born September 28, 1930, the daughter of the late Herman and Mary Stack. She graduated from PS Dupont, the class of 1948. Myrle worked many years for Delaware Mutual Underwriters and retired after working at State Farm. She was also the bookkeeper for 35 years for her husband's business, Thorp Brothers Roofing. She was an active member of Christiana United Methodist Church, loved reading and gardening, but mostly enjoyed the time she spent with her grandchildren. She will be missed by those she left behind, her husband of 56 years, Herman R. Thorp; daughter, Jean E. Nieves and her companion, Kevin Bogia of Newark; grandchildren, Christopher Thorp of Millsboro, Alexander and Elizabeth Miles of Newark. She is also survived by her son, Daniel R. Thorp of FL, and extended family members, Cynthia Stephenson Willis and her son Joshua.

Irene Anderson. Mrs. Irene M. Anderson, Age 89, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at Christiana Care. Irene graduated from the University of Delaware in 1940. Upon graduation, she and a group of approximately 10 college friends agreed to meet once a month to continue their friendship, and they named their group "College Club." Over the years, these meetings turned from a evening in their homes to lunch in homes and restaurants, finally ending almost a year ago. These ladies and their unique club were highlighted as the subject of a News-Journal article. Another important club to Irene was a group of neighbors who began to meet in the evenings once a month in the early 1950's. Even though some members moved to other neighborhoods, the group continued, with Irene attending her last group lunch in 2007. A life-long member of Christiana Presbyterian Church, Irene was active in the church's Women's Society. Upon graduation, Irene worked at Atlas Powder Company, as a substitute teacher in New Castle County schools, and finally spent 19 years with DuPont Engineering. Irene's hobbies included any kind of needlework from making clothes, slipcovers and draperies to quilt making, crewel, needlepoint and cross-stitch. She also liked cooking and baking. Her family was very important to her, and she especially enjoyed spending time at the family mountain home. Irene was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Duncan C. Anderson, Sr., and 2 sons, Duncan C. Anderson, Jr. and David R. Anderson, Sr., Esquire. A devoted mother, sister, grandmother, and great grandmother Irene is survived by a daughter, Peggy Gibson and her husband Joseph; a daughter-in-law, Ana R. Anderson; a brother, Robert N. Morrison; 6 grandchildren, David R. Anderson, Jr., Duncan C. Anderson, III and his fiancée, Angela Wueschinski, Elizabeth L. Patrick and her husband, Bruce, Ryan M. Anderson, R. Tyler Anderson, Sara R. Anderson; a great grandson, Bruce David Patrick; and a loving extended family and many friends.

How You Can Help

Although cash contributions are certainly welcomed to assist in publishing this Journal, we are also building up a wonderful collection of historic documents, books, photographs, artifacts and other items of interest about the town and the surrounding area (Stanton to Ogletown, from the Mall to Salem Church), with the goal of eventually establishing a local history museum and library here for the benefit of the community. The Historical Society respectfully requests that you consider donating or loaning items of particular interest to us. Loaned items such as family photographs will be digitally copied and returned immediately. We are always looking out for:

Welcome to James Palmer and Jennifer Marcin, our new neighbors at 17 Moody Place!

Community Calendar (June – August 2008)
(Please send your scheduled events to, or through the mailing address)

Christiana Presbyterian Church

Christiana Methodist Church

Old Fort Church

Mount Pleasant Church

Christiana Fire Company

Peddler’s Pub

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