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THE RAMBO FAMILY OF CHESTNUT HILL AND IRON HILL
PENCADER HUNDRED
by Jim Lee

Peter Gunnarson Rambo, came from Sweden on the Kalmar Nyckel in 1640. The new settlers were from Sweden and Finland and landed at what has become known as “The Rocks” in Wilmington, DE. He came prepared to help the new settlement bringing seeds and apple tree sprouts to grow. The apples became known as “Rambo Apples” and were the apple trees planted by “Johnny Appleseed”. These apples are still grown in the area and are available at Milburn's Orchards the first weeks of August. They are excellent for apple pies. Milburn Orchards are located on Appleton Road west of Newark, Delaware.

Peter married Brita Matsdotter from Vasa Finland. He served on the Governor's Council and lived in Passyunk, PA as the settlement grew. He also served as a Justice under the Dutch and then the English and was known as a very good farmer.

Peter and Brita were very popular and had many visitors at their home including William Penn. Brita died on October 12, 1693 and Peter on January 29, 1698 at the age of 85 years. He is buried at “Old Swedes” church in Philadelphia, PA.

The first of our Rambo family who came to the Pencader Hundred area in New Castle County, Delaware was one of the sons of John Rambo. John was born in 1770 and lived in Chester County, PA. There were three sons we know of: Robert, William and Samuel. Samuel was our 2nd Great Grandfather and married Margret Chapman of New Castle, Delaware. They moved to Pencader Hundred to farm at the foot of Chestnut Hill off Ott's Chapel Road. There is now a bridge over the Amtrac Railroad where the farm used to be. The road crossing the tracks there was “Rambo Crossing.” We use to find lots of Indian arrow heads etc. when the fields were plowed in the spring.

Samuel and Margret are buried in the Head of Christiana Cemetery west of Newark, DE. Their Children were Elizabeth Ann, George, Samuel, John, Mary Ann, Enos, and William C. Rambo.

Enos Rambo was our first Great Grandfather and also farmed on the family farm. He married Sarah Darlington who was born in New Castle County. Enos and Sarah had three known children, Oliver Darlington, Mary, and Alice. Enos's brother John lived in Newark, DE in the area of South College and Delaware Avenues. Our mother would tell us of visiting him when she was growing up. We believe he was involved with the city government.

Enos's son Oliver Darlington Rambo was our Grandfather and also was a farmer on Ott's Chapel Road. Oliver married Alice Slack whose family lived on the Wilson-Slack farm at Chestnut hill Road and Route 72. Alice and Oliver moved to land owned by one of her brothers, Daniel Slack, on the south side of Chestnut Hill Road east of Ott's Chapel Road. I-95 now goes thru the south side of what was the farm and a housing development is built on the rest. Our mother and her two brothers and two sisters grew up on this farm. On the death of Alice's brother the farm had to be sold and they moved across Ott's Chapel road to property known as the “Leal Farm”. That house is still there at this time.

Our mother and her sisters told us a lot of their growing up on the farms and how they would have to get up long before daylight to help get the horse and wagon ready and loaded to go to market on King Street in Wilmington. They took farm vegetables, chickens, turkeys, ducks and, of course eggs, to sell. It would be late that night before they would get back home. I still remember and have pictures of Grandpop plowing the fields with his horse.

Grandfather Oliver and Grandmother Alice are buried at the Head of Christiana Cemetery west of Newark, DE. Grandmother Alice Slack Rambo's family is buried at the Welsh Tract Church Cemetery on Welsh Tract Road, Newark, DE.

The children of Oliver and Alice were

Mary – Married Harvey Preston Lee – They farmed land purchased from Daniel Slack's estate (Alice Slack's brother) for $8.00 per acre. The farm is now Academy Hills Development and a Morman Church. A house my dad built for grandfather and grandmother, Harvey Ferris and Elizabeth Brannan Lee, is farther up the road above the church.

Their children – Ferris Oliver – James Charles – Florence Elizabeth – Robert Preston

Submitted by: James C. Lee

For additional information on the Swedish and Finish families of Pencader Hundred (The Area of Ott's Chapel Road, Dixie Line Road and Old Baltimore Pike, visit the Pencader Museum

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