Historic Markers of Pencader Hundred

By Robert Barnes

For years so many places of historic interest in Delaware had remained unmarked that it occurred to several patriotic societies and citizens that something should be done speedily by the State to rectify the situation. A preliminary Commission was therefore appointed by the Hon. C. Douglass Buck, Governor of the State, which Commission was instructed to make a survey of historic places and events of the State worthy of commemoration and to make a report with a view to securing an appropriation for the proposed work. The preliminary Commission so appointed was composed of the following members: Mesdames Annie W. J. Fuller, Anne Read Janvier, and Martha L. Moody, and Messrs. Edward W. Cooch, Hugh M. Morris, Christopher L. Ward, and George H. Ryden. The Commission and organized by electing Mrs. Fuller, chairman, and Mr. Cooch, secretary.

This Commission made its report on January 6, 1931, recommending several types of markers and suggesting a number of historic spots which it its opinion should be marked. A booklet containing descriptions of the several markers and their locations was also recommended. It was futher recommended by the preliminary Commission that the State legislature be requested to authorize the appointment of a permanent Commission and to appropriate an adequate fund to defray the expense of the work.

On April 22, 1931, the General Assembly of Delaware passed “An Act authorizing the appointment of a permanent Commission to erect historic markers in the State of Delaware.” By this Act a sum of $20,000 was appropriated, and the Governor was authorized to appoint a Commission of five members to be known as the Historic Markers Commission, who should hold office until June 30, 1933. In pursuance of this Act, the Governor appointed the following as members of the Commission: Mesdames Annie W. J. Fuller, Anne Read Janvier, and Messrs. Edward W. Cooch, Hugh M. Morris, and George H. Ryden.

The Commission organized September 29, 1931, by selecting Dr. Ryden as chairman and Mr. Cooch as secretary. After serving as secretary of the Commission for a year Mr. Cooch declined re-election whereupon the Commission elected a nonmember Miss Anna T. Lincoln, as secretary.

The Commission decided to erect two types of markers, viz.: (1) Bronze tablets to be affixed to houses, walls, or boulders; and (2) Cast-Iron highway markers supported on cast-iron posts, the background of the markers to be painted with aluminum and the letters with black paint. Before determining upon the design and dimensions of the iron markers, advice was sought from Messrs. Stanley M. Arthurs and G. Morris Whiteside, II, who rendered valuable assistance in the matter. It was also decided to have the seal of the State, enclosed in a diamond, shown on all markers.

The Commission erected twenty-five bronze tablets, two of which were affixed to granite boulders. Of the highway markers one hundred fifty-two were erected, being distributed as follows: fifty-nine in New Castle County, thirty-one in Kent County, and sixty-two in Sussex County.

The highway markers are all numbered, and on the following pages the key number and the location of each marker, as well as the inscription thereon, are given. The inscriptions and locations of the bronze tablets are also given, but without key numbers.

For Kent and Sussex Counties the Commission adopted the plan of marking the boundaries of the old “Hundreds,” thus preserving an Anglo-Saxon political division peculiar only to Delaware. The earliest reference to hundreds occurs about 1674 under the rule of the Duke of York. In these counties the old hundred lines were largely disregarded by the Constitution of 1897 in the formation of legislative districts. For this reason the Commission felt that the ancient hundred lines might be lost sight of unless some means were taken to preserve them. The plan was not adopted for New Castle County as the old hundreds and the present legislative districts are identical.

For the convenience of those interested in Delaware’s historic places the Commission has also included in this booklet tablets which have been erected in past years by various societies, organizations, and individuals.

With the system of excellent roads of which the State boasts, and with the assistance of this booklet, it is hoped that visitors, as well as native Delawareans, may gain some knowledge of those men and events which have made the State conspicuous in our local and national history.

June 30, 1933.

The preceding information was from the Guide to Historic Markers in Delaware printed in 1933. The booklet is four inches wide and nine inches high and designed as a tour book complete with a fold out map.

The seventy-five years of the Delaware Historic Maker Program has given the residents and visitors of Delaware a glimpse of the rich history of the First State. It has given travelers the chance to read individual pages of history scattered throughout the state. The highway markers have grown in New Castle County from the original 59 markers and 17 Bronze Tablets to a total of 132 Historic Markers. In 1990, the program was placed under the direction of the Delaware Public Archives. Mr. Russ McCabe, who is now Director of the Archives, ran the program with the ideals of the original five-member commission and insists on documented accuracy on each new marker.

To obtain a Historic Marker contact your local State Senator or Representative or call the Delaware State Archives in Dover at 302-739-5318.

The original Cast-iron markers were painted with black raised letters on an aluminum color background. The raised border included the seal of the state enclosed in a diamond at the top. Sometime around 1950 or 1960 the markers were all repainted with gold letters and border on a blue background. The 42”x36” marker has the same wording on both sides and is supported on a single cast-iron post 4‘ 5“ high. The wording on the markers with the 1 3/8” high letters could only contain approx. 400 characters. The limited number of words that can be placed on a single sign along with the required maintenance lead to a new brass sign that is 28”x40”. It can be on a 40” high post or placed on a building and is able to contain as many as 1,500 characters, allowing for a more detailed description of the historic sight. The new marker requires no maintenance and has 5/8” high brass lettering and border on a brown background. Of the 59 original Highway Markers in New Castle County, Pencader Hundred was the leading hundred with 15 Highway Markers and two Bronze Tablets. That was 25 percent of all the historic markers in New Castle County. Today the 2 bronze tablets remain but only 2 of the original Highway Markers are standing in Pencader Hundred with 2 more of the old Highway Markers replaced with the new style.

Pencader Hundred has lost nearly all of the original markers for two main reasons; change or widening of roads and the signs being struck by vehicles. The Pencader Heritage Area Association is in the process of having the missing markers replaced with the new style marker and adding new locations of historic interest. For possible new locations check this web site under Landmarks.

The following is a list of 1933 Historic Markers that were placed in Pencader Hundred. The two original Highway Markers that remain are; “Welsh Tract” NC-47, and “Washington Reconnaissance” NC-53. “Aiken Tavern” NC-43 was replaced with “Aiken Tavern Historic District” NC-124 and “Pencader Church” NC-58 was replaced with “Pencader Presbyterian Church” NC-124.

The location given after each marker is that which was given in the original guidebook. In parenthesis is a modern term for the location. This was necessary because the names of the roads have changed such as Lincoln Highway is now called Elkton Road and Wilmington and Elkton Turnpike is now called Old Baltimore Pike.



In the field between this road and the railroad track is located the famous tangent stone, surveyed and marked by Mason and Dixon in 1764, when surveying the boundary line between Maryland and Delaware. The tangent stone is on the circumference of an arc twelve miles from New Castle.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. 2 miles south-west of Newark on east Side of Lincoln Highway at Delaware and Maryland Highway. (Elkton Road at the Maryland and Delaware Line)


Northern boundary line of tract of thirty thousand acres granted to Welsh by William Penn, 1701. It included what is now Pencader Hundred Delaware, and a part of Cecil County, Maryland

LOCATION: Marker is missing. West side of highway 0.7 mile south of Main Street, Newark, on South College Avenue. Depot Road (South College Ave and Ritter Lane)


One-fourth mile southwest is old Welsh Tract Primitive Baptist Meeting House. Congregation organized in Wales, 1701, settled here 1703. A cannon ball passed through Meeting House during Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, September 3, 1777

LOCATION: Marker is missing. 2.5 Miles south from Newark on west side of Newark to Middletown Road at intersection of Baptist Church Road. (South College Ave. and Welsh Tract Road)


The Americans at Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, September 3, 1777, were stationed along road between here and Aikentown (Glasgow). They had a post at Cooch’s Mill which stood on west side of creek, where severe fighting occurred.. Skirmishing began near Aikentown and continued over Iron Hill to Welsh Baptist Meeting House.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. East end of Cooch’s Bridge north side of highway on Wilmington and Elkton Turnpike 3.5 miles from Newark. (Old Baltimore Pike east side of Cooch’s Bridge)


British and Hessian regiments were advancing along this road September 3, 1777, when “pretty smart skirmishing” occurred between them and the Americans. British and Hessian armies progressed until their lines extended from Aiken’s Tavern (Glasgow) to Iron Hill and across the Christiana, where they remained for five days.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. 0.2 mile south of Cooch’s Bridge. West side of highway Newark to Middletown. (Old Coochs Bridge Road 0.2 miles south of Old Baltimore Pike)

NC-43 (replaced with NC-142)

Site of old Aiken’s Tavern. Quarters of General William Howe, September 3 to 8, 1777. Tavern then owned by Matthew Aiken, who laid out this village, naming it Aikentown. Renamed for Glasgow in Scotland.

LOCATION: Marker replaced. East side of Newark to Middletown highway, at Glasgow, near Methodist Episcopal Church. (Glasgow Ave. 0.1 mile north of Rt. 40. The Methodist Church no longer stands, only a small cemetary remains.)


In the years prior to the Revolutionary War, John Aiken commenced the operation of a tavern and storehouse at this location near the intersection of two of the major roadways of the Delmarva Peninsula. Aided by their proximity to this important crossroads, Aikens businesses prospered and a small village was established as a result. Variously known as Aiken’s Tavern or Aiken Town, the community became known as Glasgow in the early 19th century. In 1977 the Qiken’s Tavern Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In cluded are several properties with links to the early history and development of Glasgow. Of particular note is the Pencader Presbyterian Church, which was established by Welsh settlers in the early 18th century. The present church building was built in 1852. Also included in the District is The Manse, the former Presbyterian parsonage, constructed circa 1856. Opposite the church is the Middleton House and Store, built by merchant Robert Middleton in the late 1700s. The Aiken’s Tavern Historic District also includes the cemetery and former site of Glasgow Methodist Church and Mechanics Row, a group of connected dwellings that were constructed circa 1800 as homes for local tradesmen.

LOCATION: Placed in the same location as the old sign.


Built 1832. One of the first railroads in country. Extended from New Castle to Frenchtown on the Elk River. Important connecting link between the north and south. Absorbed by Delaware Railroad 1856.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. East side of highway from Newark to Middletown. 1 mile south of Glasgow. (Glasgow Ave. 0.7 miles south of Rt. 40)


This house during Revolution was known as Buck or Carson’s Tavern. George Washington stopped here several times. His diary September 3, 1774, states “Dined at Buck Tavern (Carson’s) and lodg’d at New Castle.” The Hessian general, Knyphausen, had headquarters here Sept 2, 1777.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. South of Canal, Newark to Middletown highway, west side. (The entire tavern was moved to Rt 71 next to Samuel Davies House on the Lums Pound State Park property)


Born here 1723. Noted Welsh minister and educator. Secured recognition of Presbyterian church in Virginia. Predicted career for George Washington whom he termed “that heroic youth”. Raised funds in England and Scotland for Nassau Hall, now Princeton. Elected president of Princeton, 1758, Died 1761. House was quarters of British General Grey September 2, 1777.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. West side of State road to Kirkwood. 1 mile north-east of Summit Bridge. (Rt. 71 Red Lion Road 2.9 miles south of Rt. 72)


Approximate southern boundary of tract of thirty thousand acres granted by William Penn to the Welsh in 1701. It included what is now Pencader Hundred, Delaware, and a part of Cecil County, Maryland.

LOCATION: West side of road Newark to Middletown. 10 miles south of Newark at boundary line between Pencader and St. George’s hundred. (Rt. 896 at the south end of Summit Air Field)


Generals Washington, Greene, and Lafayette came to Iron Hill, August 26, 1777, in hope of viewing British Army then landing along the Elk River. Only a few tents could be seen. A heavy storm coming up, they spent the night in a nearby farm house.

LOCATION: 1 mile west of Cooch’s Bridge. North side of Wilmington to Elkton Turnpike. (Old Baltimore Pike 0.4 mile from Rt. 896)


Indian names, Marettico, meaning hill of hard stone, and Suquasehum, meaning iron. Minqua Indians had a fort on hill which the Senecas attacked, 1663. British troops encamped on hill, 1777, and American troops, under Caesar A. Rodney, 1814. Iron discovered prior to 1661. Mined until 1891. Largest ore pit one mile north.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. 1.5 miles west of Cooch’s Bridge on north side of Wilmington & Elkton Turnpike at intersection of road over summit of Iron Hill. (Old Baltimore Pike 0.7 miles west of Rt. 896.)


The boundary between Delaware and Maryland is part of famous line surveyed 1763-1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, under agreement between Lord Baltimore and heirs of William Penn. The excavations nearby were made 1804-1805 in first attempt to construct a canal connecting Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. 2.8 miles west of Cooch’s Bridge, north side of Wilmington and Elkton Turnpike at State Line. (Old Baltimore Pike at Delaware and Maryland state line.)

NC-58 (replaced with NC-124)

Organized by Welsh Presbyterians prior to 1710. First called Welsh Tract Church. Name soon changed to Pencader, a Welsh term meaning “chief chair or seat”. British sick and wounded were brought to the church after Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, September 3, 1777.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. U.S. Route No. 40 to Elkton, 7 miles west from U.S. No. Route 13. North side of road at Glasgow. (2303 Glasgow Ave.)


On October 15, 1701, William Penn granted 30,000 acres of land to William Davies, David Evans, and William Willis “in behalf of themselves and company of new Welsh Purchasers.” Known as the Welsh Tract, this expansive holding attracted large numbers of settlers who had migrated from Wales to Colonial America. The settlers soon established two churches, known respectively as Welsh Tract Baptist and Welsh Tract Presbyterian. The Presbyterian Church was subsequently renamed “Pencader:, a Welsh term meaning “chief chair or seat.” The congregations first recorded pastor was Rev. David Evans, who was serving as lay minister in 1710. Though the exact date of the construction of the first church is unknown, the “Meeting House” had been standing for a number of years when the property was formally conveyed to trustees in 1742. The structure is believed to have been located in the eastern rear of the present cemetery. It was replaced in 1782-83 by a brick building that was used until 1852, when it was dismantled and the present church was built in its place.

The “Trustees of Pencader Presbyterian Church” were formally incorporated 1789. In 1917 the Pencader Cemetery Association was organized to care for the adjoining graveyard. Pencader Presbyterian Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

LOCATION: Newark, DE, located on Glasgow Avenue (old RT. 896 and Rt. 40)


Excavations begun May 2, 1804, in first attempt to build a canal between Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Feeder was intended to conduct water from Elk Creek to a ship canal extending from Welsh Point on Elk to Mendenhall’s Landing on Christiana. Work abandoned 1805.

LOCATION: Marker is missing. U.S. Route 40 to Elkton. 10 miles west of U.S. Route No. 13, and 1.5 miles west of Glasgow. (Rt. 40 near Pleasant Vally Road)

(Bronze Tablet)

American light infantry and cavalry under General William Maxwell encountered advance guard of British and Hessian troops under Generals Howe, Cornwallis, and Knyphausen in this vicinity September 3, 1777. American troops were expert marksmen drafted by General Washington from several brigades of his army then encamped near Wilmington.. Only battle of American Revolution on Delaware soil and claimed to have been the first in which the Stars and Stripes were carried. Erected by the patriotic societies and citizens of the State of Delaware September 3, 1901. Inscription revised by Historic Markers Commission, 1932.

LOCATION: Wilmington and Elkton Turnpike 3.5 miles south of Newark. (Old Baltimore Pike on the west side of Cooch’s Bridge in front of Cooch House.)

(original plaque on monument from 1901 to 1932) The Stars and Stripes were first unfurled in Battle at Cooch’s Bridge September 3, 1777. Erected by the Patrotic Societies and Citizens of the State of Delaware Sep

(Bronze Tablet)

Erected 1760 by Thomas Cooch who had come here from England 1746. He was Captain in French and Indian War. Member of Colonial Assembly. Judge of Court of Common Pleas and Colonel in American Revolution. House enlarged by his grandson, William Cooch, an incorporator of first Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, and Major General of Delaware Militia. Lord Cornwallis had quarters here September 3 to 8, 1777.

LOCATION: Wilmington and Elkton Turnpike, north side of road, 3.5 miles south of Newark. (The tablet is attached to the house which is a private residence of Mr. Edward Cooch, not open to visitors, 961 Old Baltimore Pike)