Pencader History Quiz
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As for its elevation, Iron Hill is somewhat less than 400 feet above sea level. The highest elevation is 450 feet on Ebright Road east of Rt. 202 near the Pennsylvania Line.
The early Welsh settlers smelted and forged the iron in charcoal heated plants located on the hill. Iron mining was also done by Sir William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Iron mines were later operated by the McConaugheys, the Coochs and the Whitakers. The latter conducted it on a large scale, and in 1891, were the last to abandon it. A large part of the ore was sent to the furnaces at Principio, Maryland.
Some of the names of the early Welsh Baptists were: Thomas Griffith, Enoch Morgan, Mary Jones, Margaret Matthias, James David, Reese and Catharine Ryddarcks, Peter Chamberline and Thomas Jones. Some of the early names of the Welsh Presbyterians were: David Evans, William Davis, John Thomas, Howell James, and Philip James.
Welsh Tract lay mostly in Pencader Hundred with a small portion extending into Maryland. The portion in Maryland may well have been a result of a lack of positive boundary lines between the two states, the boundary lines were in dispute until after 1763 when the Mason-Dixon Line was drawn. The northeast corner of the Welsh Tract is a few hundred yards northeast of the old train station in Newark on South College Ave. From there the line extends about four and a half miles west into Maryland, not far from the Big Elk Creek. It then travels south and east back into Delaware some distance south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal before heading east a short distance to where it winds its way north and east in a way that is anything but “straight” back to the place of beginning. In Delaware it nearly covers that which is Pencader Hundred.
It was larger than a village, but smaller than a shire or county and had its own government officers and its own court. The word hundred came from one of several possible origins. One would be that the hundred was an area of land in which ten families lived, each having at least ten members, making a total of one hundred. Another may have been similar, being one family group or tribe that was able to supply one hundred men if needed for a fighting force. Still another version was that it referred to a group of 100 hides, each hide (normally equal to 120 acres) being a unit of land required to support one peasant family. In England the political unit of the hundred lasted into the 19th century when it was replaced by the parish, and judicial officers of the hundred by justices of the peace. In the New World British settlers introduced the term hundreds into Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. After counties were set up, the hundreds gradually disappeared from the American colonies. Whatever its origin or intended significance, Delaware is the only state that continues to use the term hundreds.
It is said that William Penn suggested an area of land be divided between ten families assuming that each family was ten in number, making one hundred. The first mention of the term Hundred in Delaware was in 1687 and on April 9th 1690 the Provincial Council instructed the magistrates and grand juries of the counties to divide them into Hundreds.
New Castle County is divided into eleven Hundreds: Appoquinimink, Blackbird, Brandywine, Christiana, Mill Creek, New Castle, Pencader, Red Lion, St. Georges, White Clay Creek and Wilmington.
Kent County is divided into nine Hundreds: Duck Creek, East Dover, West Dover, Kenton, Little Creek, Milford, Mispillion, North Murderkill and South Murderkill.
Sussex County is divided into thirteen Hundreds: Baltimore, Broad Creek, Broadkiln, Cedar Creek, Dagsboro, Georgetown, Gumboro, Indian River, Lewes, Rehoboth, Little Creek, Nanticoke, North West Fork, and Seaford.
The western edge of Delaware is made up by the Mason-Dixon Line. The Delaware boundary lines began at a spot on the East Coast between the 38th and the 39th parallels and continued west to the midpoint between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay, about thirty-five miles. That survey was done in 1751 and was accepted by Mason and Dixon. When Mason & Dixon were called in they started at that “Middle Point” and headed north 3?36’6” west for 82 miles to a tangent point of the 12 mile circle. At the tangent point the line bulges westward following the circle to a point 1.452 miles North, where it again lines up with the north heading for another 3.568 miles to the Pennsylvania line. The bulge is so slight that it is not even depicted on most maps. At the Pennsylvania line the Mason Dixon line heads west along Latitude 39?43’18” for 233 miles to the end of the Maryland Line. They had to stop at that point as a result of uncooperative Indians. The line was agreed upon as being fifteen miles south of the southernmost latitude of the city of Philadelphia.
In order to mark the boundary, stones were brought from England and set every mile. Each milestone had a “P” carved on one side and an “M” or the other, (Delaware was part of Pennsylvania at the time). Every fifth milestone had the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore on the Maryland side and the coat of arms of the Penn family on the Pennsylvania side.
When Mason and Dixon were surveying the northern part of Delaware they stayed for a long time along with their large group of assistant surveyors, chain-carriers, and a legendary tame bear, at St. Patrick's Inn, now known as the Deer Park, in Newark.
Over the years many of the marker stones were lost and in 1849 a commission from the three states, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware, was appointed to determine the place of a missing stone which marked where the three states came together. Even after eighty years of technical advances in surveying it was discovered that Mason and Dixon were extremely accurate, and when a hole was dug to set the new stone in the proper place, they found the lower portion of the old stone placed there by Mason and Dixon.
Since the twelve mile radius did not connect with the North-South until five miles below the East-West line, a wedge of approximately 800 acres was developed. Which state owned the wedge remained in dispute until 1893, when it was awarded to Delaware.
In 1937 the Delaware Legislature passed an Act changing the name of the river back to Christina. This was done as a good will gesture to the Royal family and citizens of Sweden who were to arrive in Wilmington the following year. The Royal visit was for the tercentenary of the Swedes landing in Wilmington.