SKETCHES OF CHIEF JUSTICES.
Richard Bassett, the first Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas under the Constitution of 1792, was born on Bohemia Manor in 1745, and read law in the office of Judge Goldsborough, of Maryland. He became one of the foremost citizens of the State in his day, and ably filled many public positions of great honor and trust. He was a member of the Council of Safety in 1776, served under Washington as captain of the Dover Light Horse, was a member of the Delaware Constitutional Convention of 1776, and also a delegate from Delaware to the convention that framed the Constitution of the United States. He was chosen United States Senator in 1789, but resigned September 6, 1793, upon his appointment to the Chief Justiceship of the Court of Common Pleas, holding that office until 1799, when he was elected Governor of Delaware. He resigned his position in 1801, and President Adams appointed him United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit, which then comprised the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Late in life he became a convert to Methodism, and thereafter devoted a great part of his energies to the promotion of that cause. The eloquent Abel Stevens, L.L.D., in his history of American Methodism, referring to his residence on Bohemia Manor as one of his three homes, where the great Asbury found a refuge and a warm hospitality in the early days of Methodism when the sharp persecution of the great bishop threatened his liberty, if not his life, says:" We may also mention the late Richard Bassett, Esq., well known as a distinguished character not only in this State but in the United States. At different times he filled high and honorable stations. He was a lawyer of note, a legislator, judge, and a Governor of Delaware."
Judge Bassett died in 1815 at his home on Bohemia Manor, and was buried by the side of his son-in-law, the Hon. James Bayard, who had died but a few days before.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
More . . .
The Founding Fathers: Delaware
Bassett (Basset) was born in Cecil County, MD., in April 1745. After his tavern-keeper father deserted his mother, he was reared by a relative, Peter Lawson, from whom he later inherited Bohemia Manor (MD.) estate. He read for the law at Philadelphia and in 1770 received a license to practice in Dover, DE. He prospered as a lawyer and planter, and eventually came to own not only Bohemia Manor, but homes in Dover and Wilmington as well.
During the Revolution, Bassett captained a troop of Dover cavalry militia and served on the Delaware council of safety. Subsequently, he participated in Delaware's constitutional convention and sat in both the upper and lower houses of the legislature. In 1786 he represented his state in the Annapolis Convention.
At the U.S. Constitutional Convention the next year, Bassett attended diligently but made no speeches, served on no committees, and cast no critical votes. Like several other delegates of estimable reputation and talent, he allowed others to make the major steps.
Bassett subsequently went on to a bright career in the state and federal governments. In the Delaware ratifying convention, he joined in the 30-0 vote for the Constitution. Subsequently, in the years 1789-93, he served in the U.S. Senate. In that capacity, he voted in favor of the power of the President to remove governmental officers and against Hamilton's plan for the federal assumption of state debts.
From 1793 until 1799 Bassett held the chief justiceship of the court of common pleas. He espoused the Federalist cause in the 1790s, and served as a Presidential elector on behalf of John Adams in 1797. Two years later, Bassett was elected Governor of Delaware and continued in that post until 1801. That year, he became one of President Adams' "midnight" appointments as a judge of the U.S. Circuit Court. Subsequently, the Jeffersonian Republicans abolished his judgeship, and he spent the rest of his life in retirement.
Twice married, to Ann Ennals and a woman named Bruff, Bassett fathered several children. He was a devout Methodist, held religious meetings at Bohemia Manor, and supported the church financially. He died in 1815 at the age of 70 and is interred at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery, Wilmington, DE.
[ The U. S. National Archives & Records Administration, Delaware's Founding Fathers at www.archives.gov, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
In France at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, people of the new reformed religion, called Huguenots were being ruthlessly persecuted. When the revocation was signed by King Louis in XIV in 1685, by perpetual and irrevocable decree the fundamental and irrevocable edict was pronounced null and void. Places of worship were demolished and religious gatherings were forbidden. All Huguenots unwilling to convert to the Roman Catholic religion had 15 days to leave France. For the Baudouin families life in France had become unbearable. Huguenots were under the threat of certain death if they stayed and did not conform. The Baudouin's were a prominent Huguenot family living in La Rochelle France, a holdout for many of the New Reformed Religion.
The final Edict had been signed and they prepared to leave their beloved land.
Pierre Claude Baudouin his wife Elizabeth Fixe and four children, John, James. Mary and Elizabeth left France forever. Pierre had been a Doctor of medicine in La Rochelle
and lived in fine large home that was confiscated . His life in France had afforded him money enough to own a large ship used by some of the family for the maritime business.
This ship was called "La John "and it became the families life line. Hastily the family closed out their life in France, hired a crew, packed what they could carry and boarded that ship and sailed into the unknown long dangerous journey.
During the revocation of the Edict of Nantes the other member of the family of Baudouin were Huguenot and also had to leave France. One of the branches of the family sought refuge in Prussia, another established themselves in the Lowlands, and a third set up in England. Pierre was the head of the branch which took roots in what became America.
After many months sailing the rough seas Pierre Baudouin and his family landed in Dublin Ireland where they spent two years. On May 6, 1686 Pierre left the port town of Wexford with his family and is accompanied by his friend Steven Bouiteau and set out for the British Colonies. In April 1686 the family arrived at Casco Bay Maine. In December 1690 Pierre Baudouin was granted 100 acres on Banbury Creek. Only a few short years in Casco Bay Indians begun an uprising with skirmishes occurring everywhere. In 1697 feeling uneasy Pierre escapes with his family to Boston. Twenty-four hours later the Indians attack the British settlements at Casco Bay. They ravaged and burned the settlement to the ground. Every one in the settlement were massacred.
The Baudouin family arrived in Boston in 1697. They become the beginning of the Bowdoin family in America. On July 16, 1700 Pierre Baudouin is named godfather to Peter Faneuil in Boston. The Faneuil family gave Faneuil Hall to Boston in 1640.
Four years after Pierre becomes godfather to Peter Faneuil he makes out his will; it is June 16,1704. Two years later he is dead. The date is September 12, 1706. His wife follows him in death on August 20, 1720. The children are grown and on their own.
John is married to Suzanna Stokley, they move to Virginia, James stayed in Boston. James Baudouin/Bowdoin was one of the leading merchants of America and at his death in 1747 had accumulated what was the largest estate in New England. One of his sons was James Bowdoin (1726-1790) was a merchant, revolutionary leader, member of the Constitutional Convention in 1779, and governor of Massachusetts from 1785-1787. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Main, chartered in 1794 is named in his honor. He was a delegate and was to be a signer on the deceleration of independence but because of illness was unable to attend. His son also a James ( 1752-1811) donated liberally both money and lands to BOWDOIN College. He was U.S. minister to Spain 1804-1811, and conducted negotiations in Paris with Napoleon's minister regarding the Florida purchase.
Baudouin/Bowdoin connection to Queen Elizabeth II of England
Pierre Claude Baudouin nephew of Mathieu Baudouin Du Peux
Mathieu Baudouin Du Peux
daughter Marie Baudouin Du peux
son in-law Alexandre Desnier d'Olbruse
Son, Alexandre Desnier d'Olbruse
wife, Jacquette Poussard de Vandre
daughter, Eleanore Desnier d'Olbruse
son-in-law Prince William de Brunswick
daughter, Sophie Dorothee
son in-law, Prince Georges Louis de Hanover = King George I
son, Georges Auguste = king George II 1727-1760
daughter Sophie her husband Prince William Frederic de Prussia= Frederic The Great!
George III 1760-1820 he was Grandson of King George II
George IV 1820-1830 son of King George III
William IV 1830-1837 third son of King George III
Queen Victoria 1837-1901 she was niece of William IV,
child of his brother, Duke of Kent
Edmond VII 1901-1910 second son of George V
George V 1910-1936
Edward abdicated 1936
George VI 1926-1952
Queen Elizabeth II 1952-_____daughter of George VI
Prince Charles & sons
Prince William b. 1982 and Prince Harry b. 1984
There are many Kings and Queens the Baudouin/Bowdoin in America who are related however this list is blood related.
The Delaware Bayards are descended from Nicholas Bayard, who fled from France to Holland, and married Anneke, a sister of Stuyvesant. They had three sons, Belthazar, Peter, and Nicholas. Peter left New York, and came to Delaware with the Labadists. In 1675 he received a grant of Bombay Hook Island. Four years afterwards he purchased the right of the Indian owner, Maeesitt, Sachem of Canswick, for one gun and some other matters. From this Bayard it is believed the Bayards of Delaware are descended. Bayard street, in New York, is named after this family. The Bayards, like many of the other patriarchal Dutch Huguenot families, have well maintained their social and political standing. The family have been distinguished for great talents. Three succeeding generations of them have represented the state in the United States Senate, viz.: the celebrated James A. Bayard, who signed the treaty of Ghent, then his sons, Richard Bayard and James A. Bayard, who went there at different times, and Thomas F. Bayard, the son of the second James A. Bayard, who at the time of this writing represents the State in that body.
[A History of the State of Delaware by Francis Vincent, published in Philadelphia in 1870, contributed by Mary Kay Krogman]
Thomas F. Bayard and His Ancestors
GIRARD'S TALK OF THE DAY
In the matter of United States Senatorship in Delaware, the Bayards have had it.
Should Thomas F. Bayard, just nominated for that high office by the Democrats, be elected, he will take the fifth generation of his family and the fourth generation of Bayards to the Senate. More than a century ago the Bayards began their career in our highest legislative body. After the original Senator Bayard passed from the turbulent scenes of Wilmington politics into the next world, his son represented that State in the Senate.
And while that son was still a Senator, his own son, Thomas Francis Bayard, was chosen, making the only instance in our country's history where father and son were elected United States Senators by the same Legislature.
But even before the first Bayard went to the Senate, his father-in-law, Richard Bassett, was Governor of Delaware and a United States Senator. Bassett helped frame the Constitution of the United States and as a Senator was the first to cast his vote to remove the National Capitol from Philadelphia to Washington. Hence the electors of the Blue Hen Commonwealth will decide in November if the Bayard Senatorial record shall embrace five generations and read: Great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather, father and son.
DELAWARE imported her first Bayard from Philadelphia, as James Ashton Bayard was born here eight years before the Battle of Lexington. Graduating at Princeton when seventeen, young Bayard studied law under the famous General Joseph Reed, and the still more renowned attorney, Jared Ingersoll.
He was a youth of twenty, but a member of the bar when he migrated to Wilmington. In our day we have looked upon the Delaware Bayards as Rock-bound Democrats, yet the original Bayard was no follower of Jefferson, but a strong Federalist and friend of Hamilton. However, when the House of Representatives had to choose Jefferson or Burr for President of the United States, Bayard, then a Congressman, followed his leader, Hamilton, and voted for Jefferson, thereby electing him.
Bayard was a supporter of Chief Justice John Marshall against the Jeffersonian policies of that day. He was in the United States Senate for some eight years and battled against the declaration of war with England in 1812.
John Adams appointed Bayard Minister to France, but he declined it, as later he refused the Russian mission offered him by President Madison.
THE second James Ashton Bayard was born in Wilmington just a month before the death of Washington. Unlike his father, he became a Democrat, and held Federal office under President Van Buren. He first became a United States Senator in 1851; was re-elected by the Democrats in 1857 and again during the Civil War. It was then that his opposition to Lincoln's administration and his alleged sympathy for the Confederate cause welded to his name a sort of political taint-a spectre which rose to confront his more famous son in the latter's ambitious hope to go to the White House.
In 1863 the Republicans demanded that Senators take the "iron-clad oath" - an oath which Senator Bayard denounced as an indignity and an invasion of State rights. But he took the oath and as a protest at once resigned the Senatorship.
His successor died soon afterwards, and Bayard went back to the Senate to finish the term which expired on March 4, 1869.
In 1868 his son, Thomas Francis Bayard, was elected United States Senator by the Delaware Legislature.
THOUSANDS recall the distinguished "Tom" Bayard-called "Tom" behind his back, because I venture to assert few had the hardihood to address that austere statesman so familiarly.
He was one of the Democratic giants in the United States Senate for fifteen years, or until President Cleveland made him Secretary of State. Bayard was a full-rigged candidate for President on several occasions, but his family's alleged leaning toward the South during the Civil War was one of those intangible factors which ever stalked before the voters and loomed as a bar to his aspirations.
Thomas F. Bayard was a member of that famous Electoral Commission which was created to settle the question of whether Hayes or Tilden had been chosen President.
AND now the democrats of Delaware have put their Senatorial standard in the hands of the present Thomas F. Bayard, who is known to a wide circle of friends as "a quiet gentleman and scholar."
In this contest he will face du Pont, a family name which, like his own, has been a Delaware institution for more than a hundred years.
The Adams family gave our country two Presidents, father and son, while the Harrison family contributed two in Old Tippecanoe and his grandson, Benjamin, but so far as Congress goes the Bayards have all others left at the post.
[Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Thursday, August 31, 1922, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
The Founding Fathers: Delaware
Bedford was born in 1747 at Philadelphia and reared there. The fifth of seven children, he was descended from a distinguished family that originally settled in Jamestown, VA. He usually referred to himself as Gunning Bedford, Jr., to avoid confusion with his cousin and contemporary Delaware statesman and soldier, Col. Gunning Bedford.
In 1771 signer Bedford graduated with honors from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), where he was a classmate of James Madison. Apparently while still in school, Bedford wed Jane B. Parker, who bore at least one daughter. After reading law with Joseph Read in Philadelphia, Bedford won admittance to the bar and set up a practice. Subsequently, he moved to Dover and then to Wilmington. He apparently served in the Continental Army, possibly as an aide to General Washington.
Following the war, Bedford figured prominently in the politics of his state and nation. He sat in the legislature, on the state council, and in the Continental Congress (1783-85). In the latter year, he was chosen as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention but for some reason did not attend. From 1784 to 1789 he was attorney general of Delaware.
Bedford numbered among the more active members of the Constitutional Convention, and he missed few sessions. A large and forceful man, he spoke on several occasions and was a member of the committee that drafted the Great Compromise. An ardent small-state advocate, he attacked the pretensions of the large states over the small and warned that the latter might be forced to seek foreign alliances unless their interests were accommodated. He attended the Delaware ratifying convention.
For another 2 years, Bedford continued as Delaware's attorney general. In 1789 Washington designated him as a federal district judge for his state, an office he was to occupy for the rest of his life.
His only other ventures into national politics came in 1789 and 1793, as a Federalist presidential elector. In the main, however, he spent his later years in judicial pursuits, in aiding Wilmington Academy, in fostering abolitionism, and in enjoying his Lombardy Hall farm.
Bedford died at the age of 65 in 1812 and was buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Wilmington. Later, when the cemetery was abandoned, his body was transferred to the Masonic Home, on the Lancaster Turnpike in Christiana Hundred, DE.
[ The U. S. National Archives & Records Administration, Delaware's Founding Fathers at www.archives.gov, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
BENJAMIN F. BEESON.
This gentleman, one of the most prominent and successful farmers of Wayne county, whose home is in Washington township, was born on the farm where he yet resides, August n, 1824, and is a worthy representative of one of- the most distinguished pioneer families of this region, being a son of Benjamin and Dorcas (Starbuck) Beeson, natives of North Carolina, where their marriage was celebrated. The paternal grandparents were Benjamin and Phoebe Beeson, and the former was the son of Isaac Beeson, who was of the sixth generation in direct descent from Edward Beeson, the founder of the family in the New World. He was reared in Lancastershire, England, where George Fox originated the Society of Friends, and with that denomination the family became connected. Edward Beeson came to America in 16S2 with one of William Penn's colonies and located first in Pennsylvania, later removed to a Quaker settlement in Virginia, and subsequently to one near Wilmington, Delaware. He had four sons, Edward, Richard, Isaac and William. Of these Isaac went to North Carolina, and from him the Indiana branch of the family is descended. They continued their connection with the Society of Friends until coming to this state, but finally left it, and they wished to be more enterprising and progressive than accorded with the customs of that sect. However, they still adhered to the good religious qualities of the Friends' church, doing all the good possible and as little harm. Three brothers came to Indiana: Isaac settled near Richmond, Wayne county in 1812; Benjamin located where our subject now resides, in 1814, and Thomas, on first coming to the county in 1818, lived with Benjamin for a few years and then bought the farm where his son, Elwood, now resides. Although they came here in limited circumstances, they were soon in possession of comfortable competencies, secured by their enterprise, energy, industry and perseverance, and, in advancing their own interests, did much toward the building up and beautifying of their adopted county. They also won the respect and confidence of the entire community.
Benjamin Beeson, father of our subject, was a blacksmith and wagon-maker by trade, and before leaving North Carolina made himself a good wagon, in which he brought his family to this state with a four-horse team. While on the road he sold the wagon and after his arrival in Wayne county returned it to the purchaser in Tennessee and rode his horses back to Indiana.
In 1813 he had come to this section of the state and selected his tract of land, which he entered at Cincinnati. On bringing his family here the following year he left them with his brother Isaac while he delivered the wagon. On his return he erected a cabin upon his place, and began the arduous task of clearing and improving the wild land, which he at length transformed into a fine farm. He soon found out that eighty acres adjoining his one-hundred-and-sixty-acre tract was for sale, and as he desired it and had no money, he again went to Tennessee, where he was able to borrow the needed money, at twenty-five per cent. For three years he made a trip to that state to pay the interest and was then able to cancel the debt. His family assisted him in every possible way, spinning, weaving and making all the clothes needed, and as prosperity crowned their combined efforts the boundaries of the farm were extended from time to time, and the father was at length able to give to all of his children a good home. He was ever a friend to the poor and needy, was charitable and benevolent, and the latch-string of his cabin was always out. Many an early settler has been aided by him, and in assisting in opening up the country to civilization Wayne county owes to him a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid. In connection with general farming, he engaged in stock-raising, and in early days drove his hogs to Cincinnati, while he went to Lawrenceburg on the Ohio river to mill. He was a strong Democrat in politics, and most acceptably served as justice of the peace for many years, his decisions being always final. When he had a log-rolling his neighbors would come from far and near without his notifying them as he was held in high regard by the entire community and had a host of warm friends. Although he was a member of no religious denomination he led an upright, honorable life and will certainly reap the reward of the just. For many years he suffered with one of his legs, and as amputation was at length necessary he made his will, giving everything to his wife, and prepared to die if the operation was not successful. He lived only a month after it was performed, dying March i, 1852, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife survived him many years and passed away in October, 1872. She was a devoted wife and affectionate mother. To this worthy couple were born eleven children, the birth of the first two occurring in North Carolina, the others in Indiana. They were as follows: Bezaleel; Othniel; Templeton; Delilah, wife of John Patterson; Rachel, wife of James Harvey; Gulelma, wife of William Dick; Cinderella, wife of William Harvey; Benjamin F., our subject; Amanda M., wife of Thomas Emerson; Mark D., a prominent farmer of Wayne county; and Charles, who died in 1852. Only three are now living: our subject, Mark D. and Mrs. Dick, of Kansas.
Benjamin F. Beeson, of this review, was reared on the farm where he still resides, and obtained his education in the subscription schools which he attended for three months during the winter season. The school-house was a primitive structure, built of logs, with a puncheon floor, and seats also of puncheons, with pegs for legs. He remained at home until his marriage, in January, 1848, when he located upon a tract of new land given him by his father, and during the four years he resided there he placed eighty acres under cultivation, and built thereon a commodious residence, to replace the little log cabin where he commenced his domestic life. He and his wife then returned to the old homestead to care for his widowed mother in her declining years. He purchased the interest of the other heirs in the place, and there continues to reside. He has cleared sixty-five acres of the two-hundred-and-forty-acre farm, erected thereon a pleasant residence, large barns and other outbuildings, and now has one of the finest improved farms of the locality. The place is conveniently located, three and a half miles south of Milton, and is adorned with a beautiful grove of ornamental trees. He has successfully engaged in both farming and stock-raising, and has bought large tracts of land, most of which he has given to his children, except one tract which he sold. He still retains the old homestead, however, and is still actively engaged in his chosen calling.
In January, 1848, Mr. Beeson married Miss Catherine Howard, who was born in Wayne county, January 22, 1827. Her parents, John and Sarah (Calaway) Howard, natives of North Carolina, came to the county about 1814 and located at Nolan's Fork, where the father entered and improved the farm now occupied by Elijah Hurst. There his children were all born, but he finally sold the place and moved to Madison county, Indiana, where he improved another farm. On disposing of that place he returned to Wayne county and bought the farm where the Valley Grove church now stands. After his children were all grown, he gave that farm to a son and bought a small piece of land in the same neighborhood, built a residence thereon and spent the remainder of his life upon that place. In politics he was a Democrat. He was three times married and by the first union had two sons: Samuel and Joseph. The latter, an able financier, died at the age of forty-eight years, leaving a fine estate. There was one son, Charles, by the last marriage. Twelve children, two sons and ten daughters, were born of the second union. The following are most of their names: Mary E., wife of N. Waymore; Sarah, wife of B. Hurst; Mrs. S. Dwiggins; Ged-dia, wife of James Thorp; Rachel, wife of E. Waymore; Cynthia, wife of A. Lowery; Catherine, wife of our subject; John A., a resident of Franklin, Indiana; Neill, of Oklahoma; and Margaret, widow of M. Pursnett and a resident of Kansas. The children born to our subject and his wife were: William, who died in 1873, aged twenty-two years; Oliver H., a prominent farmer of Wayne county; Joseph F., who died in 1S73, aged eighteen years; Elizabeth, wife of Albert Williams, a farmer of Wayne county: Sanford G., who died in 1873, aged thirteen years; Elmer E., who conducts a meat market in Cambridge City; Ira J., who died in infancy; May, wife of J. Coyne, a farmer; and Minnie, wife of F. Flora. The wife and mother died April 14, 1873, her death and that of her three children occurring within four months, and being caused by spinal meningitis.
Mr. Beeson was again married in 1879, his second union being with Miss Kate Roadcap, who was born in Virginia, August 5, 1844, but was only eight years old when brought to Indiana by her parents, Henry and Lydia (Myres) Roadcap, also natives of the Old Dominion. Her father improved a farm in Henry county, where he still resides, at the age of eighty-four years. He is of German descent and a consistent member of the Dunkard church. After the death of Mrs. Beeson's mother he married again. His children, are: Elizabeth, wife of Milton Rains; Frances, wife of Conrad Koontz; Mary, wife of joab Rains; Barbara, wife of George Mathias; Kate, B. F. Beeson, Benjamin F., Joseph and Peter. Mr. Beeson has no children by his second marriage.
Politically, Mr. Beeson follows in the footsteps of his father and gives his support to the Democracy, and though he has often been solicited by his friends to accept office he has steadity refused, as he cares nothing lor political honors. He is very charitable, being always ready to respond to the appeals of the needy and distressed, and ever ready to pay his last respects to the dead. He is one of the most honored and highly esteemed citizens of his community, and it is safe to say that no man in Wayne county has a wider circle of friends and acquaintances than Benjamin F. Beeson.
The Founding Fathers: Delaware
Broom was born in 1752 at Wilmington, DE., the eldest son of a blacksmith who prospered in farming. The youth was educated at home and probably at the local Old Academy. Although he followed his father into farming and also studied surveying, he was to make his career primarily in mercantile pursuits, including shipping and the import trade, and in real estate. In 1773 he married Rachel Pierce, who bore eight children.
Broom was not a distinguished patriot. His only recorded service was the preparation of maps for George Washington before the Battle of Brandywine, PA. In 1776, at 24 years of age, Broom became assistant burgess of Wilmington. Over the next several decades, he held that office six times and that of chief burgess four times, as well as those of borough assessor, president of the city "street regulators," and justice of the peace for New Castle County.
Broom sat in the state legislature in the years 1784-86 and 1788, during which time he was chosen as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention, but he did not attend. At the Constitutional Convention, he never missed a session and spoke on several occasions, but his role was only a minor one.
After the convention, Broom returned to Wilmington, where in 1795 he erected a home near the Brandywine River on the outskirts of the city. He was its first postmaster (1790-92) and continued to hold various local offices and to participate in a variety of economic endeavors. For many years, he chaired the board of directors of Wilmington's Delaware Bank. He also operated a cotton mill, as well as a machine shop that produced and repaired mill machinery. He was involved, too, in an unsuccessful scheme to mine bog iron ore. A further interest was internal improvements: toll roads, canals, and bridges.
Broom also found time for philanthropic and religious activities. He served on the board of trustees of the College of Wilmington and as a lay leader at Old Swedes Church. He died at the age of 58 in 1810 while in Philadelphia on business and was buried there at Christ Church Burial Ground.
[ The U. S. National Archives & Records Administration, Delaware's Founding Fathers at www.archives.gov, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
John Middleton Clayton
That inerrant judgment of history, which, after the perspective of the years has furnished the true rule of measurement fixes the proper places of the principal actors in the world's great drama, has set the name of John Middleton Clayton in the highest niche of honor in Delaware's pantheon of her great. His primacy as her foremost citizen is indisputable whether we compare his achievements and fame with those of the great of old, or with those later worthies. No fuller-orbed name appears in all her history. He did many things eminently well, won the highest distinction in many diverse fields of thought and action. As an advocate he shone pre-eminently in the forum; as a judge, in profundity of legal and other learning and in wisdom of decree, he fully sustained the best traditions of the Bench; while as a youthful Senator at thirty-three he signalized in the United States Senate the rising of a new star of the first magnitude among that splendid galaxy of orators and statesmen who composed the senatorial zodiac of 1829. But it was as Secretary of State in President Taylor's administration in 1849 that his brilliant qualities of constructive statesmanship found for a brief period that fuller exercise for his genius which no previous field had afforded.
A sketch of his life has already been given, and it remains only to recount his career as Judge of the Supreme Court of Delaware, and briefly to notice more at length one or two of his notable acts as Senator; and more especially to allude to the famous episode in American history with which his name is linked, the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty with Great Britain. The gravest injustice has been done his memory in reference to that treaty, consequent upon the cruel calumnies which most unjustly assailed him living, and which indeed hastened his untimely death. No history of Delaware should fail to do justice herein to this illustrious son of hers, as a duty due alike to him and his State, and the cause of historic truth as well. As Chief Justice John M. Clayton added to the high fame he had already won as a lawyer, and an advocate, although the brief period, less than three years, in which he exercised his judicial functions, and the restricted arena of his own little State, together with the smallness and paucity of the issues involved, gave him but slight opportunity to make any adequate display of his extensive erudition and skill and experience as a jurist.
Had it been his good fortune, like another Hardwicke or Marshall, to have urged his judicial career in some formative period of the law, and in a forum fitted to evoke his best powers, he would have won a high position among the world's great creative jurists. The late Chief Justice Comegys, who, as a youth, read law in his office, and knew him well, pays him the following tribute: "As a judge he could not have had a superior in any respect. He had legal learning; quickness and acuteness of perception; great patience to hear; an entire freedom from prejudice or passion, and an impartiality remarkable in one so fresh from bitter political contests. He resigned after he had held the place for nearly three years, and no writ of error was ever taken from any of the court's decisions during his time." his longest opinion, and if not the most important one he ever wrote, certainly the one best calculated to exhibit his great and versatile erudition, was in the case of State vs. Thomas Jefferson Chandler, 2 Harrington, 553, in which the defendant was charged with having publicly spoken a vulgar blasphemy upon our Savior. As a desperate makeshift, his counsel sought, upon the sole authority of Thomas Jefferson, whose infidel bias is well known, to impugn the historical and legal accuracy of the maxim of English and American law, which declares Christianity to be a part of the common law, a doctrine even then long settled by the adjudication of the courts of both countries. Mr. Jefferson attempted to buttress his erroneous opinion by a display of mistaken learning, wherein he alleged a mistranslation of an early Norman-French decision by Prisot, C. J., in the Year Books, upon which he mistakenly claimed the doctrine in question was founded, and had, moreover the temerity to charge the great and good Mansfield with judicial forgery. Judge Clayton, in a learned excursus into those rarely visited regions of the ancient Year Books, and far more at home among their musty lore, legal and linguistical, than Jefferson himself, and vastly his superior as a lawyer, totally confutes these assertions, and while vindicating the memory of Mansfield, impales Mr. Jefferson upon one of the horns of the dilemma of being ignorant of the well-settled fact that this maxim was much older than the decisions of Mansfield or Hale, of wilfully perverting this historical fact to have a thrust at the Christian religion!
In Tindal vs. Hudson, 2 Harr., wherein a free negro sought to hold his own child as a slave, the Chief Justice showed his hatred of slavery as an institution by refusing to permit negroes themselves to become slaveholders. The doctrine of the law relating to cattle, "partus ventrem sequitur," was brutally applied to a slave mother and this child, till bought by its own father. The opinion not only does credit to the judge's humane sentiments, but is also worth citing as a fine bit of reasoning in a case of first instance. "Humanity forbids a father to own his own child in slavery. The natural rights and obligations of the father are paramount to the acquired rights of the master; and the moment the father purchased the child these obligations and rights blended in the same person, and the child is free. It is no more master and slave, but parent and child. Humanity revolts at the idea of a parent selling his own child into slavery. We think the petitioner is entitled to his freedom." As a specimen of logical reasoning at once concise and clear, this opinion shows the hands of the master. The simplicity and brevity of his style is one of the ear-marks of all great literary performances, whether it be the Bible or Blackstone, Bunyan or Defoe. One notes in all his opinions the absence of that involved verbosity and technical jargon which makes much of the res judicata difficult for the profession and impossible for the laity. Observe the above brief excerpt and see if one superfluous word can be found in it!
Even this short sketch should mention one extraordinary service he rendered his country while a Senator from this State, a service whose perennial benefits will prove co-equal with the life of the nation itself. Like another Hercules, single-handed and alone, and despite the vicious antagonism of President Jackson, his party and his press, he turned a river of investigation through the Augean stables of the post office department in 1831 and cleansed it of the gross corruption that had for years accumulated there. The credit for this great reform is his alone; for nearly all his associates either stood neutral, or endeavored, at the dictation of Jackson, to hamper or defeat his plans. In the course of his expose he showed thirty-six forgeries in a single document, and demonstrated to the Senate the amazing fact that the post office department from its institution at the founding of the government, until that time, December, 1831, had been administered in an unconstitutional manner, wholly at variance with the plan upon which, in the Constitution, it had been originally established. That for a period of over forty years Congress, unmindful of its rights and duties under the great charter, had allowed the Postmaster-General annually to expend millions of public moneys without warrant of law, and with no other check than his own pleasure or caprice! But he not only discovered and diagnosed this serious disease in the body politic, but like a skilful physician prescribed a remedy for its permanent cure, viz., bringing the post office department under the control of Congress, and making its expenditures dependent upon annual appropriations by Congress as the Constitution intended and provided. This total revolutionizing of this department of the government was adopted by Congress, precisely as Senator Clayton proposed, and is to-day its method of administration. He disclosed in this affair those great qualities of constructive statesmanship which he afterwards so notably employed as President Taylor's Secretary of State. But had Senator Clayton done nothing further in his public career, this single act of wise and courageous statesmanship would entitle him to be enrolled among the few great names that have signally benefited the republic.
Yet this piece of far-reaching statecraft was but a large copy of what he had done for his own State many years before when as Auditor of Public Accounts, he brought order and system out of the chaos that had previously reigned in the conduct of that office, and established therein the orderly accurate business methods which to this day prevail. Space is wanting to tell how in 1832, Senator Clayton repeatedly warned the Senate and the Jackson administration of the deadly consequences which their monetary policies would entail, picturing in his earnest words on the floor of the Senate, with startling prevision the awful calamities which afterwards befell in the panic of 1837. During his entire service in the Senate, he had been honored with the first gift in the power of that body, the chairmanship of its Judiciary Committee. His valuable services in that capacity have already been recounted; and it remains only to narrate at best an outline of the most important act in President Taylor's administration, wherein as Secretary of State he drew up and negotiated the famous Clayton and Bulwer Treaty, one of the half-dozen great compacts ratified by the United States since that of John Jay, its first.
In 1786 a few English traders got from Spain, then sovereign of nearly all of South America, permission to cut mahogany and logwood on the coast of Honduras, but upon the express condition that no settlements should be made, nor any claims of title asserted. But with characteristic British greed, and in shameful and repeated violations of her solemn treaties, England kept the foothold thus gained, and in a half-century thriftily managed to juggle this wood-chopping license, and her subsequent wanton trespass, into a right in fee, and called the region British Honduras. Again, for over fifty years before the making of the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty, this same land grabbing England had been engaged in seeking, under the thin pretense of a "protectorate" of the ''Mosquito Coast," yet further to extend these usurped possessions of hers in Central America, and more especially to get control of the then mooted Nicaragua Canal. Mosquitia, or Mosquito Coast, was a narrow strip of land along the northeast coast of Nicaragua, and occupied by a handful of brutalized, mongrel savages of the lowest type, called Zamboes. The territory belonged rightfully to Nicaragua. The project of a canal throughout the narrow isthmus that unites North and South America, though not like that of the Suez, dating back to the Pharoahs, was as old as the time of Philip II of Spain to whom it was suggested by Galvas, a Portuguese.
California was then approaching the meridian splendor of her marvelous development; thousands were pouring into her territory which then occupied the entire Pacific coast clean to British America, truly in size and resources a new Western empire. But her isolation was as complete as that of the Philippines to-day, aye more so, for a vast, unexplored, impassable wilderness lay between her and the East. Railroads west of the Mississippi, there were none, and even the hardy pioneer Fremont had not yet pierced the terra incognita of the "Great West;" while the wildest enthusiast had not dreamed of a transcontinental railway. The interoceanic canal at Nicaragua was then deemed the quickest and the best means of reaching California and the whole Pacific coast, and had at that time an importance purely local to the United States that far transcends its international importance now. Instigated by England, this savage puppet "King" of Mosquitia, whose ''crowning" at Jamaica, West Indies, in 1815, under English auspices, was more grotesque than any opera bouffe ever was, had fraudulently stretched his "Kingdom" some hundred or more miles down the Costa-Rican coast until his usurpation included the banks of the San Juan river where the canal must pass. Next the English government benevolently seized the town and renamed it Greytown. These acts of open, audacious spoilation of a helpless state in our own hemisphere and a territory too, of such strategic importance, were justly deemed a menace to the United States, and a direct blow at the Monroe Doctrine; and aroused deep resentment throughout the land. President Polk''s administration had just closed, and the Van Hise imbroglio, adding fuel to the flames, had brought the country to the very verge of war with England. This was the situation when Secretary Clayton, as President Taylor's "Premier" took the portfolio of State. War was imminent, and this deep feeling of anger at the atrocious course of England was hourly augmenting and might any moment burst all bounds, and coerce a bloody arbitrament of the question.
Secretary Clayton's first act was to undo the folly of Van Hise, as promptly as Lincoln receded from the untenable position of the seizure of Mason and Slidell by Commander Wilkes. Next he invited to a conference Sir Henry Bulwer, England's most experienced and renowned diplomat, who had been sent to this country to settle, if possible, the grave questions between our land and his own. But at the very moment when Secretary Clayton was honorably seeking a peaceful adjustment of the difficulty, the English government with its customary punic faith, was engaged in making further seizures of territory adjacent to the projected water-way, viz., an island in the gulf of Fonseca dominating the Pacific entrance, and when the United States in justifiable self-defence retaliated by taking possession of Tigre island, an armed expedition, commanded by English officers, seized the island under a pretended claim of debt. The situation had grown yet more critical; the sword of war was hanging by but a single Damocles' thread, and Secretary Clayton must act quickly. He framed a short treaty of nine articles not less comprehensive than clear in its provisions, in which each nation disclaimed all rights of exclusive control of the canal and guaranteed its neutrality, etc., etc. After a careful consideration of the treaty in every particular by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, of which Senator William R. King was chairman and Webster and several other leading Senators, members; and after a full explanation in open Senate of it and every circumstance connected with its negotiation by the Secretary, it was ratified by the Senate by a vote of 42 to 12.
Finding that her astute veteran diplomatist, Sir Henry Bulwer, like Napoleon, after a long series of triumphs, had met his Waterloo at the hands of the American Secretary of State, the British government, to escape the disastrous consequences of her own solemn treaty act, at once entered upon a course of perfidious evasion and contemptible quibbling that is probably without a parallel save in the disgraceful history of her own diplomacy. Thus, through the shameless pettifogging of England, the purposes of this great treaty were rendered nugatory, and its plain provisions made the occasion of over a half-century of dishonest trickery and chicanery which only ceased upon its abrogation in 1902. But it accomplished one highly useful end, viz., it averted a bloody war between the two nations. England had abundant occasion for chagrin in the utter drubbing administered her pet statesman Bulwer. Secretary Clayton found that nation, after sixty-four years of fraud and force, intrenched in Central America, and in possession of territory as completely dominating both the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the future canal, as the Gibralter does the Mediterranean, and left her completely ousted from all her vantage ground, and that, too, by the voluntary act of her own first diplomat especially commissioned as Minister Extraordinary to the United States for that purpose. And yet as an equivalent for this large surrender of such advantages upon the part of England, Secretary Clayton did not yield one iota for his own country. What the outwitted Bulwer thought was a concession, was in reality what had been since the time of Washington the traditional policy of this Government with reference to the interoceanic canal, repeatedly re-affirmed by the Presidents and cabinets of both parties, and even so late as 1894 announced by President Cleveland. T his traditional policy was a purpose to share with all the nations the benefits and the control of the great international highway. The present policy of an exclusive control of the present route for such a canal, represents a much later doctrine and national purpose.
Secretary Clayton returned to his home in the summer of 1850, consequent upon the death of President Taylor. In January, 1850, Senator Cass, of Michigan, aided and abetted by Senators Mason of Virginia and Douglas of Illinois, made an attack upon the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, and besides misrepresenting its character and purposes, grossly assailed and vilified its author, the late Secretary Clayton personally, boldly declaring that not only had the Secretary been outwitted by the English diplomat, Sir Henry L. Bulwer, but that he had deceived the Senate into ratifying the treaty by withholding a secret agreement with Sir Henry, which in effect betrayed his own country into the hands of England. These attacks upon Mr. Clayton were as cowardly in manner as they were false in matter. Cass and the rest knew that he could illy meet these lying accusations in the only forum then open to him, the public prints; and they moreover thought themselves safe in their contemptible course, for the Delaware Legislature had just failed through a political deadlock to choose a Senator. But they little knew the high patriotism of Mr. Clayton's State, and her just pride in her distinguished son; for when he requested an opportunity to meet his traducers upon the floor of the Senate, this hopelessly-tied Legislature was forthwith summoned in special session, and Senator Clayton triumphantly returned to the Senate from which he had previously resigned, and for which before the arising of this emergency, though strongly importuned, he had refused to be again a candidate.
This disinterested act upon the part of the Legislature of Delaware, especially of the Democrats who really held the key to the situation, in choosing a United States Senator of the opposite party, is a unique illustration of lofty state pride and patriotism without a fellow in the history of American politics, and justly reflects great honor upon this State and its people. On March 8, 1853, Senator Clayton, in presence of a highly interested auditory of his fellow Senators, made the first of a series of brilliant addresses in which he fully vindicated the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty, of which he was the author, and as completely refuted the base slanders cast upon his official and personal conduct in connection therewith. These speeches were characterized by an amount and variety of exact learning upon every phase, ancient and modern, of the whole lengthy episode that was marvelous. His calumniators found, as Sir Henry Bulwer to his chagrin already had, that Senator Clayton was conversant with every detail of the complicated affairs of the Central American States, and British Honduras in their relations to Great Britain; with their geography, together with the history of the tortuous diplomacy of England for nearly three-quarters of a century in that behalf. With biting sarcasm he twitted some of his senatorial assailants as "learned Thebans" for confounding Mexico, and even New Granada as parts of Central America. He showed, by the letter of Vice-President William R. King, Chairman in 1850 of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, that the charges of duplicity towards the Senate were totally and maliciously false, or as Senator King wrote, "cruelly untrue."
The animus of the whole affair was the wish by Cass and his fellow conspirators to make political capital out of the charges, and thus injure the Whig party; although Cass had also a purely personal motive prompting his act, viz., a desire to revenge himself upon Senator Clayton for helping defeat his darling ambition to reach the great seat. Senator Clayton was probably the only eminent public man who in his day was not infected with an insane desire to be President. Clay, Webster, Douglas, Cass, Calhoun, etc., etc., had the disease dreadfully. So these monstrous accusations against as loyal and as disinterested a patriot as ever eminently served his country, were fulminated again and again in the Senate, then printed by the authority of Cass himself, and taken up the whole country over by as rabid a partisan press as ever basely sought ''to make the worse appear the better reason," till the land was deluged with the cunningly fabricated calumnies. Then the changes, with new falsehoods added, were rung upon the charges by every political huckster in the campaign, till what with the spoken and the printed lies, this remarkable piece of political conspiracy, as adroit as mendacious, has acquired an immortality truly diabolical.
So, too, despite the fact that the victim of this conspiracy had torn to shreds the whole garment of cunning lies, for base partisan purposes the wretched calumnies were uttered a second time in the Senate, in the winter of 1853; and although Senator Clayton again drove the slander-mongers in confusion before him, yet, amazing as it may seem, those stale "campaign lies" were for the third time, and, if possible, with increased ferocity, repeated in the year 1856 upon the floor of the Senate, and Senator Clayton was forced to leave the sickbed to which he was soon to return for aye, to face for the third time his implacable tormentors, and to repel, as he superbly did, their lying attacks upon his good name and fame.
Except perhaps the long-continued and bitter pursuit of Washington himself by the like slander-assassins of his day, no man in public life was ever more unjustly and persistently beset by mendacity and hate than Senator Clayton; and stranger still these oft-repeated slanders of Cass and Douglas, reiterated, in the very teeth of refutation "strong as proof of Holy Writ," in the hustings, and sown broadcast by a venal press, have come to possess such a semblance of truth as to be yet taken by thousands of intelligent readers for historic verity. Indeed, a recent cyclopedia, edited by one of the first editorial writers in the country, in an article on the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, revamps these exploded lies of Cass as the actual facts in the case. The truth is that probably no treaty ever framed by this nation was drawn with more scrupulous care and prevision, indeed, with what would seem in advance of the subsequent actual occurrence, an absurd excess of caution, the adroit Secretary had the word "occupy" defined before the signing of the treaty, as intending a present as well as a future meaning. Than Secretary Clayton none knew better the quibbling, dishonest diplomacy of England, and so tightly did he close every loop-hole, that an evasion of the plain provisions and purposes of the instrument drawn by him, was only possible by such a course of downright dishonorable refusal by Great Britain to abide by their own solemn treaty obligations, coupled with a silly crucifixion of the English language, as amounted to a national shame.
Hear what his most distinguished contemporaries had to say about this great piece of statesmanship, words of eulogy pronounced over his ashes in the very Senate chamber where but a few days before, even then a dying man, he had made his last masterly defence of his work and name. The great Seward spoke this lofty eulogium upon it. ''The first universal fact, a fact indicating an ultimate union of the nations, was the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty. It was the felicitous good-fortune of John M. Clayton, not more than his genius and ability that enabled him to link his own name with that great and stupendous transaction, and so win for himself the eternal gratitude of future generations not only in his own country, but throughout the great divisions of the earth. "The eminent lawyer and statesman, Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, said : "This treaty is the first instance within my knowledge in which two great nations of the earth have thus endeavored to combine peacefully for the prosecution and accomplishment of an object which when completed must advance the happiness and prosperity of all men." Senator Henry Wilson, afterwards Vice-President, said in congressional debate, ''The Senator from Delaware, as the negotiator of the treaty on the part of the United States government entered upon that service inspired with the sublime conception and generous purposes that the grandeur and magnitude of such an occasion was calculated to inspire. That he entered upon the work with the high and patriotic object of framing a treaty which should confer lasting benefits upon our own country and the world, none can doubt."
Again Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, said February 25, 1856, in Congress, "I consider that the negotiation of this treaty was the highest honor of which any statesman might well be proud." And even Senator Cass, chief of his relentless traducers, admitted with unblushing self-stultification in one of his attacks, "that the Clayton and Bulwer Treaty if carried out in good faith would peaceably do the work of the Monroe Doctrine, and free an important portion of our continent from foreign interference." It was no fault of Secretary Clayton's that a measure so expansive in its world-wide philanthropy and so humanely fostering peaceful commerce and international brotherhood as to elicit such eulogies, should be aborted and defeated in much of its intended benefits by the dishonorable conduct of one of the signatory nations; and still less any fault of his that by the irony of fate, because of the now recognized seismic character of the Nicaraguan route, the great project that gave birth to this famous treaty, the Nicaraguan Canal will never be realized ; but it will, nevertheless, ever remain an imperishable monument of the far-seeing wisdom and earnest patriotism of the great brain that conceived and the bold heart that executed this noble specimen of statesmanship.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
HISTORY OF CHENEY CLOW. (1734-1788)
From our earliest infancy, we are taught to look to our war of independence, for examples of the purest self-devotion, and most exalted patriotism, which ever adorned the pages of a nation's history. Upon the brilliant actions of our ancestors, in that memorable struggle, time has set his seal; and admiring millions of their grateful sons, daily offer up at the shrine of liberty their orisons, for the perpetuation of the inestimable blessings, won by their valor, and transmitted to posterity. No one now, doubts, the high and holy motives, which impelled them to hazzard in the doubtful contest their fortunes and their lives. And the world has long since admitted the justice of their cause. Every child in the nation among the first words of his language should be learned to lisp the names of the heroes of the revolution; and be made familiar with their deeds of noble daring, in the cause of liberty and their country; that early appreciating, the worth of their inheritance, and the price paid for it, they may ever stand ready to defend it.
Removed as we are, far from those portentious days, which, as has been aptly said, "tried men's souls," we can now look back, and view through the calm medium of reason, the causes which led to the revolution; and the motives which actuated the different parties, which by their conflicting opinions and actions, convulsed the infant republic, and protracted the period of the consummation of its independence. A considerable portion of the people in all sections of the country, had a different notion of the causes which led to the sanguinary contest, from that entertained by the whigs. They had been educated in the belief that England was not only the greatest nation known to the world, but that she had also been a most kind mother, - watching with anxious solicitude over the safety and welfare of the infant colonies in the days of their weakness, and that it would be the height of ingratitude, now that they began to wax strong, to rend asunder their union, cemented as it was, by the ties of consanguinity, a common language, and like manners and customs. They were proud of their paternity, and did not believe the grievances complained of by the patriots, of sufficient consequence to warrant a resort to arms for their redress. They looked upon the whigs as traitors to their king, whose supremacy they believed themselves bound, as good subjects to maintain. Many of this class, at first, took sides with England; while others entertaining the same opinions, endeavored to maintain a strict neutrality.
For a time, the war, on the part of the patriots was. Conducted solely by the aid of volunteers. But their ranks, by losses in battle and other causes, began to grow thin; and it was considered indispensable to their success, to resort to drafts from the whole body of the militia, for the purpose of filling them up again. In carrying out this system, it would of course, often happen, that the lots would fall upon some, whose hearts were with the cause of the enemy against whom they were detailed to do battle. It should not therefore be a cause of wonder, that when these were compelled to mingle in the strife, they should prefer giving their aid to that side, with which their feelings were enlisted. And it is hardly to be doubted, but that the extreme measures of coercion resorted to in many instances by the whigs, was productive of far more evil to the cause than good; fur they often made active enemies of such as would have gladly remained quietly at their homes, pursuing their ordinary domestic avocations.
Two most violent parties were thus formed among the people; wholly dissimilar in their opinions and sentiments, and uncompromising in their hostility towards each other, And it is deeply to be deplored, that in those days there were false patriots, who called themselves whigs, eager to gain a name in arms without much risk of their persons. Of such, were some militia captains and their followers, who never joined the regular army, nor sought the enemy in their serried ranks, where fame was only to be found at the point of the bayonet, or the cannon's mouth; but whose time was wholly occupied in hunting and persecuting the unarmed and powerless, and commonly unresisting royalists. These were not of the heroes of the revolution; and to them and their memory we owe neither gratitude, nor veneration. When the tories as they were called, were attacked in their homes, when their property was pillaged and destroyed by these pretended patriots, they would some times attempt defending themselves. Upon which they were proclaimed traitors to their country - informations lodged against them in the criminal courts for treason, - and their persons dragged forward for trial. Indictments for treason were found against many of them; all of whom we believe were acquitted.
Among the cases alluded to above, there was one which from its sad consequences, seems to deserve recording, as a warning in all time to come, against the indulgence of party animosity, by which, reason is often dethroned, and blind unthinking vengeance rules in her stead. Even in our days of law and good government, in our calm moments of reflection, we are compelled to own to ourselves, that party feeling sometimes makes the best of us unjust. How much greater then, must have been its influence, when life and living were staked on the issue, and the only arbiter was the sword. No wonder then, that wrong and oppression sometimes took place in the sacred name of liberty. The case we mean, is that of Cheney Clow; against whom, in 1782 a charge of treason was made in the court at Dover, for Kent county; in pursuance of which a warrant for his arrest was issued, directed to John Clayton, Esq., then sheriff of said county. The sheriff having been informed that Clow had notice of the proceedings against him, and well knowing his character for courage, apprehended difficulty in arresting him, and therefore called to Lis assistance a considerable number of persons, whom he caused to be well armed, and proceeded at night to the house of Clow, which was situated in the forest of Kent about twelve miles from Dover. When he arrived there, he found the door closed and barred against his entrance. He made himself and his business known, and commanded Clow to open the door and surrender himself a prisoner. The summons was answered by the discharge from the house, of several muskets, none of which how ever took effect. The sheriff and some of his party immediately commenced in earnest to break down the door, with axes, and whatever other means was in their power, some using the buts of their guns for that purpose, while in the mean time those in the rear continued constantly firing at every part of the house where they supposed a ball might enter. The assailed during this time fired many shots in such rapid succession against the party, that they supposed he had gathered for his defence a number of friends. During the contest, a musket ball passed quite through the body of a man by the name of Moore, belonging to the sheriffs party, of which he died immediately; and another was wounded slightly, in the neck, the ball first striking the brass of his bayonet belt and glancing in that direction; by which circumstance it was supposed his life was saved. At length the door gave way; and the sheriff and his party rushed into the house, (over bedsteads, barrels, boxes, chairs and other lumber, with which the entrance had been barricaded,) seized and secured the delinquent. They were considerably surprized to find within, no one save Clow and his wife. She had as it appeared been moulding bullets, and there was then lead melting over the fire for the purpose of continuing that occupation. From the quick succession of shots fired by Clow, it was supposed that his wife kept constantly loading guns (of which several were found,) up to the time when their bullets gave out. She had received a serious wound in the breast, of which she made no complaint; nor did it impede her efforts to assist her husband in his defence. A fond, devoted, and confiding wife; she did not stop to consider the justice of the cause, but resigned herself to live or die with him, who, what ever he might be in the estimation of others, was more than all the world to her. Clow now asked permission to dress himself, which Mr. Clayton readily granted. He put on a full suit of British uniform, such as was then worn by captains in their army, and expressed his readiness to set off for his prison. The sheriff then secured him on a horse, placed him in the midst of his company and started in the direction of Dover.
When about half way from Clow's house to Dover, the sheriff and his company, were confronted by a furious militia captain and his troop of horse. The captain demanded his prisoner from Mr. Clayton, and swore he would hang him on the next tree. But Mr. Clayton, who was as brave as generous, determined to maintain the supremacy of the civil power against the military arrogance of the officer alluded to, and for which he was famous, and refused to deliver his prisoner to his hands. The sheriff was nobly supported by his men, and the discomfitted captain had to depart without effecting his sanguinary purpose. A violent quarrel was the consequence, between the civil and military officers, which was never made up during their lives. Mr. Clayton was justly indignant at the conduct of this lawless leader, who had thus openly avowed his intention to commit a murder on the body of his prisoner. The prisoner shortly after this interruption, was lodged securely in jail to await his trial.
A court of Oyer and Terminer was called expressly for the purpose of the trial of Clow, and held at Dover on the tenth day of December 1782, before William Killen and David Finney, justices of said court. An indictment for treason was found by the grand jury against the prisoner, and he was placed at the bar of the court for trial. He plead not guilty - exhibited a captain's commission in the British army, and placed himself upon the footing of a prisoner of war. He was acquitted. But so great was the excitement of the multitude against him, (of which feeling it is supposed the court in some degree participated,) that they demanded a continuance of his imprisonment; which it is thought was the cause of the following sentence which appears in the record, immediately after the entry of his acquittal. "Whereupon, it is considered by the court here, that the prisoner enter into a recognizance in the sum of ten thousand pounds, with two sureties, in the sum of five thousand pounds each, conditioned for the good behaviour of the said Cheney Clow, during the continuance of the war: that he pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed until this judgment is complied with!" The amount of bail demanded, and the order of the court that he should pay the costs, precluded all possibility of his enlargement; for he was a poor man, and such friends as he had, were in like circumstances. While he was still detained in prison, his enemies fatally bent on his destruction, having failed to effect their purpose in his trial for treason, prefered against him a charge for the murder of Moore.
Again a court of Oyer and Terminer was called, and held before William Killen and John Jones, justices of said court, at Dover on the fifth day of May 1783; at which Cheney Clow was indicted by the grand jury, for the murder of Moore. The record of the trial and conviction, is in the following words: -
"The prisoner being brought to the bar and charged upon the indictment aforesaid, pleads not guilty; and for trial, puts himself upon God and his country, and Gunning Bedford, Esquire, attorney general, who follows for the said Delaware State in like manner. Whereupon, came a jury by the sheriff empannelled and returned to wit: - Rich'd. Banning, George Saxton, Caleb Furbee, Henry Bell, Robert M'Clyment, Thomas Emory, Ja's. Johnson, Ferdinand Casson, Waitman Furbee, John Brown, John Cole and Nathan Pratt, good and lawful men, who being tried, chosen, sworn and affirmed to say the truth in and upon the premises, do say, that they find Cheney Clow, the prisoner at the bar, is guilty of the murder whereof he stands indicted, and so they say all. Whereupon, it is considered by the court here, that the said Cheney Clow be taken from the place from whence he came, and from thence to the place of execution, and there be hanged by the neck until he is dead."
While the trial was proceeding, a Col. Pope officiously drew up a troop of horse before the court house, with a view, it was thought, of intimidating the jury; while a general clamor was raised out of doors for his conviction.
Clow undertook to defend himself on the grounds, that it was not proved that Moore was killed by him; that if he was, it was by accident and without malice, while defending himself; and that such killing could not be considered murder, even if proved against him; as he was at the time a British officer, and had the right to defend himself to the last extremity, against the citizens or soldiers of any other nation, who offered to deprive him of his liberty.
The evidence given by John Clayton, Esq., the sheriff, at the trial, was sufficient in itself to have insured Clow's acquittal, had due weight been allowed to it. It was in substance, that from the circumstances attending the death of Moore, he was fully of opinion, that he did not meet his death by a shot from Clow, but was accidentally killed by one of his own men, who was firing in the rear of some of the party among whom was Moore, at the time he fell. And he gave as a reason for the correctness of his opinion, that the hole in Moore's back, (the bullet having passed quite through his body) was small and smooth, while that in front, was much larger and ragged, or torn. Thus satisfying him that the ball must have entered his back; so that it was impossible it should have been fired from the house, as Moore's face was towards the house when he fell. And in this statement the sheriff was supported by such of his company as were examined.
It is said the only testimony which bore the semblance of evidence against him, was that of a certain John Bullen; who stated simply, that in a conversation he had with Clow in the jail, Clow said to him "that if he did kill Moore it was by accident." The testimony of Bullen was of very little consequence in itself; and taken in connexion with Mr. Clayton's testimony and those who agreed with him, it amounted to no evidence against Clow. But in the then state of high party excitement, it was enough, and was made the ground of the verdict of guilty against the prisoner.
At that time it was the duty of the governor to fix on the time and place of execution, and issue his warrant in accordance there with, to the sheriff of the county. The governor was greatly inclined to pardon Clow, for it is said he did not believe him guilty. The consequence was, that he kept respiting him from time to time; still delaying to issue his warrant, but deterred from granting his pardon by the clamors of the multitude who were exceedingly anxious for his execution. A few persons were bold enough to ask for his pardon, and strange as it may appear to us at this day, petitions were widely circulated and numerously signed, calling on the governor to cause him to be executed. So great was the fury of the people, that sheriff Clayton was in constant apprehension that they would attempt to break the jail, for the purpose of murdering his prisoner; to prevent which he slept in the same room with Clow, well armed, every night for many months; for Mr. Clayton was among the few who thought he ought not to suffer the punishment of death, for the murder of Moore, of which he believed him innocent, or for any other cause.
And here let us pause in the progress of our history, while we endeavor to account for the apparently savage disposition of the people towards Clow. We may perhaps find the causes of it in the state of the country at that time. The war, on the issue of which, they had staked their all, had been raging for seven years. They had not only been contending with a powerful foreign nation, but were much impeded in their operations, by the motions of a body of men living within their own borders; who were constantly acting as spies upon them, or openly taking part with the enemy. These they called tories, and to them attributed the protraction of the war; which had been so disastrous in its consequences. For they had not only become impoverished in their estates, but there was scarcely a man, who had not to mourn the death of some dear friend, or near relative, who had bravely fought and fell while nobly struggling for that independence, which they believed would have been long since attained, had that class of people to whom Cheney Clow belonged, instead of exerting their influence and power against their country, taken part, heart and hand, in its favor.
The vacillating course of the governor was so long continued, and Clow's mind kept in such constant inquietude, that life to him became a burthen. He was also under daily apprehensions from the violence of the people, who were constantly demanding their victim. Under this state of feeling he wrote to the governor either to grant his pardon at once, or send to the sheriff the warrant for his execution; for that life under the circumstances of his case was worse than death. On the receipt of this letter, the governor yielded to the dictates of the multitude, instead of the pleadings of mercy; and soon after, the sheriff received Clow's death warrant! It is said that Clow heard the news of his fate, with the utmost composure. His once indomitable spirit had been quelled. Life seemed to have lost in his eyes every charm; and his thoughts were wholly placed on another state of existence. His heart had become as soft as that of a little child. No more he asked for mercy; he complained of his fate no more, and uttered no reviling against the authors of his death. When the day, and the hour came for his execution, with a steady step he walked to the place appointed for that purpose, singing all the way in a clear and unbroken voice, a hymn which he had learned in the prison. While under the gallows, and in his last agony, a strange, but strong revulsion of feeling seized upon the crowd assembled to witness the last sad act of the tragedy, which they had labored so long and so hard to get up! And a late, but unavailing remorse, sunk deep into the hearts of many. Soon every one agreed, that Cheney Clow had fallen a victim to the ill-judging violence of party feeling - but the scene had closed, and repentance and mercy came too late, to prevent an act which must ever be deplored; and which ought to be ever remembered, as a warning against the madness of party spirit.
Among the few who would have saved the life of Clow, had it been in their power, was Caesar Rodney. The same who signed the declaration of independence; whose patriotism was undoubted; and who had recently been governor of the State. He declared on the day of the execution that he had never wished to be governor until then, and then only, for the sole purpose of having it in his power to pardon Clow.
His wife, who had so bravely participated in his defence, never deserted him. She continued to plead for his pardon up to the last hour of his life. She remained in Dover until he was taken down from the gallows, then departed with his lifeless body, which she interred, we know not where. The humble dwelling, the scene of his arrest, and of his exhibition of such daring bravery, untenanted, was suffered to fall to decay. In a deep, dark forest, apart from all other dwellings, near Kenton, in Little creek hundred, there yet remains a heap of logs, which are pointed out to the curious, as CHENEY CLOW'S FORT.
Source: The Delaware Register and Farmer's Magazine, From February to July, 1838. William Huffington, Dover, Delaware. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.
The Founding Fathers: Delaware
Dickinson, "Penman of the Revolution," was born in 1732 at Crosiadore estate, near the village of Trappe in Talbot County, MD. He was the second son of Samuel Dickinson, the prosperous farmer, and his second wife, Mary (Cadwalader) Dickinson. In 1740 the family moved to Kent County near Dover, DE., where private tutors educated the youth. In 1750 he began to study law with John Moland in Philadelphia. In 1753 Dickinson went to England to continue his studies at London's Middle Temple. Four years later, he returned to Philadelphia and became a prominent lawyer there. In 1770 he married Mary Norris, daughter of a wealthy merchant. The couple had at least one daughter.
By that time, Dickinson's superior education and talents had propelled him into politics. In 1760 he had served in the assembly of the Three Lower Counties (Delaware), where he held the speakership. Combining his Pennsylvania and Delaware careers in 1762, he won a seat as a Philadelphia member in the Pennsylvania assembly and sat there again in 1764. He became the leader of the conservative side in the colony's political battles. His defense of the proprietary governor against the faction led by Benjamin Franklin hurt his popularity but earned him respect for his integrity. Nevertheless, as an immediate consequence, he lost his legislative seat in 1764.
Meantime, the struggle between the colonies and the mother country had waxed strong and Dickinson had emerged in the forefront of Revolutionary thinkers. In the debates over the Stamp Act (1765), he played a key part. That year, he wrote The Late Regulations Respecting the British Colonies . . . Considered, an influential pamphlet that urged Americans to seek repeal of the act by pressuring British merchants. Accordingly, the Pennsylvania legislature appointed him as a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, whose resolutions he drafted.
In 1767-68 Dickinson wrote a series of newspaper articles in the Pennsylvania Chronicle that came to be known collectively as Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania. They attacked British taxation policy and urged resistance to unjust laws, but also emphasized the possibility of a peaceful resolution. So popular were the Letters in the colonies that Dickinson received an honorary LL.D. from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) and public thanks from a meeting in Boston. In 1768, responding to the Townshend Duties, he championed rigorous colonial resistance in the form of nonimportation and non-exportation agreements.
In 1771, Dickinson returned to the Pennsylvania legislature and drafted a petition to the king that was unanimously approved. Because of his continued opposition to the use of force, however, he lost much of his popularity by 1774. He particularly resented the tactics of New England leaders in that year and refused to support aid requested by Boston in the wake of the Intolerable Acts, though he sympathized with the city's plight. Reluctantly, Dickinson was drawn into the Revolutionary fray. In 1774 he chaired the Philadelphia committee of correspondence and briefly sat in the First Continental Congress as a representative from Pennsylvania.
Throughout 1775, Dickinson supported the Whig cause, but continued to work for peace. He drew up petitions asking the king for redress of grievances. At the same time, he chaired a Philadelphia committee of safety and defense and held a colonelcy in the first battalion recruited in Philadelphia to defend the city.
After Lexington and Concord, Dickinson continued to hope for a peaceful solution. In the Second Continental Congress (1775-76), still a representative of Pennsylvania, he drew up them> Declaration of the Causes of Taking Up Arms. In the Pennsylvania assembly, he drafted an authorization to send delegates to Congress in 1776. It directed them to seek redress of grievances, but ordered them to oppose separation of the colonies from Britain.
By that time, Dickinson's moderate position had left him in the minority. In Congress he voted against the Declaration of Independence (1776) and refused to sign it. Nevertheless, he then became one of only two contemporary congressional members (with Thomas McKean) who entered the military. When he was not reelected he resigned his brigadier general's commission and withdrew to his estate in Delaware. Later in 1776, though reelected to Congress by his new constituency, he declined to serve and also resigned from the Pennsylvania Assembly. He may have taken part in the Battle of Brandywine, PA (September 11, 1777), as a private in a special Delaware force but otherwise saw no further military action.
Dickinson came out of retirement to take a seat in the Continental Congress (1779-80), where he signed the Articles of Confederation; earlier he had headed the committee that had drafted them. In 1781 he became president of Delaware's Supreme Executive Council. Shortly thereafter, he moved back to Philadelphia. There, he became president of Pennsylvania (1782-85). In 1786, representing Delaware, he attended and chaired the Annapolis Convention.
The next year, Delaware sent Dickinson to the Constitutional Convention. He missed a number of sessions and left early because of illness, but he made worthwhile contributions, including service on the Committee on Postponed Matters. Although he resented the forcefulness of Madison and the other nationalists, he helped engineer the Great Compromise and wrote public letters supporting constitutional ratification. Because of his premature departure from the convention, he did not actually sign the Constitution but authorized his friend and fellow-delegate George Read to do so for him.
Dickinson lived for two decades more but held no public offices. Instead, he devoted himself to writing on politics and in 1801 published two volumes of his collected works. He died at Wilmington in 1808 at the age of 75 and was entombed in the Friends Burial Ground.
[ The U. S. National Archives & Records Administration, Delaware's Founding Fathers at www.archives.gov, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
Could the verdict of all classes within the borders of the Diamond State irrespective of party affiliations be had, a consensus of opinion would undoubtedly nominate George Gray to the post of honor of Delaware's first living citizen. Since the genesis of any man's character and fame, rightly begins with his great-grandfather, it may be useful to recur a moment to Mr. Gray's ancestors.
Early in the eighteenth century George Gray's paternal great-grandfather, William Gray, son of Andrew Gray, sailed from Belfast, Ireland, for America, with his wife and young son William. Both he and his wife died on the voyage of ship fever. Having fortunately inherited an ample estate, the young orphan was carefully reared by his guardian, and when a young man became a successful merchant. He married Jean Caldwell, the daughter of Major Andrew Caldwell, of a prominent Revolutionary family. Their son, Andrew Gray, who was born in Kent County, Delaware, after receiving an excellent education in his youth, graduated later from the University of Pennsylvania. Until 1808 young Andrew Gray lived upon the large landed estates in Kent County inherited from his maternal grandfather, Andrew Caldwell, but lived thereafter upon a farm in Mill Creek Hundred near Newark. Though five times elected to the House and Senate of the General Assembly of the State, between 1816 and 1824, he took little active part in public affairs, spending much time in the study of the classics, of which he was very fond, and in the composition of essays, chiefly of a philosophical character.
He married Rebecca Rodgers, daughter of Colonel John Rodgers, of Hartford County, Maryland, and sister of Commodore John and George Rodgers who won distinction in the navy in the War of 1812. Of this marriage was born, in Kent County, May 25, 1804, a son, Andrew Caldwell Gray. Young Andrew graduated from Princeton College in 1821 at the early age of seventeen, and shortly after began the study of law under James R. Black, Esq., later an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of Delaware.
In 1826, upon his admission to the bar, he settled at New Castle. His professional success was pronounced, and he speedily acquired prominence both in legal and in commercial circles, becoming counsel for the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal Company, and in 1853, its president. Retiring in 1854 from active practice as a lawyer, he became prominently identified as director, president, etc., with the new railroad development in the State, and as president, with a number of its most important banking and manufacturing enterprises. Against all importunity he refused political honors, though as a Democrat taking a lively interest in public affairs. Andrew C. Gray was a man of spotless integrity, everywhere reverenced and loved for his unselfish and benevolent character. He married Elizabeth Scoffield of Stamford, Conn.
George Gray, one of their four children, was born in New Castle, May 4, 1840. After receiving the invaluable benefit of an early training in the public schools of his town, young George Gray was prepared for college by the Rev. A. M. Wiggins and Professor William F. Lane, and in 1857 entered Princeton in the junior year, graduating thence with high standing at the age of nineteen, in two years thereafter. He was ever as a youth of a studious habit, fond of machinery and much given to haunting the machine shops and manufactories of his native town and of Wilmington, examining the construction and uses of the machines employed in the various manufacturing processes therein. He was likewise fond of boating, and on the nearby Delaware, acquired sufficient knowledge of boats and sail-craft and of their practical handling to make him quite a sailor. Soon after leaving college he began reading law under the tutelage of his father and the Hon. William C. Spruance, now one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the State. He then spent a year at Harvard law school, and in 1863 was formally admitted to the bar.
His legal brethren and the State at large were not long in discovering in him the possession of those high qualities of brain and character which have not only placed him at the very front of the profession in his own State, but have also brought him distinction and influence in the counsels of the nation, and indeed made his name known beyond the sea. As a lawyer he was careful and thorough in the preparation of his cases, and although not a brilliant trial lawyer yet he was a strong one, and had the habit of securing verdicts, which after all is the main thing. He was always a Democrat, and while taking a great interest in the political and in all other State interests, George Gray never in his life sought office. But his party, appreciating his qualifications for service and leadership, often urged his candidacy, but it was not until 1879, when for sixteen years he had been before the public as a lawyer, and active in the counsels and battles of the party, that he consented to take at the hands of Governor John W. Hall the office of Attorney-General for the State. His able conduct of that position as he followed the ambulatory court throughout the State, more than ever brought him into prominence as a lawyer, while his kindly methods deservedly attached to him hosts of admirers and friends of all political views, who with flattering unanimity demanded his reappointment by Governor Charles C. Stockley, which was done.
Mr. Bayard entered President Cleveland's Cabinet as Secretaryof State in 1885, and the Democracy of Delaware instinctively turned to Mr. Gray as the most fit successor to his mantle of leadership in State and Senate, and accordingly on March 16th of that year the General Assembly chose him to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Bayard's term, and at the end of that period re-elected him for the full term of six years, and again in 1893 for six years more. During his fourteen years' career in that great forum many weighty questions of national and several of international importance were debated and decided, and Senator Gray at length took his station among the few leading spirits who through their learning, wisdom and force of character shaped the legislation and policies of those years. He warmly supported the International Arbitration Treaty, that beneficent principle which is ever gathering force, to bring at last the day "when the war-drum will throb no longer and the battle-flags be furled in the Parliament of Man." His arraignment of the Election Bill of President Harrison was very forcible. The strong hatred of war, which he shared with President McKinley, led him to give his adherence to the latter's reluctance to call a halt in Spain's unparalleled brutality towards Cuba. His final action as a member of the Peace Commission which met at Paris after the close of the war with Spain displays the frankness and the high moral courage of the man. What heightens the quality of this courageous act is the further fact that it was done in the very teeth of the sentiments of his own party leaders and press everywhere denouncing that course as imperialistic. He had at first opposed the retention by the United States of the Philippines, but when convinced of the wisdom of that course withdrew his objections and signed the treaty. At a reception given him by the Board of Trade of Wilmington, January 15, 1899, upon his return from Paris, he ably vindicated his changed attitude in an address, which is a fine specimen of robust reasoning couched in eloquent dress.
In 1898 his party was about to return him to the Senate for the fourth time, when he declined the honor in view of his expected assignment by President McKinley to one of the two additional United States Circuit Court Judgeships for the Third Circuit of which office he is now a distinguished incumbent. Although Senator Gray was one of the leaders of the opposite party, President McKinley, sharing the unbounded confidence of the whole country in his character and attainments, frequently availed himself of his wide experience and intelligent judgment in solving some of the difficult problems in statesmanship in his administration, no other Senator being summoned, it is said, to the White House for consultation oftener than Senator Gray. No loftier compliment could possibly be paid the political candor and patriotic integrity of any man. Judge Gray served on the Joint High Commission to settle certain disputes between the United States and Canada; and was a member of the International Arbitration Commission which met at the Hague in 1900; and also of the Alabama Coal Strike Commission. His frequent choice for these offices of arbitration and the uniform success of his efforts therein, prove that in addition to his high legal and other qualifications and his unquestioned integrity, he is also the possessor, to an eminent degree, of an impartial and judicial temper that peculiarly fits him for these important tasks. Evidently President Roosevelt so believed when in 1902 he conferred upon him the exalted honor of chairman of the famous Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, with wide powers to settle the perplexing questions involved in the Pennsylvania coal strike of that year, one of the gravest industrial crises that ever arose in this country.
His selection commanded the respect of the immediate parties to this bitter controversy, and of the nation at large whose comfort, not to say, indeed, whose very lives were being imperiled. And his earnest and sagacious labors contributed in a large measure to avert a colossal calamity whose measureless evils appalls the imagination to contemplate. The difficulties these arbitrators met, by reason of the complex character of the interests represented, and the acrimonious antagonisms aroused between those interests, were prodigious! The quiet, poised temper of Chairman Gray and the native honesty of his character were never better shown than in his skillful guidance of this Commission. All knew him learned and experienced in the law, and believed him fair; and this trial disclosed him also gifted with a tactful diplomacy which happily composed seemingly irreconcilable differences, and made possible the settlement which was satisfactory to the principals themselves and to the whole country. An eminent lawyer not of his political faith, declared that no other man in the country "could have brought these opposing elements to the common agreement of appending their approving signatures to the Commissioner's report. "Judge Gray wrote his own and his state's name right nobly anew on the rolls of fame that day. Since George Read signed the three great charters of the nation's freedom, and John M. Clayton accomplished "the world's first universal fact," the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, no son of Delaware has written history in characters at once so large and so enduring! On the 4th of July, 1903, he addressed at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, a large concourse of citizens composed of both mine operators and mine workmen, giving words of wise counsel to both, and declaring that their late peaceful meeting signalized a splendid advance towards the true principles that should govern the mutual relations of capital and labor.
Judge Gray has always been a strong Democrat, and from his early entrance into professional life has zealously championed the principles and candidates of his party. With one exception, viz., that Quixotic episode in his party's history, wherein, among other doctrines equally sound, their candidate solemnly proclaimed it as one of the principles of his economic system, that the Almighty had foreordained that a bushel of wheat and a 16 to 1 silver dollar should be eternally joined in indissoluble bonds of matrimony! The Senator "gagged" at that and much more like it.
He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1876, 1880, 1884 and 1892, and took a prominent part in them all. In 1880, at the Democratic National Convention in Cincinnati, and again in 1884 at Chicago, he presented the name of his distinguished fellow-citizen, Hon. Thomas F. Bayard as a candidate for President. His eloquent speech in placing Mr. Bayard in nomination at Cincinnati is quoted in full in the Chapter entitled "Great Speeches on Great Issues," in Thomas V. Cooper's "American Politics."
Judge Gray himself was honored with the nomination as the Democratic National Standard Bearer at the Convention held at St. Louis in 1904, L. Irving Handy, Esq., in an able speech pursuant to the unanimous instructions of the Democratic State Convention at Dover June 8, 1904, offering his name for the suffrages of the convention. Beyond doubt, his candidacy would have saved the party the inglorious Waterloo they met under the banner of the feeble "sage of Esopus." Mr. Gray was married in 1870 to Harriet, daughter of Charles H. Black, M. D., of New Castle, Delaware. Two daughters and three sons were born to them. May 26, 1880, Mrs. Gray suddenly died. August 8, 1882, Judge Gray married Margaret J. Black, the sister of his first wife.
[History of the State of Delaware by Henry C. Conrad, Volume III, Published by the Author, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
MRS. KATE WILLIS GRIGSBY. 60971
Wife of Beverley P. Grigsby.
Descendant of John Willis.
- Daughter of Richard Short Willis (1828-99) and Narcissa Worsham (1821-92), his wife.
- Granddaughter of Short Adams Willis (1783-1860) and Mary Rich (1788-1860), his wife. Gr-granddaughter of John Willis and Ann Short, his wife, m. 1768.
John Willis (1745-1817) was a private in a battalion of Maryland militia, raised to reinforce the Continental army, 1781. He was born and died in Delaware. Delaware Women's College through September 15, 1914 (opening year) plus the 1919 graduation is transcribed.
[Source: Lineage Book, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume LXI 1907. Washington DC 1922.]
Franklin M. Harris
FRANKLIN MENDENHALL HARRIS, Philadelphia, Pa., son of Franklin Mendenhall and Anna Maria (Atkinson) Harris, was born in Philadelphia, December 25, 1839.
His great-grandfather, Samuel Harris, was born in Delaware in 1743; of the date of his death no record is extant. He was a soldier in the patriot army, in the Revolutionary war. Joseph Harris, son of Samuel Harris, was also a native of Delaware, born in 1795, died May 16, 1868. He fought for his country in the war of 1812. In 1817 he married Jane Jaquette. Franklin Mendenhall Harris, the elder, their son, was born in Delaware, July 1, 1818; he died November 27, 1839, at Galveston, Tex., at the early age of twenty-one, leaving a young wife, Anna Maria Atkinson, to whom he was married October 21, 1838. His son and namesake was born nearly a month after his untimely death.
Franklin M. Harris, 2, was educated in the public schools of his native city, so justly admired for the thorough and practical training they afford. He evinced early in life a decided talent, as well as a strong inclination, for business, and while scarcely beyond boyhood, became interested in building, and began to take part in the rapidly advancing improvements of the city. Apt in affairs, honest and persevering, Mr. Harris's success appeared from the first to be a foregone conclusion. His career was, however, interrupted at an early stage by the war of the Rebellion; patriotism impelled him to volunteer for the defense of his country's flag, and at the very beginning of the conflict, he enlisted in the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, for the three months' service, and was mustered in as corporal, April L4, 1861. His term expired in August of the same year, after which he re-enlisted in the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was mustered in as sergeant of Company A; on May 5, 1862, he was promoted to first sergeant, and in October of the same year, received his commission as second lieutenant, his next promotion, November 14, 1862, was to a first lieutenant; and this rank he held until honorably discharged on account of disabilities contracted in the service. Lieutenant Harris returned to his home with an enviable record as a brave and faithful soldier, after having taken part in the engagements at West Point, Gaines' Mill, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, Fredericksburg, Franklin's Crossing, Chancellorsville, Mary's Heights, Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station and Mine Run.
At the close of this memorable period of service, Mr. Harris resumed his activities in the building business, and set vigorously to work to recover his lost ground. He undertook some of the most extensive building operations in the city, and his business increasing in a short time to very large proportions, he established the present firm of Franklin M. Harris & Co., of which he is senior partner. Since he first engaged in business, Mr. Harris has had no strikes nor any difficulties with his employees, because he has always been care fully to give them their just dues. He has at times employed thousands of mechanics of all trades; and the confidence with which he is regarded is proved by the fact that many of the men now in his employ have worked for him for more than thirty-five years since 1889, the year in which the firm of Franklin M. Harris & Co. was organized, the business has made rapid advances, the operations of the firm reaching into the surrounding country, many miles from Philadelphia; the firm has been entrusted with some of the largest contracts in this and neighboring cities.
Mr. Harris has for nine years been a member of the City Council, Select branch, having been elected first in 1889. He represents the Thirty-second ward, a fine up-town section of the city, whose many elegant and healthful neighborhoods bear testimony to his vigilant and judicious care for the interests of his constituents. For his perseverance and success in obtaining for his ward its full share of appropriations for improvements, Mr. Harris has been jocosely styled "the watch-dog of the departments." Nor has his interest been confined within the narrow limits of his own ward; he has eagerly promoted the advancement of Philadelphia by all material improvements, his will and ability to do so having been recognized by his appointment as a member of many important committees, especially such as were appointed to make investigations, or to take charge of improvements requiring mechanical skill for their execution. His enthusiasm for public works, his experience in building on a large scale, and his thorough knowledge of mechanics have made him an important and useful member of the Public Buildings Commission. He is also chairman of Council's Committee on Railroads, and a member of the committees on finance, schools, electrical boilers, inspection, Fairmount Park and Soldiers' Monuments. He is president of the Master Bricklayers' Company, the second organization of its kind, in point of age, in the United States; ex-president of the Master Builders' Exchange; and a member of many fraternal organizations.
Franklin M. Harris was married in Philadelphia, Pa., on September 1, 1861, to Mary S. daughter of Frederick W. and Rosanna P. Young of Philadelphia. Their children are: I. Franklin M. Harris, Jr.; II. Mary Howard Harris (Mrs. Lewis A. Smith).
[History of the State of Delaware, Vol. 1 1899, Publishers: J. M. Runk & Co., Chambersburg, PA., submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
REV. PHINEAS LAMB.
One of the best known and most generally loved citizens of Richmond and vicinity was Rev. Phineas Lamb, whose whole life was passed in this immediate section of Wayne county. From his youth he seemed to be of a serious, deeply religious nature, and, as he grew older, the meaning and responsibilities of life wore a yet graver aspect for him. He was thoroughly earnest and sincere in all his thoughts, words and deeds, and his noble, manly life has proved an inspiration to many of his old friends and associates. Though he has passed to his reward, the influence of his conscientious, just career, his kindly, generous heart and sympathetic manner abide.
A son of Thomas and Sarah (Smith) Lamb, and brother of Isaac Lamb, a well known resident of Wayne county, the subject of this sketch was born on the old family homestead, two and a half miles northwest of Richmond, September 5, 1824. His boyhood was passed in the usual active labors common to frontier life in those days, and when quite young he was competent to manage a farm. He continued to dwell on the parental farm until 1875, when he took up his abode in the western part of Richmond and gave his attention to gardening. There he was still living at the time of his death, January 26, 1887, when he was in his sixty-third year. For many years he had been a licensed minister in the Methodist Episcopal denomination and was very active in the work of the church. On numerous occasions he occu-
pied the pulpit, and for years he served as a class-leader, superintendent of the Sunday-school and in other official positions in the West Richmond church. He had been reared in the faith of the Society of Friends, but, after studying the gospel and the doctrines of various churches, he came to the conclusion that none surpassed in beauty, simplicity and the amount of good accomplished in the elevation of the world that of the Methodists, and he accordingly enlisted in its wonderful army of communicants. As would be expected of such a man, true in all his relations to his fellows, he was loyal to his duties as a citizen of this great commonwealth, and used his franchise in favor of all noble principles and upright candidates for public office. He was a Republican in national affairs, while in local matters he voted for the man rather than for the party.
On the 26th of November, 1846, a marriage ceremony united the destinies of Rev. Mr. Lamb and Miss Sarah Jones. Five children were born to this estimable couple, namely: Mary, who is the wife of James Bryant, of West Richmond; Rebecca, who married Henry Owens, also of West Richmond; Edmond, also a citizen of Richmond; Ruth, who became the wife of James Duke, and lives in this city; and Albert, who lives on a part of the old family homestead. Mrs. Lamb, who survives her husband, is still a resident of West Richmond, where she has a host of sincere friends and well-wishers. She was born January 4, 1824. near Centerville, Wayne county, being next to the youngest of nine children, whose parents were Edmond and Ruth (Jarrett) Jones. Five of the number were sons, and three were born in Virginia, while the other six were natives of this county. Mr. Jones was one of the pioneers of Centerville, his farm being situated four miles south of that place, formerly the county seat of this county. He was a successful agriculturist and a man of considerable influence in his community. Politically he was a Democrat and for a score of years he served as a justice of the peace. In his religious faith he was a Baptist, and died, as he had lived, a sincere, trusting Christian. Though nearly a quarter of a century has elapsed since his death, in 1875, he is kindly remembered by many of his old acquaintances and friends of former years.
See William Usselinx and Peter Minuit below.
The Founding Fathers: Delaware
Read's mother was the daughter of a Welsh planter, and his Dublin-born father a landholder of means. Soon after George's birth in 1733 near the village of North East in Cecil County, MD, his family moved to New Castle, DE, where the youth, who was one of six sons, grew up. He attended school at Chester, PA, and Rev. Francis Alison's academy at New London, PA, and about the age of 15 he began reading with a Philadelphia lawyer.
In 1753 Read was admitted to the bar and began to practice. The next year, he journeyed back to New Castle, hung out his shingle, and before long enlisted a clientele that extended into Maryland. During this period he resided in New Castle but maintained Stonum a country retreat near the city. In 1763 he wed Gertrude Ross Till, the widowed sister of George Ross, like Read a future signer of the Declaration of Independence. She bore four sons and a daughter.
While crown attorney general (1763-74) for the Three Lower Counties (present Delaware), Read protested against the Stamp Act. In 1765 he began a career in the colonial legislature that lasted more than a decade. A moderate Whig, he supported nonimportation measures and dignified protests. His attendance at the Continental Congress (1774-77) was irregular. Like his friend John Dickinson, he was willing to protect colonial rights but was wary of extremism. He voted against independence on July 2, 1776, the only signer of the Declaration to do so, apparently either bowing to the strong Tory sentiment in Delaware, or believing reconciliation with Britain was still possible.
That same year, Read gave priority to state responsibilities. He presided over the Delaware constitutional convention, in which he chaired the drafting committee, and began a term as speaker of the legislative council, which in effect made him vice president of the state. When the British took Wilmington the next fall, they captured the president, a resident of the city. At first, because Read was away in Congress, Thomas McKean, speaker of the lower house, took over as acting president. But in November, after barely escaping from the British himself while he and his family were en route to Dover from Philadelphia, newly occupied by the redcoats, Read assumed the office and held it until the spring of 1778. Back in the legislative council, in 1779 he drafted the act directing Delaware congressional delegates to sign the Articles of Confederation.
During 1779, in poor health, Read resigned from the legislative council, refused reelection to Congress, and began a period of inactivity. During the years 1782-88, he again sat on the council and concurrently held the position of judge of the court of appeals in admiralty cases.
Meantime, in 1784, Read had served on a commission that adjusted New York-Massachusetts land claims. In 1786 he attended the Annapolis Convention. The next year, he participated in the Constitutional Convention, where he missed few if any sessions and championed the rights of the small states. Otherwise, he adopted a Hamiltonian stance, favoring a strong executive. He later led the ratification movement in Delaware, the first state to ratify.
In the U.S. Senate (1789-93), Read's attendance was again erratic, but when present he allied with the Federalists. He resigned to accept the post of chief justice of Delaware. He held it until his death at New Castle 5 years later, just 3 days after he celebrated his 65th birthday. His grave is there in the Immanuel Episcopal Churchyard.
[ The U. S. National Archives & Records Administration, Delaware's Founding Fathers at www.archives.gov, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
CHARLES RIDGELY, an eminent physician of Dover, Delaware, was descended from an opulent and respectable family of Devonshire in England, a younger branch of which came to America towards the latter part of the seventeenth century, and settled on the western shore of Maryland. His immediate parents were Nicholas Ridgely, an inhabitant of Dover, and Mary Vining, widow of Benjamin Vining, who resided near the town of Salem, in West Jersey, and whose maiden name was Middleton. Their eldest son, who is the subject of this memoir, was born near Salem, January 26th 1738. His parents being in affluent circumstances, and occupying a respectable station in society, directed particular attention to the education of this son, as well as their other children. One of his first teachers was Dr. Samuel McCall, a native of Ireland, residing in Dover, a self-taught scholar, and much distinguished in his day for his mathematical knowledge. From the care of Dr. McCall he was transferred to that of David James Dove of Philadelphia, and afterwards completed his literary course in the "Academy of Philadelphia," which had been recently founded under the auspices of Dr. Franklin, and which in 1755, by an additional charter, was constituted a college. Of this institution it is believed thatyoung Ridgely was one of the earliest pupils.
In the year 1754 he entered on the study of medicine in Philadelphia, under the direction of Dr. Phineas Bond. His studies were conducted under all those advantages which the talents and learning of his preceptor, and the institutions of the city of Philadelphia then afforded; and with all that diligence and success which might have been expected from his ardent and enlightened mind. In 1758 he commenced the practice of his profession in Dover; and there he continued to reside during the remainder of his life, in very extensive medical business, in the enjoyment of a professional reputation of the highest grade, and rich in the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens.
Dr. Ridgely was not only distinguished ns a learned, skilful and popular physician; but his powerful and active mind, his liberal reading on other subjects besides those of his profession, his strict integrity and honor, and his remarkable urbanity of manners, recommended him to his fellow citizens as a suitable candidate for a variety of public stations. Accordingly, from a short time afterhis settlement in Dover until his death, he scarcely passed a year in which he did not fill some important office and frequently several of them. He was elected a member of the legislature of Delaware in 1765, and continued to be annually re-elected to the same trust, with very few intervals, until the close of his life. Several years before the revolution he was the presiding judge in Kent county, in the court of Common Pleas, and in the court of Quarter Sessions, which two courts were then held by the same judges. He was a member of the convention which formed the constitution of Delaware in 1776; and when the new government was set in operation, he was again called to the bench in one of the courts just mentioned, and continued, it is believed, to occupy that honorable station as long as he lived.
In the midst of this career of usefulness and honor, Dr. Ridgely was removed by death. In the month of August 1785, by great exposure and exertion in the discharge of his professional duties, he brought on a severe attack of bilious fever, which confined him to his bed and room for nearly three months. In the beginning of the following November, when his weakness was yet so great that he could only ride a mile or two in a carriage, he unwarily exposed himself by descending from his carriage and standing for a short time on ground more damp than he supposed. In a few hours he was seized with a peri-pneumonia notha, which terminated his important life on the 25th of that month, in the forty-eighth year of his age.
Dr. Ridgely was eminently amiable anti exemplary in all the relations of domestic life. His intercourse with his professional brethren was always marked with the most delicate honor and magnanimity. He feared no man as a rival. He honored merit wherever he found it: and he was ready to bestow praise and patronage wherever they were due. His brother physicians, as might have been expected, reciprocated his honorable treatment, and gave him an unusual share of their esteem and confidence. Perhaps no physician in Delaware ever had so large a number of respectable medical practitioners trained up under his direction as Dr. Ridgely.
Profound as his medical learning was, he by no means confined himself to that department of reading. With ancient and modern history; with the principal works of imagination and taste in his own language; and with the leading elementary works on law and government, he was familiar. It was, indeed, often a matter of wonder to his friends, how a physician, in such extensive practice as he was, could find time to read so much out of the immediate line of his profession, how he could manifest so intimate an acquaintance with the principles of law on the bench, of government in the legislative body, and of ancient and modern literature in the social circle. The true secret of the whole was that few men have been more rigid economists of time than he was, and few more methodical in their daily pursuits. When not employed in business, or occupied by company, he was seldom without a book in his hand. This habit he carried more particularly into the studies of his profession. He by no means ceased as is the case with too many physicians, to study medicine, when he entered on the practice of it. He never gave up his medical books. He regularly procured and read every new publication within his reach on this subject; and he continued to do this up to the time at which he was arrested by the disease, in the summer of 1785, from which he never fully recovered.
Dr. Ridgely had a force and versatility of talent, which rendered him eminent in every business in which he engaged. It is true that by the bedside of his patients, and in medical consultation, he appeared to peculiar advantage; but it is no less true, that, as a judge, a legislator, or a literary companion, he was scarcely less distinguished. Almost every one who had occasion to transact business with him, remarked, with how much intelligence, facility and dispatch he went through it; that nothing ever appeared further from his mind than a disposition to raise unnecessary disputes or obstacles in any concern of which he had the control; that the most perfect candor and honesty marked all his proceedings; and that his politeness and benevolence were no Jess conspicuous than the other qualities which have been mentioned.
Dr. Ridgely was a firm believer in revelation, and a decided friend to religion, as a precious gift of God, and as essential to human happiness both here and hereafter. He was a member of the Episcopal church, and much attached to that form of worship; while at the same time he was free from that bigotry, which is so apt to reign in the minds of men who have small information and narrow views. He was very attentive to the moral and religious education of his children; and often remarked that he considered mere intellectual culture, and the knowledge of books, without the discipline of the passions and of the heart, without sedulous endeavors to bring the youthful mind under the habitual influence of virtue and piety, as rather fitted to "finish off a villain," than to make a good member of society. Upon the principle implied in this maxim, it was his constant aim to train up his own family. He had a profound respect for the sacred scriptures, read them much himself, and recommended them to his children and all around him, as worthy of their diligent study.
Such was Dr. Ridgely. As a professional man, a patriot, a father of a family, and a member of civil and religious society, he filled an important and honorable space while he lived; and at his premature removal left behind him memorials of various excellence and usefulness, which will long, very long be cherished; and which render him well worthy of being commemorated among the distinguished men of our country.-S. M.
[The Delaware Register and Farmers' Magazine, July to January, 1839, by William Huffington, Dover, Delaware, 1839, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]
The first American Rodney was William Rodeney, who was born in England in 1652, and came to America with William Penn in 1682. He was a direct descendant of the ancient English family of de Rodeney, his ancestor being Sir Walter Rodeney, born A. D. 1100. The earliest record of the family is found in an ancient book belonging to the Cathedral of Wells, in which the name of de Rodeney is mentioned in connection with the founding of that church three hundred years before the Norman Conquest. The Rodeneys were prominent military men in England. William Rodeney, the first, was six times a member of the Delaware Assembly under the Penn government, and held other offices of trust. His death occurred in 1708, and he left a large landed estate, which subsequently went to his grandson Caesar Rodney, the Signer.
. . . related information:
OTHER BRANCHES OF RODNEY FAMILY.
In another line of the Rodney family, descendants of William Rodney, born in 1689, the eldest son of the first William Rodeney, appears the name of several Rodneys who have figured prominently in State affairs. Daniel Rodney, who served as Governor of the State from 1814 to 1817, was a grandson of William Rodeney the second. Daniel Rodney was born in Lewes, September 10, 1764, and spent his entire life there. He was an active merchant, served in both branches of the General Assembly, was twice elected to the National House of Representatives, and for a few months, in 1826 and 1827, served by appointment, as a member of the United States Senate. He was the father of a large family.
George B. Rodney, son of Governor Daniel Rodney, born April 2, 1803, was educated at Princeton College, studied law and was admitted to the Bar at Easton, Pennsylvania; he afterwards returned to his native county of Sussex where he served from 1826 to 1830 as Register in Chancery and Clerk of the Orphan's Court. After retiring from that office, he went to New Castle where he resided ever afterwards, and where he was always recognized as a leading and influential member of the Bar. He served two terms in the National House of Representatives from 1840 to 1844 and died at New Castle June 17, 1883.
John H. Rodney, a son of the above George B. Rodney and a grandson of Governor Daniel Rodney, was born in New Castle June 18, 1839. After studying law with his father, he was admitted to the Bar of New Castle County in 1862, and since that time he has been actively engaged in the practice of the law, ranking as one of the ablest of the lawyers of the State, and, like his father, is recognized as an authority upon questions of Court practice. For many years he was attorney for the Levy Court Commissioners, proving a safe and learned counselor. He has always made his home in New Castle, where he has taken a leading part in public affairs, but since the removal of the court house to Wilmington, he has had his office in the latter city.
John H. Rodney, Jr., born November 9, 1876, son of the above John H. Rodney, is also a member of the New Castle Bar, having been admitted in 1902. He has his office with his father, in Wilmington, and lives at New Castle. The youngest member of the New Castle County Bar is Richard Seymour Rodney, youngest son of John H. Rodney, admitted in 1906.
Caleb Rodney, born April 29, 1767, was another grandson of William Rodney, the second; like his brother, Governor Daniel Rodney, he was a life-long resident of Lewes, and engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was always a leading man in public affairs. He was four times elected to the State Senate and in 1821 was elected Speaker of the Senate, and as such, succeeded to the Governorship in April, 1822, on the death of Governor John Collins. He served as Governor for the unexpired term, until January, 1823. He was a member of the State House of Representatives for ten years. He died at Lewes April 29, 1840, and his remains lie buried in the graveyard adjoining St. Peter's Episcopal Church in that town.
Note, there are additional Rodney bios at the county pages.
Caesar Rodney (the Signer) was born October 7, 1728, near Dover. He was the son of Caesar Rodney and Elizabeth (Crawford), and inherited, as the oldest son, the landed estate of his grandfather, William Rodeney. He had only limited opportunities of obtaining an education, but early showed good judgment and gave promise, in his youth, of the eventful career that afterwards befell him. He was chosen high sheriff in 1758, and four years later served as a member of the State Assembly. He was closely allied in all of his public life with Thomas McKean and George Read. With them he framed the address to the king thanking him for the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. In 1762 he served with McKean in revising and compiling the laws of the Province, and three years later served with McKean in the Stamp Act Congress.
From 1766 to 1769 Rodney was an active member of the State Assembly, and voted at that early day against the importation of slaves into the Province. For three years preceding the Revolution he served as a member of the Committee of Correspondence, an organization of the leading men of that time who opposed the oppression shown by the English government toward the Colonies. In 1774, '75 and '76 he served as a member of the Continental Congress, and during part of that time was Speaker of the Delaware Assembly and brigadier general in the Continental army.
During the war he was a firm friend of General Washington and in close correspondence with him. By his vote Rodney was able to give the vote of Delaware in favor of the Declaration of Independence. The three delegates in Congress at that time from Delaware were Rodney, McKean and Read. The latter hesitated about voting for the Declaration, hoping that the Colonies might in some way have their wrongs righted without separating from the mother country. McKean, in his vigorous way, was for the Declaration. Rodney was absent, but McKean dispatched a messenger for him, who found him at his farm near Dover, and from there he came by horse in great haste, reaching Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, in time to record his vote for the famous Declaration. His vote and McKean 's represented a majority of the delegates from Delaware, and in that way the vote of Delaware was cast, with the twelve other Colonies, in favor of the Declaration.
When Howe landed at the Head of Elk, in August, 1777, Rodney was placed in charge of the Delaware State Militia, and guarded the State against invasion. In 1778 Caesar Rodney was elected President of Delaware State, serving the full constitutional term. After his retirement from the Presidency he was elected to the State Council and served as Speaker in 1784. He died from a cancerous affection on June 26, 1784, while yet a comparatively young man. For fidelity to duty, for high sense of patriotism, and for unwavering service to his State, no man has excelled Caesar Rodney. He never married. His brother Thomas Rodney, a most worthy man, was the only Rodney in this line who left a male descendant.
William Rodeney, the eldest son of William Rodeney, the first, was born in 1689, seven years after his father settled in Delaware. He married in 1711. Two sons were born of the marriage, Caesar and John. Caesar, the first, was named for his great-grandfather. Sir Thomas Caesar, a merchant of London, whose daughter, Alice Caesar, was the mother of William Rodeney, the first American settler. Caesar, the first, was the youngest of eight children, and was born in 1707. He married Elizabeth Crawford, daughter of Rev. Thomas Crawford, one of the earliest rectors of the Episcopal Church at Dover. He died in 1745.
Nathaniel B. Smithers
Nathaniel Barratt Smithers was born in Dover, October 8, 1818. Both his father and grandfather were named Nathaniel, and both held important offices in Kent County. His mother was Susan Fisher Barratt, a granddaughter of Philip Barratt, on whose land the revered Barratt's Chapel was built. After a preparatory education obtained at Dover and at West Nottingham, Maryland, he entered Lafayette College at sixteen years of age and graduated there in 1836. He afterwards attended the law school of Judge Reed at Carlisle and was admitted to the bar there in 1840. A year later he began the practice of law at Dover.
Possessing a remarkably studious disposition he applied himself with great diligence to the study of legal principles. With clear perception, good judgment, and a remarkable memory, he soon impressed the court and community as a man of strong intellectuality and in a few years was recognized as one of the leaders of the State. His personal inclination was towards a life of quiet study. He disliked the strife and tumult of the forum. If his lot had been cast in a larger field, where he would have been forced out of his retirement, his talents would have necessarily attracted wide attention. Living the quiet, sheltered life that he did, the rare ability he possessed was known to but few.
In early days he was a Whig in politics. In 1860 he joined the Republican party and was a delegate to the National Convention that nominated Lincoln for President. As a political speaker he was strong and convincing. On the election of Governor Cannon in 1862, he became Secretary of State, but served less than a year, resigning that office to take a seat in Congress, to which he had been elected at a special election in November, 1863. He served but one term in Congress, being defeated for re-election, but during his incumbency of that high office he showed the same rare ability that his friends at home always accorded him, and his associates at Washington were impressed with his familiarity with the great questions of state that were then occupying public attention.
He never afterwards held public office until the winter of 1895, when on the election of Joshua H. Marvil to the governorship he was prevailed upon to accept the office of Secretary of State, but the death of the Governor three months later terminated his tenure of that office. During the whole of his active professional life the affairs of the State were in the control of his political opponents. If it had been otherwise, in all probability he would have been named for high judicial position, for which he possessed unusual qualifications.
Socially Mr. Smithers was most entertaining. Those of his own generation are gone, but some are still left who remember the little office on the south side of Dover green where for so many years Mr. Smithers took pleasure in reviewing current events with casual visitors, or where the younger members of the bar were always welcome to discuss with him some mooted point of law After a visit to him there was a feeling that one had been in touch with greatness.
His home life was ideal. His only living descendant is a grandson, who bears his name. Four children graced his home, two of whom died in infancy. A daughter, Sadie, very like her father in temperament and characteristics, died as she was budding into womanhood. A son, Nathaniel Barratt Smithers, Jr., studied law with the father, and was admitted to the Kent County Bar in 1887. The son died at the age of thirty. Nathaniel B. Smithers was a man of deep religious convictions. In his later life he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church. At his death, on January 16, 1896, he left a widow, Mary E. Smithers, to survive him. She was the daughter of William Townsend, of Frederica, and a woman of superior character.
William Usselinx and Peter Minuit
Historical and Biographical Papers Vol. 1
Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware III
Some Account of William Usselinx and Peter Minuit,
Two individuals who were instrumental in establishing the first permanent colony in Delaware
By Joseph J. Mickley
The Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington, 1881
Transcribed by Colleen Breeden
The following paper was read before the Historical Society of Delaware at its annual meeting, December 10, 1874. Various circumstances have delayed its publication until the present time, but without at all impairing its value as a historical contribution.
An obituary notice of the author, extracted from a Philadelphia newspaper, will be found interesting.
Joseph J. Mickley*
*Died February 15, 1878
Mr. Mickley was born in Lehigh County, of "Pennsylvania Dutch" stock, on March 24, 1799. Sixty years ago he came to this city and learned piano-making. Later he engaged in this business on his own account, and was so employed until 1869. Many years since he began collecting curious coins of all nations, and in time had the most valuable collection in the United States. In 1867 he was robbed of sixteen thousand dollars' worth of coins, and a short time afterwards he sold the rest of his collection for a like sum.
Two years later he went to Europe, whither his fame as an antiquarian had preceded him, and was warmly received there. He remained abroad three years, travelling through all parts of England and the Continent. While in Europe he perfected himself in the Swedish language, and became deeply interested in books and manuscripts bearing upon the early Swedish settlements in America. In addition to his collection of coins, Mr. Mickley possessed a large library of rare and curious books in many languages. He had a number of very old directories of Philadelphia and other
cities, containing the names and residences of Washington, Jefferson, and other distinguished Revolutionary patriots. He had also many volumes relating to the history of Pennsylvania, and at the time of his death was translating a Swedish manuscript upon the same subject, in anticipation of publishing a work upon the early annals of the State. He was an acknowledged musical critic, and was said to be the best mender of musical instruments in the United States.
Ole Bull was his intimate friend, and his house was for many years the resort of antiquarians, musicians, and historians from all parts of the world. It was he who discovered that the violin which Ole Bull had bought for a Gaspar Desala was a counterfeit. Among his musical treasures was an autograph composition of Beethoven. Besides being extensively acquainted with European history and literature, Mr. Mickley could speak fluently French, German, and Swedish. He was very simple in his ways, and, while firm in his convictions and keen in his judgment of men, he was singularly gentle and lovable. Mr. Mickley was the first president of the Numismatic Society, and a well-known member of both the Franklin Institute and the Pennsylvania Historical Society.
Some Account of
William Usselinx and Peter Minuit
Gentlemen of the Historical Society:
William Usselinx, a native of Antwerp, in Brabant, presented the first idea of establishing a trading company to this country and of planting a colony in it. He had travelled several years in Spain, Portugal, and the Azores Islands, where he became acquainted with the profitable commerce carried on between those countries and America, or as it was then called, West India. After his return to Holland, in the year 1591, he proposed to different persons, principally merchants, a plan to establish a general trading company, to trade to America, from which a great benefit could be derived by the nation, as well as by individuals.
In the year 1600 he presented his plan, in writing, to the States-General of Holland, many cities, and private persons,
which was approved of. He labored diligently in forming a company. Prince Maurice, who had seen and heard Usselinx on the subject, became interested in it, and by his advice Usselinx travelled through Holland to make his scheme known, but it seems he could not rouse the slow inhabitant, for he said, "The people could not be awakened from their sleep." After staying one year in Amsterdam, he presented a petition urging the consideration of his plan, but without a favorable result.
In the year 1616 he sent a petition to the States-General of Holland and West Friesland, in which he offered to prove the following five points:
1. That through such a West India Company the United Netherlands could be strengthened and be better secured against the King of Spain than through all their revenues.
2. That the country could expect more treasures and a more extensive trade from India than Spain, in case we continue in peace with the King of Spain.
3. That in case we should become involved in war with the King of Spain, we could, through the means which we might acquire, not only retain but take places now in his possession, or render them altogether fruitless to him.
4. That money could be collected to carry on this work properly without weakening or reducing the regular trade in the least, even if the sum should amount to ten millions.
5. That this work should not only prove a benefit to merchants, mechanics, and seafaring people, but that each and every inhabitant should derive an advantage from it.
After many pressing solicitation this petition was finally permitted to be read in April, 1617, about one year after it
had been presented. By having devoted most of his time to this his favorite scheme, and meeting only with disappointments, Usselinx had become very much embarrassed in his private affairs, for in the year 1618 sureté du corps was granted to him, so that he was allowed to travel through Holland without being arrested by his creditors. Notwithstanding all these disappointments and the astonishing tardiness of the Hollanders, the indefatigable Usselinx was not yet discouraged, but labored assiduously, so that, after much perseverance and anxiety, he finally succeeded in forming the so much desired "Holland West India Trading Company." A charter was granted to this company on the 3d of June, 1621; and through the means of this company a permanent settlement was founded at New Amsterdam, on the Island of Manhattan, now New York.
The troubles of poor Usselinx had not yet ended, his patience was still further put to the test, for, after frequent urgings to be remunerated for his services, he had the mortification that not only no attention was paid to his demands, but that even his acts were unfavorably criticized. At this he lost his patience and made use of the following language:
"Crackbrained and overwise pretenders, who think that which they cannot comprehend in their crazy heads is not to be found in nature, even if they don't know what has passed in this affair and what my intentions may have been, are yet so impertinent not only to slander the good work and my propositions, but even dare to accuse persons of high rank and intelligence of inconsiderateness and imprudence, because they give me a hearing and approve of my propositions."
Inasmuch as Usselinx had spent many years of his time in forming this company, to the injury of his private affairs, and learning that he was not rewarded for his services, the far-seeing Prince Maurice most earnestly urged a settlement of his claim. In a letter to the States-General of the United Netherlands, dated August the 30th, 1622, he says,--
"Usselinx has during a number of years employed much of his time in laboring faithfully to promote and establish the West India Company, in which he has rendered great and useful services, and still continues in it with the same zeal, for which he justly deserves to be properly rewarded. Therefore it is our desire that your High Mightinesses consider well his former and future services, and satisfy his just claim. Do not lose sight of him, do not let him go from here, for that may prove dangerous."
This judicious advice was also disregarded, for, after frequent solicitations, the States-General positively refused to settle his claim on the 4th of July, 1623, and referred him to the managers of the West India Company, with a letter dated Hague, August 25, 1623, in which they say,--
"With this we send you a summary relation from Usselinx to our deputies, and those of the cities of Holland and Zealand, in regard to the West India Company, which has several times been well considered by us. Inasmuch as we find in it his zeal and affection for the continuance of the said company, and as he is still inclined to remain, willing to give and explain the knowledge he has acquired by long experience, therefore we have found it proper, for the sake of the public good, to recommend the said Usselinx most cordially, and beg you, in the most friendly and earnest
manner, that you will examine and consider everything favorably, and according as you find him worthy of his services make a suitable disposition."
Usselinx did not deliver this letter, nor his summary relation, for certain reasons. He says, "Because the managers had not yet met, and it did not suit me to wait any longer, and because the managers or company did not owe me, but their High Mightiness the Lords States-General themselves owed me for my services. Besides, I noticed much jealously in some of the members, so that I could not expect as much good from them as I had imagined, particularly as I now perceived how much my good advice and warnings were opposed, and that the evil, pernicious, and fruitless practice would be continued. I had, therefore, little hope that the good and useful which I had intended to present would be agreeable or be received by them.
"For these reasons I finally resolved not to trouble myself any more about the company, and, after giving due notice, left them and the country to try my luck elsewhere out of the country."
Disappointed, poor, and vexed at the ingratitude of the Hollanders, Usselinx left Holland, either towards the close of the year 1623 or early in 1624, and went to Sweden, and there he made a proposition, through the celebrated Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, to the great King Gustavus Adolphus to establish a "Swedish Trading Company." That great and good monarch received Usselinx in the kindest manner,--with open arms, as it were. His proposition was immediately taken into consideration, and acted upon in a manifest, or letters patent, consisting of twelve
articles, dated Gottenburg, November 10, 1624, to establish a general trading company to Africa, Asia, America, and Magellanicum.
Usselinx pointed out the advantages to be derived from this enterprise to the nation and individuals, and stated that there were thousands of miles of land in America where no Spaniard had ever been, with a fertile soil, healthy atmosphere, and a good climate, where their superfluous goods could be sent, and in return goods be received from there, thereby establishing a trade beneficial to both countries. "But, above all, it must be truly said that the most important object at which all pious Christians should aim, is that a knowledge of and friendship with so many different nations must serve most powerfully to the honor of God, which is effected partly by preaching the beatifying word of our Lord Jesus Christ to those nations who have hitherto lived in blindness, idolatry, and wickedness, so that they will be brought to the light of truth and eternal salvation. In those countries where trade had hitherto been carried on, the natives, for want of a mild government, had been in a great part extirpated, and those that remained so much oppressed that life had become a burden to them."
Therefore, if a friendly course is pursued towards the people, which "shall and must be," then in course of time it would tend to civilization and polity, and finally bring them to the Christian religion, which would undoubtedly become a great advantage to both parties.
Slaves were not to be introduced, because they cost much, work reluctantly, require nothing from mechanics, as they go almost without clothes, and through ill treat-
ment soon die; whereas the people from different parts of Europe, being free, intelligent, and industrious, have wives and children, require all kinds of merchandise and mechanics, which would increase commerce; consequently much more would be gained by employing free people, for from slaves there would be no gain, except their labor.
After the publication of the manifest, Gustavus Adolphus gave Usselinx power and permission, in a letter dated Stockholm, December 21, 1624, to travel through the kingdom to collect subscribers to establish a 'General Trading Company' could be established here in our kingdom. We have taken his proposition into consideration, and find it is founded and based on such good reason that we cannot disapprove of it, but see, if God gives luck, that it certainly will tend to the honor of his holy name, to our and our States' prosperity, and to our subjects' improvement and benefit."
It was also ordered that all governors of provinces, civil and military officers, and ministers of the gospel should assist Usselinx all in their power to procure subscribers among the people, high and low; all and every one who had a desire to participate in this company should voluntarily contribute, according to his means, be the amount large or small. The company was to go into operation on the1st of May, 1625, and continue to 1637,--twelve years.
To this manifest Usselinx gives a lengthy explanation in his "Utförlig Förklaring" (detailed explanation), dated
Stockholm, October 17, 1625. After refuting the slanders and falsehoods which had been circulated against his scheme, to the prejudice and damage of Sweden and the good work, he answers every objection raised against it minutely and ably, and points out the great advantage to be gained by such a company, giving as an example the immense result gained by the Spaniards, whose fleet had brought from West India into Spain, in the year 1620, the enormous amount of fourteen millions one hundred and thirty-two thousand dollars. But he did not wish to be understood that Sweden could realize in a few years that which required one hundred and thirty years for Spain to accomplish. Before the Hollanders had any intercourse with East and West India, Africa, Turkey, and Italy, they were so poor that they had scarcely enough means and power to keep their dams in order, but through trade with these different countries they had become populous, rich and powerful. To make friends of the inhabitants of the countries where trade was to be carried on was considered of the greatest importance.
"As it is proved by their history that the Spaniards have in a tyrannical manner put to death millions of innocent people in West India, and laid waste kingdoms and provinces without any benefit to them, so, if, instead of following such a cruel course, a humane policy is pursued in the intercourse with the natives,--by setting a good example, treat them kindly, and be honest in trading with them,--
then there is no doubt a great advantage, greater than the Spaniards ever had, can be obtained. In some parts the Indians are industrious, have a great desire for clothes and other necessaries from Europe, which may create a large trade.
"Tobacco is only a filthiness which gives no other use than it disturbs the brain and increases drunkenness, yet more money is spent for it than for all the spices brought from the East Indies. But at all times there is nothing to be regarded more honest and praiseworthy among all nations than to plant colonies and bring unoccupied land to usefulness."
Another charter was granted by Gustavus Adolphus, dated Stockholm, June 14, 1626, to establish the lately begun "General Trading Company." It consists of thirty-seven articles, and is principally based on that of November 10, 1624, but differs in the time for the beginning to go into operation, which is changed from 1625 to 1627, and to continue twelve consecutive years. In the thirty-third article is the following favorable account of Usselinx: "Whereas William Usselinx, born in Antwerp, Brabant, has spent the most of his time in investigating the condition of the above-named countries, and, according to the testimony of the States-General of the United Provinces, the late Prince Maurice of Orange, and several historians, that he is the first projector and beginner of the established West India Company in Holland, and has given the Lords States-General good instructions, so he has also given us, by his good advice and information, great satisfaction,--he has obligated himself to remain in our service and com-
municate faithfully and candidly everything that came to his knowledge on the subject through long experience and industry,--therefore have we, for his past and future promised services, trouble, labor, and expenses, allowed him to receive from the company one out of every thousand of all the goods and merchandise which shall be bought, traded, or sold, as long as trade continues to the countries mentioned in this charter. Thus the said company shall be obliged to pay one out of a thousand to Usselinx, his attorney or his heirs." This scheme was favorably received, the royal family subscribed to it, and the people of every rank followed eagerly.
On the 11th of January, 1628, the king issued a mandate or order that the subscribers should pay their dues o or before the 1st of May following. He said, "We have favored the South Trading Company with excellent and agreeable privileges, for the good of our kingdom and agreeable privileges, for the good of our kingdom and fatherland, as well as that of our loyal subjects, in which they, as well as ourselves, have subscribed a considerable capital. In order that the work which is now begun can be continued, the money is to be paid in certain instalments, according to the requirement of the charter; therefore we ourselves will graciously cause our dues to be paid in the treasury of the company. Herewith we command all those, of whatever rank or condition, who have subscribed, either for large or small sums, that they shall pay their dues without any further delay from this date to the 1st of May next."
After Usselinx had been several years in the service of Sweden, the king sent him with a letter of recommendation
to the States-General, to congratulate them on the great victory by the West India Company, and the capture of the rich Spanish fleet, several weeks before, under Admiral Peter Heintz. The letter is dated Stockholm, January 27, 1629:
"High and mighty, particular good friends and allies, the splendid victory with which God our Lord has blessed you and the American or West India Navigation Company, several weeks ago in India, under Admiral Peter Heintz, induces us to congratulate you herewith most heartily, and at the same time we gladly see with particular affection your lucky and good progress prosper. We would also highly recommend the bearer of this letter, the honest and much experienced, our dear, faithful William Usselinx. Inasmuch as we have no doubt that his particular experience of the affairs and countries of West India, his acknowledged ability and industry, can be very serviceable to you in further undertaking and executing something in said places, it is therefore our friendly request that you will received the above-named Usselinx in a friendly manner, in case that if he proposes and hands you anything in such matters, if on well-grounded reason, not only willingly hear him, but advance and execute it as much as is in your power, not doubting at all that whatever he proposes or intends will be received by you, and that all such will not only tend to your benefit and welfare, but to all oppressed Christendom."*
Usselinx had a similar letter, differing only in name and title, to Prince Henry Frederick of Orange.
*The original of this letter is in the Latin language.
Although this letter was written ostensibly to congratulate the States-General and Prince Henry Frederick, yet it appears that the principal object was to induce the Hollanders to remunerate Usselinx for his services. This is corroborated by the following extract from the minutes of the resolution of the States-General of the United Netherlands on the conference of William Usselinx with their deputies, Messrs. Eck, Schaffer, and others, dated April 17, 1629, to wit:
"Whereas Messrs. Eck and other deputies have had, agreeable to the resolution of the 9th inst., a conference with William Usselinx, who arrived here from Sweden, they have again reported that the said Usselinx represents himself as the founder and promoted of the West India Company, and demands compensation and satisfaction for his good services rendered, and, on condition that after the claim has been properly settled, he offers to give further advice and explanation of such affairs of West India as he may have had an opportunity to obtain a knowledge of,
"Therefore, at a consultation on it, it was
"Resolved, That the above-named Usselinx shall go to the meeting of the Nineteen of the said West India Company, where his claim, as well as his further offer, may be duly considered.
"Signed, Cornelius Müsch."
The above resolution was not presented to the meeting of the Nineteen at that time, because Usselinx, being then in the service of the King of Sweden, was obliged to depart
suddenly and travel to Prussia to meet the king on very important business, when, after several months' absence, he returned to Holland, where he had another conference with the deputies of the States-General in November, 1629, whereupon the following letter was written to the managers of the company by the States-General, dated November 17, 1629, viz:
"Mr. Usselinx has reported to us and demanded that we should compensate him for his good services rendered in promoting your dear company. As we are sure you know best how to judge of it, not doubting his good will and affection for the prosperity of the said company. In this we are strengthened by his offer, namely, that he is ready to do further services; for which reason we cannot omit to recommend the said Usselinx to you, with the request that you will reasonably and carefully consider his services rendered. Let him enjoy the fruit of his labor, listen to his proposals, and employ him in the service of the company in some situation. Upon this we depend."
It is not to be understood that Usselinx asked for a situation,--for he was then, and had been several years, in the employment of the King of Sweden and well satisfied with his situation,--he merely meant that he would give them further advice and information, on condition that they should pay him for his former services.
To the above letter the managers of the company sent the following reply to the States-General, dated Amsterdam, December 3, 1629:
"Mr. Usselinx has brought before us and desired that we would compensate him for his good services which, it is
pretended, he has rendered us to the promotion of our company. He has delivered your High Mightinesses' letter of November 17th, relating to the same; he has also verbally given us to understand that the most of his trouble and labor in forming our company he had intended to be more in the service of your High Mightinesses, or commonwealth, than in that of our company. (It has really turned out so.) In consideration that the same request had before this been refused in our meeting of the Nineteen, which will be recollected by the deputies of your High Mightinesses who were present at that meeting; and as the office of the management of our company is not here, but in Zealand, so nothing can be done by us out of it; therefore we most humbly beg your High Mightinesses will deign to excuse us, in that we cannot have anything to do with Usselinx, nor with his offer, or anything relating to the service of the company, because he does not consider it advisable to make any disclosures but in the presence of your High Mightinesses' commissioners, who might consider and judge upon as found according to their good understanding."
Usselinx then gave in to the States-General what he calls "his very last paper," after which he took his final leave from the Netherlands. This paper is dated Hague, August 15, 1630. It is very lengthy; in it he explains very minutely everything in relation to the "Holland West India Company," which he finds necessary, because it was near forty years since he had commenced laboring towards forming and promoting the said company, and as there were many new members in the government, who might
not be sufficiently acquainted with the affairs, and would have to be informed in the matter. During thirty-two years-from 1591 to 1623-he devoted so much of his time to the company, and incurred such heavy expenses, that he was obliged to sell five hundred morgen* of land at a sacrifice, by which he lost three hundred thousand florins, equal to one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. From 1614 to 1623 he devoted nearly the whole of his time to the company, which he finally saw in a very prosperous condition.
He proves clearly that he was the projector and founder of the company. He also states in the same paper that there were even a number of people who considered the company an injury to the commonwealth, and that he, Usselinx, deserved punishment for establishing it.
After this "last paper" or communication was received by the States-General, they ordered in writing,--
"That this writing or communication shall be delivered to Mr. Rantweix, who shall examine and report upon it.
"Signed, Cornelius Müsch.
"August 31, 1630."
After the report was presented, the following extraordinary resolution was given to Usselinx, also in writing, word for word:
"On hearing the report of Mr. Rantweix, it has been, after due deliberation, found, unanimously, that in case the petitioner thinks he deserves compensation for his
*Equal to one thousand acres
former pretended services, rendered in promoting the privilege of the West India Company, that he has to resort and apply to the managers of the said company. The High Mightinesses declare herewith that they can well allow that the petitioner may go where he thinks he can improve his condition.
"Signed, Cornelius Müsch.
"September 6, 1630."
To this Usselinx made the following remarks:
"In case the reader has taken pains to read my writing of August 15th understandingly, and then consider this lat decree, he will easily perceive that such a decree in reply to my writing sounds somewhat impertinent, in that my many and important services in promoting their company, which are world-wide known and have never been questioned by them, should thus be set aside unnoticed.
"Moreover, to be exiled and told to look for employment elsewhere when I never in the least had asked for any, either in writing or in any other manner, as I had then been for a number of years in an honorable situation in the service of the King of Sweden, and on this occasion the king's agent in the Netherlands."
At the suggestion of Usselinx, Gustavus Adolphus gave an extension to the charter of 1626 of fourteen articles, which included Germany in the privileges of the company. This was dated at Nuremberg, October 16, 1632; signed and sealed by Axel Oxenstierna, who said, "That the King was so much engaged at that time in the war, and that he, as the authorized ambassador in Germany, had full power to act."
Gustavus Adolphus gave his last authority to Usselinx to travel through Germany, to visit high and low, and to appoint assistants to collect subscriber. In this document the King styles him "Our now authorized Over-Director of the New South Company, our dear and faithful William Usselinx."
This document was also signed and sealed by Axel Oxenstierna, at Heilbronn, May 1, 1633, after the death of the lamented King Gustavus Adolphus, who was killed in the battle of Lutzen, November 6, 1632. A short time before the death of the king, Usselinx issued his "Mercurius Germaniæ" (particular directions for Germany). It is a very copious document; in it he points out the benefit Germany would derive from participating in this South Company, and refers to the Holland Company and Prince Maurice as a proof of its usefulness. He answers all the objections which have been made against the scheme very clearly and elaborately.
To the objection that he was too old, he replied, "I am now sixty-six years old, and as hale and strong as I was forty years ago, when I first took the Holland Company in hand in the Netherlands."
Axel Oxenstierna, in his public letter to the Germans, dated Frankfort-on-the-Main, June 26, 1633, in confirming the appointment of Usselinx as agent for Germany, calls him "the first projector of the South Company, now appointed Over-Director, the honorable our particularly beloved William Usselinx."
In the beginning the affairs of the South Company appeared to be very promising, at least as regards the means
to put it in operation, for in the year 1632 they had sixteen vessels, well fitted out, which they began to send out on expeditions; but unfortunately during those troublesome times of the Thirty Years' War navigation was very insecure, consequently the Spaniards seized and confiscated four of the company's vessels in 1632, and in 1634 the Hollanders captured five, which they, however, soon released. Upon this followed the disastrous defeat of the Swedish army in the battle of Nördlingen, August 27 of the same year, which entirely broke off the engagement with Germany in regard to the company. Usselinx then went to France to induce that government to engage in the Swedish South Company. In 1639 he attempted to form an alliance between Sweden, France, and England, as a security against Spain, and in 1640 he endeavored to interest the Hanse Towns in the same affair, but he was unsuccessful in all these schemes. In 1643 he was finally appointed Swedish agent in Holland. This is the last account I have been able to find in any document of the indefatigable and persevering William Usselinx.
While Usselinx gave the first idea to the Swedish king to establish a colony on this continent, another equally interesting man made himself known on the subject, who not only had the same idea, but really put it in practice. That man was Peter Minuit, of Wesel. He came to Holland from Wesel, where he had been a deacon in the Protestant Church.
Towards the end of the year 1624 he was appointed Director of the Council, or President of the Board, of the Holland West India Company, to reside at New Amster-
dam, on the island of Manhattan, where he arrived on the 4th of May, 1626. He remained in office until 1632, when a dispute arose between the West India Company and the patroons, in which Minuit was suspected of being in favor of the latter, in consequence of which he either resigned or was dismissed. This is not quite clear. Minuit left New Amsterdam in the ship "Eendracht" (Concord) in the same year, 1632, with a cargo of five thousand beaver-skins. After his arrival at Portsmouth he was detained, with the ship and cargo, by command of the English government, under pretence that the country where he traded to belonged to England. He was, however, soon after released, and finally arrived safe in Amsterdam, with his valuable cargo, in May, 1632. No public records have as yet been found, either in New York or Holland, relating to that period of time in which Minuit was director at New Amsterdam, excepting a deed or warrant for land to Godin & Blomaert, which land is situated on the east side of the Delaware (now Cape May). This is dated Manhattan, July 13, 1630; signed by P. Minuit and others.
Minuit's attention was after this directed to Sweden.
At the time of the death of Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632, the heir to the throne of Sweden was his daughter Christina, a little girl not quite six years of age. A guardian government was then organized, which was composed of Axel Oxenstierna and four other members. To this government Minuit offered his services to establish commerce and plant a colony in West India, or America. In a letter dated Amsterdam, June 15, 1636, he says, "As West India has been gradually occupied by the English, French, and Neth-
erlanders, so it appears to me that the Swedish government should not remain inactive. Thus, in order to spread its name in foreign countries, have I, the undersigned, been desirous to offer my services to the Swedish government,--to begin on a small scale, which, through the blessing of God, may in a short time result in something great. In the first place, I have proposed to Peter Spiring to make a voyage to Virginia's New Netherlands and other parts adjoining,--safe places, well known to me, with a very good climate,--which should be named Nova Swediæ."
Minuit's calculated outfit amounted to twenty-seven thousand four hundred florins, equal to about eleven thousand dollars, of which he offered to furnish one-half, and Spiring, either on his own account or on that of the government, should supply the other half. A ship of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and twenty-five tons, mounted with twelve guns and the necessary ammunition with twenty to twenty-five men, would be required, and the government might add twelve soldiers to it to garrison the places.
"To try to get there, the sooner the better, and procure friendly terms with the wild inhabitants, so as to induce them to collect beaver-skins during the winter; trade with them for four to five thousand skins. Thus, with a small beginning, increase the capital, so as to take more in hand afterwards."
He thought the Swedish government might grant a charter to secure the trade within the limits of Terra Nova (Newfoundland) and Florida, and also grant power to capture Spanish and Portuguese vessels. During ten years the goods of the company should be free from duty both ways, in and out.
The country being fit to raise tobacco and different kinds of grain, suitable persons should be taken along to cultivate them, raise vegetables, etc. They could also be employed as garrison. Finally, he says, "In case I were called to Sweden, everything could be better explained."
Minuit's proposition was immediately taken in hand by Axel Oxenstierna, Peter Spiring, and Claes Fleming. The Hollander, Samuel Blomaert, took it also into consideration, though a member of the Holland West India Company.
When Peter Spiring went to Holland, in the summer of 1636, with a commission from the chancellor, he agreed with Blomaert to appoint Peter Minuit to conduce the expedition. This was approved of by the government, during Spiring's visit to Sweden, in the same year (1636). On his return to Holland, in the capacity of resident Swedish minister, Spiring closed the business, in writing, with Minuit, Blomaert, and other Hollanders; they answered for one-half of the calculated expenses of twenty-four thousand riksdaler,--equal to twenty-six thousand six hundred and forty dollars,--for the expedition, while Spiring, the three Oxenstiernas for the government, and Claes Fleming furnished the other half. In February, 1637, Minuit went to Sweden to take charge of the expedition, which was fixed upon for West India; it was to be kept a profound secret, on account of the Holland West India Company.
The outfit for this expedition consisted of two ships from the South Company, the "Calmer Nyckel" and "Fogel Grip" (Key of Calmar and Bird Griffin). It left Stockholm for Gottenburg in August, 1637, proceeded towards the end of the year, by way of Holland and the south passage, to
Jamestown, in Virginia, which it reached in the latter part of March, 1638, and in the middle of April of the same year arrived on the Poutaxat, or Delaware River, which was named Nya Swerige's Elf (New Sweden's River). The place where the people first landed was called by them Paradis Udden (Paradise Point). The voyage from Stockholm to this place was accomplished in eight months. They then sailed up the river Delaware to the Minqua, which they called Christina Elf (now Christiana Creek), where Minuit bought a tract of land of the Indian chief Metatsiment, and built a fort on a place called by the Indians Hopokahacking. This fort was named, in honor of the queen, "Christina Skants" (Fort Christina), situated close to your flourishing city of Wilmington. Adjacent to this fort the industrious Swedes commenced clearing and cultivating the land, while Minuit by his prudent acts soon procured the friendship of the Indians, by which means he was enabled to carry on a successful trade with them for peltry.
At the end of July of the same year (1638) Minuit departed from New Sweden with the ships well laden, one with tobacco and the other with peltry, leaving twenty-four men behind as garrison, besides the cultivators of the soil. In the beginning of the year 1639 the ships had reached Holland, and only in June of the same year arrived safely in Gottenburg, having made the voyage from here to that place in about eleven months.
It appears Minuit either died during his return to Europe or left the Swedish service, as no further reliable account of him has as yet been discovered.
And now, in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to say that it is a great satisfaction to me to have met you here on the very ground which was bought of the Indian chief Metatsiment, and on which the first colony of civilized people was permanently established on the banks of the Delaware, two hundred and thirty-six years ago, by Peter Minuit.
NOTE-Most of the materials used in this paper were taken from original unpublished documents preserved in the libraries of Sweden, where I procured copies of them during my sojourn in that country.-J. J. M.
Son of Thomas and Maria (Alexander) Willey, was born in Delaware county, Delaware, September 14, 1836. He is a farmer in Clay township. He married Frances R., daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Coffman) Smith, in Gallia county, (OH) April 7, 1862. She was born in Mason county, West Virginia, December 16, 1840. They have five children: Edward F., born October 17, 1863; Jane T., November 9, 1865; Wesley B., February 3, 1867; Lotta A., April 1, 1871; Lizia M., September 12, 1874. They all live at home. He served three years in the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, taking part in a great many severe engagements. Postoffice address, Clipper Mills, Gallia county, Ohio.
[SOURCE: History of Gallia County:
Containing A Condensed History of the County; Biographical Sketches;
General Statistics, Miscellaneous Matters, &c; James P. Averill;
Hardesty & CO., Publishers, Chicago and Toledo. 1882. Transcribed by Kim Torp]