State of Delaware

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The Moors


A Race of Mixed Indian and African Blood.
Milford, Del., Herald: There has been much speculation about the so called Moors living in Kent and Sussex counties, Delaware. These people are usually swarthy, black haired and black eyed, though sometimes of a fair complexion. They are mostly farmers. They have their own schools distinct from the general public school system and they associate neither with whites nor with blacks. One theory has been that they are of the Moorish race, and that their ancestors were Spanish Moors wrecked on the coast more than a century ago. Another tradition represents them as descendants of the Nanticoke Indians.

George P. Fisher, a lawyer long practicing in Delaware, writes to present what he regards as satisfactory evidence as to the origin of these people. He has been acquainted with these people all his life. Noke Norwood, a giant of the tribe, erect and black haired at 75, he knew from childhood. When Mr. Fisher became attorney general of the state he was called upon to prosecute Levin Sockum, one of the race, for selling ammunition to Isaiah Harmon, of the same race, the indictment having been found under a statute of Delaware making it a misdemeanor to sell arms or ammunition to any negro or mulatto. Harmon was a man of 20 years, with excellent Caucasian features, dark chestnut hair, rosy cheeks and hazel eyes. Mr. Fisher thought him the handsomest man in the court room. Nevertheless, Lydia Clark, a kinswoman of Harmon, testified for the state that, according to a family tradition, some ten years before the revolutionary war broke out, when she was a little girl, their ancestress, a woman of Irish birth, owning and cultivating a farm in the Indian River Hundred, Sussex county, a few miles from Lewes, bought of a slaver that was driven into Lewes creek a negro slave who professed to be a chief of one of the Congo tribes. The woman, whose name was Regua, shortly after married her slave, and her children, not being allowed to associate with the whites, intermarried with the remnant of the Nanticoke Indians, then still living in Sussex county. The witness, a very old woman, looked like an Indian of pure blood.

These people for several generations were confined principally to the southeastern part of Sussex county, but have since gone into Kent county, and even northward into New Castle county. They have always refused to associate with the colored people. Although chiefly engaged in farming, they have managed to pick up sufficient mechanical skill to build their own houses. Mr. Fisher says that they are thrifty, industrious, frugal and law abiding. He has known of but two instances where one of the race was brought into court for a violation of law. One case was that of Sockum, and the other of a man charged with attempted murder, but acquitted.
[Sioux City Journal (Iowa) July 28, 1895, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

- -1915 - - Moors Election Rights

AN ACT to Amend Chapter 56 of the Revised Statutes by providing for the Separate Classification of the People of the Moor Race In the Registration and Election Books of Sussex County.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
1627. sec. 9. That Chapter 56 of the Revised Statutes of the State the* Reused of Delaware be, and the same is, hereby amended by adding amended a new section to be known as, 1627 A. Sec. 9 A. as follows:
Registration "1627 A. Sec. 9 A: If any person, being of the race people called of people known as "Moors", and qualified to become a registered voter in Sussex County at any primary, special or general election, shall apply for the registration of his name as a qualified voter of said County, upon the days appointed for the registration of voters therein, the Registrar or alternate Registrar shall, upon request being made therefor, cause to be entered in the registration and election books, containing the names of the qualified voters of Sussex County, the word "Moor" after the name of such person so applying for registration and making the request as aforesaid."
Approved March 2, A. D. 1915.
[Laws of the State of Delaware, Monday, September 28th, A. D. 1914; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman unless otherwise indicated.

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