This in an area of much history…
I love Sussex County Delaware. I am native born, multigenerational and proud to be one of those who, as they say; “are from here”.
The earliest records of our family show we were here well before the Mayflower arrived in 1620; some our ancestors were in the early 1500’s or before; when the only records here were all the family Bibles that all family kept.
In this area, we were populated by those escaping religious persecution in Europe. This heritage has much to do with the names and character of our area. Many local ancestors fled Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, when Henry IV dethroned Richard II and the subsequent political and religious purge sent religious zealots to places out of the reach and care of England. I’ve learned that many were foragers only and did not farm or hunt, only fished, from directions they read in the Bible.
Some of these folks evolved in to local farmers, plain woodsmen, wild plant pickers and eaters, herbalists, tanners, soap makers, hunters, and under all they were missionaries in the areas of what are now Lewes, Milton, Angola, Long Neck, Broadkill, Nassau, Cool Spring, Whitesville, Quakertown and Red Mill Pond.
These individuals worshipped only God, the Christ, and read only the most original scriptures or were as they say just PLAIN… This was all deadly illegal under the British rule, except as licensed by the King. Others were burned, hung, drawn, quartered, drowned slowly and otherwise tortured to death publicly and imprisoned in terrible conditions meanwhile.
I was raised at what is now Eagle Crest Aerodrome, on what was early known as the White Farms, near Milton. I started school at Milton school then went to Lewes School and graduated 1967 from Lewes School. Since then I have lived in several areas of what we locals sometimes call “Saltwater Sussex” and what I used to call The Henlopen Quadrant; that’s the locations within 25 miles of Cape Henlopen.
The Whites, Taylors, McIntires, Potters, Fishers, Maulls, Brittinghams, and so forth were of my mother’s family and were or descended from the earliest teachers and missionaries here that I know of. Many of these early settlers established mills and mill ponds where (perhaps) America’s first manufacturing industry, that of grinding oak bark and developing it into tannin was done. This damming of the creeks to make mill power, caused our first swellings of little creeks and springs into what became larger mill ponds. Red Mill Pond was this kind of early example, as was Milton Pond, Millsboro Pond, and several smaller ones such as for instance Beaver Dam Pond, and Saw Mill Pond, and so forth As the mills were abandoned and dams burst, a number of these ponds receded and disappeared.