Purpose of Blogger on the Broadkill
This blog, which I began in the fall of 2015, is designed with two purposes. It is first a repository of source material, research documents, and audiovisual productions about the town of Milton, DE, focused around the year 1906, a repository that is steadily growing. Within the repository, there is something for the casual visitor: the Quick Tours section has a number of audiovisual presentations that are three minutes or less in duration, and the Snapshot: Milton in 1906 section provides a closer look at the town and its people at the time. There are biographical sketches and photographs (where available) of Milton people from the late 19th – early 20th century in the People section, of general interest as well as useful to the genealogical researcher. Lastly, the Milton News section provides hundreds of pages of annotated, searchable transcriptions of the Milton News letter that appeared in the Milford Chronicle of those years. These news letters have been used by every historian in the last few decades that has published research about Milton (e.g. Russ McCabe and Jane Donovan), but to my knowledge there are no on-line, searchable transcriptions of these articles anywhere on the Internet. For future researchers at any age or level of sophistication, my hope is that making these articles available on line and searchable will greatly facilitate their work.
Secondly, and of equal importance, the blog function provides a communication vehicle for interaction among myself, my collaborators, the current residents of Milton, and anyone else with an interest in the town’s past. This collaborative facility will be important in surfacing new information, such as family photographs and personal papers, from individuals scattered across the United States and the rest of the world. In fact, this collaboration has already produced previously unknown photographs of N. Wallace White and his descendants – from people in Arizona and Florida. The blog will also provide a forum for discussion, when the there is uncertainty or disagreement on a particular point of Milton history.
When I stepped into the Lydia B. Cannon Museum – the home of the Milton Historical Society – I never imagined that I would embark on an open-ended journey through decades of this small town’s experiences. My focus, from the very beginning, has been on people: their individual experiences and the collective experience of a congregation and a community. The people I researched for over a year were members of the congregation of the Milton Methodist Protestant Church (today the LBC Museum), centered around the year 1906. In that year, the first big makeover of the church building was completed. Part of that makeover was the installation of some twenty-five stained glass windows, and as with most churches, donors of significant amounts of cash were acknowledged by having their names painted on the bottom of a window.
When I asked about the people whose names are still on the windows, nobody knew who they were. Nor did anyone know where the windows were manufactured. Not one to take “We don’t know” for an answer, I set out to get the answers myself. While I managed to learn most of what I originally wanted to know, the answers begat more questions, until I was pursuing multiple lines of inquiry well beyond the original scope of the research. Keeping track of what I had learned and making it available to others for their work became very important once a critical mass of information had been gathered.
This site is a repository for all of the stories I have uncovered so far, and those yet to come. I have been fortunate in receiving the full support and cooperation of the Milton Historical Society, specifically from former director Allison Schell, Acting Director Kevin Kelly, and Patti Nicholson, Director of Volunteers, as well as the Board of Directors of the Society. This support has included unrestricted access to the Society’s collection, including hundreds of photographs and documents. I continue to receive contributions of stories and photographs from other interested parties, and I will acknowledge these wherever they are used in the blog.