May 16, 1902

The terrible calamity[i] which shrouds the Antilles in mourning, has shocked the civilized world. That the city of St. Pierre, Martinique, with its 25,000 inhabitants, should be destroyed in comparatively the twinkle of the eye, is almost incomprehensible; almost too incredible for belief. Not, perhaps, since the earthquake of 1755 at Lisbon, which with the rising of the Tagus River, destroyed 60,000 persons in about five minutes, has the world been shocked with a disaster so great as that at St. Pierre. An exception may possibly be made in the Java eruption of 1880[ii]. We speak of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, synonymously. Their seismology is the same. One is parent of the other. If there were no internal fires eating out the heart of the earth, there would be no volcanoes and certainly no earthquakes. What makes the St. Pierre calamity to we, who are nearby, is its contiguity to ourselves. We, naturally, are horrified at disasters, suicides, and anything out of the ordinary course, when they occur near us more so than when they are enshrouded in the glamour of distance. The earthquake at Lisbon made the poet Goethe an infidel, and actually there are many who have been led into the same strain of thought on account of the Charleston disaster[iii] a few years ago. However, this should not be. A country formed by volcanic upheaval, is liable to earthquakes or eruptions, or both. This is almost always the case, and when these seismic disturbances occur in a country like South Carolina, the cause may be traced to a volcanic region somewhere. Truly such calamities arc to be deplored; but how are they to be prevented? There is but little warning preceding their awful visitation, and no one can know where or how to seek safety. Deplorable as they are, we must abide the consequences.

An old landmark, in the form of an aged willow tree, has been broken off on the bank along the eastern border of Lake Fanganzyki.

Mr. James Coverdale has completed his school term in Indian River Hundred, and returned to Milton. Mr. Coverdale is a valuable acquisition to Milton’s populace, both intellectually and otherwise.

The dogwood is in blossom, and really, I think I never have seen more than the production of this spring. The honeysuckle is also in evidence. Anyone who saw Prof. W. G. hearing and Miss May Welch, his niece, on last Saturday afternoon, coming into town on Prof. Fearing’s open buggy, could not but admire the beautiful combination of honeysuckle and dogwood flowers. The buggy was covered over, and they, the occupants, were enshrouded in the pretty display. Indeed, it reminded the writer of the words of “Bob” lngersoll, delivered over the dead body of his brother, Ebon Ingersoll—modified—“He (they) recline beneath a wilderness of roses.”

The Queen Anne’s railroad is having the rotten ties removed along this route, and replacing them with spruce ones. It looks from the short time the rotten ties have been doing duty, as though they are not of the “celebrated Delaware white oak variety.”

The Trust, Safe and Deposit Company, of Milton-—a branch of the Sussex company–has, in lieu of the resignation of Captain Frank Lacey, elected N. W. White as his successor. The Board is now composed of the following directors: Charles H. Atkins, Joseph L. Black, Isaac W. Nailor and N. W. White.

Mrs. Susie B. Davidson will close her school at Williams on Friday.

A nice practice and quite economical to the town (?) is the hauling of dirt off the streets. Last Saturday there were from six to eight loads of sand swept up and hauled off. In a few months the officials will hire a gang of men to haul other dirt on the streets. Of course the dirt hauled here comes from the hillsides, away from the “maddening crowd’s ignoble strife.” Its connection with Milton soil may be contaminating, and hence it is necessary to remove it. We are not making any objection; no indeed! Milton has plenty of money. “Let the baud play!”

The trees in town are in full leaf; and although the weather is decidedly cool they present an attractive appearance.

Mr. Z. B. Atkins, artistic decorator, has been at work on the parlors of the M. E. parsonage; also on the pretty building of W. T. Veasey, on Chestnut Street, and has commenced to decorate the corridors and other portions of the M. E. Church.

Mr. William Megee, machinist, of Wilmington, Del., and brother of Captain Charles Megee, of Philadelphia, and Miss May Megee, of this town, has been visiting his sister and mother, Mrs. Noah Megee, in Milton.

Mr. Asa F. Conwell and D. F. Atkins, were on Sunday elected delegates to attend the Sussex County Bible Society, which meets at Lewes on Thursday. At the aforementioned meeting $10 was raised, and Mrs. L B. Chandler made a life member of the Society.

Steven Palmore has commenced to repair the schoolhouse at Ingram’s Mill, a short distance from town.

Editor Wolfe, of the “Pilot,” appears to be attracting the attention of the editors of the county by his advocacy of the removal of the county seat to Lewes. His stand taken, in substance-that Lewes and Milton are bound together by ties of affinity and consanguinity is well chosen. “Let Rome howl!” These editors haven’t got hold of Wolfe’s trousers legs yet.

An itinerant photographer is encamped on the vacant ground near C. H. Atkins‘ store, west.

J. B. Morris and Thomas Jefferson were elected delegates on Sunday to represent the Milton M. P. Church at the Bible Convention, to be held at Lewes on Thursday.

The “Milton Times” has purchased new type, and will appear in a better dress this week than heretofore. Editor Crouch believes in catering to the public taste in the right way. Like the Yankee boy, he believes there’s go in a Milton paper, and he’ll make it go.

On Monday evening about 9 o’clock, a double team came thundering down the hill on Federal Street. The horses became unmanageable and collided with the lamp post near the barber shop of Wm. Mears. The wagon tongue was broken and other damage to the vehicle was made. The horses continued their mad run. Several men on the corner of Federal Street, seeing the situation, rushed ahead of the animals and were fortunate in turning them before they got to the corner of Federal and Union Streets. Had this not been, the consequences would doubtless have been serious. As it was, the horses were brought head to at the door or the Lewes National Bank Depository. Excitement prevailed, but no other damage than that above stated was made. The men tied up their broken wagon, and continued their journey home.

Prof. Fearing is putting paper on the interior of John Holland‘s house near the Drawbridge, and also beautifying the mansion of Mr. J. F. Conwell.

Mr. John U. Jones, a cousin of Mrs. James Jester and wife, of Washington, D. C., are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Jester. Mr. Jones is a conductor on the Pullman Palace car line between Washington and New Orleans; and visits Milton for rest and recuperation.

Kendle W. Hastings died at his home in Nanticoke Hundred, suddenly, on Saturday evening, aged 72 years, 4 months, and 23 days. Funeral services at St. Johnstown Tuesday, and interment in the cemetery nearby. Rev. John Johnson conducted the obsequies, and S. J. Wilson directed the funeral.

Angeline W. Carey, wife of Mr. Joseph Carey, died suddenly at her home near Babbit’s Ferry, on Tuesday, aged 74 years, 4 months and 2 days. Funeral at Beaver Dam Thursday morning, and interment in the cemetery nearby. Rev. Frank Holland conducted the obsequies, and S. J. Wilson conducted the funeral.

Ruth C. Walls, wife of Alfred Walls, died near Jefferson’s Cross Roads, on Monday, of consumption, aged 23 years, 5 months and 20 days. Funeral at Reynolds on Wednesday afternoon, conducted by the Rev. Frank Holland, and interment made in adjoining cemetery. S. J. Wilson funeral director.

Dr. James A. Hopkins has a pretty lot of growing wheat in Milton. ‘It is used as feed for his horses. He has a “coon” cutting it, and the “coon” cuts about as fast as a horse can eat it.[iv]


[i] The calamity referred to is the eruption of the volcano Mount Pelée at the north end of Martinique, which killed 30,000 people in the city of St. Pierre with pyroclastic flows.

[ii] The eruption of Krakatoa occurred in 1883 and consisted of a series of explosions of tremendous force; the final one caused shock waves that circulated the globe three times. About 200 Megatons of energy released by the explosions. The resulting tsunamis and pyroclastic flows killed anywhere from 37,000 to 120,000 people.

[iii] The 1886 earthquake at Charleston SC caused 60 deaths and destroyed 2,000 buildings.

[iv] This is one of the more explicit instances of racist comment found in Conner’s columns, and there is no getting around the fact that it is offensive to our sensibilities. The fact is that racism was pervasive in all three Delaware counties, and there many cases of trumped up charges as well as beatings and lynchings directed at black men over many decades. As late as the 1950’s high schools and civic organizations like the American Legion sponsored blackface entertainment – minstrel shows – for fundraising purposes.