April 10, 1903

One day last week beneath a balmy sky and under favorable circumstances, two men of Milton essayed on a fishing excursion adown the placid waters of the Broadkiln. They were no amateurs in the business. Arriving at the fishing grounds they earnestly began their sport; but success was chary with her favors, and when “Night, Sable Goddess”[i] began to darken the skies, their supply of the scaly subjects might have been counted on the fingers of one hand. Admonished by the gathering shades and the murky condition of the atmosphere they prepared to scud for home. They scudded. But somehow, or some other how, in the scudding business hey lost their char of their wisdom; and instead of making Milton, they took a survey of the drain that leads to Parker’s Bridge. A place that, by the way, needs exploring, and we have been wishing the government would make an appropriation for this purpose. For some time these fishermen pursued their course in silence, nothing breaking the monotony of the situation save the occasional note of a bullfrog, or the hum of a solitary mosquito. All at once the man in the stern of the boat exclaimed “We are off our course. The barometer is sinking.” “He! Hi! How is that!” vociferated the man in the bow. “Don’t know, but it’s a fact and it’s always my durned luck when I’m on this river after night.” It is useless for us to repeat the conversation of these two men who were hungry, and I believe, were afraid. For about the entrance to this drain was where the lifeless body of Mrs. Estella Gordy[ii] was found some time ago, and they had to pass this spot where the dead woman was found. “Say, […].” said Jim, “you ain’t afraid are you?” “No, but tell you Jim, I’m a little skittish; but you ain’t afraid are you?” “Not if you ain’t!” “But I don’t like everything; say, sing something!” “I don’t know what to sing.” “Sing we’ll be there.” Well, they sang, presumably, and charmed away any possible ghosts and arrived home, for we have talked with the since.

On the morning of April the 1st, Mr. Silas Warrington of Harbeson phoned to George Porter—the fat and portly porter of C. H. Atkins store—to hold the phone as an important communication was expected to be transmitted soon. Porter responded, “All right, I’ll be here.” In about fifteen minutes Warrington called over: “Porter are you here?” “Yes, sir” came the response. “Hold on, Porter.” “I’ll stay here, sir,” responded this end of the line. In about half an hour came another dispatch from Warrington, “Porter, I guess there is a mistake somewhere, this is the 22nd of March.”

The Broadkiln Canning Co., at Harbeson, will enlarge their building this season to have a capacity to pack other vegetables than tomatoes.

Gustavus H. Keopple will build a dwelling at Harbeson this spring.

The opening at the “Big Store,” which took place last week, was another one of these innovations that occur in Milton occasionally. The display was pretty, the design ornate, and all are pleased with the handsome appearance of Mr. Seligman’s windows, and the affability of the milliner, Miss Dean.

Dogs are plenty since Town Council has decided they shall be taxed.

Shad are scarce this season, and prices are high.

Sheriff Steele served over 70 summons in and around Milton last week, for parties to attend court. Many of these, at least the majority, is for the shooting affray that occurred at the A. M. E. Church last winter.

Mary A. Cirwithen, wife of the late Isaac Cirwithen, died at her home in Cedar Neck on Friday, of a combination of disease, aged 78 years, 5 months and 28 days. Funeral services at Slaughter M. E. Church on Monday afternoon, and interment made in the church cemetery. S. J. Wilson and Son undertakers.

Miss Maggie Ingram left the paternal home on Friday to join her affianced, to who she expects to be married in a few days.

Mr. S. J. Wilson spent two days last week in Baltimore.

Eggs are now plentiful. There were more shipped last week from Milton than for many weeks past.

Tom Van, colored, was arraigned before the mayor last week and fined $2.50 for shooting at a flock of blackbirds.

Leon A. Davis, Superintendent of Free Schools for this county, was in town on Friday. Presumably, his object was to visit the schools of the town and neighborhood.

W. E. Manship, of Denton, was the guest of his brother, Postmaster A. H. Manship, last week.

John Sockum, the hustler, has been cutting the grass from the lawns of town during the past week, ploughing gardens, boxing goods, and shipping shirts and overalls for the Milton Emporium.

Mr. Irvin Coverdale has removed from Milton to the farm of James Ellingsworth nearby.

Mr. John Coverdale has relinquished the mercantile business to his brother-in-law, and removed to the farm of Captain George E. Megee, between Milton and Harbeson.

Captain William Lank and family, of Philadelphia, Captain Kames Lank, of Camden, N. J., were in attendance at the funeral of their mother last week; as were, also, the many grandchildren of the deceased.

Last week William Maull, blacksmith, was painfully hurt by a piece of hot iron striking him near the eye. The wound is not serious.

William Conwell is the driver and salesman of the peddling wagon of Betts & Collins. The machine has commenced operation, and it will have to sell many quarts of kerosene and pounds of coffee to pay $100.00 license to the State and other legitimate expenses, and make something for the owners. But these men know their business, and while fools may comment, the good work goes on.

Prof. Fearing is making the National Bank pretty. Go and admire it.

Dr. R. B. Hopkins, who has been ill many weeks, is able to be on the street,

Joseph, the young son of Anton Neibert, was hooked by a cow on Thursday, The wound is slight.

Isaac W. Nailor has commenced work on George Atkins’ building.

It is a matter of much comment that the Milton girls are becoming brides for young men of other cities and States. Perhaps these men appreciate worth and merit when they find it. And it is supposed the young ladies do the same.

“Peaches are killed! Pears are killed! All early fruit is gone up!” Such are some of the exclamations one hears since the freeze of Saturday night, but we don’t believe it. All of the trees we have examined have young fruit, perfect and pretty, the freeze has not hurt it a particle.

At the M. E. Sunday School on Sunday, an election for officers was held for the Juvenile Missionary Society. The election resulted as follows: W. W. Wilson, president; John B. Welch, Jr., first vice-president; William Davidson, second vice-president; Laura M. Conner, secretary; Haddie B. Veasey, treasurer; the two last named are Misses. To represent Milton at the Sunday School Convention to be held at Lewes on the 16th and 17th, Miss Maggie Primrose was selected as delegate and Mrs. Virgie Mason as alternate.

Miss Hattie J. Conner is visiting Bridgeville at present.

William E. Carey, of Washington, N. J., but formerly of Milton, is visiting friends.

Miss Sallie Polk and Miss Mayme Conner were visitors at Greenwood last week.

At School Hall on Saturday evening, J. Wesley Holland, alias “The Town Mocking Bird,” gave an entertainment, and also one at the M. E. Church on Sunday evening. Both were good. The latter was the more largely patronized, because it was free.

Many hearts are beating high now; not as a result of the “old camp ground,” but “what is court going to do with it, me, or mine.”

The largest mail ever received at the Milton post office was on Monday, so the officials declare.

Council No. 2, Daughters of America, held a social at their lodge room on Tuesday evening, at which Breakwater Council No. 3 was present by invitation. Refreshments were served, sociality was indulged in, and a fine time was experience by all of the participants.

William Mears has some ashes in a bottle and also several chunks of lava in various fantastic shapes, which are kept by him as souvenirs of the eruption of Mont Pelee; also some of the native flower seed of a […]. These were sent to him by a friend, who was near the scene of the eruptions.

W. M. Reynolds has rented the store of L. S. Chandler, on Union Street, and will buy old rages, old iron, old rubber shoes, and almost anything, and will pay good prices of r the same. This is something that has been long needed in Milton, and will doubtless be remunerative to the people in enabling them to dispose of these things.

Note: This letter carries the byline “CRUSADER” but has most of the characteristics of David Conner’s work and style.


[i] Excerpt from the poem Night Thoughts, by Edward Young (1684 – 1765)

[ii] In March of 1897, the dead body of Estella Gordy, a New York City woman recently married to James M. Gordy of Sussex County, was found in the Broadkiln River. The husband was arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged for her murder.