September 24, 1909

When I see a man wearing a straw hat on a rainy day it reminds me of occurrences I witnessed in my boyhood days. There used to be a region of country to the west of Frederica known as “Black Swamp”—a wooded country—and this wood was cut and hauled to Frederica. This is the business part of the story; the laughable part was to my mind to see a man coming to town on a rainy day wearing a broad brim straw hat, and overcoat, and barefoot, and the rain trickling through his hat, and running down over his shoulders. And whenever I see a man nowadays with a straw hat on in rainy weather, I am reminded of these occurrences. But these conditions are changed now.

Thomas R. Ingram of this town, a soldier and pensioner of the Civil War, is now 73 years of age and has been twice married. He is the father of five children, ten grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. Tom thinks such service as this rendered to his country does not savor much of race suicide[i] and he should be rewarded by the government by a further increase of pension—emeritus.

Clara Starkey
Clara Starkey (ca. 1890)
Sarah Lofland
Sarah Lofland (ca. 1890)

Last week the W. C. T. U. elected the following officers: President, Miss Sallie Lofland; vice presidents, Mrs. Fannie Atkins, Mrs. Annie Welch, and Mrs. Florence Johnson; rec. secretary Mrs. Clara Starkey; treasurer, Mrs. Annie Ellingsworth.

Milton Council No. 11, Sr. O. U. A. M., whose lodge was destroyed by the recent fire, has rented the Red Men’s Hall, and will commence its regular meetings there on Wednesday evening September 22.

J. P. Davidson is rebuilding a surf boat and making a naphtha launch of it for Thomas Virden.

Tomatoes have been plentiful again during the past week, and the canneries have been compelled to run all day and far into the night except when out of cans. Growers have been hailing their tomatoes from the vicinity of Nassau, since the cannery at that place was burnt.

The damages to Mrs. Hazzard’s building done by the late fire have been repaired.

Squirrels are said to be plentiful but there is a little woods near town for them to harbor in [where] gunning is tiresome and difficult.

Rev. and Mrs. J. D. Smith returned on Wednesday from a trip to Canada. The trip was shortened beyond their expectation by the partial illness of the minister.

On Friday afternoon the Douglass White Shirt and Overall Factory was discovered to be on fire. Considerable excitement prevailed on north Union Street and in fact all over town while the whistle was blowing and the bells ringing. The fire was only slight and was soon extinguished with but little damage and the employees resumed work on the next morning.

The Milton Public Schools opened on Monday morning with the following teachers: Alexander Harrington, principal, of near Frederica; E. […] Warren, 1st assistant; Miss Lillian Aker, 2nd assistant; Mrs. Estella Bacon, primary, all of Milton; Miss Elizabeth Johnson, 3d assistant, of Millsboro.

Frederick W. Carey, son of James T. Carey, died at the home of his father, near Milton, on Wednesday morning of last week of tuberculosis, aged 36 years, 1 month and 22 days. Funeral services were held at Beaver Dam M. P. Church on Friday by the Revs. Bryan and McCready and interment made in the adjacent cemetery by S. J. Wilson & Son. He leaves besides father and mother, five brothers, Willard, Louis, Joseph, Alfred, and Charles, all of Broadkiln.

At the M. E. Church on Sunday about $225.00 was raised to partly liquidate the debt for putting in the heater last fall.

The M. E. Sunday School that has been holding its sessions of late at 9.30 a. m. has gone back to the old and favorite regime of 2 p. m., a matter which we predicted; for we cannot get the people up on Sunday morning in time to go to preaching services, let alone getting them up earlier to go to Sunday school. But if they cannot go to but one service, parents or children by all means let that one be the Sunday School.

C. G. Waples is putting an addition to his office at the railroad station.

Captain Frank Lacey is putting a back building to his property on Federal Street.

Lemuel Hartman, late of the firm of Markel & Hartman, having dissolved partnership with his financial partner, has removed with his family to Baltimore.

Of course we have to grumble about something and now it’s Magnolia Street. In order to keep from going on the hard down grade on north Union Street, the tomato haulers will cut through Broad Street or up into Mulberry Street, and thence down and through Magnolia Street, into Union and Front and so on to the lower factories. Magnolia Street is a lateral street, unoccupied by buildings, and the sidewalks are not paved. The street is bounded on each side by a morass or lagoon, and in driving these haulers are cutting the sidewalk to pieces so at present one cannot walk on them but must go to the road. This should not be allowed if it can be prevented; and some of these evenings it may be possible that one or more of these drivers may find himself in the lagoon. The write was over the street today, and from all appearances one or more wagons came near going in the evening previous. Wonder if Town Council couldn’t arrange this matter someway? It is in the jurisdiction of the burnt district. Wouldn’t a brick and cement walk on each side of the street a little higher than the street be the very thing to prevent the street from working into the lagoon?

Miss Eva Smith, one of Milton’s best milliners, has just returned from the city with a fine stock of goods for the […] trade. They are up-to-date, and of the latest fashion styles. Miss Eva by her heroic efforts is building a home deserves a […] of Milton and vicinity.[ii]

[next two paragraphs illegible] daughter Miss Nellie, Miss Williams of Washington, the guest of Mrs. Waples; and Mrs. Otis Goodwin.

J. M. Lank, trust officer of the Milton S. S. T & S. D. Co., with W. E. Tomlinson, visited Frederica last Friday.

Miss Susie Carey of Glensdale, Pa., is a Milton visitor this week.

We wish someone or more would get ready and build up the burnt portion of our town. O, how desolate it looks in the burnt locality! Who is responsible for this stagnation in business? Is a question that businessmen may well ask themselves. And a query they may possibly answer.

Addenda: By report the public schools of Milton made a poor registration on Monday morning. Less in the afternoon. Those who came, came possibly to get the books. One teacher more honest than the many said to the writer John Brooks did an injury to Sussex County we will not get over it in twenty-five years. The county is paying us for services we are not rendering. The people want their children home at this time of the year, and in defiance of all the laws of God or man they will keep him. Is he right.


[i] The concept of race suicide –i.e. the perceived low fertility rate of Anglo-Saxon women shortly before and after 1900—was brought to the attention of a broad segment of the American public in a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt on March 13, 1905. This is the second instance in which Conner alludes to the speech in the Milton News letter; the first was in his letter of August 21, 1908. Conner does not appear to take the idea of race suicide very seriously.

[ii] Eva K. Smith (1876 – 1946) is mentioned more than once, in a complimentary way, in David A. Conner’s Milton News letters. In the previous letter, Conner speaks enigmatically about an “Eva” whom he compares to the biblical “Eve.” Whether it was Eva Smith he was talking about, or his late wife (whose unknown middle name began with “E”) is not known.