June 17, 1910

The commencement exercises of the Milton Public Schools are over; the people breathe freer and the graduating class breathe freest of all. It appears that the Public Schools of Milton were too parsimonious to graduate this class without taxing the individual members of the class, and charging an admission fee to the exercises. To elucidate, it is not the admission fee that most people object to, but the picked company who are exempt from this fee. If we understand the modus operandi aright each member of the graduating class was required to pay two dollars down, for which he was allowed twenty tickets to send to his or her friends for free admission. Now we imagine the personnel of this graduating class cannot be beaten anywhere in little Delaware, and its makeup cost the parents something. Printing of invitations cost more, in fact everything costs in these days; it’s not only “the high price of living.” But it is not that to which objection is made to the admission fee, but to the discrimination. The people of the town who pay their taxes object to the school committee and their wives being admitted free. This is the bugaboo. The people—a part of them—claim that pay as much school tax ad do the school committee, and if there is admission charged to any kind of an entertainment in School hall the School Committee should be eligible to the payment of that admission as well as the rank and file of the community. While the writer is not the author if this “growl” he assents to it, and writes it as expressive of the opinion of many citizens. The teacher who are non-residents of this community have gone to their homes; and three of the teachers who have taught Milton’s schools during the part term will not be candidates for another term, Alexander Harrington the principal, Miss Elizabeth Johnson, and Miss Lillian Aker having secured positions elsewhere.

The boxes and other paraphernalia for the new post office in the Palmer Block are being put in, and to all appearances Milton will have a cozy up-to-date building. If it passes inspection by the government officer—and doubtless it will—it will be ready for occupancy by July 1st.

The pea huller has been busy during the past week and the hands employed in packing the peas have been compelled to work every evening until midnight except Thursday and Saturday to keep up with the rush.

Milton School election will be held on Saturday the 25 inst. The retiring members are J. H. Davidson, P. P. Welch, and S. L. Black. The School Board have nominated J. M. Lank, C. E. Darby, and William Nailor as their successors, subject to election by the taxpayers. Who will constitute another ticket or tickets is not yet known.

John Dean is building a dwelling for Noah Warren in Slaughter Neck.

James T. Carey is building a cottage at Broadkiln Beach.

Children’s Day services were not held at Zion M. E. Church last Sunday, as we erroneously reported last week. On account of the rainy weather of the day the services have been postponed until Sunday the 19 inst.

Mrs. W. H. Megee of Philadelphia has bought of James H. Palmer a six acre lot north of the town, and expects to build a residence thereon.

Abel Pettyjohn of Frankford, Pa., was a Milton visitor last week.

Captain James Conwell has arrived from a southern trip, and is at home with his family.

Charles Vaughn of Philadelphia has been the guest of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vaughn.

Miss Florence Johnson is visiting at Atlantic City and Philadelphia.

The streets of Milton are generally in good condition but the heavy rains of the past week and all other heavy rains are carrying a lot of sediment and earth through the three conducts on Union Street that empty the waste water into the Broadkiln. And the tide at this point runs so lazily that the detritus is forming a bar that may in time become troublesome. This is not written by way of criticism, for we don’t see how it may be avoided.

Postmaster Black has been suffering for some weeks with rheumatism in the upper members of his body.

B. F. Gray’s residence on North Union Street is assuming an altered appearance and the carpenters will soon have completed their work.

Thomas Johnson has been repairing his tent on Lavinia Camp ground.

Mary Fields sprained her ankle last week; and for a time was compelled to use a crutch in walking.

J. P. Davidson has repaired the porch in front of his residence on Chestnut Street.

Hankins & Bros. clothiers have removed into one of the store rooms in the Palmer Block.

A very pretty Children’s Day service was held at the M. E. Church on Sunday evening.

As we went down on the corner on Monday morning, we ran across a man haranguing a crowd on “How I Go to Church.” In about an hour we came back that way, and another man was in the same place edifying another crowd the same subject.

The following has been handed us for publication: “I desire to thank most heartily our many friends and neighbors and all who so willingly assisted us in the long illness and death of my dear wife, Mary Hessie Johnson, who passed away June 6th 1910, after patiently suffering a long and wasting illness. I also wish to than the members of the M. P. Church for the choice music the rendered. Harry Johnson, Husband.”

We notice in a city paper that Clara Morris, whom we knew thirty years ago as the most brilliant star in the theatrical firmament is now nearly blind and dying, and the roof over her head is now to be sold to satisfy a mortgage given on the heyday of her prosperity. “What is fame.”

Rev. Lusk and sons went pike fishing on Monday morning. It was a rainy morning and the fish did not bite well.

Launch Cornelius has been on the dry dock for several days being overhauled etc.

Monday evening the closing of the stores began at 7 p. m. Most were closed and others were not.

A farmer came up the river on Tuesday afternoon after some fertilizer; and while loading onto his boat one bag got the advantage of him and they both went overboard together. Himself he saved, but the fertilizer was lost. In trying to grapple it out the bag would tear, and he was obliged to let it remain to enrich the waters of the Broadkiln.

John Morris died suddenly of paralysis on Tuesday evening aged 67 years 10 months and […] days. Funeral services will be held at his late home on Friday afternoon by the Rev. Lusk assisted by the Rev. Holland, and sepulture made in M. E. Cemetery by S. J. Wilson & Son.

In his communication of last week the Ellendale correspondent endeavored to give a synopsis of our writing for some time past. He has a […] memory. We had nearly forgotten most of those incidents. And yet we must admit the justice of “Paul Pry’s” criticism. The fact is in this vein: We don’t like to be at the […] end of anything and if we have not “live news” to write we’ll put in something else, either fact or funny, but the truth. These incidents will be interesting in fifty percent of our readers one week and the next fifty per cent of them the next week. Besides, we like to call up pretty incidents in life. God pity the man who […….]. But we were shocked at the way “Paul Pry” commenced that letter of last week: “The great question is what shall we write about from this sleepy, dry and sordid town?” “Paul Pry,” I’m ashamed of you to call your pretty […] “Sleepy, dry and sordid town.” You owe your people and apology, and the sooner you make it the better. You must have had the “glums”—whatever that is—when you wrote that letter; or perhaps you’ve got the “strawberry itch”[i] they say that’s prevalent; if so we suggest a dose of brandy and sulphur. That is a curative for many ills. “This sleepy, dry and sordid town” forsooth! Paul we hope you’re out of the “glum” by this time, you’re doing a good work; your snake stories and mad dog escapades furnish the foundation for the city dailies to build on. And they do it. Don’t be discouraged old friend, your letters are always interesting, and we read with pleasure—except the last one. “This sleepy, dry and sordid town!”  That sentence attacks us. We repeat, don’t be discouraged “Paul.” It is written “In due season you shall reap if you faint not.” Now it was through the “Stuff” the write had previously written that the Ellendale correspondent mad a part of his header of last week; and it is because of “Paul Pry” having made mention of that “Stuff: that gives us the item of comment this week. And it will be seen we are scarce of live news without it. Go on old friend, remembering at the same time: “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,” but to this who write the biggest snake and mad dog stories. “Paul Pry: I don’t mind your criticisms on myself, I have no doubt I deserve them; but—“This sleepy, dry and sordid town.” Alas! Alack! How are the mighty fallen![ii]


[i] An apparent allergic reaction to strawberries or some substance on them

[ii] This last paragraph is David A. Conner’s reaction to the weekly news letter for Ellendale written on June 10, 1910 by fellow correspondent “Paul Pry” (Willard S. Dickerson, an Ellendale farmer). The opening paragraph reads:
The great question is what shall we write about from the sleepy, dry and sordid town? If we were so fortunate as to be able to manufacture a few live items and like our Milton friend, have an old worm fence story or a tale of the lake Fanz Zangie or something about the supernatural old crank Sam Jones of the beauties of our birthday and of how good a time we have had during life, then we could please our anxious readers and have long letter each week, but we never could conceive why the editor always cuts such stuff as that our of our letter and demand live news—only, well, it is a glorious nice thing to be a favorite but there is no doubt but that this intellectual light of Milton is very worthy of his favoritism. We always look with pleasure and anxiety for those splendid quotations and reminders of old Shakespeare and other noted composers.
There is a mix of admiration, envy and frustration at Conner’s ability to fill his column with whatever he feels like writing, and not having it cut out by the editor of the Milford Chronicle. This is corroborated by a statement in Conner’s obituary in the editorial column of the Milford Chronicle after his death in September 1919:
In all the years Mr. Conner contributed his weekly letter of a column or more, we have never had to edit or change one of his contributions.