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This Month in Delaware History

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During February of 1829, Delaware’s capital, Dover, was formally incorporated. Five elected town commissioners were chosen to steward the city. Also during February the first capital of what would become Delaware, namely the city of New Castle, was officially incorporated in 1875 by the Delaware General Assembly. New Castle was Delaware’s formal seat of government from 1704 until 1777 when, due to British harassment of the town, Delaware’s government relocated to the more strategically defensible city of Dover. For four years the seat of government shifted from place to place until 1781 when Dover became the permanent capital.

'The Green Or Market Plaine Laid Out By Petrus Stuyvesant, Dutch Governor, 1666. On This Green Stood The Old Jail And Gallows. Here Were Held The Great Fairs And Weekly Markets From Early Times.'

'The Green Or Market Plaine Laid Out By Petrus Stuyvesant, Dutch Governor, 1666. On This Green Stood The Old Jail And Gallows. Here Were Held The Great Fairs And Weekly Markets From Early Times.'

   

‘Ye Dover Green, Laid out 1717, Dover, Delaware’. Postcard note by original owner on margin:  “My mama, I am the best boy you ever did see and sleep fine and don’t cry. Your boy.”

‘Ye Dover Green, Laid out 1717, Dover, Delaware’. Postcard note by original owner on margin:  “My mama, I am the best boy you ever did see and sleep fine and don’t cry. Your boy.”

 


Object of the Month

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Painting dimensions: H-26 inches W-40inches D-2.25 inches, created circa 1880. Gift of Clarence M. Dillon to the Society

Painting dimensions: H-26 inches W-40inches D-2.25 inches,
created circa 1880.
Gift of Clarence M. Dillon to the Society

Our collection highlight for February is a framed, oil on canvas painting entitled “Race To The Fire”. The scene contains two horse-drawn steam fire engines racing through a street to a fire. The engine in the foreground is drawn by a pair of black horses and has an African-American driver and two other firemen on the back. The engine in the mid-ground is drawn by a pair of white horses and has two firemen on board. An African-American male runs alongside the engine in the foreground while a second firefighter runs alongside the other engine on the opposite side of the street. A woman and small boy stand in a doorway in the background at the right side. Bisecting the engines and runners is a white poodle which dashes down the middle of the street in front of the horses. The identity of the artist is not certain but it could be John H. Morgan, who worked as a painter at the Pusey & Jones shipyard in 1881-1882.

 

 
 

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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.