The Rude Awakening of Jimmy O’Neal

On occasion I come across some unique gems tucked away in our local history, and during a recent chat with Donald Ward, one such story was told to me that came to him from Joe Ben Hudson.  Mr. Hudson, some readers may recall, lived to be one of our oldest citizens, going home to be with the Lord at the young age of 108. He bore witness to many of the historical facts we can only read about today.

Every town has its characters, and Millsboro has had its share. Some of us could name quite a few in a brief conversation, but I’ll go farther back in time, beyond the living memory of any reader here. In the mid-1800s, there lived a man by the name of Jimmy O’Neal, whose reputation for the consumption of alcohol was the stuff of legends. He was the town drunk. Jimmy could drink almost anything, and he would it seemed, even at peril to his own life.

Round about the year 1851, during the winter of ’51, folks in Millsborough were rounding up firewood and coal for the night.  It was a bitter wind that blew across town, made even more so as the last tinges of heavenly warmth disappeared with the setting sun. Even though it was Saturday, no one lingered on Main Street, as was the custom. Coal stoves were being stoked, ashes were stirred in fireplaces, and wood stoves were reloaded, all over town. People were settling in for another long, cold winter night.

Read moreThe Rude Awakening of Jimmy O’Neal

Remembering The March Storm of ’62

It’s been fifty years since the March Storm of ’62 left its permanent impression upon our peninsula, our psyche, and our photo albums. Here are a few shots that I managed to gather with my humble Kodak Brownie right after the storm.  I only just found them this week while looking for something else.

remains-of-indian-river-yacht-club
All That’s Left Of Indian River Yacht Club

Read moreRemembering The March Storm of ’62

Doe Bridge Association Meeting

The Doe Bridge Association met on Sunday, March 4th, and welcomed a new face, George Allen Adkins. Dan Parsons, Sussex County Historic Preservation Planner, was also in attendance. He is interested in helping us and will call later in the week, to arrange a visit to both sites.

A gallery of photos from the Atwood Timmons 1955-1980 collection was presented and those images from Millsboro’s past brought back lots of memories for everyone. These will be put up on the website very soon, with access also provided to enable copies or prints to be made. This feature will, of course, extend to all future additions to the photo gallery.

Image-Main Street-Millsboro-Looking South-1958
Main Street, Millsboro, Looking South, 1958

Read moreDoe Bridge Association Meeting

Doe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 5 of 5

Everyone who has accompanied me to the area is immediately struck with the natural beauty and serenity of the Doe Bridge Nature Preserve and the Doe Bridge Mill historical area.

But what about the Millsboro East Bypass?

Won’t the Doe Bridge Nature Preserve and the Doe Bridge Mill areas be affected?

Can these environmentally-sensitive and historically significant areas coexist alongside a highway bypass?

proposed-bypass-near-doe-bridge
Proposed Bypass Route Near Doe Bridge

If the last plans regarding the Millsboro East Red-Blue Bypass remain valid, the

Read moreDoe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 5 of 5

Doe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 4 of 5

A cemetery is all that remains of an old church near Doe Bridge outside of Millsboro. But members of a local history group may have found more clues.

doe-bridge-association-at-cemetery-near-doe-bridge
Searching for evidence

On December 4, 2011, during a planned walkabout by our Doe Bridge Association group, one member probed the ground outside of the little cemetery. Thus he found what may be the foundation of the Old Indian River Presbyterian Church, along two divergent lines that connected in a right angle,

Read moreDoe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 4 of 5

Doe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 3 of 5

paynter-frame-grave-marker
Grave site of Paynter Frame – early Doe Bridge Mill owner

Doe Bridge – More Connections

Less than a quarter mile from the Kollock cemetery, on the east side of Delaware 30, just south of Doc Frame Road, is another cemetery. Here lie the bodies of Paynter Frame, an early owner of Doe Bridge Mill, and other members of his family.

“At Lawrence’s death in 1758 the tract with its mill was sold to Robert Fraim (later spelled ‘Frame’) for 500 pounds. This was a goodly sum compared to other land sales at the time and was further evidence that the tract on ‘Deep Branch’

Read moreDoe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 3 of 5

Doe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 2 of 5

The Evidence Was Still There!

colonial-kings-highway-at-doe-bridge-aerial-photo
Colonial Kings Highway At Doe Bridge

Clearly identifiable on the USDA aerial photo that I held in my hands, even through the treetop canopy, was a thin line that could only be the remnants of that old colonial road. It wound from Delaware 30, in almost perfect alignment with Doc Frame Road, turned in the woods, passed near the Revel house, and disappeared at the mill site.

Read moreDoe Bridge – History Meets Destiny – Part 2 of 5