About

The mission of the Mill Creek Hundred History Blog is primarily to educate people about the rich history of the area. Very often, people know more about the history of far off places like Egypt or Rome than they do about their own home areas. For anyone interested in Mill Creek Hundred's past, this site hopes to rectify that imbalance. The site gives short histories about some of the notable buildings, people, and places that have made MCH what it is today.

I originally started the blog for the simple reason that there wasn't one already out there, and I thought there should be. This I blame on the unique (at least in this part of the country) structure of Delaware and its communities. In other states, seemingly every town, township, village and borough has its own historical society. Here in Delaware, with few incorporated areas, we have nothing equivalent. There is the Historical Society of Delaware and (in New Castle County, at least) a few smaller groups in places like New Castle, Newark, Hockessin, and Pencader. Still, many areas fall through the cracks. This site tries to fill in some of those cracks, at least in the Mill Creek area.

The other thing I'd like to do through this site is to gather any information I can relating to the area. If anyone has any information, photographs, documents, or just good stories about Mill Creek Hundred's past, feel free to contact this site either through the comments section, or via email at mchhistory@verizon.net. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Finally, if you have any questions about a person, place, or building in the area, or if you have an idea for a post topic, feel free to ask. I don't guarantee I'll have all the answers, but I'll give it a shot! Thanks.

50 comments:

  1. I just stumble across this blog while researching for the Boy Scout Pathfinder merit badge. I'm also a local history buff, so this blog is really interesting to me.

    Have you considered an entry on the most famous resident of MCH- Senator L. Heisler Ball? How about the Phillips and Klair families?

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    1. I remember Skeet Klair don't know why they called him Skeet. Then I went to Marshallton School with Doris Klair.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. Any ideas for posts are welcome. We appreciate the ideas. Funny that you should mention Ball, my husband just wrote a post today (Swithin Chandler) and in the last paragraph he mentioned Ball as a potential future post.

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  3. Scott mentioned that he attended JDHS. What years? I graduated from Dickinson in 1977 and still live in the area.

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  4. I'm a little younger than you -- Class of '89. Thanks for the comments and the interest in the site. If you know anyone else that might be interested in it, feel free to pass it along. The more the merrier! One of my ultimate goals for the site is for it to become more of a dialogue, and less of a monologue. I love to hear what other people are interested in, what they might know about things, or any personal stories they might have relating to historical topics(like you and the Friends graveyard). Thanks again!

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    1. hi scott, i graduated from jdhs in 1980 and still live in the hundred.i was wondering if you knew of any history pertaining to the spring grove mill site in the mermaid/stoney batter area?you can still see the remains of the buildings and millrace near the greenway trail behind northpoint.

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  5. Hi, I happened on your blog while doing some genealogy. I found out my Phillips line is the same one that was connected to the Greenbank Mill. I've been to the Greenbank site, do you have much info on the actual Phillips family? Thanks

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  6. Bill,

    Wow, that's really cool to hear that you're related to the Phillips. I'm sorry I don't really have a lot to send to you now, outside of links to the Greenbank Mill National Register form (it has some info about the Phillips family). You may have already seen this, but here it is. I do think, though, that the Phillips family would be a good post topic at some point.

    http://216.174.25.53/CHRIS_IMAGE/NRPoints/08-09-35/N00191%20Greenbank%20Mill%20Historic%20Area%201973.pdf

    http://216.174.25.53/CHRIS_IMAGE/NRPoints/08-09-35/N00191%20Greenbank%20Mill%20Historic%20Area%201979.pdf

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  7. Great site!
    I spent alot of time as a kid playing along the red clay creek in Brandywine Springs Park. I was wondering if you had any additional info on the spring water bottling plant that was once along the banks near Faulkland Heights. I have some current pics i can forward if you're interested.
    Thanks

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    1. Use to walk the railroad track to get to Hercules Golf Course to caddy. Years 1941 to 1946.

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  8. Yes, I do know a bit about the Kiamensi Spring Water Co., too much to give a complete answer here. Short version: It operated from 1907 til about 1925. Was originally owned by several men involved with Brandywine Springs Park. Sold to larger company in 1914. Reservoir at the base of the hillside, bottling plant at the top. First shipped out via trolley, later by railroad. Overhead cables took cases across the creek to the train. Lots of broken bottles around, but you probably know that.

    I actually found a complete bottle across the creek at the park at an archaeology dig in Nov or Dec. We have some bottles at the museum at the W&W Railroad station at Greenbank. If you want to email me, I can give you some more specifics. I'll also put the site in the queue for an upcoming post. Even though it's technically not in MCH, it's very much connected with this side of the creek. I'd love to see whatever pics you have, and maybe use them for the post, if you don't mind. Thanks for the comment!

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  9. I am very happy to have found this site. I am really fascinated by the local history of Mill Creek Hundred and I have done a fair amount of research myself. Why aren't more people out there interested in the what happened here in the past? Out little Hundred is incredibly rich in the full range of American History. It's fascinating.

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  10. Scott,

    Thanks for the info on the Kiamensi Springs Water, Co. I'd be more then happy to send the pics just let me know where to send them.

    Thanks

    Chris

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    1. I have 2 bottles, one big and one small. My uncle lived in Faulkland Heights and knew where the old scrap heaps were and we went and dug them up one time.

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  11. Chris -- Thanks, that'd be great. You can email me at mchhistory@verizon.net. I can't wait to see them. I've been across the creek at the park alot (not yet this year, though), but I've never gone over to the other side to take a close look at what's there.

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  12. Another interesting Old Stone House that resided in Stanton when I was growing up sat at the RT 7/RT 4 intersection. It was torn down in the late 1960's, and replaced by the Alert Gas Station, which was basically 8 gas pumps and a small metal shack. The house was covered in ivy, and was used as doctor's office. I think some people tried to save this historical home, but I guess the local Delaware politicians at the time thought we needed another gas station. Would be interesting to know anything about this house.

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  13. Dave C. -- I think what you're probably refering to is what I called the "Old Stone Hotel". It was torn down about 1970 to build the Alert station. I did a post on it in December, and the post contains a before and during picture of the demolition. Interesting to hear it was a doctor's office. Also interestingly, we've had a descendant of the 19th Century owners post a few comments recently (John Hersey).

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  14. Hello there. I like your blog, and find it interesting - and well laid out and presented! But I confess to have come across it by accident, when I mistyped the name of a blog I have recently started (to document some McWilliam history). It is mcwhistory.blogspot.com.
    I would appreciate it if you could let me know what tools or gadgets you are using to format your blog and the pictures in it.
    I like the home/index/map etc list of buttons. How do you do that? Also what do you use to but a box round each picture and to caption it? Also the lines (vertical & horizontal) which delineate the posts etc?
    Apologies that this is off-topic, but I would be grateful for some pointers about this!
    Regards,
    Alan McW

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    1. Thanks, Alan, for the kind words. I'm glad you like it, and I'm glad you stumbled over here. I tend to find lots of interesting things on the internet by accident. I'd be happy to try to help a fellow Scotsman (OK, I'm not actually a Scotsman, but my great-grandfather McLaren did come over from there about 100 years ago (from near Banff, if I recall), and my almost-certainly future brother-in-law is from near Edinburgh).

      I wish I could say I spent weeks designing every little detail, but most of it just comes from the template I used -- the Simple template. Looks like you're using Awesome. I originally had a different one, but didn't like the look, so I tried a few and settled on this one. The buttons for the pages come after you add the Pages gadget (it's under "Basics"). You can have a list of pages to the side, or the buttons at the top.

      The lines around the pictures I believe I did by going to Template --> Customize --> Advanced --> Images. There it gives the option for the color of the lines around the images. Honestly, I don't remember whether I did that, or if it was the default for the template. I'm pretty sure the lines between the posts were defaults.

      If you need anything else, feel free to email me at mchhistory@verizon.net. I'm not sure how much I remember, but I'll help all I can.

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  15. Hello, I wish I had found your blog sooner, but mabey your still going. Anyway, in the mid 40s there was a barn like structure on a hill that had been converted into a home. I believe I was a resident in that place for a couple of years. The people (Jack and Bobbie Blyer) took in young boys. The time frame is from 1945-1947 that I was there. Does anyone know of this. Trying to figure out my young life. You may reach me at loewerp@msn.com
    Thank you Richard LOewe

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    1. We're still going, Richard. I hope that someone reading knows something about this for you. Nothing jumps out at me immediately as far as a location for this. Since you're here, can we assume that you know (or at least think) this was somewhere in or near Mill Creek Hundred?

      I did a quick look, but haven't found a Jack and/or Bobbie Blyer in the census records yet. The closest I've come is a John J. and Oneita Bleyer who lived in The Cedars in 1940. They were 42 and 33, with a 6 year old son named Francis X., and John's father John B. Bleyer. John could plausibly be "Jack". Do you know about what age they were in the mid/late 40's?

      The only other thing I found was a short newspaper mention of a Jack Blyer (of Marshallton) winning a War Bond in 1942. Could be the same guy. If I come up with anything else, I'll post it. If anyone else knows anything, please post it here or send it to Richard or myself.

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    2. I have been miss spelling the last name. But, when you said the sons name was Francis X. that but a chill down my back. My time with them was from 45-50. What is the Cedars? They moved to Delaware City and continued with the business of [caring] for young boys. Last known address for them was 4th & Hamilton St Delaware City, DE. I was removed from there in June 1950 and returned to my mother. It was not a good memory for me. If you can find out more information. I may be reached at loewerp@msn.com.

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  16. I love your blog. I have lived between Milltown Road and Papermill since I was 7 (now 61) and have been fascinated and disturbed by the changes in our beautiful hundred. I am interested in knowing more about Mermaid Tavern and what was on the land occupied by Pike Creek Shopping Center (I remember dirt bike riders and a big mud pit) since I live a mile from that building.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy it. Yeah, I'm sure you've seen a lot of changes, especially in that area. I did do a post about the Mermaid Tavern a while back. If you haven't read it, the easiest way to find it might be the Index of Topics Page via the button up top. In fact, it was the very first post I did. That being said, there might still be more to tell if I go back to it some time.

      Historically, the land around there was generally in Walker hands, although I don't know the exact property boundaries. Maybe someone else a little more, ahem "experienced", than I has memories of the spot before the shopping center?

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  17. I am unsure why my post did not go through last night, but I do not see it today. My name is Laura. I am great grand daughter of Levi and Kate Murray, owners of The Brown Farm AKA The Farmhouse from 1917. Myself along with my two cousins, also great granddaughters of Levi and Kate are in the process of taking over the wedding business of The Farmhouse as the second generation of family. We have been trying to research the land and the farmhouse it's self because we want to push the historical past of the house soon in our marketing/advertising and your information has filled in many gaps for me, so I really appreciate that! Thank you.
    I would love to talk to you and anyone else that has information on The Farmhouse and it's land. In return I could fill in many gaps for you from 1917 until present day as it is still in my family. If you would like to contact me please do at Laura@thefarmhousede.com
    Thank you again, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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  18. I am glad to see my post above did show up since my first post seems to have not sent. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with Ken Copeland I would appreciate the help in doing so. As far as I have read on the "Brown Farm, AKA The Farmhouse" article he knows a lot of my families land.

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  19. Thanks Laura! I let Ken know, and I'll be in touch with you soon.

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  20. I would like to participate in this blog. Born in Massachusetts but lived near New Castle from 1951 to 1964 and in MCH from 1972 up to present-day. Wrote some articles on Corner Ketch for the Hockessin News, years ago. I dont have URL. Do I need one?

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    1. Karl -- I'd love for you to take part! If you still have copies of the articles, I could put them up as Guest Posts. If you'd like, email me (mchhistory@verizon.net) and we'll work something out. That's actually an area I keep meaning to get back to, but haven't yet. Glad you found us, and welcome!

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    2. Somehow I never got back into your blog until now, Scott; I will email you about my Corner Ketch info.... and here's another one for you... probably 20 years ago the Smithsonian Museum of Amer. History had an exhibit of three old log cabins - one had been recovered in Georgia; I forget where the second one came from but the third had once stood "at the foot of Mendenhall Mill Road, New Castle Co, Del" and they even had an old map outline which appeared to show its location on the right as you approach the intersection with Mill Creek Rd. Anyone familiar with this?

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    3. I've not heard that before. The only log cabin at the Smithsonian I'm aware of was the Lynam one, which I wrote about a while back. So one of two things -- either they got the location of the Lynam cabin wrong (it was located on the Dickinson High School property), or there was a second one. The location you're describing would have been a Mendnehall tract from the late 1700's on, but owned by several other families earlier. No idea who it could have been, although ironically one name was John Buckingham, brother of James who started the Corner Ketch Buckingham clan. I'll keep my eyes open for this, and for your Corner Ketch info. Thanks!!

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  21. Thank you so much for all the blog posts! I am just starting to research my family history and I was able to learn so much from your blog. Whenever I need to find more information about a new branch of my tree, your blog is always the place I end up! I have in my family tree the Derickson's, Gregg's, Wells, Woodward's and Highfield's. So you can see why your posts were so informative. I also love finding that some of the old farms/homesteads are still standing today. Keep up the good work!

    -Kailah (great-grand daughter to Harvey C. Derickson)

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    1. Glad you like the blog, and I'm glad it can be helpful! I might actually be doing more about the Dericksons sometime in the near future.

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  22. Hi Scott. I just stumbled onto your blog this morning. I have an old book on my bookshelf by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1887. It is inscribed "For Emalea Pusey Warner - A birthday gift which carries with it an inheritance of loving interest thru five generations.
    Scott may be 'old fashioned,' but he is very charming, and he keeps the past alive.
    A happy birthday to thee!
    Emma Worrell
    1926"
    I decided to google the names of these two ladies and imagine my surprise that Emalea Warner is the namesake for Warner Hall at the U of D and also Warner Elementary. Emma Worrell was a Quaker teacher and married to Thomas Worrell - and there's a photo of Mrs. Warner and Mrs. Worrell together on your blog!
    WOW!
    John Hadfield

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  23. Hi Scott,
    Thank you for your wonderful blog! Keep up the good work. The stuff you are publishing is pure gold. I found it while searching for my 8th great grandfather John Gregg. I knew there was stuff out there beyond, but never expected this. And your information sent me out for more!! His grandson married a Dixon, so again I was excited to see the treasure you have here. By the way, family history is country history. These people seeded the country, both in works and future citizens. We are certainly a history rich people. Our family stories tell our nation's story. Any one doing genetic genealogy.. feel free to contact me.
    Thank you so much!!!!

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  24. Hi All,

    My father and I are coming to PA/DE later this week and hoping to see the Simon Hadley house just off of Limestone Road. Do you have any connection with the current owners? Do you know if they are friendly and agreeable to people being on their property? We are a farming family and it looks like the land is still being farmed, according to images on Google Earth. Most farming families welcome visitors paying homage to their history. I sure hope the current owners are welcoming. It looks like you could only see the house if you go down their driveway, so we would really like to see if we can get permission.

    Any advice, knowledge or connections you may have are much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Eric Hadley
    ehadley@earthlink.net

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  25. Hello, I was thrilled to find this blog! My gr gr grandfather, Alexander Walker, was originally from Hockessin and moved to NE Missouri in the 1850s. His wife was Ann Brackin. A cousin has done a lot of genealogy work on the Walkers and my Missouri relatives were great to save correspondence with the Delaware cousins as far back as the 1850s. Gr gr grandfather died in the Civil War, not in battle, but of pneumonia. He was 'old' (50 or so) when he enlisted in the Mo. Militia. His wife felt he was 'safer'. Or perhaps he went in place of an older son. No pictures exist of gr gr grandfather Walker. One of Ann Walker's letters to Delaware regretted not having a likeness taken while they were in MO. They had 12 kids. My gr grandfather was a baby when his dad died. He lived until he was 97, so I remember him. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog! Thanks so much.
    Vickie Perry Glas, Quincy IL vlglas@comcast.net

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    1. Vickie -- Thanks for reaching out! Always thrilling to hear from descendants of the people in the blog. I don't know if that's what brought you here, but I just put up photos of (if i have the right people) Alexander's cousin and his wife, William H and Anna Walker.

      In looking briefly, I came across this article: http://haygenealogy.com/hay/patriots/civilwar/CW-Walkerletters-EMM.pdf

      It doesn't specifically say it, but I would assume the picture at the top is Alexander. Not a great copy, but there must be an original somewhere. Presumably taken before they left MCH? If your gr grandfather was Alexander, one letter in the article mentions him being born.

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  26. I just found your blog and I believe that the Robinsons that you mention all throughout are my Robinson Family, in fact they were pretty much in the milling business, as are those who are left, my uncle. My mother was a Robinson. I was just wondering if you happen to have a picture of William, or any of the other Robinsons that you speak of in your blog posts? It would be wonderful to see more of what is spoken of about them. Thanks so much !

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  27. I live in the old stone barn in Limestone Hills. I would be very interested in what you find. We were told it belonged to Wilhelmina duPont May?

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    1. The one on Middleton Dr up on the right? The last time I looked there was a business in there. That's awesome. I've mentioned the Joseph Lindsey Barn a couple of times, but I've never focused directly on it. With the new land records I have access to, I'd be interested to see what more I can find. It might be a week or two before I can get to it, but if you're patient I'll see what I can find.

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  28. Thanks so much, Scott! I used to live in the Hockessin area and it is fascinating to learn more about my hometown. I'm tracking down Quaker ancestors living in MCH in the early to mid-1700s. Some records indicate that MCH was actually a part of Kennett, Chester, PA in the early days. Do you happen to know when it became part of DE or was it always considered to be in DE? Thanks!

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  29. Hi Scott, just found your blog and I'm wondering if you have any information on my house, which is at the corner of Old Wilmington and Meetinghouse Rds. in Hockessin (across from Hockessin Friends Meeting). I believe the house was once known as the Thomas Little House, and I know from the date stone that it was built in 1817, but beyond that I don't have much info except the memories of Kathryne Mitchell of Woodside Farm--she lived in this house as a girl. Since the house is turning 200 this year and I will also have a "round number" birthday, I'm planning to have a party celebrating both. It would be great to have some more history on my house.

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    1. Julie -- Yes, I know the house you mean. Beautiful. I remember looking into it a few years back, but I'm not sure I did anything with it. I recall that the next couple houses up Meetinghouse Road were connected to it. I've got a few things going right now, but I'd love to get back to it. I'm pretty sure that I have more resources available to me now as far as land records go. Might be able to piece together more of the story. In the meantime, feel free to email me at mchhistory@verizon.net if you want to get in touch. Thanks!!

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    2. Julie -- If you're still monitoring this, send me an email at mchhistory@verizon.net . I have at least one thing already that you'll be interested in and maybe more. How about the 1796 deed where Samuel Little (Thomas' father) buys the property?

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  30. Two years ago I made a proposal to the Delaware Historic Marker program for the placement of an historic marker at the site of the original Oliver Evans automated flour mill (one still operates at Mt. Vernon) and, later, the Fell's Spice Mill. It has been approved without funding which will, hopefully, with the help in July of Senator Anthony Delcollo, be funded. I hope then to be present for the unveiling at some unknown future date. But, my hope is that people interested in identifying significant historic sites in the State of Delaware will lobby, as I have, to find a more effective and efficient way of getting markers into place. The current program is frustratingly slow and likely, in some cases to result in no marker at all because of the way it is structured. The substance of the site seems less important than finding a local sponsor - out of state residents have no standing - and the support of a local legislator who may not have much enthusiasm for historic matters since they may not seem to have present value.

    Ken Shelin

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    1. Thanks, Ken, for the info. Yes, I can see how the system is frustrating. Approval without funding doesn't get you far, does it? Please keep us updated on the progress of this. I agree with you that it's an important site that should be recognized, and I know that you have a personal family connection to it. I look forward to hearing more in the coming months. Thanks!!

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  31. I just found this blog, and it is amazing. My dad, Ken Woodward, was born and raised in the MCH. My family lived there from 1808, when my GGGG grandparents - Abner and Elizabeth (nee Harlan) Woodward - moved across the border from Chester Co. PA, until the 1970s when my dad moved away. I believe F.K. Woodward on the 1868 map (in District No. 30) is Abner's grandson/my GG grandfather, Frederic Klair Woodward.

    Thank you so much for making this blog. It has been really neat to read about the area my family lived in for over 150 years.

    Steve Woodward

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    1. I forgot to add, I think N. McCormick in District 31 (Corner Ketch) is my GGG grandfather, Nathan McCormick. Nathan's son, Thompson McCormick, and Thompson's son, S. Leslie McCormick, owned the Merestone House. Elsie (McCormick) Woodward was my grandmother.

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    2. That's really cool, Steve! I love hearing from actual real-life descendants of people who otherwise tend to be just names on maps. You certainly have a bunch of MCH families in your tree, which is not that unusual. If you've got one, you've probably got a bunch. The guy who wrote the comment just above, Ken Shelin, is also a Woodward descendant. That whole discussion about the Fell Spice Mill is because he has Woodward ancestors who worked there.

      Another interesting fact -- that F.K. Woodward house on the 1868 map is still there. It's tucked back in amongst new houses and is hard to see, but it's there. Someday I hope to get around to it.

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