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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

TSD History Corner: The First State, Three Countries and Five Centuries

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Simeon Selby Pennewill {1867-1935} was the governor of Delaware from Jan. 19, 1909 ’til Jan. 21, 1913. To his credit he advocated efficiency and economy in his administration and operated under a balanced budget, by controlling expenditures.

I’m not insinuating nepotism, but he did appoint his brother James {1854-1935} to be Chief Justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court. James served in that capacity from 1909 ’til 1916.

It was while Simeon Pennewill was Governor that the DuPont Company was forced to divest itself of what became the Hercules Powder and Atlas Powder Companies.

A scholium: Simeon Pennewill was preceded as governor by Preston Lea {1905-1909} and succeeded by Charles R. Miller {1913 til 1917}.

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Sir John Harington [also spelled “Harrington”] {1561-1612}, was literate. witty and an inventor. His quote: “Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason” is well known.

What is not well known is that Sir John Harington invented, what the British call the water closet. In his own manner, Harington described his invention as being the metamorphosis of Ajax of 1596. Ajax was a wordplay on Jakes which was simply slang for privy, where the folks would use a bucket.

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Roger Sherman {1721-1793} of Connecticut has the sole distinction of being the only Founding Father to sign all four of our founding documents. Sherman signed the 1774 Articles of Association,
Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.

Robert Morris of Pennsylvania signed all but the Articles of Association.We have this quote of Thomas Jefferson, that shows in what high esteem Sherman was held: Jefferson while walking with a friend pointed to Sherman and informs his companion, “That is Roger Sherman who never said a foolish thing in his life.” Roger Sherman had the reputation of being an eminently pious man and one of its brightest ornaments.

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The Aroostook War {1838-1839} was an undeclared and bloodless war, that is now past most folks’ recollection. It was the result of the failure of the United States and Great Britain to clearly define the the Northeast boundary between New Brunswick, Canada and what is now the state of Maine. There were some who believed that this matter was settled after the war of 1812.

When Maine became a state in 1820, the Maine legislature and Massachusetts made grants of land to settlers along both branches of the Aroostook River, ignoring the British claim to part of the area. In

1831 the United States and Great Britain sought a compromise on the questionable boundary. They agreed to let King William I of Netherlands to mediate the disagreement.

An agreement was eventually reached, but the United States Senate rejected the plan. In January 1839 American vigilantes entered the disputed area to oust Canadian lumberjacks toiling in the region. The Canadians arrested the leader of the Vigilantes. Maine would not acquiesce to the Canadian transgression. They asked for Federal assistance.

The US Federal government voted to provide a force of 50,000 men and appropriated $10,000 in the event of hostilities. General Winfield Scott was sent to negotiate a truce with New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor and they agreed to appoint a Boundary Commission. Both sides accepted the Commissions decision, which was incorporated in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

A scholium: President Van Buren was criticized for not taking a stronger and more immediate action against the British. The Aroostook War was also called the Pork and Bean War. It is worth noting that the Aroostook War is the only war to be declared by a state. Moreover,  it is the only bloodless war that we ever waged.
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Today’s TSD History Corner comes from Alex F. Wysocki, who is a Veteran of WWII, served in the Pacific Theater and was part of the original occupation of Japan. He has a passion for the history of state he was born in, Delaware.

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Fireworks will bloom this summer. Rehoboth, New Castle say theirs are on

Separation Day festivities are canceled, except for fireworks June 12. Rehoboth will light 'em July 3

With so much federal stimulus cash, state predicts surplus of $1 billion

Members of the committees talked about replenishing funds that were used to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans celebrate return of NASCAR to Dover Speedway

Almost a return to normal: 20,000 fans hit Dover Speedway and see Alex Bowman win
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