Past In Review from 01-06-2005
75 years ago, Jan 2, 1930
Our Local News Happenings
Many Brief Paragraphs gathered Weekly By Our Scribes.
A Happy New Year to all.
Middletown has ushered in the New Year according to its usual custom of firing guns and blowing horns …
This is a very progressive age.
The older generation is seeing wonderful changes – autos now carry radios.
Winter No Obstacle
A good many Middletown citizens can easily remember the time when the coming of winter meant the end of virtually all outdoor activity. Carpenters and bricklayers laid aside their tools and sat back to await the coming of spring. Everybody practically “holed up” for the winter.
Even a quarter of a century ago there was no construction work; concrete was not poured because it would freeze; the auto was jacked up and tires and batteries removed – and the family settled down for the winter. Today there is no such thing as a closed season for almost any trade. There is always something to be done and willing workers ready to do it. Making a living is now a 52-week job every year, and not crowded into a few months of any particular season.
This speaks volumes for improved methods, and especially for our ability to invent machines that do not have to have certain weather conditions in order to function. It makes life far easier, too, when men do not have to remain idle during the cold months simply because the weather isn’t to their liking. Few men enjoy loafing. The average man is glad to have a job he can work at regularly in the winter the same as in the warmer seasons.
The passing of the old custom of “holing up” for the winter and barely existing until spring returned has been worth a lot to the country as a whole. It has gone far toward eliminating the germ of laziness. And laziness is a menace to any nation that suffers it to exist.
Woodsman injured in unusual mishap
Archie Blansfield, 26 years old, of Blackbird, is in the Delaware Hospital suffering from a fractured skull received in an unusual accident. Considering the extent of his injury, his condition is good.
Blansfield, with his father and brother, were felling trees in the woods known as Blackbird forest. They had felled a large tree which fell across a young sapling. He sapling prevented the large tree from falling to earth, and Blansfield took his axe and struck the sapling a blow. The young tree suddenly sprang up and the axe flew back and struck Blansfield in the forehead.
Rat Season Reported Poor
And The Prices Being Offered For Fur Are Low
Muskrat trapping, an outstanding winter livelihood has been a failure thus far this year. Few rats are being caught due to the varying of the weather during the past month.
Since the muskrat season opened December 1, few rats have been snared. This is partly attributed to the intermittent cold and thawing spells which make it impossible for trappers to reach their snares in either a boat or by walking on the ice. The ice has been too thick to push a boat through and too thin to hold the weight of a trapper.
The prices of muskrat hides at the present are selling for the latter price. The price is lower than it has been for several years. Although there seems to be a scarcity of muskrats, buyers in this vicinity report they are securing all they can handle.
50 years ago; Dec. 30, 1954
Parents, Children Die As Fire Destroys Home
Brother Of Woman Also Loses Life In Blaze Last Thursday Night
Five persons who had gone to bed early to dream of an early morning drive to their home in Tarboro, N.C. ,were burned to death last Thursday night as their three-room tenant cottage on Bear Road about a half-mile east of the DuPont Parkway, near Tybout’s Corner, was destroyed.
Ernie Farmer, 26.
Lilly May Farmer, 26, his wife.
Jean Farmer, 4, a daughter.
Ann Farmer, 5, a daughter.
Roosevelt Williams, 19, Mrs. Farmer’s brother.
The fire which wiped out the family was discovered a few minutes after 9 o’clock by Harry Thorpe who lives on a farm about a half-mile to the east.
Thorpe immediately summoned volunteer firemen and the first company to arrive, at 9:17 p.m., was from New Castle.
Firemen Too Late
By that time it was too late to save anyone in the two-story three-room frame house.
Ernest Farmer, his clothes burned off him, was found dead about 200 feet from the tenant house which is part of the Benjamin Vinton farm currently leased to John Davidson.
The farmers, according to neighbors, had gone to bed early so they could leave Friday morning for Tarboro, heir home, as soon as the milking was done.
What caused the blaze that killed them was not discovered at once. There was a theory that a cigarette was at fault, a cigarette that had set a mattress afire.
All five of the dead slept on the first floor of the house which contained three rooms, one upstairs and two downstairs.
Walter J. La Rue, state fire marshal, who was at the scene shortly after the alarm was given, was directing the investigation.
The house was totally destroyed with damage estimated at $5,000.
The Farmers have been in Delaware since February. They have worked the 300-acre tract under the customary tenant agreement.