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State of Delaware

Delaware, one of the middle United States, and, next to Rhode Island, the least in the Union, is bounded n. by Pennsylvania; e. by Delaware River and bay; s. and w. by Maryland. It is between 38° 29' and 39° 47' n. lat., and between 74° 56' and 75° 40 7 w. Ion., and between 1° 13 and 1° 57' e. from W. It is 92 miles long, and 23 broad, and contains 2,120 sq. ms., or 1,356,800 acres. The population in 1790, was 59,094; in 1800, 64,272; in 1810, 72,674; in 1820, 72,749; in 1830, 76,739; in 1840, 78,085: of which 2,605 were slaves; 29,259 were white males, 29,302 do. females, 8,626 free colored males, 8,293 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 16,015; in commerce, 467; in manufactures and trades, 4,060; navigating the ocean, 401; do. canals and rivers, 235; learned professions and engineers, 199.

This state is divided into three counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, are as follows;

County, Population, Capital

Kent, 19,872, Dover Sussex. 25,093, Georgetown
New Castle, 33,120, Wilmington and New Castle

These counties are divided into 24 hundreds.

Dover, situated on Jones's creek, 7 miles from its entrance into Delaware bay, is the seat of government.

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The lower part of this state is very level. The northern part is moderately hilly and rough, and
some of the heights are commanding. An elevated table land, toward its western border, passes through the state, dividing the waters which fall into the Chesapeake, from those which fall into Delaware bay; it contains a chain of swamps, from which the principal streams take their rise; some flowing w. to the Chesapeake, and others K. to the Delaware. The soil in the n. is a strong clay; in the middle it is mixed with sand; and in the s. part, the sand predominates. In the neighborhood of Delaware river, the soil is rich and productive, but becomes less so toward the swamps in the w. The principal productions are wheat, of a superior quality, Indian corn, rye, barley, oats, flax, buckwheat, and potatoes. The southern part affords some fine grazing land; and from a cypress swamp on Indian river, 12 miles long from N. to s., and 6 miles broad from e. to w., large quantities of timber are exported. Wheat is the principal article of export, and the Brandywine mills, in the neighborhood of Wilmington, are among the finest in the United States.

In this state there were in 1840, 14,421 horses and mules, 53,833 neat cattle, 39,247 sheep, 74,229 swine; poultry valued at $47,265. There were produced 315,165 bush, of wheat, 5,260 of barley, 927,405 of oats, 33,546 of rye, 1 1.299 of buckwheat, 2,099,359 of Indian corn, 64,404 pounds of wool, 200,712 bush, of potatoes, 22,483 tons of hay, 1,458 pounds of silk cocoons. The products of the dairy amounted to $113,828, and of the orchard to $28,211.

The exports in 1840, were $37,001, and the imports were $802. There were 327 retail dry-goods and other stores, employing a capital of $967,750; 140 persons were engaged in the lumber trade, with a capital of $83,280; 165 persons were employed in the fisheries, with a capital of $170,000. The manufactures are more considerable than its commerce. There were homemade or family articles produced to the amount of $62,116; 2 woolen manufactories, employing 83 per-sons, producing articles to the amount of $104,700, and employing a capital of $107,000; 11 cotton manufactories, with 24,492 sp., employing 566 persons, producing articles to the amount of $332,272, and employing a capital of $330,500; 2 furnaces produced 17 tons of cast iron, and 5 forges produced 449 tons of bar iron, with a capital of $36,200; 1 paper mill produced to the amount of $20,800, and other manufactures of paper to the amount of $1,500, the whole employing 15 persons, and a capital of $16,200; 9 persons manufactured pottery to the amount of $4,300, with a capital of 1,100; hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $15,300, and straw bonnets to the amount of $450, employing 35 persons, and a capital of $9,075; 18 tanneries employed 66 persons, and a capital of $89,300; 75 other manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c, manufactured articles to the amount of $166,037, employing a capital of $161,630; 9 persons manufactured confectionery to the amount of $6,500, with a capital of $2,500; 27 powder mills, employing 145 persons, manufactured 2,100,000 pounds of gunpowder, with a capital of $220,000; 299 persons manufactured machinery to the amount of $314,500; 10 persons manufactured hardware and cutlery to the amount of $22,000; 10 persons manufactured granite and marble to the amount of $12,000; 116 persons produced brick and lime to the amount of $56,536; 143 persons manufactured carriages and wagons to the amount of $49,417, with a capital of $25,150; 21 flouring mills manufactured 76,194 barrels of flour, and with other mills, employed 288 persons, and produced to the amount of $737,971, with a capital of $294,150; ships were built to the amount of $35,400; 130 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $16,300, employing a capital of $34,800; 47 brick houses, and 104 wooden houses built, employed 299 persons, and cost $145,850; 6 printing offices and 2 binderies, 3 weekly and 3 semi-weekly newspapers, and 2 periodicals, employed 33 persons, and a capital of $11,450. The whole amount of capital in the state employed in manufactures was $1,589,215.

The climate of this state is generally mild, though in the northern part the winter season is sometimes considerably severe. It is generally healthy.

The rivers are small. Brandywine creek rises in. Pennsylvania, is 40 miles long, and uniting with Christiana creek, forms the harbor of Wilmington, 1 m. below the town, and 2 miles w. of Delaware river. Duck creek, Mispillion creek, and Indian river flow into the Delaware.

Delaware bay washes the eastern part of the state. It has no good natural harbors in this part of it. To remedy this inconvenience, the government of the United States have undertaken the construction of the Delaware Breakwater, in front of Lewiston, near Cape Henlopen. It consists of 2 piers, an ice-breaker, 1,500 feet long, and a breakwater, 3,600 feet long, and when completed, is estimated to cost $2,216,950.

Wilmington is the largest and most commercial town in the state. Vessels drawing 14 feet of water can come to its wharves; it has considerable trade, and has several ships engaged in the whaling business. The other principal towns are Dover and New Castle.

There is but one college in the state, Newark College, at Newark, which was founded in 1833, and had, in 1840, 23 students. Besides this there were in the state, 20 academies, with 761 students; 152 primary and common schools, with 6,924 scholars; and 4,832 persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.

The principal religious denominations are the Presbyterians, who, in 1836, had 15 ministers , the Methodists, 15 ministers; the Episcopalians, 6 ministers; the Baptists, 9 churches and 5 ministers; and the Roman Catholics, 2 ministers; besides some Friends.

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In Jan., 1840, the state had 4 banks, and 4 branches, with an aggregate capital of $1,071,318. The state had no state debt.

The present constitution was adopted in 1831. The governor is chosen for 4 years, and to be ever after ineligible. The senate consists of 3 members from each county, chosen for 4 years. The representatives are 7 from each county, chosen once in two years. The legislature meets once in two years, on the first Tuesday of January. The elections are held on the second Tuesday of November. Every male citizen over 22 years of age, who has resided one year in the state, and the last month in the county in which he votes, and paid a tax, has the right of suffrage; and if he be between 21 and 22 years, and otherwise qualified, he may vote without the payment of a tax. The state treasurer is chosen by the legislature biennially; and in case of his death, resignation, &c, the governor fills the office until the next session of the legislature. The judicial power of the state is exercised by four common law judges and a chancellor. Of the 4 law judges, one is chief-justice, and the others are associates. The chief-justice and chancellor may be appointed from any part of the state, but there must be one associate judge in each county. A court consists of the chief-justice and two associates. No associate judge is permitted to sit in his own county. The legislature have power to establish such inferior courts as may be necessary. The chancellor exercises the powers of a court of chancery, and with all the judges, a court of appeals.

The constitution provides that no act of incorporation shall be passed without a vote of two thirds, unless it be the renewal of an existing incorporation; and all acts are to contain a power of revocation by the legislature. No act hereafter passed shall be in force longer than 20 years, without a re-enactment by the legislature. No person . belonging to the military, naval, or marine service of the United States, can gain such a residence as will entitle him to vote, by being stationed at any military or naval post in the state.

The Chesapeake and Delaware canal, is the most important work of internal improvement in this state. It crosses the northern part of the state, commencing at Delaware city, 46 miles below Philadelphia, and extends 13s miles to Back creek, a navigable branch of Elk River. Being 66 feet wide at the surface and 10 feet deep, it is navigable for sloops and steamboats. The Deep Cut in this canal is 4 miles in length, through a hill 90 feet high. This canal was commenced in 1824, and completed in 1829, at a cost of $2,200,000. The New Castle and Frenchtown railroad also forms a connection between the Delaware and Chesapeake. It extends from New Castle on the Delaware river, to Frenchtown on Elk river, is 16? miles long, and was finished in 1832, at an expense of $400,000.

Delaware was first settled by the Swedes and Finns, under the patronage of Gustavus Adolphus, and received the name of New Sweden. In 1630, they built a fort at Lewiston, and in a year after, another near Wilmington. They were too weak, and too far removed from the protection of the mother country, to sustain themselves against the Dutch, who subdued them in 1655. In 1664, this territory was included in the country taken by the English from the Dutch, granted by Charles II. to the Duke of York, who, in 1682, conveyed it to William Penn. Delaware remained nominally united to Pennsylvania and under its proprietary government, until 1775; though they had, in fact, a separate government before. They were denominated the Lower Countries of the Delaware, and as such, were represented in the first congress at New York, in 1765. This state suffered severely in the revolutionary war, in which its citizens bore an honorable part. In convention, they adopted the constitution of the United States, December 3d, 1787, by a unanimous vote.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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