Opening day for the ferry, 1925.  Courtesy New Castle Historical Society 


New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

Resident's Recollections

Frances Sheridan Haut, b 1908

In Preparation:
Lena Fleming Deemer,
Richard Appleby,
Robert J. Quillen, Jr., b 1930

Under Construction!


Frances Sheridan Haut was born in New Castle in 1908 in in the (now) green Victorian house at the end of 6th Street.  She recalls that New Castle has always been lovely.  One thing that has changed is that Green is no longer limited by a high fence to contain cows.  Before her time citizens such as her father Phillip Sheridan and Judge Rodney kept cows, and they were allowed to graze them at certain times of the day.ferry6.jpg (159739 bytes)

Another daily event was the coming of the boats to the Delaware Street wharf.  She recalls that sidewheelers such as that shown here came daily from Philadelphia or Baltimore at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and stopped for an hour.  Passengers would go to the great ice cream parlor at the Jefferson Hotel.  This was in the second floor of the  now-removed rear extension.

The ferry to Pennsville and the Riverview (Amusement) Park was a draw for Frances (and for Lena Deemer, Jim Quillen and Dick Appleby).  All recall sneaking aboard  the ferry and into the park.  Frances recalls that on a date, the boy took her to New Jersey in a canoe, hitching a ride all the way on the wake at the boat's stern.ideal18990004.JPG (605402 bytes)

She married Henry Haut in 1931, and lived for many years at 26 The Strand opposite the end of Packet Alley. She recalls her parents sitting at the upstairs window watching the many foreign ships passing up and down the river.  She herself went to Europe about 20 times, mostly by ship.

Frances started singing early in life and performed as a soloist at age 13.  Her musical career included teaching piano and voice for 50 years.

Other memories:

Walking along the river past the mill ruins near Dobbinsville where the remnants were the wharfs and building foundations.. 
Boats in the harbor for short shad fishing season.  Rented out rest of year (with motor) for pleasure.

Candy for children at Christmas at the Deemer Mansion
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Taking the trolley to Wilimington and crossing the terrifying bridge over the railroad tracks near the trolley barn.  She recalls that some people refused to go over the bridge and forced the conductor to allow them to walk!.
Beach parties with bonfires from the driftwood (sometimes 4 fires at a time) were not only for dating but for families -- everybody from children to grandparents.  Everybody off the beach by 10 pm.
The "Canary Cottage" near Witt's Bakery on Delaware.  Rooming house for girls named not for color of the house, but their tongues from (?painting radium numbers on watches, working in explosive plant?)
Before Deemer Beach was built, the area was a national military training ground
As a young couple, driving to Deemer Beach with (15 years older) Mr. and Mrs. Jim Quillen, Jim Eliason and Newlin Booth Jr. for roller skating or dancing.  The amusement park also had a Pagoda (just a curious building), a beach, rental cottages, a pier for landing of excursion boats.
Opening day (1925) of the ferry on Delaware Street.  "I was there in a white dress.  The boat arrived in the morning, but it became  so heavily loaded that it stuck on the bottom, and couldn't continue till later in the day.



Photos of the trolley and the steamer are courtesy of New Castle Historical Society; of Deemer Beach, Hagley Museum and Library, of the Jefferson Hotel, New Castle Public Library