Delaware – The Highest Toll per Mile State

So, yes, in honour of Delaware being one of the smallest States, I was compelled to give you much more than you ever needed to know.  Try not to blink or you’ll miss it entirely.

The first European settlement in Delaware was New Sweden in 1638.  It was established by Peter Minute – more famous for founding New Amsterdam.  Neither name took.

The Nanticoke Indians were the original inhabitants.  The tribe still gathers in Delaware each September to celebrate the Nanticoke Indian Pow Wow.

Finnish settlers brought the log cabin to Delaware in the 1600s.  One of them still exists and can been seen in Dover (hang a hard left at the Air Force Base).

Ever wonder how Delaware got its name?  Me neither.  But in case it has been keeping you up at night, Delaware was named after Lord de la Warr.  If that name means nothing to you, me too.  But Lord Delaware was the first royal governor.  Not of Delaware of course.  Delaware is named after the first governor of Maryland.  (Talk about being the red-headed step child….)

Delaware calls itself the first State as it was the first to ratify the US Constitution on December 7, 1787 (where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, every license plate).  The odd semi-circular border between Delaware and Pennsylvania was based on the original British land grants given by Charles II and the Duke of York.  Now, since both grants were to William Pitt, why the funky border?

As depicted in the marvelous play, and movie “1776”, the Senior delegate from the Colony of Delaware (Ceasar Rodney)really did ride day and night from his home in Delaware to Philadelphia.  He made this arduous and dangerous this trip while in the final stages of cancer to make sure Delaware voted in favor of independence by plurality.  Some accounts say he either died the same day the Declaration was actually signed, or on his way back to Wilmington after the signing.  If Delaware were ever to select a patron Saint – it would probably come down to either Ceasar Rodney, or “Someone” DuPont.

Speaking of DuPont – this family-owned company added to Delaware’s notoriety, when nylon was first produced in Seaford, Delaware.  American soldiers of the Second World War were able to barter for any number of goods and “services” not provided by the military by offering nylon stockings.

There is no proof that Astronaut Jack Swigert (CMP) of the ill-fated Apollo XIII brought nylons along just in case they would make great gifts for any women on the moon.  The theory is fatally flawed in two ways: 1. Apollo XIII never landed, and 2. As the Command Module Pilot, he was never going to land on the moon anyway.

Dupont was an early proponent of planned obsolescence.  I just remember the piles of nylons with holes in the toe, or at the knee, and don’t even get me started on keeping the seams straight.  Mine usually resembled the outline of the San Andreas fault.

If you decide you want to go on a relaxing beach holiday in Delaware – don’t do it in May.  The beaches can be swarmed by horseshoe crabs, which are especially ugly, even for crabs.

Delaware is the State of Incorporation for a large number of companies.  This may have something to do with there being no income taxes on Companies incorporated in Delaware, even if they do no business whatsoever in the State.  If you are a US Corporation, chances are high you are going to file litigation in either the Southern District of New York, or Delaware (sorry, bad legal flashbacks)

Delaware is the second smallest State in the Union.  It’s shorter than the drive to Disney World, and not as wide as Rte. 27 to Bok Gardens.  Delaware is so small it has only three counties.  Delaware is the only State in the Union that does not have any property managed by the National Parks System.  Being so small I suspect they had to choose between parks and the Air Force Base, they chose the latter.

Delmar, Delaware is also Delmar, Maryland.  This makes Delmar the only city in the USA to straddle two States.  The origins of “Delmar” as the town’s name remain shrouded in mystery to anyone with an I.Q. under 60.

The Methodist Church of America was organized in Frederica, Delaware in 1784.

Tradition holds that the first time the Betsy Ross flag was flown was at the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge.  Of late this has come into question as some historians doubt there ever was a Betsy Ross.  These same historians do not seem to have an explanation about where the flag came from.  Or who “Cooch” was.

The Fenwick Point Lighthouse is just over 87 feet tall.  Delaware painted the entire structure in 1880.  The entire job cost $ 5 (including the paint).  There is no record of the color used.  I am voting for mauve.  Or puce.

The Thousand Acre Marsh is the largest freshwater tidal wetlands in Delaware.  It is unknown if any part of Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by this.

The Blue Hen chicken is the official State bird.  The Lady Bug is the official State bug.  The American Holly is the State Tree.  And, yes, Holly is a tree, which can grow as tall as 60 feet.

The peach blossom is the official State flower.  Delaware has been called “the Peach State”.  Georgia objects to this.  You might expect the State fruit to be a peach, right?  Nope, it’s the strawberry.  But to confuse everyone, the official State desert is peach pie.


In 1981 Delaware wanted to recognize the importance of sports fishing to the State’s popularity, so they designated the weakfish (Cynoscion genus) as the Official state game and food fish.  This might have sparked more tourism if said fish did not go by so many other names, including, but not limited to, sea trout, gray trout, yellow mouth, yellow fin trout, squeteag trout, squeteague, tiderunner, and sometimes, Bob.

The official State colors are colonial blue and buff.  It must be a soothing combination because that was what was on the walls in my brother’s bedroom and he was never up on time.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Betsey Ellis

Betsey is a recovering agent of Satan (.i.e. a legal professional) now working towards a lifetime goal of becoming a perfectly sane cat lady, medieval clothing designer, and occasional playwright. Maybe even finish my doctorate.....nyah, probably not, who needs another expert in Elizabethan Law and its effect on the growth of the middle class.