1637 Nov 20, Peter Minuit &
1st Dutch and Swedish immigrants to Delaware sailed from Sweden.
Peter later purchased Manhattan Island for 60 guilders.
1638 Mar 29, The first
permanent white settlement was established in Delaware. Swedish
Lutherans who came to Delaware were the first to build log cabins in
America. The first English colonists did not know how to build
houses from logs but those who lived in the forests of Scandinavia,
Germany and Switzerland did. German pioneers who settled in
Pennsylvania built the first log cabins there in the early 1700s.
The Scotch-Irish immigrants who settled in the Appalachian highlands
after 1720 made the widest use of log cabins and by the time of the
American Revolution, log cabins were the mainstay among settlers all
along the western frontier.
(HNQ, 9/15/99)(AP, 3/29/08)
1639 Jun 10, The 1st American
log cabin at Fort Christina (Wilmington, Delaware).
1655 Sep 26, Peter Stuyvesant
recaptured Dutch Ft. Casimir from Swedish in Delaware.
1669 Dec 20, The 1st American
jury trial was held in Delaware. Marcus Jacobson was condemned for
insurrection and sentenced to flogging, branding & slavery.
1682 Aug 24, Duke James of York
gave Delaware to William Penn.
1682 Oct 26, William Penn
accepted the area around the Delaware River from Duke of York.
1728 Oct 7, Caesar Rodney
(d.1784), Delaware, judge and signer (Declaration of Independence),
was born in Dover, Delaware. He led opposition to British laws for
many years while serving in the provincial assembly. He was elected
to the Continental Congresses of 1774 and 1775. In 1777, he
commanded the Delaware militia, and the next year he was elected
president of the state for a three-year term. Rodney on horseback
represents Delaware, the first of the original 13 states to ratify
the Constitution, on a new .25-cent piece.
(HNQ, 2/24/99)(MC, 10/7/01)
1776 Jun 15, Delaware declared
independence from both England and Pennsylvania with whom it had
shared a royal governor.
(WSJ, 5/30/00, p.A24)
1776 Caesar Rodney rode 80
miles from Dover to Philadelphia to vote for the Declaration of
Independence. In 1998 the ride was commemorated by the US mint on
the back of a new quarter.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A2)
Jun 29, Caesar Rodney (b.1728), US judge, Delaware representative as
a signer of the Declaration of Independence, died. He was later
depicted on the Delaware state quarter
1787 Aug 22, Inventor John
Fitch demonstrated his steamboat on the Delaware River to delegates
of the Continental Congress.
1787 Dec 7, Delaware became the
first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1787 John Dickinson served as
Delaware’s delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
(SFC, 11/2/02, p.D2)
1797 May 12, George Washington
addressed the Delaware chiefs and stated: “It is the duty of all
nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his
will, to be grateful for his benefits, and to humbly implore his
protection and favor."
(WSJ, 6/26/01, p.A23)
1802 Eleuthere Irenee du Pont
de Nemours (d.1834), a French immigrant, set up a saltpeter mill in
Wilmington, Del., on the banks of the Brandywine River. In 8 years
it grew to become America's largest black-powder plant as it
supplied gunpowder to the US for the War of 1812.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)(SFC, 9/17/01, p.B2)
1818 The Epistles of John were
published by the American Bible Society in the language of the
(WSJ, 8/7/98, p.W13)
1824 Jun 10, Caesar
Augustus Rodney (v.1772), US Attorney General (1807-1811) and nephew
of US Judge Caesar Rodney (1728-1784), died in Buenos Aires. He
served as a US Senator from Delaware (1822-1823).
1829 Oct 17, Delaware River and
Chesapeake Bay Canal formally opened. The Chesapeake-Delaware Canal
was 14 miles long.
(NG, Sept., 1939, p.379)(MC, 10/17/01)
1834 Eleuthere Irenee du Pont
de Nemours, founder of a large gun powder operation, died. The
company was re-charted as a partnership and then the French and
original stockholders were all bought out buy the family. General
Henry du Pont, the 2nd son of E.I. du Pont led the company till his
death in 1899.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)
1861 Jan 3, Delaware rejected a
proposal that it join the South in seceding.
1861 Jun 5, Federal marshals
seized arms and gunpowder at Du Pont works in Delaware.
1891 Delaware State University
was established as the State College for Colored Students. In 2006
it had about 3,690 students. The 400-acre campus is in the northern
section of Dover, across the street from the racetrack.
1893 Jan 17, A state record
temperature of 17F, -27C, was recorded in Millsboro, Delaware.
1899 Delaware enacted a
corporation law modeled on one in New Jersey. Delaware gradually
gained market share and grew to dominate the market in business
(Econ, 11/23/13, p.67)
1903 Jun 22, George White, a
black resident of Delaware, was lynched.
1903 Du Pont established the
Experimental Station for research in Wilmington.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)
1907 Dec 7, The first Christmas
Seals to help the fight against tuberculosis were sold, in
Wilmington, Del. [Some sources say Dec. 9].
1907 Dec 9, US Christmas seals
went on sale for the first time, at the Wilmington, Del., post
office. Proceeds went to fight tuberculosis. The fists US Christmas
seals were issued by the Red Cross in a program founded by a
Delaware woman to support a TB sanitarium [see Dec 7].
(AP, 12/9/97)(SFC, 12/23/98, Z1 p.3)
1912 Oct 26, By an executive
order Delaware was represented by the first star and Delaware wais
represented by the top stripe of the American flag. Delaware was the
first of the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution, on Dec. 7,
1787. It was thus assigned the top of the 13 stripes and the first
of the then 48 stars by an executive order signed by President
William Howard Taft. Each subsequent stripe was then assigned to the
colonies in the order in which they ratified the Constitution. The
first 13 stars (from left to right) also represent the order in
which the colonies ratified, and are then followed by the rest of
the states in the order in which they were admitted into the Union.
1912 Louisa d’Andelot du Pont
Copeland spearheaded the founding of the Delaware Art Museum.
(WSJ, 7/10/00, p.A32)
1912 Du Pont was forced to give
up a big piece of its explosives business due to government trust
busting but kept its military line and became the chief supplier to
the Allies in WW I. The Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington
tracked the business history of the du Ponts.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)(WSJ, 2/25/99, p.A1)
1913 Feb 3, Ratification of the
16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income
tax, was completed as Delaware became the 36th state to ratify the
1909 resolution. The new income tax laws included an exemption on
life insurance to help widows and orphans. The 1st $3,000 was
exempted. The top rate on incomes over $500,000 was 6%.
2/3/00)(SSFC, 7/28/02, p.A3)(WSJ, 6/4/03, p.B1)
1929 Louis R. Redding (d.1998
at 96) became the state’s first black lawyer and for 2 decades was
the state’s only black lawyer.
(SFC, 10/3/98, p.A21)
1939 Oct 24, Nylon stockings,
made from nylon developed by DuPont Chemical, were sold publicly for
the first time, in Wilmington, Del.
(AP, 10/24/97)(SSFC, 1/26/14, DB p.42)
1951 Louis Redding worked on a
suit filed on behalf of black schoolchildren in Delaware who had not
been allowed to enroll in white public schools. A court ruled in
favor of the suit in 1952 but the state appealed and the suit became
part of Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court suit of 1954.
(SFC, 10/3/98, p.A21)
1957 Oct 10, President Dwight
D. Eisenhower apologized to Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, the finance
minister of Ghana, after the official had been refused service in a
Dover, Del., restaurant.
1972 Nov 7, Delaware elected
Joseph Biden (b.1942) as one of its US Senators. Biden was
re-elected in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2002.
(SSFC, 8/24/08, p.A15)
1974-1981 Irving Shapiro (d.2001 at 85) led the Du
Pont Co. (DuPont).
(SFC, 9/17/01, p.B2)
1987 Sep 23, Delaware Sen.
Joseph Biden withdrew from the Democratic presidential race
following questions about his use of borrowed quotations and the
portrayal of his academic record.
1989 A tanker ran aground near
Claymont, Del., spilling 300,000 gallons of heating oil into the
1992 Mar 14, Steven Brian
Pennell (34), serial killer, was executed. This was the 1st
execution in Delaware in 45 years.
1992 Apr 10, Dwayne Weeks and
Arthur Govan broke into the Wilmington apartment of Weeks’ estranged
wife, Gwendolyn, and shot her and her boyfriend, Craig Williams, to
death. Weeks was convicted and executed in 2000.
(SFC, 11/18/00, p.A2)
1992 Oct 28, The US
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was enacted.
It banned betting on sports with exemptions to Delaware, Nevada,
Oregon and Montana.
(Econ, 9/26/09, p.42)(http://tinyurl.com/yenf89a)
1994 Nov 18, Cabell "Cab"
Calloway III (b.1907), American jazz singer and bandleader, died in
Hockessin, Del., at age 86.
1996 Jun 27, Anne Marie Fahey
(30), the secretary of Gov. Thomas Carper, disappeared from
Wilmington after dining at a Philadelphia restaurant with Thomas
Capano. Capano, a prominent lawyer who had dated Fahey, was later
accused of her murder based on testimony from his two brothers, who
had helped him dispose the body. In 1998 Capano admitted that he
disposed Fahey’s body but insisted that her death was an accident.
In 1998 Capano testified that Fahey was shot accidentally by former
mistress Deborah MacIntyre, who denied the charge. Capano was
convicted by a jury on Jan 17, 1999. On Mar 16, 1999, Capano was
sentenced to death.
(SFEC,12/14/97, p.A4)(SFEC, 10/5/98, p.A5)(SFC,
10/27/98, p.A2)(SFC, 12/22/98, p.A2)(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A2)(SFC,
1998 Mar 9, In a case pitting
former high school sweethearts against each other, Brian Peterson
pleaded guilty in Wilmington, Del., to manslaughter in the death of
his newborn son in a Newark, N.J., motel and agreed to testify
against the mother, Amy Grossberg. A month later, Grossberg also
pleaded guilty to manslaughter; she ended up serving nearly two
years of a 2 1/2-year sentence; Peterson served 1 1/2 years of a
1998 Apr 22, Amy Grossberg, a
young woman charged along with her high school sweetheart with
murdering their newborn at a Delaware motel, pleaded guilty to
manslaughter. Amy Grossberg ended up serving nearly two years of a 2
1/2-year sentence; Brian Peterson served 1 1/2 years of a two-year
sentence. Peterson had received a lesser sentence of two years
because he'd cooperated with authorities.
(AP, 4/22/03)(AP, 4/22/08)
1998 Jul 9, Former high school
sweethearts Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson were sentenced in
Wilmington, Del., to prison for killing their newborn son at a
motel. Grossberg received 2 1/2 years; Peterson, who cooperated with
prosecutors, got two years. Grossberg ended up serving nearly two
years; Peterson, 1 1/2 years.
1999 Jan 4, The US mint began
distributing a new series of commemorative state quarters. The first
one from Delaware marked the 1776 ride of Caesar Rodney from Dover
to Philadelphia to vote for the Declaration of Independence. Rep.
Michael Castle of Delaware dreamed up the program in 1996.
(SFC, 1/5/99, p.A2)(WSJ, 12/29/03, p.A4)
1999 Aug 5, Gov. Thomas Carper
declared a drought emergency and mandatory water restrictions for
two-thirds of the state.
(SFC, 8/6/99, p.D6)
2001 Jan 3, In Delaware a fire
at an Oak Orchard rural home killed 11 Wright-Shelton family members
including 7 children.
(SFC, 1/4/01, p.C12)(AP, 1/3/02)
2002 Nov, Delaware’s 2002
Pumpkin’ Chunkin’ contest was won by the 2nd Amendment team from
2003 Dec 13, William Roth Jr.
(82), former Delaware Senator, died. He was 1st elected to Congress
in 1966 and served 5 terms as a senator. He helped created the
popular Roth retirement account. His wrote the book "The Power to
Destroy" (1999), a look at the IRS.
(SFC, 12/15/03, p.A2)
2004 Feb 6, Delaware
Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse said that the bird flu strain,
identified as H7, is different from the one that has swept Asia, and
isn't a threat to human health. The state has ordered the slaughter
of some 12,000 chickens.
2004 Nov 2, Ruth Ann Miller (D)
was elected governor of Delaware.
(SFC, 11/4/04, p.A18)
2004 Nov 26, A
Cyprus-registered tanker spilled 30,000 gallons of crude oil into
the Delaware River between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey,
creating a 20-mile-long slick that killed dozens of birds and
threatened other wildlife.
2005 Apr 7, In Delaware police
arrested Allison L. Norman (22) after he killed 2 people and wounded
4 others during a rampage.
(SFC, 4/8/05, p.A3)
2005 Oct 15, Marcia and Ken
Powers, a husband-and-wife team, reached the Pacific Ocean on after
a 4,900-mile cross-country hike, becoming the first to backpack the
transcontinental American Discovery Trail in one continuous trek.
They had started Feb. 27 at Cape Henlopen in Delaware.
2007 Jan 31, Delaware Sen. Joe
Biden formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential
2007 Mar 16, In Wilmington,
Del., Rachel L. Holt (35), who had pleaded guilty to second-degree
rape, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having sex with a
2007 Apr 13, In Delaware a
special committee of the board of directors of Computer Associates
accused founder and former chairman Charles Wang of directing and
participating in fraudulent accounting during the 1980s and 1990s,
which the US government had described as totaling $2.2 billion.
(WSJ, 4/14/07, p.A1)
2007 Jul 10, Delaware Gov. Ruth
Ann Minner signed a law abolishing the state’s 2-year state of
limitations on personal injury lawsuits for victims of child sex
(SFC, 7/13/07, p.A3)
2007 Jul 12, Robert Quill (52)
of Florida filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by Rev.
Francis G. DeLuca, who worked for the Catholic Diocese of
Wilmington, Delaware, for 35 years. The suit alleged that church
officials knew DeLuca was abusing boys as early as 1958.
(SFC, 7/13/07, p.A3)
2007 Sep 21, One student was
mortally wounded, another injured, at Delaware State University, and
the campus was locked down as police searched for a gunman. On Sep
24 police arrested Loyer Braden (18), a DSU freshman on charges of
attempted murder. He was later indicted on a second-degree murder
(SFC, 9/25/07, p.A6)(AP, 9/21/08)
2008 Aug 23, Democrats
coalesced around Barack Obama's selection of Delaware Senator Joe
Biden (b.1942) as his running mate while Republicans quickly seized
on the Delaware senator's past criticism of the presidential
2008 Oct 2, US vice
presidential candidates held their only debate prior to elections.
Alaska’s Gov. Sarah Palin often spoke in generalities. Delaware Sen.
Joe Biden was generally focused and forceful, and seemed to take
painstaking care not to appear disrespectful in the least.
2008 Nov 24, Delaware’s Gov.
Ruth Ann Miner named Edward Kaufman, a former aide to Sen. Joe
Biden, to fill the Senate seat Biden was leaving for the vice
(SFC, 11/25/08, p.A14)
2009 Jan 20, Jack Markell
(b.1960) began serving as governor of Delaware. He made education
reform a centerpiece of his tenure.
(Econ, 3/16/13, SR
2009 Jul 21, In Delaware
creditors charged in a court filing that racetrack operator Magna
Entertainment Corp fraudulently transferred more than $125 million
to companies controlled by Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach
before filing for bankruptcy.
2009 Ben Yagoda (b.1954),
professor of journalism at the University of Delaware, authored
“Memoir: A History."
2010 Feb 22, A Delaware grand
jury returned an indictment on pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley of
Lewes with 471 counts of sexual crimes against 103 children.
(SFC, 2/23/10, p.A6)
2010 Mar 29, US Federal
officials awarded Tennessee and Delaware $600 million in grants to
improve failing schools as part of Pres. Obama’s $4 billion fund for
education innovation and reform. Delaware won as much as $107
million. Tennessee could get $502 million.
(AP, 3/29/10)(SFC, 3/30/10, p.A9)
2010 Dec 1, A Delaware jury
awarded $30 million in damages to John Vai, who claimed he was
sexually abused by former priest Francis DeLuca (80) in the 1960s.
DeLuca was defrocked in 2008 after serving a short prison sentence
for repeatedly molesting his grandnephew (18). The Wilmington
diocese, facing more than 100 priest-abuse lawsuits, filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.
(SFC, 12/2/10, p.A13)(http://tinyurl.com/2cqrfcl)
2010 Dec 31, The body of John
Wheeler III (66), a national defense consultant, was found in a load
of trash at a landfill in Wilmington, Delaware. He was last seen
alive a day earlier in Wilmington.
(http://tinyurl.com/2c6hzrd)(SFC, 1/5/11, p.A4)
2011 Jun 23, Early Bradley
(58), a former Delaware pediatrician, was found guilty of abusing
scores of young patients, most of whom were toddlers.
(SFC, 6/24/11, p.A8)
2011 Aug 26, Former Delaware
pediatrician Earl Bradley (58) was sentenced 14 life sentences
without parole for committing horrific acts of sexual abuse against
scores of young patients over more than a decade.
2013 Feb 4, Donald Byrd, US
jazz trumpeter, died in Delaware. He had joined Art Blakey’s Jazz
Messengers in 1955 after moving to NYC from Detroit. He and Pepper
Adams made their Blue Note label debut with their “Off to the Races"
album in 1959.
(SFC, 2/12/13, p.C4)
2013 Feb 11, In Delaware a
gunman battling over child custody opened fire in a courtroom in
Wilmington leaving two women dead before fatally shooting himself.
(SFC, 2/12/13, p.A50)
2013 Mar 26, The Delaware state
Senate approved a bill repealing the state’s death penalty in a
(SFC, 3/27/13, p.A6)
2013 May 7, Delaware’s state
senate voted 12-9 to allow same-sex marriage. Within an hour Gov.
Jack Markell signed it into law making Delaware the 11th US state to
support same-sex marriage.
2014 Jun 2, Delaware closed an
I-495 bypass bridge in Wilmington after finding tilting in support
columns. On June 9 crews began work to remove some 50,000 tons of
dirt, dumped by a contractor, that was believed to be the cause.
(SFC, 6/6/14, p.A6)(SFC, 6/8/14, p.A6)
2014 Dec 11, Delaware police
arrested Seth Ramsey (17) of Harrington after his father was found
dead with a single arrow wound to the abdomen. Ramsey admitted to
killing his father with a crossbow.
(SSFC, 12/14/14, p.A8)
2015 Dec 11, DuPont and Dow
Chemical said they have agreed to merge. On Dec 29 DuPont CEO Ed
Breen sent a letter to employees saying that some 1,700 Delaware
jobs would be eliminated at the beginning of the new year.
(SFC, 12/12/15, p.D1)(SFC, 12/30/15, p.C1)
2015 Sep 23, In Wilmington,
Delaware, a police officer shouting "Show me your hands!" shot and
killed Jeremy McDole (28) sitting in a wheelchair on a street behind
a car in broad daylight. The event was captured on video.
2016 Aug 2, Delaware's Supreme
Court ruled the state's death penalty statute unconstitutional,
finding it in violation of the Sixth Amendment role of the jury.
2016 Nov 17, Delaware-based
DuPont said it will soon stop contributing to active employees'
pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 US
workers, including 2,800 in Delaware. DuPont closed the pension plan
to new employees in 2007.
2017 Feb 2, Delaware
authorities ended a nearly 24-hour hostage standoff at the
2,500-prisoner James T. Vaughn Correctional Center after guard, Sgt.
Steven Floyd (47), was killed. Floyd was one of four staff members
taken hostage. One inmate said they were demanding better education
and rehabilitation programs.
(SFC, 2/3/17, p.A6)
2017 Oct 18, Police in Delaware
arrested Radee Prince (37) on suspicion of shooting five people
earlier in the day at a kitchen countertop company in Edgewood, Md.
Three people were killed.
(SFC, 10/19/17, p.A4)
2017 Nov 20, In Delaware
Terminix was sentenced more than $9 million in criminal fines after
admitting to using a pesticide called methyl bromide at 14
locations, including the St. John resort in the US Virgin Islands
where the Esmond family of Delaware was vacationing in 2015. Three
of the family members sustained neurological damage.
2018 Mar 25, Remington, a
company that began making flintlock rifles when there were only 19
United States, filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.
(AP, 3/26/18)(SFC, 3/27/18, p.D2)
2018 May 9, Delaware Gov. John
Carney signed a measure into law making his state the first in the
US to ban marriage for anyone under 18.
(http://tinyurl.com/ybzkl7mx)(SFC, 5/12/18, p.A5)
2018 Sep 18, Delaware signed a
final 50-year agreement with a private Emirati port operator to
privatize the Port of Wilmington. The state will receive yearly
concession payments of around $10 million.
2019 Jan 22, In Delaware Jose
Rivera (59), the ex-manager of a pest-control company in the US
Virgin Islands, was sentenced to a year in prison for poisoning a
Delaware family in 2015 with a banned pesticide. Terminix reportedly
paid $9.2 million in criminal fines in the case.