Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Delaware (State)

DELAWARE, a State in the South Atlantic Division of the North American Union; bounded by Pennsylvania, Delaware river and bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and Maryland; area, 2,050 square miles; one of the original 13 States; number of counties, 3; pop. (1890) 168,493; (1900) 184,735; (1910) 202,322; (1920) 223,003; capital, Dover.

Topography.—Delaware lies on a level plain, the highest elevation being less than 300 feet above the sea. The N. part is hilly, with a rolling surface, but below Newcastle the ground is flat and sandy and in some parts swampy. A ridge about 70 feet in altitude extends along the W. boundary of the State and is the watershed for the affluents of the Delaware in the E. and of several streams falling into Chesapeake Bay. The principal streams are the Christiana and the Brandywine rivers. The Christiana is navigable for large steamers as far as Wilmington. The coast of Delaware Bay is marshy; the Atlantic coast has many sand beaches, inclosing shallow lagoons. The largest of these are Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and a portion of St. Martin's Bay. The only harbors of consequence are Wilmington, Lewes, and Newcastle.

Mineralogy and Geology.—Geologically, the State is divided into three divisions, the cretaceous in the N.; tertiary in the Central, and post-tertiary or alluvial in the S. Bog iron ore, found in all the swamps, shell marl in the greensand region, and kaolin or porcelain clay, are abundant.

Soil.—For eight or ten miles inland from Delaware Bay the soil is for the most part a rich clayey loom; but W. of this it is light and sandy, and productive when well fertilized. The swamps where reclaimed are also very productive. In them are extensive forests of cypresses and other evergreen trees, and shrubs of a semi-tropical character, as well as bog-oak, hackmatack, etc. The remainder of the State has been cleared of its forests and is under cultivation.

Agriculture.—The State is highly agricultural, ten-thirteenths of its entire area being under cultivation. It is pre-eminently a fruit-growing region, peaches, apples, pears, quinces and other small fruits are extensively raised, and the annual peach crop alone averages 4,000,000 baskets. The acreage, production, and value of the principal crops in 1919 was as follows: corn, 230,000 acres, production 6,900,000 bushels, valued at $10,005,000; wheat, 145,000 acres, production 1,740,000 bushels, valued at $3,706,000; potatoes, 11,000 acres, production 915,000 bushels, valued at $1,141,000; sweet potatoes, 7,000 acres, production 966,000 bushels, valued at $1,063,000; hay, 82,000 acres, production 105,000 tons, valued at $2,730,000.

Manufactures.—Delaware has extensive manufactures. In 1914 there were 808 manufacturing establishments in the State. The average number of wage earners was 22,105, and the capital invested amounted to $69,320,000. There was paid in wages $11,382,000. The value of the materials used was $31,649,000, with the finished product valued at $56,035,000.

Banking.—In 1919 there were 19 National banks in operation, having $1,429,000 capital, $885,256 in outstanding circulation, and $1,327,750 in reserve. There were also 5 State banks, with $620,000 capital, $8,833,000 in deposits and $10,847,000 in resources.

Education.—The total enrolment in the public schools in 1919 was 37,440, with an average enrolment of 30,024, and an average attendance of 28,216. There were about 1,120 teachers employed, receiving an average annual salary of $662.10. The educational conditions in the State have for many years been unsatisfactory, but in 1919 there was passed and approved an elaborate school code providing for county and district administrative machinery, and making radical reforms and changes in the conduct of the schools. This code resulted from a study of a school survey commission appointed in 1917.

Churches.—The strongest denominations numerically in the State are the Methodist Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Protestant Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, and Presbyterian.

Railways.—The roads having the longest mileage in the State are the Wilmington, Philadelphia Traction Company, the Wilmington, Newcastle, and Delaware City, and the People's Railway Company. The total railway mileage operated in or through the State is about 350 miles.

Finance.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1918 amounted to $1,428,848, and the expenditure to $1,311,404. There was a balance at the end of the fiscal year of $571,195. The State had an outstanding indebtedness in 1919 of $1,581,785.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially. The Legislature has 35 members in the House and 17 in the Senate, members of the House are elected for a term of two years, and members of the Senate for four years, each receiving a salary of $5 per day for 60 days. Delaware sends one Representative to Congress.

Charities and Corrections.—The charitable and correctional institutions of the State include the State Hospital for the Insane at Farnhurst, Delaware Hospital at Wilmington, Physicians' and Surgeons' Hospital at Wilmington, Hope Farm Sanitarium at Marshallton, State Penitentiary at Wilmington, Ferris Industrial School at Marshallton, and the Industrial Schools for Girls at Wilmington.

History.—Delaware was named after Lord Delaware, governor of Virginia, who sailed up the bay in 1610. The first settlement was made by the Dutch in 1681, and in 1638 a colony of Swedes and Finns built a fort on Christiana creek and called the country New Sweden. There was constant friction between the Dutch and Swedes until 1664, when all the Dutch settlements came under English rule. For over 20 years Delaware was part of Pennsylvania, known as the “three lower counties on the Delaware.” The State became independent during the Revolution, and her soldiers, known as the “Blue Hen's Chickens,” did admirable service during the war. Delaware was the first State to ratify the Federal Constitution, Dec. 7, 1787. Although a slaveholding State, Delaware did not secede in 1861, but strongly supported the Union cause and furnished nearly 14,000 troops.