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BLACK TOWNS

 

 



BLACK TOWNS DELAWARE

 

Little Hell

   A settlement of African American farmer workers who lived directly across the road from the Irish community of Little Heaven. Originally laid out in 1870, Little Hell is now marked by a weeping willow tree and Little Heaven by a roadside fruit stand.

Charley Town

   The site of present day Townsend, Charley Town was named after Charles Lloyd, "a Negro living in one of the several Negro shanties that then comprised the settlement."

New Discovery

   A pre-Civil War African settlement which stretched out for over a mile. This community was typical of many which existed in the slave-holding territory of New England. As late as 1920 most of the roads in southern Delaware were lined with such settlements. Migration of families to the North and widening of old roads have eliminated most of these communities.

Polktown

   Located opposite the entrance of Fort Du Pont, Polktown was the scene of Ella Middleton Tybout’s Poketown People, a volume of stories presented in African American dialect.

Belltown

   In its "hey day" this community had a school, church, stores, a beauty parlor and a population of 300 residents. The town had a local government that managed community affairs and most of its inhabitants worked as fishermen in the town of Lewes or in nearby apple and peach orchards.

   Belltown was named for Jake [Jigger] Bell, "a free Negro", who in 1840 donated land for a church and sold lots for the establishment of the town. The town was also inhabited by Arnsy Maull, who practiced the voodoo arts and was known to be visited by both African and Caucasian clientele. Today, Arnsy’s son Silas, now an old man, disclaims any belief in "witchcraft". However, he does sell "charms" and "cures" made from herbs and other things.

 

Star Hill

   Located in the vicinity of Camden, Star Hill was settled by free Africans on land obtained from the Quakers in the late 1700s. A Quaker sponsored school for black children was established in the late 1800s and the community attended church in nearby Camden at the Zion AME Church [built 1845] until a split occurred in 1863 and the Star Hill AME Church was constructed.

   The AME Church was formed by Richard Allen, who had been a house slave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Blacks originally attended integrated Methodist Churches, however, as their number grew so did the resentment against them. The church as well as a burial ground are located on the eastern portion of the property and have been identified on the National Register of Historic

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