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Newspaper Archive of
Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
February 23, 1996     Cape Gazette
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February 23, 1996
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il- S, is Y, 12, Old letters provide firsthand look at ten. sion in Lewes prior to bombardment As a surveyor, Jay Wingate of the Wingate and Eschenbach firm has come in contact with a good deal of Cape Region history over the past several decades. When he read last week's col- umn about Capt. Bill Lowe's acquisition of the famous March 16, 1813 letter from British Com- modore John Beresford which led to the April 6, 1813 bombardment of Lewes, a light glowed in Jay's head. He remembered a group of let- ters he acquired a number of years ago which fascinated him because they had been sent to Philadelphia aboard vessels sailing out of Lewes. On closer examination, he found that the letters were first- hand observations of the tension that existed'in Lewes under the threat of destruction from Com- modore Beresford if the town didn't comply with his demand for a substantial amount of food. ("Officials at the Delaware Archives told me these were only the second primary account of that time they had seen," said Wingate.) The letters were written by Robert West. Wingate's wife, Punx, did some research and determined that West was a mer- chant in Lewes. His son, Richard, lived in Philadelphia. Here's a sampling of the con- cerns Robert West relayed to his son aboard vessels. Dennis Forney "March 18, 1813 "My Dear Son, "When I last wrote you we appeared to be in safety. But the times are much altered. We are blockaded by one 74 [gun ship] and one frigate and some small tenders. The boats of the ships are daily out and they have burnt John Smith's sloop this week. Also a schooner at the [Lewes] creek's mouth from Charlestown ..... We are now fortifying - we have al addition of two cannon from the schooner that was burnt. All com- munication is cut off by water and we can make no remittance till times somewhat alter. I trust we shall be able to pay all our Phila. debts shortly and if we lose all here we shall be as we begun. "I trust a kind providence will protect us. I feel a reasonable BAREFOOTIN' confidence. "Your affectionate father "Robert West" The next letter, started Tuesday, March 22, spans the time through Friday, March 25. "My Dear Son "For several days we have been in continual allarm Night and Day. Since the threat to destroy the town sent in by a Flag of Truce all hath been bustle. Nearly all the inhabitants have moved their goods more or less. And many of the houses [are] occupied by the troops that have come in ..... To tell you what number of men are in I cannot. They are, at the moment of writing this, on Parade for Review. The Governor [Joseph Haslet] is in ..... Our Governor sent a flag on board [Beresford's Poictiers] Tuesday evening - they still insist that 25 Bullocks are a reasonable demand but it is rejected. They [the British] have sent a few of their rocket but no Damage Done..We have left the Bank [canal] and live at the house by Mr. White's - our goods scattered about the country ..... I do not propose to move further til we see the result of Sir Beresford's threats to burn our town. I hope he will relent or providence put a Hook in his and his Master's Nose and lead him away. "'Your Affectionate Father" In a final letter, West chided his son for poor penmanship and sug- gested he practice by writing more letters that would be legible To make the point strongly, the father penned a row Of graceful letters across the top of his letter as a guide. A portion of that penman- ship primer is pictured here. CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, February 23 - February 29, 1996.7 i!!':', i'i  ,,: ii" ........ .... i i.i ii ' REHOBOTH BEACH YACHT & IN TOWN LOCATION BAYSIDE IN DEWEY COUNTRYCLUB 3 BRcondo unlt in 2nd ocean block has Thls large 4 BR townhome in North Beautiful contemporary 3 BR, 2 BA good rental history. Your tenants can Dewey is just a short walk from the home on large lot. lovely combination walk to everything from this location, beach. Bay vlews from the 3rd floor of hardwood, slate and vinyl flooring. $59,900. H-030 deck w/southern exposure. Great Excellent condition & priced to sell. Ca//Aun C/ayton: 227-6200. rental history. $210,000. A-119 $178,000. A-024 Call Helen Bleber - 227"611 I. Call Audrey Preftyman: 226"4149 VICTORIA SQUARE REHOBOTH BEACH YACHT & I ii !4i'.i#l i WHAT A VIEW Bike to the beach from this 3 BR, 1 I/2 COUNTRY CLUB Ocean front 3 BR, 3 BA furnished con- BA townhouse complex. Great rental or 5 BR, 3 I/2 BA home with great floor dominlum with ocean view. beach getawayl planl Featuring Ig. family room w/brlck $385.000. H-919 $102,500. H-046 fireplace and a modern, renovated Call Tricla Suleckl: 227.6409. Call Pat Renault:. 227-6200. kitchen. $16,500. -009 Call Doug Davis: 227-6111. NASSAU PARK NEW IN SPRING OF '95 ASPEN MEADOWS This 3 BR, I I/2 BA mobile is a fantastic This 3 BR; 2 BA rancher is nearly !aew & Ideal beach refreatl Fully furnished 2 buy. Excellent condition and located still looks itl Quality construction on 1.37 BR, 2 BA doubiewide in a pool corTI- on landscaped, corner lot offering pri- acre lot. Owners are relocating, munity. In immaculate condition & vacy. Owner wants to sell today! $I 16.500. H-134 near the beach! $13.000. H-083 Call Mlck Kauffman: 227-6200. $59.500. A- 140 Call Sandra Je#emon: 227-611 I. Call Melanle Falr: 227-508 I. DELUXE WOODWORK THROUGHOUT 3 BR, 2.5 BA Cape Cod w/screened porch, basement, family room, & fireplace on large wooded lot. $168,000. H-076 Call Ruby Jones: 227-6200. SOUTH SHORE MARINA Bayfront rancher with a panoramic view of the Indian River Bay. Set sail from the available boat dock or enjoy crabbing and clamming just steps from your yard. $263,000. A-905 Call Bob Hackeft: 227-611 I. PRICE REDUCTION Woods On Herring Creek Pool/Ttennis community Wooded lot $26,500! Call Irene Tillman 227-6200 PRICE REDUCTION PRICE REDUCTION NEW LOT LISTING IN LOT LISTING BREEZEWOOD BROADKILL BEACH Rehoboth Beach Yacht & Tennis Community Waterfront lot With bay Country Cub view! the boardwalk. Wooded lot Now only $23,900! with | septic installed Call Harry Wooding ,Call Lihda Book 227-5080 227-5080 227-6200 A-640 A-602