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News and Changes

I will not be renewing the domain name peninsularoots.com, which will expire in March; nor am I likely to post new articles here. You will still be able to reach the site via peninsularoots.wordpress.com, but new articles will be posted on my blog at baldcypressbooks.com. It is easier for me to keep up with one website and blog than two.

I do want to preserve the articles I’ve posted on Peninsula Roots over the last several years, particularly those about the Nanticoke Indians. WordPress tracks the search terms which bring readers to the blog, and, overwhelmingly, it seems that most visitors come here in search of information about the Nanticokes. Now that I’m operating a book-publishing venture — more on that in a moment — I might gather some of the articles, update them as needed (in many cases, further research has shed new light on the subjects and corrections are needed), and publish them as a collection.

After founding Bald Cypress Books to self-publish The Roofed Graves of Delmarva last year, I spent several months transcribing a rare text entitled Military Interference With the Election in Delaware, 1862, last published by the Delaware General Assembly in 1863. I published the first copies of the new edition in November, and officially released the book on January 1st. Since then, I’ve already sold out of hardcovers, but still have paperbacks in stock, and more books are on the way. The book can be purchased (or preordered, in the case of hardcovers) at baldcypressbooks.com. Discounted copies are available to bookstores and nonprofit organizations.

I have several other projects in the works which I’d rather not say too much about. I will say that I am writing a book which will feature my research on the historical Nanticoke Indians and the colonial Broad Creek community; I’m also transcribing another text to reprint. I expect to publish one or both of these books in 2021. In the meantime, updates will be shared through Bald Cypress Books, whether on the website or on social media.

Additionally, I plan to publish new books by other authors, so please contact me if you’re interested. I’ll consider any manuscript related to the history or culture of the Delmarva Peninsula.

– Chris Slavens

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Minor update

When I created this blog a couple of years ago, I chose Peninsula Roots as a temporary name, and didn’t bother to register a domain name, expecting it to change. It never did, so I finally got around to registering peninsularoots.com, which looks a bit nicer than the old peninsularoots.wordpress.com. Links to the old address will still work, however.

I’ve also added links to a couple of other Delmarva history blogs, but the Links and Resources pages remain works in progress.

– Chris Slavens

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Rev. Richard F. Cadle: A Brief Profile

Richard Fish Cadle was born in New York in 1796. As a teenager he studied at Columbia College, and went on to become an important Episcopal minister and missionary, known especially for founding churches in the wild territories of Michigan and Wisconsin. He came to Laurel in the spring of 1853 following the resignation of the Reverend James W. Hoskins, and assumed responsibility for the Protestant Episcopal parishes at Seaford, Broad Creek, and Little Hill.

The churches under Rev. Cadle’s care included Christ Church, located a couple of miles northeast of the village of Laurel, and considered the mother church of the Episcopal churches of western Sussex County; St. Luke’s, located in Seaford; the recently completed St. Philip’s, a chapel in Laurel which quickly became more popular with parishioners than the comparably distant mother church; and St. John’s at Little Hill, a tiny chapel about seven miles east of Laurel, located just outside the hamlet known as Terrapin Hill, on the main road to Gumborough.

Rev. Cadle was given a house and $150 in cash, and was supplied with hogs and corn by some of the local farmers. Although the previous rector had been given two slaves, it is assumed that the vestry probably sold or freed them due to Cadle’s opposition to slavery. One of his first services in Laurel was the burial service of Joseph O’Neal, who had died in late March at age seventy.

Rev. Richard F. Cadle

Although he was not considered an exceptional preacher, due to a minor speech impediment, Rev. Cadle was known as an educated man, a gifted writer, and a passionate teacher, establishing a class in Laurel for the study of “approved religious books,” a Bible study class, and Sunday Schools for children. Of course, he also performed all of the regular duties of an Episcopal minister, presiding over marriages, baptisms, funerals, and burials, not only at the churches he served, but also at Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and in private residences. At that time, Methodism was by far the dominant faith in the area. In early 1857, he organized St. Mark’s in Little Creek Hundred, a few miles south of Laurel, which initially met at a private residence.

During the time of Rev. Cadle’s ministry, Christ Church, which was already nearly ninety years old, was in rather poor condition, and he hoped that the historic house of worship would be repaired and maintained, writing, “It is earnestly to be wished that the object of so much nursing care may yet be a joy of many generations.”

After being caught out in a cold storm in October 1857, apparently while performing his duties, Rev. Cadle became ill, and died in a parishioner’s home on November 9. Reportedly, his final words were, “The blood of Christ is sufficient for all things.”

– Chris Slavens

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Yet Another Blog

When I started thinking about creating a blog about Delmarva history, folklore, and genealogy, my first thought was, Yet another blog. I’ve published one about politics, one about religion, and contributed to several others. It seems like I’m always telling people about the latest blog I’m publishing or contributing to. But, as a matter of fact, I haven’t written for any blog in over a year. So, yes, this is yet another blog, but it’s also my only blog at the moment.

I decided to create this blog for several reasons. First, I’ve been interested in genealogy — family history research — since I was a kid, and although I periodically share stories about and photographs of my ancestors on Facebook, I’d like to share that sort of information on a site that anyone can stumble upon. Second, I’ve been working on a short book-length history of Laurel, Delaware, since November, and I frequently come across information that just doesn’t fit into the book. Sometimes, pages of research boil down to a single sentence. I’ll share some of that “overflow” material on this site. Third, I’m interested in learning what others might know about a particular subject — like the Nanticoke village at Broad Creek during the 17th and 18th centuries — so I hope that posts about such subjects will provoke discussion.

Concerning the name of the blog, I chose Peninsula Roots on a whim and will probably change it several times. Once I settle on a name, I’ll buy the domain. I liked the name Between the Bays, but apparently that’s already a thing. Peninsula Roots will suffice for the present.

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