Enjoy the rich history of Delaware

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines…


One of the joys of living and working in capital city of the First State is its rich history.

Whenever you have a chance, walk around The Green and think about the people who have been there and shaped Delaware through the years.

From the Editor logo copy copyAnd, take time to meet the people who serve as historical interpreters for the state’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Tom Welch, who serves at the Old Statehouse in Dover, is one of those with a deep appreciation for Delaware history.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, he will be giving the presentation “Who is Louis McLane?” in the History-Coffee Hour Series.

Mr. Welch, as many of you will recall from our coverage, often takes on the persona of Allen McLane, a Smyrna patriot who was a spy and trusted member of George Washington’s army.

Mr. Welch, who has been researching Allen McLane for eight years, has called him the “Unknown Hero of the Revolution.”

His studies have led him to learn more about McLane’s son, Louis.

“He’s a phenomenal dude, different in venues but equal in stature ” said Mr. Welch.

Louis McLane, who attended Newark College (now the University of Delaware), was elected to Congress in 1816 and served five terms before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. Two years later, President Andrew Jackson appointed him minister to Great Britain.

Later, he joined President Jackson’s Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury and later Secretary of State.

Mr. Welch’s research — particularly in the writings of John Munroe in his book “Louis McLane, Federalist and Jacksonian” — turned up some interesting insights.

Dr. Munroe described Louis McLane as “more sophisticated, less crude, less wild, less ardent — less erratic” than his father.

Allen McLane was among the delegates to ratify the Constitution and earn Delaware its “First State” status. In latter years of his life, he was appointed to serve as a marshal and collector at the Port of Wilmington.


A couple of interesting personal facts about the McLanes are that Louis was named after the King of France and that he was the second son of Allen and Rebecca to be named Louis.

Learn more about Smyrna-born Louis McLane, a Secretary of State in President Andrew Jackson’s Cabinet, at a presentation Thursday at the Old Statehouse in Dover.

Learn more about Smyrna-born Louis McLane, a Secretary of State in President Andrew Jackson’s Cabinet, at a presentation Thursday at the Old Statehouse in Dover.

The first Louis died as infant. In fact, the McLanes had 14 children and only three survived.


Mr. Welch said Dr. Munroe did not have much to offer on Allen McLane in his book “Colonial Delaware.”

There were a couple of mentions, but the interesting one was a passage that said Allen McLane was one of two people to say Caesar Rodney got out of a carriage on the day he cast Delaware’s deciding vote for independence in Philadelphia in 1776.

It always seems cooler to we Delawareans to think of a mud-covered Caesar Rodney arriving on horseback.


In recent weeks and months, it seems like more and more people have been lamenting history as a lesser priority in our schools.

Here’s a question for our readers, particularly the parents and grandparents of young students.

Are our children learning enough about American history and Delaware history?

What would you want them to know and better understand?

Let us know what you think.

Email a letter to the editor or post comments on this in the “From the Editor” section at delawarestatenews.net.


Today’s newspapers, of course, are tomorrow’s history.

Many times, our readers ask how they can find a story that appeared in the Delaware State News years ago.

There are two good methods.

One is to visit the Delaware Public Archives in Dover and utilize the well-kept collection of Delaware State News on microfilm.

The other is to access stories, which date back to the early 1990s, in an online database. More information is available at https://delawarestatenews.net/about/


One of the keys to success at any newspaper is the historical knowledge of its staff.

We’re lucky here to have Andy Walter, our sports editor, on our team.

Just recently, he celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Delaware State News.

To put that in perspective, he started the year that pro baseball standout Delino DeShields, graduated from Seaford High.


Congratulations to Delaware State News reporters Craig Anderson and Arshon Howard, photographer Dave Chambers and Andy Walter on winning awards in the 2015 Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Editorial Contest.

We’ll find out what the winning entries were and how they placed at a mid-May luncheon in Baltimore.

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