Collecting Delaware Books

Delaware Place Names

United States Department of Interior Geological Survey Bulletin 1245 bears the title Delaware Place Names. It was published by the United States Government Printing Office in 1966 and sold for 50 cents. It recently became available for download as a PDF file from the government.

This 124 page paperback is a desirable collectible, though the greatest demand for it is from working journalists and other writers. It is the only existing authority on place names in Delaware.

Place names in the book are those found on U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey topographic maps. However, many listings include information extracted from A.R. Dunlap's Dutch and Swedish Place Names in Delaware, Dunlap and Weslagers Indian Place Names in Delaware, and Harvey Bounds A Postal History of Delaware. An extensive bibliography is provided and most information is credited.

More than cities and towns are included. Rivers, streams, swamps, drainage ditches, ponds, lakes, islands, bridges, hills, localities, and housing developments are described. Only roads and highways are left out. All places are located by latitude and longitude.

Housing developments are only listed up to the publication date, of course. You will find Brack-Ex but not Taylortown. (Whoops! That is officially Brack-ex not Brack-Ex.) Localities within cities are not identified either. For example, Browntown in Wilmington is not listed. And you certainly will not find references to Metroform.

You will find that it is Appoqueneme Marsh but the river is Appoquinimink. And Appoquinimink River has also been called Minques Kil, Apoquemene Creek, Appoquenimi Creeke, Appoquenema Kill, Apequinemy River, Oppequimina Creek, Appquenemink Creek, Apoquinimy Creek, and Appoquinimink Creek on various old maps.

Perhaps the only rival to Appoquinimink for spelling difficulty is The Rocks, where the Swedes landed in Wilmington in 1638. It has been known as Hopokahacking, Paghahacking, Appachaihackingh, and Apakahacksacking. By the way, there is another locale known as The Rocks 6.5 miles southeast of Middletown.

Little Heaven near Frederica is said to be an old slave settlement, also known as Griers Corners and Little Hell. Harvey Bounds is quoted as saying Little Hell was a separate community nearby.

There are several Gum Branches. One is near Frankford and flows into the Pocomoke River. Another is near Laurel and flows into the Nanticoke.

Arden is labeled as a town, but Arden Croft and Ardentown are designated as suburban developments.

It is tempting to guess at the origin of the name Ice Cream Island in Milfords Silver Lake or Ice House Point in Delaware City, but no information is given. One would rather not guess at the origin of the name Grubby Neck Branch south of Greenwood.

The origin of the name Wyoming is given, however. Once called West Camden, then Camden Station, the town is said to have been named for the Wyoming Valley Conference in Pennsylvania, from which the first minister came. Wyoming is an Indian word meaning "at the great flats."

So keep your eye out for Delaware Place Names. It is easy to miss but often brings $35 to $50 in nice condition.

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