On June 18, 2014, the American Association for State and Local History announced that two Delaware-Division-of-Historical-and-Cultural-Affairs-affiliated projects were among the winners of the 69th annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The Delaware projects that were honored include “The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World,” a multi-dimensional interpretive program on the British warship that sank off the coast of Delaware in the late 18th century; and “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980,” a Delaware Historical Society exhibit created with extensive assistance from the division.
Leadership in History Awards are the American Association for State and Local History’s highest distinction and the winners represent the best in the field,” said Terry Davis, association president and chief executive officer. “This year, we are pleased to distinguish each recipient’s commitment and innovation to the interpretation of history, as well as their leadership for the future of state and local history.” The Leadership in History Awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout America.
Leadership in History Awards include, among others, the Award of Merit which is presented for excellence in history programs, projects and people when compared with similar activities nationwide; and the History in Progress Award which is presented to 5% or less of the total winners of the Award of Merit for projects that are highly inspirational; exhibit exceptional scholarship; and/or are exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships or collaborations, creative problem-solving or unusual project design, and inclusiveness.
Following is information on the two Delaware-Division-of-Historical-and-Cultural-Affairs-affiliated projects that were honored with Leadership in History Awards in 2014:
“The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World”
A recipient of the Award of Merit, “The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” shines a spotlight on His Majesty’s Sloop of War DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of British and American merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. The surviving section of the ship’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the division since they were acquired by the state of Delaware in 1992.
Held on Mondays from late spring through early fall, program activities begin at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture and video on the ship are presented in conjunction with the exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” The exhibit tells the story of the vessel, its crew and the historical context within which it operated in the late 18th century. Visitors are then transported, via van, to the DeBraak hull facility in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park for an interpreter-led tour of the surviving section of the ship’s hull. Remaining programs during 2014 will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 7, 14, 21 and 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29. For tickets and additional information, go to the Shop Delaware website or call 302-645-1148.
“Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980”
A recipient of both the Award of Merit and the History in Progress Award, “Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware, 1800-1980” explored the faith experiences of Delaware’s black community and its contributions to the development of religion in the United States including a commemoration of the bicentennial of the African Union Methodist tradition and the August Quarterly, the nation’s oldest African-American religious festival.
On-display from Sept. 27, 2013 to June 14, 2014 at the Delaware History Museum, a unit of the Delaware Historical Society located at 504 N. Market St. in Wilmington, Del., the exhibit was created through a partnership between the society’s curatorial staff, which researched and wrote the exhibit narrative and organized loans of exhibited objects; and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ Collections, Affiliates, Research and Exhibits (CARE) Team which designed, fabricated and installed the exhibit. Go to the following to view the exhibit online.
Written on: June 20th, 2014 in News
By Craig Lukezic, archaeologist, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Alexander d’Hinoyossa was perhaps the most colorful and influential man in the history of Colonial Delaware, best known for surrendering the Dutch colony along the Delaware River to the British Crown 350 years ago. One tradition suggests he traveled with Jacob Alrichs from Brazil to Holland to work in the city of Amsterdam and thence, to New Amstel (now New Castle, Del.). When Alrichs was the governor of New Amstel, it was a difficult time for the colony as hunger was widespread and invasion from Maryland seem inevitable.
After Alrichs’ death in 1659, d’Hinoyossa became the colony’s leader. Due to his arrogant manner, however, his subordinates dubbed him “the Little Prince.” There have been many accounts on how d’Hinoyossa abused people, sold company property for personal gain and traded company guns to the Native Americans. According to one account, he tore out palisades from Fort Casimir (in New Amstel) in order to fire up his beer-brewing kettle. Apparently, profit was more important to him than defense. But one can get lost in these abuses and forget his accomplishments.
Through diplomacy, d’Hinoyossa set up a trading relationship with the Calvert administration in Maryland. With Augustine Herrmann, he started the “Smuggler’s Path” from New Bohemia (now Bohemia Manor, Md.) to Appoquinimink (now Odessa, Del.). In order to avoid taxes and ensure safe transportation, Marylanders passed tobacco through to the Dutch along this route in return for enslaved Africans and strong beer. Current archaeological investigations sponsored by the Delaware Department of Transportation may have recovered a section of this trade route which was eventually transformed into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. D’Hinoyossa envisioned that Odessa would become the new trade center of the colony. He patented land at the confluence of the Appoquinimink and Drawyer’s creeks, which his servants diked and drained for agriculture.
After the English captured New Amsterdam in 1664, Sir Robert Carr and a force of 130 English soldiers and two ships were dispatched to capture the Dutch possessions on the Delaware River. While most of the colony’s settlements capitulated immediately, the garrison at Fort Casimir delayed in an attempt to negotiate more favorable terms. Although d’Hinoyossa served a small feast to the British officers, his negotiating ploy failed. The ships opened fire, damaging the roofs of structures inside the fort. British troops then stormed the rear walls, quickly taking the stronghold, leaving three of the garrison’s 30 defenders dead and 10 others wounded. Afterward, the English plundered property but largely left the townspeople alone, granting them rights as British subjects.
After the surrender, D’Hinoyossa left New Amstel and settled with his wife and seven children in Talbot County, Md. He later returned to the Dutch Republic and was commissioned in the army. When the Sun King and his French army invaded the Netherlands in 1672, d’Hinoyossa was charged with the defense of the city of Wesel. Unfortunately, this time he surrendered too quickly—he was subsequently tried for treason, mutiny and cowardice; and then beheaded.