Histories of Newark, 1758-2008

Only weeks after I retired, my wife came home from work and told me about a notice on her bulletin board. Citizens were invited to a meeting regarding a proposed history of the town of Newark Delaware to celebrate its 250th anniversary.  I attended that first meeting chaired by Paul Bauernschmidt on behalf of Mayor Vance Funk. There were about a dozen or more people in attendance. We met monthly over the next two years and more people joined the effort. Various folks volunteered to take on the research and writing of various aspects of the city history such as churches, the police department, sports, etc. Having recently retired from the military, I chose to write about the military history of Newark.  I wrote a broad overview of the military role during the colonial period to include the Battle of Cooch's Bridge, the Civil War, R.O.T.C. at the University of Delaware, the National Guard in World War I and II and the homefront as well as post-war Newark. I also did three military profiles of Revolutionary hero Robert Kirkwood, Lieutenant General John "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, and WW2 Nurse Ruth Haddick Dorsman. 

I enjoyed this writing project so much that I added another chapter entitled, "Exploring Newark as a Kid in the Fifties". which was a remembrance of my youth growing up in that small town. 

This book was a wonderful community-affirming project whose great success is largely due to the editorial leadership team of Deb Haskell, Rebecca Melvin, and Shaun Mullen - all old friends. The book looks absolutely fabulous too. thanks to Ray Nichols and Jill Cypher of Wallflower Press, also dear friends. They had the brilliant idea of photographing hundreds of Newarkers as a sort of running "ribbon" theme throughout the book. It is a keepsake treasure. Unfortunately, it was printed in a limited edition and is now out of print, although you may be able to locate a copy on the used book market. 


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Kennard Wiggins

Writer and Artist


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