DOVER — On Dec. 7, 1787, Delaware became the First State when 30 state delegates met at the Golden Fleece Tavern and unanimously ratified the Constitution.
Exactly 225 years later, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock and State Archivist Stephen Marz hosted the official Delaware Day ceremony to honor that day Friday afternoon at Delaware Public Archives, as Secretary Bullock read the traditional gubernatorial Delaware Day proclamation.
As part of the celebration, Senate Joint Resolution 9 was enacted, which honors “the memory and momentous achievement” of John Patten, a Delaware Revolutionary War hero.
Ann Happloldt, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, helped draft the resolution. She said she researched Mr. Patten’s life at the Delaware Public Archives.
He is believed to have walked to Delaware from Charleston, S.C., in 1780, where he was held as a prisoner of war. After the war, Mr. Patten served as a state representative and later a U.S. congressman. He was buried in Dover’s Old Presbyterian Churchyard.
“All these Revolutionary War heroes need to be remembered,” she said, “especially by the kids who are here today. They have no clue what those men when through to secure their freedoms.”
Mr. Marz also recognized Irene Caley, of Smyrna, who donated her late husband George Caley’s Delaware postcard collection to the state.
Mr. Marz said that the Public Archives staff originally called Mrs. Caley to negotiate a price for the collection, which totals about 6,000 postcards. “They were stunned when Mrs. Caley stated that she had decided to donate the collection to the Public Archives,” he said.
The collection is being processed and will be unveiled in March.
“It’s a phenomenal representation of a lot of treasures of Delaware’s past,” said Sarah Denison, who is processing the collection.
Many have been mailed and old notes on the back, she said. There collection includes postcards from places that don’t exist anymore, such as old tourist destinations on the Delaware Bay. The oldest postmark is from 1903.
“If you’re into a certain industry, travel, tourism, geographical location, this will be a fun addition to that,” she said.