Cape Gazette

Lewes Historical Society to host History Happy Hours

Jul 09, 2012
Source: Submitted The first Lewes Historical Society History Happy Hour will occur at 4 p.m., Friday, July 6, at the Cannonball House on the corner of Front and Bank streets in Lewes when Raymond Bradley will present "The War of 1812 and the Bombardment of Lewes."

The public is invited to indulge in history on Friday afternoons during a History Happy Hour of interesting dialog led by local history buffs, ranging in topic from Lewes as a fishing port to the bombardment of Lewes in the War of 1812.  This is a new series hosted by the Lewes Historical Society and free of charge.

Every Friday from July 6 through Oct. 12, featured presentations will be offered free of charge at 4 p.m. for 20-30 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer period.

To start the series, Raymond Bradley will present "The War of 1812 and the Bombardment of Lewes" Friday, July 6, at the Cannonball House on the corner of Front and Bank streets in Lewes. Enjoy a discussion about historical highlights of the War of 1812 and the events surrounding the actual bombardment of the town of Lewes and its aftermath.

Bradley is a professor emeritus of philosophy at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa.  He received his PhD from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. Bradley moved to Lewes with his wife in 2009.  He has four children and six grandchildren.  Bradley is also a descendant of two veterans of the War of 1812.  He claims himself as an amateur historian.

Jim Bertholet will introduce “The Life and Work of a Surfman in the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1870s -1915” Friday, July 13, at the Lewes Life-Saving Station at the canal and Front Street next to the Lightship Overfalls. Learn about the surfmen in the U.S. Life-Saving Service in the 1870s through 1915 in Lewes. These men had very interesting lives both at home and while on duty.

Bertholet is a Vietnam veteran who retired after 40 years in sales, sales training and sales management. He is a lifelong history buff who grew up on the Jersey Shore and always had a particular interest in maritime history, especially the U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. lighthouses.  He moved to Delaware in 2010, where he currently conducts Lewes Historical Society maritime tours, presents at the Lewes Life-Saving Station and works on the Wooden Boat Building Volunteer Crew.

History Happy Hours continue Friday, July 20 at the Cannonball House on the corner of Front and Bank streets with Tom Brown as he presents “Lewes: Its Rise and Fall as the Largest Fishing Port in the Country, 1883-1966.” Find out how Lewes became the No. 1 fishing port in the country in terms of tonnage landed.  The menhaden industry in Lewes began on the bay front in 1883 and ebbed and flowed as the fish came and went until World War II.

Then Lewes spurted to the nation’s largest fishing harbor in 1953, retained its preeminent status through the 1950s, and saw its decline during the early 1960s until menhaden fishing ended in 1966.  This History Happy Hour will explain the menhaden fishing industry, its growth, its quick demise, and its Lewes legacy.

Brown has been a volunteer for the society since 2007 as a tour docent, a processing archivist and researcher. Before retiring and moving full time to Delaware in 2006, he was an archivist at the National Archives for over 30 years with the last 18 as the manager of the archival services in the Center for Electronic Records. Brown was elected a distinguished fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 1996, became a certified archivist in 1989 and has since been recertified three times. He earned a master's and doctorate in American history and sociology from Oklahoma State University.

Carl Hunt will give a talk on “Five Centuries of Information Technology, The First Town of the First State at the Cutting Edge,” Friday, July 27, at the Cannonball House on the corner of Front and Bank streets. Everyone lives today in a highly interconnected world. It was not always this way, yet the information and communications technologies that connect people in 2012 find many of their roots in the times that Lewes and the surrounding areas were first settled.

The settlers and even the first residents of Lewes, Sussex County and all of Delaware have leveraged the benefits of information science and technologies from the earliest points in their history. Lewes, Cape Henlopen and Sussex County have had a strong innovative spirit starting even before the days of William Penn, who gave Lewes and Sussex their names. This special region of America embraced and still embraces the entrepreneurial spirit made possible by information technology no matter what the age.

Carl W. Hunt (colonel, U.S. Army, retired), was an information technology officer during the last half of his 30-year Army career. A graduate of the U.S. National War College, Hunt studied U.S. military history and technology policy throughout various stages of his tenure in the Army and in joint assignments. His final posting before retirement was as the director of technology and analysis, Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, U.S. Strategic Command. He holds a PhD in information technology from George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

For a complete listing of speakers, subjects and locations of the Lewes Historical Society’s History Happy Hours, go to

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