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8/4/2008
Heritage event goes straight to DVD

May history expo featured stories from longtime Brandywine Hundred residents

BY ROBIN BROWN • THE NEWS JOURNAL • AUGUST 4, 2008

History can repeat itself, thanks to a new DVD that documented a recent heritage event in Brandywine Hundred.

The DVD -- recorded to preserve oral histories of the region -- shares the recollections of the "First Families of Brandywine Hundred," from a history expo held in mid-May at Brandywine High School.

Visitors who see only Concord Pike, a commercial artery that began as a wildlife path and Indian trail, may not know that Brandywine Hundred is a region rich in history as a dairy and farming region, according to New Castle County Councilman Robert S. Weiner.
The new DVD, being sold for $5, relives what Weiner called "living history at its most alive."

Copies are available at the Delaware Digital Video Factory, at 1709 Concord Pike, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., without advance ordering required, Weiner said. DVDs also may be ordered at the video company's Web site at www.DDVF.com.
On the DVD, longtime residents share memories of the region's agricultural culture, pre-dating the development boom that began after World War II.

Now home to more than 84,000 people, Brandywine Hundred would be the state's largest city if incorporated -- and is a setting where residents can easily live, work, shop and play in a 10-minute area, Weiner said.

"The children of Brandywine Hundred's farmers are now in their 80s," Weiner said. "It is important to chronicle their history before the opportunity is lost in time."

The Brandywine Hundred History Expo, he said, "was the first opportunity for these children of Brandywine Hundred's 'First Families' to pass on their oral histories to today's residents.

"The gathering was also a reunion for Brandywine Hundred's first families to renew acquaintances and swap stories," he said, adding their stories sparked laughter and tears.

The expo followed a February program that Weiner set up to encourage Jack Day to share his remembrances of growing up at the site of the county's Talley Day Park and Brandywine Hundred Library. As word of the event spread, other longtime residents offered to speak.

Weiner, who co-sponsored the event with Councilman John Cartier, said an overflow crowd "demonstrated the growing interest in the history of Delaware's last area that still identifies itself by the term 'hundred.' "

The May expo aimed to "build on that success," according to master of ceremonies James Hanby Sr., whose family in the area dates from the 1600s.

Speakers included Day, longtime residents Betty Anderson and Doris Barclay Powell, and David Grubb, who wrote about his kin in "The Grubb Family."

He and other authors signed books as guests browsed displays by Old Swedes Church, Swedish community leader Frances Allmond, the Swedish Colonial Society, historic building artist Tom Bullen, Claymont Historical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and Friends of Riverview Cemetery.

"The Brandywine Hundred History Expo was very well attended," Weiner said, "but it was a weekend with many activities."
History buffs unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts asked about DVDs, he said. So did some who went, he added, "since they missed some of the presentations due to swapping stories with other old-timers."

Contact robin brown at 324-2856 or rbrown@delawareonline.com.

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