Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Help Needed to Identify the “Annie Oakley’s” of The New Castle County Workhouse

There are larger photos below the text

Recently I received a message from a gentleman who asked if I would be interested in some information relating to the old New Castle County Workhouse that was located along Kirkwood Highway at Greenbank. Since it lies in The Lower Red Clay Valley and something I remember from my youth, I said sure. So we met so he could share the photos and documents he had. He showed me the information he has collected and explained how he was looking for information pertaining to the c1901 prison. I told him I would post his flyer so he could reach out to more people who may have information.That flyer is located in right hand column titled “Oral History Discovery Project”.
His contact information is in the flyer or you can leave a comment under this post.
Bill has also been working with local legislators to have a Sate Historical Marker placed at the site of the Workhouse.
Below is a short description, written by Bill, along with photos, on how he came across something he feels is quite significant relating to the old prison.
Part of my research of the Workhouse has taken me to the Wilmington Library at which time I discovered a treasure trove of articles that they had saved on the Workhouse. One of the articles I found I am sharing with our community and It has to do with the first 11 woman who worked in the New Castle County Workhouse. Shortly after I started my project I received an email from Harvey Banning Sr. who stated that he worked at the Workhouse in the early 60's as a guard, his grandfather worked there in the 40's and 50's as a guard and that his mom and aunt were guards there in the 40's and that he had pictures of them holding guns. As soon as i received this email I knew that I had uncovered a part of Delaware history that no one was aware of. Harvey had the pictures of his mom (Ruth Peregoy and aunt Grace Kreer) and the other woman who worked there. These are the pictures that the Every Evening Journal took but were not allowed to print per Warden Elwood H. Wilson. When I sat down with Harvey and showed him the articles he was amazed that his mom had made history. He was not aware of the significant role that these woman held in our state and the country.

I only have 5 names of the woman pictured.

Grace Kreer, Ruth Peregoy, Ethel Diamond, Alma Dolan and Harriet Cheeseman