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The small fruits are cultivated and raised in abundance. Large quantities of iron ore exist, but there being fifty per cent of foreign matter, its mining is unprofitable. The settlement is sparse, and, as a result, there was a number of large farms, a great deal of which have not been cultivated to any extent. The Polks, Laytons and Adamses had settled in Virginia as early as 1660, and about 1725 they immigrated here, and an old family tradition says that the reason of their migration was that a number of Indians in that section of the country had been in Virginia and furnished glowing accounts of the fertility of the soil and told wonderful stories of the great timber and its rapid growth. This land passed into the hands of Philip Marvel, who, with several other members of his family, had come from Indian River and Lewes and Rehoboth Hundreds about 1760. He was born on the ancient family tract where he now resides, in Nanticoke Hundred, on August 24, 1825. The settlers purchased some of their lands from these Indians, and then secured patents from Lord Baltimore. His early experiences were those of the customary farmer's son, his time being divided each season in laboring upon the farm and in attendance upon the local schools of the neighborhood. The Polks, Laytons, Adamses, Nutters, Ricords, Richards and Jacobs, whose names appear so often in grants of land in this and Northwest Fork Hundreds, and who are still numerous in the State, are of this class. A tract described as in the extreme southwest comer of Cedar Creek, called "Gum Neck," was warranted March 19, 1747, to John Collins. Of the Polks, who were the largest holders, an account will be found in the chapter on Northwest Fork Hundred. This land is on the Gum Branch of the Nanticoke, and contains one hundred and fifty-three acres, parts of which are owned by Isaac C. Robert Moody, on a patent bearing date September 4, 1754, took up the tract of "Lynn," located near Knowles' Cross Roads. Sev-eral small tracts adjoining this were taken up by the Marvels between the years 17. Marvel is of English extraction, and has been identified with the settlement and development of Lower Delaware for over two hundred years, owning large tracts of land in Sussex County, and being among its leading, most intelligent and enterprising citizens. Marvel, to whom this sketch is chiefly devoted, is the grandson of Philip Marvel, and son of Josiah Marvel and Sovy, daughter of Charles Tindal.
The hundred is without railway and water communication.
When the line between the States was definitely settled, in 1775, it became necessary for all these old settlers to have warrants of resurvey granted by the Penns, and when doing this they took up large tracts of vacant land, which, at the time, embraced one-half of the hundred. Upon attaining his majority he went to New Orleans, where he passed four years of his life.
The settlement of the line also brought a large number of new settlers from the North, the bay shore and from England, and families which are now well-known and numerous first appeared about this time. He then returned home on a visit to his mother, and finding her in poor health, deferred to her wishes and was induced to remain in Delaware, locating upon his present farm in Nanticoke Hundred in 1850, and being continuously engaged there since In farming and fruit-growing.
This land is near what was known as Polk's Bridge, which crossed Gum Branch near the farm now owned by Sewall C. A few years ago a large portion of this tract came in possession of Mrs. But those who settled under Penn warrants only occupied small tracts near the lines of Broadkiln and Cedar Creek Hundred.
The western part, or nearly three-quarters of the area of the present territory embraced, was settled by old families from Maryland and Virginia on Lord Baltimore's patents.
Nanticoke was one of the principal slave-holding localities from an early date.