Du Hamel Papers, 1689-1901

April 25, 2022
Selections from the Du Hamel Papers, 1689-1901, a collection of documents from the Du Hamel family of Maryland and southern Delaware. It also contains some papers from the Pleasonton family, who were related to the Du Hamels by marriage, and a few pieces from other individuals. The major research strengths of this collection are the Du Hamel family, John Pleasonton Du Hamel, the Episcopal Church, southern Delaware, and slavery. Of French Huguenot origin, the Du Hamel family was settled in the area of Church Hill, Maryland by 1728. The first member of the family to be represented in the collection is John Du Hamel (1762-1818), a copy of whose will is among the documents. John's son William, born in Maryland in 1798, learned the mercantile business in the store of John Cummins of Smyrna, Delaware. He then became a partner in the firm of Du Hamel and Lambdin in Smyrna. In 1834, he moved to Ashland, his farm in Little Creek Hundred, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He married Mary Pleasonton, the daughter of John and Susan Stevens Pleasonton, in 1829. They had eight children, one of whom, John Pleasonton Du Hamel, is the main figure in this collection. William Du Hamel died in 1868. John Pleasonton Du Hamel was born in Smyrna in 1832. He grew up on his father's farm and attended the nearby Pleasant Hill Academy. He then went to the Reverend Gailey's school in Wilmington, Newark Academy, and Delaware College. He chose the ministry as his profession and began his career as a Methodist, serving for about eight years in the Philadelphia conference. During this time, he became an Episcopalian and was ordained deacon in 1862 and priest in 1863. He served the following churches in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland: St. Thomas, Newark and Christ Church, Delaware City, 1862-66 Christ Church, Delaware City, 1866-69 Church of the Redemption, Philadelphia, 1869-75 Church of the Beloved Disciple, Philadelphia, 1875-85 St. Luke's Parish, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, 1885-89 In 1890 he retired from full-time work and returned to Ashland, the family farm. In 1893, he began to serve three rural parishes in Sussex County. In addition to his clerical duties, Du Hamel was named collector of customs at Delaware City in 1866. In 1881, he attended the Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Yorktown. He was an active alumnus of Delaware College and a published poet. John Pleasonton Du Hamel married Elizabeth R. Morton in 1861. She was the daughter of Judge Sketchley and Elizabeth Newlin Morton of Delaware County, Pa. The Du Hamels had three children: Sketchley, who died in infancy; the Reverend William Du Hamel; and Frances Newlin Du Hamel. John Pleasonton Du Hamel died in July 1901.
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