Who’s who in the DuPont family

Photo by Caryl HuffakerAn arch of orchids greets visitors at the entrance to Longwood Gardens.
Photo by Caryl HuffakerAn arch of orchids greets visitors at the entrance to Longwood Gardens.

Last weekend Estate Historian of Winterthur Jeff Geoff spoke on the subject of the du Pont family to an overflow audience. There were also 140 names on the standby list. The topic cannot be covered in one hour as the number of du Ponts were counted at the 200th anniversary of landing in America and there were thousands of them. The du Pont families tended to have five to 10 children, and they have a tended to repeat using the same first names like Pierre, Irenee and Eugene. However when pater familia du Pont first came to the US he had already spent five years in prison as he was a member of the elite in France, and the upper crust was not popular during France’s Civil War,

The family emigrated, but they were not poor immigrants. They arrived with furniture, a piano and 4,000 books. They almost did not make it as the ship was delayed by storms, and they ran out of food so they were close to starvation.

When the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 began, du Pont built the Elutherian Powder Mill and their fortune was made.

While the Powder Mill provided incomes for the family and workers, the family members produced a senator, a navel hero, a car maker and financiers. Different members of the family underwrote schools, hospitals, public roads and the arts.

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One thing members of the family did was build large homes with magnificent gardens. As life styles have changed, their former homes have metamorphed into other uses that the public may enjoy. Think of Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, Oberod, Owl’s Nest (now the Greenville Country Club) Vicmead or Mt. Cuba to name a few. Hagley Museum has the Crowninshield House. The speaker told how Louise Croeninshield du Pont so disliked Roosevelt she wrote the Treasury Department asking that they recall all the FDR dimes and she would pay to have them all melted.

The lecture was well received and will be repeated in the spring, as so many could not get reservations.

Rep Theater

The REP Theater — Resident Ensemble Players — tries to present all types of theater, and they have done so with the other “The Bells.” It has a ghost who talks to old miners in the Yukon during the Gold Rush and some magical bells that ring only when they feel like it. The use of multiple shadows of the ghost is dramatic, Their use of lights to indicate storms, Northern Lights and inner conflict is superb. Playwright Theresa Rebeck has a sterling record of other produced plays, books, awards and TV scripts. As she has written for “Law and Order” and “NYPD Blue” her message was clearer in these than in this play.

The show runs through Feb. 5. For tickets call 302-831-2204.

‘Murder’

Just published by author CB Murray is a wonderful book that was her first before her series of books. She has just released one called “Murder at the University,” and back then she and her husband lived at the University of Delaware. Other books she has written are “The Chinese Treasure,” “A Pox On You,” and “XV: A Deadly Mist.” Three books in the Magic Series, are “A Bit of Magic,” “A Second Helping Of Magic” and “Matrimonial Magic With Mayonnaise.” Her first children’s book won first place in Young Adult Fiction from the National Federation of Press Women .She has published non-fiction in Delaware Today magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit the website at www.clellamurry.com for book reviews and comments 50 percent of the profits go to the Alzheimer’s Fund. Available now from Author’s websitwat www.authothouse.com. The price for hardback is $26,99.

The Kennett Flash

Lee Bains and the Glory Fires will perform on Thursday, Feb. 2. The Boston Globe wrote “Bains Likes to Rock. He and the Glory Fires ( 3 singers) wrap his commentaries, ruminations and invective in what he calls “Real Alabama rock n roll,” a raging burn pile of garage and Southern rock, dirty supercharged blues and soul.” Advance tickets $23, day of $24. At 7 p.m. Doors open for 8 p.m. show at 102 Sycamore Ally. Tel. 484-732-8295.

Chocolate Festival

Those people with sweet tooths should remember the date Sunday, Feb. 12 at Kennett High School. It is time for Kennett Cholate Festival with all proceeds going to United Way of Southern Chester County.

Perhaps the more important message is that connoisseur tickets are $25, and $45 for two and include early times entrance at noon, 10 tastings. beverages and free parking. General admission $10 or $30 for family of four and entrance between 1 and 3 p.m. for six tastings per person; more tastings for 50 cents each. Parking is $5 per car. To purchase advance tickets www.kenneyttchocolate.org.

This a fund raiser for the United Way. It also involves a contest of chocolates. Entry deadline is Thursday, Feb. 9. 2017. Drop off entries the morning of the event. Prizes and ribbons awarded to first, second and third place. See web site for details. Prizes will be given for brownies, cakes/ candies, cookies,and cup cakes. Five amateurs will win ribbons. Prizes are Corian cutting boards and $100 gift certificates to top restaurants,

‘Constellations’

When beekeeper Roland met physicist Maryanne, neither knew how their lives were to change in such strange ways. See this at The Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia, 265 Broad St. When beekeeper Roland and physicist Marianne met at a party, the meeting began magical lives. They must choose the possibilities, while trying to avoid the mundane. For tickets call 215-546-7824 .

Art Show

The artists in the Delaware Branch of Pen Women — professional artists, writers and composers — are holding a Biennial Show at Hardcastles Gallery in Centerville on Feb. 3. The show opens at 3 p.m. with the reception that includes readings and music from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. The show will hang through February.

Caryl Huffaker received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. She did graduate work in Poetry at the University of Vermont and in theater at Columbia University in New York. Her book, “Inside the Hornet’s Nest” on North Carolina politics was used as a text book in the schools. She worked for five years at the DuPont Company writing product information booklets and technical bulletins.