State’s Urban Legends: Delaware

Delaware is not one of the larger states in the union, nor does it have that many urban legends. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in stature. Check out these two legends the next time you visit Delaware.


Justice Chew’s Ghost

Dover is the capital of Delaware, so it is no surprise that a Chief Justice of the court would call it home. Chief Justice Samuel Chew was a doctor who was appointed Chief Justice of colonial Delaware. His son Benjamin would go on to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So you would think Samuel Chew would be resting in peace, right?

This nose might be as big as Delaware itself.

Ben Chew, the son of the Ghost of Justice Chew.

Well, not so fast. Seems Sam was the butt of a joke played over and over again by the townsfolk of Dover whilst he was alive.

They would fake a sneeze with a loud “aw Chew” as they passed him by. I could not find an image of him, but if his son looked anything like him then that prominent nose provided an easy target.

So today, the black-robed Samuel descends upon the unsuspecting pedestrian and makes them sneeze, several times in a row. I’d hate to read about the punishments he handed out while he was alive.



Fort Delaware

Fort Delaware is state park today near Delaware City.

But it served as a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War and housed over 30,000 Confederate soldiers at one point during the conflict. Not all 30,000 made it out of the fort alive when the war ended in 1865.

Several thousand died in the camp and legend has it that their spirits, still in tattered uniforms in various states of disrepair, still roam about the grounds, waiting to finally be set free.


About the author

Richard Paolinelli