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RG 9015-001-002: UM Church on S. Market St in Blades c. 1940

1900 – 1949

Blades was named for James Blades who, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, purchased the land around the current intersection of Market and High Streets just across the Nanticoke River from Seaford.

The Town of Blades was incorporated and its boundaries established in 1915. It was not immediately plotted and recorded although such power was granted to the Town Council. A Mayor and five Councilman who were to serve until elections could be held were named in the Incorporating Act. Procedures for electing the Mayor and Council were enumerated as were the duties of those who served in these positions. The Council was granted the power to pass ordinances which were deemed beneficial to the town. The Council was to meet monthly to consider and publish such ordinances as well as any violations and fines. The Council also took power over the streets within the Town and could lay out new streets and alleys. They were granted the right of condemnation and received an annual allowance of $300 from the Levy Court of Sussex County to assist them in this activity. The cost of curbing and sidewalks was to be paid for by the property owners with significant penalties if they did not comply. Among the Town officials which were to be appointed was a Treasurer who was to oversee the collection of funds and make payments; a Constable who would be charged with keeping peace in the town; a Secretary; and an Assessor who would assess real property as well as all male citizens over 21 years of age whose per capita tax was $1 per year. The maximum amount of taxation to be levied was not to exceed $500 annually. Two Auditors were appointed to examine the Town’s accounts each year.1

Over the next 56 years, the Town of Blades revised its 1915 Incorporating Act several times as well as sought the right to borrow monies, a power not yet vested in them. The first minor change took place in 1920 when the sections of the Act relating to the election of Town officials were modified.2 In 1923, the maximum amount of tax that could be levied annually was increased from $500 to $800.3 Then in 1931, the Town of Blades revised the 1915 Incorporating Act to add an additional Town official, an Alderman, who would act as a Justice of the Peace.4 In 1933, the Town of Blades requested the ability to borrow $1,500 for pipes and water equipment for firefighting. This was to be repaid by issuing bonds.5 A number of minor changes to the 1915 Incorporating Act were made in 1961 among which were: changing the meeting date of the Town Council from Tuesday to Wednesday; appointing the Mayor and Council as the Town’s Board of Health; and increasing the maximum amount of property taxes annually from $800 to $1,500.6 In 1937, the 1915 Incorporating Act was revised so that voting in elections and running for office was no longer limited to males, and also the Town was granted the right to borrow $15,000 for a water plant and water lines.7 In 1945, the Town revised some of the language in the Charter related to voter eligibility.8 In 1947, the Town of Blades once again increased the maximum amount of taxes which could be levied annually to $2,500; and also increased the per capita tax from $1 to $2, applying it to both males and females.9 The provisions of the Incorporating Act which indicated who was eligible to vote was revised a third time in 1949.10


1950 – 1999

In 1970, the year before the Town of Blades was re-incorporated, the final changes were made to its 1915 Incorporating Act. These once again addressed the issue of who was qualified to vote and called for a Book of Registered Voters to be prepared. Also in that year, the Town of Blades was granted the right to borrow up to $10,000 against funds which it was anticipated to receive through tax revenue.11

The numerous amendments and revisions to the 1915 Incorporating Act were included in the provisions of the 1971 Charter of the Town of Blades. There were no changes to the boundaries of the Town. The basic structure of the government also did not change. It remained in the hands of a Mayor and a five-member Town Council. The Charter then outlined in more detail, the election process, the powers and duties of town officials, and the organization and rules of town meetings. A Town Clerk was to be appointed to act as an administrator for the Town; he was also to serve the role of Treasurer. Other town officials were a Secretary and an Alderman, along with any assistants that they may appoint; a Solicitor, an Assessor, and a Police Chief. Among the powers granted to the Mayor and Council were the power to annex land; to borrow money; to issue bonds; to levy taxes (maximum annual taxation not to exceed $25,000); to maintain a water and sewer system; to maintain road and sidewalks; to maintain an electric plant; to establish zoning; to organize a fire department; to keep the peace; to dispose of property; and to eliminate nuisances and unsanitary conditions as well as many other powers. The Mayor and Council were to establish a budget and allocate funding. In all matters, the Mayor and Council were to act in the best interest of the Town.12

As with the previous incorporating legislation, changes to the Charter were required. The first, a minor correction related to elections, was addressed in legislation later that same year.13 Then over the next thirty years, a number of other amendments were made along with several authorizations to borrow money. In 1976, changes related to voting in annexation elections were addressed.14 Several changes were made in 1979, among them how long a resident must live in the town before running for Mayor, and the age at which a resident is qualified to vote which was changed from 21 to 18.15 In 1981, legislation to allow for bonds to be issued to the Town of Blades in the amount of $211,000 was passed.16 In 1991, the Town of Blades determined that it would to accept the County’s property assessment rather than carry out an independent assessment.17 In 1995, the Town of Blades was given the authority to borrow $150,000 to be repaid from the general funds within ten years.18 In 1997, the Town of Blades was authorized to levy a tax on the transfer of property.19 

The Town of Blades was once again re-incorporated in 2001. This Charter closely follows the format of the 1971 Charter but is updated with the amendments made in the last thirty years. A written description of the Town with specific metes and bounds indicates that the Town limits encompass almost 289 acres. The Town Clerk and their Assistant are now listed as the Town Administrator and their Administrative Assistant. There is no longer a Secretary or an Alderman, and the section on the Board of Health is eliminated. All forty-two powers conferred on the Mayor and Council in the 1971 Charter are still in force but one is added, the ability to accept the funds conferred when property within the Town is being transferred, a power added in 1997.20


2000 – Current

A year after the re-incorporation, technical corrections were made to the metes and bounds of the Town and the size of the Town was indicated to be over 292 acres.21 In 2005, the Town of Blades annexed a twelve-acre piece of land and it is described by its various metes and bounds,22 and in 2007 two additional pieces of land were annexed totaling more than 57 acres.23 A 2010 revision to the Charter directed that the recorded plat would represent the official boundaries of the town, and made other minor technical corrections to the Charter.24 In 2018, the Town’s annexation procedures were revised.25

For the fully amended text of the current Charter, see

CITATIONS in Del. Laws

1 28 Del. Laws, c. 155 (1915) [pp. 463-87]

2 31 Del. Laws, c. 40 (1920) [pp. 97-8]

3 33 Del. Laws, c. 150 (1923) [p. 440]

4 37 Del. Laws, c. 148 (1931) [p. 514]

5 38 Del. Laws, c. 95 (1933) [pp. 420-22]

6 40 Del. Laws, c. 153 (1935) [pp. 559-61]

7 41 Del. Laws, c. 135 and c. 136 (1937) [p. 311 and pp. 312-15]

8 45 Del. Laws, c. 178 (1945) [p. 670]

9 46 Del. Laws, c. 75 (1947) [pp. 276-77]

10 47 Del. Laws, c. 69 (1949) [pp.117-18]

11 57 Del. Laws, c. 356 and c. 357 (1970) p. 1081 and pp. 1082-83]

12 58 Del. Laws, c. 34 (1971) [pp. 47-105]

13 58 Del. Laws, c. 344 (1971) [p. 1067]

14 60 Del. Laws, c. 453 (1976) [p. 1281]

15 62 Del. Laws, c. 67 (1979) [p. 84]

16 63 Del. Laws, c. 7 (1981) [p. 23]

17 68 Del. Laws, c. 77 (1991) [p. 155]

18 70 Del. Laws, c. 207 (1995) [p. 514]

19 71 Del. Laws, c. 112 (1997) [p. 226]

20 73 Del. Laws, c. 210 (2001) [pp. 503-23]

21 74 Del. Laws, c. 407 (2004) [p. 920-21]

22 75 Del. Laws, c. 196 (2005) [p. 270]

23 76 Del. Laws, c. 45 (2007) [vol. I, pp. 36-37]

24 77 Del. Laws, c. 299 (2010) [Vol II, pp. 88-89]

25 81 Del. Laws, c. 293 (2018) [

Delaware Laws from 1935 to present can be found online at



Town of Blades records at the Delaware Public Archives include:

  • Minutes of the Town Council (1956-1992): 7020-000-001


jnl/ April 26, 2018 | April 11, 2019

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