Abraham Outten

The only son of Obed Outten and Sarah, his wife, is the subject of this chapter. He was born on a plantation called “Partnership”, in 1782. Nothing is now known of his childhood, except the fact that when he was about ten years old, his father died intestate, but in the ordinary course of events, he and his two sisters, Esther and Rachel, inherited the plantation. For on September 26, 1797, they made application to the State of Delaware for their right to a tract of land called “Partnership.” The following statement is recorded in the record office at Georgetown, Delaware:

On November 2nd in the year of our Lord God 1797, and the 22nd year of the Independence of the United States of America, a patent was issued from the State of Delaware for the sum of thirty dollars and 95 cents paid into the State by Esther, Abraham and Rachel Outten, the children of Obed Outten who had died intestate, the right to a tract of land containing 61 9/10 acres in Nanticoke Hundred called Partnership. Situated on the north side of Deep Creek butted and bounded as follows, to wit: beginning at a marked walnut tree standing on the north side of the main branch of Deep Creek near a mill on the said branch, and up the pond from the mill, late the property of Luke Huffington surveyed for the said Obed Outten the 19th day of Nov. 1793. Subject to the claims of the widow’s third, by Sarah Outten, widow of Obed Outten. Patent recorded 1797.

Abraham Outten probably lived at “Partnership,” his birth place, until he was twenty-eight years old, when the farm was sold to Joseph V. Crockett, April 28, 1811. At that time the farm only contained 61 9/10 acres, but the original tract which was purchased by Obed Outten, November 15, 1753, contained 320 acres, and other tracts were added, all of which doubtless received the name of Outten’s Discovery. The name was changed to “Partnership” when it was purchased by Obed Outten probably.

On April 25, 1811, “Partnership” was sold to Joseph V. Crockett for a consideration of five hundred dollars.

Abraham Outten spent his entire life within a few miles of Concord, Delaware. He was thirty-five years old when he was married to Sophia Spicer, sister to John Hales Spicer, in 1808, and they probably lived on “Partnership” farm until it was sold, when they moved to Feather-bed Lane, about two miles east of Concord.

At the time of this writing the same old house still stands, and it belongs to Frank Jefferson. It is a story and a half high, 18 x 36 feet in dimension, with hewn sills and rived shingles. There are two rooms down stairs, and an open fireplace in both of them. The chimneys are six feet wide. The front room is sealed over the fireplace with ornamental paneled handwork, and it was once painted red. The walls are plastered, but the ceiling is finished with the joists exposed. There are large mantles in both rooms. In the kitchen there is a large cupboard on the left side of the fireplace with double doors at the top, and a single wide door below that is two feet and a half high. The four wide shelves in the top part of the cupboard have deep grooves to hold plates erect. On the right side of the kitchen chimney there are three steps leading up to the stair door. Under the stairway is a closet with a door 18 inches wide. There are two rooms upstairs.

Our father Abraham and Sophia, his wife, lived in this house about twenty years, and they were the parents of eleven children as follows: Mary Lingo Outten, the eldest child, was born November 9, 1809. The second child was probably the one that was burned to death, but the name and sex are entirely unknown to the writer. Then, Sallie, Nancy, Eliza, Thomas, Seth, Obed, Sophia, Jane and Perry.

Soon after moving to Feather Bed Lane, Abraham Outten was called into the service of the country in the War of 1812, for the defense of Lewes, with eight other Outtens, viz.: Purnell, Isaac, Jesse, Obediah, William, Samuel, and two John Outtens. One was a private soldier, and the other was Capt. John Outten of the Light Infantry, 9th Regiment of Militia. Abraham was in the Second Company of the 10th Regiment, under Capt. William Jones. On June 4, 1813, he received from Samuel Paynter, Jr. State Treasurer, full compensation for his service at Lewes rown in defense of the State. He received $2. 93, and the writer has seen his signature to the receipt. It is in his own handwriting as follows: “Abraham Outen.”

The first assessment of Abraham Outten was made in 1809, according to assessment records that are now extant, and it continued until 1840, but it is only for personal property and per capita tax. He was never assessed for real estate, although with his two sisters, he certainly owned “Partnership” until it was sold by Jacob Adams to Joseph V. Crockett, on April 25, 1811. But his assessments on the records now extant do not include land values. His misfortune in losing Partnership caused him never to invest in real estate. It seems that the assessments were made about every two years, and as his name does not appear on the list in 1842, it is probable that he died before the assessment was made out.

The life of Abraham Outten was saddened by the death of two of his eleven children. One was burned to death, but the writer has never been told the name of the child nor what was the cause of the accident. The other was Obed Baker Outten who was born about the year 1882. On Friday, November 9, 1838, he attended a “corn husking” at James Fisher’s with his brothers Thomas and Seth. the Hon. John Cannon Short told the writer the following story:

In the evening Obed started to his home alone, and it was supposed that he lost his way, as it was a very dark night. He was drowned in Fisher’s mill pond, near Millie’s Landing. It was called Millie’s Landing for an old colored woman named Millie Smith, who lived near the Landing. The mill nearby was known as Fisher’s Mill. Obed was bout sixteen year old at that time, and no one thought of this being lost until Thomas and Seth returned late in the evening. He was named for Obed Baker.

Of the nine children of Abraham and Sophia who grew up to manhood and womanhood, Seth and Eliza died in middle life, each one leaving two small children. The other seven reached advanced years, and most of them lived to extreme old age. All of them died in a similar manner, with apparently the same disease, and there was every evidence of decline and decrepitude.

The Hon. John Cannon Short, United States Marshall for the District of Delaware, whose pastor the writer has the honor to be in his early ministry, told him, at the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Baltimore in 1908, that he knew this grandparents, Abraham and Sophia Outten. He said that Abraham married Sophia Spicer, a sister to John Hales Spicer, who had two sons named Outten Spicer and James Spicer. Outten Spicer he said, was a gifted and well-read man for his day. He always led the prayermeetings in the absence of the pastor, but he went to Philadelphia to look for work, and he died there a young man and beloved by all who knew him.

About the year 1830, Abraham and Sophia moved from Feather Bed Lane to the Lot Rowllins farm, near Middleford. The old house still stands on the road between Middleford and the Old Furnace, and at the time of this writing it is occupied by Walter Hearn. Here Abraham and Sophia completed their earthly lives, and here hey died in the faith, and with the calm assurance that another and better life awaited them. Abraham did not possess as much of the world as his ancestors possessed, for he was left an orphan and lost all his father had left, but he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost.

Mr. Short also told the writer that his grandfather, Abraham Outten was a very religious man; that he always attended the church services, and that he had been to prayer meetings that were held in my grandfather’s house. Of course, like other men of this day, Abraham had his peculiarities and eccentricities. Some of these had evidently impressed Mr. Short’s mind, and he vouchsafed to the writer the following spicy story:

One night during a prayermeeting that was being held at his house, the time came for Abraham to retire. Perhaps the meeting was not very interesting, or else he was unwilling to break away from his usual habit of retiring at a certain hour. Anyhow, Abraham got sleepy, and went to bed, without announcing his intended absence. But it happened that the leader of the meeting did not know that he had retired, and called upon him to lead in prayer. At once the old man got out of bed, and offered a very eloquent prayer. This event occurred on Sunday night, for it was the usual custom, when there was not service at the church, to go to a neighbor’s house for supper and afterward hold a meeting.

Sophia Outten died on Sunday January 10, 1836, and was buried on the south side of the graveyard at Middleford, just back of the old church. Abraham never married again, but there lived in his house a woman, who was known as Aunt Esther; she was probably a sister to Sophia, as Abraham’s sister Esther had died in 1824. Abraham survived his wife about seven years, and died in 1842, at the age of sixty. His funeral was preached by Rev. Thomas Spicer, and he was buried by the side of Sophia, but no monument marks their resting place.

In 1917, the writer’s brother William Outten showed him the graves, and said that father had pointed them out to him fifty years before.

Written by Rev. John Perry Outten converted to Hypertext by Karen Stephens