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Notes on Todd's Chapel and the Todd Family


 

From an unknown newspaper and an unknown date
(probably October/November 1998)

 

Todd's Church celebrates 140 years of worship
By Aaron B. Kellam
Staff writer

GREENWOOD (Delaware)- On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m., Todd's Chapel United Methodist Church in Greenwood will celebrate (it's) homecoming, but the observance is about more than just a homecoming.

As if celebrating the 140th anniversary of the church isn't enough, a special ceremony will be held after the service to honor the historical prominence recently bestowed on the church, at the request of (it's) members.

"We worked on getting the church under the National Register, so we first had to be approved by the state," said Jean O'Bier, who had been one of the leaders of the congregation's efforts.

The church came a step closer to realizing (it's) dream on June 19, when the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation approved the church's historical significance. The approval from the federal level was granted on October 2, and the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

"The best part about it is it makes you think about the history of this church and community," said Mrs. O'Bier.

The church's very first chapel was originally built in 1808, but the present chapel was added in 1858. The church is currently commemorating the anniversary of the present building, she said.

Located on Del. 16, four miles west of Greenwood, the church runs right along the Kent and Sussex County boundary. Todd's Chapel was built on the property of Methodist sympathizer, Judge Thomas White*, and was the largest building next to the Harrington Church in the Mispillion Hundred at the time of (it's) construction, according to a church history written by congregation members.

The name came from Scottish settler, Levin Todd**, one of two brothers*** who entertained a Methodist meeting at a time when Methodists met in houses, barns, under trees and on river banks long before any churches were built.

In the formative years, slaves also attended Todd's church, entering through the little side door and sitting in the slave loft. Although they originally were part of a large slave holding in the area, the Emancipation Proclamation freed them, although they still did the same work.

As time passed, improvements were needed, and the church added property and more programs for (it's) congregation.

Church member, George Palmer's family has been involved with the church since the 1800s. His grandmother was a Todd****.

"It's quite an honor, because they helped build the church and see it carry on the way it has," he said of the historical significance.

"It's more of a family church," said Mr. and Mrs. Scott Webb, a young couple in the church.

The Nov. 8 celebration will also be highlighted by special music and song by the Faith Singers...

*"Judge" Thomas White (15 Aug 1729-15 Oct 1795), son of John & Elizabeth (Eccleston) White was born in Dorchester Co., MD and was a brother of my wife's ancestor Elizabeth (White) Brown Goslin. Another relative, White Brown, son of James & Priscilla (White) Brown, was an early convert to Methodism.

**Levin Todd (d. 1814 Sussex Co., DE), was the son of Michael Todd, III
(ca 1733-1802) and his wife, Mary Johnson (b. 1733) of Caroline Co., Maryland. Levin Todd married Ann (Kelley) Jenkins, widow of Richard Jenkins of Caroline Co., Maryland before 25 August 1795. Ann was born on 22nd day of the 3rd month 1762, a Nicholite as was her first husband and the children born of that union. She was the daughter of William & Mary Kelley of Caroline Co., Maryland.

***the "other brother" was probably William Todd, Levin's brother, who married Nancy Griffith, daughter of Alexander & Elizabeth Griffith, in Caroline in 1798. This William is probably the one who died intestate in Sussex County in 1818.

****Mildred "Jerry" Johnson (1901-1993) married 1st George N. Palmer, she was the daughter of Thomas Albert Johnson (1867-1960) and Mary Hudson Todd (1868-1953), who was the daughter of John Henry Todd (1832-1907) and Georgia Anna Smith (1842-1911), the granddaughter of Levin Todd (1801-1875) and Mary B. Hodson/Hudson (1803-1833), and the great granddaughter of Levin Todd (d. 1814) and Ann (Kelley) Jenkins.

 

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