Who knew?

We are not alone. The other Seaford Museums and the other Martello Museum

It’s no surprise to find that some Seafordians settled in new lands overseas. One of them, a Captain John Seaman went to America in 1630 to escape the religious intolerance in England. He first settled in Connecticut, later venturing to the south shore of what is now Long Island in New York. The original First Nation American settlers of the area were the Marsapeaques. Seaman obtained rights to develop the area, naming it Jerusalem South. John Seaman died in 1694 and in 1868 the town was renamed Seaford in his honour. The town has a museum as we do, but theirs is housed in the town’s first fire station.

Another American Seaford is found in Delaware. This Seaford is in the state’s Sussex County and there is a Lewes and a Denton nearby. William Penn, the famous Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania, had obtained land, including Delaware, in settlement of debt owed by King Charles II. Penn had spent a large part of his life in Sussex and the state was named after Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.

The town’s museum is in the former post office. Opening in 2003 it has thousands of local artefacts following a timeline of United States, Delaware, and area history. Beginning with the area’s natural resources and the Nanticoke First Settlers, it winds through history to the 21st century with the world’s first synthetic fibre, a nylon spinning machine. Other exhibits focus on early agriculture, shipbuilding, canning, the poultry industry, railroads, Black River Pilots, and the Nanticoke River’s connection with the Chesapeake Bay.

Slightly more remote is the other Martello Museum; this one is on Mauritius. Located in the west coast of the island at La Preneuse, five Martello Towers were built by the British between 1830 and 1835 to defend the island against the French navy. Since being restored in as a museum in1999, the Preneuse tower is said to be amongst the best preserved Martello Towers in the world. The construction materials were quite different to those used here, being hand cut local basalt rock prepared by Indian stonemasons.
The Mauritius tower is similar in layout to most British Martello towers, consisting of three storeys. Entering the tower through a new doorway at ground level, a water tank can be seen through a glass floor panel – just like Seaford tower. Next is the gunpowder store containing some bullets and cannon balls that have been discovered in the tower itself. There are also explanatory displays on the operations of the tower and a model ship of ‘La Preneuse’, the ship after which the beach is named.
On the first floor various historical artefacts that have been found nearby are displayed and the officer’s room contains pictures of how they lived at that time.
On the roof, the 24 pound cannon is mounted on a central pivot enabling the gun to rotate 360 degrees. Cannon balls are also on display and the holes and drains that were used to collect water can also be seen.
Apart from having much better weather, the Mauritius tower seems to be very similar to the Seaford Martello Tower but without our wide collection of historical artefacts. 

First published in Seaford Scene April 2023.