Inductees - 2008

Capt. James U. Carter

Capt. Carter is a Virginia native who came to Delaware as a young man to work at Smith’s Fish Products Co. in Lewes. He started his 40-year career as a commercial fisherman pulling nets loaded with menhaden, ending as a menhaden fishing boat captain. Carter’s family – wife Emma, sons Michael and Robert and daughter Lisa – accompanied him to the podium where he accepted the hall of fame medallion and stained glass trophy handcrafted by Lewes artist Connie Ballato. “I’m very, very, proud of them that they thought enough of their daddy to drive to Lewes,” quipped Carter. He said commercial fishing is a hard and dangerous job. “Singing chanties eased the strain of our work,” he said. 

Today, Carter is lead singer with the Northern Neck Chantey Singers of Northern Neck Va.  He thanked friends and former crewmates for helping him during his career. Carter, in return, heard thanks read from a letter from the Rev. T. Wright Morris, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, where Carter is a deacon. “Fishing is a craft Jesus undertook,” Morris wrote. Through song and talk teaching about the life of watermen, Carter continues to keep Delaware’s – the region’s – maritime heritage alive. “Then and now, God is our copilot,” he said.

Capt. Thomas Rowland Marshall III

Capt. Marshall has staying power. Born in Lewes, Marshall, 86, spent 50 years as a Bay & River Delaware pilot. A lifetime sailing enthusiast – he hung up his skipper’s cap this year – Marshall for years would teach anyone interested in learning how to sail. In the 1950s Marshall built sailboats from kits in his garage, and spent decades working on sailfish and mobjack sailboat designs used by vessels that raced on the Delaware Bay.

He served as President of the Pilots Association, Bay & River Delaware, 1967-1973, and on the Pilots’ Commission for the State of Delaware. In 1957-58, he served as Commodore of the Lewes Yacht Club, and in 1997 was awarded a lifetime club membership. 

Marshall, upon accepting induction honors, told a sea story dating to the 1930s, following completion of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal by the Works Project Administration. He said Dave Burbage, then mayor of Lewes, wanted to be the first person to cruise up the canal from its Roosevelt Inlet cut. Burbage stood at the bow of the boat that would take him in first.

“He had his hand in the front of his jacket like Napoleon,” Marshall said. He said out of nowhere a Coast Guard boat sputtered past the boat Burbage was aboard, and becoming first up the canal.   “I’ve been through the inlet hundreds of times and that memory always comes back to me,” Marshall said, laughing along with everyone else. 

Gov. Russell Wilber Peterson

Gov. Peterson was born in Wisconsin, but even many native Delawareans’ don’t seem to hold it against him. He said he fell in love with the state’s maritime beauty when bird-watching with his sons. Peterson, who turns 92, Tuesday, Oct. 3, earned a place in Delaware’s maritime history – in the state’s history – when he pushed through the Coastal Zone Act of 1971. The act was first of its kind legislation to protect Delaware’s coastal areas and marine environment from industrialization.

Accompanied by wife June to accept induction honors, Peterson, who was elected governor in 1969, said at the time, the Coastal Zone Act didn’t win him any friends. He said he was called to Washington, D.C., to face 25 men who represented 13 of the world’s largest corporations – oil and chemical giants including his previous employer DuPont – to explain himself. “They told me, ‘You’re not being very loyal.’ I said, “Hell no, I’m being loyal to future generations,” Peterson said to applause. He said the measure barely passed and it cost him reelection. 

Peterson said a couple of years later he met his boyhood hero, Charles Lindbergh, who asked him to do the same kind of thing he’d done for Delaware on a worldwide basis. Peterson is recipient of more than 15 honorary doctorates and numerous achievement awards in recognition of his dedication and commitment to environmental and marine policy.  “I’ve got to say that it was those birds that got me involved,” Peterson said.

Capt. Harry Hickman Rowland

Capt. Rowland founded Wilmington Tug Inc. in 1965. Today the company is the premier ship assistance and docking company in the region. Born in Lewes in March 1914, Rowland died in December 2000. For more than 43 years, Wilmington Tug has been an economic anchor, providing employment and essential maritime services. In 1973 Rowland founded the Delaware Bay Launch Service, which provides a range of services to businesses in Kent and Sussex counties, including transportation of personnel and delivery of repair parts for ships at anchor in the bay.

“He got to do exactly what he wanted to do in life,” said son Hick Rowland who accompanied his mother, Thelma, to receive induction honors. He said during his 57-year career his father had piloted nearly every type of vessel afloat – including a submarine. When he wasn’t able to get to ships fast enough aboard existing boats for piloting jobs, he had his own built – The Little Chris ­– so as not to be late. Rowland said when his father was 42, he pushed for mandatory retirement for pilots at age 65 so the old men could get off the water. But his effort failed, and the mandatory retirement age was set at 70. “The first pilot to turn 70 – Harry Rowland,” his son said. He said his father loved instructing new pilots. “But I don’t think the pilots he taught loved it. He was tough. He was the consummate pilot,” Rowland said.

Jonathan H. Sharp, Ph.D

Dr. Sharp has earned international recognition as a marine-aquatic researcher. Nancy Targett, dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Marine & Earth Studies accepted the honor for Sharp, who was unable to attend because of work he’s conducting in South Carolina. “On behalf of Jon Sharp I thank you for this honor,” Targett said. 

Sharp has taught and conducted research for more than 30 years, focusing on the Delaware Estuary. Sharp holds a doctorate, and has trained masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral research scientists.  A longtime Lewes resident, Sharp has been an information resource for state and federal agencies working to improve the health and quality of the Delaware River and Bay. He began his career as a graduate researcher studying pollution problems in upper regions of the Delaware River.  A native of southern New Jersey, Sharp is a descendent of 18th and 19th century ship captains who once lived along the Delaware Bay shore.  But Targett said when asked recently where he’s from Sharp said, “I’m a native of Delaware Bay.”