Wilmington, De., New Castle co. City, and port of entry. Situated between Brandywine and Christiana Creeks, 1 mile above their junction. 47 miles N. from Dover, and 28 miles S. W. from Philadelphia. Population in 1830, 6,628; in 1840, 8,367; in 1850, 13,931. Both the business and population of the place have rapidly increased within a few years past. It is situated in the midst of one of the finest agricultural districts in the Middle States. Its site, like that of Philadelphia, and of Baltimore, is on the outer edge of the primitive formation, and on the inner edge of the sea sand alluvion. The city is built on ground gradually rising to the height of 112 feet above the level of tide water. It is laid out with regularity; the streets, which are broad and airy, crossing each other at right angles. It is supplied with water from the Brandywine, by waterworks, like those of Philadelphia. The place is well built; the houses are generally of brick, and many of them are elegant. It has several churches of different denominations, and is distinguished for its excellent private schools. The principal public buildings are a city hall, a hospital and almshouse, two market houses, several banks, and an arsenal. The hospital is a large edifice, 126 feet long, and 3 stories high, located upon a fine, healthy eminence.
Wilmington is the largest place in Delaware, and, next to Philadelphia, the greatest mart of trade in the basin of the Delaware River. The Christiana admits vessels drawing 14 feet of water to the city; and those drawing 8 feet can come up the Brandywine. Considerable shipping is owned here, and the whale fishery is carried on to some extent from this port.
But Wilmington is more distinguished for its various kinds of manufactures than for its maritime commerce. The falls of the Brandywine. In the immediate neighborhood, afford a valuable water power, which is rendered available to a great extent for the operations of machinery; applied to flouring mills, paper mills, saw mills, cotton, woollen, and various other manufactories. The flouring mills at Wilmington are among the largest in the United States. The making of gunpowder has been carried on here extensively for many years. Within 10 miles of this place, there is a large number of important manufactories, rendering it one of the largest manufacturing districts in the United States south of Philadelphia.
John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America... (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 630-31.