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Craven-McDade family papers

Creation: 1899-1954
Accession: 2308


The Craven-McDade family had several family members working in the gunpowder and explosives industry for the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and later the Hercules Powder Company. These papers related to the Craven and McDade family of Henry Clay village in Delaware.


  • Creation: 1899-1954



0.25 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

The Craven-McDade family had several family members working in the gunpowder and explosives industry for the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and later the Hercules Powder Company.

The patriarch of the family was Patrick McDade (1856-1929), born in County Donegal Ireland. Following an incident related to harboring a gun in a rented cottage, McDade left Ireland for America with the financial backing of a member of the Toy Family. McDade immigrated in 1872 and became a naturalized citizen in 1882. He first worked in the paper mills near Rockland, Delaware and then for the DuPont Company, which began in the manufacture of gunpowder and then later explosives. McDade retired in 1915.

While he was in the employ of the DuPont Company, McDade was given a small house after his actions to cool a gear in the powder yard reportedly prevented an explosion at the mills. The first home was near the Charles I. du Pont House along Main Street in the village of Henry Clay.

Patrick McDade married Mary McKinney McDade (1858-1916) in 1877. Mary McDade immigrated to America from Ireland in 1871. The couple had twelve children between 1881 and 1903. When a vacancy presented itself across the Brandywine at Walker’s Bank, McDade asked the company if he could move to the bigger house. They agreed, but he would have to pay rent, unlike the house on Main Street. After his retirement, McDade worked at ‘Nemours,’ the estate of Alfred I. du Pont and during World War I in a Wilmington shipyard. He suffered a stroke in 1929, and died on November 1st of that year.

His daughter, Margaret Anastasia McDade (1888-1981) attended St. Joseph’s School and then went to work in Walker’s Mill. She married William E. Craven (1874-1926) on January 16, 1919. Following the death of her husband in 1926 and then her father in 1929, Craven moved in with her sisters at 18 Walker’s Bank, leaving her home on West Fourth Street in Wilmington, however retaining it as a rental property. In 1937, she moved to 6 Walker’s Bank with her young family, and then took a rental next to her sisters at 17 Walker’s Bank. She lived along the Brandywine until the homes along the bank were demolished in 1950. The family then moved back to Fourth Street where she remained until 1980 when she moved in with her daughter Florence Craven (1923-1996), in the community of ‘Meadowood.’ She died in 1981 after a short battle with pneumonia.

Her sister Kathryn Loretta McDade (1891-1980) attended St. Joseph’s School, A.I. du Pont School and later attended the Goldey Business School. In 1911 she took her first job with the DuPont Company working in the company office as a secretary (a company first). After the DuPont Company was split up into three different entities in 1913, Kathryn McDade took a job as secretary in the Treasurer’s Office at Hercules in 1914. She died on July 21, 1980 and is buried at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine.

Their younger brother, Edward Francis McDade (1897-1967), known as Francis, worked in the powder yards of the DuPont Company as a young man. Following DuPont, he worked in the machine shop at Hercules, then during the Depression for Lammot du Pont Copeland (1905-1983) doing odd jobs and yard work in the old powder yards which were at the time owned by Copeland. In 1938, Francis McDade took a job with the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company in Chester, Pennsylvania. Following World War II, he went to work in the maintenance department at Sun Oil in Marcus Hook. He retired in 1962 and went to live with his sisters on Madison Street in Wilmington where he passed away in 1967.


Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content

The Craven-McDade family papers include items related to Patrick McDade, and three of his children, Margaret, Kathryn, and Edward Francis as well as two items related to the history of St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church in Wilmington, Delaware and a file on the history of the McDade Family complied by William E. Craven in the 1990s.

A file on Margaret McDade Craven includes items related to her home at 17 Walker’s Bank and includes receipts and the registration for rental of her home. The Kathryn McDade file contains similar items for 18 Walker’s Bank including eviction an eviction notice from the DuPont Company in 1950. There are two items related to the funeral of their father Patrick McDade in 1929 as well as a file of cards sent to McDade by Alfred I. du Pont in the 1920s. There is also a file that contains items such as pins and awards worn by Patrick McDade’s youngest son, Edward Francis, during his years at Sun Oil and Hercules.

At the end of the collection are two photographs, one of T.W. Bacchus, First Vice President and General Manager of Hercules Powder Company and one small photograph of the covered bridge that carried Rising Sun Lane over the Brandywine River, crica 1920.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on use.

Language of Materials


Additional Description


Gift of William E. Craven, 2004.

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Craven-McDade family papers
Andrew D. Engel
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA