History of the Prettyman House

By Terry Rogers

The Prettyman House, located at 210 S. Walnut Street, in Milford Delaware is listed on the National Register of Historic Houses and was built circa 1909.  This two-story brick building has a two-story rear wing and gable roof with three dormers and a center portico with balustrade and turned supports. Above the front door is a balcony with a rounded arch door in the center and there is a porch on the south side with Doric columns.

According to his great-grandson, Mike Prettyman, the home was built for Charles Gibbons Prettyman, son of Dr. John S. Prettyman., the editor of a Milford paper known as the Peninsular News and Advertiser.  The paper was a radical advocate of the pro-slavery political belief.  The paper changed ownership five times in six years, even while successfully being controlled by Dr. Prettyman and his partners.  During those six years, the paper eventually came to oppose slavery under Dr. Prettyman’s direction, causing several incidences of vandalism at the paper office.  The paper succeeded and became one of the most influential Republican newspapers in the state.

Charles was a travelling shoe salesman who was born in 1869.  On June 27, 1900, Charles married Anna Hall Yardley and on the 1910 Census, the couple listed 3 children – Clara, age 8; John, age 5 and James, age 9 months.  By 1920, George and Anna added two more sons – Eldridge who was 7 and Charles who was 5 at the time.  Charles died in 1942 and is buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Milford.  Anna Yardley Prettyman lived there for many years until the home passed to her son, Eldridge, who was Mike Prettyman’s grandfather.

Eldridge died in 1966 and is buried in the Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery in Milford.  The home remained in the Prettyman family until Eldridge’s wife sold it in 1970.

The home is still regal and stands next to a dental office, which for many years, was the home of the Milford Public Library.  It has undergone some renovations over the years and appears to currently be under some repairs and maintenance.  Even with the work being done, the house still has the charm it must have had when Charles and his family lived there at the turn of the 21st century.

Resources: 

Conrad, Henry Clay (1968)  History of the State of Delaware, Volume 3; Retrieved from Googlebooks.com
                National Registry for Historic Buildings (1982) Application for Membership – Milford, Delaware.

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