If you have been reading the newspapers lately or watching the news, you know that Delaware has a scheduled execution for April 20th. We had some curious citizens stop in to see if we had any information or documents about past executions.
They started by looking at our newspaper collection. Next they looked in our general reference files for Capital Punishment. That sparked their interest in the courts. For instance, from colonial times until 1951, a serious criminal case was heard by the Court of General Sessions.
If it was deemed worthy of capital punishment, the case then went to the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
They were also surprised to learn that the Secretary of State served as the Clerk of the Court for the Court of Appeals. They couldn’t believe all the old courts that no longer exist.
To learn more about early courts in Delaware you can visit our agency histories page. To see the various types of records we have for the courts use our online guide and do a key word search for “court.”