Who are the Lady and Lord High Admirals?
Thousands of timber rafts once rode the river’s spring freshets to markets located along the tidal Delaware River where the vessels were disassembled and the pine and hemlock logs fashioned into spars and masts for large warships.
Daniel Skinner, according to local historians, was among the first loggers to make the trip. Sometime during the 1760s he and two mates launched an 80-foot long raft of lashed logs from the Catskill Mountain settlement of Cochecton, N.Y. Shipbuilders offered up a rousing welcome when Skinner and one of the mates (the other reportedly drowned) came ashore in Philadelphia, some 200 miles downstream. Overjoyed with the fresh supply of timber, the shipbuilders honored Skinner (some say he honored himself) with the title Lord High Admiral of the Delaware.
Skinner had a lock on the title and the river’s timber trade until his death in 1813. Almost 200 years would pass before his honorary title would be given to a new generation of folks drawn to the river. In 1997, the title, and a modified version, were bestowed on a handful of people who became the first Lady and/or Lord High Admirals of the Delaware River Sojourn, another watery adventure which celebrates the river’s outstanding natural beauty. It has since become a tradition of the Sojourn that Lady and/or Lord High Admirals are selected each year to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to protect the health of the Delaware River and its environs.