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Fruitland! “The Holly Capital of the Peninsula”

The holly-wreath industry on Delmarva was born at the turn of the 20th century in Southern Delaware, then quickly moved across the border into Maryland. Soon enough, holly became known far and wide as “Maryland’s Christmas Crop.” Estimates of the number of Eastern Shore residents involved in that holly trade in any given year run as high as 10,000. Most were farmers, looking to earn…
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PICTURE THIS: On Cambridge Creek, the Oldest Crabpacking Plant in the World

Crabs weren’t always a big deal on the Eastern Shore. All the way through the 1800s, the oyster was the unrivaled king of Chesapeake seafood. Crabs were an afterthought. People rarely ate them—and when they did, they had to catch them, because nobody was selling crabs or crabmeat on a commercial basis. This iconic Delmarva scene up top here—it’s the work of Jill Jasuta Photography,…
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HEROES OF DELMARVA: 5 Things About Col. Tench Tilghman, Revolutionary Star

Tench Tilghman served in the Revolutionary War as a top aide to George Washington, who praised the Talbot County, Md. native generously for his advice, loyalty, and trustworthiness. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, Washington assigned to Tilghman the task of making a mad dash to the nation’s capital in Philadelphia to deliver official word of the triumph. (1) That Weird First Name The tench…
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Conversation in the Fields: How Warner Mifflin Became an Early Champion of Freedom in Slavery Times

There is a fascinating scene from colonial times to put in your mind’s eye the next time you are headed toward Greenbackville, Va. That pretty little waterfront town sits just below the Maryland border. Getting there involves traveling along State Line Road, where you’ll pass Captain’s Cove, a big modern housing development with a golf course, a marina, and lots of other amenities. In the…
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Albert Jackson: How a Man Born into Slavery in Milford, Del. Became a Hero in Canada

Up in Toronto, Canada, there is a street in a residential neighborhood called Albert Jackson Lane. Downtown, on Lombard Street, there is a historical marker describing why Albert Jackson's life should be celebrated by Torontonians. The honors that Mr. Jackson has received up north go beyond those city limits--the Canadian postal service has issued a stamp in his honor. Why does this matter on a…
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The Legend of Gilbert Lare, aka “The Del-Mar-Va Bandit” of the 1930s

The criminal career of Gilbert Lare, aka "The Del-Mar-Va Bandit,” began with a seemingly minor affair. Wilmington News Journal, Dec. 27, 1926: Gilbert Lare, a young man of , was arrested by Constable Thomas Nichols breaking into store on South Main Street Wednesday night and removing two slot machines. … The machines were found early the following morning along the river shores, broken up, and…
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How Capt. Edward Trippe Launched the Steamboat Revolution

In tumultuous times, we sometimes miss the forest for the trees. Wartime news ruled the day during the summer of 1813. Nearly 40 British ships prowled the Chesapeake Bay. The bad guys burned a pair of Maryland towns, Fredericktown and Georgetown, and attacked another, St. Michaels. A vessel named Chesapeake dominated newspaper headlines that June--she was a U.S. Navy frigate captured by the bad guys…
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‘The most remarkable man I had ever seen:’ John Hunn, Delaware’s Warrior for Freedom

If I could commune with the dead of Delmarva, one soul I would definitely want to call out is John Hunn, a great warrior for freedom during the days of slavery. He was a key player—the “superintendent,” as he once described it—along an Underground Railroad line the ran through central and northern Delaware. Precise numbers are impossible to pin down, but it’s likely that Hunn…