Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva
One day last winter I drove out to St. Michaels to hear a presentation at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum by a panel of local folks whose families were involved in various old canneries that used to be so central to the economy in the mid-Shore region–and all around the Delmarva Peninsula. One of the presenters passed around a copy of this poem, written during the World War II years by a worker at the Defender Cannery in Trappe, Maryland. That old cannery is no longer standing, but it was located right next door to the “Defender House,” which is the home of the little Rural Life Museum just off of Route 50 in Trappe. Here is more info about the museum.

Here is the poem. (Keep scrolling past the end. I threw in a bunch of extra photos as well.)

At the Canning House

Red tomatoes a-laying in the pan

Hurry there, my sisters, skin as many as you can

Encased in pasteboard boxes

And loaded on the van

 

Defender Tomatoes from Trappe, Md.Pick the good tomatoes

Pack them best you can

Soon they’ll be a-sailing

To your soldier-man

 

Shiny cans a-sliding down the shoot

When ’tis moon-time, sisters,

We’ll hear the whistle toot

 

Then we’ll go a-runnin’

To get our candy or our cake

Our sandwiches and soup

Hard-earned money it will take

 

Peeling Tomatoes in Federalsburg, Md.

Peeling Tomatoes in Federalsburg, Md.

Our F.D.R. has ordered

Many cases for the boys

Soon Talbot-grown tomatoes

Will be among their joys

 

Lines of patient workers

Waiting in the sun

For their well-earned checks

When the week’s work’s done

 

When the summer’s over

With canning-house closed tight

Let’s have the satisfication

Of all our work done right

–Posted by Jim Duffy on Sept. 21, 2018

Tomato pails line up in a cannery in Federalsburg, Maryland

Tomato pails lined up in a cannery in Federalsburg, Maryland

 

Scene at the Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge, Md.

Scene at the Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge, Md.

 

Scene at the Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge, Maryland

Scene at the Phillips Packing Company in Cambridge, Maryland

 

Tomato Cannery in Hurlock, Maryland

Tomato Cannery in Hurlock, Maryland

 

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