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Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

“Now I’m Almost Home!” The Death and Funeral of Harriet Tubman, 1913

When her time came, Harriet Tubman was ready. Among the last recorded words of wisdom that we received from the Eastern-Shore-born heroine of the Underground Railroad comes to us by way of suffragette and civil rights activist Mary Burnett Talbert, who made a pilgrimage to upstate New York upon hearing that Harriet's health was failing. It was February of 1913. Harriet had been living in…
Way Back Machine

A Wild, Icy Ride on Sharps Island Light

Many of you have climbed up into the cottage of a screwpile lighthouse. Perhaps in St. Michaels, Md. at the Maritime Museum. Or in Cambridge, Md. on the waterfront. Perhaps some of you been in one of those beacons on a day so cold and windy you could feel the whole cottage shaking. OK, now imagine three things: (1) The cottage stands out in the…
Characters

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,…
CharactersWay Back Machine

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…
CharactersWay Back Machine

A Delmarva Town’s Unlikely Love Affair with a Chinese Laundryman, Early 1900s

Judging by their last names, the men who climbed into a "large touring car" and left Cambridge, Md. on a Wednesday in late May of 1910 hailed from the upper crust of Dorchester County society. There is a Mount Rushmore aspect to the collection of surnames--Brannock, Hopkins, Hearn, and Willey. All those families loom large in local lore and civic leadership across the centuries. We…
Way Back Machine

About That 1945 Day When Baseball Hall of Famer Branch Rickey Went Fishing on the Choptank River

Fred “Fritz” Lucas was a baseball man through and through. The New Jersey native toiled for teams in nine different minor-league cities during the 1920s and 1930s. He had a proverbial cup of coffee with the big-league Philadelphia Phillies in 1935, getting 34 at-bats as a pinch hitter and reserve outfielder. He returned to the minors the next year, but his time on the playing…
The Newsroom

On WBOC-TV, Secrets of the Eastern Shore talks about the Prohibition Era

Secrets co-founder Jim Duffy recently went on WBOC-TV’s Good Day Delmarva to tell stories about the era of Prohibition on the Delmarva Peninsula. The 100th anniversary of Prohibition taking effect landed on Jan. 17, 1920. Have you heard the one about the guy in Wachapreague who set up a secret compartment under his kitchen floorboards so that booze would pour out of one of his…
From the BooksTubman TravelsWay Back Machine

TUBMAN TRAVELS: Flying for Freedom on Christmas Eve (the Christmas Escape, part 3)

This is an excerpt from my book, Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. It’s the third of three chapters in the book devoted to The Christmas Escape of 1854, one of the most famous of the escapes engineered by conductor Harriet Tubman. Each chapter in the book is a self-contained story that’s linked to a place you can visit today in Delaware or…
From the BooksTubman TravelsWay Back Machine

TUBMAN TRAVELS: Love Stories at Buttons Creek (Christmas Escape, Part 2)

'Love Stories at Buttons Creek' is an excerpt from my book, Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. It’s the second of three chapters in the book devoted to one of the most famous of the escapes engineered by conductor Harriet Tubman. Each chapter in the book is a self-contained story that’s linked to a place you can visit today in Delaware or on…
December 12, 2019