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Choptank River 1930s for Poem The Choptank Is a River FEATURED PHOTO
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

A POETIC INTERLUDE: “The Choptank Is a River/That Is in My Dreams Today”

The below tribute to our Choptank River was published in 1931 by Folger McKinzey (1866-1950), who grew up on the Eastern Shore in Elkton, Md. and became something of an adolescent prodigy. He became editor of the weekly Shore Gazette newspaper in Ocean Grove, N.J. at age 17 and then, at 20, returned to Elkton as assistant editor of the Cecil Whig. While there, he…
Ash Wednesday Storm Delaware Featured Photo
MiscellanyWay Back Machine

The Storm of ’62: “This Was ‘God’s Country’–Until Last Night”

Knowing what happened, it's hard not to shake your head upon finding the weather forecast for Mon., March 5, 1962: "Snow beginning this afternoon continuing tonight and accumulating 2-4 inches or more. High temperature this afternoon 34-40 and lows tonight 25-30. Tuesday cloudy early in the morning but partial clearing during the day with high 28-32. Outlook for Wednesday fair and cold." That Wednesday would…
Ash Wednesday Storm Aerial Featured Photo
Way Back Machine

‘A Seagull’s Eye View of the Devastation:’ The Ash Wednesday Storm in Southern Delaware, 1962

"Delaware's multi-million dollar playground in Sussex County just isn't there anymore." That's how newspaper reporter William Frank summarized the scenes he saw while taking a ride in an Army helicopter to get a "seagull's eye view of the devastation" caused by the hellacious Ash Wednesday storm of March 1962. The Ash Wednesday storm arrived on March 6, 1962. If it were a normal nor'easter it…
Chesapeake Oyster Wars Depraved Workforce FEATURED PHOTO
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

“Depraved,” “Unscrupulous,” “Vile”–Our Oystermen, 1887

Those headline words all come from a federal government report about the state of the oystering on the Chesapeake Bay in 1887. This was, as many regular readers here will know, the height of the “Oyster Wars” in our region. Just in case you need it: Here is a 200-word refresher of an introduction to those wild times. Fear and greed fueled the Chesapeake Oyster…
2023 Most Popular Stories Classics 2023 FEATURED PHOTO
The NewsroomWay Back Machine

Most Popular, 2023: The Classics

First--hey, thanks: Year-over-year website traffic jumped a whopping 55.9 percent in 2023! I have divided my annual list of the year's most viral stories into two categories--the most popular newish stories, written recently and posted for the first time (those stories are here), and the most popular year-in-and-year out classic stories that are always popular on the site. Here goes with the classics: • “Now…
Most Popular Stories 2023 Newbies Featured Photo
The NewsroomWay Back Machine

Most Popular, 2023: The Newbie Stories

First--hey, thanks: Year-over-year website traffic jumped a whopping 55.9 percent in 2023! I have divided my annual list of the year's most viral stories into two categories--the most popular newish stories, written recently and posted for the first time, and the most popular year-in-and-year out classic stories that are always popular on the site (those classic stories are here). This page is about the newbies,…
Hog Killing Tradition in Caroline County on Eastern Shore of Maryland
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

Women’s Work: Memories of an Old-Time Hog Killing in Federalsburg, Md.

Ellenor Merriken was still brand new to Federalsburg, Md. when her husband's mother (aka "Grandma") called and told her to come on over and pitch in--it was hog-killing time. That longstanding Christmastime tradition on the Delmarva Peninsula worked something like an Amish barn-raising--neighbors would gather to pitch in and help while also enjoying a day of fellowship. This was new to Ellenor. She had found…
Circus Tent Entrance FEATURED PHOTO
Way Back Machine

CIRCUS ACTS: Strange and Ridiculous Happenings Under the Big Top!

The traveling circus was a staple of small-town life on the Delmarva Peninsula in the early 1900s. Here are three stories that show just how strange things could get with those shows and their performers. Circus Act #1! The brawl in Seaford, Del., 1908 (with flying snakes!) You’ve seen old Westerns, right? The ones with scenes where two guys start fighting in a tavern and…
Typical Chicken Farm 1940s FEATURED PHOTO from Poultry Industry History
Way Back Machine

You’ve Heard of Bootleggers? How about Meatleggers? There Were Lots of Them on Delmarva in the 1940s

What you see up top here is an ordinary Delmarva chicken farm in the early 1940s. But that decade was anything but ordinary for the poultry industry: Think black marketeering, bushel baskets of cash hidden in attics, and military roadblocks set up on DuPont Highway. These were World War II years. Among the array of complex logistics in that conflict was the task of feeding…