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From the BooksWay Back Machine

The Great Eastern Shore Deep Freeze of 1976-77!

NOTE: This is one of the fun stories from my book, You Wouldn't Believe! 44 Strange and Wondrous Delmarva Tales. You can find more information about the book--including how and where to buy it--at this link. Deep freezes used to be commonplace affairs on the Delmarva Peninsula. Newspapers and diaries from the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s are stippled with reports of cold spells so deep…
From the BooksWay Back Machine

FOLKLORE! Girls Are Bad Luck on New Year’s Day

NOTE: This is an excerpt from my book, You Wouldn't Believe! 44 Strange and Wondrous Delmarva Tales. It's in a section of several stories about bits of folklore. Find out more about You Wouldn't Believe (and my other books) here. I first learned about this strange tradition regarding girls and New Year's Day on the Secrets of the Eastern Shore Facebook page, thanks to a…
Way Back Machine

Tis the Season! The 15 Most Popular Stories of 2021

Without further ado, I present to you the 15 most popular stories on this website during 2021, as measured by the number of page views each got during the year. 15: Love Point on Kent Island: A Valentine’s Memory from Days Gone By Here's the link. 14: The Fall of an “Ancient Warrior:” The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse Collapses, 1926 Here's the link. 13: The St.…
Home Page FeatureWay Back Machine

Merry Christmas, Joe Taylor! An Old Black Man Gets His 15 Minutes of Fame, 1955

We’ve all met someone like Joe Taylor. He’s that old guy who wanders the streets. He’s poor, but he’s not homeless, and he’s not begging. He just loves to talk with other people. He’s always on the lookout for a mark who might listen. He’s convinced that his life story is fascinating. He believes deep down that his memories make for spellbinding conversation. Make eye…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Fruitland’s Accidental Auctioneer: A Christmas Holly Tale

NOTE: This is an excerpt from my book, You Wouldn't Believe! 44 Strange and Wondrous Delmarva Tales. Find out more about that (and my other books) here. Another chapter in this book, “When Delaware Delivered the ‘True Spirit of Christmas,’” tells the story of how the seasonal holly wreath industry took off in the late 1800s and early 1900s, starting in Southern Delaware and then…
CharactersWay Back Machine

The Miraculous Reunions of Underground Railroad Hero William Still

I am posting this during the week of the bicentennial of William Still's birth on Oct. 7, 1821. Let's get the obvious question out of the way first: Why bother about a Philadelphia guy on a site devoted to stories of Delmarva? I mention Still countless times in my book of Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. That's because he played two key…
MiscellanyTubman TravelsWay Back Machine

Young Harriet Tubman Finds Her Strength, With a Little Help from Her Father

This is an excerpt from my book, Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. A smidgeon of background: This story begins while an adolescent Harriet Tubman—her name in her younger days was Minty—is in the midst of a long recovery after suffering a near-fatal head injury when hit in the head by a hardware-store metal weight flung by a plantation overseer. (You can read…
Strange & WondrousWay Back Machine

Traveling to Bethany Beach in its Early Days Was a Long, Bumpy, and Stinky Nightmare

Mom, Dad, are we there yet? Was that classic children’s whine a thing in the early 1900s? If it was … oh, those poor parents who decided to take their kids on vacation to Bethany Beach, Del. Everyone complains nowadays about summertime traffic tie-ups on the way to the beach. But those delays are nothing compared with the trials and tribulations endured by Bethany-bound travelers…
Strange & WondrousWay Back Machine

Six Bridges Over Troubled Water: A Dreadful Day in Chincoteague, 1922

NOTE: This is a rough draft for a chapter in an upcoming book that is (very) tentatively titled Strange and Wondrous Tales from the Delmarva Peninsula. You can see the other books in my Secrets of the Eastern Shore series here. Oh, the hours of preparation and work that must have gone into the celebration planned for Chincoteague, Va. on Nov. 15, 1922! Local newspapers…