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SUSSEX COUNTY SPAT: When Seaford Set Up Blockades to Keep Out People From Laurel, 1916

In the spring of 1916, a small smallpox outbreak popped up in Laurel, Del. In the days that followed, health officials in the neighboring town of Seaford came to believe that their colleagues in Laurel weren't doing everything they could to keep the disease at bay. They ordered a halt to all traffic between the two towns. The Wilmington News Journal, May 15: "Guards have…
From the BooksTubman TravelsWay Back Machine

TUBMAN TRAVELS: The Strangers Who Risked Everything for Sam And Emeline Hawkins

 This is a free excerpt from the Secrets of the Eastern Shore book, Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. The book tells true-life stories from the Underground Railroad, and all of those stories are linked to places that you can go visit in your travels on the Eastern Shore and in Delaware. BIG PICTURE: Redemption Song One thing I’ve learned in working on…
May 4, 2020
CharactersFrom the BooksRoad TripsWay Back Machine

JOURNEYS: The British Teenager Left Behind to Live with the Indians in 1608

Every chapter in my book, Eastern Shore Road Trips 2: 26 More One-Day Adventures on Delmarva, is a mix of fun places to visit and interesting stories from days gone by. This free excerpt is from one of the road trips set on the Eastern Shore of Virginia--the book also includes lots of trips in Delaware and on Maryland's Eastern Shore, of course. Thanks for…
Way Back Machine

BLACK GOLD IN PARSONSBURG! The Delmarva Oil Craze of the Early 1900s

If someone ever makes an Eastern Shore version of "The Beverly Hillbillies," the family at the center of things would have to hail from Parsonsburg, Md. That sleepy town of 350ish souls--it's just east of Salisbury, on the way to Ocean City--was the epicenter of the Great Delmarva Oil Craze. Consider, for starters, the advertisement that the Wicomico Oil & Gas Co. took out in…
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…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

“The Exile’s Song:” A Poetic Ode By a Homesick Eastern Shoreman

Aside from having a beard for the ages, Littleton Purnell Bowen was a lawyer, historian, preacher, and poet. Born in Worcester County, Md. in 1833, he did his early schooling at the Berlin (Md.) Academy, graduating in 1851. He later earned a law degree, but abandoned that career to become a Presbyterian minister. Early on, Bowen served as a pastor in Lewes, Del. and Pocomoke…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Somerset Journey: The Steak Knife Was Invented in Crisfield, and That Story Begins on Marumsco Creek

The story behind the creation of the steak knife in your kitchen drawer involves a bit of manufacturing ingenuity, but there is more to it. Think romantic sleigh rides, a devastating fire, steadfast religious faith, and then—a Christmas gift from a friend that changes everything. This Somerset County, Md. tale begins with a farm boy who hated farm work. He much preferred puttering around in…
Way Back Machine

WAY BACK MACHINE: The Great Poplar Island Bootleg Booze Factory of 1929

On a Sunday afternoon in May 1929, Talbot County (Md.) Sheriff Thomas L. Faulkner and a team of local officers and federal agents sailed from Lowe’s Wharf, just up the mainland from Tilghman Island, heading past storied old Poplar Island and into the open Chesapeake Bay. But then the boat spun around and headed back for the island from the north. Poplar Island was a…