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CharactersWay Back Machine

The Honeymooners at Great Shoals Light

When 19-year-old Vernon Cooper landed at the mouth of the Wicomico River, the Wisconsin native didn’t catch on right away that he’d found his forever home. He didn’t have a crystal ball. He couldn’t see that there was a Dames Quarter gal in his future. The U.S. Coast Guard stationed Vernon at Great Shoals Light in 1951. That screwpile affair had been guiding vessels on…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

A Quick Visit to Little Claiborne, Md. with Six Great Old Photos

I lead the way along “Talbot County Backroads” in a chapter from my book Eastern Shore Road Trips #1: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva. On this trip we wind along one country road after another—they’re all beautiful, and they all have interesting stories to tell. Case in point: Here is the snippet from the book about Claiborne, Md.: "Back on straight and narrow Route 33,…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

Delaware Quote of the Day: The Great Turkey-Thief Crime Wave of 1934!

Here is a detailed report from the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal that appeared on Nov. 27, 1934 under the headline below. "Thieves Steal Fowl, Haul to City 'Fences':" A band of chicken and turkey thieves are operating from Harrington and Milford to the Delaware-Maryland line at Delmar, and hundreds of the fowl are reported to have been stolen within the past few weeks. The thieves…
Way Back Machine

In the Land of Holly: Wreath-Making in Southern Delaware

If you find yourself in Southern Delaware this Christmas season, you will be riding through the “Land of Holly.” The story of that nickname dates to 1890, when a man named William Buell in the little burg of Farmington, near Milford, chased after a business idea that had popped into his head. He harvested loose twigs and branches from holly trees, bright with red berries…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Fruitland! “The Holly Capital of the Peninsula”

The holly-wreath industry on Delmarva was born at the turn of the 20th century in Southern Delaware, then quickly moved across the border into Maryland. Soon enough, holly became known far and wide as “Maryland’s Christmas Crop.” Estimates of the number of Eastern Shore residents involved in that holly trade in any given year run as high as 10,000. Most were farmers, looking to earn…
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

Harvest Time in the 1850s: The Key to Success Was … wait … Whiskey on the Job?

The Delmarva Peninsula "Quote of the Day" is a regular feature around here. What I do is share funny, enlightening, or otherwise interesting tidbits that I come across while reading up on the history and culture of our communities. This one comes from the 1976 book Trappe: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Town by Dickson Preston. Trappe is located just up from the Choptank River…
CharactersWay Back Machine

HEROES OF DELMARVA: 5 Things About Col. Tench Tilghman, Revolutionary Star

Tench Tilghman served in the Revolutionary War as a top aide to George Washington, who praised the Talbot County, Md. native generously for his advice, loyalty, and trustworthiness. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, Washington assigned to Tilghman the task of making a mad dash to the nation’s capital in Philadelphia to deliver official word of the triumph. (1) That Weird First Name The tench…
From the BooksWay Back Machine

The Day Seaford, Delaware Went ‘Almost Hysterical with Joy,’ 1938

This is an excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva. Each chapter in the book includes not just modern-day travel destinations, but historical snippets that give a sense for the history and culture of the place at hand. The peach boom that had lifted the fortunes of so many Delaware farmers and businesses for so long came to a…