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“Like a Visit to Another World:” Remembering Childhood Steamboat Trips on the Choptank River in Times Gone By

Sometimes, the best-laid productivity plans in a day go awry. I ventured into the Maryland Room of the Talbot County Free Library in Easton, Md. one day to research a very specific topic within a tight time window. Alas, I stumbled upon a little pamphlet titled "Memories of Choptank" while thumbing through a shelf. The title is a reference not to the river, but to…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

“Men Going Places & Building Things:” The Steamboat Glory Days of Little Choptank, Md.

If you visit the town of Choptank today, you'll encounter a quiet little town of 120 or so souls set on a glorious bit of waterfront scenery in Caroline County, Md. Located a few miles below Preston, Choptank stands a little way above where the Choptank River takes a big bend to the west at the mouth of Hunting Creek. It's a pleasant place for…
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

Saxis on a Saturday Night! Scenes from Days Gone By

Those of you who've been there know that Saxis is a remote, real-deal watermen community on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I visited there while working on my book, Eastern Shore Road Trips #1: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva. It's a quiet place nowadays, with one fun restaurant, one tiki bar, and a local history museum being the main attractions for visitors outside of the…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Albert Jackson: How a Man Born into Slavery in Milford, Del. Became a Hero in Canada

Up in Toronto, Canada, there is a street in a residential neighborhood called Albert Jackson Lane. Downtown, on Lombard Street, there is a historical marker describing why Albert Jackson's life should be celebrated by Torontonians. The honors that Mr. Jackson has received up north go beyond those city limits--the Canadian postal service has issued a stamp in his honor. Why does this matter on a…
Delmarva WisdomWay Back Machine

When Farming on Virginia’s Eastern Shore Took a Turn Out of “It’s a Wonderful Life”

In the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey is trying to do the right thing by his neighbors in small-town Bedford Falls. By setting up a community-owned banking cooperative--Bailey Building & Loan--he wants to offer those neighbors a fair, homegrown alternative to the bank owned by Mr. Potter, the greedy and heartless antihero of the piece. That 1946 film came to mind as…
CharactersWay Back Machine

The Legend of Gilbert Lare, aka “The Del-Mar-Va Bandit” of the 1930s

The criminal career of Gilbert Lare, aka "The Del-Mar-Va Bandit,” began with a seemingly minor affair. Wilmington News Journal, Dec. 27, 1926: Gilbert Lare, a young man of , was arrested by Constable Thomas Nichols breaking into store on South Main Street Wednesday night and removing two slot machines. … The machines were found early the following morning along the river shores, broken up, and…
CharactersWay Back Machine

How Capt. Edward Trippe Came Brought the Steamboat Revolution to the Chesapeake

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…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: In Colonial Times, You Could Pay Your Tax Bill in Squirrels’ Heads

Taxes come due a little later than usual here in 2020. Because of the big pandemic, the government pushed the deadline back to July 15. My condolences to those of you still wading through paperwork. If it's any consolation, taxes were complicated back in colonial times, too--just in a different way, one that might have you donning camo garb and grabbing a gun instead of…