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Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

A Day in the Life of a Child in Chopank, Md., early 1900s

I am not sure which individual is responsible for the memory I'm sharing here, as my source material was the work not of a single author, but of a committee of volunteers. Back in 1976, the Choptank Bicentennial Committee put together a little booklet to mark 200 years of American independence by celebrating life in their own little town, which lies on the river of…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

“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…
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

Saxis on a Saturday Night! Scene from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, 1928

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 waterfront, the marshland scenery, and the local people.…
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…
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…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The stately looking steamboat … cautiously, almost stealthily edged her way into the locks” of the C&D Canal.

In 1881, the Wilmington (Del.) Morning News published one writer’s eloquent account of his steamboat journey from the old city of New Castle through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and on across the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore. Here are some highlights: Steamboats ran on the bays and rivers of Delmarva for a century and a half, from 1813 until 1962. This account of one brief…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Maybe we needed a whole building because we had so many liars.”

Lots of towns have had famous “liar’s benches” over the years--a corner in a store or post office where old men gather and tell tall tales from days gone by. But in Trappe on Maryland's Eastern Shore, they had much more than a bench--a whole building there was set aside for the fine art of small-town storytelling. The description below of what days back in…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Muskrat Recipes “Worthy of an Epicure” from 1943

In the introduction to a 1943 “wildlife leaflet” titled, “Recipes for Cooking Muskrat Meat,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers these reassurances: “In modern times many persons have eaten the flesh of the muskrat and relished it. Some have declared that it is game worthy of an epicure.” And: “The recipes given here are typical of the many suitable for cooking this meat. When…