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Liars Building in Trappe, Maryland
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…
Muskrat Trappers Headed to Marsh in 1954
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…
Steamboats on the Choptank
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Steamboats, Steers, & Slapstick on the Choptank River

A couple of months back I had a great time reading Trappe: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Town by the historian Dickson Preston. Trappe is in Talbot County, Md., across the Choptank River from Cambridge. Preston spends some pages in there discussing the steamboats that used to ride up and down the Choptank, including the Avalon and the Joppa. The section at hand here begins…
Fashions in Chestertown, Maryland in the Mid-1700s
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Quote of the Day, Mid-1700s: “Foppery, Idleness & Dissipation are Striding Briskly On” in Chestertown, Md.

In his book Rivers of the Eastern Shore, the writer Hulbert Footner travels up this waterway, down that one, and then another, reporting on what he sees and discussing the history and culture of the towns he comes upon. Here is a little bit of what he had to say while sailing up the Chester River, on the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland, about Chestertown…
The New Hoopers Island Bridge
From the BooksQuote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY: A ‘Monument to Man’s Stupidity’ at the Hooper’s Island Bridge

This excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is a bonus section that comes at the end of a road trip chock full of backroads adventuring through remote South Dorchester County, Md. and out to remote Taylors Island and Hoopers Island. The story of how the modern Hoopers Island bridge came into existence is a tale of politics and bureaucracy.…
The Big Quarterly in Wilmington, Delaware
From the BooksQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY, 1930s: ‘The Big Quarterly is a day of joy, gladness, and freedom’

Follow in the footsteps of American heroes. Click on the cover for info. This book excerpt below is from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva. It comes from a chapter that has you strolling alongside the pretty and historic Christina River as it runs through downtown Wilmington, Del. I am posting this a few days before the 2019 edition of…
Featured Photo for John Fletcher Hurst of Dorchester County, Maryland
CharactersQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

WORDS OF DELMARVA WISDOM: “What may be the manhood and history [ahead for] a plain boy in rural life?”

Think about this question the next time you pass by a couple of kids working the water’s edge with fishing poles or crab nets. Such scenes remain quite common along the backroads of Delmarva, of course, just as they were when John Fletcher Hurst was growing up in Dorchester County, Maryland in the 1840s. Despite suffering from occasional debilitating bouts of asthma, young John loved…
Automobiles and Horses
Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Ladies would not go out in their carriages” if “that horse frightening machine” was on the road …

The first automobiles to appear on the Eastern Shore of Virginia apparently caused quite a ruckus among the horse-and-carriage set. Here is an account of those early automotive days from The Eastern Shore of Virginia: 1603-1964, by Nora Miller Turman. You can find the book in area bookstores that carry an extensive collection of local titles, or here online. Some people had seen horseless carriages, called…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The Know Nothing Election of 1855 in Onancock, Virginia

Election day is coming up on Tuesday, and folks seem to be pretty excited and upset on both sides of the aisle. It was like that back during the Know Nothing election of 1855, too. John Sergeant Wise was a child then, living along Onancock Creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He would have been 11 or 12 during that gubernatorial election campaign, which…
October 28, 2018
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY, 1922: “Mainland folk have been prone to think their kinsmen on the islands of the Eastern Shore a bit barbaric …”

In 1922, Edward Noble Vallandigham wrote a book full of interesting essays about the towns, churches, and people of the Delmarva peninsula. Delaware and the Eastern Shore has a great subtitle: Some Aspects of a Peninsula Pleasant and Well Beloved. Here, Vallandigham gives his views about the people who inhabit the remote islands of the Eastern Shore.   Surnames are so few on some of the…
September 23, 2018