Don Barker writes Caroline County and Choptank River History
Through 90 years of racial segregation and funding disparity, black schools in Caroline County were sacred ground in the fight for literacy, democracy, and civil rights.
Eight are still there.
Stand in the Place.
Louise Hollister, Maryland School of Nursing, Class of 1939. Native of Hillsboro.
2LT Louise A. Hollister, RN, Army Nurse Corps, 1942-1943, was Maryland’s only Army Nurse casualty in WWII.
I walked 16 miles from Easton to my father’s. I knocked at the door and said, “Who lives here?” Father answered by saying, “Who is that?” I said, “Me.”
Then mother said, “That’s Alexander”– showing a mother never forgets her child.
Their daughter Rosetta reminded those who admired her father:
“The story of Frederick Douglass’ hopes and aspirations and longing desire for freedom … was a story made possible by the unswerving loyalty of Anna Murray.”
Ruins of a mill dam survived on Fowling Creek Branch on Wiltshire Manor and have been identified as either a Blades Mill or Dickinsons Mill by Mrs. Clara Mitchell of Preston, October 17, 1967. This land at Grove near Preston had been owned by Henry Dickinson and several generations of Isaiah Blades heirs. Read more…
Historical Maps from the David Rumsey Collection Maryland's Eastern Shore and what later became Caroline County were first mapped by Augustine Hermann in 1670. Many of the maps which show the Eastern Shore since 1670 have been preserved and digitized by the David...
We can see the Caroline County landscape in 1897, thanks to the efforts of two county citizens working 72 years apart. I found no reference to M. L. Saulsbury's mapmaking in the Denton Journal around 1897. So I'm not sure why this map was made. And I haven't seen an...
We give you two ways to explore the 1875 John B. Isler map of Caroline County and compare it to the modern landscape:Spyglass ViewSwipe ViewIn each of these maps, click the icon in the upper left:Do you like what you're reading here? Please consider donating to our...
Jarena Lee (1783-1849) was the first female preacher of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. She left her Philadelphia home in 1824 to visit Baltimore then travel and preach throughout the the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her autobiography, The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee, contains many references to people and places in Caroline and other Mid-Shore Counties, including many of the earliest Black Churches.
“You know the feelings of the white people here in Delaware.
Are you ready to die?”
I said, None of these things move me.
I never was so inspired to speak since the day I was born.
And news went back to Caroline,
that I was shot and killed.
This article shows you how to use the Choptank River Heritage Family Search Map to find names of persons who owned farms and businesses in Caroline County in the 1890s.
In an unusual twist of fate, the Ridgely native – and prominent teacher, suffragette, and businesswoman – received more attention from the Baltimore press than from local media during her remarkable lifetime.
This month, we complete our four-year survey of historic schools in Caroline County, 1820-1960.
We re-discovered 23 segregated black schools built since the 1870s.
Eight black schools are still there.
Find out how Hubbard and Leverton with worked with Harriet Tubman and others to move freedom seekers through Caroline County to safety.
The Times-Record reported last week that the old Southern States building in Denton was demolished in a controlled burn carried out by the Denton VFD. The vacant and dilapidated building was burned because the town determined that it was a safety hazard. The VFD also...
Stand in the Place: The Age of Sail returns to Denton and the upper Choptank River Sailing the Choptank was never easy. Even so, schooners, bugeyes, pungies, and skipjacks tied up at Denton from the 1700s till the 1930s. Now you too can sail with us from Denton down...
Jumptown? Casho's Mills? Furman's Grove? Jadwins Creek? These were the names of real places in Caroline County 50 or 250 years ago. The places are still there, but many of the place names are lost to memory. Now you can find them again and Stand in the Place. With one...
In observance of Black History Month, we’re publishing Tuckahoe, a cycle of poems which beckon us to learn more about Frederick Douglass’s life and times – and to Stand in the Place.
It’s a bit of a stretch to call Reliance a town. Officially, it’s an unincorporated community. It’s a place that straddles two states and three counties – Caroline and Dorchester counties in Maryland, and Sussex county in Delaware.
But in its heyday, Reliance was a place to be reckoned with — a hub of local commerce that served local farms and towns by storing and shipping goods between city and farm. Known as Johnson’s Crossroads, it was the starting point for the boundary that carved the new county of Caroline out of Dorchester County in 1774. And it was still making headlines a hundred years later.
Why was Johnson’s Crossroads (Reliance) so important in 1774? A contemporary map of Maryland (1794) offers clues.
Lord Baltimore commissioned the Bohemian-Dutch merchant Augustine Hermann to produce a map of his Maryland colony in exchange for a large land grant near the head of Chesapeake Bay. Hermann's map was published in England in 1670. In his A Biography of a Map...
The skipjack Flora A. Price was built at Chase, Maryland, in 1910. She was one of the largest skipjacks ever built. Flora lived briefly on the upper Choptank at Denton. Flora A. Price at Old Harford Town Maritime Center, West...
You might not see them from the road. You have to stop and get out. Walk around for a closer look. Crypts floating to the surface.
This is St. Paul AME Church. It’s one of dozens of segregated black churches that organized in Caroline County and throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland after 1865.
Caroline County sent six regimental, militia, and staff colonels to war against British imperial troops during 1776-1783:
Col. Peter Adams
Col. Matthew Driver
Col. Philip Feddiman
Col. Benson Stainton
Col. William Richardson
Col. William Whiteley
We know where they fought. But we know nearly nothing about the civilian life and final resting place of most of them – Adams, Feddiman, Driver, and Stainton.
The tombs of Richardson and Whiteley are in forgotten places. The rest are lost.
I visited the St. Paul’s AME Church a few weeks ago. The scene was incredible. Pulpit, piano, pews, and stained glass were still in place. I found hand-hewn sill timbers – evidence that the building was indeed built in the early 1800s, as noted by one source.
The roof is caving in. One of the newer headstones in the graveyard was deliberately toppled off its pediment. Within a generation, this old church building will die and disappear into the landscape like many others. The gravestones will remain hidden under tangled vines for a thousand years. Then they will disappear, too.
A century before Ridgely, there was Boonsboro. During 1800-1850, Boonsboro was a thriving crossroads village with a church, school, wheelwright shop, and homes. Its leading citizens were the descendants of John Boon, who acquired large landholdings nearby in the late...
Rosetta Douglass Sprague wrote in the memoir about her mother, Anna Murray Douglass, that young Frederick Bailey “gave his heart” to Anna Murray, and she “sympathized with him and she devoted all her energies to assist him” to escape slavery in Baltimore. Why Anna Murray? Because she was the girl from down home in Tuckahoe Neck.
The first woman president of the NAACP, Dr. Enolia P. McMillan, started her professional career as a teacher in Caroline County in 1927, when she taught at the Denton segregated black high school.
Dutch immigrants poured into Caroline County in two waves in the 1890s and settled in "Wilhelmina Colonies" east of Dover Bridge. They came to America when farmland became scarce in their native Holland. They worked hard, built homes and churches, and called...
Baltimore to Denton by Steamboat Joppa and Avalon were the two most notable steamboats that ran between Baltimore and Denton on the Choptank River from the 1880s until 1921. What happened to them after they disappeared from the Choptank? Steamboats on the Choptank As...
Gilpin Point on the Choptank River was once the site of a colony of radical economic reformers. The small colony of “Georgists” advocated the economic philosophy of Henry George. They held property in common at Gilpin Point, called for a single-land-tax economy, and hoped to create a model utopian community on the Choptank River.
The Wheeler Crowd J.S. Dodds tells how Minne Wheeler symbolized the ”hometown” atmosphere and service that Wheeler offered his clients along the Tuckahoe: “After Easton’s debut, Minnie Wheeler was relegated to the role of freight carrying. Although regular Minnie...
Charles W. Wright was master of the Ruggles, Minnie Wheeler, and Chesapeake. He resigned from Wheeler employ in 1887 to accept the post of captain of the new steamer Choptank, of the Choptank Steamboat Company. Two years later, he joined the United States Steamboat...
Caleb Clark Wheeler of Gilpin Point Caleb Clark Wheeler was born in 1839 at Gilpin Point in Caroline County. At age 12 he began work as a cook on a sailing schooner that shipped goods and passengers between the Choptank and Baltimore. By age 18, he was a schooner...
The 1875 and 1897 maps of Caroline County show where hotels, stores and shops, churches, fairgrounds, and many other kinds of places were located over 100 years ago. After you check-in, look for the View larger map link where you can check-on and check-off the 1875...
Union Church is located a few miles northwest of Greensboro, MD. A grave marker still stands a few yards from the church door. The name on the stone is faded but still legible:
Wm. H. Carney
38 U.S. C.I.
A survey of the Denton Journal 1870-1960 shows that blacksmithing peaked in Caroline County around 1895 then declined rapidly soon after. This map shows the locations of blacksmith shops that were marked on county maps in 1875 and 1897. Zoom the map to find...
Take to the highway, won't you lend me your name? Your way and my way seem to be one and the same. Mamma don't understand it. She wants to know where I've been. I have to be some kind of natural born fool to want to pass that way again. But you know I can feel it,...
I walked 16 miles from Easton to my father’s. I knocked at the door and said, “Who lives here?” Father answered by saying, “Who is that?”
I said, “Me.” Then mother said, “That’s Alexander”– showing a mother never forgets her child.
Who made you free, young Alexander?
Your enslaved father?
Your freed mother?
How were you free, Alexander?
Free to sit beside the Tuckahoe,
read holy books and
toss pebbles into the water,
listen to Aunt Hester’s screams on the other side?
Free to walk away from the Tuckahoe and never return?
But you did return.
Map and photos of the Choptank River's headwaters in Amish farm country of Delaware. This map and photo exhibit shows photos taken in about 2005 along the upper Choptank below the forks that are named Beaverdam Ditch and Tappahanna Ditch. The exhibit then covers...
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