Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Description: Dorchester, An Eastern Shore Southern County
Date: 1942

Newspaper published in: Annapolis

Source: Hulbert Footner Collection


Dorchester county is the largest of the southern counties on Maryland's Eastern Shore but much of it is tidal salt marsh land of great beauty, wild, unspoiled stretches abundant with muskrats and water fowl. Muskrat fur pelts were once a major export for the manufacture of the "Hudson Seal" coat. Sitting between the Choptank River and the Nanticoke is is a popular playground for the Chesapeake yatchsmen and the trappers, fishermen and hunters for income.

Dorchester was settled early because of it's accessibility by water and many 17th century houses are still standing. It was named a county in 1669 and sent a delegate to a General Assembly in St. Mary's by name of Richard Preston, a Quaker of Calvert county but a large property holder in Dorchester.

Entering from the north you first visit East New Market a village of many old houses of distinctive style. Then there is Cambridge, a town of narrow streets along side of the Choptank and is a maritime place, with tanned faces and yachting caps. Houses built in 1706, The Point, LaGrange, The Hill, Wallace Mansion,Jordon house, all with fine gardens of boxwood, magnolia trees and such.

Other places up and down the Choptank are Eldon, Shoal Creek,Glasco, Hambrook, Castle Haven, Spocot and others. Horns Point holds the duPont family homes.

Hoopers Island , upper. middle and lower, lays below, there is Church Creek, , Trinity Church, the old windmill, and a history deep into the Revolution. There were also villages of Honga, pronounced 'Hunger', Fishing Creek, Straits, and others where live oystermen, fishermen and seafood packing people. Then for sure there is the Blackwater Swamp.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


At Henry Crossroads,  four or five miles south of Vienna on the road to Elliott Island, also once known as Vienna-Henry Crossroad Road,  passing through the LeCompte Wildlife Refuge and Butlers Beach, on past Hollands Crossroads, to Lewis Wharf Road, just before Cokeland,  would sit "Crossroad Store".

It was a two story wood frame building, with one downstairs room being the store. the other portion, on the south end, were living quarters.. This 'store' with its oiled wooden floors, pot bellied stove in center, some old 'pews' from the Wainwright's Chapel is where the local watermen and farmers would congregate to talk and  sometimes play cards or a game of checkers.  The wall shelving held popular brands of canned foods and a counter held the candy, cookies and cigars, chewing tobacco. 'Soda pop' was also a fast selling item carried by the store.  The store also catered to the negro farm hands of the area.

It was here, in this store, that the rush of modern day life slowed down.

History of  'Crossroad Store' starts about 1885 or so, being built by Julian Bradshaw on land owned by Col. Frank Henry.  This store was 'tended' by several local people, unti lit was sold to Jake Herbert and kept by his wife. The Herberts sold to Harriet McCready and her son Calvert, thence they sold to Uriah Willey, thence to Cecil  Richardson.  Several years later, about  1933, Richardson sold the property to Russell Lewis who built a new structure to house the store, removing the old place.  Russell Lewis sold the business and property to Outten Hurley and he and his wife operated the store until 1953 when  Mr. and Mrs. Powell Horsman purchased it.

My source was my cousin Gladys Lewis and notes by Brice Stump.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Long before the Delaware River bridges the river was used  by timbermen's  log rafts headed for Philadelphia saw mills and later, mills of  Easton and Phillipsburg. Some of these timbermen crews took days to make the trip, stopping at towns with taverns overnight for food, entertainment and such.  Some, such as the champion  Callicon timberman, Elias Mitchell , also known as "The Deacon",  could make the trip in twelve hours by overnight and dangerous traveling.

In 1886 the "Callicoon Echo" newspaper reported the first meeting of bridge supporters being held at the local Everard House Tavern,  saying the  Cochecton-Demascus  bridge, ten miles down stream, was too far away  to serve their growing community. Interest and support continued but it was ten more years before a bridge was built. The Callicoon Bridge Company was formed in 1898 , headed by Charles T. Curtis, $25 shares were sold and property was purchased and a contractor, Horsehead Bridge Company,  began the construction, a suspension structure, at a cost of $23,200, which opened on 1899.

Horseheads Bridge Company was owned by brothers, James, Will and E. Perkins  of Horseheads, New York, who built other Delaware River bridges and were well known bridge builders. .

A local man, Jacob Knight, a harness maker by trade,  was named toll collector sand lived in the toll collectors  house at the bridge and by 1906 was  Director of the bridge company.

There was a party on opening day, January 4, and no toll was charged that day but thereafter the bridge was open and operated for business and profit, first year earning $1254.00. The Erie Railroad ran on the Callicoon side and the bridge gave good service to the Callicoon Station.

The bridge survived several floods and in 1904 needed to be  raised at the cost of $2849 paid to Horseheads Bridge Company. .

On February 8, 1923 the Bi-State Bridge Corporation, Pennsylvania and New York, bought the property for $35,0002 from the privater owners and Callicoon Bridge Company  was no more.  Tolls were discontinued. Old age, not the floods,caused  the downfall of the old bridge, heavy truck traffic  , etc.,  It was decided to replace it  in 1963,  located slightly downriver by  The Binghamton Bridge and Foundation Company which was  much larger and sturdier, still toll free, is leading and active life.

SOURCE; Frank T. Dale's Bridges over the Delaware river. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Monday evening, last, my 83rd birthday was celebrated with a quiet dinner at the Col. David Hall house, in Lewes. Host and chef, Kevin, cookbook in hand, produced a delicious plate, chicken breast w/southern ham, bacon gravy spinach and small redskin potatoes, very well presented,  in the main dinning room, where many years ago during the War of 1812, town fathers gathered to make plans for the British bombardment or invasion, whichever came first. The main meal was 'warshed down' with a fine white wine from the Black Box. Very good.  Also 'warshed down' with fine wine was dessert, Carrot Cake,  direct from Christiana, via hostess Deny, daughter of the celebrant. After dinner and a few more 'warsh downs', a gift was given by the host and hostess, Kevin and Deny, to celebrant, a wonderful photo picture of the old barn on Kings Highway at Murrays Corner, with a full moon rising between the silo's, taken by Deny. 
May 10, 2013.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Call to Complete the Delaware Breakwater

Calling For Completing The Delaware Breakwater
Tuesday, May 9, 1854

A recent article in this newspaper on the Breakwater subject, called for “Criminal Neglect” against the Government for not completing the Delaware Breakwater.
Here is what was learned since Our State of Delaware receives so little to cause attention or action, much less respect of congress, most likely on account of the very small electoral vote in Presidential machine. One reason reached us tells that the Custom house took precedence of the Breakwater was because a Deficiency Bill was sent to vote before the General Appropriation Bill, which covers the Breakwater. Then we learn that the appropriation was only $30,000, a long way to being enough.
The situation of the Breakwater is to this effect. Three miles from shore are two piles of stone, each a half mile in length, and between is a half mile gap, through which the harsh northeast winds pass during stormy weather. Many vessels seeking safety in the harbor fine that these wayward winds blowing through the gap will cause them to drag anchor and, at times, become wrecks upon the beach.
Now it is time for the Government to take action , grant appropriations to fill in the gap and make a continuous pile of stone to halt the northeaster winds through it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lewes A Noteworthy Old Town


It is only within a year or two past that regular communications have been open between New York City and the region of the seashore where the Delaware River flow's into the Atlantic Ocean.
By means of a line of steamers connecting with the Junction and Breakwater Railroad , this part of the country has been removed from it previously isolated status. Now, the shipment of abundant vegetables, fruit and the personal travel of it's citizens may come directly to cities in the north.

One of the earliest settlement of this coastal section of the United States is the old town of Lewes or Lewestown , whichever you prefer to call it. It lies on the southern shore of the Delaware Bay, in a cove near the point of Cape Henlopen, close to the river Hoord Kill. It is one of the 1638 settlements of the Dutch and Swedish, under guidance and patronage of the Dutchman Peter Minuit and the Swedish Chancellor Oxeustlers.

Whoever wishes to visit an old Delaware town should visit Lewes which has not changed since the start of the present century. You will leave New York in the afternoon, pass down the coast of New Jersey, view beautiful beach sights by day and village lights by night, all from the quiet loneliness of our vessel. Early morning brings in view our destination. Lying low on port side is a stretch of pure white sand beach, behind it, a line of sand dunes, and white breakers dancing upon the shore. This is Cape Henlopen, looking much as it did to Cornellis Jacobson May, except for the lighthouse, as he entered the Delaware Bay. The New Jersey Cape, thirteen miles to north, was named for him.

Into this broad entrance the waves of the Atlantic sweep in with tremendous force, especially during an easterly gale, and it was soon found the need to establish an artificial harbor. This was done by the construction of the Delaware Breakwater, some forty years ago. As our steamer approaches it you can see it is a massive, long and straight, embankment of large stone, two thirds mile in length, laying in a north by north by west direction. The outer walls are continuously buffeted by high breakers while the inside is calm and sheltered. At the northwest end of this mass of stone is the ice breaker, much shorter, laying east to west, to protect the harbor from winter ice which flows with the current down the Delaware River.

A mile south of this harbor is the town of Lewes which now has a fine 1800 foot pier into the bay, used by the steamship line to carry the Junction and Breakwater trains of travelers to vessels moored along the pier. Lewes offers no remarkable features, save for the calm and antiquity what reigns over every part of it. To one who come from the restless uproar of New York City it is like dropping back into another century. Cedar shingled houses line the silent streets with gardens of flowers, English ivy and jessamine masses. The old Presbyterian Church building is a very curious structure, built in 1725, repaired over and over, so that nothing of the original remains except for the red and black brick front section of a peculiar construction which is viewed and admired by architectural critics . The newer church, now being itself old, is built beside, both are surrounded by graves of Lewes citizens of the past. An Episcopal Church has also been built in modern style on the site of an early one, also in the midst of graves of Delaware persons of history.

There are found several old cannon, some with a crest of arms, but are unable to be read because of rusting. It is said they came during the 'War of Twelve”, however a closer look shows they have the markings of being Spanish. These cannon sit on the bank of Lewes Creek in front of the United States Hotel at Front Street. .

Anyone who inquires about schools will see there are non. The last teacher who made school left town without making expenses. Each church has their Sabbath School.

The principle industry appears to be “Croakers”. This is a fish, “Micropogon undulatus”, six to eight inches long, with mother of pearl white meat, very tasty and with few bones. Seldom do they go farther north and there are thousands a day caught here along the beach and the pier, the “Harvest of the Sea”.

The most striking geological feature one sees from the sea approach is the 'walking dune' or sand hill, produced by the action of wind from the sea and loose dry sand. It is moving inland, overwhelming everything in its path. A pine forest has been buried and the lighthouse is being undermined by this moving sand.

The day of my departure there blew in a gale. Vessels going in and out came seeking shelter in the Breakwater. Over night the storm continued and by next morning some 300 ships were at refuge. Coal schooners from Philadelphia, Chesapeake oyster boats, lumber ships from Carolina, safe in harbor. This proved the greatness of the Delaware Breakwater

Sourc: New York Herald-Tribune, August 20 1872