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 Caroline home. When war broke out in Europe and America sent troops, Caroline residents took a long look at their “foreign” neighbors.
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?
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.
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 Service and became an inspector in Baltimore.
Captain William Henry Harrison Perry joined the Wheeler line in 1881 and remained in Wheeler’s service until the latter’s death in 1899. Perry commanded the Easton from the time she was commissioned in 1896 until she was sold to the B. C. and A. Railway Company. He left the Wheeler line to continue at the helm of Easton.
Read more about C.C. Wheeler steamboats on the Choptank and Tuckahoe.
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 captain, and at 21, he was part owner of the schooner John Nichols.
Wheeler could not read or write, but he had sharp business acumen. He opened a general store at Gilpin Point in 1862, at age 22, and served as middleman between Choptank River farmers and Baltimore merchants. Wheeler moved his business from Gilpin Point to Hillsboro in about 1870.