All posts by Don Barker

Historic Boon Farmstead – Vanished from the face of the Earth

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 1700s.

 

Boonsboro disappeared before 1900. The historic Boon farmhouse vanished suddenly before 2016.  Only the family burial plot remains.

Maps, aerial photos, and a CRH site visit in 2009 tell the story.

April 2009 – CRH overflight and site visit:

2014 – Satellite imagery with cemetery plot marked:

2016 – Maryland state aerial imagery with cemetery plot marked:

Why?

Apparently to make way for center-pivot irrigation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For map geeks only: Choptank watershed 1898-1944 from KML

I created a map app where you can compare  hi-res USGS topo maps of the Choptank River watershed for different time frames, 1898-1944.

I did it by downloading KMZ files using the USGS TopoView app and publishing them on my own web server.  Then adding the URLs to my map app.  So easy, you can do it yourself.  Heh.  I’m sure you’ll want to read details here about the map scales, dates, and metadata.

To see all the layers for all the years, you have to view the larger map app.  No time?  Just zoom in with this map that shows only 1904-1918.  You’ll get the idea.  (Yeh, that a KMZ service can be slow.)

View larger map

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The black blacksmith with a bellowy laugh

In West Denton … there were two blacksmith Shops serving the farmers and residents of the area. One was operated by a Negro named Walter Moore …  I doubt if any kingdom ever fell because Walter’s nails came loose.

Continue reading The black blacksmith with a bellowy laugh

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The true reason why Frederick Douglass gave his heart to Anna Murray

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.

Continue reading The true reason why Frederick Douglass gave his heart to Anna Murray

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First woman President of NAACP got her start in Denton

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.  Continue reading First woman President of NAACP got her start in Denton

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Helicopter Flyover: Historic sites of segregated black schools, 1875-1900

Almost all of the old buildings are gone.  But we can lay old maps over aerial and satellite imagery of Caroline County to find the places where they once stood.

Do the “helicopter tour” of the school sites as they look today.  We fly north to south –  1000 feet above each of 14 sites.  Click any site name to explore the site in an interactive map.

The helicopter route map below shows all 14 sites.

Continue reading Helicopter Flyover: Historic sites of segregated black schools, 1875-1900

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News went back to Caroline that I was shot and killed

“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.

Continue reading News went back to Caroline that I was shot and killed

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Meet the young black woman from Caroline County who helped Frederick Douglass escape

She was born free in Caroline County.  He was born across the river in Talbot, enslaved.

They followed separate paths to Baltimore.  Anna met Frederick for the first time at the city wharves.  He was 19, she was 24.

Frederick was an enslaved shipbuilder.   Anna had a day job and her own business.  She had means.  She told him he should escape his bondage and live free.

Anna would lose everything if caught aiding and abetting a slave’s escape.  She gave him sailor’s clothes for disguise, money for the trip north, and contacts with the Underground Railroad.

Continue reading Meet the young black woman from Caroline County who helped Frederick Douglass escape

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Wartime, when Caroline welcomed immigrants

“Wilhelmina” colonists in the 1890s (Kings Co., Calif.)

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.

Continue reading Wartime, when Caroline welcomed immigrants

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Fate of the Choptank River Steamboats Joppa and Avalon

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?

Steamboat Joppa at West Denton wharf on Choptank River, early 1900s.

Continue reading Fate of the Choptank River Steamboats Joppa and Avalon

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