Category Archives: Sailing Vessels

C.C. Wheeler’s Steamboats on the Choptank and Tuckahoe

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 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.

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Skipjack, fertilizer sack, mule, boy. Repeat.

As many as four or five two- and three-mast sailing vessels at a time were often tied up at the Denton wharves.  I often had the job of leading the mule forward to lift the bag out of the vessel’s hold, and backing him up again to drop the bag onto the wharf and to lower the tongs back into the hold for another bag. You get the picture – the mule and the boy – back and forth all day until the last bag was out of the hold.

Continue reading Skipjack, fertilizer sack, mule, boy. Repeat.

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