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.

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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.

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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.

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Socialist radicals on the Choptank

The Single-Tax Colony at Gilpin Point

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.

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How the Wheeler Line served the people on the Choptank and Tuckahoe Rivers

The Wheeler Crowd

J.S. Dodds tells how Minne Wheeler symbolized the ”hometown” atmosphere and service that Wheeler offered his clients along the Tuckahoe:

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Captains of the Wheeler Steamboat Line


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.

 

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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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Check in @1875

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.

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A Veteran’s Day salute to Cpl Wm. H. Carney, 38th US Colored Troops

Grave marker at Union Church

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:

CORPL
Wm. H. Carney
Co I
38 U.S.  C.I.

No date of birth or death is shown.

2015-05-25 memorial day (1)

Corporal William H. Carney, Company I, US Colored Infantry

Cpl Carney is listed in rosters of the 38th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops.  The 38th Regiment was formed in January 1864 near Norfolk, VA and saw hard fighting in these battles around Richmond during September-October 1864:

  • Chaffin’s Farm
  • New Market Heights
  • Deep Bottom
  • Fair Oaks

One narrative of the Battle of New Market Heights describes the fortitude and heroism of non-commissioned officers of the 38th USCT such as Cpl Carney.  Casualty totals for these regiments at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm also tell of courage and heroism.

USCT losses Chaffins Farm
From all engagements in 1864 and 1865, the 38th USCT lost

  • 1 officer and 42 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded
  • 2 officers and 192 enlisted men lost to disease.
  • Total deaths: 237

After the surrender of Confederate armies in Virginia and North Carolina, the 38th USCT was deployed to Texas to counter  France’s military intervention in Mexico.  The regiment served at Brownsville, at various points on the Rio Grande, and at Brazos Santiago, Indianola, and Galveston until January 1867. Cpl Carney and his black comrades were mustered out on January 25, 1867.

Civil War veteran William H. Carney of Goldsboro, MD

A search of Denton Journal articles from 1865 produced a few details about Caroline County’s black Civil War veteran.  In 1893, William H. Carney was listed among the Civil War veterans in Caroline County who were still receiving veterans’ pensions.  In March 1895, Carney sought damages from the county when his horse fell through the roadway of the county-maintained bridge between Goldsboro and Bridgetown, DE.

Grave photos and Denton Journal images are here.

The Corporal William H. Carney grave site is here:


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Your local blacksmith: Not on Angie’s List

Robert Jacobs, Blacksmith, Ridgely, Maryland
Robert Jacobs, Blacksmith, Ridgely, Maryland.  In 2014, Age 13.

 

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On Maryland's Eastern Shore