Category Archives: Sailing Vessels

Setting Sail from Denton

Stand in the Place: The Age of Sail returns to Denton and the upper Choptank River

Sailing the Choptank was never easy. Even so, schooners, bugeyes, pungies, and skipjacks tied up at Denton from the 1700s till the 1930s.

Now you too can sail with us from Denton down the Choptank to Kings Town on a blustery summer day.

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I knew Flora Price when she lived in Denton. But where is she now?

The skipjack Flora A. Price was built at Chase, Maryland, in 1910.  She was one of the largest skipjacks ever built.  Flora lived briefly on the upper Choptank at Denton.

Flora A. Price at Old Harford Town Maritime Center, West Denton, Feb 2002.

Flora dredged Chesapeake oysters for 70 years, sailed as a yacht for awhile, and was finally donated to the now-inactive Old Harford Town Maritime Center (OHTMC) in Denton.  She arrived at Denton in February 2000.

Flora A. Price moored below Joppa Wharf in West Denton, 2000.

OHTMC had earlier acquired the skipjack FC Lewis Jr. and funding to preserve her as a landside exhibit.   Flora arrived at OHTMC about the same time as the skipjack Maggie Lee.  OHTMC planned to use Flora and Maggie as a living classrooms for boatbuilding and maritime skills.

During spring and summer of 2001, OHTMC volunteers refinished her spars and re-stepped her mammoth 75-foot mast at Caroline Summerfest.  But over the next several winters, it was hard for the small group of volunteers to keep the pumps running in Flora’s bilge, and there was no funding for professional repair and restoration.

In 2008, OHTMC handed over Flora A. Price to the Jim Richardson Foundation in Cambridge.  At that time, she was the largest surviving skipjack in the Chesapeake Bay and had been recently named one of the 11 Endangered Skipjacks by Preservation Maryland. The Richardson Museum was  working on a restoration plan and hoped to raise money for the restoration through grants and donations.  Like OHTMC in Denton, the Museum expected to use Flora for tours and educational programs.

But it didn’t happen.  Spinsheet and Last Skipjacks Project both reported that Flora A. Price had sunk in Cambridge Harbor, and in spring 2013 she was raised, broken up, and burned.

Last photos of Flora A. Price, at the Richardson Museum wharf, Cambridge, 2009.
Photo from The Skipjack Project

Our best photos and memories of Flora A. Price during her stay in Denton are here.

Stand in the Place.

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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.

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

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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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