Saturday, July 28, 2007

Somerset County Fair 2007

The Somerset County Fair is going now. I visited it today and looked over the events and the arts and crafts. They had a good turnout of classic cars, animals, and photos. As I said last year the local fairs really lack anything of interest. If I see one more picture of a sea gull sitting on a dock I think I will scream. However there were some good photos by Margaret Crews and Delmar's own Chelsea Hudson had an entry or two.

A Refreshing change was Wood Carving by Michael Lokey and Mark Pleasanton.

A local Somerset County Craft would be Crab Pots by Austin Meredith.

The Somerset County Garden Club had a nice Herb exhibit

The Jams, Jellies and Canned goods. The Gravenor family cornered the market on this one.

The Food is always better at a fair

Yes they had Goats

Friday, July 27, 2007

Delmar Fire Fighter Memorial

The Firefighter Memorial at the Delmar Firehouse is progressing very well. It should be done in a week or so. They already have the flag poles set and the stone and brick work in.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Spendid Little War - XII

On July 25th, 1898 the US Army invaded Puerto Rico. General Miles left Cuba with 3,500 troops made up mainly of the 6th Massachusett and 6th Illinois volunteers. They land at Guanica in southwest Puerto Rico. According to reports they encountered only minor resistance. After a night spent in a downpour of rain they advanced on Yauco, a rail terminus. The first real action took place at Yauco. For the next two weeks the army would move thru Puerto Rico until finally they occupied it.

Campground Culture

We recently went camping at Tom's Cove Campground on Chincoteague. I am sure there are expeditions to deepest, darkest Africa that carried less equipment and supplies than we did for our three day stay at the campground. Surprisingly other campers setting up around us had even more stuff than we did. We tent camp and we seem to have gotten lazy now and rent a campsite with an electric and water hookup, as opposed to the primitive campsites with neither that we use to rent.

We always enjoy those stays at Tom's Cove. We only go once or twice a year but the campground is nice. They keep the place clean and the noise down. Sometimes they get a little too strict as they refused to let me go fishing off their pier after 11PM.

What I always find interesting is the breakdown of the campers. They seem to fall into four groups. First, is the people who stay there year round. They are the ones with the trailers that have a permanent addition of a porch, storage shed and decking. They are usually old farts who main thing in life is riding the grand kids around on the golf carts to check on the campsites of people who just stay a couple of days to a week.

The second group of people are the large RV owners. From what I can see they stick pretty much to their selves (must have to much money). They throw an area rug out on the ground under the awing, hang a string of Christmas tree lights and just seems to sit and get potted.

The third group are the most interesting ones. They are the small trailers, popup trailers and large scales tent people. They seem to come to a campgrounds for a week or more and they frequently travel with a pack of other like friends. They are there to party. The worst thing going, if you are not one of them, is to get a campsite between a group of them as they walk and talk between their campsites all night. They are the ones that always have a "Welcome to our Campsite" sign hung out. They are also the ones that have purchased every Christmas light string, windsock, pinwheel etc that the Dollar Tree sells and have hung them out on their site. Even I like to walk pass their campsites and gawk at them.

The fourth is the tent campers that just come to spend a night or maybe three nights at the campgrounds. They may have a tent, dinning canopy and lounge canopy but they lack all the other equipment, whistle and bells the third group has.

Overall a campground is an interesting place to observe people.

Other points on Chincoteague;

Chincoteaguers have always gone their own way with little regard for mainlanders. One example of this is in the War for Southern Independence, Chincoteague stayed with the union. From "Off 13 The Eastern Shore of Virginia Guidebook" by Kirk Mariner. "In 1861 when the rest of the Eastern Shore of Virginia seceded from the union, Chincoteague voted 132 to 2 to remain in the fold, and it stayed a part of the union throughout the Civil war. Southerners on the mainland considering this an unbearable affront attempted to storm the island, but the islanders secured aid from the north, where their economic as well as their political allegiances lay. The union sent the small gunboat "Louisana" to patrol the bay and protect the island"

Since I am always interested in water utilities, I found Chincoteague water source is in eight wells located on the mainland at Wallops Island Flight facility. The water is pumped five miles through a 16 inch pipe to the Island.

King Neptune Drawing

The first colt to hit the shore in the pony swim is called King or Queen Neptune and is raffled off at the carnival grounds. This year it was King Neptune. My daughters are happily showing their tickets for the drawing for King Neptune. What you don't see is me feverishly praying their ticket number will not be picked as I don't need another mouth to feed or another animal to take care of. God still loves me and I didn't have to worry about what to do with a horse.

Chincoteague Carnival Oyster Sandwich

If there is food in Heaven I know there will be Chincoteague Carnival Oyster sandwiches. This is one of several I had this past week. With a little dab of ketchup there is nothing better.

Chincoteague Skateboard Park

While in Chincoteague I noticed their skateboard park. I really thought it was a good skateboard park. I can't say the kids using it showed any great skill but it had a number of pieces of equipment in it. While I was there they also were using bikes in the park. If I am using the right terms, it has a half pipe, quarter pipes, pyramid, boxes, kink rails and flat rails. I have read somewhere it was built at a cost of $75,000. The pipes and ramps etc are made out of steel instead of the usual wood or paved ramps. It would be nice if Delmar would put in a park like this.

If other towns can do it why can't Delmar? The usual excuse for not putting one in is the liability but other towns overcome that problem.

A Friend of Mine Kennel

We recently went away for a few days and we boarded our dog at the A friend of Mine Kennel and Cattery. It seemed like a nice place, it didn't smell like some of them and it was one of the kennels Doctor Long recommended. The dog stayed in air conditioned comfort with a wading pool while we were standing in the sun in a Chincoteague marsh watching ponies swim.

Happy Birthday Colin Dennis

A belated Happy Birthday to Colin Denis who turned eleven last Wednesday. Happy Birthday Colin!!!

Hungarian Pickle Factory 1946

From The BiState weekly July 26, 1946

Three Brothers Operate Pickle Factory Here

A new business of interest to Delmar is the Hungarian Pickle Factory just south of Delmar on the grounds where the Blue Hen Canning Company was in operation some years ago. The factory is owned and operated by the Lipechiga Brothers. The three brothers have been in the pickle business in Brooklyn, N. Y. for 25 years and operate in 18 states. At the present time twenty persons are employed at the factory here.

Large vats are used to process the pickles each vat holding 6,000 gallons. The factory has been purchasing a great amount of cukes and is in full operation at this time.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rommel's Gold

The lure of quick riches and treasure hunting is always an inviting topic. I know I enjoy relic hunting around the waterways of the Eastern Shore. The big bucks however are always somewhere else, and in this case it is Corsica. The story is as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was pulling back from North Africa in World War II, there was treasure (Gold, Diamonds, the usual stuff) stolen from Jews, put into ammunition cases and buried off Corsica. In recent news a salvage group is saying they have found that location. The finder gives the usual reasons for not bring up the treasure - lack of funds for a salvage operation. Since Corsica is part of France he will also have to deal with the French.

For a website that list articles about this and other hidden Nazi treasures click here.

Spencer Jones, 1938 BiState News Article


Back in his little home on a hillside just southwest of Federalsburg, Spencer Jones, Negro, the town’s lone 93-year-old veteran of the Civil War and the sole representative from Federalsburg at the Gettysburg reunion, is filled with a glowing happiness which radiates from his strong ebony features as he relates some of his experiences at the site of the famous battle.

Fervently, he says: “I thank the good Lord for letting me live to go back there this time.”

Spencer was born in slavery and lived a slave until he enlisted in 1863 at the age of 17 in the 39th Regiment, Company K. At this time he was living in the family of Dr. Andrew Stafford, prominent physician at Preston, who, he asserts advised him to do as he was doing: “Enlist in the cause of freedom for the slave.”

So master and slave both became soldiers in the great conflict that divided the nation 75 years ago.

Both returned home from the carnage—the physician to his practice, and Spencer with a bullet hole through his hip and a shell wound in the calf of his leg, received at Petersburg, Va., July 31, 1863. The hip wound still bothers him.

Jones enjoyed the sham battle the most at the Gettysburg encampment. He thought it was realistic.

He said he enjoyed the fanfare of war as displayed in modern times, but the “old days is best.”

Although this Negro cannot read or write, his retentive memory holds remarkably, facts and experiences of his long, eventful life.

He shows himself definitely a “gentleman of the old school,” courteous, respectful, thoughtful, and true to his early precepts. Three children, as well as other members of the family are very proud of their veteran ancestor, who “reckons he will never attend another reunion on earth.”

BiState News July 22, 1938