Saturday, August 16, 2008

The 2008 Wicomico Farm and Home Show

Well my gas budget just didn't allow me to go to Middletown today for the Peach festival so I settled for a second choice of the Wicomico Farm and Home Show. I will say it was better this year than in past years.

On the way there I encountered bicycle riders. I am not a fan of mass bicycle people and I think they are traffic hazzards on these back country roads they were on.

Some do try to get off on the edge of the road but some feel they have a God given right (at least a State of Maryland right) to be in the center of the lane. I notice when they come to a red light they also decide they can run the red light.

Some highlights of my trip to the fair
A well done Purple Martin Birdhouse by Dave Widman, below.

I am usually disappointed by the artwork at the fair. The photos are generally snapshots with little imagination however three photos that I thought was well done happened to have been made by the same person - a Mea Abrumowicz, hopefully I spelled her name right. They showed some imagination. See the three below

Crocheted afghan by Joyce Townsend - simply beautiful

Pop Pop's Pepper Relish needlepoint by Tammy Fisher stood out, not only personal and a recipe but good craftsmanship.

Music by "Peter's Voice"

Another golf cart, just going to have to get one to be in the "in" group

A Chicken Hat is of course appropriate headwear for a fair. Cute as corn.

The Jousting was quite entertaining. They had sort of a comedy routine worked out complete with bad puns.

1963 Corvair, owner Lou LaNeve. This is the car that made Ralph Nader famous when he wrote his book about it in 1965 "Unsafe At Any Speed". People attribute the halt in production of Corvairs to Ralph Nader but it was really the success of the Ford Mustang that killed it. The car was a rear-engine car, air-cooled, flat-six in the back, notice gas fill up in front, it was known for leaking oil. Its heating system tended to pump fumes into the cabin.

Sticker Price on a 1963 Corvair - $2,798.

1948 Ford, notice the half covered headlights, a carry over from WWII

A catchy color, 1936 "Orange" Chevy, owner Ray Schmitt

School Uniforms

I received this comment and I will just go ahead use it as a separate post since school is about to open. Dad's Workwear is in Laurel.

"Dads Workwear now has uniforms for the Delmar school district why buy online and get the wrong size from a company far away buy local and get great service call Dads today 302-875-9620 "

Friday, August 15, 2008

1969 ad - Triglia Country House

Middletown Olde Tyme Peach Festival

The Middletown Historical Society hosts the Olde Tyme Peach Festival each year. This year the 15th Annual Olde Tyme Peach Festival will be this coming Saturday, August 16th, 2008. It will start at 9 a.m. with a parade that will have a number of bands and politicians in it. There are over 200 vendors already signed up for the festival and you can be sure there will be the max. number of politicians there. Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day around town. There are activities for children, a local artist exhibit, walking tours, historical exhibits, a peach pie contest, crafts, music, food, games and of course - peaches! The Historical Society will be selling peaches at the festival.

Middletown was pretty much in the middle of the peach belt in the late 1800's. Perhaps a few of the residents are descended from The Peach Girls. The peaches made the orchard owners rich and they built many ornate Victorian and Italianate homes in Middletown with the money. Too my knowledge none will be open Saturday but the Middletown Academy on Broad Street will be. There will be a display on peaches which will include quotes from local diaries and old Transcript (The local paper) articles about peach growing in the 1800s.

If you can afford the gas to drive north to Middletown I would say it is a must see event.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

1969 Ad Hullabaloo - Salisbury

Bits from Delmar August 1937

From the Milford Chronicle Delmar News August 13 1937

Miss Kathleen Freeney has returned from a week's stay at the Lankford Hotel in Ocean City, Md.

Mrs James Brayshaw and her grandson, James Brayshaw, Jr. of Wilmington, have been visiting Mrs. L. Maude Ellis.

Mrs. Arthur Ellis and daughter, Miss Molly Ellis have returned from a stay at their cottage at Broadkiln Beach.

Mrs. Herbert White spent last week with her husband at Rehoboth.

Quite a number from this town are tenting at Laurel Camp.

As Mr. H. P. Ross, of Seaford, representative of the Wayne Pump Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was driving east on the nine-foot road near the intersection of that road and the old stage road, little Billy Lloyd, who lives nearby rode onto the concrete road in front of Mr. Ross car. To avoid striking the boy, Mr. Ross pulled his car off the highway and in attempting to right his car the steering rod gave away causing the car to jump the causeway and run some distance down the side of a tomato patch, finally landing against an abutment, causing considerable damage to the car. No one was injured and Mr. Ross is to be commended for his presence of mind and prompt action, otherwise a tragedy might have resulted.

Mrs. Harlan Waller, Mrs. Leslie Barker, Mrs. Earl Elliott, Mrs. George Melson and Mrs. Harry Beach have returned from a week's stay at Rehoboth.

Delmar Maryland High School Band - 1926

The Hidden Galleon - A book review

The book is; The Hidden Galleon By John Amrhein,jr Published by New Maritima Press

In 1749 a storm flooded Assateague with a 15 foot storm surge. The storm surge drowned almost all the animals on Assateague. The next year, in the middle of another big storm, the Spanish war ship, La Galga, washed up on Assateague. The 187 men that were on the ship made it to shore but the ship were destroyed by the waves.

John Amrhein was a treasure hunter who attempted to find the La Galga along with several other ships on the Delmarva coast. In the process of doing so he encountered Donald Stewart who was part of a salvage company called SEA. Other partners of SEA were Robert and Rick Firth, Raymond Cardillo, and Bill Bane. According to John Amrhein, SEA misrepresented itself and Donald Stewart was a fraud. This book (The Hidden Galleon) is about John Amrhein’s search for the La Galga, his lawsuits against SEA and other companies and his attempts to clear up the records on various shipwreck from Fenwick Island down the coast to Assateague. In trying to do so he encounters a large number of dumb ass State Historical trust and preservation employees who were not interested in doing research. Maryland legal and historical people, justly so, takes the blunt of his rage about this. In the end he won nothing. He does feel that La Galga is buried in the sand on Assategue (not in the ocean) and there were indications that the Assateague ponies may have been repopulated from horses the Spanish soldiers had on board the ship.

Every since reading the book and seeing the movie “Treasure Island” I have been fascinated with hidden treasure and pirates ships and this fascination extends over to sunken treasure and sunken ships. Since many people have this same fascination it is easy to work a flim-flam operation on them. There have been many, many salvage companies formed and the only money found was in the company officers pockets as they enriched themselves from the company funds. The real side of salvage operations is it is 75% research, legal, government forms and court fighting. The diving, digging and looking is a minor part of salvaging and this book shows that.

For me, most of "The Hidden Galleon" was interesting. It talks of local history with modern day information. Besides known landmark locations, it also mentioned a number of people I have encountered such as Rick Firth, Dr Richard Passwater, Judge Dale Cathell, Steve Smethurst and Delmar’s very own Larry Points. A large percentage of the book is devoted to his court cases and other legal issues. It is bias and shows a grudge he has against a number of people. John Amrhein also lived in Laurel in the 1990’s. He now lives on the Outer Banks and works as a real estate broker.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peach Girls

July and August are the peak months to enjoy peaches and Delaware is the “Peach State”, so I thought I would talk a bit about Peaches and the girls that picked them. Peaches were and still are a major economic factor in Delaware. Delaware became known as the “Peach state” due to the enormous amount of peaches it grew in the 1800’s. In 1875 it sold 6,000,000 baskets of peaches. At 500 baskets to a railcar, over 12,000 railcars of peaches left Delmarva, which is over 180 million pounds of peaches. Today if 2 million pounds of peaches are sold it is considered a good year.

Delaware grew so many peach trees that the railroad company sent out excursion trains so people could see all the blossoms in the spring. The Delaware State flower is of course the Peach Blossom.

The Chinese were thought to have domesticated the peach at least 3,000 years ago, before it spread to Western Europe, where the tree flourished and became a delicacy enjoyed by royalty and the wealthy. The tree was brought to the New World by the Spaniards in the 1500’s The fruit was spread by Indians thru out the peach tree growing range in the Americas.

Peach growing in Delaware started in the 1840’s with Major Phillip Reybolt of Delaware City planting 50,000 trees. The major area of Peach growing was along the C & D canal because it furnished cheap water transportation to get the fruit to market. As railroad service expanded in Delaware and Maryland the peach orchards also expanded. By the late 1880’s the peach belt centered on Wyoming in Kent County Delaware and extended north to New Castle County down to Salisbury Maryland. The peach belt also extended from the Delaware Bay to the Chesapeake Bay with large peach orchards in the northern Eastern Shore of Maryland countries. In 1888 there were 2,500,000 peach trees bearing fruit. The farmers south of Laurel did tend more to growing the berry crop than peaches but as you can see peaches were still a big item. Since peach growing took up large farms it is not surprising that those rich farmers would become politicians and we find a number of Governors and senators in Delaware that were peach growers. John P. Cochran, Samuel Townsend, William Cannon, General Talbot, and the list goes on. Peach growing was however a boom or bust type of crop. When the crop was good (6 million baskets) it created a glut on the market dropping prices to a point where the grower let the peaches fall to ground and rot. When it was in the 2 million basket range it made the growers rich.

In the later parts of the nineteenth century, most of the peach farmers went bankrupt and posed a great downfall on the economy of the state. The “yellows”, known as the peach blight destroyed the peach trees, affecting the collapse of the industry.

The New York Times newspaper, in their August 26th 1884 edition, reported that 20,000 migrant workers would be used to tend the orchards and harvest the peach crop on Delmarva. In addition to those 20,000 another 5,000 or more were required to work in associated businesses like railroads, basket companies, lime burning and transportation to service the peach crop. As in the case today migrant workers came from the poorer segment of the population. In the 1800’s this would be blacks, newly arrived Irish, tenant farmers, and women. They would be recruited from alms houses, jail, ads in newspapers etc. In Delaware there is a small town called Little Heaven. Peach pickers gave Little Heaven that name as it was originally a small group of cabins a farmer built for his Irish workers who tended his peach orchards. The larger farm would have 500 to a thousand workers at peak peach picking time. One of the largest growers of the period was John Harris with his Round Top Farm in Queene Anne County Maryland. With eleven hundred acres of mostly peach trees he employed several hundred workers.

A key factor in this migrant work force was the “Peach Girls”, they were usually in the 16 to 20 year old age group and were recruited from large cities thru advertisements in the newspapers. John Harris’ Round Top Farm had over 600 peach girls working on it in 1875. Since they were poor with few job opportunities they were easy prey for the advertisements that promised they could earn $1.50 to $2.00 per day and only pay $2.00 a week for board. On arriving to Round Tree they found the situation to be different than advertised. Instead of $1.50 per day they worked 15 hours for fifteen to twenty cents a day. Their board consisted of a bale of hay to sleep on and for food it was left over fruit. They simply did not have the money to return home nor was there much chance of earning the money to return. Round Tree was but one example; many “peach girls” were treated better on other farms and actually paid an acceptable wage of around one dollar per day. I have not found proof of this but I would suspect many became wives of local men by way of love or necessity.

A man or woman could pick about 70 bushels of peaches a day with a bushel weighting about 30 pounds. Those peaches were hauled to a grading shed where the people (mostly women) would grade peaches, picking first peaches that were full form and shape and with a little hardiness for travel to New York. The second grade of peaches were sold locally would be firm but slightly ripe. The canners would buy peaches that were ripe but not soft. Finally the distillers and evaporators would get the peaches that were over ripe. Almost all towns had distilleries and canneries. The very best peaches were “fancy” and the grader picked the best colored, largest, unblemished fruit for that grade. They would be wrapped in paper and placed in packing crates holding two dozen peaches.

The peaches would than be shipped by rail or ship to Philadelphia, Baltimore or New York (Jersey City). By water the ships “Granite State” and the “Washington” had a scheduled peach run from Lewes, Delaware to New York (Jersey City) . Since it was by water the rates were lower than Rail service. In 1859 1,500,000 baskets were delivered by water to New York and Philadelphia.

Baskets of Peaches picked up at rail stations in 1869 for shipment by the Pennsylvania, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
Baltimore…………..76,693 baskets
Mount Pleasant. … 115, 702
Van Dykes…..……….14,306
Willow Grove………….20,085
Princess Anne……………..1,978
Total……………………2,115,530 Baskets

Today the peach harvest is greatly decreased with a harvest of two million pounds (about 67,000 baskets). The work force has become mainly Mexican. Fifer Orchards in Wyoming Delaware is the largest grower with 200 acres in peaches. Other producers are Paradise Orchard, T. S. Smith and son, and Bennett’s Orchard. They grow Yellow Peaches, such as Jerseydawn, Redhaven, Norman, Loring, Redskin, Cresthaven, Jerseyglo, and Jim Dandee. They grow White Peaches, such as Early Red Free, Raritan Rose, Belle of Georgia, and White Hale.

The trend now is to go to Doughnut peaches. The pit of the peach can be pressed out with your thumb leaving a doughnut shape peach with a hole in it.

This coming weekend will be another peach festival, this one is the 15th annual Middletown “Olde Tyme Peach” Festival on Aug. 16. Hosted by the Middletown Historical Society.

An interesting use of peaches is this peach sculpture made of 24,000 peaches by Ella Bache, an Australian skin care company. Now can you imagine the nats that attacked it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Delmar Events - 1905

From the State Register August 12, 1905

The Delmar Cornet Band will furnish music for the Pocomoke Fair which begins next Tuesday.

A game of baseball was played Saturday at Delmar between nines composed of Maryland and Delaware Players. The score was 7 to 5 in favor of Delaware.

Dr. Walter W. Ellis, of Delmar, who graduated at Jefferson Medical College this spring and who recently passed the Delaware and Pennsylvania State Examing Boards has settled at Delaware City.

James' Union Campmeeting begins August 5th at 8 o'clock p.m. Rev. J. M. Yingling has charge of the religious program. The tabernacle has been greatly improved. It is now ninety four by sixty feet. A new and large preacher's tent, quite a number of splendid new tents have taken the place of old tents, stumps have been taken up and the ground greatly improved. There will be better accommodations than ever for boarders. Rev. A. S. Beane will preach Sunday morning, Dr. F. T. Little, President Maryland Conference, in the afternoon and Rev. Walter Stone at night. The Public is invited.

I have an Elephant in My Backyard - 1943

Kirk Mariner, who writes books and stories about the Virginia Eastern Shore, wrote this story in his book "True Tales of the Eastern Shore". I am going to simply shorten it. It seems in 1943 the Chincoteague Naval Auxiliary Air Station was a training station for young pilots. They liked to show off their flying skills to the local population by flying low over people houses and flying under power lines. One pilot decided to impress a girl, Jackie Sterling, who lived in Crisfield. He buzzed in low over her house in his plane. The problem was there was a circus playing in town, next to her house, the plane created panic among the circus animals and a number of them took off around town. One woman called the Mayor of Crisfield to report an elephant in her backyard, the mayor called the Chincoteague Naval Air Station and the pilot, one George Herbert Walker Bush (later president) was reprimanded and grounded for causing an elephant stampede.