Saturday, April 3, 2010

The History Of Pocomoke by Murray James (6)

five appointments. The extremes were Fairfax Court House and Lewinville. The intermediates were Flint Hill, Vienna and Fre- dom Hill. When I went on this Circuit, I intended to enter the effective ranks again at Conference, but having to travel that Cir- cuit on foot in the winter, through snow, rain and mud, I took such a cold in my head, which went down on my throat forming severe ulcers accompanied with chills and fevers, which com- pletely unfitted me for further service. I was peremptorily advised by my physician to go home and take care of myself. In view of this state of things I was compelled to ask the Conference to con- tinue my relation as Supernumerary.

This time the Conference was held in Alexandria, Va., in February, 1876. From that time to the present, I have held my membership in the Conference as a Supernumerary. Now while the shadows of evening gather around me and admonish me that the most of my life work is already done, I review the past and call up, in memory, the days of my childhood, when I bowed at the knees of my mother and learned to say : "Our Father who art in heaven," and : "Now I lay me down to sleep." When I think of my childish sports and plays with my brothers and sisters, at the old homestead ; and my young associates, with whom I used to play on the old hill, which is now the Public Square. When I call to mind the time when I married my wife, the companion of my youth and the mother of my children, and that it was here that most of the struggles of life have accorred, in supporting my family.

As I call up in memory my dearest ones, who are no more with me here, but whose mouldering dust sleeps in their graves, in the burying ground of the Methodist Episcopal Church. When I think of my early christian association with many, with whom I took sweet counsel in christian fellowship, who have crossed the river before me, and are now in the better land, around whose dying beds I have stood and witnessed their last shouts of victory a8 they passed away.

I say, in reviewing the past, I am constrained to say out of a full A Brief History of the Author's Life, 39 heart, with good will to all my fellow citizens, and malice towards none, Oh! New Town, New Town, now Pocomoke City; with all thy faults I love thee still. JAMES MURRAY. HISTORY OF POGOMOKE} GlTY FORMERLY NEW TOWN, ITS ORIGIN AND TOWN LIMITS. CHAPTER I. In writing a history of New Town, I have been no little perplexed in gathering up evidence in regard to its origin.

There is, however, one item oi historical fact which gives some clue to it, namely : A certain Col William Stevens, who was, probably, staff officer to Lord Baltimore, estab- lished in 1670 what has since been called, for many years, Stevens' Ferry. A scrap of Col. Stevens' history may not be out ot place here.

He had a grant from Lord Baltimore to take up all the lands from the mouth of the Pocomoke River to Lewis- town, Delaware, and settle the same, which he did, with a colony of Welsh, Irish and English. He was one ol Lord Baltimore's counsellors, was Judge of Somerset Court for twenty-two years, and departeS this life the 23d day of December, in 1687, in the fifty -seventh year of his age. The reader will remember that, originally, Somerset County embraced all of Worcester County too. and the Court House stood on the rise of ground, on Edwin Townsend's farm, in Somerset County, at the junction of Cokes Bury and Snow Hill roads, leading to Dividing Creek Bridge. Indeed, the farm, from our earliest recol- lection, until recently, has been called Court House Farm, but now the name is becoming obsolete.

Formerly New Town. 4 1

Steven's Ferry reached from the Somerset side of Pocomoke River, adjoining the Phosphate Factory of Freeman, Lloyd, Mason and Dryden, to the foot of the Pocomoke Bridge, on the Worcester side. This Ferry was the center of business for this whole sec- tion of the country.

The country on both sides of the river was, with some •exceptions, a dense wilderness. The historical fact of Stevens' Ferry being erected in 1670 will serve as a nucleus with which to associate the history of New Town. All other evidence, which I have been able to obtain relative to the origin of the place is traditional. Tradition says : About the time or shortly after the erection of Stevens' Ferry a New England trader came up :the Pocomoke River in his vessel, ladened with New England Rum and Cheese, and sought a landing at the Ferry, to sell his cargo, but the authorities drove him oft", ; and he dropped his vessel down the river to the next knoll -on the Worcester side, which we used to call the Hill, but is now called the Public Square.

Here he pitched his tent and traded with the sparse inhabitants, as they would come with their produce to trade for Rum and Cheese. The reader must conclude, of course, that the plank 'lent which he put up was the only house, or substitute for a house, in the neighborhood ; all around him were forest .trees, between him and the river were mud flats and luckahoes. 42 History of Pocomoke City, Tradition goes on further to say : That about the yean 16S3 or '84 the place was then called Meeting House Land- ing, in view of the saying that a Presbyterian House of. Worship was erected on the lot which was called, when I was a boy, the Sacher Lot, a nick name for Zachariah, as. the lot then belonged to one Zachariah Lambertson, but: now belonging to William J. S. Glarke, known of late: years as the Adreon Lot, at the foot of Willow St. "History states that about the year 1680, a petition was; gotten up by Colonel William Stevens and others, and', sent to the Presbytery of Laggan, Ireland, for a Minister- to come and settle in this part of the Colony to preach the- Gospel and look after the interests of the Presbyterian Church in these western wilds." "

In 1682 the Rev. Francis Makemie, was sent to the- Colony, a man of celebrity, under whose supervision and: oversight, tradition says, this house was built. About the year 1700, the Tobacco Warehouse was built.. Tobacco having been made a legal tender by the House- of Burgesses, and a fixed price per pound established, for- all debts, public and private, the warehouse became the: place of deposit for the circulating medium.

At this juncture of time, the name of the place wast changed from Meeting House Landing to Warehouse- Landing, or both may alternately have been used. Why the change was made, whether the log Church had been, abandoned or not, is all left to conjecture. I remember, well, the old Tobacco Warehouse, it stood about 120 years, and when it was torn down there was Formerly New Town. 43 good material in it, and though I was but a child, yet I had many a romp and play in it, with my little associates, in hide-and-go-seek. It's large tobacco hogsheads, and and scales, and weights are still fresh in my memory. It stood on the hill, between the pump and the south-west corner of Smullen & Bro's., Store. From 1700 to the days of the Revolution, there is no evidence that I have been able to obtain, either historical or traditional, in regard to New Town. There are some few facts, however, which are within the writer's own knowledge, which may serve as reminiscences of that period, and fill up in some little degree the place of the lost history.

I allude to some few old houses,, which were probably coeval with the Old Tobacco Ware- house, one or two of which stood on the ground, now occupied by Smullen & Brother's Storehouse, one adjoining the ground now occupied by Twilly & Brother's Livery Stables, inhabited by an old lady by the name of Elizabeth Matthews. There were three or four more, only one of which I shall call the reader's attention to, which was a small red house, and stood on the south-west corner of Market and Second Streets. In this house a Revo- lutionary Soldier lived by the name of Daniel Spaulding. These houses served as land marks, pointing to the period from 1700 to 1776, and show conclusively that they were once occupied by those who have long since passed away, and, so far as we have been able to ascertain, have left no tidings behind them.

44 History of Pocomoke City

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