Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The History Of Pocomoke by Murray James (9)


After the death of Edward Stevenson, David Long, who was his chief clerk, married his widow, settled his estate, and commenced merchandising, in his own name, at the same stand where he had been clerking. He sold goods until 1832, during which year he died.

He was buried on his father's farm, at present occupied by William W. Quinn. Upon his tomb stone is the following inscription : " In memory of David Long, who was born the 23rd Formerly New Town. 55 day of November, 1788, and died the 4th day of May,, 1832, Aged forty-three years, five months, and eleven days." " ye wliose cheek the tear of pity stains, Draw near with pious reverence and attend. Here lie the loving husband's dear remains, The tender father and the generous friend, The pitying heart that felt for human woe, The dauntless heart that feared no human pride, The friend of man, to vice alone a foe ; For even his failings leaned to virtue's side." As David Long was one of the most successful mer- chants in the early history of New Town, it is but just to- his memory that a brief sketch of his life should here be inserted. He was born the 23rd day of November, 1778, and reared on his father's farm until he entered Edward Stevenson's store as clerk.

How old he was when this change in his life took place we are left to conjecture, at all events he must have been quite a large boy. As it was attended with no little difficulty in getting even the rudiments of an education, in those days, it is presumable that the advantages which he had in the store, in the use of the pen, and figures, was of great service to him in developing his latent powers as an accountant. He commenced business for himself when he was twenty- seven years old, and for sixteen years he applied himself closely to business. When he died, in 1832, he had

•56 History of Pocomoke City, amassed, what might be called, an Eastern Shore fortune, the probable sum of $40,000.

He was a man of even temperament, with an amiable disposition, polite, obliging, and very winning in his man- ners, consequently he was very popular ; indeed, he had won the respect and confidence of the entire surrounding country, and it would have been a futile effort in anyone to have sought to divide the patronage that went into his store. Captain John W. Long commenced the mercantile business, in New Town, in 18 15. During this year^he married Miss Sally Laws Henderson, a young lady of intellectual culture and high moral worth. Captain Long was a brother to David Long and was his senior by two years.

While yet a youth he chose the life of a sailor, and made his first voyage to Amster- dam, in a brig built on the dividing creek. He rose, from before the mast, to be captain of a ship. During the Berlin and Milan decrees, under Napoleon Bonaparte, he was taken prisoner and carried to Naples i upon his release, he returned home, and, as already stated, he commenced merchandising in New Town. His store ranked as first-class, though he did not do business to the extent that his brother David did. He was engaged in the sale of goods nineteen years.

He was the father of four children, only two of whom are now living : Rev. John D. Long and David H. Long, and was grandfather of William W. aud John L. Quinn. Formerly New Town. 57 Captain Long was an intelligent, unassuming and strictly honest man.

He was the poor man's friend, a kind husband and father, and died honored and loved by all who knew him. I have the following from the old family Bible, now in the posession of William W. Quinn : "Captain John W. Long, was born the 22nd day of October, 1786, near New Town, and died the 27th day of May, 1834, in the 48th year of his age. There were other stores in New Town at the time of which I have been speaking, namely : Jacob Riggin and John Burnett, doing business under the firm of Riggin & Burnett ; their store ranked as first-class.

The others were kept by Samuel Carey, McKimmie Lecompte, father of the venerable James Lecompte, of Snow Hill ; and Nicholas Jones. John Burnett was uncle- to William S. Dickinson, Mrs. Sally Blain and Mrs. Elizabeth Hughes ; and was the best penman in New Town, in his day.

He finally moved to the City of Balti- more, where he died. John S. Stevenson succeeded David Long, and com- menced the sale of goods in 1833. He sold goods about, nine years, when he retired from mercantile life. Mr. Stevenson was very popular, indeed, he was the leading spirit of the place, in his day, he seemed to seek more the public good than his own emolument.

He was quite a mechanical genius, could construct almost any agricultural implement that would make labor easier, and in this direction he was much sought after..

58 History of Pocomoke City, In 1833, he conceived the idea of stretching a rope across the river, at Steven's Ferry, by which the propul- sion of the ferry boat was conducted with greater ease. Before this event, the boat was propelled by oars, which mode of crossing, in stormy weather, was attended with great danger.

He had a high sense of moral rectitude, was strictly honest in his dealings, was a warm friend, and out-spoken and un-compromising in his denunciations of those he conceived to be in the wrong. In 1854, he went to the state of Missouri, and in 1867 he died, in the city of Hannibal, in the 60th year of his age.

About the year 1833, Colonel William H. Merrill com- menced merchandising, in New Town, he was also engaged in the shipping business ; he had an extensive trade, and made considerable money ; he sold goods about thirty years, and retired from active life.

Colonel Merrill was a native of Worcester County, served an apprenticeship at the hatting business with Jacob Rogers, in the city of Baltimore. He commenced the hatting business for himself in Snow Hill, married Miss Eliza Stevenson, of this place, and moved here, where he continued the hatting business until the above named period, when he commenced to sell goods.

He was quite a business man, accommodating, obliging, polite, and dignified in his manners ; was a warm friend and quite genial in social bearing.

Formerly New Town.

59 He lived to a good old age, and died at home, in the smidst of his friends, at the age of seventy-two years ; his ".remains were deposited in the Protestant Episcopal Church Burying Ground, of this place.


During John S. Stevenson's mercantile life, there were '•other stores in the place, namely : William R. Truitt, Burroughs & Davis, Maddux & Fields, James Stevenson, ;and probably others. Some of them did quite a heavy ^business. They were all good citizens and their trade yielded them a fair income.

There is only one of this number that I shall give an •extended account of, and this is James Stevenson, and it is Ibecause of the novelty of his case. He commenced to sell goods at an early date, in New 'Town, prior to this, however, he taught school. I have heard it said of him that he commenced mer- chandising on a capital of eighty dollars. His store, of •course, was a small affair, but his trade was sufficient to give him a comfortable living.

He dealt principally in sugar, coffee, molasses, pork, liquor, tobacco and a few of the coarser dry goods. He was magistrate during a great part of his mercantile life. He went by the name of little Jimmie, in consequence of his being small of stature. He sold goods for thirty years, during all that time he mever visited the city, but purchased his goods by proxy.

Next; 60 History of Pocomolce City

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Anonymous said...

Some good stuff in these stories. Keep'em coming!

The Public Eye said...

there's a lot more to come, stay tuned