Sunday, May 30, 2010

The History Of Pocomoke by Murry James (13)

SO History of Pocomoke City, In 1874, Ephraim A. Stevens commenced the notion and ladies' trimming business, in Pocomoke City ; he continued until 1880, when he closed this business and engaged in a green grocery and provision store. Some- time during the year, he took as a partner Roland E. Bevans, and they carried on the business under the firm of Stevens & Bevans, this firm, however, did not continue long before Mr. Bevans drew out. Mr. Stevens continued the business until 18S2 and closed out. In 1856, Miss Charlotte and Miss Ann Truitt, two- sisters, were engaged in the confectionary aud notion business, in New Town, when they commenced and how long they continued the business I cannot say.

Between 1856 and i860, Mrs. Mary A. Smullin engaged in the confectionery business and continued the same until her death, which event occurred in April, 1881. About 1870, Mrs. Ellen Payne engaged in the confec- tionerv business, and in about two years she sold out to Mrs. Sally, Mason, who continued the business for several years. Sometime between 1872 and 1875, R. H. Pennewell,. Francis A. Stevenson and Allison Fleming engaged in. merchandising in a store house occupying the site now- occupied by the store house of J. W. Selby.

The house was burned down while Mr. Fleming was conducting business. In 1872, Edward S. Young commenced the tobacco, cigar and confectionery business, in New Town,, and con- Formerly New Town. 81 ducted the same until 1878 ; prior to this, George S. Merrill, Alexander Ebberts and John Walters, respect- ively, were engaged in it.

As Mr. Young is the oldest native citizen in the place he is entitled to a sketch of his life in its history : He was born in 1807 and consequently is now in the 75th year of his age. He, like many others, was raised a poor boy, and had to work out, at twelve and a half cents per day, to help his mother in supporting the family.

When of sufficient age, he was apprenticed to Colonel William H. Merrill to learn the hatting business, after his maturity, he settled in this, his native place, and with but one slight interval has remained here to the present. He was engaged, for several years, in the steam milling business. He has been a member of the Methodist Protestant Church nearly fifty years, has been ardently devoted to, and a liberal supporter of that Church, he has, probably, though always poor, contributed more to church building, in New Town in the past, than any other man in it.

He has been the father of several children, all of whom are no more, except one son, and he lives in Colorado. Mr. Young reminds me of the ancient worthy patri- archs, leaning upon the top of his staff, and waiting for the summons to a brighter home above, and is entitled to the kindly greetings of all lovers of the aged and the good.

In 1878, Capt. H. H. Husted entered into the tobacco, cigar, confectionery and fruit business, in which he is S2 History of Pocomoke City, gaged at present. Capt. Husted is very attentive to business ; is very polite and obliging, and is quite suc- cessful in business.

In 1878, John L. Quinn engaged in the sale of tobacco, cigars, confectionery and fruits, and continues the same with success. Mrs. Stubbins and Mrs. Whittington both have con- fectionery' stores, and are prosperous in business. In 1878, Simpson Katzenberger merchandised in Pocomoke City about one year and then closed out. In 1877, Miss Ruth Stone commenced the notion business, in Pocomoke City, and continued it for about three years, when she removed to Connecticut, her native State. In 1879, Miss Virginia Wilkinson and Miss Virginia Matthews united in copartnership in the millinery, notion and ladies trimming business in Pocomoke City.

Their house is called the Philadelphia branch store, and truly it is very aptly so-called, for it will compare favorably with the city in the taste exhibited in the selection of their goods, in the prices they charge, and in the style and neatness of their work. These young ladies rank among the finest milliners of the day, either in the city or country. In 1880, Miss Ruth Pollett commenced the notion and ladies trimming business in Pocomoke City, and continued until 1 88 1, when she closed out.

In 1880, J. J. Francis Townsend and Ira T. Stevenson engaged in a dry goods and grocery store which they continue at the present. They are very worthy men.


1868, Edward H. Clarke commenced the mercantile business, in New Town. Since then he has been engaged nearly all the time in the sale of goods alone and with his father. As Mr. Clarke is quite a prominent man in business circles, he is entitled to a place in this history. He was born in 1845, and is the only surviving son of W. J. S. Clarke.

He was appointed a midshipman at the naval academy in 1861. After remaining nearly two years and spending one summer at sea, he resigned, as we learned, much to the regret of the officers of the naval academy. Returning home he at once entered the service of his father as clerk, being there well drilled, and remaining in that capacity until 1868, when he married an amiable and accomplished young lady, the only daughter of William M. Coster, Esq., one of the most respected and wealthy gentlemen in Somerset county.

He is a very, popular man, and in point of business sagacity he is said to be equal to any of his name. In 1866, Levin Atkinson commenced the sale of groceries in connection with the sale of leather, and con- tinued the same for ten years, or until he died, which event took place in 1877.

Mr. Atkinson was quite a prominent man in the com- munity ; was retired in disposition, obliging, and a warm

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friend. He was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church, in New Town, for many years, and filled promi- nent positions as a layman in that church. From the commencement of his connection with the church to his death, he always kept an open house for the preachers of that denomination, and there was nothing too good to pro- vide and no labor to great to perform for those whom he and his devoted wife loved to entertain.

In 1880, Henry Dryden and his son Clarence engaged in the sale of groceries, confectionery, etc., in connection with the sale of tin ware, Mr. H. Dryden having been engaged in selling tin ware previously. This firm continues and will no doubt be successful. In 1878, James H. Vincent commenced merchandising in Pocomoke City, and is growing in trade and popularity. We have several other stores in Pocomoke City, which may be called green grocery and provision stores, kept respectively by : A. H. Benson, Roland E. Bevans and John W. Selverthorn, John T. M. Sturgis and Thomas Melvin and J. A. D. Robinson.

These are all reliable houses, where the substantials of life may be purchased. In presenting to the reader this concise history of the mercantile business of New Town, now Pocomoke City, I have aimed at facts, at giving a fair showing, and not throwing more gloss upon the men and trade than they really merited. I shall now close this part of my history by saying : we have, in Pocomoke City, some thirty Formerly New Town. 85 business houses of all grades, selling goods, doing an annual business, aggregating over two hundred thousand dollars.

SO History of Pocomoke City, CHAPTER XI. MANUFACTURING.

Manufacture, in the early history of New town, was, as a matter of course, in its infancy. The first, probably, should be mentioned is the manufacture of clothing for the families. These goods consisted of woolen, cotton and linen. The wool was taken from the sheep's back and washed, then picked, carded, spun and woven into fustian, that is to say, the warp was of cotton, the filling in was of wool. Linsey-woolsey was also made for the mothers and daughters. This word linsey-woolsey comes up in memory as some- . thing long since past away.

I used to hear, when I was a little boy, these words sung : "Linsey-woolsey peticoats, Silk and cotton gown, Shoes and stockings in your hands, And feet upon the ground." The cotton was, as a general thing, cultivated at home, that is to say every family had their cotton-patch if they had ground sufficient for that purpose, and when ripe was harvested, the seed picked, then carded, spun and woven. These were for underwear for both sexes, for sheets, and the beautiful white counterpanes that used to be made.

Formerly New Town. 87

The linen was wade out of flax. Every farmer had his flax patch. The flax when ripe was pulled up by the roots by hand, then placed in a creek, pond or water- hole if their was any convenient, if not, it was spread out on the ground to mildew, when sufficiently cured it was then housed.

In the winter time the flax break was heard singing its day-long song, as the busy laborer would be plying the instrument. In this instrument the woody portion of the flax was separated from the fibrous. Thus the flax was prepared for the hackle, then after that it was spun and woven into what we used to call country made linen, and then made into underwear for both sexes, for toweling, table cloths, sheets, etc. Now the modus-opcrandi in clothing.

The carding and spinning would be carried on day and night by the mothers and daughters. At night the father and brothers would unite around a roasting fire with a plenty of pine knots to make a light, and would engage in pick- ing the wool or cotton. During these seasons of night work they would roast sweet potatoes and have a pitcher of cider to cheer the tedious hours of labor. When the wool, cotton or flax was thus prepared for the loom, they would commence weaving.

When I was a little boy I used to hear the loom going all day long. It did not make as sweet music as the piano, but went click, clack, click, clack, from morning until night. An anecdote which I have heard going the rounds many years ago may not be out of place here - A lady

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of independence in an adjoining community had an only daughter. That daughter was visited by a young lady, who inquired of the mother where Miss So-and-So's piano was. She took the youjng lady to the loom house and pointing to the loom: "There," said she, is my daughter's piano." The mother and dauq-hter made the clothes for the family. The young ladies were their own mantua makers and their mothers learned them to be good cooks also. They thought it was no disgrace to learn them to work.

The first families of the place would make machanics of their sons, and to show that this custom was considered in the highest sense an honorable one, I need but cite those who were prominent citizens of the town to demon- strate this position. Michael Murray was a weaver of the world renowned Irish linen in his native country, Ireland; Jesse Hender- son a shipcarpenter ; Rev. James Tilgbman, a shoemaker; Joshua Sturgis, a blacksmith; Capt. Jacob Riggin, a shipcarpenter; Capt. Benjamin Hall, a carpenter; Gen- eral Ebenezer Hearn, a tanner and currier; Colonel William H. merrill, a hatter, John S. Stevenson, a watch- maker; Ceorge S. Redder, a hatter.

I might name many others, but those already named are sufficient. Is not this a suggestive thought to parents of the present day, to give their sons a trade instead of crowding them into professions and clerkships, in which there are but few, comparatively, who succeed, and to learn their

Formerly New Town. S9 '

daughters to be good house keepers, and not to bring them up in such a way as that when they get married they •will be utterly ignorant how to make their husbands a .suit of clothes or how to make and bake a johnny cake. An incident which occurred in the history of Stephen Girard, the millionaire, of Philadelphia, I will illustrate here. He had a youth who was to live with him until he was of age. This young man, by his steady habits, atten- tion to business and probity of character, had won, over all the other clerks, a place high up in the esteem of Mr. Girard. His twenty-first birthday came on.

The day before that, however, he went into Mr. Girard's counting- room and informed him of the fact, when he was told to come in the next day as he wanted to see him. It was conceded by all the clerks that Mr. Girard was going to do something handsome for that young man. The next day •came, he went into the office as requested ; they entered into conversation upon their connection together. Mr. Girard praised him for his faithfulness to his interests. "And now," said he, "you are going out into the world to rseek your fortune, I want to give you a piece of advice.

Do you go and learn a trade ; there is the barrel cooper- ing, go and learn that ! " The reader may imagine how the young man was taken back. He, however, engaged with a barrel cooper to work with him for one year. At the end of the year, he made a barrel, which he took to Mr. Girard's office to show him. Mr. Girard pronounced it a sgood job, and asked the price of it, which was three

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dollars. He took the barrel, paid him the money for it, and requested him to come to the office the next day as. he wished to see him. The day came ! he went into the office, when Mr. Girard said : "You may have thought ir a very strange piece of advice which I gave you, to learn a trade ; but, if hereafter, you should fail in any business- you engage in, then you have your trade to fall back on.

Now, here is a check for $30,000 as a token of my high esteem and with my best wishes for your success in life." The different branches of mechanical business which were carried on in Xew Town in its early history were boot and shoe making, house and shipcarpentering, black- smithing, coopering, tanning and currying, hatting, etc. There was, generally, but one shop of each branch of" business at a time.

The first boot and shoemaker that I have any information of was Rev. James Tilghman ; Caleb Tilghman, then Samuel Long, Joseph Richards. Thomas Brittingham, James Lambdon, Jesse Long, Josiah Long, of Jesse, Zadok Hall, of John, Edward Murray, Francis Murray, James Sturgis, Tubman Moor, Samuel T. Landing and James Murray. Henry Murray, who was an office bearer in the Methodist Episcopal Church, was also a delegate elect from Worcester county to the General Assembly of Maryland in 1S62 and 1863. In 1 866 he died suddenly, in hope of a blissful immortal- ity. William H. S. Merrill, Thomas J. Blain, who is also a leading office bearer in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has four sons — all grown men — who are an honor to

Formerly New Town. 91

him. John Silvenhom, Rev. George Covington, Charles Covington, Levin Covington, John Richards, Sr., George Matthews, Case, William Matthews and William Clogg. No doubt there are others whose names have escaped my memory, or who were here but a short time. These, excepting the few last names mentioned, have all passed away. The tailoring business was carried on at an early date. Josiah Long, my wife's father, was a tailor. He served his apprenticeship with his uncle, David Long, Sr., who was the father of Captain Henry Long, Captain John W. Long and David Long. Mr. Long worked at the tailor- ing business until he died, which event occurred about 1813. Then in succession Benjamin Cottman, a man by the name of Smith, William Purnell, Joseph Benson, John H. Powell, William Atkinson, William Fisher, Theo. Hall, William S. C. Polk, Emerson G. Polk, James Wells, McCayland, Edward Ardis and W. F. Jones. Emerson G. Polk, W. F. Jones and Edward Ardis are the present tailors of the place.


&c. The house and ship-carpentering has been represented by the following named persons : House carpenters were William Beauchamp, William Wheeler, Capt. Benjamin Hall, Henry Beauchamp, Wrixham Burnett, William

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McMaster, James Benson, Henry Coston, Jesse L. Long, William H. C. Long, Littleton Duer, Edgar Duer, Francis Duer, Ralph Ross, John Richards, Jun., Thomas Davis, John Merrill, John Bevans, James Broughton, Edward Davis, Edward Merrill. Edward Ross. Shipcarpenters were Jesse Henderson, Jacob Riggin, John Carsley, Peter Carsley, Frank Whittington, E. James Tull, Henry Tapt- man, Wm. Smith, Samuel Richardson, Silvanus Maddux, James McDaniel, Edward Mills, Thomas Thorington, William H. McDaniel, Jesse Taptman, William Lankford, Alfred Lankford, Christopher Schillinger, William Bonne- well, Alfred Herbert, Alfred Mills, Thomas Jones, John J. Dickinson, Charles Williams, John E. Tull, Joseph L. Hitch, Hargis Hayman, Curtis Tull, James Ford, Thomas Sears, Wm. R. Jones, James Bonnewell, Edward Townsend, Tobe Bonnewell, John Crammer, Albert Henderson, Silas Ellis, William H. Matthews, Harry Whittington, William Cathel, Noah Dutton, Levin Dutton, John J. Deputy, Samuel Gibbons, John O. Fitzgerald, Capt. John Fitz- gerald, Jesse Crockett, Charles Crockett, John Foster, Jr., John Foster, Sr., Julius Henderson, Caleb Dickinson, Walter Hughes and Frank Jones.

In connection with ship-carpentering we have the follow- ing caulkers: James H. Gardner, Isaac Fisher, Henry Henson, Grant Long, William Sturgis and John Somerneld. The blacksmith business has been represented by the following named persons : Joshua Sturgis, Ephraim Town- send, Matthias N. Lindsey, George W. Landing, Major T. and Jerome B. Hall, George Hall, William and John Paradee, Lycurgus Stevenson, Wilmer Mills, Rufns Ste- venson, John Foley, the Messrs. Hayman, Isaac Dennis, John G. Angelo, Alexander Harris and William Banks.

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