Sunday, July 25, 2010

The History Of Pocomoke By Murray James (16)

110 History of Pocomohe City,

Our youthful readers cannot realize the advantages of
steamboat travel to the same extent that some of us can,
whose memory goes back to the time when there was no
steamboat plying between Pocomoke City and Baltimore,
and when it would require, at certain seasons of the year,
two weeks or more for a sail vessel to make a trip from
Pocomoke City to Baltimore and return.

Whereas with the present facilities of travel the trip can
be made in thirty-nine hours, and gives you eleven hours
of that time to attend to business in the city. With these
facts before us we can see clearly that progress is march-
ing onward.

Formerly New Town. Ill



The shipbuilding, steam milling- and marine railway

business is carried on quite extensively in Pocomoke City.

Shipbuilding has been carried on in New Town from time

.immemorial, but the steam milling and marine railway

business is of more recent date.

The first steam mill ever erected in New Town was by

a man by the name of Hutchinson in 1839. This mill was
•employed at first to make shingles, but afterwards turned

into a saw mill.

It was severally owned by Hutchinson, Dr. Geo. S. D.
■ Shipley, Ricaud, then E. S. Young and Geo. Blades,

under the firm of Young & Blades, then E. S. Young and
and James H. Young, under the firm of Young & Brother,
.then Capt. James T. Young by himself, who carried on
the business until 1866, when he sold out to Polk & Powell.
They conducted the business about ten years, when they
sold out to James T. Young and Lewis W. Young, doing
"business under the firm of Young & Brother. Finally
James T. Young bought out his brother Lewis, and is now
conducting the business by himself.

I have been thus explicit in running out the history

112 History of JPocomoke City,

of th.s mill simply because it was the first ever established
in New Town.

But the year IS44 was marked as the beginning of a.
series of successes unprecedented in the history of New
Town. The circumstances which brought them about
were as follows : During that year Ezra B. Risley hap-
pened to be in a certain port in the State of New jersey,
when a vessel loaded with cypress fencerails arrived- He
saw the rails and enquired where the}' were from, etc.
The cargo of rails belonged to Jas. Daugherty and Levin
P. Bowland. In this case, like thousands of others, the
door of wealth was opened by the merest accident, and
the old adge holds good, "one sows and another reaps."
In as short a time as possible alter this two strangers were-
seen in New Town ; no one knew who thev were or what
was their business. They prospected awhile in the cypress*
swamps, made some purchases and went away. The
strangers proved to be John Ashcraft and Ezra B. Risley.
During the next year, 1S45, they established a large steam
saw mill at Harry Henderson's landing, the place now
owned by Littleton Waters. Here they commenced
operations. They brought down Jersey wood choppers and
employed our own men also. Like an electric shock,
they aroused the citizens of New Town and the entire
surrounding country to the idea of business which has
never died out. They infused r a spirit of industry and
enterprise in all, from the day laborer to the merchant
behind the counter and the farmer at the plow. They

Formerly New Town. 11%

raised the price of labor, paid their employees the money
for their work, and produced an entire revolution in busi-
ness life.

They engaged in ship building also, and built some
large sea vessels. They purchased all the cypress swamps
below New Town, and sent to market all their timber and
lumber in their own vessels, which they built. They
operated about twenty years, made about $i5o;ooo and


With them originated, in a great measure, if not entirely,

the practical idea of the steam mill business in this sec-
tion of country.

In 1854, JohnW, Ouinn, Jas. Murray and John Ashcraft

established a steam saw mill in New Town. In 1855,
Murray sold out his interest in the mill to Nicholas N.
Bosley ; the mill now being run by the firm of Quinn,
Bosley and Ashcraft. This firm continued two years, when
they sold out to Thomas W. Hargis and Ambrose Dixon,
doing business under the firm of Hargis & Dixon. They
continued two years and then sold out to Captain H. H.
Husted. Captain Husted conducted the business three
years, when in 1862 he sold out to Captain James H.
Young ; Captain Young, having already a fine mill, bought
this mill of Captain Husted to get it out of his way.

As history is always repeating itself I wish to present to
the reader a case illustrative of the fact, in which we have
an example of one, who, from the poorest walks of life
has attained, by hard work and good management to the
position of wealth and independence.

114 History of Pocomoke City,

I allude to Captain James H. Young, who, I am sure

will not take exceptions to this statement, for he takes a

pride in the knowledge of the fact that he has made his

mark in the world. \\ nile he seems to say to the youth

of the present day, by his independent step as he walks

the streets ; boys go work as I have done and take care of

your labor, and when you get old you will have something

to lean upon.

Captain Young's father died quite a young man, and

left a widow and three children to support themselves as

best they could. It is true they had a little home but it

was merely a staying place.

The mother and elder son Edward would work at any-
thing they could get to do. She at the spinning wheel,
hoeing corn, and sometimes in the fodder field saving
fodder at twenty-five cents per day. and he tending the
gardens in town and working on the farms for twelve and
a half cents per day.

After a while James grew old enough to work, also, and
would work, sometimes, for five cents per day. At the
age of sixteen he was put to the tailoring business ; he
continued at the trade two years, when his future pros-
pects seemed to be beclouded, and as sitting on the board
did not agree with him, he concluded to make a change.
At the age of eighteen, he engaged with Captain James
Riggin as cook on board a small vessel, similar to that of
a. ship's long boat, at four dollars per month.

This was the day of small things, but it was the begin-
ning of a successful course of life. At this period he was

Formerly New Town. 115

very destitute of clothing; he had saved, however, as he
thought, three months wages with which he intended to
clothe himself. When lo ! the tailor with whom he had
been living, had by some means collected his wages, and
he was still left destitute. This was a terrible blow to the
little fellow, for he was very small for his age. however he
continued persevering and became a hand before the mast,
in the bay and coasting trade. Some time after his
maturity, by his industrious habits and temperate course
of life, he won the respect and sympathy of John U.
Dennis, who one day told Captain Young that he ought
to buy a vessel or part of one. Captain replied that he
was not able. Mr. Dennis told him that he would make
him able, he would lend him the money, and did so.
Capt- Young then joined Thomas W. Hargis in the pur-
chase of a schooner. Mr- Hargis at that time was keeping
store at Wagram, Accomac County, Va. How long this
partnership lasted I cannot tell, but after their dissolution
he joined Col. Wm. H. Merrill in a schooner called the
Sarah Ellen. Finally he bought out Col. Merrill and run
the vessel in his own name until 1854, when he engaged in
the steam mill business.

Although Capt. Young had made up to this time $8,000
or $10,000, yet here was the gold mine which he struck.
The first few years of his milling life, however, were not
so successful, but after the war commenced the tide of
success set in, and money poured in upon him like a

116 History of Pocomoke City,

In 1866, after making money enough to satisfy his
ambition, he sold out to Polk & Powell, as before stated,
and retired.

In making a few desultory remarks relating to Capt.
Young, I will say he has been a great worker and has had
a constitution to stand it. He has been unyielding in his

perseverance until the prize was gained.

There is one feature of his business life which is spe-
cially worthy of record, and that was, Captain Young
never did business on the Sabbath day. This is worthy
of all praise and should be an example to other business
men to act likewise. He owns ten farms aggregating two
thousand acres of land, which cost him between forty and
fifty thousand dollars, he also owns about twenty houses
and lots, some of them valuable ones, besides his private

securities and other personal property.

Captain Young has been a member of the Methodist

Protestant Church, in Pocomoke City, for many years, has
been twice married ; has eight children living, four by
each wife. He is now living in a green old age at about
three score and ten years, and looks back upon his life-
work as master of the situation.

In 1869, Levin J. M. P. Broadwater and Thomas R. P.
S. White established a steam saw mill, in Xew Town, and
run it until 1869, when it was purchased by James T.
Young, and he run it until 1876, when he sold it to W. J.
S. Clarke, and it was moved to Nashville, Accomac County,

In 1864, \Y. J. S. Clarke and John H. Clarke, his brother^

formerly New Town. 117

established a Marine railway, and in 1869 they built a
steam saw, planing and grist mill, in New Town. They
also commenced ship building and repairing at the same

In 1869, Hall, Bro. & Co. commenced the steam saw
mill business. In 1873, they built their Marine railway
and carry on ship building, also, in connection with these
two branches of business.

James T. Young, as has already been stated, is carrying-
on the steam mill business. Is running a steam saw,
planing and grist mill, and carries on ship building in

Clarke & Co. and Hall, Bro. & Co. have three steam
saw mills in the country, but the business ot those ' mills
centers here, so that I associate them with the steam mill
business of Pocomoke City.

In 1865, Thomas F. Stevenson commenced the business

of steam milling in New Town. In 1866 he took as a

partner his son, Riley M. Stevenson ; the firm is now doing

business under the firm of Thomas F. & R. M. Stevenson.

Theirs is a flour, grist and planing mill. It will afford

any one pleasure to go into their establishment and witness

the mechanical skill and neatness that characterizes every

department. The father and grandfather of this firm is

with them and works daily at the age of between 80 and

90 years. They are all natural mechanics and merit the

praise that is accorded to them for the exhibition of such

a talent.

In 1872, James T. Hearn, Allison Fleming and Charles

118 History of Pocomoke City,

G. Dale established a steam flour and grist mill in this
place. How long they continued I am not able to say.
They, however, sold out to H. H. Dashiell, of Princess
Ann, Somerset County, Md. The mill is still owned by
Mr. Dashiell, but it is rented by R. T. Dixon, who is a
live man, and is doing a heavy business in the manufacture
of flour and meal.

In summing up the steam saw, planing and grist mill

business, together with the marine railway and shipbuild-
ing business of Pocomoke City, we now have seven steam
mills, including those in the country whose business is
identical with the business of Pocomoke City. Five are
saw mills, two of which have planing and grist mills
attached ; two are flour and grist mills, one of which has a
planing mill attached. There are three shipyards and
two marine railways. They employ in the aggregate 160

hands annually, and do an annual aggregated business
of $166,000.

Before concluding this part of the history of New Town,

now Pocomoke City, I would do injustice not to mention

the case of Captain John H. Clarke, who is equally

deserving of a liberal notice in this historv.

He was born in 1828 and lived with his father until
1846, at which period his lather died. He was then 18
years of age. He farmed for two years and then engaged
as hand on board of Captain Elijah Taylor's vessel, which
engagement lasted two or three years, during which time
he married Captain Taylor's oldest daughter.

After this he engaged in partnership with his brother,

Formerly New Town. 11 9*

W. J. S. Clarke, in the vessel business, and they owned sev-
eral vessels together. This firm continued, when they
entered into the steam mill, Marine railway and ship
building business, finally ending in their large transactions..
He has served one term, and is at present on his second,
as commissioner of the county, with great acceptability.
Above all he is recognized as a good and honest man.

He owns ten or twelve hundred acres of land, eight or
ten houses and lots.

Captain Clarke has been an acceptable member of the

Methodist Episcopal Church, in Pocomoke City, for many
years, has been twice married ; has eight children, five by
his first wife and three by his second. He is now fifty-two
or three years of age, in the prime of his strong man-
hood, with the prospects of the future looming up brightly
before him. His oldest son, William E. Clarke, is a whole-
sale dry goods merchant in the City of Baltimore, and as
he is a native of this place, and as it was here that he
received his first business ideas, it is but right and proper
that his history should be known. He was born on the
20th day of March, 1851. After receiving such an educa-
tion as he was able to get here, he was taken at the age of
12 years into the store ol his uncle, W. J. S. Clarke, where
he remained three or four years, during which time he was
thoroughly drilled by his sagacious uncle, whose business
ability is proverbial.

At the age of 15 or 16 years his uncle, seeing he had

great business qualifications beginning to develop them-
selves, took him to Baltimore and placed him with that

120 History of Pocomoke City,

popular and well-known house, Hurst, Purnell & Co.,
where he arose step by step from office boy to book-
keeper, and has been for several years a partner in that
gigantic establishment.

Mr. Clarke is' quite popular, and as a recognition of that
fact, a new steamboat, which was built by Hall, Bro. & Co.
and Clarke & Co., which cost $25,000, which has just
made its first trip and which will ply between this place
.and the various tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, has
been named after him. William E. Clarke is recognized
by all as one of the leading business men of the Monu-
mental City. He is 31 years of age, is scarcely in the
prime of life, with success and emolument knocking at
his door.

Formerly Mew Town. 121



Hotels existed in New Town at an early date in its his-

was kept by Josiah Long, my wile's father. How long he

'was engaged in the business I cannot say. He died in

1813. About the same time, or shortly after Josiah Long

commenced the business, Bennett H. Clarvoe engaged in

it also. After Mr. Clarvoe died, the widows of Mr. Long

and Mr* Clarvoe carried the business on for some time

and then retired ; and in succession the following persons

kept hotel, in New Town, now Pocomoke City, until the

present time, 1882 : Captain John Merchant, Littleton Cot-

tingham, Sally Jones, Francis Mezick, Thomas Evans,

Edward F. Mezick, Robert Silverthorn, Joseph Lanklord,

Henry Dryden, John Allen, Rosa Young, Peter Corbin,

Robert Marshall, John Adair, L. J. M. P. Broadwater,

Ralph Ross, Littleton Sturgis, Charles Rider, W. J. S.

Clarke, William W. Quinn, Titus I. West, Captain Wm.

H. Comegys, George Twilly, Levin P. Bowland and H.

<1 Powell. Mr. Powell is the proprietor of the Clarke

House, and is a popular hotel keeper. Report says he

'.keeps the best table of any house on the shore.

12:2 History of Pocomoke City,

The Livery Stable business has been connected with the-
Hotel business from time immemorial, until 1869, when,
the Messrs. William and Samuel Twilly commenced it as
a separate business. As the Messrs. Twilly are the pio-
neers in this business, it is but right that an extended
remark should be made concerning them here. These
gentlemen, having had long experience in the livery stable
business, have become experts, and are widely known as
reliable men, and are very popular, it is a real pleasure-
to see the fine teams and splendid carriages which go out
from their stables. It is thought they can challenge the
whole Eastern Shore, if not the State, for a successful.
rival in their line.

In 1878 and 1879, Emerson Melvin kept a livery stable,.
in Pocomoke City, and in 1880 and 18S1, John J. Jones^
was engaged in the business ; both of these establishments,
however, continued but a short time.

In 1881, Edwin F. Causey and Herbert H. King estab-
lished a livery stable, in Pocomoke City, and continue
the same to the present. These gentlemen are polite and.
accommodating ; they keep constantly on hand a supply
of horses and carriages, and no one need fear disappoint-
ment in getting a good team at their stable.

We now have two livery stables in Pocomoke City, kept
by the Messrs. Twilly and Causey & King. These two
stables keep constantly on hand about twenty horses and
fifteen carriages, and can scarcely supply the the demand
at that.

Formerly New Town. 12




Ol the physicians of New Town (now Pocomoke City),
Dr. John Stevenson was the first that we have any knowl-
edge of. He settled in New Town about the year 1800, and
practiced medicine until he died, which event occurred in
in 1 8 26. He was buried in the family burying ground on
the farm, which now belongs to Thomas W. Hargis, he
being at the time of his death 50 years of age. Dr.
Stevenson had no competition in the practice of medicine
until a few years before his death, consequently he had a
large practice and made money. He had a genial spirit,
was very popular both as a physician and citizen, and was
highly cultured. He was a member of the Pitts Creek
Presbyterian Church, and as has already been intimated,
became independent, and when he died he left a fine
estate to his widow and children.

Dr. Morrison settled here for a short time and practiced
medicine. Dr. Johnson also practiced medicine in New
Town for a short time and then moved to Salisbury, where
he died. The first name of these two gentlemen I have
forgotten ; they practiced in New Town in the latter part
of Dr. Stevenson's life.

124 History of Pncomoke City,

Dr. John B. H. W. Clarvoe commenced the practice of
medicine in New Town in the latter part of Dr. Steven-
son's life. He built up an extensive practice ; he was
sociable, intelligent and one of the most popular physicians
and citizens. The tidy little Doctor's image is before me
in my memory while I write. Seated upon his Teaboy or
Catahulean — for these were the names of his horses — hav-
ine his saddlebags with him, he would ride away to visit
his patients. The Doctor was a cousin to Bennett H.
Clarvoe, and consequently a relative of the celebrated and
well-known detective John Clarvoe, of Washington City,
who has recently deceased. The Doctor died compara-
tively a young man, and left a widow and three children,
all of whom have since passed away,

Dr. James B. Horsey settled in New Town in the prac-
tice of medicine a while after Dr. Stevenson's death. He
married the Doctor's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, and
occupied the homestead while he lived. He died in 1838,
aged 30 years. Dr. Horsey was a native of Snow Hill.
His lather died when he was quite small. The independ-
ent and generous-hearted David Hopkins, of Snow Hill,
who was a bachelor, took a liking to the sprightly lad and
assumed his education. He gave him a thorough college
course all at his own expense. After the doctor's gradua-
tion Mr. Hopkins gave him a physician's outfit, consisting
of horse, carriage, etc. Dr. Horsey had a bright intellect,
was a good physician, and a ready off-handed speaker
when the occasion called him out.

Next; Formerly New Town. 125 

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