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Formerly New Town. 185 CHAPTER XXIX. SCHOOLS (CONTINUED.)
Mrs. Nettie O'Daniel was a native of Wilmington, Del., -where she received a liberal public school education, and taught in the public schools of that city and in Pocomoke City High School, in Wyoming College, Del, and in Colorado. Mrs. O'Daniel was a lady of fine accomplish- ments and showed herself to great advantage in the school room as an educator.
Miss Mary M. Hearn was also one of the first assistants in the High School. She was born in New Town, Md., on the 1 6th day of July, 1848. She went to school until she was fifteen years of age, after that she was educated by her father, Dr. John L. Hearn, at home. She was well qualified as a teacher and taught in the High School for nine years, when her health compelled her, by incessant application, to resign her position.
Indeed, her feeble constitution was so worn down that although she continued teaching until vacation, then she yielded shortly after to the inevitable and passed away. Her death occurred Aug. 24th, 1875. Miss Hearn had a fine mind and an amiable disposition. She was raised right and adorned (her name with a life worthy of imitation.
186 History of Pocomoke City,
Charles H. Council, Esq., is a native of Southampton' County, Va. He was educated at Richmond College,. Virginia, and at Columbian College, D. C, at which latter- place he graduated. ht school ten years in Vir- ginia before he came to this county. After coming here he taught two years at McMaster's School-house, two years at Pitt's Creek School-house, and has been engaged in the High School for about nine years, in which he is still engaged teaching
Mrs. Millie Primrose, daughter of Thomas F. Stevenson,. Esq., was born at Snow Hill, Md., and was educated at the Academy of that place. In 1869, she entered the High School of Pocomoke City as teach a primary class, and continued in that capacity until 1873 ; when she succeeded Miss Eudora E. Hay in the grammar class, and. has continued teacher of that room until the present. Mrs. Primrose is a lady of fine accomplishments and an efficient teacher.
As an evidence of her efficiency, I will mention the fact, that she has been teaching in the- High School in Pocomoke City for thirteen years, nine years of which she has been in charge of the Grammar School Department without a rival for the position. An interesting item of rare occurrence, in connection with Mrs. Primrose is here inserted.
She is a member of a family of five persons, representing five generations, and each one being the first born of each generation; their state and ages are as follows : Great Grand Father, 86 ; Grand Father. 66; Grand .Mother. 61 ; Mother, 42; Son 17
Formerly New Town. 187
their ages aggregating 276 years, all living in the same house, and all enjoying good health. John W. Murray succeeded Mrs. O'Daniel as teacher of the grammar school department in the High School of Pocomoke City. He was born in New Town, Worcester County, Md., on the 13th day of November, 1848.
From his infancy he was delicate in health. He was educated at the Academy and High School of Pocomoke City, and at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn. He had an ambition to excel; he was studious and with a close application, made great progress in learning. He not only studied at school, but at home ; also, he was the last member of the family to retire at night, and the first to arise in the morning poring over his books.
John was also a lover of home, and never seemed happier than when in the society of his mother. Touching remembrances of him come up before me as I write this article, which brings the tear unbidden irom its place. Frequently in the family we would be discussing the subject of the hard struggles for an honorable livelihood, and the various casualties to which we might be subjected, when John would exclaim : "Mother," said he, "I intend to take care of you."
To illustrate his industry I will mention an incident which has always been a great satisfaction to me. At a certain commencement, the scholars as was always the case, had their pieces to get by heart against the day of exhibition. On the day appointed the large building was crowded. John's turn came to speak. The piece assigned him was a declamation of a Roman General before the Roman Senate.
188 History of Pocomoke City,
As he approached the rostrum the principal remarked to the large audience that "Mr. Murray had only two weeks to translate that speech into English and commit it to memory besides attending to his other regular studies. He made the speech successfully, and in leaving the stand and while walking down the aisle to his seat, I noticed the eyes of all were upon him. I felt prouder that day to be the father of such a young man than the possessor of millions of money.
After teaching at Stockton and in the High School in Pocomoke City, he went to Dickinson College to finish his education? for he was ambitious to graduate with nothing; short of the highest honors conferred upon a completion of a college course ; but here his strength failed him, and he had to give up the struggle. He went to Arkansas to regain his health, but the trip only helped to shorten his days.
He came home to his native place and lingered for two years with that fatal disease, Consumption, when, like the evening zephyr that hushes into silence at nightfall, he passed away in hope of a blissful immortality on the 27th day of April, 1873, in the 25th year of his age. Eulogies have been heaped upon him . After he received his certificate from the School Board of the county the examiner was in Pocomoke City and said he was an honor to his parents and a credit to his native town. One who was associated with him in school and knew well his knowledge of Latin and Greek, said to me that John could read Latin as fluently as be could read English.
Formerly New Town. 189
The principal of the High School and the president of Dickinson College both spoke to me in high terms of his intellect and his acquirements. His text books of English, Latin, Greek, French and German, which I still keep as reminisces of him, remind me of the long hours he would be poring over them.
190 History of Pocomoke City, CHAPTER XXX. SCHOOLS (CONTINUED.)
George S. Bell, Esq., was an assistant in the New Town High 'School. He was born in Northampton County, Ya. He was educated at Snow Hill and Pocomoke City, Md., at Newark College, Del., and at the Theological Seminary, Princeton, N. J. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the New Castle Presbytery about the year 1875. He supplied a pulpit in the State of New York and afterward received a call to the Presbyterian Church in Wrightsville, Penn., which he is now acceptably filling.
Mr. Bell was a close student, had a good mind and has reflected a credit upon himself in view of his elevation. Miss Eudora E. Hay succeeded John W. Murray as teacher of the grammar school department in the High School of Pocomoke City, and continued in that relation for two years when she retired, and afterward procured a situation as teacher in the schools of Wilmington, Del. Ebenezer Hearn was born in New Town, Worcester County, Md., on the 26th day of November, 1854. He commenced going to school at 8 years ot age. Left school in July, 1873. Served as an assistant to the princi- pal of the High School in 1874. Engaged in mercantile business with E. H. Clarke from 1874 to 1877.
Formerly New Town. 191
I 11 l877» he received an appointment from the Trustees of Rehoboth Academy, in Somerset County, as principal which position he still holds, and that school is recognized by the school board of Somerset County, as one of the best schools in the county. Ebenezer Hearn is a young man in whose favor it would be difficult for me to say too much. His mental, moral and religious qualities are of such a character as to entitle him to the highest praise of all who know him, and to positions of trust and responsibility.
Richard A. Wilson, an assistant to the principal of the High School in Pocomoke City, was a native of Cannonsburg, Penn. He was educated at Jefferson College. He studied law, graduated and removed to Missouri, where he is now practicing law. Miss Fannie Matthews is a native of Accomac County, Va. Her parents died while she was quite young, and she was taken in charge by her aunt, Miss Jane Porter, who is living in the City of Baltimore, and there in the Western High School she was educated.
In 1873, a vacancy being open in the High School of Pocomoke City, Miss Fannie was appointed to fill that vacancy, and, during the seven years of her instructions, which closed up with 1881, she exhibited such wisdom in the instruction of her class, as caused it to be said that her place in the school would be hard to fill. By her adaptation as a teacher she has gained the highest respect of the trusters of the High School, and as a lady she is known only to be esteemed.
192 History of Pocomoke City,
There is no one upon whom she has made a more indelible impression in this direction than the principal of the High School. Indeed she contemplated, very seriously, too, a change of name, and finally concluded that she was tired of her old name and would accept of one that was more handy and she became the happy bricle of Dr. Sidney W. Hardy, principal of the High School of Pocomoke City. John S. McMaster was born in New Town, on the 29th day of December, 1859. He was educated partly at the High School in Pocomoke City, partly at Newark College, Del., and is finishing his education at Lafayette College,. Penn., where he will no doubt graduate with honor.
Mr.. McMaster is a young man of promise; his aim is the profession of the law as his life work. He will make his- mark and be an honor to his name and to his native town. As a teacher in the High School, he acquitted himself with honor. William S. Dix is a native of Accomac County, Va., but his father moving to Somerset County, Md., he was educated at the Washington Academy, near Princess Anne, and at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn. At the time Mr. Dix went to the Washington Academy it was a school of renown, having for its principal the Rev. Francis Waters, D.D., a man of celebrity.
After he resigned the Rev. Robert M. Laird, a Presbyterian minister, was appointed principal in his place, having the Hon. Isaac D. Jones for an assistant.
Formerly New Town. 193
Mr. Dix engaged as teacher in the High School of New Town in 1875, and for six consecutive years he continued in that capacity, when at the close of the school term in 1881, he retired from the school. Mr. Dix is a man of high moral worth and he has the respect of all who know him as a christian gentleman. Hilary T. Stevenson and Dr. Julius T. Hall were teachers in the New Town High School, but as I have taken notice of them under another heading, I shall here pass them by.
The Misses Maggie Webb, Rose Tull, Emma Robinson, Ella Scott, Rose Marshall and Sallie Henderson were all good and efficient teachers. The last three named are still teaching in the High School. In closing up this account of the High School in Pocomoke City I will state that there are on the school roll in regular attendance 235 scholars.
I have failed to notice heretofore two of our young men of promise and consequently will have to notice them here. Edward J. Clarke, son of Littleton T. Clarke, deceased, was born in New Town on the first day of September, 1860. After the death of his father, which event occurred when he was but six years of age, the Rev. John W. Pierson being an intimate friend of his father and taking a liking to the youth, by the consent of his mother, took him into his own family and under his own guardian care to raise and educate him. He remained with Mr. Pierson until he was sixteen years of age, during which time he was schooled at the Academy in Snow Hill and Pocomoke City High School.
194 History of Pocomoke City,
At the age of sixteen he entered St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., where he remained five years. At the age of twenty-one he graduated, standing well up in his class. After this he taught school at Whaleyville, Worcester County, Md., one year. He is now employed as teacher in the High School of Pocomoke City. Mr. Clarke is a young man of promise and with application will make his mark.
Austin H. Merrill, son of William H. S. Merrill, was born in New Town on the 1st day of June, 1859. He was a student in the High School of this place until he was eighteen years of age, at which time he entered the Delaware College at New Ark, Del. His education at this period was sufficient to justify his entering the Sophomore Class. He graduated with the first honor, taking the decree of A. I]., and chosen valedictorian of his class. He taught school two years as principal of the Temperanceville Graded School. He then entered the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia, Penn., where he graduated with honor. Mr. Merrill is just entering the arena of public life, having in contemplation the law as his life work, and with application on his part and no unforeseen event happening to blast the fond hopes of his friends, he will, it is anticipated, be the peer of the first jurists of Maryland and of whom his friends and the citizens of Pocomoke City have just cause to feel proud.
Formerly New Town.. 195
The school for the education of colored children in Pocomoke City was established directly after the free school system became a law in the State. This school has been kept up ever since, and is today a graded school of primary and grammar school departments.
There are on the school roll 117 scholars. The school is taught by a principal and one assistant. These teachers are quite efficient and the school is advancing. The principal, David W. Ogden, is a native of New Jersey. He attended a primary and grammer school in that State until he was sixteen years of age, when he entered Lincoln University, in Chester County, Penn. After applying himself closely for five years, he graduated with honor in 1880.
The following is the basis upon which the colored school is sustained. The school receives from the county the proportion of county taxes paid by the colored people in the county, which amounts to about eleven cents on the one hundred dollars. In addition to this the State makes a special appropriation of $100,000 annually for all the schools throughout the State, of which Worcester County receives about $3,600.
196 History of Pocomohe City, CHAPTER XXXI. CHURCHES.
As the churches are a very important factor in the history of Pocomoke City, it will be necessary, in order to give an intelligent showing of each church, to take them up in the order of time in which they were established, and bring their history down to the present time.
As the Methodist Episcopal Church is the first one of which we have any record, we will begin with- it first. But before we proceed with the history of this church it will be necessary and proper to remark that it has been said that there was a Presbyterian log church built on the lot which was called, when I was a boy, the Sacher lot. This was a nickname for Zachariah, as it belonged to one Zachariah Lambertson. This lot has been more recently known as the Adreon lot. which at present belongs to William J. S. Clarke. Upon this lot tradition says this house was built.
In the history of the Maryland Colony we have this record, that a certain Col. William Stevens, with others, got up a petition and sent it to the Presbytery of Laggan, Ireland, in 1680, for a minister of the gospel to come to the colony and preach the gospel and look after the scattered adherents of the Presbyterian faith.
Formerly New Town. 197
This call was promptly obeyed, and in 1682, they sent over the Rev.Francis Makemie, a man of learning, sagacity and courage, by whom or under whose supervision, tradition says this church was built. If this tradition can be relied on, there is no doubt, but that it was the first Presbyterian Church ever built in America. But there is a history of the Presbyterian Church in America extant, which would seem to refute the statement of the Traditional Church. I allude to the history of the Presbyterian Church in America, by Irving Spence, a member of that church and a learned Lawyer, who speaks definitely and clearly of the Pitt's Creek and Rehoboth Churches being the first Presbyterian Churches ever built in America.
He never once intimates that such a church ever existed as the Traditional Church at New Town. There is, however, some supposable ground for the existence of this church. Mr. Makemie, in coming to the Colony and up the Pocomoke River, prospecting, may have at first view, concluded that this was the very place to commence operations, and hence, the erection of the log church ; but subsequently, he may have discovered that, Rehoboth and Pitt's Creek were prominent centers, at which he could more effectually advance the interests of his cause, and hence, the abandonment of the old log church.
198 History of Pocomoke City,
Now to proceed with the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town. The Church was built in 1808, on the site where the present one stands. But the church, proper as an organized body, existed in New Town, long years before the house was built. This fact, I think can be established, beyond a doubt, by two considerations. First, the preachers sent to the Continent by Mr. Wesley, before the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1784, and those belonging to it afterwards, operated in New York City, Philadelphia, the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and some of them down through the Eastern Shore Counties of Maryland and Virginia, and so efficient was their preaching that, at an early date the Peninsula was a garden spot of Methodism. Indeed the gospel was like a sally of light coming down the Peninsula, and its messengers were flaming heralds entering every open door, and preaching unto the people, Jesus and the resurrection, with all boldness.
In 1778, Francis Asbury, not being permitted to preach the gospel in Maryland, retired to Delaware, where, at the house of Judge White, he found a congenial retreat, for about two years, in order to escape impressment, by the British forces, to light against the colonies. In 1780.
Freeborn Garrettson a native ol Western Maryland, was imprisoned in Cambridge jail, Dorchester County, for preaching the gospel. I mention these incidents of Asbury and Garrettson, with their dates to show that Methodism was already a settled fact in Delaware, and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia.
Formerly New Town. 199
I cannot wonder at the success of the gospel, when its message was borne by such men as Bishops Thomas Coke D. D. Francis Asbury, Richard Whatcoat, and the associates, such as Freeborn Garrettson, Benjamin Abbott, Lorenzo Dow, and a host of others who were co-labon with them, who counted not their lives dear into themselves so that they might bear the gospel message and be instrumental in saving sinners.
The second, consideration is the establishment of the circuit work, embracing preaching appointments at Littleton Long's house, where Major Merrill now lives ; at William Melvin's, father of Rev. Avra Melvin, where Col. William J. Aydelotte now lives, and at Capt. Jaires Furnis' house in New Town ; this house is at present, owned by Mrs. Tipton. At these places the gospel was preached, classes formed and prayer-meetings established. So early and so thoroughly was Methodism established in New Town, that in 1800, Avra Melvin was licensed to preach the gospel, being at the time about twenty years of age, and when his father, who was an officer in the church, died, he preached his funeral.
Not only New Town but, the entire surrounding country was brought under the influence of Methodism in the latter part of the last century, so that we may safely conclude that the date of its introduction in New Town reaches back to about 1790. Some account of the pioneer Methodist preachers on the peninsula may be interesting to the reader.
200 History of Pocomoke City,
But as there are biographies of each one of them extant, it will only be necessary to make some passing remarks with some incidents of their lives. Thomas Coke, LL.D., was a native of England, a man of letters. Was ordained the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He died at sea while on a missionary tour to another land at the probable age of sixty years.
Bishop Asbury, in preaching his funeral by request of Conference, makes the following remarks of him
■ "He was of the third branch of Oxonian Methodists, a gentleman, a scholar, and a bishop to us, and as a minister of Christ, in zeal, in labors and in services, the greatest man of the last century." Richard Whatcoat, bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church was a native of England. Until information of his death Bishop Asbury makes the following note of him in his journal : "That father in Israel and my laithful friend for forty years, a man of solid parts : a self-denying- man of God : who ever heard him speak an idle word ? when was guile found in his mouth? He had been thirty- eight years in the ministry : sixteen years in England, Wales and Ireland, and twenty-two years in America; twelve years as Presiding Elder, four of this time he was stationed in the cities or traveling with me ; and six years in the superintendency.
A man so uniformly good I have not known in Europe or America. He died in Dover, Del., on the 5th day of July, 1806."
Formerly New Town 201,
Francis Asbury was also a native of England. He came to this 'country by the direction of Mr. Wesley in 1771, being then about 25 years of age. He was elected bishop at the conference of 1784, held in the city of Baltimore, and was emphatically and truly, the pioneer Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In labors more abundant, traveling- on horseback and in carriage, averaging •a. great deal of the time 5,000 miles a year, his route extending from Georgia to Massachusetts, and as far West as Kentucky and Ohio. He pursued this route through heat and cold, through rain and storm, in winter and summer, over hills, barrens, swamps,, and Savannahs, fording rivers, creeks, etc., for thirty- two years in the Episcopacy until he was literally worn out by his arduous labors superintending the interests of the Church of Christ.
In 1816, while on his way to the General Conference, to be held in the City of Baltimore in the following May, he halted at the house of George Arnold in Spott- sylvania, Va., and there he died on the 21st day of March, 1816, in the 71st year of his age. He was afterward carried to Baltimore and buried under the pulpit of the Eutaw Methodist Episcopal Church of that city.
In speaking of Benjamin Abbott I will say he was a native of New Jersey, and although he may never have preached in New Town, yet he aided very materially in bringing the gospel down through the peninsula. He was a man of great pulpit power, and in many instances sinners fell prostrate under the preaching of the word by him, as dead men.
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