Sunday, September 4, 2011

TIME MACHINE ... When The Pocomoke Fire Siren Sounded For A Very Unique Reason; Describing Local Towns In 1800; 1950's Music Concerns!

September, 1953
(This is the fire siren story)

At the 'ol ball game!

During the days of a 1953 protest by Pocomoke City's baseball team in the Central Shore League over the postponement of a play-off game between Pocomoke and Crisfield, legendary Salisbury Times Sports Editor Ed Nichols recalled an incident from more than a decade earlier:

One memorable night years ago the tool shed at the Pocomoke City ball park was getting a battering.

Inside was an umpire, Ed Toach, we believe, who the hostile fans wanted to get their hands on. He'd done 'em wrong they screamed.

The chief of police extinguished the hot tempers finally by having the fire siren blown loud and long. The only fire blazing in Pocomoke then was around that tool shed. This mournful screeching stimulated the curiosity of the angry crew. Off they hustled up town to find out they had been tricked.

But it was too late. Toach was hustled out of town, saved by the fire bell.

They were the old blood and thunder days of the Eastern Shore (D) League, 1937-1941.

Footnote: The later dispute in 1953 was in the news for a number of days and was written about in detail. For anyone who might be interested in reading those articles contact me at and I'll email them to you.

May, 1884

(The Denton Journal)

A Philadelphia correspondent of the Marylander, published at Princess Anne, Somerset County, has found in an old geography some interesting descriptions of Eastern Shore towns as they were in 1800.

(Lower Eastern Shore towns described)

Snow Hill is a port of entry. It is situated on the east side of the Pocomoke River, and is built upon a remarkable sand hill, as white as snow. The tide rises about two feet and a half; the river opposite the town is ten feet deep. The town contains about 70 houses, principally old low wooden buildings. It has a court house, a jail, a Presbyterian and an Episcopal Church. A bridge is built over the river, which is here about 10 yards wide. Snow Hill was established in 1686. The lands for miles around are sandy and barren.

Salisbury contains about 35 houses and an Episcopal Church, and was established in 1732. The inhabitants trade with Baltimore,in lumber, which is conveyed down the river about three miles in flat-bottomed boats, where it is received by larger vessels.

Princess Anne, a post town, and the seat of justice for Somerset County. It is situated at the head of the Manokin River, 15 miles from its entrance into Pocomoke Sound, and contains about 40 dwellings and an elegant Episcopal Church. A bridge is built over the river. Near the west end of the bridge is a Presbyterian Church. Princess Anne was established in 1732, and is 153 miles from Washington city.

Of Deal's Island the book has the following account: "Devil's Island is about four miles long and one and three-quarter miles broad, containing 2,800 acres. Demiquarter is a small island contiguous to Devil's Island. Both islands consist mostly of marsh, not withstanding they have several families living on them."

Footnote: In 1800 Newtown was just a very small settlement along the river in the area that is present day Pocomoke City, however growth was on the horizon. Norma Miles and Robin Chandler-Miles write in their book Images of America Pocomoke City "By 1809, nine lots had been sold, and by 1820, more than 150 people were living in the area in 28 dwellings and supporting seven or eight small businesses." The 1800 geography listed Cambridge as having about 50 houses, and Easton about 200 dwellings.


What Some Were Saying In The 1950's About Rhythm & Blues, Elvis Presley, and Rock & Roll.

March, 1955
(Opening portion of article)

HOLLYWOOD, March 16 (UP)- The current craze among teen-agers for rhythm-and-blues songs with racy lyrics has become a sizzling controversy around the country. A rhythm-and-blues tune, or "R & B," as devotees call it, has a jazz two-beat that some musicians call "barbaric" or "dirty." Usually there's a honking saxophone behind the blues-whaling lyrics.

But one anti-R&B disk jockey, Peter Potter of "Jukebox Jury," snorted today it isn't the music the kids go for "but the filthy lyrics."

"Teach Me Tonight" is what Potter calls a "watered down R & B." When the DeCastro Sisters' record of that song first appeared, several columnists blasted the lyrics that proclaim among other things, "Graduation's almost here my love, teach me tonight."

September, 1956

A Parade Magazine feature article opened with the following:

As most Americans know by now no entertainer in history has provoked so violent a hatred in one age bracket of the public and so fanatical a loyalty in another as Aaron Elvis Presley.

This guitar strumming Tennessean of 21 who can read no music, who sports a ducktail haircut and 3-inch sideburns, who wiggles like a snake as he chants rock 'n' roll love lyrics, has in little more than a year skyrocketed from unknown truck driver to the most controversial singer in the nation.

Sociologists denounce him as the outlet for mass teenage sex feelings. Clergymen call him a riot inciter. Parents describe his act as obscene, indecent, savage, degenerate. John Crosby, widely respected TV critic terms him "unspeakably vulgar."

Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper writes: "I applaud parents of teenagers who work to get the blood and horror gangster stories off TV. They should work harder against the new alleged singer, Elvis Presley." And from England music critic Tom Richardson chimes in: "I have never met Elvis Presley, but already I dislike him...I know that this man is dangerous."

May, 1957

Writing in the San Mateo Times writer Bob Foster's column titled Rock 'N' Roll Hurts TV 'Your Hit Parade' included these comments:

The fact is the music is completely out of the hands of the "Hit Parade" people. There is so much Rock 'N Roll on the show that adult audiences cringe instead of enjoying the goings on. Ten thirty PM Saturday on NBC is rapidly becoming a time to avoid than to wait for.

This music is exceedingly bad music sung by artists with about as much talent as the average high school glee club member. The music and its proponents are killing one of TV's here-to-fore finest shows.

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two or more if you wish. Your name won't be used unless you ask that it be. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very ingenious of the police chief.