Sunday, June 24, 2012

TIME MACHINE ... Heiress Gives Up Society Life For Farming Near Princess Anne.

(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)


September, 1905

(The Galveston Daily News- Galveston, Texas)


Baltimore, Md.- Miss Georgia Gelston Jones, daughter of the late Isaac D. Jones, has given up her fashionable life in Baltimore and ceased to take an active interest in the old First Presbyterian Church, having taken over management of a farm of 400 acres under cultivation and 200 acres in woodland. She has raised one of the largest crops on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Cares of a big farm are just the opposite of the easy life that has been the life of Miss Jones. Her grandfather, Hugh Gelston, was one of the leading merchants and real estate owners of this city in the 40's, and her father was Attorney General under Governor William Pinkney Whyte. Miss Jones inherited wealth from both. She is a cousin of the late Countess Machido of Paris.

When the father of Miss Jones died she fell heir to Arcadia, an estate of 600 acres near Princess Anne, on the Eastern Shore. She soon found she could not get a capable overseer or manager for the place and it was going to wreck and ruin. She closed her ancestral home at Linden Avenue and Hoffman street, boarding up its exterior to protect its rich furniture, works of art, and fine linen, placed the family silverware in storage and decided to go to Princess Anne to run the farm herself.

The estate lies on the bank of the Manokin River, and is crowned by a large and roomy old mansion. Fifty thousand dollars has been refused for the place. A wooded lawn stretches away in front of the house, a score of negroes are in the fields busy cutting corn and a heard of Jersey cattle roams over the place.

"I did not come here to live, or, rather, I did not come here to stay," said Miss Jones. "I came here fully intending to get a good tenant, to get the dear old place, the house of my father and the home of my childhood, straightened up. I failed to get the kind of tenant I wanted. In the meantime I am managing it myself."

"It had been under the care of tenants who seemed to make money for themselves but not for my father, and none for me when I came into possession of it. I urged my father to sell it, but he thought he could get returns from the farm equal to a 6 percent investment. Year after year passed and expected returns came not. All the time it was falling into bad repair."

"Imagine my consternation, and, indeed, my grief, when I saw the fences down, the lawn covered with sedge grass, the front porch a dishevelled wreck, the house badly lacking paint. Before I reached the house I set the sedge grass on fire. The neighbors thought there was a big conflagration on the place. I made my way amid the smoke to the house I had loved so dearly. It did not seem to be the same house, and I could hardly realize that within the same walls only a few years ago had gathered some of the most prominent men and women of the State and that here had been heard their gay laughter. Why, in the living rooms in the days of my father I had seen twenty-five guests assembled, the flower of Maryland."

"Mad? I was so mad I did not know what to do. No, I didn't cry, though I am a woman. I wanted to restore the dear old place, and I wanted to restore it all at once. I was too busy with my plans to cry. I could not get rid of the tenant, for he had a lease that would not expire for six months. When that period was up I came into undisputed possession and I set about my work of restoration."

"I advertised for a tenant. I got replies by the hundred. I picked out a young man who seemed to be capable. He stayed here for a while and then received an offer to go to West Virginia to engage in some kind of construction work. He employed all of the industrious negroes of the community on the promise of good wages. He carried them as far as Baltimore, where he heard a big strike was going on in West Virginia. He did not go any farther and the negroes had to return as best they could."

"The next tenant was a married man with children. I built a tenement for him, a nice two-story house. Well, he came. He had not been here long when the men of the place asked me what they should do. It was then 11 o'clock. I told them to get the manager and get their orders from him. But he was not to be found. I went to his house. What do you suppose he was doing? He was playing the organ. He told me he did not like to give up his music. I told him I employed him as a farmer, not as a musician. Well, I got rid of him."

"Would-be purchasers came. But when I asked them to put up a sufficient cash deposit before they cut off the timber they declined. I had all kinds of troubles. Everybody seemed to think he could make any kind of bargain with me , simply because I am a woman, but I still have the farm. Even if I am a woman I know something about law. I learned it from my father."

"You can see I have restored the farm to what it was, in greater part, during my father's lifetime. This year I beat all my neighbors in raising wheat. My wheat averaged thirty-five bushes to the acre. I have been told the average in the county was twenty-five bushels. So remarkable was the yield and of such fine quality was the grain that the Chamber of Commerce of Baltimore passed most favorably upon it. I have been in receipt of hundreds of letters from all parts of the United States asking for seed wheat. My neighbors said I sowed more to the acre then they did, and yet I sowed only a bushel to the acre, while they sowed a bushel and a half."

"My oat crop was equally satisfactory. The yield was 100 bushes to the acre. I don't know how my corn crop is going to turn out, but it certainly looks promising."

"I derive pleasure from farming, in a way. I would find it a greater pleasure if I could get the kind of help I want. I like farm life."

Footnotes: More on Arcadia:

More on Isaac D. Jones: 


April, 1990

The production line at the Campbell Soup frozen foods plant made its final run marking the end of operations at the Pocomoke facility and the loss of 200 jobs. Some of the workers were to be transferred to Campbell's Salisbury plant. The Pocomoke closing was part of a Campbell's worldwide restructuring program that also resulted in the closing of the company's Mrs. Paul's plant in Crisfield.

Footnote: In later years the Salisbury plant would close. 


January, 1952

Dedication was set for a Catholic Church for Pocomoke City. The newly constructed building on Market Street Extended would have seating accommodations for 200. For about ten years Catholic worship services had been held at the Pocomoke armory. Cost of the new church building was $50,000. 



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just love this story about Miss Georgia Gelston Jones.