Sunday, June 2, 2013

TIME MACHINE ... 1952, 1850, 1933, 1914, 1906

(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)
May, 1952
(The Salisbury Times)

Several Mysterious Explosions Shake Shore Naval Base Area

CHINCOTEAGUE- First came the big boom. Buildings on the Navy base shivered and shook. Residents of the naval station ran outdoors, fearing an explosion or a bomb. They complained of intense pressure on the ear drums.

Then came another boom. The concussion was of equal intensity. Then another. And another. And another.

The naval base switchboard became jammed with telephone calls. Everyone wanted to know what was going on to interrupt the Saturday afternoon serenity of the Eastern Shore of Virginia for miles around.

Officers began immediately to determine the source of the concussion. It didn't take long to find out that it wasn't coming from the naval base.

That started off an investigation in the Fifth Naval District by the Navy to find out what was the cause. So far nothing has turned up from Norfolk headquarters to shed any light on the origin of the mystery blasts from seaward.

Reports were received from at least two points in Accomack County that the blasts shook plaster off the walls. One report came from the ancient Accomack County courthouse in Accomac, 20 miles away. A home owner in Chincoteague said plaster was knocked off his walls.

It was heard in Onancock, 28 miles away. Folks in Pocomoke City heard the blasts, too. People in Pocomoke City, like those on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, are used to target practice with big guns in nearby Chesapeake Bay. But these blasts, they said, were the severest of all. Nobody counted the number, but the Navy said there were "several."

The Navy didn't discount the possibility of a distant thunderstorm as the cause, saying maybe freak atmospheric conditions caused the concussion to have such intensity.

There was also a possibility that freak conditions could have caused the concussion to stem from firing ranges many miles from here.

The blasts were heard between 2:30 and 4 P.M. Saturday.

What deepens the mystery is the knowledge throughout the armed forces that Saturday is traditionally a day off except in an emergency, hence why would any service units be in action? No emergency in this area is known to exist.

August, 1850
(Burlington Hawk Eye- Burlington, Iowa)

Henry A. Wise.- The Snow Hill (Md) Shield, published in Worcester County, opposite Accomac(k), Va., states that at a reform meeting, held in Temperanceville, on Saturday, Mr. Wise, who is a candidate for the Virginia reform convention, provoked an altercation with Mr. David Wallop, an influential democrat, who opposes Mr. Wise's election. Mr. Wise is said to have made some reckless declaration, which Mr. Wallop pronounced a "d______d lie." (newspaper's spelling.) Upon this, Mr. Wise dealt him a blow, which would probably cost Wise his life, but for the interference of bystanders, who prevented further difficulty. Wallop is still unredressed; and as both are men of high mettle, "the end is not yet."
(Time Machine archive, Sept., 2011)

Thanks to former Pocomoke resident M.W. of Columbia, Md. for contributing the following item this week:

The newest issue of the Keystone - the magazine of the Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Society - has an interesting article about another Eastern Shore train wreck. At about 3:15 in the morning on April 2, 1933, the Northbound Cavalier passenger express derailed in Wyoming Delaware - just south of Dover - killing the engineer and fireman, injuring numerous passengers, and destroying much of the Wyoming Ice and Cold Storage Plant. What makes the story interesting is that the Boston Red Sox baseball team occupied the back 3 Pullman cars of the train. They had played a spring training exhibition game in Norfolk, and were on their way north to Newark for another exhibition game. So they had boarded the train in Norfolk, which was then floated across the train car ferry to Cape Charles, and then North through Delmarva with brief layover in Delmar where the train changed crews. Article gives lots of details about the investigation and determination of cause of crash etc. The Red Sox team players were not injured, but got off the train and helped other passengers and received a lot of praise. The team trainer provided first aid until police and ambulance crews arrived. Just another interesting bit of shore history.

January, 1914
(The Daily News- Frederick, Md.)

The Bible In The Schools

A bill introduced in the House by Mr. Gatch, of Baltimore County, by request, makes compulsory the reading of a chapter of the Bible at the daily opening exercises of each public school in the State.
May, 1906
(Ledger-Enterprise, Pocomoke City)

(Excerpts of facts about Worcester County)

The banks of the county are the First National and the Commercial, at Snow Hill; the Pocomoke National, the Citizen's National and E. G. Polk's Savings Bank at Pocomoke City; the C. B. Taylor Banking Company, the private bank of L. L. Dirickson, Jr., the Exchange Savings Bank, at Berlin; the Stockton Bank, at Stockton, and the George L. Barnes & Company at Girdletree. The individual deposits subject to check, as shown by the last statements, aggregate over $1,450,000.

The Equitable Building and Loan Association of Snow Hill is now building a handsome home in Snow Hill, and will open a banking department soon.

Pocomoke City, Snow Hill and Ocean City have excellent electric light and water works systems. The lines of the Diamond State Telephone Company and the Pocomoke Telephone Company cover the county in every direction, and first-class town and county service is given by both companies, and through the Diamond State Telephone Company first-class long-distance service is also given.

There are five newspapers in the county: the Democratic Messenger at Snow Hill; the LEDGER-ENTERPRISE and Worcester Democrat, at Pocomoke City; the Berlin Herald and the Berlin Advance at Berlin.
The schools rank among the highest in the State. The religious denominations represented by churches are the Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Southern Methodist, Old School Baptists, the Disciples of Christ, New School Baptist and Roman Catholics. There are 86 white and 20 colored schools in the county.

The county Court House is one of the handsomest on the Peninsula and was built around 1895 at a cost of about $35,000. The jail was built at the same time and thoroughly equipped. 

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. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

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