This place (Newtown) is a pretty snug little village, containing about 500 clever and hospitable inhabitants; it has good wide streets, quite clear of that "eye sore," known mostly over the Peninsula by the name of "deep sand"; the houses, though built of frame, are generally built substantially and with some discretion and taste; there are two neat, new, and quite handsome frame churches in it; as for the merchants of the place, suffice it to state that they are very clever and hospitable. F. Mezick, Esq., the landlord with whom I stopped, and his very obliging and jolly assistant, are richly deserving of a passing notice, for the good treatment and the extension of the many civilities to "the stranger."
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(The Star-Democrat, Easton)
Memories of Steamboat Days
Myra Lorene Boggs. "Memories of Steamboat Days" Peninsula Enterprise (Accomac, Va.: July 5, 1956)
Cedar View, formerly called "Buzzard Hill," was a steamboat landing further down on Nandua. There must have been some kind of landing here many years ago. It was at this place a July 4th celebration ended in tragedy — one person was killed by a cannon shot — a terrible storm came up and several persons were drowned. Nandua was more than a playground for children. It was one of the biggest shipping points on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I've known as many as two boats to load here in a day — and still leave vehicles (carts, wagons and a few trucks) in line for a quarter mile out the road waiting to be unloaded.
Principally the cargo was sweet potatoes or Irish potatoes. They were truly the "good" old steamboat days.
Among the boats serving this area regularly were the Maggie, built in 1869; the Helen, built in 1871; the Tangier, the Pocomoke, the Tivoli, the Maryland, and others. But the best loved of all was the grand old side-wheeler, the Eastern Shore. It was on the Eastern Shore, while studying music in Baltimore, I made seventeen trips in seventeen weeks.
On Occohannock Creek were Concord Wharf, Davis Wharf, Reed's (now Morley) Wharf, Shields Wharf and Rue's Wharf. Each landing had its share of freight and passengers. On certain trips the steamer "laid over" at Rue's Wharf for the night, starting early next morning for the return trip to Baltimore, touching at various landings on its way.
Some of the boats would make early morning landings in Onancock Creek at Onancock, Finney's Wharf and Mears — then go on up the Pocomoke River, making different landings and "lay over" for the night at Pocomoke.
Coming and going practically all the boats stopped at Crisfield, where there was usually a good cargo of seafood, quite a number of passengers and in the summer, a great many mosquitoes.
Other stops along the route were Tangier Island, Ford's Wharf and Deal's Island.
During the time of the Eastern Shore Steamboat Co., Mr. T. A. Joynes was the purser on the Eastern Shore. Later, he was Supt. of the B. C. and A. He was a most agreeable host to travelers, as was Mr. Frank Battaile and many acting as pursers, as well as the different captains and various others, including Mr. Foster the night watchman and Mr. Ned Brittingham (now living in Pitts Wharf area), who left steamboating, to go back to the Alaskan Yukon in search of gold. Everyone on the boat, deck hands and waiters, were faithful to their trust and did all in their power to add to passenger comfort and pleasure. Not the least of these was Jonah Bradford, a colored man, who for many years was head waiter.
Often when there was an extra supply of cold watermelon, ice cream or some other eatables, a group of us would enjoy a late night snack.
If the boat was not too crowded — some of us would dance, or perhaps gather around the piano and have an informal song fest. Yes, for the most part, it was like a big family party on a pleasant outing.
As Mr. Leaverton stated the food was excellent, well served, everything in abundance and price for dinner was 50 cents. The boats were kept spotlessly clean. Many Baltimoreans made the round trip just for pleasure.
Amid the pleasant memories there are some sad ones. The Eastern Shore made an annual excursion to Old Point. It was a delightful daylight ride. Many family groups carried lunch, but as usual, they served excellent food. We reached Old Point in late afternoon, spent the evening there as we pleased and left Old Point about midnight.
Dick Johnson had been a deckhand for many years. He was jolly, quite good natured and liked by everyone. On one of these excursions, while the boat was docked at Old Point Dick was helping someone up the gang-plank. There was no rail, Dick lost his balance, fell overboard and was drowned.
Another sad incident was the burning of the Tivoli and later the Maryland. Still another was the drowning of a handsome young officer from Fairmount, Md. The boat was stopped to help some men who had been stranded and were in danger in a small boat. They were saved but in helping to save them Nivette Mires was drowned. A colored man of our locality was a deckhand on the Tivoli and the Maryland. He helped to save many passengers, and he, so far as I know, is still living.
I could relate many happy instances of these long gone steamboat days, but I must stop someplace.
The Eastern Shore Steamboat Co., the B. C. & A., the Maryland, Del. & Va., the B. C. & O. — all gone. Their day finally ended in 1932.
The old steamboat landings have, for the greater part, gone to decay.
The men, too, who owned or frequented their places have long since passed away.
Trucks take our produce to markets.
Compared to former years, nothing is the same.
Traveling by automobile is very nice but the trip to Baltimore can never be as when the steamboats came.
I hope the readers who knew these lovely steamboat trips will enjoy this little bit of reminiscing as I have the writing.
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"Civil War Profiles: The Battle of Cockle Creek near Chincoteague "
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