Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Robert Guy Barbour Describes the Port Tobacco Times

In past blog entries we have made reference to "the Barbour map" of Port Tobacco. Robert Guy Barbour (1885-1958) was a resident of Port Tobacco. Robert took the time to document the Port Tobacco he remembered as a child. These recollections were compiled into a booklet by James L. Barbour, Sr.

The booklet, "Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland, Prior to 1895: A Collection of Sketches of Early Structures and the Town Plan" has provided the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project with important insight into the town's layout circa 1894. In addition to the overall town map, Barbour sketched many of the buildings that are no longer standing. Each sketch is accompanied by a caption that provides some background on the structure.

One of the structures sketched by Barbour is the home of the Port Tobacco Times, a local newspaper. Barbour describes it as follows:

"The printing press was in the basement and was turned by hand. John Hawkins got $1.00 to turn the press for each edition. It took about six hours every Thursday night. Type was set on upper floor, then was lowered to the basement through a hole in the floor. The basement was of brick, the upper story was frame with wood shingles."

Descriptions such as this are invaluable to archaeologists as they excavate building remains. Thanks to Robert and his son Jim for sharing their knowledge with us.


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