Saturday, February 16, 2008
Yesterday, working with Pete at the Maryland State Archives, I examined several microfilm copies of the Manufacturing Schedules of the US Census for the years 1850, 1860, and 1880. The Archives didn't have one for 1870, or at least I haven't found it yet. The census marshals appear not to have submitted returns for the Port Tobacco/First Election District in 1850 and 1860. In 1880, they listed three millers, one of whom was Andrew G. Chapman.
Chapman operated a gristmill and a sawmill on Kerricks Branch of the Wicomico River. The identical descriptions for the motive power--an overshot wheel 4'9" in breadth, turning at 6RPM and generating 16 horsepower under a 23' fall of water--suggests that the two operations were part of the same complex, a not uncommon arrangement, especially where good mill seats are few.
The grist mill had two run of stones (two pairs of milling stones) and could process as much as 200 bushels of grain per day. Three men and a boy worked the mill up to 12 hours a day from May through November and 8 hours a day from November to May. From June of 1879 through May of 1880, they ground 1200 bushels of wheat worth $1500 and 8,000 bushels of grain (probably maize and rye) valued at $5,500. They produced 240 barrels of wheat flour, 448,000 pounds of corn meal, and 30,800 pounds of livestock feed, earning $7,980. The mill did custom work, 'exclusively'; which is to say they were not shipping products aboard but fulfilled only local demand.
The grist mill remained idle nine months of the year, but the sawmill operated six months out of the year, suggesting that the crews moved back and forth between the two operations. The mill used a circular saw to produce 100,000 board feet, valued at $1,000, over the previous twelve months. The crew harvested much of the timber themselves, which probably kept them employed during some of the winter months.
This is, of course, an account of only one mill in one year. We know nothing about earlier operations in the area...yet.
On a personal note, and on behalf of April and Pete, I wish Scott a speedy recovery from his shoulder operation this past week.
Friday, February 15, 2008
The poll is in the left hand column of the blog site. You can review the entries by clicking the link just above the poll.
We would really like to have at least 100 votes by the end of the month.
Everyone has an opinion.
What is yours?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
In Southern Maryland, the majority of people in the 17th through 19th centuries--not just enslaved peoples, but the European American farmers, watermen, and tradesmen--were not literate. In a society in which property was so important, and in which rights to property were consigned to ink and paper, this could have been a problem for many residents. The document reproduced here is an example of a transfer of property rights by William Boswell to Michael Boswell. William closed the deal with his mark: M, or, perhaps, an inverted W for William? Clearly, he could neither read nor write. Because we haven't uncovered any legal dispute over the land warrant, and given the likelihood that William Boswell willingly conveyed rights to a son or brother, William probably was fully cognizant of what the document said, possibly with the reassurances of the man who served as testator, or witness, John Speake.
William Boswell had a warrant from the Lord Proprietary to have surveyed and laid out for him 92 acres. He conveyed that right to Michael. The transcription appears below, although you might want to click on the image to enlarge it and try reading it yourself. The 92 acres became a part of Boswell's Adventure near the head of Port Tobacco Branch and the land of William Boswell in Zachiah Manor.
I do assign and set over unto Michael Boswell of
Charles County ninety two acres of Land Warrant Granted to me out
of his Lordships Land office the ffifth day of August 1725 to
have and to hold the ninety two acres of Warrant from
me and my heirs unto him the said Michael Boswell his
heirs and assigns forever--Witness my hand & seal this 21
this day of August 1725
William M Boswell
Test: John Speake
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Anyway, we will schedule the next first meeting for the second Tuesday in March at which Scott Lawrence, having recovered from shoulder surgery by then, will offer an illustrated talk on the search for and restoration of cemeteries. The topic has a direct bearing on the research at Port Tobacco where we hope to locate and restore the community's cemeteries.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The burial marker of Thomas Howe Ridgate at Betty's Delight in Port Tobacco.
The Chimney House spent much of the 19th century in need of repair and by the 20th century it was nearly lost. Fortuntely, it was saved and is an historic jewel today.
The Chimney House restored
The Chimney House in the 1970's. (Note in the foreground the foundation of the Brawner Hotel.)
Monday, February 11, 2008
For those of you who don't know, April is Archaeology Month in Maryland. Along with statewide events and lectures, there is also the annual symposium held at the Maryland Historical Trust and in March the annual workshop in archaeology. While the event names and dates for Archaeology Month have not been announced, the spring workshop has. It takes place on Saturday March 8, 2008 at the Maryland Historical Trust. Among other topics, Jim will be hosting a talk on mapping a Colonial town site in which he will discuss our ongoing efforts to map the town and outlying areas of Port Tobacco. I am looking forward to not only his talk but the entire day since this will be my first time attending the workshop. More information can be found at the ASM website: http://www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net/workshop.html
The spring symposium will be all about town founding and will be held on April 12th, 2008 at the 1st Presbyterian Church on Duke of Gloucester Street in Annapolis, MD, from 9am-3pm.
News of upcoming events for Maryland Archaeology Month including will be posted here as well.
So stay tuned!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Thanks to all our logo designers!
The poll will remain open (and in the left hand column of the blog) until Feb 29th.