Saturday, February 12, 2011

The History Of Pocomoke By Murray James (25) The End

214 History of Pocomoke City. 


In IS36, Rev. William Quinn settled on his farm adjoin- ing New Town. He was born in Queen Anne's County, Md., about the year 1790. On his father's side he was ol pure Celtic blood, as his name will indicate. At about fifteen years of age he embraced Christianity and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was apprenticed to learn the carriage-making business, but it was discovered that his talent and inclination led in another direction After his majority he joined the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

He traveled several years and then took a supernumerary relation and located in Princess Anne. Md., where he commenced the carriage- making business, having for a partner Teagle Townsend. He afterwards moved to Eastville, Va., where he carried on the carriage-making business for a few years and then came to New Town, Md. In 1840, he took an active relation to his conference, for during the time of his location he sustained a super- numerary relation. He traveled five years and finally retired from the active ministry.

Formerly New Town. 215

During his long so-journ with us, the writer had ample opportunity to know and form his conclusions of him. His intellect was beyond the common order of minds. In his preaching he was clear and forcible, and was good in debate. In his social life, he was of a genial nature, frank and pleasant; if there was one trait of his character that towered above the rest, it was that of forgiveness. The writer can speak from experience upon this feature of his character. When times were perilous, and debate was rife, and sharp cutting words would be used on both sides ; but, when we would meet again, there would be exhibited that same genial, frank and social bearing as though nothing had happened.

He was thrice married, and was father of John W. Ouinn by his first wife, James, William and Lawrence by his second wife, and Doctor Samuel S. Ouinn and Mrs. Vir- ginia Merrill, surviving children by his last wife. During his last sickness he was hopeful and trusting. He died in the latter part of 1867, approximating four score years.

In 1840, the old church was lathed and plastered and became more comfortable, and things in general began to look up somewhat. In 1855, the present commodious house was built ; it cost, probably, three thousand dollars. This church has a large cemetery. The Sabbath School belonging to this church is the mother of Sabbath Schools in Pocomoke City. Some of the most influential men of other churches in Pocomoke City were, when little boys, members of this Sabbath School. It is in quite a flourishing condition, having on the school roll the names of one hundred scholars, and an average of seventy in actual attendance.

216 History of Pocomoke City, 

 The school takes eighty- Sabbath School papers weekly and has 138 volumes in library. The reader will observe that I have not said anything about the long list of the sainted dead, who were members of this church. But I will now say that as a general thing they died well. Oh ! how many, during the last forty five years, have I visited in their death sickness, and have heard the last shout of victory, and witnessed their trumphant death.

Prominent among this long list of the dead, with whom the writer was most intimately acquainted, was Sally Murray, James E. Ouinn, Eljabeth Long, first wife of Jesse Lee Long, and daughter of Genl. Ebenzer Hearn, Amanda C. Clarke, first wife of William J. S. Clarke, Harriet H. Clarvoe. mother of Amanda C. Clarke, Harriet Taylor, grandmother of the children of John H. Clarke by his first wife and Sally E. Hearn. The remembrance of these persons is held very sacred and dear by many who are yet living in Pocomoke City.

These were God's noble children. They are now before the throne clothed in white robes and bear palms of victory in their hands. Oh ! how pleasant it is to call up in memory the christian fellowship with such persons, during their life time and while standing around their dying beds and witnessing their trumphant exit from a world of sorrow, to the home of the blest on the other side of the river.

Formerly New Town. 217

To close up the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town and not give a list in detail of its ministers would be, to say the least of it, a partial history. I shall, therefore, give as correct a list of their names as I am able. I shall first name the Bishops, then the Presid- ing Elders, and lastly the traveling preachers. The Bishops were : Francis Asbury, Beverly Waugh, Edmund S. James, D.D., and Levi Scott, D.D. The Presiding Elders were : Dr. Chandler, Lawrence Lawrenson, Henry White, David Daily, Levi Scott, D.D., Jas. A. Massey, John D. Onins, Thos. J. Thompson, D.D., Henry Colclazer, Adam Wallace, D.D., Solomon Cooper, Vaughn Smith, John L' Taft, N. M. Brown and Thomas J. Williams. The traveling preachers were : Lorenzo Dow, Bayne, Avra Melvin, John Collins, Matthew Sorin, D.D., Lummas, Sparks, William Connally, John A. Roach, D.D., Samuel McElwee, James L. Houston, W T illiam Ouinn, George Lacey, M. D., Isaac R. Willetts, Shepherd Drain, James Hargis, John S. Taylor, Leeds K. Berridge, Charles Karsner, M.D., William Bishop, John Allen, Joshua Turner, Zachariah Webster, [as. A. Brindle, Charles Schock, Thomas J. Burroughs, Charles Hill, Jonathan Turner, Curtis Turner, Robert Pattison, D.D., Daniel Titlow, William Merrill, John F. Chaplain, D.D^ N. W. Bennum, Charles McDermond, Edward G. Erwin, -George S. Conway, T. B. Killiam, John W. Pearson, Jas. Mi 1 er, Albert Jump, George W. Covington, T. E. Mar- 218 History of Pocomoke City, tindale, James Murray, George D. Watson, D.D., A. A. Fisher, Thomas Poulson, William Potter, George W. Wilcox, E, J. Ayres, A. P. Prettyman, William Passwater, William L. P. Bowen, Thomas O. Ayres, Charles A. Grice, Robert Roe, William I. Baine, John D. C. Hanna and George \V. Townsend.

A brief sketch of incidents of some of the above list of preachers, may be of interest to the reader. John Collins was a positive, burly Irishman. He was preaching at a certam place on a certain occasion, and there was a young man in the congregation who stood up during preaching,, much to the annoyance of the preacher ; Johnnie Collins, for that was his ordinary name, seeing the yonng man would not sit down, said : "He wished when a tailor made a coat for a man, that he would publish it, and not put the man who wore it to the unnecessary trouble to stand up in the congregation to show it ; that had the desired effect and settled the young man for the time being. But when the services were over, and Mr. Collins went to get his horse, where he had hitched him, the young man and his young associates were there waiting for him. He called Mr. Collins' attention to the insult which he had passed. "O yes !" said Mr. Collins, "are you the young man that stood up in the congregation during preaching?" "Yes," said the young man, "and I am going to whip you for insulting me so." Johnnie Collins said, "I have preached this morning, and have to ride many miles and preach twice more to-day, and it would be a pity to get a flogging in the bargain."

Formerly New Town. 219 

This kind of talk only made the young man more bold, and he told Mr. Collins to get ready for he was going to whip him, "well !" said Mr. Collins, "if I must, I must, but before you begin this business, I want to inform you that, before I embraced Christianity, my name was fighting Jack Collins, and when I became a Christian, I promised the Lord that I would whip the Devil wherever I found him," and with that he brushed up his sleeves and said, "now come on and I will whip every devil of you." The fight was then over without a blow, and Mr. Collins mounted his horse and rode off.

Another incident is related of Mr. Collins to the following effect. He was leading a colored class, which met on Sunday mornings before preaching, when he called Jacob so and so  before this, however, he was informed that Jacob had stolen a pair of breeches, " Jacob " said he, "let us hear how you are getting along ? ' Jacob said, "my breathering, I-s-e come here to give in my sperience, I've come to tell you that I am sometimes up and sometimes down, but yet my soul is heaven bound, and if you never no more sees me, you may look for me on that mornin', for I spec's to scale heaven and get to glory." As it was usual to give a word of advice or encouragement after the experience was given; Mr. Collins said, "Jacob let me feel your pulse?" Jacob held out his hand and Mr. Collins felt his pulse when all of a sudden, he exclaimed in a loud tone, "what! what ! Jacob does your pulse beat breeches ? breeches,'and then addressing himself to all, the class said, "Jacob has been stealing a pair of breeches !"

 220 History of Pocomoke City, 

Lawrence Lawrenson was a man of great pulpit power, and although it has been said that he was most self-distrusting ; he was an orator of the first magnitude, and were he living now, he would stand abreast the first pulpit orators of the day. Henry White and David Daily were men of precious memory, though very dissimilar in their make up. Henry White was a positive man, he had no compromise to offer in preaching the gospel ; indeed he was the most powerful man in the pulpit, in wielding the Sword of the Spirit that I ever knew.

I have witnessed the effect of his preaching, when with streaming eyes and tremulous limbs, he would deliver his message, the most intelligent men of the place would be in tears like little children. David Daily was placid and pleasant, he was a strong preacher, and was also a poet ; he was one of the committee who revised the hymn book in years past. Matthew Sorin was raised and educated a Roman Catholic, and it has been said that he was intended for the priesthood; but when he embraced Christianity he became a traveling preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. An incident occurred in relation to him while he traveled Snow Hill circuit (which embraced this place), which is here recorded. He was preaching at a certain appointment and some of the most aristocratic of the county were to hear him. During the discourse he said something to which exceptions were taken by one of the above class.

 Formerly New Town. 221 

After the services were over this gentleman stood at the door until Mr. Sorin came out. He called his attention to the remark, and said he was going to whip him for it. They were both large men, standing at least six feet in the clear. If there was any difference in size, I think Mr. Sorin was the lighter of the two; but he was clear built, muscular and plucky. He wore a straight-breasted frock coat that buttoned up to the neck, and when the other told him what he was going to do, he commenced buttoning up his coat until the last button was fastened, when he said to him then : "Sir, it takes a man to whip me.' That was the last of it. He filled some of the best stations in Philadelphia ; became an author, and for distinguished talent, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He died but recently, at the probable age of four score years. In reviewing the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town, I am authorized in saying that it has been a great power for good. It has given force and strength to moral sentiment, and has reached out a helping hand to the lost and straying and has been instrumental in saving an untold number that otherwise might have been lost. It is the mother of churches in New Town, and like a fostering mother, it has furnished to all its sister churches a member now and then. In its present outlook it has church property, including church, parsonage and cemeteries, amounting to, in original cost and present improvements, probably $7,000. It has a membership of ninety members and probationers and a fine Sabbath School, which has already been described.

222 History of Pocomoke City, 

In taking the past year as a basis in calculating the running expenses of this church, including preacher's salary, conference collections, etc., will amount to something over $1,100. It holds a very elevated position as a great evangelizing power, and is now, as it has been in the past, like the beacon-light to the ocean-tossed mariner, warning sinners of the breakers and pointing them to the harbor of rest.


The Methodist Protestant Church was organized in New Town in 1832. The first class formed was composed of Rev. Avra Melvin and wife, Drucilla Powell, Theopilus Powell, Mary Powell, Sarah M. Powell, Com- fort Powell, Levin Davis and wife, William Tilghman, George S. Blades, William Payden, Ibba Chapman, Polly Blades, James Blades, Edward Young and wife, Leah Mills and Thomas Melvin.

The first preachers sent to the circuit were Revs. Avra Melvin and Stephen Taylor. The first preaching places were the old school- house Sally Jones's hotel and Rev. Avra Melvin's house on the the farm now belonging to Col. William J. Aydelotte. The class meetings and sacramental services were held at Mr. Melvin's house. In 1833, the preachers held a camp-meeting on the old Quinton Camp-ground, near Nassawango Creek Bridge. At this camp-meeting the renowned Thomas H. Stockton preached on Sabbath morning. There was a large concourse of people in attendance. After the preliminary service was over the preacher took his text, which embraced the Bible as the sib'ect in der consideration.

"224 History of Pocomoke City, 

While he proceeded to unfold and present, in graphic- style, the blessedness of God's holy book, all eyes were upon him, for he seemed more like a living skeleton or an angel; he raised the Bible from the stand and folding his skeleton arms around it ; he pressed it to his bosom and exclaimed, in the way in which he alone could do it :. "God bless the book ! " Some of the people were greatly moved, not only by his oratory, but by his ghostly appearance, exclaimed : "God bless the man!' Mr. Stockton was a good man, and an orator of the first magnitude.

In 1834, the society purchased of Sally Jones, the piece of ground where the present church now stands, and also an old store house belonging to John Burnett, which stood at the corner of Market and Second Streets, where Henry King, Esq., now lives, this they moved on the ground they had purchased, and fitted it up to worship in. This house stood for four years, when they sold it and built a new one with a belfry, in which they hung the first church bell in New Town. This house, however, was not what they wanted, it was too small and too temporarily- built. In 1853, they built the present one, and it, though a good building is also too small ; and they now have in course of erection, a larger and more commodious temple in a more central part of the city. The foundation has already been laid, and the laying of the cornerstone was conducted with Masonic ceremonies 0:1 the 2nd, day of June, 1882. 'I he dimensions of the church are 40 by 70 feet; the basement is 10 feet between floor and ceiling; the audience room is 20 feet from floor to ceiling.
Formerly New Town. 225 

The tower in front is 14 feet square, and its height is 104 feet. It has a recess for pulpit 14 feet front with 5 feet projection. The main audience room is 40 by 60 feet. The church is two stories high ; the basement is for sabbath school, class and prayer meeting purposes, and the second story is the audience room for preaching. This church when completed will cost, including the cost of the ground, $6,000, and will be the finest temple in Pocomoke City. This church has a membership of one hundred and fifty-three, and a flourishing Sabbath school; composed of six officers, eleven teachers and one hundred and two pupils, with an average of sixty in attendance. The School takes one hundred and twenty-five Sabbbath school papers, and has two hundred and sixty-eight volumes in the library. The property belonging to this church consists of the church, two parsonages and a cemetery, aggregating a value of $5,000, and the new church and ground when completed will add $6,000 more. The whole church property, then, will amount to 11,000 dollars. The running expenses for this church annually amounts to, including preacher's salary, conference collections, incidental expenses of church and Sabbath School, 765 dollars. It is due the pastor of this church, for me to say that he receives a salary of 700 dollars, but having another appointment at James Town in Somerset County, that appointment pays 250 dollars of his salary.

226 History of Pocomoke City, 

The preachers who have preached in this church from its organization, in regular succession, are as follows : Revs. Avra Melvin, Stephen Taylor, Geo. D. Hamilton, Elias Williams, Thos G. Clayton, William Sexsmith, A. G. Grove, Reuben T. Boyd, John Keller, John R. Nichols, Henry Miller, Levin A. Collins, A. S- Eversole, John A. Jackson, William Fisher, Johnson C. Davis, Thomas A. Moore, Daniel F. Ewell, William Rienick, Theophilus Burton. R. S. Norris,J- M. Sharpley, J. M. Ellegood, Thomas M. Bryan, C. M. Littleton, B. F, Brown, G. S. May, J. W. Pennewell, James Thomson, C. Eversole, James K. Nichols, L. W. Bates, W. M. Strayer, Henry Nice, C. F. Cochel, Daniel Bowers, J. W. Gray, W. McK. Poisal, J # B. Jones, Jesse Shreeve, W. D. Litsinger, Samuel T. Graham, H. E, Miskiman, Robert S. Rowe, A. T. Melvin, D. L. Greenfield, J. E. Maloy, James T. Lassell, B. F. Benson, J. E. T. Ewell and S. A. Hoblitzell. In this list of names are some of the ablest ministers of the Maryland Annual conference. The Rev. Avra Melvin was born near New Town, Worcester County, Md., in 1780. He embraced Christianity, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1800 he was licensed to preach.

Some time after this he joined the Philadelphia conference. He traveled several years in the conference and then took a location and settled on the old homestead, where he remained in the capacity of a local preacher until 1832, when the Methodist Protestant Church was organized in

Formerly New Town. 227 New Town.

He was the chief spirit in its organization and for his service in that instance the Methodist Protestant Church in New Town owes more to him than any other man. It has been said of him that he has preached more funeral sermons, periormed more marriage ceremonies and baptized more persons, than any other man in this section of the country, in his day. He was a good preacher, had a wonderful memory and consequently had always in store a plenty to say on short notice. He died on his farm near New Town in 1853, in the seventy third year of his age. L. W. Bates traveled his first year on this circuit, since that date he has filled the best appointments in his conference. He has been president of the Maryland Annual Conference, and president of the General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. He has had for distinguished mental abilities and broad culture, the degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred upon him.

James K. Nichols is one of the best of men, he is an able preacher, has been president of the Maryland Annual Conference, and has received lor his great worth the degree of Doctor of Divinity. While there are a host of others, who have preached the gospel in this city and are deserving a place of remembrance in this history, yet I must pass them by with this remark, that they all have helped to build up a strong church. The Rev. S. A. Hoblitzell is the present pastor, and he is a good preacher and a faithful worker. He also served this charge twenty -three years ago with Doctor James K. Nichols. Rev. Wm. Dale is an unstationed minister belonging to or holding his membership with this church.

228 History of Pocomofce City, 

He was born in St. Martin's district, in Worcester County, Md., on the 1st day of January, 1823. He was educated at Snow Hill Academy and at Windsor Theological Institute, located in Baltimore County, Md., Rev. Francis Waters, D.D., principal. He embraced Christianity when a youth and joined the Methodist Protestant Church. At the age of 20 years, he entered the traveling connection in that church and continued in that relation for fifteen years, when he located and has remained so to the present time. Mr. Dale is a leading man in his church, and in the community at large, he is chairman of the state board of public shools for Worcester County, and one of the wealthiest men of Pocomoke City.

In reviewing the history of the Methodist Protestant Church in New Town, the reader will observe, by noticing the date of its organization, that this year, 1882, is the semi-centennial year of its existence, and the statistics show it to be in quite a flourishing condition. In 1844, the Presbyterian Church, in Xew Town, w r as built, and on the ist day of January, 1845, it was dedicated to the worship ol Almighty God. The reader will be informed that the Presbyterian organization in New Town is a branch of the Pitt's Creek Presbyterian Church at Beaver Dams, which was organized by the Rev. Francis Makemmie as early, probably, as A. D. 1683 or 1684.

Formerly New Town. 229 

At this primitive church, the Presbyterians of the surrounding country, worship in the days of yore. When in the course of time the population of New Town increased and the members of the Presbyterian Church became more numerous in the town and in its immediate vincinity, the necessity of the situation demanded a house of worship in New Town, and hence the present establishment in 1845. The Pitt's Creek Presbyterian Church at Beaver Dams and New Town is a unit in name, each having their names upon the same church record. They are a unit in doctrine, in church polity, and in every interest that constitutes one church ; the pastor of one is the pastor of the other, and they all, in common, are responsible for his support.

The Presbyterian Church in New Town is built of the best material, and in work- manlike manner. It has good proportions and is kept in the neatest style. It stands on a small elevation on a beautiful lot on Market street, and presents, to the passer by a picturesque appearance. Nearly all of those who aided in its erection have passed away. Chief among contributors were Handy Mills, David Smith, Jacob Boston, Stephen Hargis, John S. Stevenson, James T. Dickinson and Thomas W. Hargis. This church has been endowed with some legacies- The venerable Handy Mills bequeathed to it two farms, worth at that day, probably, seven or eight thousand dollars, and David Smith also bequeathed to it a valuable farm.

230 History of Pocomoke City,  

The church in New Town and the ground upon which it stands cost four thousand dollars. It has a beautifully located parsonage which cost thirty-two hundred dollars. The church owns a beautiful cemetery on the old Winter Quarter farm. The cemetery cost about eight hundred dollars. The whole property of the Presbyterian Church in Pocomoke City, cost eight thousand dollars. The membership of this church including Pitt's Creek is one hundred and ten. The church in Pocomoke City has a fine Sabbath School with fourteen officers and teachers, and the names of seventy pupils on the school roll, and fifty in average attendance, and three hundred volumes in the library. I will say as a J J matter of justice to this school, that it lost, by removal, during the year 1880, twenty-six scholars, which has detracted from its average standing in numbers. The running expences of the church and Sabbath School in Pocomoke City annually, including pastors salary, benevolent collections and incidental expenses amounts to 1300 dollars. There is an item of history connected with Pitts Creek Church that will be interesting to the reader. The facts are these. The orignal church was built by Francis Makemmie the pioneer of Presbyterianism in this country while it was yet subject to the dominion of Great Britain, consequently it was among the first Presbyterian churches built in this country. Again, Mrs. Holden, of Accomac Co., Va., the daughter of Francis Makemmie, left a legacy to the church at Pitt's Creek, the interest of which is annually appropriated to the support of the gospel in said 'church.

Formerly New Town. 231 

The pastors who have served this church from its organization so far as I have any means of ascertaining, are as follows : first, Francis Makemmie. How long Mr. Makemmie was pastor of this church, I have no data upon which to fix the term of his pastorate, and indeed, I have no record of any pastor of this church, from the days of Francis Makemmie, until the time when the Rev. Samuel McMaster was its pastor. I can only say that I have had dates of his pastorate from 1795 to 1801, and there the record stops until 1818. It may be of interest to the reader, to be informed that the Rev. Samuel McMaster was the grandfather of Samuel S. and Dr. John T. B. McMaster. In 1818, the Rev. S. Sanders was pastor of Pitt's Creek Church. How long Mr. Sanders was in the pastorate is unknown.

The Rev. Thomas B. Balch D. D. succeeded Mr. Sanders in the pastorate, but dates are wanting to show the time when he entered and retired from it. But this much I can say of him, that the name of Dr. Balch was a household word in the community. In 1831, the Rev. Cornelius Mustard was pastor of the church. After Mr. Mustard retired, then followed in succession, the Rev's. J. J. Graff, James M. Olmstead, B. G. McPhail, Elkanah Mackey, William D. Mackey, Joesph L. Polk, L. P. Bowen and James Conway. Mr. Conway has but recently resigned the pastorate of this church, having had a call to serve another church in the state of Delaware.

232 History of Pocomoke City,  

Consequently the church is without a pastor for the time being. The above list comprises the names of all the ' ministers, so far as I have any knowledge or means of ascertaining, who have been pastors of the church from its organization to the present time. The Presbyterian Church in Pocomoke City is quite popular and prosperous.


In 1845, November, 13th the St. Mary's Protestant: Episcopal Church in New Town was consecrated, by Rt. Rev. William Rollinson Whittingham D. D. Bishop of Maryland. This church was built through the inde- fatigable labors of the Rev. John Crosdale D. D., who from the day of its consecration to the day of his death was its rector. This is a beautiful church, particularly its; inside look, and there is connected with it a fine cemetery.. The Church also owns a good parsonage with a spacious; lot attached. The whole property cost between seven and eight thousand dollars. This church has 85 com- municants and a fine Sabbath School of 65 scholars enrolled, with an average attendance of 35. It has ten teachers and 150 volumes in its library. The current expenses of this church, including rector's salary, benevolent contributions, and incidental expenses amount to 815 dollars. This church has a small invested fund, the interest of which is appropriated to the rectors salary. This is a growing, prosperous church with Rev. Francis W. Hilliard, a man of erudition, for its Rector.

234 History of Pocomoke City,

As the Rev. John Crosdale, D.D., was the originator of this church, it is but doing justice to his memory that a record of his life, in connection with his church which he served so faithfully, should here be recorded. He was born in the City of Baltimore on the 18th day of July, 1818 : died in Pocomoke City March nth, 1878. Ordained in Rehoboth Church on the 4th Sunday in Advent, 1842,. he thenceforth, with occasional intermissions, ministered ii Coventry Parish. When Pocomoke Parish was set off there- from, he became and continued until death its devoted rector. The diocese of Easton, established chiefly by his exertions, preferred him to every post of trust and responsibility. His brethren and children in the faith loved him dearly, while integrity, wisdom and benevolence led all the people to hold him in honor. "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." The foregoing account of him I have taken from his monument in the cemetery of St. Mary's Church in Pocomoke City. In 1874, he received the honorary degree of D.D. from the Washington College, Md. There are but few men who for thirty-five or more years could sustain themselves in ministering to one congregation, with that acceptability which Dr. Crosdale did. He literally devoted his talent of mind, time and means to the interest of his church and the cause of the poor. His history speaks in tones louder than words, ''The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up." Here is a record that is worthy of admiration.

Formerly New Town. 235 

The Baptist Church in New Town, now Pocomoke City, was built in 1853, and was dedicated by the Rev. J. W. M Williams, D.D., of Baltimore, Md. It is situated at the corner of Market and Fourth Streets in an eligible part of the town. This church is built of good material and by one of the best workmen in the country, Mr. Isaac Marshall, deceased, of Somerset County, Md. It is well proportioned and has the handsomest steeple upon it of any church in the town. The Baptist Church in Pocomoke City has a membership of 87 on the church roll, and has a fine Sabbath School of 75 pupils enrolled and an average attendance of 50, with 100 volumes in the library. This school has had but two superintendents from the time of its organization to the present time, namely, J. C. Riley and I. H. Merrill, Mr. Merrill being the present one. The church has a good parsonage in the heart of the town and a cemetery but a short distance in the country. The estimated value of the church property including parsonage and cemetery, is 5600 dollars. The running expenses of this church and Sabbath School, annually, including the pastor's salary, benevolent collections incidental expenses, etc., amounts to 610 dollars. The names of the ministers who have served as pastors to this church from its organization to the present time are as follows, Revs. S. C. Boston, A. ( '.. 236 History of Pocomolce City, Harley, O. F. Flippo, James G. Council, E. M. Burns, L. D. Paulling, H. J. Handy and James A. Wolf, Mr. Wolf being the present pastor. These men have served the church with fidelity, and have been the chief instrumentality in building it up and giving it a name, and standing for usefulness among its sister churches that reflect honor upon them. The colored Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town, now Pocomoke City, was organized in 1864. It has a membership of 186 including probationers. It has a good Sabbath School of 115 pupils and teachers, with an average attendance of 85, and 150 volumes in the library. This church has a missionary chapel in connection with the church, a parsonage and cemetery. The whole property is estimated, in value, to be worth 1,710 dollars. The running annual expenses of the church, including the pastor's salary, benevolent collections, incidental expenses etc., amounts to 355 dollars and 50 cents. The ministers who have occupied the pastorate of this church from its organization to the present time are as follows : Revs. Handy Long, David Eaves, Isaac Broughton, James Webb, Abraham .Brown, William Phillips, Charles Wing, G. M. Landon and George H. Washington, Mr. Washington being the present pastor. The African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Town, now Pocomoke City, was organized in 1872. It has a. membership of 79 including probationers, a Sabbath School with 51 pupils enrolled, and 25 in average attendance, with 66 volumes in the library.

Formerly New Town. 237

The church building is a good one, and quite creditable and it, together with the lot of ground on which it stands, and an adjoining house are estimated in value at 1,200 dollars. The pastors who have served this church since its organization are as follows. Revs. George W. Jones. Charles C. Reeder, John Budd, Charles Young and Thomas M. Cole, Mr. Cole is the present pastor. In reviewing the history of the two Colored Methodist Churches in Pocomoke City, I will say they have made decided advancement over their former condition in ante bellum days. When I think of their intellectual and moral degradation in the days of slavery, when on the large plantations in the South^ they would sing, in their religious meetings, their degenerated ditties, such as the following : " Oh ! where shall we go when de great day comes. En' de blowing o' de trumpets an' de bangin' o' de drums, And if a poor sinner is kotched out late, Der'll be no latch ter de go 1 den gate. De song o' salvation is a mighty sweet song, De Paradise winds dey blow fur and blow long. An' Aberham's bosom, it is saft an' its wide, An' right dar whar's de sinner aughter hide. Ch! don't be stoppin' an' a lookin', If you fool wid old Satin you'll get took in ; En' you'll stand on de edge an' git shoved in, If you don't quit stoppin' an' a lookin'." I say, when I think of the degradation of their intellec- tual and moral powers in their former condition and draw the comparison between that and the present, they have made decided advancement intellectually, morally and religiously.

238 History of Pocomoke City,  

They have their regular pastors, their regular appointments, and they worship in their public congregations like the white people, and they sing the standard hymns of the Methodist Church. In summing up the religious outlook of Pocomoke City, I will say there are seven churches in the town ; the total number of members and probationers is 705. There are seven Sabbath Schools, and the number of scholars and teachers aggregating 638 names on the school rolls, with 1,171 volumes in the libraries, and a good supply of Sabbath School papers. The total amount of church property in Pocomoke City isp37,6io. The running annual expenses of all the churches and Sabbath Schools is something over $4,300. We have also four orders of secret societies in Pocomoke City, namely, Ancient and Accepted Order of Free Masons, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Hephtasophs and Ancient Order of United Workmen. Some of these societies are benevolent while others are both benevolent and insurance. They are composed of many of the chief citizens of the town. J It is but simple justice to say that there are gentlemen living in the neighborhood of Pocomoke City, who have given material aid to its business life, and whose interest in it has been so great that they have helped on its successful course by their influence and the use of their names, and chief among these are Thomas W. Hargis, Samuel S. McMaster and Samuel K. Dennis.

Formerly New Town. 239  


Previous Chapters by reader request
























Metal Thieves Are Working Hard

Citizens of Accomack County please keep your eyes and ears open.
There seems to be alot of recent activity in the surrounding local areas concerning the theft of metal.

According to Major Todd Godwin on the evening of February 7th and 8th metal was stolen from three Accomack County tower sites. The thefts occured at the Oak Hall Cell tower, the Mappsville County Tower and the Melfa Cell tower.

According to Godwin, metal theft is increasing due to the rise in value.

Not only has been taken from the three tower sites but thieves don't seem to mind coming onto your property for into your home and helping themselves. They have also been known recently to remove metals, including copper, from abandoned properties, businessess and roadside locations.

If you see anything suspicious or have any information please contact the Accmoack County Sheriff's Department at 757-787-1131.

Isn't it amazing how these thugs will go to great lengths to steal to get money? I would imagine that planning to take something that does not belong to you requires a great amount of time. The actual taking of the property, I would imagine, it would require a great deal of energy. It probably takes these thugs more time to plan, steal, then cash in than it would to work a 40 hour week.

Please call the Sheriff's Office if you know or see anything.
Let's get these thugs out of our area.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jury Deliberates For Over An Hour Before Verdict Is Given

SNOW HILL -- A jury of Sherrick Martel Handy's peers deliberated for slightly more than an hour Thursday before rendering a not guilty verdict on all charges.

Handy had been charged with first- and second-degree rape, first- and third-degree burglary, second-degree assault and false imprisonment in the alleged attack of his former fiancee during June of last year.

Testimony in the two-day trial concluded Wednesday, with closing statements being delivered to the jury Thursday morning.

Assistant State's Attorney Diane Cuilhe urged jurors to look at the consistency of the victim's statement and the fact the defendant denied he had been at her apartment at the time of the attack to police when first questioned. DNA evidence, she said, later forced him to admit his presence.

Cuilhe also pointed to inaccuracies in Handy's testimony and reason for being at the victim's house at an odd hour.

"Why did he find it appropriate to call her up and have a chat at 4 in the morning?" Cuilhe said. "The mere fact he was crouching next to the door and hiding shows he was there for nefarious purposes."

Handy's defense lawyer, David Resnick, picked apart the state's case during his closing statement to the jury of four women and eight men.

"I don't think in this case you saw the best of the criminal justice system," Resnick said.

He then began to question why police had not fingerprinted the victim's door, the pepper spray she tried to use on Handy or the kitchen knife she says she used to try to get Handy to leave her alone.

Resnick said he didn't believe the photographs of the victim's apartment showed enough of a struggle took place.

"We are claiming she staged the scene," he said.

Resnick also cast doubt on the testimony of police officers and a sexual assault forensic examination nurse. He claimed there were "glaring inaccuracies" in the timeline of when police officers were called and arrived, and when the victim was examined at the hospital.

New Photo Of Missing Teen

The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office has released an updated photo of the 15-year-old girl reported missing on Monday.

Gabriella Marie Blades, a Parkside High School 10th-grade student, was last seen Monday at the school. She left Parkside before the close of school, although authorities do not suspect her departure was by force.

Blades, a white female who lives in Fruitland, reportedly was spotted in the West Salisbury area, said 1st Sgt. Tim Robinson.

Blades is described as 5-foot-9 with red hair, green eyes and weighing 220 pounds.
When last seen, she wore a red hoodie with a front zipper, a white T-shirt and blue sweat pants.

Contact the Sheriff’s Office with information regarding Blades’s whereabouts at 410-548-4891.

Crippen Will Try To Seek New Trial

SNOW HILL -- Since being convicted of attempted murder in December, Alexander Crippen has been awaiting his sentencing -- so he can appeal his case, with a new attorney.

The 36-year-old Crippen was found guilty in Worcester County Circuit Court in December of first-degree attempted murder. He is biding time until a Feb. 28 court hearing, hoping Judge Richard R. Bloxom will grant his request for a new trial instead of imposing a sentence.

If he is not granted the new trial -- a life sentence is a possibility instead -- he has already begun to plan his next move, Crippen said in an interview at the Worcester County Jail, where he is being held.

He has looked into hiring a lawyer who specializes in criminal appeals, declining to comment on what specific parts of the trial he plans to contest, saying he will leave that decision to his lawyer.

"The whole investigation was about homicide... every paper states homicide. Every witness says they saw me shoot Reginald Handy," said Crippen, who maintained his innocence during the interview. "At the beginning, no one said anything about attempted murder."

Crippen was first charged in the death of Reginald Handy Jr. in June, after witnesses swore they saw him shoot and kill Handy. Those charges were vacated just before trial began, and replaced with attempted murder charges. Prosecutors said forensic evidence would have made it impossible to prove Crippen was the murderer.

The attempted murder case against Crippen relied in part on testimony from Torrance Davis, a cousin of Handy's. Davis stated he saw Crippen shoot Handy, and then try to shoot him.

Crippen recalled that during the trial, Davis invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination when asked about a prior shooting in Virginia, referred to as a "ranch party" in court questioning by Crippen's attorney, Arthur McGreevy.

During the two-day trial, numerous police officers and community members took the stand to testify against Crippen. But a handgun Crippen was supposed to have fired, nor the one reportedly on Handy at the time he was killed, were never recovered, Crippen said.

Police searched the Pocomoke River but were unable to locate the two handguns. Police did recover an assault rifle yards away from where Handy was shot and determined it was the murder weapon.

At the time of Crippen's arrest, Pocomoke police chief J.D. Ervin said Crippen and Handy "had a history with each other; they didn't get along." Crippen disputed that, saying he knew Handy by name but wasn't feuding with him.

Murder charges were later filed against Skylor Harmon, 18, of Cedar Street in Pocomoke, accusing him of being Handy's killer. Harmon is Crippen's nephew, Crippen said and Harmon's trial is scheduled to begin March 14.


Baby Squirrel Monkeys Born At Virginia Zoo

Two new baby squirrel monkeys are now receiving visitors at the Virginia Zoo's Exhibit Building. The zoo is located on Granby Street in Norfolk.
Monkey mommies Marie and Madonna gave birth to Cheetah and Babalu Jan. 8 and 12, respectively. The tiny primates join their mothers,papa Jeebes and another adult female named Elvira. They are the 16th and 17th squirrel monkeys born at the zoo since 1967.

"We won't know the babies' sex for a couple of months yet," said zookeeper Linda Brandt.

"They cling onto their mothers' backs when they are very young, and we find it's less traumatic for them if we wait until they are running on their own a little before we try and sex them."

Volunteer R.J. Mercure added that the adult squirrel monkeys rarely stay still.

"It can be a wild ride for the baby," he said.

"The squirrel monkeys really are a joy to watch," said zoo director Greg Bockheim.

"They are highly intelligent for their size."

Bockheim added that squirrel monkeys have the proportionately largest brain of all primates, with a brain to body mass ratio of 1-to-17. Humans, by comparison, have a 1-to-35 ratio.

Adult squirrel monkeys range from nine to nearly 14 inches, plus a 13- to 17-inch tail, and weigh in from one to just over two pounds. The males are usually larger.

Squirrel monkeys are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They spend most of their time in trees and are primarily active during daylight hours. The tiny primates live together in groups of up to 500 males and females. Squirrel monkeys are omnivorous, eating primarily fruits and insects. They live roughly 15 years in the wild, but can reach 20 years old in captivity.

Pocomoke City Mayor and Council Meeting

WELCOME to the newest Pocomoke City Police Officer -- Vincent Page.

POCOMOKE CITY -- Members of the Great Pocomoke Fair Committee met with the City Council to request permission to sell beer at a truck and tractor pull on June 25.

John Smith, committee president, told the council that the sale would be controlled within the city tent with a double fence around the tent. He added the event was primarily for adults, not children.

Gloria Smith added the fairgrounds were not in close proximity to any church and the schools would be closed. She said other events in Worcester and Wicomico counties did allow beer to be sold.

Police Chief J.D. Ervin checked with other towns and found no major problems.

Dave Barnes, a committee member, said if the town did not allow beer sales, "there would be no more Pocomoke Fair."

No council member stepped up to move for passage of the request after Hawkins asked for a motion, but it was decided the matter would be taken up at the next meeting when a full council was present.

Members of the council did vote to accept revised bids for the construction of an ambulance garage building and a concession building for Cypress Park.

Both measures were brought up at the previous meeting, but the bids were not within budgeted figures for the construction. After items were deleted for both projects, Beauchamp Construction was awarded both contracts, at a cost of $99,454 for the ambulance building and a cost of $83,420 for the concession building.

Under other business, the council heard the first reading of an ordinance to give homeowners a tax rebate of $2,000 or half of their taxes, whichever is less, if they install a sprinkler system; voted to give the Pocomoke Elementary School PTA four rounds of golf for its upcoming fundraiser; and voted to pay $625 for a photo display at the Route 13 Welcome Center.

Tom Grigsby was presented with a certificate of appreciation for his service as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Chief J.D. Ervin introduced a new police officer, Vincent Page.

written by: Bill Kerbin

Get That Flu Shot!

State public health officials are advising Virginia residents to get their flu shots, with two deaths linked to influenza.

The state Department of Public Health said Tuesday influenza activity has increased from low to high since January. That means more people with symptoms of influenza are seeing their physicians.

The flu deaths reported by the department are pediatric cases. Typically, two or three pediatric flu deaths are reported each year in the state.

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley said vaccinations are still available across the state and are the best protection against getting the flu.

Virginia's flu season typically runs through March, hitting its peak in February.

Locally, the Onley Community Health Center will add a Pediatrician to their Saturday hours this weekend. The hours are from 8:00-11:00. Appointments can be made by calling 787-7374.

Walkins are welcome.

Dr. Lynn Duffy Files For Mayor Of Pocomoke City

Duffy files for Pocomoke Mayor Election

Dr. Lynn Duffy is pleased to officially announce filing for Pocomoke City Mayoral elections. Her vision is to 'Revitalize Pocomoke City"! Duffy is a resident and successful Pocomoke business owner the last 8 of a 24 year career and recognized expert in her field by wellness community (, offers on-line services and more than a year ago her counseling and mediation/consultation practice relocated to the heart of Downtown Pocomoke. A most important role to her is as mother to Launa Ashley, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on the day Duffy filed to run for Pocomoke Mayor. Launa Ashley completes her first year in graduate studies in a few months pursuing a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling with Liberty University.

Duffy filed for office stating her daughter, and others, are some of the reasons she prayerfully considered running for Mayor. The children and youth of our community are significant reasons and there are several more. She questions the direction our community is going, more importantly the dramatic increase of projected expenses from 2010 for 2011 from 7.3 million to 10.6 million and the town’s repeated issue of crime. Duffy believes the deaths last year of young people was needless and the town needs to not look away or hold meetings discussing events but deal directly with proactive steps developing a plan of action. Duffy’s campaign team, organized with prayerful consideration, consists of Launa Ashley, Campaign Manager; Edean Bundick of Bundick Law Office in Virginia, Treasurer; Donna Hardin, Web Manager; and Bishop Isaac Jenkins, Chaplain; and several Prayer Warriors.

Duffy has a servant’s heart for our community and as business owner and grant writer for nonprofits, she respects the need in Pocomoke City for business to encourage job growth and points to several businesses leaving town, including our downtown business area. Duffy believes although our ‘compass’ may be pointing in a direction, she questions the direction. At a time when families are not eating out nearly as much and if at all, businesses are struggling, and county appraisals of homes decreased recently, she is concerned with the town increasing the projected 2011 expenses by almost 50%. Duffy is hearing from other residents and business persons the community needs to address reduction of crime by proactive & preventive steps with a plan of action, less government reclaiming a budget that increases expenses by 50% from 2010 to 2011, encourage public input AND a public informed with increased collaboration, and foster a business friendly ‘climate’ encouraging job growth. Duffy, a Board Member for Save the Youth, Inc., is assisting with meetings to continue progress on a Strategic Plan for the organization.

Duffy offers she is not a ‘politician’ with ambitions to ‘step higher in politics’, but is one to speak up to question issues such as the town's direction, large increase in expenses, and crime. She listens and hears many feel our town has lost touch with the 'core' of what makes Pocomoke City great. Duffy was ordained in 2008 as a Minister in community service and received an Honorary Doctor of Ministry in 2008, Lighthouse Counseling is affiliated with the U.N.T.C., Int'l (an international ministry association) and Duffy serves as President-Elect of the Pocomoke Ministerial Association. She desires to work for a better tomorrow and affirms Real People NEED Real Solutions!”

Entire website is a paid political endorsement by authority of Edean Bundick, Treasurer, for Mayoral Candidate Dr. Lynn Duffy. Site activity is monitored and analyzed daily. Source: 2010 & 2011 Expenses (Excel), Pocomoke City Hall website (consecutive years posting).

(c) No part, implied intention, picture or whole of this entire website and blog may be reproduced without expressed written consent of the Candidate Dr. Lynn Duffy. We ask your respect of the integrity of this website, pictures, expressed statements and in pursuit of our freedoms. Any unauthorized use may be considered unlawful and thereby, pursuit of such unlawful act, stated herein, at the individual's expense

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teen Still Missing.

SALISBURY — The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the disappearance of a Parkside High School student last seen Monday at the school.

Fifteen-year-old Gabriella Marie Blades, in the 10th grade, left Parkside before the close of school, although authorities do not suspect her departure was by force.

Blades, a white female who lives in Fruitland, reportedly was spotted in the West Salisbury area, said 1st Sgt. Tim Robinson.

Blades is described as 5-foot-9 with red hair, green eyes and weighing 220 pounds.
When last seen, she wore a red hoodie with a front zipper, a white T-shirt and blue sweat pants.

Contact the Sheriff’s Office with information regarding Blades’s whereabouts at 410-548-4891.


Drive safely and use caution in the area of Route 13 and Old Snow Hill Road.

Fire Department has been called to the scene of Friendley's Restaurant.

Mother Defends For Spanking Her Son

NEWPORT NEWS — A Newport News mother is defending herself after been charged with malicious wounding for spanking her child with a belt.

Single mother Tiffannie Braxton, was at grad school Monday night when she says she got some scary news.

She says "My boyfriend sent me a picture message sharing that my son set fire to his room."

Scared and upset, Tiffannie says she ran home and found her 8-year-old son's bedroom floor scarred with burn marks. You can see burn marks in the wood and on the side of the dresser, right near a surge protector.

Tiffannie says, "He got a spanking. He did get a spanking. And he was moving as the belt was...and yes, I used a belt to spank him. It wasn't supposed to get all out of hand or anything. It was just to show him, just to scare him a little bit that fire is no joke. And that he could have died right up there in that room within seconds."

Tiffannie's tough love has now got her in a bit of trouble with police. Newport News Police say a nurse at Riverside Elementary School noticed bruises on Tiffannie's son and called Child Protective Services, who then called police.

Officers arrested Tiffannie on Tuesday and charged her with malicious wounding.

Newport News Police spokesman Lou Thurston says, "It's pretty obvious by the injuries that this wasn't a 'I take a belt and smack you on the rear end.' That is a lot more significant than that."

But Tiffannie says she would never hurt her own child maliciously. She wants what is best for her son, including protecting him from hurting himself or others.

She says, "That's all I was trying to do. I don't want my baby to grow up like these criminals that are setting up fires everywhere and killing people and raping people. I don't want my baby to grow up that way. I'm showing him yes, the world is hard out there and no one is going to show you any type of love besides your family."

Tiffannie says she never meant for any of this to happen. She just wanted to show her son that playing with fire is not allowed. Tonight, her son is staying with relatives as police and Child Protective Services investigates.

Pocomoke City Elections...The Race Is On.......

POCOMOKE CITY -- The deadline to file and run in Pocomoke's upcoming April election has passed, with three people seeking to be mayor and two running for District 3's seat on the City Council.

Lynn Duffy, Bruce Morrison and Frank Ward will be running for mayor, while Bobby Brittingham and Donald Malloy have filed to run for the District 3council seat.

Morrison, who was elected to City Council for District 3 in 2005, says his years of experience in budget meetings and meeting with citizens uniquely qualifies him.

"I have been a councilman for six years and a resident all my life," says Morrison. "This is going to be a real tough budget year. State money is drying up, county money is drying up and assessments are down... but I don't want to see taxes raised."

If elected, Morrison said he would like to reduce crime through continued use and implementation of crime cameras, community meetings once a month and encouraging citizens to take pride in their community.

Duffy, another mayoral candidate, is a counselor with Lighthouse Counseling and Consulting Services in Pocomoke City. She is running for mayor to reduce crime, encourage public input in government and prevent overspending by City Hall, she said in a news release announcing her candidacy.

"The deaths last year of young people were needless," Duffy said in her statement, "and the town needs to not look away or hold meetings discussing events but deal directly with proactive steps developing a plan of action."

Duffy mounted an unsuccessful campaign to be Pocomoke's mayor in 2005, the year Mike McDermott first won office. She also ran to be a City Council representative in 2006, but came in second out of three candidates. She is a past president of the Pocomoke Chamber of Commerce.

Duffy has launched a campaign website,, and named supporters to positions of campaign manager, treasurer, web manager and campaign chaplain in her statement.

Ward, who also filed to run for mayor, could not be reached for comment by press time.

The city council seat for District 3 is up for election this year, after being held by Morrison for several years.

Brittingham, a District 3 candidate who served as a sheriff's deputy for 25 years, says specific issues such as preventing erosion and flooding at Cypress Park, as well as general issues such as reducing crime, are his reasons to run for the vacant seat.

Malloy, who was a Pocomoke councilman during the 1960s, says he originally filed after being asked to do so by friends because no one else had filed at the time.

"I'm running because the seat is open and I think I can be of some use to the city," says Malloy, who is a retired electrician. "I would like to keep Pocomoke going on the path it's on."

In an interview, recent mayor and current state Delegate Mike McDermott said he supports Morrison's and Malloy's bids for office.

The deadline for registering to vote in the April 5 election is March 4.

Accomack Co. Sheriff's Office Investigator Charged With Shoplifting....

....More on the story........

ACCOMAC — An Accomack County Sheriff’s Office investigator resigned after being charged with 10 counts of stealing energy drinks from a Chincoteague Island convenience store.

Jerry Spencer Tarr, 45, of Chincoteague, was arrested and released Monday after a State Police investigation.

He resigned from his position the same day, said Sheriff Larry Giddens.

“It’s one of those things that you can’t really figure out,” Giddens said.

State Police Sgt. Michelle Anaya said Tarr’s shoplifting charges stemmed from an investigation at the Corner Mart convenience store on Maddox Boulevard.

Store officials and employees identified Tarr on 10 occasions in video surveillance taking Five Hour Energy Drinks, she said. State Police Special Agent P.A. Compton investigated the case.

Court records show the incidents happened between Jan. 19 and Feb. 1.

Tarr will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. March 9 in Accomack General District Court.

Tarr had been employed by the sheriff’s office for three months. He formerly worked for the Chincoteague Police Department.

Tarr formerly had served as the chief petty officer at Chincoteague's Coast Guard Station.

Tarr made headlines in 2006 after he was forced to retire from the Coast Guard after being charged with disobeying orders from a superior when he aided a boat towing an abandoned fishing vessel away from private property and into the Chincoteague Channel.

Witnesses said the vessel in tow had lost control and was in danger of damaging property.

Giddens said Tarr’s work with the sheriff’s office had been well-received.

“He’d done a great job for us,” he said. “He was a great investigator.”

The Ballet Theater of Maryland At the MarVa Theater


February 12th, 7 pm

MAR-VA Theater, Pocomoke City, Maryland

Sponsored by the Worcester County Library

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's classic tragedy, is set to Prokofiev's stunning score and danced to choreography that captures the passion, color, and drama of Renaissance Italy. Original choreography by Dianna Cuatto.

The Ballet Theater of Maryland will return to Worcester County for another amazing performance on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The Ballet "Romeo and Juliet" will be presented at the Mar-Va Theater. Tickets go on sale January 17 at all Worcester County Library branches. Last year's performance sold out. Get your tickets early!

To see if tickets are still available .... Contact: Lisa Outten Stant at 410-632-3970

Student Participation Wanted In Designing Duck Stamp

ASSATEAGUE -- Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge invites students K-12 attending public, private, or home schools to participate in the 2010 Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest.

"The competition is an art-based educational program that allows students to participate in a nationwide waterfowl arts competition. The process also exposes students to the nation's wealth of migratory waterfowl and motivates students to take active roles in conserving these species," said Virginia Junior Duck Stamp Program coordinator, Aubrey Hall.

Hall also emphasized that "the program is meant to be a fun journey into the world of waterfowl. The artistic skill level of the students is not the focus of the contest. Not only do we want artwork from all children, we enjoy seeing the variety of pictures that the students produce."

All students entering the state contest will receive a certificate of participation. Entries may also receive prizes or honorable mention ribbons. The State Best of Show will represent Virginia in the national competition. National awards include a complimentary trip to the First Day of Duck Stamp Sales Ceremony in Washing-ton, D.C. and a monetary award.

Participants select a bird from a list of native North American waterfowl. Other design guidelines include, but are not limited to: a size of 9"x12"; horizontal orientation; and the absence of lettering, words, or signatures on the front of the design. For more information, contact refuge staff or explore the Federal Duck Stamp website

Entries must be mailed to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 62, Chincoteague, Va. 23336 and postmarked by midnight, March 15. Judging will occur Friday, March 19.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. It is both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals commitment to public service. For more information on its work and the people who make it happen, visit

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Field Notes From Del. Mike McDermott

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

By Delegate Mike McDermott

Week of Jan. 31st through Feb. 4th, 2011

Monday afternoon I met with a Children’s Day Care advocacy group from Wicomico and Worcester Counties. There were about a dozen women, primarily single moms, who struggle with the cost of Day Care and are concerned about current government subsidies provided to them for this purpose. Many of them are dealing with dead beat dads heavily in arrears on Child Support payments. They had this in common…they all wanted to work and provide for their children. Yet, most of them would have been better off financially to stay home and receive welfare as opposed to working and paying for Child Care. This is not an easy fix, but I would much prefer to supplement folks trying to help their families become independent rather than to pay the same people not to work. This is too typical of our social programs.

  • Monday following session I participated in an annual Chess Tournament between the House and the Senate. I beat my opponent and advanced to the next round. I cherished it for a few moments…it may be my only “victory” in the legislature this year.

  • Tuesday the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB-35 which seeks to define “income” as it relates to Child Support payments. Those testifying wanted to see the state use the base amount of a person’s income used for determining Child Support payments as opposed to the counting of overtime into the mix as well. The same was said of second jobs. It seems many will take on second jobs to make up for payments in arrears and they do not want the secondary employment income seen as their “base income”. There were good points made, but I do not know if this bill will see a vote in committee.

  • On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee also received a briefing by MVA on the state’s Ignition Interlock System Program. This is a mandatory program which requires certain driver’s convicted of DWI offenses to have a device installed on their personal vehicle which requires the driver submit a breath sample before the vehicle will operate. Initial kinks seem to have been worked out of the system based on the questions asked by Committee members regarding past concerns. There was some discussion on the use of pictures taken by some of the machines which show clearly who is providing the breath sample at the time of delivery. It was thought this may be helpful insuring the breath sample is provided by the proper person. This was an interesting discussion as the committee will see at least two other bills regarding these devices and the potential for their expanded use in Maryland.

  • I attended a reception hosted by the Cable Telecommunications Association early Tuesday evening and met with local Comcast representatives. On display was their latest technology offering of 3-D television viewing. The folks there were all sharing their concerns over further government regulations, mandates, and fees on their industry.

  • Wednesday morning started off meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture and the Maryland Egg Council. This industry is pretty significant in Maryland and shared similar concerns that all poultry growers and farmers have of the current regulations being prescribed by the MDE and the EPA over their industry. We keep banging that gong, but so far we are meeting a deaf ear.

  • Wednesday afternoon I met with Del. Conway, Sen. Mathias, and all 7 of the Worcester County Commissioners to discuss the LCB. We had a very open and candid discussion which lasted a little over an hour. It was agreed that the Commissioners would take a few days to address some of our concerns and then contact us for further action. It was very productive and moved the ball down the field of finding a satisfactory solution to the shared concerns around the table.

  • Late Wednesday afternoon, a special meeting of the Republican Caucus was held. Following a great discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the caucus would issue a statement in support of Maryland’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. I felt this was an important decision as several bills in the House and Senate are moving forward which seek to redefine marriage in Maryland. No doubt, this will be a fight in committee and on the floor of both chambers.

  • Thursday morning I attended a briefing on the various pension systems, their insolvency, and their potential impact on future budgets. This was the third briefing I have attended in the early morning hours being conducted by Republican law makers. I have found them very informative. Bottom line: our systems are in a great deal of trouble and are not sustainable. They are broke and need fixing. We have heard the reports from a bi-partisan committee, and they are ugly. The ruling party has neglected to fund these liabilities for the past 10-years. This, coupled with the Stock Market crash, has led to a crisis that must be solved.

  • Thursday both houses convened in the House of Delegates at 11:30 AM to receive the Governor’s State of the State Address. Much as been said regarding the governor’s intended direction, and I have issued my own response to his speech. I will say that these events are full of ceremony and recognitions which take a long time. The House floor is full to overflowing with folks waiting to hear the speech. While I deeply enjoyed the history of the event and being a part of it, I was very disturbed by some of the things contained in the Governor’s speech…as were many on both sides of the isle. I continued to hear those sentiments echoed throughout Annapolis until I left for home on Friday afternoon.

  • Friday morning was the weekly meeting of the Eastern Shore Delegation. It is always nice to see folks from home in Annapolis. We heard from the folks with the DPI on the state of the poultry industry. Director Bill Satterfield spoke about how the industry has gone through 5 years of relatively flat growth and how we need to average roughly 100-new poultry houses constructed on the Delmarva annually if we are to remain viable and growing. They voiced concerns over attempts to ban the antibiotic roxarsone (a feed supplement for birds which contains small amounts of arsenic). Some questions were raised over any potential impact of these trace levels of arsenic on the environment, and, in particular, the bay. DPI assured us the use was well within guidelines established by the USDA and the effects were negligible on the environment. The Delegation was also thanked for their support on legislative efforts to protect the poultry industry.

We also heard from Secretary John Griffin of the Department of Natural Resources. There was clearly some tension in the room as the Secretary was questioned about the status of Oyster Sanctuaries and recent enforcement efforts impacting local fishermen. It seems Natural Resources Police are utilizing GPS tracking devices to monitor the whereabouts of some fishing boats on the bay for possible violations. This led to some very testy remarks between Sen. Rich Colburn and Sec. Griffin. Clearly, there is general angst between the professional watermen and the DNR. The elected officials were just delivering the message.

We also heard from folks with Bramble Construction Contractors. They came in to voice support for a hike in the fuel tax to restore funding to the Transportation Trust Fund. It was clear that the Delegation believes that the Trust Fund is adequately supplied through current taxes if the governor and the ruling party would stop raiding hundreds of millions of dollars to support the General Fund. I did not see anyone at the table who though another 10 cents per gallon at the pump was a good idea.

One Of Virginia's Most Wanted Nabbed By Md. State Police

ABERDEEN, MD) – A Maryland state trooper was forced to use his patrol car to end a multi-jurisdictional pursuit and capture a fugitive who tried to run down deputies this afternoon in Harford County.

The accused is identified as Brandon L. Pegram, 23, of Stoney Creek, Va. Prior to the pursuit this afternoon, he was wanted for robbery, felony assault, and kidnapping. He is now being charged by Maryland State Police with first and second degree assault, vehicle theft, reckless endangerment, malicious destruction of property, and numerous traffic violations.

Shortly before 3:00 p.m. today,(Wednesday) the Harford County Sheriff's Office received a lookout from the United State's Marshal's Service for a stolen silver Ford Taurus driven by Pegram, who was believed to be armed with a handgun and shotgun. Pegram reportedly held his family hostage yesterday and had allegedly threatened to harm any law enforcement officers who attempted to apprehend him.

Sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle at Rt. 40 and Gateway Drive and a pursuit ensued that continued into Baltimore County, where troopers from the Bel Air Barrack joined the pursuit, along with Baltimore County police officers. The pursuit continued onto Whitemarsh Blvd., then to northbound I-95.

Just before the entrance to the Maryland House on I-95, the suspect attempted to ram citizen vehicles. Two sheriff's deputies were on foot after deploying stop sticks. Pegram nearly struck the first deputy, then lost control and traveled across I-95, nearly striking the second deputy. The suspect then appeared to deliberately drive his car directly at the second deputy, who was able to dive out of the way before being hit.
Upon observing these deliberate assaults on citizens and the deputies, a State Police sergeant used his patrol car to impact the suspect's vehicle, using a "pit maneuver" to force the suspect's vehicle to the side of the interstate and up against the guardrail. The sergeant then impacted the driver's side door of the stolen vehicle to prevent the fugitive from escaping on foot.

Police officers approached Pegram and he resisted arrest. Pegram was taken into custody, after sustaining minor injuries. He was taken to an area hospital, where he remains under State Police guard.

No firearms were found in the stolen vehicle being driven by Pegram. No one else was in the vehicle with him.

No citizens or police officers were injured in the incident. The suspect is expected to be treated and released. Upon his release, he will be taken to the Harford County Central Booking Center where he will have an initial appearance before a court commissioner.

Law enforcement agencies involved in the pursuit included the Harford County Sheriff's Office, Baltimore County Police Department, both patrol and air units, the US Marshal's Service, and state troopers from the Bel Air and JFK Memorial Highway barracks.

Questions regarding why Pegram was originally wanted should be referred to the US Marshal's Service. The investigation is continuing.

Bill To Test Some Welfare Recipients For Drugs

Richmond,VA(AP) The Senate has passed legislation that would require drug screening for those receiving some welfare benefits.

Sen. Roscoe Reynolds' bill applies to the job-training program required to receive welfare. It passed 32-7 Monday.

The bill would require those who apply for, or already receive benefits, to answer questions regarding drug use.

If screeners have reasonable cause to believe the person is using drugs, they can require a drug test.

Individuals who fail a test or refuse to take one would lose their benefits for one year unless they participate in a drug treatment program.

Similar efforts have been unsuccessful in the past because it is estimated to cost more than $1 million for the program.

The bill goes to the House of Delegates.

Judge Granted Postponement of Trial

SNOW HILL -- The trial of a man charged with killing Christine Sheddy was postponed until June, instead of starting as scheduled Tuesday.

A motion filed by the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office said analysis of DNA evidence was not available to prosecutors or the defense 30 days prior to the trial date, as is required.

"Based on the time requirements, they have 30 days with which to request their own expert to look at it," said State's Attorney Beau Oglesby. "This is the most serious and important of cases. We want to make sure it is complete, fair and thorough."

Judge Thomas C. Groton III granted the motion. He cited several reasons to push the trial date to June, noting that Oglesby has only been in office for five weeks.

Oglesby also told the judge that records detailing what documents and information were shared with the Public Defender's Office were "not up to standards."

Oglesby narrowly defeated longtime Worcester prosecutor Joel Todd in last fall's elections. Since taking office, he said he and his staff have done everything they can to share information with the Public Defender's Office in the case, as is required by law.

The defendant awaiting trial, Justin Michael Hadel, is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

Sheddy, a 27-year-old mother of two, went missing from her Pocomoke City-area residence in November 2007. She was considered a missing person for more than two years until police found Sheddy's remains buried in the backyard of a Snow Hill property a year ago.

Shortly after that, Hadel, whose court records show he lives in Texas, was charged with killing her and held in jail.

Hadel's trial was scheduled to take place in December, when former State's Attorney Joel Todd would have tried the case, but was moved to February when the Public Defender's Office said it needed more time to prepare.

Due to the serious nature of the case and the potential of a five-day trial, Groton said the most suitable dates for the trial would be June 13-17.