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History & Lore

Stretching Your Comfort Zone: We dug deep to give the War of 1812 lyrics and song

“I write books, not music,” I told the big man with the guitar. “I’m a historian, not a songwriter.”     Gary Rue — St. Mary’s County composer, musician and proprietor of the small recording company Millstone Landing Productions — had invited me to step outside my comfort zone.     “Write the lyrics for a CD album on the War of 1812,” he said. “I’ll do the rest.”

Find out at Calvert Marine Museum’s Sharkfest

Millions of years ago, long before there was a Chesapeake, sharks thrived in the saltwater marine environment of the flooded river we now call Susquehanna. Big sharks that could have swallowed a man whole, had any men or women been around to be eaten.     The megalodon, ancestor of the great white shark, was the apex marine predator of those waters. Rivaling today’s blue whale, the megalodon grew up to 50 feet long.     He’s long gone, but his kin are still with us.

Bay Weekly commemorates the War of 1812 bicentennial with a look at this week in history.

Bay Weekly commemorates the War of 1812 bicentennial with a look at this week in history By June 23 of 1812, the United States of America was at war with Great Britain. Though neither nation was aching for a fight, trade disputes, Britain’s support of Native American rebellion and the forceful conscription of Americans into the British Navy pushed the old and new nations to an impasse.

The four-masted, 141-foot Kalmar Nyckel drops anchor in Solomons this weekend

The tall ships have sailed out of Baltimore, where for a week the harbor looked as if it were 1812. The 40-strong flotilla — including 25 tall ships representing a dozen nations — marked the anniversary of the declaration of war on Great Britain and the official start of the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.     A million people visited over a week.     For a less hectic but equally awe-inspiring sight, catch up this weekend with a ship as historic as any of those.

Two hundred years ago, a fledgling, not-so United States had to again take up arms against Great Britain.

The Chesapeake Bay played a starring role in the conflict that produced our national anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner as the city of Baltimore was under attack by a vast enemy fleet and army that had just destroyed the new capital, Washington City.     1812 was a long time ago. High tech was represented by small, wooden sailing vessels, powered by wind and sweat, technology little changed in hundreds of years. You want to talk to Europe? Could take months.

As their forebears did 100 years earlier, these parsons come by boat

Methodist ministers used to be called circuit riders, for their calling — and their horse — took them to preach to a circuit of congregations.     On Solomons Island a century ago, the preacher came by boat, traveling to neighboring watermen’s communities.     With the nearby harbor off Drum Point a sheltered anchorage, Solomons became a center for shipbuilding and repair, seafood harvesting and provisioning.

Maryland Day offers so much, it takes a full weekend to celebrate it all

Maryland Day is our version of Columbus Day.         On March 25, 1634, voyagers from the ships the Ark and the Dove celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for surviving their long voyage, coming to land safely on a Potomac River island and negotiating a peace accord with the Piscataway Indians.
For Americans of African descent, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have not been unalienable. Yet Maryland’s first black, Mathias de Sousa, reached our shores in 1634 on the Arc, not on a slave ship. An indentured servant, de Sousa earned his freedom in four years. Meet him — and generations who sought self-determination in America — on Bay Weekly’s Black History tour of Chesapeake Country.     -Sandra Olivetti Martin

At historic Linden House, the buildings have a lot to say

Once upon a time, just about everything on the table was home-grown. To eat, you needed to keep chickens for meat and eggs. Cows for milk, butter and cheese. Livestock was raised, butchered and preserved.     So old homesteads included not just a home but also chicken coops, animal stalls, meat houses, smoke houses. The outbuildings where food was raised and preserved are as much a part of the story as the old house.

Tom Wisner’s lessons live on in Gather ’Round Chesapeake

    Where does the hope lie?     Hope lies in bringing forth the truth about the Chesapeake Bay and placing our awareness right next to the issue, facing it. An answer might not come in this generation, but we must seek it. –Tom Wisner