Mr. Earle’s objective in compiling this collection of photographic essays of colonial Eastern Shore homes and related buildings was to preserve some record of their existence and connection to family history before they disappeared from view. Assisted by Percy Skirven, the author of First Parishes of the Province of Maryland–also available from Clearfield Company–Mr. Earle assembled a team of experts to prepare a chapter on each of the nine counties of the Eastern Shore: Kent, Talbot, Somerset, Dorchester, Cecil, Queen Anne’s, Worcester, Caroline, and Wicomico. Mr. Skirven’s own chapter on Kent County is typical of the rest. It begins with a very helpful history of the county, including the earliest references to the county in British records, changes in county boundaries, names of Proprietors and others who figured in the early history of the county, and other milestones and personalities that figured in Kent County’s history– leading up to and including the county’s role in the Revolution. The photo essays comprise the balance of each chapter give an exterior view of the dwelling, the date constructed, a description of the buildings themselves, names of the current occupants, and the names of distinguished early inhabitants, with their family connections. For example, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Hubbard Place in Chestertown, built in 1765, was lived in by Thomas Smythe, one of the Justices of the Kent County Court and a member of the Provincial Convention in 1776. At the time of the volume’s original publication in 1916, Hubbard Place was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Adley Hubbard, both of whose descents are traced to 17th-century England. In all more than eighty colonial homesteads found in nine separate counties are captured in this way for this remarkable volume, which also includes a separate sketch of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. This is one volume that no one with Eastern Shore ancestry will want to be without.
(Maryland researchers may also wish to consult Percy Skirven’s The First Parishes of the Province of Maryland, which is also available from Clearfield Company.)