TAX LEVY OF WORCESTER COUNTY
Many names of Colonial families. Said to be the
earliest complete tax levy in Maryland. Click
here. Don't ask me for more info on these names,
because I don't have any.
TAX ASSESSMENT / MARYLAND STATE ARCHIVES
An index of property owners in Worcester County
online at the MSA. Click
of EASTERN SHORE COUNTIES AND PARISHES, 1692
This shows Maryland's Anglican
Parishes - I have included only Eastern
Shore counties - and shows the disputed border
with Delaware. A more complete scan will be
posted later but I have to piece bits together.
Note: the maps are JPG files around 150K-335K,
and I suggest you download whichever one you are
interested in to your disk. The original county
names are shown on the map in large red
Queen Anne's Caroline
Anne's Kent Cecil
Source: Skirven, "The
First Parishes of the Province of Maryland",
published by Norman, Remington Co, Baltimore,
MAP OF LOWER DELMARVA
The French copied the Fry & Jefferson map of
the Atlantic colonies: Click
The map covers today's Somerset, Worcester, Accomac and
MARYLAND MAP BY DENNIS GRIFFITH
A piece of the Griffith map of Maryland showing
towns, mills, taverns, churches in Somerset and Worcester
Counties: Click here.
Nice large images of other Eastern Shore counties (Cecil,
Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester) and
Delaware from Griffith's map are here.
and 1800-1844 LAND RECORDS INDEX
WORCESTER COUNTY records concerning Fassitts,
from the county courthouse in Snow Hill. Click
here. Note that I haven't got all of the page numbers
From a catalog printed by the Library of
Congress, The American Revolution in Drawings and
Prints. Click here.
MARYLAND POCKET ANNUAL
Who's who in local county government:
Dorchester, Kent, Somerset, Talbot, Worcester. Click
Farmers, merchants and citizens. Click
CHART: Maryland's Seaside
Early work by the U.S. Coast Survey. What
Assateague used to look like. Click
Farmers, merchants and citizens. Click
OF COLONIAL DELMARVA
Father Thomas Peterman of Galena, in Kent County
Maryland, wrote a thorough book on Catholic settlers
throughout the region. I scanned and converted his Index
to text so you can check for family names. Sherry Handley
has the files here:
GUIDE / MARYLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Search this web page for items having to do with
Eastern Shore counties. Let the page load completely,
it's 100K, but it's easier than dealing with the Maryland
Historical Society's web site. I've extracted items for
you based on keywords. There may be other items in the
MHS Guide, but this is a start.
WAS A BABE, APPARENTLY
John Cropper runs off with John Fawset's widow,
circa 1680. Ah, the good old days. Click here for the
story of a deathless romance.
Historical notes on schooners and sloops of the
Chesapeake Bay. Click here for
excerpts from Geoffrey Footner's Tidewater
Wm. T. Hooper's memoirs, from about 1970, about
his days under sail on the Chesapeake. Not a Fassitt
relative, but the booklet he published is great reading.
Five chapters from Ralph D. Paine's The Ships and
Sailors of Old Salem. It's not about Worcester
County, but it gives a flavor for the Colonial and
Revolutionary seafaring days when the Fassitts were
trading with the West Indies and elsewhere. Surely some
Salem captains knew Captain Fassitt, and vice versa.
Besides, it's full of good tales. Click
Roguish French Privateers during the French &
Indian War, as per Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania
The 10-ton letter-of-marque sloop DOLPHIN,
1777, and Rouse Fassitt's Libel, 1779. Exciting times in
the American Revolution. British prisoners from the
More "Senepuxen" doings during the Revolution.
More Mermaid. Click
The Philadelphia Fassitts, merchants, and
cousins. There is a collection of Fassitt papers held by
the Pennsylvania Historical Society; I've seen them
briefly but they don't seem to shed much light on the
Maryland branch. One Thomas Fassitt retired and bought a
large house and farm in northern Cecil County in about
1875; here's an image from the 1877 Atlas of Cecil.
The Presbyterian Historical Society is in Philadelphia
but does not seem to have records for Buckingham Church,
the one the Fassits were associated with. They did tell
us that records for First Presbyterian in New Orleans are
held in North Carolina (go figure) so maybe we can find
something out about Dr Charles through those. Apparently
William Fassitt (d 1871) married first a Methodist, so
we'll have to look for some Methodist church records.
Another side of my mother's family has a nautical
Eastern Sho' connection. Her mother's grandfather was a
Life Saving Service Captain on Smith Island, Virginia
(near the Cape Charles Light) from 1875 on. Click
here for a photo of George D. Hitchens in uniform: my
great-great GF, then. He was known as "Poppa George" and
his wife as "Poppa Sallie". Click
here for a photo - date unknown - of both of
George shows up in a book, published in 1905,
The Life Worth Living by Thomas Dixon, Jr.,
[He is discussing hunting wildfowl.] May 17
we reached the Life Saving Station of Smith's Island,
by the invitation of its genial captain, George
Hitchens. It was blowing a furious gale and raining in
blinding sheets, with the wind hanging steadily on to
The birds had not come, the crew told us, but
Captain George said they would come in on the wings of
the storm that night. At daylight we caught the old
plug of a horse from the stable and hitched him to the
cart. The Smith's Island Light, just over our heads,
the greatest light of the Atlantic coast, was still
flashing its gleaming message "45," over the
Within an hour we had reached the bend of the
beach, five miles above the station. The tide had just
begun to ebb as the sun burst from the ocean through
the cloudbanks of the passing storm.
The Captain was right. The birds had come on its
black wings. The beach was literally covered with
them. We were the first on the beach, the first day of
their season, and the wind was lowing a steady gale
from the sea, just the way we wished it."
Note: The Library of Congress has put
Life Worth Living online in electronic
For a short history of the Life Saving Service, see
A Legacy, The United States Life Saving Service by
Dennis L. Noble, 1976. Published by the Coast Guard.
Click here for a
drawing of a surfman in the late 1800s. Click
here for a photo of a lifeboat crew with their boat
(the horses and wagons were not always used.)
Click here to
see a photo from the National Archives of a surfman
burning a warning flare or Coston Light. These were used
to warn ships to turn around when too close to the
from Badger and Kellam's The Barrier Islands,
shows Smith Island Light "in the 1880s" with the
lifesaving crew posed below. Photographer unknown.
Harper's Magazine apparently published quite a bit on
the Life Saving Service, and if I get a chance I'll
reproduce the articles online.
FROM THE SEA SIDE
Nathaniel Holmes Bishop paddled a paper canoe
from Canada to Florida in 1874. He passed down Sinepuxent
Bay and Chincoteague Bay. See Chapter
8 in his Voyage of the Paper Canoe. (Chapter 8
begins in Lewes, Delaware, and continues from there, so
anyone with roots in Delmarva will enjoy his
description.) Bishop's friend in Worcester County was Mr.
B. Jones Taylor living near the St. Martins River and
involved in Ocean City's early days. Robins, Purnell,
Whalley and other names get mentioned.
Itinerant Observations in America by Edward
Kimber includes an account of a sea voyage from New York
to Sinepuxent and then further on to Yorktown, ca. 1750.
Click here. Exciting stuff with
Apparently there's one (!) painting in the Maryland
State Archives collections which has Sinepuxent
Bay as a theme:
The Commission on Artistic Property
of The Maryland State Archives
- MSA SC 4680-1-48-P.I.10.88
- Oyster Season, Sinepuxent Bay,
- Arthur Quartley 1839-1886
- oil on canvas
- BMA (SW vault)
I suppose I will have to go find this. Anyone know of
more paintings? Maybe the mosquitoes scared the painters
& OTHER RECORDS
Excerpts from land records, wills and suchlike
things found in Worcester County or the Maryland State
Archives. Do click here for
an Address to the King and Queen from 1689 by the
residents of Somerset County.
Militia Records from Worcester County during
(James Fassitt was not our direct ancestor).
Patrons of the 1877 Atlas of the Eastern Shore
for Worcester County, including Uncle Albert J. Fassitt.
Click here. Name, acreage,
occupation, birthplace, and date established in Worcester
Mike Hitch has black & white GIF images of the
maps from this Atlas. For Worcester County: click
here. Grainy but readable, showing houses and farm
buildings with owners' names.
Click here for a
map of Worcester County from the 1877 Atlas.
Click here for a map
of Berlin from the 1877 Atlas.
Click here for a map of Delmarva from the 1877 Atlas,
showing major towns and rail lines. Warning: 350K+ jpg
We're most concerned with the Fassitts of the
early and mid-1800s:
John and Anna Brevard Fassitt and their sons --
- Albert J.
- Remained in Worcester County and ran things.
Never married. Raised William's three daughters
Laura Louise, Mary Elizabeth and
Julia Ann. Click
here for a cameo of Albert. Here are a few
- Thomas C.
- Moved to Dubuque, Iowa, around 1830, merchant,
helped found the city, and was involved in its
government as late as the end of the 1860s. No
known children. Wife Mary Ann Shannon,
married February 1838 in Dubuque. This couple seems
to have moved back to Maryland at least once, since
they appear in the Worcester County Census and in
land records. Click
here for two portraits of Thomas.
- From Robert Hanson's first volume of vital
statistics of Jo Daviess County, IL:
- "Married at Dubuque on February 15th by
Rev. Aratus Kent, Thomas C. Fassitt, of
Fassitt & Shirman, merchants, to Miss
Mary Ann Shannon, daughter of the late Mr.
Shannon of Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
- Dr Charles R.
- Studied at Washington and Jefferson College out
near Pittsburg, then in Philadelphia with Dr
McClellan, father of the Civil War's General
McClellan. Moved to Brashear City/Berwick or
Centreville (Franklin City), St Marys Parish,
Louisiana; married around 1850 to Evaline
Thompson of St Martinville. Evaline apparently
died before 1860. Dr. Charles remarried in
Louisiana, 1871 to Sarah Jane Royster at
which point he promptly dropped dead by accidental
poison. We have an obit and a "succession" or will
from Louisiana, and a couple letters from Uncle
Albert dating from around the time of his funeral.
Poor Dr. Charles is buried in Berlin, MD.
- No known children. Sarah Jane seems to have
been alive, not remarried, at least as late as
- Charles was named for Charles Rackliffe, who
was a business partner of Charles' grandfather John
-- I think.
- Here's a map
of the part of Louisiana Dr Charles lived in.
- Update, late 2005: A gentleman in Lousiana
has recently discovered the tombstone - broken
in three or four pieces - of Dr. Charles' first
wife and his baby daughter. It is on the
plantation once owned by the Thompsons.
- William -
- Our ancestor, and apparently a rogue, died
1871. We're not even sure of his middle initial,
but he's the one who had all the children. He had a
daughter, Sally Ann Fassitt, by a first (?)
wife said to be Esther Henry -- see the
Handy Annals. What became of Esther? We
don't know; apparently she died. A son, Henry
Fassitt seems to have disappeared too, the book
only says "went West". We know that Sally Ann was
William's daughter, and Rev. Handy says she was
their child, and he was writing prior to 1860, so
- Sally Ann had a daughter, Kate
Fassitt, who married Edward L. Powell
in 1868. It is not clear whose daughter Kate
was, since she was born before Sally Ann married
- Back to William. His second(?) wife was
Elizabeth C. Pitts Fassitt. She was the
sister of Berlin bigwig Dr. Hillary R.
- Besides the three girls Albert raised, she
seems to have had two more daughters, Emma
C. and Maria Virginia, but by 1860
she and these two are not living with William
anymore, so something happened. Emma is said to
have married a Samuel Carey or Cary of
New York, and Maria to have married a "Wm.
Mancredi" of Philadelphia. No Mancredis have
turned up, and maybe it was Tancredi. There are
a few of those. We have not yet found where
Elizabeth C. is buried, only her will in the
- William is also mentioned as having married
a Juliana Bradford and/or a Phenetree
Gray. We're not sure where our sources
even got these names, and we're also suspicious
since three or four Williams -- all cousins --
were running around between about 1800 and 1840
in Worcester and neighboring areas. So there may
have been enough Williams to go around. So far
we have "our" William; a failed lawyer named
William D Fassitt; and William D's father
William; plus Captain Jack's brother William,
who died circa 1800.
- Bradford and Gray families to seem to have
been in Worcester County in the late 1700s but
there isn't a lot of detail so far on who they
were. We are inclined to consider these wives
- For those who are confused, Ancestors in
- John Fawset of Accomack m Rhodeah
- Rhodeah later cohabits with John
Cropper and marries John Franklin.
- John seems to have started out near
present-day Chesapeake, VA, in what was
then called "Lower Norfolk County."
- Captain William Fassitt m Eliz
Whittington/Mary Rouse (Mary's father was a
Dutch goldsmith in Boston who is buried in
the Old Burial Ground somewhere)
- The three Whittington/Fassitt
daughters we have nothing on.
- John Fassitt m Mary Robins
- John Fassitt ("jr") m Mary Campbell
- Captain Jack (John) Fassitt m Anna
and Photo of Captain Jack.
- William Fassitt m Esther
- Laura Fassitt Tingle m Thos Nathaniel
Tingle: Tintype of
Laura ca. 1866. Thomas Tingle was
apparently in the Conferedate Army in the War
Between the States before he was married. He
is related to Hugh Tingle, who married
Elizabeth Powell ca 1695. Walter Powell,
Elizabeth's father, lived on the Pocomoke
River near present-day Rehobeth. Part of the
very old Powell-Benson House was
removed from Somerset County to the Museum of
Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem in
- Laura's sisters: Julie Fassitt Carey
and "Bessie" Fassitt Taylor Lynch Lynch;
she married Mynch brothers)
- Rosalie Tingle Hitchens m. Benjamin
Hitchens (son of Capt. George)
- Elsie Hitchens Stewart (1906-2000) m
- Shirley Stewart O'Donnell <- mother m
- Craig O'Donnell / Anne O'Donnell <-
me, my sister
More info coming on these various
I'd like to confirm these, myself:
The British attack one or another of the
Fassitt houses in the War of 1812. Someone buries the
silver which is never recovered. Genesar/Genezer
seems to be the house in question, near then-extant
Sinepuxent Inlet off South Point. I'm still a little
confused about how Genezar fits into the family. On the
other hand Matthew Wise in his book The Littleton
Heritage says, without providing a footnote, that it
was the property called Goshen and Mayfields which was
attacked. Others say it was the Fassitt House. No one
provides a cite to an actual source. The northern part of
the Goshen and Mayfields property is now Frontier Town.
The Fassitts have a saltworks on
Assateague in the 1700s. No hard evidence yet, but it
would be an obvious industry on the barrier islands.
Still looking for traces of what Captain
William traded in. Cypress and other lumber was certainly
one likely item. Salt might make sense too.
We have pretty good evidence that a "Slave
Susan" grew up with the Fassitt girls in the 1840s-50s. A
court record shows she was considered the property of the
three sisters in the trust which Uncle Albert
administered. "Slave Susan and child" were sold to
Louisiana late in the 1850s. By 1870 a Susan, Black, and
her husband, also Black, with a son George Fassitt,
Mulatto, appears in the census in the town where Dr.
Charles R. Fassitt had a sugar plantation. George is
exactly the right age, and aside from Dr Charles R.
Fassitt there are no other Fassitts in the area. It
appears that Susan was sent to Dr Charles, perhaps to
avoid a scandal over the baby's father. There's no other
Letters from Julie Fassitt Carey to her Uncle Albert
(then traveling in Louisiana) in the early 1870s show
much concern for Susan and George so clearly there was a
great deal of affection there. What we don't know is who
George's father might be, or what happened to Susan and
George after 1870.
New Year's Day 2005:
Located in Worcester County on the Sinepuxent Bay, built
about 1720 by Captain William Fassitt for his daughter,
passed by marriage to the Carey family, and still lived
in. In 1996 it was added to the National Register of
Historic Places and I am happy to say that it still
belongs to Fassitt descendants (the Careys). The house is
situated on a part of the original Goshen and
Mayfields tract from the early 1700s. We believe it
came to be known as the "Bowen Farm" because:
In 1820 Zipporah Williamson (who had
inherited the property) sold it to Isaac Bowen for
$6,000. Bowen died intestate soon after the transfer.
Apparently the many children and widow could not agree
on a division of the estate, and at this time
Maryland's law concerning inheritance was changing
too. Bowen's son, Hoah (Noah?) applied to the county
court for an equitable division of his father's
property. The settlement went on for about 15 years.
In 1835 a commission appointed by the court appraised
the property and then sold what the 263 acre "Mannor
farm", part of "Gocion and Mayfield", to John Fassitt
This is "Captain Jack", above.
The old family burial ground is said to be "where the
peach orchard was" but I have no idea where that might be
relative to the house.
Old picture ca 1940:
This one shows the brickwork on the end:
house, "Mayfields", situated on another part of the land
called Goshen and Mayfields, burned down. It was
on property which is now Frontierland. Or Frontier Town.
For more about Worcester County and its Architecture,
see Paul Baker Touart's wonderful book Along the
Seaboard Side, 1994.