HAUNTS OF THE BUGEYE
George Barrie, Jr.
Pray, dear reader, make no fuss,
As I'm no literary cuss.
When you find your English torn,
Heap me not with caustic scorn,
But close your eyes and gently dream
Of days you've floated with the stream;
For I've but tried to take you, here,
Back to those days you hold so dear.
ON Thursday, June 5, 1899, there was great activity and
excitement on board the antique ketch Mona and the modern yawl Fidelio,
at anchor off the club house, for on that day was to begin our
long-looked-forward-to third run to that perfect cruising ground, the
The small boats plying back and forth from yacht to shore
were loaded gunwale-deep with sundry cases, piles of clothes, and other
odds and ends. At three o'clock we were all ready to start, but as a
black thunder squall was rapidly coming up from the northwest we
decided to wait until it had passed over. About five o'clock the rain
stopped, and unfortunately the wind dropped, so we had supper, and
then, as the tide was running ebb, the Mona slipped her mooring and
went down the river stern first.
On board the Fidelio, forty feet over all, were Joseph Y.
Jeanes, skipper; J.A. Inglis and Knute, son of Knute, paid hand. On
board the Mona were R. Barrie, skipper, one paid hand, who went under
the name of Gustaf, and myself.
After drifting about a mile, stern first, we decided to
anchor, as it was not worth while blundering through the dark without
headway. The Fidelio wisely did not start at all.
Next morning, bright and clear, we were up at daybreak, and
found a nice, fresh northwest wind blowing, which would carry us to the
canal in fine shape; so we up anchor and started off. As soon as the
halyards were coiled down and the deck made tidy, Gustaf was sent below
to start breakfast, a custom which was adhered to very carefully
throughout the cruise. When off Chester we saw that the Fidelio had
left her mooring, and off Marcus Hook she passed us. After breakfast we
set the jib topsail and hauled the yawl boat on deck, using the
backstay of the mainmast and the forestay of the mizzen as slings; off
New Castle Flats we had to take in the jib topsail, as the wind had a
fair sweep across the marshes, and we got some pretty hard puffs. We
arrived at Delaware City about half-past nine, and found the Fidelio
anchored on the river. Here the skipper and I had our first argument,
he wanted to anchor off the mouth of the canal, and I wanted to lower
all the sails, except the mizzen, and shoot in under it. After short
but rapid talk he accepted my plan, and we shot in in fine style. He
says anyone can get along with a person who has thin lips and red hair
if one lets them have their own way. After paying dues and towage we
passed through into the basin, where we tied up to do some marketing
and wait for the Fidelio to lock in. As the tide and wind were both
down the river, and as they had anchored below the canal to wait for
us, it took them about an hour to beat up half a mile.
About eleven o'clock we started off with a fine mule breeze,
Mona ahead and Fidelio's lines fast to our counter. Just before
reaching St. George's a large steamer, the Baltimore boat, passed us at
full speed and caused such a suction that the Fidelio's tow line
parted, and it took us considerable time to get straightened out again.
We arrived at Chesapeake City about four o'clock, where we got a tug to
tow us down Back Creek and into the Elk as far as Corn Landing, where
we made sail and ran into the mouth of the Bohemia River, anchoring
there for the night. Most of that night it was very uncomfortable, as
the tide was running out and the wind, still from the northwest, blew
straight in, and so we hung across stream and wabbled in an annoying
manner; the rudder groaned and the mainsheet block banged and creaked.
We did not mind that, but what did ruffle us was that things in the
galley jumped around in a lively manner and somewhat delayed dinner. As
Gustaf did not know exactly how we liked things cooked, I spent most of
my time, when meals were being prepared, in the galley, superintending.
After dinner we went over to the Fidelio to arrange for the next day's
sail. Although it was the middle of June, we needed heavy coats while
sitting on deck, and during the night we had two blankets, and double
at that, on the bunks. About eight o'clock we returned on board and
turned in for the night.
Saturday we were up at four-thirty. The wind still blew from
the northwest, and "right smart," too, and when I went on deck, dressed
in pajamas, to take off the skylight covers, I got pretty well
frostbitten. The shore about the Chesapeake may be very warm, but on
the water we never noticed the heat, and the nights were always cool.
As soon as Gustaf got his eyes open he was told to start breakfast.
Then the skipper went over to the Fidelio, and I hovered around the
galley. At exactly six o'clock we made sail and started for Annapolis;
beat out under jib and mainsail, and when we got over to the north side
of the Elk set the mizzen and staysail and boomed along in great shape.
The north shore of the Elk is quite high land, and on that particular
morning it looked very beautiful, as the air was very clear from the
thunderstorm of Thursday afternoon.
Ahead of us was a large bugeye and a schooner, and when they
got out from under the shelter of Turkey Point we could see them heel
over and throw out spray from their bows at a great rate, and when we
passed the point we found it pretty fresh, as the wind had a clear
sweep of many miles across the Susquehanna Flats.
Off Howell's Point we could see the sails of the Fidelio as
she came down the Elk; they did not start until seven o'clock, as they
wanted to put a reef in the jib and mainsail. Off Worton's Cove we set
the balloon jib, as the wind was getting light, and by the time we
reached Swan Point, on the north side of the Chester River, it had died
away almost completely, and we rolled around for some time, making very
little headway. It was off the Chester River that a very amusing
circumstance occurred on an early yachting trip made by one William
Black, Esq., secretary to the commissioners appointed by Governor
Gooch, of Virginia, to unite with those of Pennsylvania and Maryland,
to treat with the Six Nations of Indians at Lancaster. He and the other
commissioners were on their way from Stratford, on the Potomac, to
Philadelphia, via Chesapeake, on board the yacht Margaret.
The following is an extract from his journal:
"Wind at SW. 15 min. past 4, had Chester River on
our Starboard and Patapsco on our Larboard Side, at which time we were
at Dinner, but properly speaking, some of us made but one Meal a day,
and that lasting from morning to night.
The Biscake Barrell standing upon deck by the Pump, every
other minute one hand or another, would be Diving in it, so that you
might hear our Grinders, like so many Hoggs under a Peach tree in a
very high Wind: the Wind blowing very weak, we made little or no way,
having a strong Tide of Ebb against Us. Towards the Going down of the
Sun, seeing a Boat and Canoe a Fishing Inshoar, we hail'd them, with,
have you got any Fish, which they returned with, have you got any Rum,
we Answered, yes, will you come on Board and Taste it, then they unty'd
and made Directly for Us, but was very much Surprised with the manner
of Reception they met with, which was as follows:
We had the Blunderbuss ready loaded, and Stil'd on the
side they were to board Us, Littlepage who was to Act the part of a Man
of Wars Lieutenant, was Accoutred with four Loaded Pistols, and the
like number of Swords, which with his lac'd hatt and Romantick
Countenance, made an app'nce much like another Blackbeard, several more
of our Company was Arm'd with a Drawn Sword & Cockt Pistole,
several Pistoles, three fowling Pieces Loaded, and some Drawn Swords
lying in view on a Table on the Maindeck, in this manner was we Equip'd
and Stationed ready to receive the poor fishermen, when they came near
enough to observe our Postures &c, they immediately lay on their
Oars & paddles with no small concern to know what we was, but on a
little time the Ebb Tide drawing them along side (which they did not
observe being so surpriz'd) Littlepage ask'd them in a Sailor like
manner, If they would come on board and Serve his Majesty, to which
they made no Reply, but kept gazing at us like so many Thunder-struck
At last with a Discharge of our Great Gun and small Arms,
Flourish'g our Swords round our heads, we desir'd them to come on board
Directly, else we would Sink them, on hearing of which, as if Recover'd
from a Trance, they call'd out to one another, with marks of the
Greatest fear Imaginable, in their Countenances, pull about! pull
about! for Gods Sake!
With all the Eagerness possible they Sett to pulling and
paddling as if pursued by a Spanish privateer, on which calling to hawl
up the Barge, and Man her, it being done, Littlepage and my Self, got
in with each a pair of Pistols and a Sword, and made directly after
them, on which, they did mend (if possible) their Strokes, pulling for
life directly to the Shoar; now & then one or other of them would
look behind, & then cry out, pull away, pull away, or we are all
At last they gain'd the Shoar, and so soon their Vessels
Struck the Ground, they got their Jackets on their Shoulders, &
without the least care of them, made Directly for the woods: to have
seen Us pursuing, hollowing, and brandishing our Swords, & them
flying with their whole might, one time looking behind them to see how
near we were, and then before them to see how far they were from the
Shoar, was a Scene Sufficient, to Create pleasure and a Laugh in
Gentlemen less Blyth and Gayly dispos'd, than the Honourable
Commissioners or any other of their levee; on their gaining the land,
we turn'd and lay on our Oars (it being all we wanted to Surprize them
a little), which as soon as the fear and terrible concern they were in,
allowed them time to look behind and observe, they Rallied.
Seeing this, and being now on Terra firma, in some measure
freed from that dreadful Apprehension of serving his Majesty, they
opened on us all at once, like so many Hounds on a warm Scent, calling
us a parcell of -- , if we would only come ashore Man for Man, they
would teach us what it was to Fire Guns at People, and fright them in
so unaccountable a manner; after Exchanging a little Billingsgate with
them, we returned on Board, where we found the rest of our Company very
much pleased with the Adventure.
It was now quite calm, about Daylight Shutting in, we had
a small Breeze from the SSW. which in a little time shifted to SE. the
forepart of the Night appeared Cloudy, looking very Squaly, when I
betook my Self to my Cabbin, when in a very little time I got into the
Drowsy Gods' Dominions, where let me rest, till you turn over the leaf."
And so they yachted in colonial days !
Off the Magothy River the wind freshened from the northeast,
and we were soon around Sandy Point and heading for the Severn,
anchoring off the oyster police boat wharf at two o'clock. The Fidelio
arrived half an hour later. While coming up the harbor we saw the yawl Panola,
belonging to Dimphel, of Panola Manor. We had no sooner dropped our
anchor than he was aboard with a hearty welcome to the Bay. After
furling sails we went on shore with baskets; first to market for
chickens and vegetables, then to the baker's, then the telegraph
office, and from there to the post office, and back again to the
baker's and market to pick up our numerous purchases. After getting on
board Dimphel with a friend again came alongside in his canoe. Dinner
over we went to the Fidelio and sat there until about nine o'clock,
when we returned for sleep.
Next day we did not get up until late, seven o'clock, as we
intended remaining in Annapolis during Sunday and Monday; went in for a
swim and then had breakfast. During the night the bugeye yacht Retsilla,
of Baltimore, belonging to Mr. McAllister, came in, and about ten
o'clock we made an official visit. The Retsilla is not a regular
out-and-out bugeye, as she has an overhanging stern. We were interested
in her, as ever since the skipper and I first went to the Chesapeake we
have been talking of having a bugeye, but it will be an out-and-out
one, with a sharp stern.
After returning from the Retsilla the Fidelio company and we
went ashore and walked about in the Academy grounds, going on board the
Gloucester, the little converted yacht that did such
fine work at Santiago. To a yachtsman's eye she is spoiled. All the
deck houses, which were of mahogany, had been painted, the inside
fittings ripped out; and one of the men said that they were nearly
frozen last winter on account of the ceiling being taken out and that
frost would gather on the inside. They were going to start very shortly
for the Norfolk Navy yard to have new ceiling put in. But business is
business, and I suppose the varnish and comfort had to go. From the
Academy we went to the State House, where we rested our weary limbs.
After walking about the town for some time, admiring the fine old
houses, we went back on board.
Annapolis has some of the finest colonial houses to be seen
in this country, and many tales are read of the splendor of the balls
and routs given by their ancient proprietors, and of the merry meetings
of the Hominy Club and the Tuesday Club, where punch flowed freely, and
often after the meetings the members no doubt went struggling home,
aided by their black servants carrying lanthorns. The laws of the
Tuesday Club provided that the club should meet weekly at a member's
house, and that each steward should provide a gammon of bacon; later
they resolved that cheese was not a dish of "vittles." The same club
also introduced large sandboxes for the members to spit in, as most of
them smoked and chewed, and these were carried from one steward's house
to another with great pomp. Later on they were abolished at the
suggestion of the married men, as they were afraid of being "chided" by
their bachelor companions for "incurring the displeasure of their
After supper I took the small boat and rowed past the bridge
and up pretty Spa Creek, going on board of a large bugeye which is used
for working in winter and as a yacht in summer. When I got back I found
the skipper on board the Fidelio. We soon turned in, as we were rather
tired after our jaunt.
On Monday we got up about six o'clock, had a swim and then
breakfast. This morning the waters of the harbor were covered with
canoes, each one containing a nigger and a barrel; these are the
catchers of the famous Chesapeake crabs. When one of them gets a
barrelful, and it does not take long, he goes on shore to the crab
house, where they are boiled and picked. Many pounds of crab meat and
deviled crabs are shipped daily.
After breakfast we all went on shore, I taking my camera to
get some views of the best of the houses. First of all we photographed
the Brice mansion. It is a fine, big, square building, three stories
high, and peaked roof; from each end long, low outbuildings extend,
terminating in a small square building. From there we went to the
antique store, where we spent some time looking over McCusker's stock
of curious pieces of furniture, etc. After buying a few things we went
up to the State House and climbed up many stairs to get to the top of
the dome, but when we reached there we were well repaid for our
exertion in the fine panorama stretched out before our eyes. To the
east and southeast lay the broad Chesapeake, and we could see as far as
Bloody Point, on the Eastern Shore. To the north was the river Severn,
quietly flowing between high wooded bluffs. To the south and west was a
rich, rolling farming country, here and there dotted with snug
farmhouses and patches of woodland, and below us was the ancient city
After coming down from the tower we prowled about the State
Library, and from there we went to the Academy in order to see the
museums, which had been closed on Sunday. After lunch we all got into
the Mona's small boat and rowed around Horn Point to the shore east of
Back Creek, where we had a fine swim, after which we went on shore to
replenish our ever-failing stock of provisions, as on the morrow we
were to sail for South River. After dinner paid our usual short visit
to the Fidelio, and then turned in.
Got up at four o'clock Tuesday, June 20th, and immediately
proceeded to get under way, having breakfast as we slipped out of the
Severn. There was a fine whole sail westerly breeze blowing, so we had
a beam wind to Tolly Point; from there it was close-hauled for two
miles to the lighthouse off Thomas Point. Halfway between Tolly Point
and Thomas Point the Fidelio passed us. After passing the light the
wind gradually lightened until off Mayo's Point it died out completely.
We wanted to go up South River as far as the almshouse, but the
Fidelios were afraid we might be delayed in getting out on account of
head winds. We then turned into Selby's Bay, where we anchored. Rigging
the sail on our small boat, we all went ashore in it, scudding along
before the now freshened wind, water spurting up the centerboard
casing, we were going so fast. On shore we found a carpenter, and we
contracted on the spot for a cover for the case at the enormous expense
of twenty-five cents. As we wanted to visit an old church called All
Hallows, lying several miles inland, we inquired where we could get a
team to take us there, and were directed to "Gresham," the old Mayo
place, about a mile from the landing. So we set out along the road, and
at last arrived at our destination and made arrangements for a man and
team to be at the landing at two o'clock.
The Mayo house is built of wood, and over the door is a
large wooden spread eagle, evidently from the stern of some ship. Among
the numerous objects of interest around the house are a couple of stone
columns from the island of Apollo and an old bronze bell from a Spanish
convent, probably captured in the Mexican War.
A fine romance could be worked up about the old Commodore,
as the negroes relate legends of how, after returning from a voyage, he
would take his ship into Whitemarsh Creek, and then for many nights the
groaning of the ox carts would be heard bringing over loads of silk,
etc., and how the neighborhood would be filled with men whose boots and
clothing had many stains of blood upon them.
After returning on board we ordered lunch; then sailed over
to the other side of the bay and had a fine swim. Lunch over we went to
the landing and found the wagon. We had some difficulty in getting five
into the two seats. Finally it was arranged that I should sit on a box
put between the two seats and dispose of my lower extremities in any
vacant space I could find. When we had driven about three miles we came
to a post office. The skipper went in to post some letters, and as he
stepped in the door the postmaster quickly snatched up an old muzzle
loading pistol. We afterward discovered that he thought the skipper was
an officer, as he had on a yachting hat with the club device on it; but
why the pistol, did not develop.
CORTELYOU MANSION, SOUTH RIVER,
NOW USED AS COUNTY ALMS HOUSE.
TOMBSTONE USED AS DOOR STEP AND
COLUMN FROM THE ISLAND OF APOLLO.
COMMODORE MAYO HOUSE
About a mile further on we passed the home of the old South
River Club, which is one of the oldest in the country. Finally we
arrived at the church. Here we found a very old bell, also many curious
tombstones. After making a photograph we started for the old almshouse,
but stopped on the way to make a view of another curious old house.
From the almshouse we returned to the landing, and then on board. After
supper Inglis and I went on shore for a gallon of milk, as he and the
skipper are very fond of this beverage. Turned in at the usual hour of
Wednesday we got up at five o'clock and started for West
River before a nice northeast wind. We had considerable difficulty in
finding the buoys, as they were washed nearly white, but with the
liberal use of the lead line we succeeded in getting in all right and
anchored off Cox's Creek in eleven feet of water. After ham and eggs,
with a small dash of coffee, we all bundled into our boat and sailed
ashore, as we wished to visit the famous old brick house called "Tulip
Hill," standing on a hill about three-fourths of a mile from the water.
The wife of the owner very kindly showed us about the grounds, and also
the first floor of the house.
BAY FRONT OF TULIP HILL, WEST RIVER.
"Tulip Hill" is built out of black and red brick, or English
brick, as it is called. There is an oblong three story building in the
center, and with the usual wings at each end. These wings consist of a
small two-story building, connected to the main building by a passage
one story high. The front or side facing the water is approached by a
long, gradually rising terrace. When the house was first built there
were no porches, but later on a small one was added to the rear; the
colonials were too English in their ways to have porches. Nearly all
the rooms on the first floor are wainscoted up to the ceiling.
The house was built by Samuel Galloway, who came to this
country some time previous to 1753, as is shown by the following
advertisement that appeared in The Maryland Gazette:
"22 March, 1753, Just imported from London in the
Brigantine Grove, Capt. Robt. Wilson, to be sold by the subscriber on
board the said brigantine in West River, for sterling or current money,
a parcel of healthy indented servants, among whom are tradesman and
husbandman, Samuel Galloway."
After making a couple of photographs we sailed back on
board, left the camera, and then sailed up to a place called Galloways
in search of that luxury somewhat scarce in the Chesapeake -- ice.
After many inquiries we were at last guided to a house where we could
get it. After raking around in a deep pit filled with rotted straw we
discovered a few pieces of soft, mushy ice, which we piled into sacks,
and each member of the party proceeded to struggle down to the boat
with one. As the wind was against us going back we had to row, for we
were afraid the mush would melt before we could beat back in such a
light air. We were no sooner on board than we fell overboard and had a
fine swim, which greatly refreshed us after our hot row. After lunch
the skipper of the Fidelio and I rowed over to a boat builder's on the
south shore, where we saw a large skipjack, or deadrise bateau, in
course of construction. The builder's name was Leatherberry, and when
he is not building boats he carries watermelons to Baltimore and
Philadelphia in his bugeye.
On returning on board it was decided that we should drop
down to the mouth of the Rhode River so as to be able to get out easily
in the morning. The wind was very light and ahead, so we did not get
there until after four o'clock. The Fidelios went on shore for a swim,
but, as they were to dine with us that night, we had to stay and shell
peas. After a dinner of fried chicken, vegetables, raspberries, and
some ice-cold Chablis, we sat on deck for awhile and then turned in.
About twelve o'clock we were awakened by a terrible racket; water in
the tanks sloshed around, pots and pans rattled, blocks creaked, and
things in general made as much noise as possible. On going on deck we
found it blowing pretty hard from the northeast, and as it had a full
sweep of ten miles across the Bay it kicked up considerable "bobble."
The sky was perfectly clear, and the moon was shining so bright that it
was about as light as day. We could see that the Fidelio was dragging
as though she did not have out an anchor, and, hanging the lead over
the side, we found we also were dragging, but very slowly, so we got up
the anchor and ran up to Cedar Point under the staysail, passing the
Fidelio on the way; by that time her anchors were holding. Once more we
turned in and slept like logs.
Started for Cambridge Thursday just as the sun was rising.
It was still blowing pretty hard from the northeast, so we set only the
mainsail and jib. Off Curtis Point we found that we could not pass to
windward of buoy No.11, so we decided to risk going south of it. We got
across all right, never having less than two fathoms, but the Fidelio,
which was some distance behind us, and north of the buoy, hit twice
very hard. After getting past the buoy we set the mizzen and staysail;
off Poplar Island we had breakfast and soon after set the balloon jib;
off Low's Point the wind got very light, and by the time we got to
Cook's Creek we barely had steerageway. We had considerable difficulty
in finding buoy No.1 off Low's Point; once before we had a hard time to
find the same buoy, when it was blowing a small gale from the northeast
and we expected to go aground every minute.
Off Tred Avon River the Fidelio made signals that she wanted
to speak to us, so we hung in the wind until she came up. There was
some talk about going into Oxford, but it was finally decided that we
should keep on to Cambridge. After passing Castle Haven we had lunch,
and anchored off the steamboat wharf at Cambridge at two o'clock. While
the skipper had a nap I fixed some string beans. In the midst of the
operation a large canoe containing a couple of fellows came alongside
and gossiped awhile; finally, as their boat gave a few hard thumps on
our topsides, the skipper was awakened, and about four o'clock we all
went ashore to obtain a fresh stock of provisions. After visiting
several different stores, the telegraph and post offices, we returned
on board, had supper and then turned in.
Friday we did not get up until about eight o'clock, and
after having a swim and breakfast went on shore. While the rest went up
into the town for provisions I rowed up the harbor to make some
photographs. The place was filled up with bugeyes and canoes, some
being painted and others hauled out and being caulked. At this time of
the year the bay boats are not very busy, it being just between the
oyster and watermelon seasons.
Here it was that we first saw a curious type of Chesapeake
Bay canoe rig. In place of a jib they have a small mast, about half the
size of the foremast, stepped in the stem, raking forward over the
bows, the masthead being considerably outside of the boat. The small
triangular sail, called a "jigger," which sets on this mast, is sheeted
to the foremast.
At noon hoisted the homeward bound pennant, as this was as
far down the Bay as we intended to go. After lunch we set the mizzen,
jib, and staysail, kept the awning up between the masts and started off
for Oxford before a light southwest wind. While passing Hambrook Bar
the tide, which was flood, set us in toward the shore, and we touched
bottom very lightly, but did not stick. Off Island Creek passed a small
naphtha launch hailing from a port on the Miles River. Reached Oxford
about four o'clock and anchored just above the steamboat wharf; went on
shore to the telegraph and post offices, came back, had dinner, and
went on shore to the post office again. When we got back we found
Dimphel, Esq., on the Fidelio, and after talking with him for half the
night we turned in.
On Saturday got up about seven o'clock, had breakfast, and
then Skipper Jeanes and I went on shore for provisions. On returning
found a Mr. Dunop, of Baltimore, aboard. After lunch the two skippers
went up to Easton by train. I took the small boat and sailed up past
the town to a nice sandy beach, where I had a swim. I then proceeded to
scrub a pair of duck trousers, using plenty of sand and soap. Dined on
board the Fidelio with Inglis. About eight o'clock the skippers
returned loaded down with antiques, which they had either purchased or
The skipper did not get up this Sunday morning, in fact all
day, as he had trouble in his interior department. After getting
dressed I started on shore to forage for milk, telling the man to start
breakfast. When about fifty yards away Gustaf shouted in his
Anglo-Scandinavian, "Hoo-ee! Hoo-ee! Iss no potatis; iss no potatis!"
This was sad news, as all the provision stores were then closed.
Milk is evidently scarce in Oxford, as I had great trouble
to get even a quart. After breakfast I sat on deck log-writing, and the
aforesaid Dunop came down to show off his canoe. About four o'clock the
Keren, yawl, and Zeeland, knockabout, belonging
to members of the C.Y.C., came in and anchored near us. They had hardly
anchored when a thunder squall came down from the north, and with
plenty of wind and rain. After it had partially passed, the owner of
the Keren came over to "gam." They had started a few days after we had.
On Saturday they had beat down the Bay from Annapolis to Cook's Point
against a hard southwest wind. We did not sit up long after supper, as
it was too wet to sit outside, and a lamp in the cabin made it
Monday we got up about six o'clock, had a swim and
breakfast, then, as the skipper was not yet altogether well, we went on
shore to the doctor, who gave him some medicine which he never used,
and so, of course, got all right. About nine o'clock we took the small
boat and rowed up Town Creek to the old Tilghman residence, of which we
made a photograph; then crossed to the other side of the creek to the
graveyard, where there is a monument erected to Colonel Tench Tilghman,
secretary to General Washington.
From here the skipper of the Fidelio and I went to look for
an old house on Boone Creek, the other two returning on board. After
walking for about a mile we came to a large square frame house. On
inquiring at a nearby farmhouse we found the name of the place was
"Bonfield," that it had been owned by the Chamberlain family. It was
built as early as 1775. We got a key and went all through the house.
From the outside it looked like an ordinary frame building, but we
found that the walls were of brick clapboarded. In the cellar there are
small rooms which make you think you are in some German castle, so like
dungeons are they. A fine pair of andirons made us crack one of the
commandments, but we went off without damaging any other. When we got
back to Oxford we found Bob and Inglis waiting for us at the steamboat
After luncheon Dimphel came over in his launch and towed one
of the small boats over to Bellevue, where he left us, we promising to
go to his house later on. We walked about half a mile to the Scott
house, and were shown through by the owner. We were told, among other
interesting things, that no two windows in the house were the same
size. After making photographs of it and of the old Bozman house we got
in the boat and started for Dimphel's, he meeting us just at the mouth
of Plaindealing Creek and towing us up to the Hardcastle mansion. Most
of this old house has been torn down, but we were told that the
original hall of it was big enough for a coach and four to turn in and
that it had actually once been done. There still stands near by a small
brick building which was used in early colonial days as a place to
trade with the natives.
When we were in the graveyard looking at some of the old
gravestones, one of the boys, who were showing us about, said, "Do you
see this large stone here and that little window up there?" pointing to
the house. "Well, when the man who is buried here died, his wife sat up
in that window looking at his grave, never coming down for seven years,
and on the day she came down she got married again." "And she must have
sat on a stepladder," chimed in another boy, "for the window is six
feet from the floor."
Coming back down the creek we passed a small building about
the size of a henhouse which we were told was the first tobacco
customhouse in Maryland. We stayed some time at Dimphel's, looking at
models of different boats which he intended to build. Before we left,
Mrs. Dimphel served some lemonade and cake, and then they came back to
the Fidelio with us in their launch, which is a very handy little
affair, being an old whaleboat with a Pierce engine fitted amidships.
We turned in as soon as they left us, as we wanted to start early next
morning for Eastern Bay.
Got up Tuesday about four o'clock and started off under jib,
staysail, mainsail, and mizzen before a good northeast wind; had
breakfast after passing Choptank Light, then set balloon jib, and we
boiled along until off Sharp's Island, where the wind began to lighten,
and when we were a little above Low Point it was about a flat calm. We
generally found that there was a good northerly breeze from before
sunrise until about nine o'clock, when it would die out, and about
three o'clock in the afternoon the breeze would come up again from a
We slowly drifted up the Bay with the tide. When off the
north end of Poplar Island the wind came up from the southwest,
gradually increasing in force. Off Claiborne we passed the Fayelle,
launch, belonging to a member of the C.Y.C., bound for Norfolk. On
nearing Tilghman's Point we took in the balloon jib and set the
staysail and working jib. By this time the Fidelio was rounding Herring
Island, at the mouth of the Wye, while we had to beat from Tilghman's
Point up to buoy No.8 before we could run for the Wye. About five
o'clock we anchored off the west side of Bruff's Island in about four
fathoms. After dinner I sailed around the north end of the island in
the small boat, while the skipper made the usual visit to the Fidelio:
there were very few nights that we did not go over and sit in the
Fidelio, talking over what had happened during the day or planning for
Wednesday morning we put on neckties after breakfast, as we
intended to visit Wye House, the estate of Colonel Edward Lloyd. It was
blowing very hard from the southwest and there was quite a little
"bobble" where we were anchored. About nine o'clock we all got into the
Fidelio's small boat and rowed around the north end of Bruff's Island
and landed on the east side of Shaw's Bay. Going across this small bay
we had a hard pull and got pretty wet. A few minutes after landing we
met Colonel Lloyd in a buggy on his daily drive through the different
fields, and asked permission to make a few photographs of the house,
who told us to go up and present ourselves.
WYE HOUSE, TALBOT COUNTY, MARYLAND.
THE ORANGERY, WYE HOUSE.
Wye House is built of wood and on the plan of most Southern
houses. During the War of 1812 part of it was burned down by the
British. About a hundred yards back of the house is a fine old
greenhouse, and back of that is the family graveyard. The grounds are
very beautifully laid out and very English-looking with their boxwood
hedges, etc. After making a photograph of the front we went around to
the rear, made one of that and also of the greenhouse. Then, after
walking around for some time, we returned to the house and sent our
cards in to Mrs. Lloyd, who kindly invited us in, and we spent a most
pleasant hour chatting about the history of the old place. Mrs. Lloyd
told us that among many things which the British had taken away with
them, were ladies' dresses, paintings, and many other valuable things,
including, of course, silverware, and a table of silver, part of which
they afterward returned.
We returned on board by way of the small passage between
Bruff's Island and the mainland, two of us having to get overboard and
push the boat through. After lunch we got into the small boat, rowed up
to the south point of Wye Island and walked up to a farmhouse, passing
on the way a remnant of one of Bordley's windmills, where we hoped to
get a wagon to drive us to the Paca House, at the north end of the
island. Once more we were taken for the police (oyster police this
time) by the small boys who were playing around the house. After much
persuasion we succeeded in getting the wagon. On arriving at the Paca
House we were very much disappointed to find that the old building had
been burned down, and the present one was only sixteen years old; but
we were very kindly treated by the owner, Mr. Raisin, and his son, who
took us across the river to another old house, Wye Heights, now owned
by a New York man. On returning on board, had supper, made the usual
visit to the Fidelio, and then turned in.
Started for St. Michael's Thursday morning at five o'clock,
having to beat against strong south wind. It was pretty ticklish work
beating out the narrow Wye. Anchored on the south side of St. Michael's
Harbor about six thirty. After breakfast we went on shore to the
telegraph and post offices, incidentally taking in a few provisions. We
had to hurry back on board, as a bad-looking squall was coming down
from the northeast. The Fidelio, which had anchored outside the harbor,
had to get up anchor in the midst of it, and ran in under the mizzen
and jib. It rained in spells until about two o'clock, when it cleared
up and we went on shore; visited some of the oyster police boats which
were being repaired at the shipyard. One of the captains showed us some
of the cannonballs, bombs, and canister which they carry. He said that
he had used the balls and canister, but never the bombs, as he was
afraid of the "durned things."
While walking around the town we saw a man building a dugout
canoe. The canoes are built out of from three to five logs and take
about eighty days to make. We were told that some of the builders are
so expert that they can work one log in one place and another several
miles away, and so on, and when brought together these logs will fit
perfectly. After supper we were visited by Mr. Lambkin, a local
builder, who told us some very interesting things about the canoes.
We started for Annapolis Friday at four-thirty, wind blowing
strong from the north. As the tide was running out there was quite
considerable "bobble" off Deep Water Point, where the channel is very
narrow. Before starting we had hauled out the yawl boat, but we heeled
over so much that it was necessary to lower and tow her. Just after
passing Deep Water Point we noticed that the Fidelio had gone aground
at the mouth of the harbor, so we turned around, but she got off before
we reached her. It was decided that we should anchor and see whether
the wind would go down, as it was too close work and risky beating out
the narrow channel.
After breakfast I went on shore for mail and to get a few
provisions. We loafed around all morning, doing nothing except take a
swim. About two o'clock the wind began to lighten, and we soon got
under way, but the wind fell rapidly to almost a dead calm, so that we
did not get to Tilghman's Creek until after four o'clock, where we
anchored in over four fathoms. After putting up awnings all went ashore
for another swim, but as we had to row a half mile we were not much the
better for it by the time we got back. Intending to start early next
morning it was not long after dinner that we turned in.
At a quarter to four o'clock on Saturday, after much labor
at the windlass, we got away under working sails. There was a light
north wind blowing, so after rounding Tilghman's Point we set balloon
jib, but did not get even as far as Bloody Point Bar Light before the
wind dropped entirely. About ten o'clock could see the southwest breeze
covering the Bay with cat's-paws, and it was not long before we were
booming along, carrying everything.
Off South River passed some of the Baltimore Yacht Club
bound south. At two-thirty we anchored off the Naval Academy grounds,
and then went ashore for mail and provisions and a visit to McCusker's
antique shop. On returning we found that the Keren and Zeeland and had
come in, and soon after them Mr. Long's bugeye, from Oxford. Later that
afternoon the harbor began to fill up with all sorts of bay craft, and
it certainly seemed as though it was blowing outside, as schooners and
bugeyes came in under reefed mainsail and jib.
On Sunday we were up and away about four-thirty, and as the
southwest wind was still blowing we expected to make a quick run to the
Elk. While getting up sail we saw a schooner-rigged bugeye very
cleverly back, for about a couple of hundred yards, out of a tight
place. While running close to one of the schooners going out her
skipper told us that for that time of the year he had never seen the
Bay so rough as it had been the night before, and there seemed to be
some signs of it yet. Off Hackett's Point we heard loud shouts from the
galley, and going forward I found that the coffeepot had fallen off the
stove; so, to ease her up a bit, we took off the balloon jib, which had
been pulling like a horse.
Off Sandy Point there was a nasty sea in the tide rip,
caused by the south wind and the ebb tide. We did not make as good time
as we expected on account of the head tide. Passed Swan Point at eight
o'clock and Tolchester at nine. We could not find the red buoy off
Worton's Point, so we went considerably out of our way over to the
western shore to escape the shoal. Off Howell's Point set the
spinnaker, and at two-thirty anchored at the mouth of Back Creek, about
an hour after the Fidelio. We had not been anchored long before a tow
of two large timber barges from Pamlico Sound came along, and we found
we were in the channel; so got out the kedge and moved nearer to the
north shore. After dinner I sailed around with the small boat for about
an hour and then turned in.
Next day we did not get up until five o'clock! Had breakfast
and then sat around waiting for the tug to come down from Chesapeake
City. About ten o'clock we became very impatient, so Skipper Jeanes and
I went on shore to investigate, and learned that one tug was being
repaired, and the other was busy with barges on the canal; but a man
offered to pilot us up the creek for a couple of dollars. After lunch
we started off under balloon staysail and mizzen, with the awning still
set. About halfway up we passed our cousin's launch, the Corona,
bound down. On arriving at the canal we got a mule outfit and set out
immediately. At St. George's we got mixed up with a lot of barges, and
halfway to Delaware City passed two which had gone aground; at Delaware
City ran into about a dozen. We did not lock out until about eight
o'clock, so ran over to the Pea Patch Island side, anchored, and had a
dinner and then turned in.
Started off Tuesday, July 4th, about four o'clock before a
very light southwest wind, but a fair tide. Our run up was uneventful.
Off Marcus Hook the wind freshened, and we arrived at the club house
about one o'clock.
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell, editor & general factotum.
May not be reproduced without my permission. Go scan your own damn