April 5th, 2012
A few decades ago I migrated to Maryland from the west coast, armed with a fresh bachelor’s degree in History. Although California has a rich background—Spanish missions and the Gold Rush—it doesn’t compare to the extraordinary depth of history that transpired in Maryland.
Maryland—the seventh of the original 13 colonies–became a state on April 28th, 1788. The Colonial Era, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and more recent events have all left their mark on the politics and property of this state. Even now, artifacts appear in unlikely places: arrowheads and minie balls crop up in backyards, and a couple of years ago I found an 1893 penny while digging a hole for a tree.
For me, history is best learned through stories and lectures about the people. Facts are helpful, but I’d much rather hear what life was really like in those days. When I start to complain about how slow a website loads or about the cost of a gallon of gas, I try to remember that a couple of hundred years ago most people couldn’t read, and walking was usually how a person got from one place to another, no matter how far.
With that in mind, I’m very excited about several library programs coming up in April. On Saturday, April 14th, the grounds of the Perryville Branch Library will be transformed into a Civil War camp! Please stop by between the hours of 10 and 5 to experience a Civil War training camp, including company drills, demonstrations and firing of musket rifles (which I need to warn the police about in case they get calls…). The reenactors will represent actual Confederate and Union Civil War companies from Cecil County and Maryland. It will be fun for the whole family–no registration required.
Then, on Monday, April 23rd at 6:30, our Chesapeake City branch will also be hosting a Civil War program. Fort Delaware, located on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River, wasn’t completed until 1859, but it soon became home to several thousand prisoners of war. Author Bruce Mowday will provide details of the role that Fort Delaware played in the Civil War, including the story of Southern prisoners trying to survive and Northern guards trying to endure the desolate outpost. Register via our website, or call the Chesapeake City branch at 410-996-1134.
I still pull out my 1893 penny every now and then, but some of you may have stronger ties to history. What connects you to the past?