History Happy Hour Labor Lecture Series


The Historical Society of Kent County is pleased to have Dr. Lucy Maddox present our latest installment of our four part labor lecture series. These lectures will explore the way Kent County worked beginning with indentured servitude and culminating with women’s work on the Eastern Shore during World War II. On April 7, Dr. Maddox will present her research regarding African American businesses in Chestertown – Against All Odds: African American Businesses in Chestertown before the Civil War.

Dr. Maddox is professor Emerita of English and American Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of four books, her most recent The Parker Sisters: A Border Kidnapping was published by Temple University in 2016. Currently, Lucy is working on a book about Rose Hill Plantation in Cecil County.

Please join us at the Bordley Building for our second installment of a fascinating and exciting lecture series! It all starts at 4 p.m. 301 High St.

Book Discussion by Alexandra Deutch February 3


On February 3, 2017, the Kent County Historical Society will present a book discussion by Alexandra Deutsch, Chief Curator of the Maryland Historical Society.

In her recent book, A Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Deutsch writes of Elizabeth Bonaparte’s life and world. This cultural biography details the experience of the famous beauty who married Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. Because of the Emperor’s machinations, the unapproved marriage was soon annulled. In spite of the unyielding forces against her, Elizabeth was eventually able to become financially independent due to her brilliance in the Baltimore real estate market.

Alexandra Deutsch has been the curator of several museums in the Northeast, Manager of Decorative Arts at Sloane’s Auction Gallery and now serves as Curator at Baltimore’s Maryland Historical Society. The discussion will take place at the Bordley Building, at the corner of Cross and High streets at 4:00 p.m.

We hope to see you there!

A Nice Little Chat on Kent County’s Only Mass Murder set for November 4


Kent County’s only mass murder took place 165 years ago at a farmhouse near Galena. But to this day there are many mysteries surrounding the case that resulted in five deaths and a very public, triple hanging outside of Chestertown.
What was the real motive of the three men convicted of 1st-degree murder? What part did the clock mender play? After his cohorts were executed, what happened to Stephen Shaw, the fourth member of the murderous cabal? Why did a Philadelphia murderer confess to the Cosden murder a year after the three, who were convicted, breathed their last at the gallows? And, what happened to the scaffolding after the executions?

Kevin Hemstock will examine these and other questions during History Happy Hour, Nov. 4.

Hemstock, former Kent County News editor and a local historian, is working on a comprehensive account of the sensational home invasion murder that horrified the nation in 1851. He also will have available his self-published book, The 13 Most Sensational Murder Cases in Kent County, Md.

It all starts at 4 p.m. at the Bordley Building, 301 High St.

Jon Powers Assumes Leadership at Historical Society


After an extensive search campaign, Steven Frohock, President of the Historical Society of Kent County, proudly announces that Jon Powers has accepted the position of Executive Director. He replaces Susanne DeBerry Cole, who has relocated outside the state. Powers began work on October 1, during the Society’s annual walking tour of historic homes in Chestertown. In its new headquarters on Chestertown’s busiest corner, the Society looks forward to innovative programs to make Kent County history more relevant to both the community and visitors.

kent-photo-amanda-002A Washington College graduate with a degree in Political Science, Jon Powers excelled in a university career that focused on development and outreach. He served as Director of Development at Dickinson, a private liberal arts college in Carlisle, PA, and as Vice-President for Development at a division of the University of Maryland. He is currently the founder and president of Mid-Shore Fundraising, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in non-profit institutions. Powers looks forward to renewing contacts and friendships in Kent County, where he years ago wrote a column supporting the Humane Society for Kent County News editor Hurtt Deringer and worked as an on-air commentator for local radio station WCTR.

Amanda Tuttle-Smith will continue as Deputy Director and Curator, assisted by librarian Joan Andersen and a growing crew of volunteers. Powers expressed enthusiasm for new program opportunities at the Bordley History Center, on the corner of High and Cross Streets, where renovation work is complete. The Society’s research collection and genealogical materials are fully accessible on the second floor and the Alexander Rasin Learning Center has been transformed into an attractive space for exhibits, lectures and other public programs. Powers praised the new facility, commenting that “our next challenge is to reach out to members, residents and visitors to Kent County with programs to stimulate our imaginations and enrich our lives.”

The Society is grateful to its members and many other supporters who have made these changes possible. The public is invited to visit both the new headquarters and the Society’s website, kentcountyhistory.org, to learn more about ongoing activities.

History Happy Hour at the Bordley


Please join us at the Bordley History Center to hear board member Jane Nevins present her work entitled “How Washington Became a God.” Nevins’s book, Turning 200: The Bicentennial of the Constitution (Richardson & Steirman, NY, 1987), told the story of the founding of our government and was the start of her fascination with the Founders and founding. She was a journalist in California in the 1970s, an appointee in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations in the 1980s, and the head of a nonprofit publisher in the 1990s through 2013. Her interest in the American founding is purely an avocation, but she hopes to inspire others to admire and cherish America’s founders, especially George Washington. Come relish in your love for Washington during History Happy Hour at the Bordley, Friday, October 7, at 4pm.

46th Annual Historic House Tour


12-101-church-alleyCome spend the day in historic Chestertown! The doors to a selection of National Landmark Historic District homes will be open to you for the 46th Annual Historic House Tour. The houses are open Saturday, October 1st from 1pm to 5pm. Tickets are $25 in advance, and also available the day of for $35. All tickets are available beginning at 11am at the Bordley History Center, located across from Fountain Park at 301 High Street. Reservations for the tour are recommended. Please reserve by phone at 410.778.3499 or by visiting the Society website at www.kentcountyhistory.org

This year’s tour will feature the following homes/churches:

1. Janes United Methodist Church

2. 106 South Queen- Bedingfield Hands House 

3. 106 Cannon Street/Garden- Bennet House

4. 106 South Water Street- Hynson Ringgold House

5. Custom House

6. 104 North Water Street- Turner/Crawford House

4-106-s-water7. 102 North Water- Wroth-Allspach House

8. 102 High Street- Wallis-Wickes House, Garden will also be open

9. 116 High Street- Buck-Bacchus Store

10. 101 North Queen Street- Hurst House

11. 119 North Queen Street- Ostrander House

12. 101 Church Alley- Geddes Piper House

13. Emmanuel Church

Geddes-Piper House Contents Up for Auction


Russum’s Furniture Auction will be selling a large portion of the Historical Society of Kent County’s Geddes-Piper House Museum contents at their auction house located in Crumpton (2017 Dudley Corners Rd. Crumpton, MD 21628) including furnishings, rugs, paintings, furniture, and artifacts of every type. The date has been set for Saturday, August 20th beginning at 9 am, with a preview of the items on Friday the 19th from 3-7 pm. Some of the items can be seen online at www.auctionzip.com/md.html.

For further information, contact Amanda Tuttle-Smith at (410) 778-3499. Or visit http://www.crumptonauctions.com/

Announcement of Position Opening and Search for Executive Director


historical societyThe Historical Society of Kent County seeks an Executive Director to assume overall management of programs, facilities, staff and volunteer workers. Principal among the executive director’s responsibilities will be interacting with the elected board of directors to develop strategies to effect the Society’s evolving vision for service to its community. Key concerns include expansion of membership and acquiring resources to support programs and projects.

Candidates for the position should have academic training and work experience in fields related to the work of the Society: history, historic preservation, library science to name a few. Candidates should present a record of success as volunteer leaders and/or staff members of not for profit organizations. The work of the executive director requires effective communication skills: oral, written, and digital competencies.

The Society occupies the Bordley History Center in the heart of Chestertown, the county seat of Kent County. A small part-time professional staff manages, with the help of volunteer docents and archivists, exhibits,education programs, archives/library, and a shop. Regular programming includes an annual historic house tour, historic walks, member receptions in historic houses and other spaces, and monthly lecture series. More information about the Society can be found at kentcountyhistory.org.

The position of executive director is part-time, averaging 15 hours per week, and includes some evening and weekend involvement. Compensation is set at the rate of $20,000/year.

Submission of a letter of interest describing pertinent experiences and a resume are required for review of candidacy. Information may be submitted by surface mail or email.

Executive Director Search Committee
Historical Society of Kent County
PO Box 665
Chestertown MD 21620

Historical Society Furnishings to be Sold at Auction


With the sale of the Geddes Piper House soon to be consummated, the Historical Society of Kent County has closed its house museum and sent most of its furnishings to auction.

“We have retained those items we could identify as being from Kent County,” explained deputy executive director, Amanda Tuttle-Smith. The bulk of the Society’s clothing collection was donated to Towson University, where it will be part of the University’s permanent collection. The balance of the furnishings and other items have been returned to individuals who had loaned them or sent to auction.

The porcelain tea pot collection, two early 19th century maps, and two items of furniture will be auctioned by Alex Cooper Auctioneers at 12 noon on Saturday, July 23, at 908 York Road, Towson, Maryland. The items are included in Cooper’s online auction catalog available at www.alexcooper.com.

The bulk of the furnishings, including rugs, paintings, furniture, and artifacts of every type, will be sold by Dixon’s Furniture Auction in Crumpton. No date is set yet but is expected to be on a Saturday in mid-August. “So many Society members and people in the community wanted to purchase items that we decided the best and fairest way would be to have the items for auction locally,” said Tuttle-Smith.

For further information, contact Amanda Tuttle-Smith at (410) 778-3499.