June History Happy Hour


Please join the Historical Society of Kent County on Friday, June 1 as we present, As Precious as Gold: A History of Tea Caddies from The Bramble Collection, a talk by Mark Bramble. The title refers to the fact that tea was literally more precious than gold in the 18th century. The tea caddy collection was built over two generations and includes more than 400 examples, spanning the period from 1700 to the present. Marnie Bramble, of Chestertown, started the collection more than half a century ago, and enjoined her youngest son, Mark, in her hobby. As an author and theatre director Mark travelled the world putting on productions of his shows, which has provided unique opportunities for collecting, which is the subject of his book, A Tea Caddy Collection, recently published by Schiffer Publishing. With slides and anecdotes, he will take us through the history of tea and tea caddies from 1700 to the present.

The tea caddies are currently on exhibit at the Historic Odessa Foundation’s 18th century houses in Odessa, Delaware.

The exhibition continues through the end of August and features over 200 examples from The Bramble Collection.

History Happy Hour
Bordley History Center
301 High Street
Friday, June 1, 4 PM

History Happy Hour on May 4


Please join us at the Bordley History Center, 301 High Street, at 4 PM on May 4th for the Historical Society of Kent County’s “History Happy Hour.” Steve Frohock and Lynn McLain will take on “Fireworks & Various Other Sparks,” a discussion of this area’s extensive connections to explosives and pyrotechnics. The history of fireworks and munitions in Chestertown is varied and vivid. While most have heard about the explosion at Kent Manufacturing in 1954, and all are aware of the interest Washington College has in celebrating with fireworks, the story actually goes back well over 100 years.

We hope to see you there! Come early as seats will fill up quickly.

Author Lauren Silberman at the History Happy Hour Lecture


Please join us at the Bordley History Center as we celebrate Women’s History Month by hosting author Lauren Silberman. Ms. Silberman is the deputy director for Historic London Town and Gardens. She is the author of Wild Women of Maryland, Wicked Baltimore, and The Jewish Community of Baltimore.

Lauren’s talk will center on her completed research for Wild Women of Maryland. This award winning book delves deeper into the lives of the daring women of Maryland who made their mark on history as spies, would-be queens and fiery suffragettes. Sarah Wilson escaped indentured servitude in Frederick by impersonating the queen’s sister. In Cumberland, Sallie Pollock smuggled letters for top Confederate officials. Baltimore journalist Marguerite Harrison snuck into Russia to report conditions there after World War I. From famous figures like Harriet Tubman to unsung heroines like “Lady Law” Violet Hill Whyte, author Lauren Silberman will introduce Kent County to Maryland’s most tenacious and adventurous women.

We hope to see you there! For more information call the Historical Society of Kent County 410-778-3499 or visit our Facebook page. 

Bordley History Center, 301 High Street, Friday, March 2nd at 4 PM

Please arrive early to ensure a seat!

Happy Hour at Historical Society of Kent County February 2


The Historical Society of Kent County will have a Happy Hour to discuess “The People of Rose Hill” with Dr. Lucy Maddox. The event will take place on February 2, 2018, 4 PM, at Bordley Building.

Life at Rose Hill Plantation, on the Sassafras River in Cecil County, was documented from 1814 to 1845 by Martha Forman, the plantation mistress, in a diary she kept for those years. The diary offers insights into the workings of the plantation, the lives of the Formans and their many friends and relations, and especially into the community of enslaved people who kept everything running. This presentation will look briefly at the people of the plantation, especially the black people, and consider the problems of researching the histories of the enslaved.

Please arrive early to ensure a seat.

First Friday: Historical Society of Kent County Presents the “Old Chester River Bridge” 


Bayly Ellen Janson-La Palme shares her research on the history ice cream in Chestertown at a previous First Friday Lecture.

Join us at the Bordley History Center (301 High Street), on November 3rd at 4 pm, to hear Dr. Bayly Janson-La Palme speak about the history of the “Old Chester River Bridge.” The history of the bridge contains many “ups & downs” and perils along the way. A toll ferry connected Chestertown and what is today Kingstown beginning in 1800.  The crossing was slow — up to an hour — and sometimes dangerous. Work on replacing the ferry with a bridge across the Chester began in 1805; however, the bridge was not fully operational until 1821. To hear the whole story of our beautiful bridge and its predecessors stop in for our First Friday lecture (and enjoy some wine while you are here!)

For more information, visit the Historical Society of Kent County’s website or call 410-778-3499

The current Chester River Bridge at Chestertown on Rt 213. Note the small guard house where the bridgekeeper used to raise the draw bridge.  It is not the first bridge across the Chester at this location.


Talkin’ Baseball at the Historical Society


the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame

The Historical Society is pleased to announce a special lecture, Hot Air and Hubris: Baseball and the Rural Culture of the Eastern Shore”, that will coordinate with our window exhibit  “When Hometown Baseball Was King.” Marty Payne and Donnie Davidson, both representing the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame, will be with us to discuss baseball and just what it means to this area. The talk will focus on how technology brought baseball to the Eastern Shore, the social and economic impact that this had on the region, and the quality of players and teams.

Payne is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research and has presented his findings to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Davidson is one of the premier collectors of Eastern Shore baseball historical items and is the historian for the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame.

The talk is at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Bordley Building. We hope to see you there! Ifor more information, call 410-778-3499 or email atadmin@kentcountyhistory.org.


Hemstock Tells of Freaks, Fables & Fires at History Happy Hour


Kevin Hemstock

Join members of the Historical Society of Kent County at the Bordley Building, 301 High Street, at 4 p.m. October 6 for the latest installment of History Happy Hour, where Kevin Hemstock will give a talk on The Freaks, Fables & Fires (and Added Mysteries) of Kent County, Md.

Hemstock will discuss his recent book project on the quirks of Kent County history, including topics such as the Chestertown cannon, ghosts in the courthouse, the old Chestertown cemetery, the tea party truth, Millington money, exiled editors, the Galena silver mine, buildings moved here and there, fountain fun, and of course – fires and explosions!

Kevin Hemstock lives in Millington with his wife, four dogs, and four or five cats. Before, during and after a career in journalism spanning three decades, he has had a strong interest in local history. In 2000 he moved to Maryland to work as editor of the Kent County News, where he published hundreds of columns on the topic of local history. He currently operates Old News, a genealogical and historical research service and ephemera shop in Millington. His book Injustice on the Eastern Shore was published by The History Press in 2015; he has self-published numerous other titles including The 13 Most Sensational Murder Cases in Kent County and Millington: A Small Town Defined by Fire.

For more information call the Historical Society of Kent County 410-778-3499 or visit our Facebook page.



Story of a “Ghost Island” at Bordley Center


The Historical Society of Kent County will hold the latest installment of their History Happy Hour Lectures at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 1,2017.

This month’s program will feature author Ann Foley and her book Holland Island: Lost Atlantic of the Chesapeake. Located just six miles south of Bishop’s Head, in Dorchester County, and seven miles north of Smith’s Island, Holland’s Island has become a ghost island of birds amid the remnants of a once thriving community.

Join us at the Bordley Building, 301 High St., as we hear the fascinating history of the island that once held over 360 residents! Refreshments will be served.

First Friday: History Happy Hour at the Bordley Building


Elmer T. Hawkins

The Historical Society of Kent County will hold the latest installment of their History Happy Hour Lectures at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 4. Join us at the Bordley Building as  we discuss African American Teachers in Kent County presented by Airlee Johnson, Bill Leary, Susan Kenyon and George Shivers, members of the Community History Committee of the Historical Society of Kent County. They will present the results of their recent research into the experiences of African American teachers in Kent County prior to integration.  Interviews with retired teachers and relatives of deceased teachers reveal that they were well prepared, shared a special sense of mission to educate black children to be competitive with their white contemporaries, and were understandably proud of the work they did.

A related new exhibit at the Bordley Center presents the results of interviews with teachers and close relatives, including their recollections of the legendary principal of Garnet, Elmer T. Hawkins, and their comparative assessment of segregated and integrated schools.  It also includes an annotated map of Kent County showing the locations of over 30 African American schools in the 1920s. Information from school board records illustrates the growth of segregated public schools from their beginnings in 1872 to the consolidation of schools in the 1940s. Short biographies of 32 teachers also can be viewed at the Bordley History Center at 301 High St. in Chestertown.

The former Afridan American schoolhouse in Worton Point