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

Chestertown Tea Party: British Routed – Colonists Win Again!


Tea Party Festival weekend is over – and Chestertown’s signature event was a smash hit. The weather was cool, and the main events — the Colonial Parade, the Re-enactment, and Sunday’s Raft Race – went off without a hitch. Several observers said the crowd was the largest they’d seen in several years. The parade started right on time at 10:00 am. There were lots of tents, tables, and booths set up by craftspeople as well as local organizations.  The food vendors appeared to be doing good business, with long but steadily moving lines. Asbury Methodist Church’s food tent was one of the more popular vendors with ribs barbecued on the spot in a fantastic smoker that looked like an old-fashioned steam locomotive.  The Kent Marching Band food tent may have had the best prices with hot dogs for $3.00 and hamburgers for $4.00.  The predicted rain managed to hold off until just minutes after the British were routed and the last chest of tea was tossed into the Chester River!

Colonial troops fire off a volley during the Tea Party re-enactment

The parade winners were: Riding and Walking Unit: First, Maryland Rough Riders; Second, Chestertown Ukulele Club. Marching Band: First, Largo; Second, Kent County High School; Third, Queen Anne’s County High School. Marching Unit: First, First Delaware Regiment; Second, Maryland Loyalist Battalion; Third, Chesapeake Independent Blues. Float: First, Kent School; Second, Girl Scouts. Mayor’s Cup: His Majesty’s Marines. Also, after the parade, the Edna Ross award was presented to Dick Goodall of Dixon Valve and Coupling for his many contributions to the community, including participation in Character Counts and the founding of Kent Forward.

Liz Gross, parade judge, Dick Goodall – 2017 winner of Edna Ross Award, Sabine Harvey, chair of Tea Party

Grand Marshall Tom Yeager and his wife Jeanne in their Colonial finest.

Girl Scout Troop 330’s float won 2nd place.

The Sunday Raft Race drew an enthusiastic crowd and a typically quirky set of entries. The Congressional Award, for the best bribe, went to the Kent School Ospreys. The Junior Cup went to Critter Gitter. The Flop Award, for most impressive failure, went to Trotline Bling, which sank before reaching the first turn. Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. The Da Vinci Award, for the most unorthodox form of locomotion, was given to Bottle Water World. The Fabulous Flotsam Award, for raft more likely to cause a spectacle than win the race, went hands-down to Cooler Crew, whose raft was literally a bunch of coolers tied together. And the Tea Cup, for the best synthesis of creativity, engineering, and speed, went to The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper, which crossed the finish line well before its competitors. Judging the race were David Quinn, Leslie Raimond, Lanny Parks, Ford Schumann, Isabel Hardesty and Chris Cerino. The skies opened up on Sunday, just as the raft contestants were finishing – luckily, they were already good and wet, and the spectators took shelter in the college’s Hynson Pavilion.

Kent School -Best Float –  Each student had colonial attire.  At the judges’ stand, they all got off the float and recited the Declaration of Independence – from memory!.

Centreville Middle School Band

The Chestertown Ukulele Club put on a lively performance from their parade float. They won Second Prize in Riding and Walking Units.

Kent County High School won 2nd place in the Marching Band category.

Kent County Football float – The Spartans

Owls on display at the Scales and Tales exhibit by Maryland State Parks stare down the Spy photographer. Signs said “Don’t touch — animals may bite.”

Children play on the stage outside the Kent County Courthouse, Saturday in Tea Party’s Colonial Village.

Town Crier Steve Mumford & Bonnie Clark. Bonnie noted that women in colonial days wore tricorn hats, too, and often decorated them with flowers or other trimmings.

Many organizations were on hand with information. The Maryland State Police were in front of the Imperial Hotel in a booth flanked by two cruisers.

                                                                  The Dover English Country Dancers


Colonial militia marches to the river to protect colonists as they dump British tea.

A loyalist cautions against rash action during the re-enactment.

British officer tries to argue with those obstinate colonists. Surely they can see that the army is there to protect them! And taxes support the army!

The Brits fired three rounds then fled back to their ship.

Chestertown rebels row to the British ship Geddes to toss the tea.

Tossing the Tea!

Crowds await the start of the Tea Party raft race Sunday, in Wilmer Park.

                                       The rafts line up for the race.

The Ever-Rafting Gobstopper was built around an innovative paddle wheel powered by six Oompa Loompas. They paddled their way to victory, being first to the finish line by a healthy margin.

Raiders of Wilmer Park, whose raft was topped by a giant fedora, took the Van Gogh Award for artistic creativity. They were in a photo finish with the Procrastinator for second across the finish line.

The Procrastinator was made out of two inflatable swimming pools and one air mattress.

The Chestertown Tea Party is held annually on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend in Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Raft Race starts from on Sunday from the town’s riverside Wilmer Park.  For more information visit official Chestertown Tea Party website.  Hope to see you next year!


























































































Chestertown’s “Taste of the Town” Celebrates 10th Anniversary


Taste of the Town celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 7.  From noon to 3:00 pm, Fountain Park was filled with guests enjoying samples from 18 local vendors.  There were food and drinks from an even dozen restaurants plus four wineries and one brewery.  This is the first year that the vineyards and brewery participated – a welcome addition to a popular Chestertown tradition.

Co-chairs Tara Holste and Andy Goddard did a great job organizing the event.  About 250 people from all over the region filled the tent in Fountain Park.   The tent even had a large sunlight section in its roof. Attendees voted for their favorites in three categories:

Attendees voted for their favorites in three categories: Most Creative – Best Use of Local Ingredients – Most Flavorful.  Ballots are currently being tabulated.  So stay tuned for the results of these People’s Choice awards.

The Whistle Stop Winery was one of five wineries at the event.  Also present were the Clovelly Vineyards, Crow Vineyard & Winery, Dove Valley Winery, and Olney Winery.  Beer lovers got to sample the wares from the Bull and Goat Brewery.

Lockbriar Farms ice cream was very popular!

Fish Whistle – Jeff Carroll and one of his cooks prepare Clovelly Beef Sliders.

Participating restaurants were Barbara’s On the Bay, Chester River Yacht & Country Club, Evergrain Bakery, Figg’s Ordinary, Fish Whistle, The Kitchen at the Imperial, Lemon Leaf Cafe, Little Village Bakery, Lockbriar Farms, Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, O’Connor’s Irish Pub and Procollino’s Italian Eatery. Serving wines were Clovelly Vineyards, Crow Vineyard & Winery, Dove Valley Winery, Olney Winery and Whistle Stop Winery. Beer drinkers could sample the products of Bull & Goat Brewery.

Figg’s Ordinary serves gluten-free goodies – flatbread with assorted toppings.

There were over 20 raffle prizes that covered a wide range of items, including gift certificates to many restaurants and local stores, two tickets to any Garfield Center for the Arts production, a hanging basket from Unity Church Hill Nursery, and a jar of goodies from Gabriel’s of Chestertown.

Taste of the Town is presented by the Downtown Chestertown Association with the help of many volunteers and generous sponsors.  Tech support was provided by Butch Clark. For more information see Taste of Chestertown,   Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA),

Chestertown Spy Forum on Town-Gown Future


Last Tuesday, the Chestertown Spy sponsored a public forum with Washington College President Sheila Bair and Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino. The purpose of the event was to have a meaningful conversation with the community about the future of both the town and the school as they adjust to the rather complicated and challenging times of the 21st century.

With the help of the Washington College digital media services, we are able to present the whole meeting in its entirety for our readers benefit.

This video is approximately one hour in length. Please rewind to the beginning to see the entire program. 

United Way Celebrates Volunteers at Heron Point


Bottom row L-R: Bonnie Keating, David Keating, Bobbie Chase, Nancy Montague, Betsy McCown, Jennifer Kafka Smith, Judy Kneller, John Leek, Charlotte Hawes, Ginny Barker Second Row L-R: Jane Jewell, Charlotte Potts, Denise Tontarski, Meredith Rellick Third Row: Ed Silver (UWKC Board), Jennifer Tosten, Tamara Kim, Ken Young Top Row: Lee Irish, Chuck Shorley, Ralph Dowling, Andy Andrews, and Comm. Bill Short

April 6, 2017 was the Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition Breakfast of the United Way of Kent County held at Heron Point in Chestertown. A delicious buffet breakfast was served in Heron Point’s newly refurbished dining facility with nearly ninety people in attendance. As attendees enjoyed their coffee, a short business meeting was held before Volunteers of United Way Member Agencies from all over Kent County were honored.

President Carol Droge welcomed guests, and spoke about successes of United Way in the past year. She mentioned the update of the areas of impact: Education, Health, and Financial Stability. Ms. Droge stated that this year’s campaign, United Way of Kent’s 60th, was at 83% of its goal of $210,000. She mentioned the upcoming Guest Chef Fundraiser Dinner to be held at the Lemon Leaf Café on April 11.

Treasurer Alison Libshitz introduced the first Annual Report of United Way of Kent County. Everyone present received a copy.

Bottom Row L-R: Chip Williams (VP), Patti Dowling, Mary Fisher, Lauren Gibson Second Row: Beth Everett (ED), Alison Libshitz (T), Carol Droge Third Row: Barbara Foster, Glenn Wilson (P), Katie Warrington Top Row: Bill MacIntosh, Bob Greenwald Missing: Sarah Feyerherm, Marilyn Parks (S), Ed Silver

Directors and Officers were elected. For the coming year, officers will be: Glenn Wilson, President; Chip Williams, Vice President; Marilyn Parks, Secretary, and Alison Libshitz, Treasurer. Directors elected for a three year term are Patti Dowling, Carol Droge, Mary Fisher, Lauren Gibson, Bill MacIntosh, and Ed Silver.

The Business Partner of the year, The Peoples Bank, was introduced and presented with a plaque noting their service to the community in the past year. Mr. Ralph Dowling, President and CEO, accepted the plaque and said that community service is an important function of a community bank like Peoples Bank.

Next, volunteers from 24 Kent County Member Agencies were introduced and given a stadium blanket with the United Way 60th Anniversary logo on it and a certificate from Governor Larry Hogan thanking them for their service.

Volunteers recognized were: American Red Cross, Lisa Sewell; Big Brothers Big Sisters, Nancy Gray; Boy Scouts, Ken Young; Camp Fairlee/Easterseals, Bill Short; Character Counts, Rebecca Pitre; Community Food Pantry, Judy Kneller; Community Mediation Upper Shore, Andy Andrews; Echo Hill Outdoor School, Sally Harding; For All Seasons, Ginny Barker; Fiddlesticks! Youth Orchestra, Jane Jewell; Girl Scouts, Tamara Kim; Good Neighbor Fund, Bobbie Chase; Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, Jennifer Tosten; Kent Association of Riding Therapy, Kirsten Forney; Kent County Community Assistance Fund, Charlotte Potts; Kent County Medical Adult Day Care Foundation, Pets on Wheels; Kent Forward, Gina Jachimowicz; Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Meredith Rellick; Playmakers Camp at the Garfield Center, Jennifer Kafka Smith; Rebuilding Together, John Leek; Rock hall Yacht Club Sailing School Scholarship Program, Denise Tontarski; St. Martin’s Ministries, Charlotte Hawes; Samaritan Group, Inc., Bonnie and David Keating; and United Needs and Abilities, Chuck Shorley.

Townsend Memorial Medical Clinic did not name a Volunteer this year.

Incoming President Glenn Wilson congratulated all the honorees. He spoke about the goals of United Way for the coming year, chiefly, to do a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment for Kent County. Mr. Wilson also recognized Josh Petersen, President and CEO of 211 Maryland, Inc. and noted United Way’s intention to work with 211 to expand Member Agencies’ availability to the community. He recognized outgoing President Droge’s contributions to United Way and Kent County and presented her with a Distinguished Service Award.

For more information about United Way of Kent County, its mission, and volunteering opportunities, call 410-778-3195 or email

Spy Moments: The Only Thing Missing was Hoofbeats


Horse lovers from throughout Kent County and beyond gathered at the home of Dave Turner and Ran Crawford on the first Sunday afternoon of April to share a common interest and a common intent.

It was the first meeting in 2017 of the Chestertown Horsemen’s Club, an organization begun by Turner and Crawford. While the sun shone down outside, laughter and greetings floated up to the high ceilings of the North Water Street house as old friends and newcomers met over drinks and delectable finger foods. They had come to talk horses and to hear guest speaker Susan Harding discuss the long-term needs of equine sports in America.

Susan Harding, at right, talks horses with Elizabeth Watson and others at the Chestertown Horsemen’s Club

Harding, of Bethesda, Md., is the former president of Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), a national organization devoted to the protection and conservation of land for the horse and horse-related activities. She’s also the retired vice president and group publishing director of Source Interlink Media’s Equine Network, publisher of the magazines EQUUS, Horse & Rider, Practical Horseman and Dressage Today, as well as websites and books.

After an hour of jovial mixing, the gathering was called to order by Turner, who began by introducing the club itself. With some care, he noted that its name held no gender implication, but rather was a reference to the “Chestertown horsemen” who backed the imported English Thoroughbred mare Selima in her victory against a horse from Virginia in one of the first and most important Colonial-era races.

That explanation began a round-robin of introductions, during which it became clear that, in addition to curious neighbors, enthusiasts of nearly every horse sport were present, from new to old.

To murmurs of support, jokes and outright laughter, the comments flowed: “I’m a fox hunter” … “I teach” … “I drive” … “ I try to keep legislation in our corner as much as possible” … “I love everything horses.”

“I took up riding after 20 years of not riding,” said one.

“I haven’t been on a horse in years, but I have two daughters who love to ride and my foxhunter niece is here so I thought it would be okay to come,” said another.

“I took my first lesson at 50,” said another, to applause.

“I can’t say I’m the better half,” said one wife, speaking after her husband. “He takes care of the animals and keeps them healthy for us, so he’s the better half — I have one horse; he has 10,” to laughter.

Among the farms and organizations represented were the Kent Association of Riding Therapy, Airy Hill Stables, Kent Veterinary Center and Glasgow Farm, Comegys Creek Farm, Grassymeade Farm, Selcouth Sporthorses, and the Kent Conservation Preservation Alliance.

When it was her turn to speak, Harding began by saying how much she’d already enjoyed herself.

“It’s been wonderful to talk to you all and to hear you all,” she said. “It reminds me of why I love the horse industry. It’s really a special place and very special people.”

Though she’s no longer involved day-to-day with the horse world, Harding explained, she has chosen to focus on three endeavors that can make a difference in its future.

One is equine land conservation. Another is the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park. The third is her participation on the board of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association

As she explained each, Harding outlined her concerns: the need to build up the population of people who know about horses and enjoy horse sports as spectators; the need to provide entry- and mid-level opportunities at reasonable cost for those who want to pursue horse sports; and the need to provide adequate open space to support those people, their sports and their horses.  

Starting with that last, Harding said she has watched horse activities get pushed out, time and again, by development. As that happens, the horse lovers who remain lose the backing of those who live around them.

“We’re limiting the number of people who have easy access to horses,” said Harding. “The fewer people who have access to horses, the fewer people who care about horses, the harder it’s going to be for those folks who do care. Because we won’t have people behind us to help support us, on zoning boards, in communities where we’ve always assumed horses will always be.”

She has seen the progression, she said. People move into a beautiful area because it’s beautiful, and, once there, discover they don’t like living around the horses and the farm activity that maintains that beauty. The complaints begin.

“It’s so important for horse people to know each other and to work together,” she said, so that they can help one another maintain the horse economy.

Finding ways to introduce people to horses is important, too, Harding pointed out. The International Museum of the Horse, she said, “apart from being a wonderful place, is someplace where people who are not familiar with horses get first exposed. … And there again, people who may never own a horse, who may never even ride a horse — they learn to appreciate a horse.”

By contrast, Harding’s participation in the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association put her in contact with the top level of a “very serious professional sports organization.”

“But it’s been very interesting,” she said, “because they have a wonderful network of local affiliates who really are doing a fantastic job of attracting kids into the sport.”

At the top levels, Harding noted, people are doing very well. However, she continued, “We’ve totally lost the bottom of the sport.” The recent recession, she estimates, led to the death of roughly three million horses. People were giving horses away because they couldn’t afford to feed them, and, in some regions of the country, just turning them loose. There’s a need to rebuild, Harding said.

“A lot of the discipline organizations are realizing that they need to support the lower end of the market, because that’s where people come into the sport, and that’s really where the majority of the people are going to enjoy horses.”

In the discussion that followed, Royce Herman of Centreville, the only director of the Maryland Horse Council on the Eastern Shore, pointed out how important it is that the local horse industry introduce itself to the local economic development commission. Dr. Judy Tubman of Kent Veterinary Center urged everyone to become involved and stay in touch with local planning and zoning boards, and to support the horse council and its work in Annapolis on behalf of the industry. And Harding emphasized the need to encourage audiences to attend horse sporting events. “You need the support of the other people in your community, not just the horse people.”

At 5:45, Turner interrupted the discussion. It had run longer than hoped. By any measure, the first quarterly meeting of the Chestertown Horsemen’s Club was a successful affair.

Cliff’s Schoolhouse Looks For New Owner


Somewhere out there, someone is needing to own and curate a little bit of Eastern Shore history.

How about a mint-condition 135-year-old school complete with a pot-bellied stove, lesson assignments on the blackboard and the sounds of children playing “Red Rover” and “Simon Says” echoing down the decades?

Local non-profit Preservation, Inc. hopes to find a new owner for Cliff’s Schoolhouse, Kent County’s only existing one-room school. Preservation Inc. was the driving force behind saving the GAR Charles Sumner Hall.

Built in 1878, the quintessential “little red school house” on Quaker Neck Landing near Pomona was one of several small schoolhouses serving children of local farming and watermen through seven grades. In its day, the schoolhouse would rely on neighbors for water, the older children trekking buckets to and from local houses

In its day, the schoolhouse would rely on neighbors for water and emergency care if a student fell ill and twice a year the site for community social events.

Some years before her death in 2003, Thelma Vansant reminisced about her first teaching job at Cliff’s School in 1928 writing “We had few materials furnished. I bought extra crayons, colored paper, and pencils. We often made do or improvised.” Despite the hardships—cold winters, impassable muddy roads—Vansant said “the first big thrill of my first year was to have my six little first grade boys reading by Christmas. The older children joined in helping the younger ones.”

Since its closure in 1939, the gable-roofed, single room structure has been owned, managed, and renovated by several non-profit groups. Currently, Port of Chester Questers, with assistance from the Retired Teachers Association, manage the historical one-room building, opening it weekly to the public, and caretaking the grounds.

Preservation Inc., a driving force behind saving Sumner Hall GAR building from demolition, will make a presentation to the County Commissioners at Tuesday night’s meeting with the hope that the county might consider becoming the schoolhouse’s new proprietor. Terms are negotiable.

“The yearly taxes and maintenance fees run about $2,000 a year,” says Chris Havemeyer, founder of Preservation, Inc.


For serious inquiries, call 410-778-1399


In Memoriam: Kent County Philanthropist Rosalind Havemeyer


Rosalind Everdell Havemeyer, age 99, died peacefully at home in New York City on March 8, 2017. Rossie, as she was known, was born on August 8, 1917 in Watch Hill, RI and was the daughter of Rosalind and William Everdell and the wife of the late Horace Havemeyer, Jr.  She was looked after, these past few years, by a group of wonderful caregivers – the Magnificent Seven.  She went to Foxcroft School and later in life received honorary degrees from Hofstra University and Washington College. She was devoted to her family, opera, the sea and gardening.  She was a great sailor who started a small yacht club in Islip, Long Island; a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood; an historic preservationist in making two 17th century farmhouses into homes with beautiful gardens – first in Dix Hills, NY and then at The Reward in Chestertown, MD.  

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 7.06.53 AMIt was in Chestertown where, in 1997, she helped start the Sultana Education Foundation by supporting the building of the schooner Sultana, a full-scale reproduction of a vessel that sailed the Chesapeake in the years before the American Revolution. Rossie said she had “a love affair” with Union Theological Seminary in NYC where she joined the board in 1965 and then became the Chair of its board in 1970, the first woman to chair the Board of a Seminary in the US and she continued to serve on that board until 1982.  In 1988, she received the Seminary’s highest honor for her service “because she embodied the prophetic role of women in theological education…”

Rossie was predeceased by her eldest son, Horace Havemeyer, III (survived by Eugenie Cowan Havemeyer) and by her youngest granddaughter, Emily Roosevelt Foehl (survived by Peter Foehl), as well as her two brothers, William and Romeyn Everdell. She is survived by her children Rosalind Havemeyer Roosevelt (Christopher duPont Roosevelt), William Everdell Havemeyer (Jane Litzenberg Havemeyer) and Christian Havemeyer, also her grandchildren Kate Roosevelt (Caroline Maillard ), Christopher Havemeyer Roosevelt (Christina Luke Roosevelt) and William MacGregor Havemeyer (Rebecca Schulman Havemeyer) and also her six great grandchildren Noah and Wiley Roosevelt, Mason and Liam Foehl and Nellie and Nate Havemeyer.  

The interment will be private and a Memorial Service is being planned to take place in the late Spring at Union Theological Seminary in NYC.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Union Theological Seminary or to Sultana Education Foundation

Mid-Shore Public Affairs: Kent Center’s Board President Randy Cooper Looks Forward


Randy Cooper is perhaps best known for the highly successful renovation of the Radcliffe Mill just north of town for the new home of Radcliffe Corporate Services, which he founded in 1987, but it’s clear from his recent interview the Spy that he’s not yet done with building things.

After a long career in accounting, including top positions with Arthur Andersen & Company, Bank of America, and the Mellon Bank, and the success of Radcliffe, Randy’s new challenge comes with his appointment as president of the board of Kent Center, Inc, Kent County’s highly respected organization serving the region’s needs to help and support adults with developmental disabilities.

In his Spy interview, Randy talks about the extraordinary contributions Kent Center has made to help close to seventy clients and their families with a staff of over one hundred staff, as well as increasing the number of those living independently. He also talks about the unique challenge that parents have to ensure their adult children are taken care of after they pass away.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Kent Center, please go here

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