Friday, September 18, 2009

Maritime Heritage

Mathews County is synonymous with water.

The coffee table book found in everyone's home, "Soil Survey, Mathews County, Virginia, Our Soil, Our Strength," (published in 1962 by the USDA) says, "The county forms a peninsula that is dissected and nearly surrounded by tidal bays, rivers and creeks. It is bounded by the Piankatank River on the north; Chesapeake Bay on the east; Mobjack Bay and the North River on the south and southwest, and Gloucester County on the west. Gwynn's Island, at the mouth of the Piankatank river, is connected to the mainland by a highway bridge."

The book "Chesapeake Bay and Tidewater," by A. Aubrey Bodine, says , "Captain's paradise, Gwynn's Island, Virginia, is a seafood center which is said to have produced more sea captains in World War II than any other Bay community. Here in 1776 Lord Dunmore, the royal governor, made his last stand against the Virginia patriots whose cannon on Cricket Hill drove his fleet away."

From "Images of America, Mathews County" by Sara E. Lewis, comes this: "More than 2,000 seagoing vessels were launched along Mathews' edge during the 1700's and 1800's. ....There were six shipyards in the East River. Others were in Blackwater Creek, Cobbs Creek, Garden Creek, Winter Harbor, Milford Haven, North River, Pepper Creek, Point Breeze, Put-in Creek, Sloop Creek and Stutts Creek. Families with surnames such as Ashberry, Billups, Gayle, Hudgins, Hunley, Miller, Smith and others were engaged in the trade."

And finally, from this week's Gazette Journal, which talks about next Saturday's festivities here in the county:

"...On Saturday the 26th the maritime past will be celebrated in the county with Mathews Maritime Foundation’s (MMF) Heritage Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Horn Harbor Marina in Port Haywood. According to MMF spokesperson Pete Hall, there will be demonstrations of crab pot making, oyster dredge net weaving, crab picking, and sculling throughout the day...."

Our maritime roots grow deep and hopefully will never be fully uprooted. Even today, there are many Ashberrys, Billupses, Gayles, Hudginses, Hunleys, Millers and Smiths in the county.

I have to say, though, that Sloop Creek is a new one on me, and I will not rest until I find it, simply because the word "sloop" makes me laugh.

With love and sloopy kisses,

-Chesapeake Bay Woman


Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

I think that's one of the reasons I very nearly instantly bonded with Mathews when I was there in July...those maritime roots.

I am most at peace near the water...especially if that water is connected to the ocean.

And I don't care what anyone says, there is just something about the people of small coastal/wetland communities. Especially communities where the water and soil nourish the body and soul. Mathews is exactly that kind of place.

Annie said...

well, you shouldn't have to go far to find it...I just googled it! There is even a house for you all to stay in next time!

there's this...

Enjoy the relaxing, invigorating Northern Neck lifestyle at Sloop Creek Lodge on the Little Wicomico River. This charming vacation rental property has all the modern amenities to make your stay on the Northern Neck a relaxing, memorable occasion. Rent by the week, weekend or off-season winter season.

or this....

Feature Name: Sloop Creek
Category: Virginia physical, cultural and historic features
Feature Type: Physical
Class: Stream
County: Mathews County
Latitude: 37.3523603
Longitude: -76.3249429

perfect 37.35 long -76.32

sorry to spoil your fun...there's nothing like sitting here on Friday afternoon doing a google search on sloop creek...

Susan, VA (1.4 miles NNE)
Shadow, VA (1.4 miles E)
Mobjack, VA (1.9 miles NW)
Motorun, VA (1.9 miles SE)
Bavon, VA (2.4 miles ESE)
Bayside, VA (2.4 miles SE)
Port Haywood, VA (2.4 miles N)
New Point, VA (2.7 miles E)
Peary, VA (2.7 miles ENE)
Sarah, VA (3.4 miles NE)

Hope I haven't spoiled your fun..or your next post!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Audrey - I"ll have to make it up your way one of these days. I was just talking to Chesapeake Bay Daughter about Maine the other day.

Annie-Thank you for your research. That Sloop Creek Lodge isn't in Mathews (though it does sound wonderful for a getaway),

The rest of the info does tell me about where it is. (Naturally, the Queen of Dial-Up Internet does not have a GPS system other than her nose, which most of the time leads her on wild goose chases that do not involve Gustav.)

Anywho, all those places - Susan through Sarah--give me the vicinity it's in. What I find interesting is a couple of those names (Motorun and Sarah) I've never heard of before. Learn something new every day.

Thanks for the work. Maybe this weekend I'll go on a Sloops Creek Hunt.

Ann Marie said...

Oh.... Miss CBW... did you happen to forget a name on that list?????

I think I am going to go hide under my bed now.
With my wine.. like I needed an excuse right?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

No, I didn't forget Burroughs, but the 1962 Mathews County Soil Survey did.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Or rather that book about Mathews, not the soil survey.

Ann Marie said...

Motorun is around the corner from my house.. You guys took the right at Bavon post office to get to my house but if you had come in via the fire house way you would have had to turn left at the spot where Motorun PO stood.

Motorun was so named because in the mornings the man who ran said Post Office said that was all he could hear on his walk to work.. Motors running. Boat Motors that is.. which falls right in line with your Maritime story :)

Sarah ... well that is kinda hard to explain.. You know Pear Tree Cemetery.. you go THROUGH Sarah to get there..

does that help?

I think I just labeled myself as a Human GPS but more wine should help.

And if you want to take a ride to Sloops Creek.. call me I will take you there.. hehehehehehe

Ann Marie said...

Oh dear... I am incredibly sorry.. I have not had all of my coffee yet and I misread and misspoke.. I was not understanding you were using the names from the book... Nowwwwww I get it... I take it back... I take it back..

Now I shall go hide under the bed with the wine because I have offended CBW... and don't you dare tell me I didn't.. apparently you DO need a reason to be drinking wine at 7:18 in the morning...

I need help.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you, Ann Marie - go easy on that wine, I dont' think it's five o'clock anywhere in this hemisphere yet....and I"ll take you up on the offer to see Sloop creek. Maybe during the next therapy session.

Now I'm off to the races shuttling children to and from school; soccer game in denbigh tonight; another 100 miles + put on the odometer.

Pueblo girl said...

That photo is sooo evocative, and your communtiy sounds wonderful. I love it when you write these posts (I love your other posts too).

Mental P Mama said...


Big Hair Envy said...

Isn't he a singer? Sloop Dog?

Daryl said...

I wanna go there .. add it to next year's agenda and Ann Marie and our other human GPS Kate can guide us .. Manhattan is surrounded by water... AND we're celebrating Henry Hudson's sail by ..

TSannie said...

We shall have a hunting expedition to look for Sloop Creek next summer! I'll bring the beer.

Caution Flag said...

We have water in Michigan. We're double peninsulas!! (always so worried that I'll misspell that word...) I just don't think our water is as romantic as yours. And I'm pretty sure the blogger who lives here isn't as talented as the one there.

Grandma J said...

I love the water...water connected to the ocean.

I think Anne found our next blog fest location. Do you think she'll come? Maybe?

Country Girl said...

Water soothes my soul. Wonderful post.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

There is indeed something about the water and the Bay and the people who live there. I got the sense that it was a similar something to that of my own kin, who grew up surrounded by fields of corn and wheat and soybeans in landlocked central PA. Not sure why... maybe it's the deep roots, the generations before you who've made their lives in the area.

James Parlier said...

I live on Sloop Creek, in Mathews County. .James

James Parlier said...

I live on Sloop Creek, in Mathews County. .James