The Oxford Historian
The Oxford Museum
100 S. Morris Street, PO Box 131
1683 Oxford, MD 21654 410-226-0191
AHOY! Launching a New Generation of
Model Boat Builders
What do a 12-year old, a 10-year old, a couple 7-year olds,
and a 71-year old have in common? They boast a passion and
talent for building model boats.
As soon as Jennifer Stanley, founder and director of Oxford’s
After-School Program, realized that some of her students
were interested in building model boats, she knew what had
to be done and she did it. She contacted Ed Thieler, pre-
eminent Eastern Shore model boat builder. In no time,
Thieler and the kids, Kurt, Von, Emma and Claire were busy
at work. With great pride, they will display a number of their
boat models at the Oxford Museum, beginning Oxford Day,
April 26. (Back) Ed Thieler and Jennifer Stanley.
(Front) Von Kirchoff , 10; Kurt Knost,
“They’d run -- and I mean run! -- into the Community Center 12; Emma Knost, 7. Missing from
after school each day and immediately get to work,” brags photograph, Claire Kearns, 7
Thieler about his enthusiastic young protégés. They learned
and sometimes had to relearn to take accurate measurements, to use tools and wood more
efficiently, and to consider alternative ways of approaching a goal. And there was always lots of
chit-chat about boats.
As to their favorite boats, Von and Kurt are both exhibiting their models of the WW II Japanese
battleship Yamato. “It had the largest naval rifles -- 18 inch guns! -- and 142 anti-aircraft turrets
that sent up a storm of bullets,” Kurt emphasizes. Von nods in agreement, adding the final note
about the Yamato, “It was the largest battleship in the world and it lost about 1200 souls when
the Americans sank it.” (Con’t on page 5)
New Display Cases Installed
Thanks to Ned (at left) and Mary Crabb of Crabb & Company, the
Museum now has three beautiful new display cases for exhibits. Ned
used his cabinet makers skills to duplicate the existing cases to create
a uniform look. In addition to this lovely and generous gift from them,
the painting work was generously donated by Bateman’s Painting.
We can’t thank them enough.
Please stop by the Museum for an up close and personal look at Ned’s
work. Crabb & Company are custom builders and offer design as well
as new construction and remodeling services. They are located here in
town at 104 Oxford Road. If you would like further information and
would like to see examples of the quality residential design, cabinetry
and millwork they provide, please call the office, 410-226-0372.
PAGE 2 T H E O X F O R D H I S T O R IA N
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Museum’s Collection Database Project Gets Underway
Leo Nollmeyer, volunteer curator, has been hard at
Vice President work updating the Museum’s database. Soon he will
Dorette Murray, be assisted by Emily Miller, a summer intern from
Secretary Washington College. They face a Herculean effort –
Bob Valliant photographing and classifying by category over 2,000
Don Duvall artifacts. Actually it’s more like 4,000 pieces if you
Jeanne Foster include documents, postcards, receipts, news
Rebecca Gaffney articles, and photographs. Along with physical
Gordon Graves location and condition, they will also record an
Bob Hopler artifact’s provenance, i.e., its known and documented
history such as when it was made, who owned it, how,
when and where it was used and who donated it.
Carol Patterson That’s a lot of data entry! When completed, the
John Proctor database will be a valuable resource for searching any Curator Leo Nollmeyer
Doreatha Rasin artifact in the collection. Eventually it will be
Beth Schucker integrated with a user- friendly computer in the
Richard Toombs Museum, allowing members and visitors to do
Ellen Anderson archival research on artifacts, historic houses and
Executive Director family genealogies.
Curator It’s not surprising that Leo is eager for Emily to add
her expertise, and she’s raring to go. She sees her
The Oxford Historian
summer in Oxford as a great opportunity for hands-on
Editors: Rebecca Gaffney,
Beth Schucker practical experience, and besides, the thought of
Contributors: Ellen learning about Oxford through its artifacts intrigues
Anderson, David Foster, Pat her. Thank you, Leo and Emily!
Jessup, Kathleen Kurtz
Hopler, Pat Jessup, Leo Emily Miller, summer intern, a junior at Washington College
On Sunday, June 22, at 2:00 pm to a “Wedding in the Park”
fundraiser in Town Park, recreating the 1909 nuptials of Oxfordians
Finette Longfield and Casper Voorhis. Following the ceremony,
guests are invited to share light refreshments.
The wedding dress worn by Ms. Longfield is shown on the cover of the
Museum’s brochure. It is a blue-gray silk garment, hand-stitched,
and reputed to have been made in France. Her hat of the same color
is adorned with a dyed-to-match ostrich feather. Part of the proceeds
from this fundraiser will be used to complete the restoration of this
garment and fund the cost of displaying it on an archival cotton form
especially designed to fit the dress. In lieu of wedding gifts, guests’
contributions to the Museum’s “money tree” would be most
Wedding gown worn by Finette Longfield
T H E O X F O R D H I S T O R IA N PAGE 3
UPDATE: Events and Exhibits
Valliant Window Display: Got a Favorite Fig Recipe? As many in town
Organizing the Valliant window know, the Museum has several prolific fig trees
display is going to take out back. Joanne Bougher gave us a great idea
significantly more time than we that involves figs. Details will be revealed in our
anticipated. Of course we should summer issue. Until then if you have a favorite
have figured any family here fig recipe (jam, jelly, tart, sauce, appetizer???) to
since the 1600s would have a lot share, please send it to Ellen (mail P.O. Box 131
of history to sort through! Although not or email to: email@example.com.) No,
undaunted by the task, Larry Myers’ full-time job it’s not another cookbook.
(yes, he does all this in addition to!) involves Plantation Talk: As mentioned in the last
travel commitments in May so he will be working newsletter, Tot O’Mara and Cindy Reed will
through June on this display. share their knowledge and memories about
Oxford Day: Despite best plans and all Plimhimmon and Otwell plantations
that……native American Daniel Firehawk respectively. The talk is scheduled for May 8 at
recently informed us that he is unable to join us Holy Trinity Parish House from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
as planned on Oxford Day with his program about Cindy promises everyone attending a piece of
the area’s first citizens. We are sorely cake from a famed Goldsborough family recipe.
disappointed and apologize that this anticipated
program will not be held.
Oxford Relives Civil War, April 25
the recruitment of former slaves into the Union
Army. David Webster, local raconteur, will share
love letters written by William Hall, then living in
Oxford, to his wife in Baltimore. Re-enactor Rob
On the eve of Oxford Day 2008, historians, re- Griesbach will describe "What Johnny Reb and
enactors and Civil War buffs will gather at the Billy Yank Marched On: Civil War Rations." The
historic Waters United Methodist Church on one-hour program will close with Rev. Bunting
Market Street at 7 p.m. for an hour of lively and returning to restage the dramatic announcement
entertaining discussion of "Oxford and the Civil of the South's surrender, as it was made to the
War." Chairing the session is oft-published Civil gathered congregation in the church.
War writer Tom Wheeler, followed by five Following the presentations, the audience and
panelists, each briefly delineating some aspect of participants are invited to join a group of
our Nation's deepest conflict. The evening has Confederate re-enactors at their encampment at
been planned and organized by the Oxford Hels Half Acre for refreshments around the
Museum and is free and open to the public. campfire. For further information, call the
Oxford's Larry Denton will set the stage, dealing Museum at 410-226-0191.
with the Secession Crisis. David Foster, amateur Be sure to check out the Civil War exhibit in the
historian and storyteller, will talk about the Museum’s window. Another outstanding
Tilghman family's adventures, followed by a achievement by
retelling of the Third Day at Gettysburg when Larry Myers.
Talbot County troops met in bloody combat.
Reverend Jay Bunting, pastor of the Oxford
United Methodist Church and sometime re-
enactor, will tell the story of "The Zarvona," and
PAGE 4 T H E O X F O R D H I S T O R IA N
IN OUR COLLECTION Matthews, accompanied hymns
in the Oxford Methodist Church
Abracadabra! A sudden solution a long time ago, when it was still
to a vexing problem. How can a wooden structure, long before
the Museum adequately display it was replaced in 1945 by the
its collection when two-thirds of brick building we’re familiar
it is crammed into a climate- with today. What we do know
controlled storage building on about the Bilhorn Brothers
Route 50? Through “virtual Organ Company is that it was
exhibits” was the brilliant founded in Chicago in 1885 and
suggestion from a Board continued operations through
member. Thus the idea for a new 1941. In 1902, it made organs for
column was born. And what Sears Roebuck, with an
better way to inaugurate the estimated sale price of about $5.
column than by introducing a Reverend Jay Bunting, minister
musical note in Oxford’s history - at Oxford United Methodist,
- a Style W portable reed organ explains that early itinerant
made by the Bilhorn Brothers ministers used Bilhorn organs as
Organ Company. they moved from place to place,
This small organ, donated to the and more recently the organs operates by moving his or her
Museum by Mrs. H. Spencer have been used at missions and knees to open and shut. The
by army chaplains conducting best thing about the organ is
field services. Bunting, himself a that, depending on who’s
history and music lover, playing, it has a grand range of
emphasizes the instrument’s sound. As Bunting sums it up,
portability. He also notes that “You’d swear you were listening
legs can be attached to to a much larger organ.”
accommodate a musician sitting
in a chair in front of it, and the
pedals drop from the case, as do
swell leavers which the player
2007 Annual Giving Exceeds Expectations
The 2007 annual giving campaign has been a huge
success! Contributors names were printed in our
January Newsletter, but since then we also received
support from the followings friends:
Florence and Richard Bank
Cheri J. Fisher
Barbara and Elden Hartshorn
Mignonne LaChapelle and William Brashares
Sandra and John Seifarth
Debbie and Cy Smith
Jennifer and Ted Stanley
T HE O X FOR D HI ST OR I AN PAGE 5
access to all the necessary mechanics behind.
Thanks to Lawrie Jessup for the construction
In the summer issue:
effort, to Arlene Bickel, Joyce Buttner and
An article about Museum support received Mignonne LaChapelle for their artistic work, and
from many friends over the last year.
Steve Clyburn for map design.
We hope it will inspire and encourage
others. Maybe you?
Museum Gift Shop Offers
Peter Hanks Print
New “Map” Display Unveiled on We hope you visit Pope's Tavern soon and admire
Oxford Day the Peter Hanks' Oxford original, on the back wall
In the last issue we reported a visit from Museum in the bar area - a cozy corner perspective, a
exhibit expert Laura Greenberg. Her suggestions favorite view for many of us of the porch and
combined with a need to “hide but keep picket fence at the Oxford Inn & Pope's Tavern.
accessible” the outlets and light switches on the Richard Marks gave the original watercolor along
back wall have led to a new display which will be with 25 high-quality prints to his friends, Lisa
unveiled on Oxford Day. A wall size map (12’ long MacDougal and Dan Zimbelman, the Inn's owners
and 5’ high) of Oxford will feature historic and proprietors. They in turn gave the prints to
buildings and monuments throughout the town the Museum, to be used as a fundraiser. After all,
and show where they are located. The map will they opined, not many non-profits in town are
also give viewers a perspective of Oxford as a struggling with a mortgage to pay. Wow! And if
peninsula surrounded by water, including the that wasn't enough, Peter Hanks is helping us
Tred Avon River view seen from the Museum. display the prints, which will be available framed
and unframed at the Museum gift shop.
The map was constructed of two separate panels
which slide like “closet doors,” thus allowing
AHOY! Launching a New Generation of Model Boat Builders
(Con’t from page 1) tombs of ancient Egyptians at the
As to her small sailboat, Emma, her brow Franklin Institute.” Casting his vote
furrowed and lips pursed, remembers its sail, “It for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime
was so hard tying those little knots.” Claire Museum, Von says, “There are lots
named her cruiser Friendship. Asked why, she of boats there and we ate lunch in
replied, “It started when I first learned about a the light house.” And finally Kurt
real Friendship when I was with my grandfather describes his hands-on-learning
and father in Maine. I saw boats like mine called experience in a water exhibit at
Friendship. My grandfather makes them.” Both the Indianapolis Children’s
boys will also display the skipjack-in-a-bottle Museum, “You get to build
models they made while participating in a recent your own paper boat and let
program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime it go down stream in the
Museum. currents, even through
The kids say they’ve never been featured in a aqueducts.”
museum, but they each have a favorite. Emma Please stop by on Oxford Day.
liked her school trip to the Baltimore Science Admire our newest collection of model boats. We
Museum. She grins, “I got the furthest in my class extend thanks to Jennifer Stanley and Ed Thieler
when I sat in a chair and had to pull on a rope to “for nurturing” and to our young boat builders “for
see how far I could raise myself.” Claire’s continuing the model boat building tradition in
preference is a little more exotic, “I liked the our maritime community.”
P AGE 6 T H E O X F O R D H I S T O R IA N
Did You Know?
Do you know if your building 1870 and 1910. A copy of the
is one of the contributing full submission, including
structures in the Oxford the list of contributing
Historic District? The Oxford properties, is available in the
Historic District was listed on Town Office for review.
the National Register of There are honorific and
Historic Places in December, possible financial benefits to
2005, thanks to the efforts of being part of a listed historic
the Oxford Historic District district. Owners of
Commission. The Commission contributing properties are
successfully obtained a grant entitled to receive a
that enabled the hiring of complimentary certificate
architectural historian, Paul from the Maryland
Touart, to assist in Historical Trust and may
preparation of the order a plaque for exterior
architectural study and display from private vendors, several of which can
nomination submission. The nomination was be found on the internet. Under the Heritage
first submitted to a state panel which in turn Preservation Tax Credit Program administered by
recommended the district to the National Park the Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland income
Service for placement on the National Register. tax credits are available for substantial
The Register is the nation’s official list of rehabilitation of both owner-occupied residential
properties and sites with significance in properties and income-producing properties.
American history and culture.
Other individual National Register listings in the
The boundaries of the Oxford Historic District Oxford area are Jena located on the Oxford Road,
are the Tred Avon River, Town Creek, and the the Barnaby House in town, Otwell (ref: Museum
south side of Caroline Street. In addition to exhibit), and two log canoes: Billie P. Hall and
having been one of Maryland’s earliest towns, the S.C. Dobson.
district is significant, quoting Paul Touart, “as an
Visit www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net for more
exceptionally cohesive and well-preserved
information on the Tax Credit Program, to read
collection of domestic, commercial, and
more of the Oxford District nomination, and to
ecclesiastical properties primarily dating from
learn about the other districts and buildings in
the town’s principal period of growth, i.e., the
Talbot County. Visit www.nps.gov/history for
last quarter of the 19th century through the
more information about the National Register.
World War I era.” Over 90% of the buildings that
define the historic district were erected between
Museum Submits Grant Applications
Christmas in July just may come true for the Museum. The Museum has
submitted two grant applications and anticipates a decision by the awarding
authorities in late July.
The first grant was submitted to the “Stories of the Chesapeake” Heritage Area
for the Museum’s oral history project, “The Way We Were” by Pat Jessup. The
second grant, written by Board member Don Duvall, went to the Maryland
Historical Trust for the collection database project mentioned on page 2.
Cross your fingers. We’ve certainly crossed ours!
T HE O X FOR D H IST OR I AN PAGE 7
Annual Membership Meeting In the Next (Summer) Issue
The Annual Membership Meeting and Election of Feature on the Old Counting House at
new Board members and officers will be held on Bonfield
Thursday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity
Regular columns: “Did You Know?” and
Parish House. The third annual Douglas Hanks
“In Our Collection”
Jr. Preservation Award will also be presented,
along with the promised report on last year’s Report on Annual Membership Meeting
community survey. The Douglas Hanks Jr. Award Recipients
MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS DUE BY APRIL 30
Thanks to our members who have renewed memberships for 2008-2009. Current memberships
expire April 30. If you need another renewal form or an application for new membership, please
call the office at 226-0191 and leave your name and address.
If you know who the people are in this photograph, please call the Oxford Museum
at 410-226-0191 and let us know. Photograph from the Norman Harrington
collection. Date unknown.
Permit No. 6
TO OXFORD AREA FRIENDS
100 South Morris Street
PO Box 131
Oxford, MD 21654
Saturday 10 to 4;
Sunday, 1 to 4 Joyce Buttner and Arlene Bickel have been pains-
takingly painting (for days) the details of historic houses
and buildings in Oxford on the new wall mural map.