Peninsula Enterprise, August 18, 1894


Fields -- Crops - Corn

The prospect of a good corn crop is reported from every part of the county and the yield will doubtless be better than it has been for many years.


Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Life-saving service

The work, preparatory to having the Metompkin Life Saving Station moved farther back from the water's edge, is in progress.


Infrastructure -- Public : Camp meetings

The camp-meeting held at Turlington ground, near Keller, under the auspices of M. E. Church, South, this week was largely attended every day and there had been ten conversions according to our latest advices. Among the preachers present were: Revs. W. P. Wright, P. E., T. N. Potts, Salisbury, J. T. Bosman, W. J. Twilley and _____ Cheatham.


Fields -- Crops - Cover cropsProfessionals -- BuildersInfrastructure -- Commercial - Residential construction


Quite a number of our farmers are sowing scarlet clover seed and cow peas as land improvers.

George R. Nock & Co., who have just completed a large two-story residence for Mr. George H. Justice, left this week for New Church, where they are engaged in making extensive repairs for Mrs. Emma Selby.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - ResortsTourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Boat racing


The Atlantic Hotel is filled to its utmost capacity with guests.

In the boat race which came off on the 9th inst., at Ocean City, Md., bateau Thomas H. Melson, of Accomac C. H., won first prize, bateau Annie Timmons, of this place, second, and bateau Flora Timmons, of Green Run, Md., third. In the second race bateau Annie Timmons won first prize, bateau Nellie Lang, of Accomac C. H., second, and bateau John W. Kellam, third.


Forests -- Barrel factories Infrastructure -- Public : Camp meetingsInfrastructure -- Commercial - Residential construction


Our barrel factories are running on overtime, but are unable to supply the demand, as our farmers are making such heavy shipments of sweet potatoes.

The Tangier big meeting begins next Saturday, to continue one week. Some of our people expect to attend.

Parksley camp-meeting was almost a failure at first on account of heavy rains, but is moving on finely at this time, with a good attendance.

Quite a row was created a few days ago at Parksley camp, on account of a fuss between a couple of boys, in which older persons were induced to take sides.

William Johnson, has moved into his dwelling on Bennett street.

Letter from the People.

Infrastructure -- Public : Fences


Will you kindly give this a place in your columns. "The Virginia Citizen," of date June 8th, 1894, published at Irvington, Lancaster Co., Va., uses the following language:

The Court of Appeals of Virginia, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States, have recently decided that fences are not necessary in order to sustain an action of trespass. In other words it has been decided that, although your neighbor's field is not fenced in, and your cattle enter it, you are liable for damages.

The decision renders unnecessary the "No fence" law passed by our Supervisors and which goes into effect on the 19th day of this month. In fact we have already, and have had for some time throughout the State, a "No fence" law, and, whatever may have been our individual wishes, we have to accept the decision of our courts on this point, as their similar actions on the road law and trial by justices. Justice Lacy, of the Virginia Court of Appeals, renders the following decision and cites decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court in substantiation of it:

"The highway is, generally speaking, nothing but an easement comprehending merely the right of all the individuals in a community to pass and repass, with the incidental right of the public to repair. This easement does not comprehend an interest in the soil, nor give the public the legal possession of it. The right of freehold is not touched by establishing a highway, but continues in the original owner of the land in the same manner it was before the highway was established, subject to the easement. The public has right to pass and repass, and to repair, and anything which obstructs the use of the way is a public nuisance. Subject to the easement, the exclusive ownership of the soil, the freehold and all the profits remain in him who owned the ground before the highway was laid out over it; and he may maintain trespass for waste, or recover possession subject to the easement. The herbage belongs exclusively to the owner of the soil and he may maintain trespass against one who puts his cattle in the highway to graze, or against one who places obstructions there, or who, instead of passing along it, remains standing there, as a strolling musician refusing to depart.

"These principles are well settled in most of the States of this Union, and in none more firmly than in Virginia.

"A public highway only vests in the Commonwealth a right of passage, but the freehold and the profits (such as trees upon it and mines under it) belong to the owner of the soil, who has the right to all remedies for the freehold, subject, however, to the easement.

"The easement comprehends no interest in the soil. The right of freehold is not touched by establishing a highway, but continues in the original owner of the land in the same manner it was before the highway was established, subject to the easement.

"Mr. Minor says that the public acquires merely a right of passage. The freehold and all profits of the soil belong still to the proprietor from whom the right of passage was acquired. He may, therefore, recover the freehold in ejectment, subject to the right of way, and may maintain an action of trespass for digging the ground. If it be unknown from which of two adjacent proprietors a highway was at first taken, or if the highway be the boundary between them, they are understood to own each ad medium filum viae."

In addition to the foregoing and pertinent thereto, the writer begs leave to quote the following from a letter written by the Hon. Camm Patteson, of Buckingham Co., Va., of date Feb. 3, 1893:

"No local custom can exist in Virginia, or indeed in any of the States of this Union; because, to use the language of 2nd Minor's Institutes, page 559, 'When our ancestors came hither in 1607 they brought with them the common law of England and the general statutes made in and thereof, but not any local customs, none of which, therefore, existed that year in the colony,' and he quotes abundantly authority to sustain that proposition. If the Hon. John B. Minor is right there can be found no warrant for the right of common in common law, because no common law right of custom ever existed in Virginia. As no custom can be immemorial in Virginia, it follows as a necessary consequence that no prescription can be, and hence prescription cannot exist in Virginia. Two eminent law writers in Virginia sustain this proposition, namely Tucker's Commentaries, page 211, and I. Lomax's Digest, page 786, and their reasoning is, it seems to me unanswerable; and so far as I am advised the Virginia decisions are in accord with the law as laid down by them on this subject. The date of immemorality, as it is termed in England, commenced in the first year of the reign of King Richard I., long prior to the discovery of America. The authorities, State and Federal, are ample to sustain these propositions."

According to these gentlemen there is no such thing as public commons, so called -- no prescriptive or common law right of the public to the so-called commons. To entitle the public to the use of a thing by prescription or long continued use, that use must be immemorial, and the common law of England, (by which we are governed, except in so far as certain portions of it have been modified or abrogated by statutory enactments), fixes the commencement of the date of immemorality from the first year of the reign of King Richard I (1182), and no one would hazard the absurd proposition that any local or general custom in any one of these United States could date from the time of Richard the 1 of England, since the first settlement of the colony dates only from the year 1607. No law can be found anywhere, whether in the common law of England or any of the statutory enactments of any state in this Union, requiring a landed proprietor to fence his land, and, in the absence of fences authorizing the running at large of cattle upon the unfenced domain of such proprietor.

Many a poor man who owns a tract of land he is not able to fence, and from which he might derive in part or entirely his subsistence if he could cultivate it without fencing, is debarred that privilege simply because a neighbor's cow or hog running free would render such efforts on his part utterly futile. In times past when legal rights were not so strictly enquired into as now, these abuses were allowed to go on unchallenged.

Then especially in the South, where landholders owned large tracts and had in cultivation only a portion of their lands, and these cultivated mostly by slaves who made the rails and fenced the land, timber being abundant, the rest was allowed to "lie out" unfenced, and, therefore, subject to these abuses of unlimited and unhindered grazing without question. These large estates have been greatly subdivided and many of them have no timber on them. Many of the owners of the subdivisions would cultivate their little tracts, but are not able to incur the expense of fencing. The lands "lie out" and forsooth are called commons, upon which every man thinks his cattle may range and graze without let or hindrance.

Several counties in Maryland have lately dispensed with fences, and the writer is informed by a gentleman who resided in Worcester Co., when the "No-fence" system was adopted there, that many who at first objected to the "No-fence" system are now earnest advocates of it. The great grain-growing and grazing States of the West have no fences for they have no timber. A plain, slow-going people are slow to adopt innovations. They are perfectly content to plod along and do as their fathers did before them. The introduction of labor saving machines such as gang plows, reapers, sewing and knitting machines, and many others, were at first strenuously objected to, but does any one in his senses for a moment think that they have not on the whole been beneficial to humanity?

It is time that the great State of Virginia was waking up and getting in line with human progress in other parts of the country. The "No-fence" system may meet with objectors at first, but ultimately its beneficial results will be acknowledged by all.


Chincoteague Island, Va.

July 31, 1894.

The above letter in some respects is misleading. The Court did not decide as stated, "that although your neighbor's field is not fenced in and your cattle enter it, you are liable for damages." [Ed.]


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Fairs

The Eastern Shore Agricultural Fair, was a greater success this year financially, than that of any previous year, as was stated in our last issue. Then the Fair had not closed and to some extent the statement was a mere matter of opinion, now the results have been summed up and show larger receipts than ever before. This taken into connection with the good order that prevailed throughout the Fair, the excellence of the exhibits, fine weather, magnificent trials of speed and the good attendance every day, enables us to say, that it was a success not only financially, but in all other respects and creditable in all things to the officers who controlled it and contributed by their efficient labors to its success.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
August 18, 1894