Peninsula Enterprise, September 15, 1894


reprinted from Norfolk Virginian 12th.Infrastructure -- Public : Churches

A Virginia newspaper having suggested editorially that the Governor ought to use the same means to disperse the "Free Lovers" [Sanctified Band] on Chincoteague Islands that he employed to rid Virginia of the Coxeyites, His Excellency was asked to-day if he had anything to say in reply to the suggestion. He stated that before driving the industrials out he received formal complaints from the authorities of Alexandra county, and if a similar complaint should be made to him in this case, the Chincoteaguers would have to go.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Bayside

Advices from Tangier and Pocomoke sounds are to the effect that oysters are very scarce this season. An expert tonger can catch only seven or eight tubs in a day, and says there is very little "young growth" in either sound.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Surveying

Christian Hanson and William J. Burton have been appointed commissioners for this county to designate natural oyster rocks &c., in place of Solomon T. Johnson and George Murphy, resigned.


Infrastructure -- Commercial - Newspapers

The Eastern Shore Herald was sold at public auction, at Eastville, last Monday, to Messrs. G. B. Borum and T. B. Robertson for the sum of $352, and will pass into their hands on October 1st. The Herald will be published after that date by the purchasers, and will have as a rival for public favor, it is stated, a new paper to be started by Messrs. Lindsay and Holloway, the present publishers.


Farmers -- Farmers' organizations

A regular meeting of Pungoteague Grange will be held Thursday, October 11th, to which all the members are especially invited, as business of importance demands their attention.


Fields -- Livestock - Horses

The sale of ponies [on Parramore Island] advertised by Mr. E. T. Powell in our last issue will not come off as announced, but has been postponed to an indefinite period.


Moral -- Firearms

All of the young men put in jail last week, charged with being in the party that shot Thomas Bowden, have been bailed out except two -- Burn and Fresh.


Infrastructure -- Public : Churches

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Harborton, will be dedicated on Sunday, September 23rd. Dinner will not be served on the day as heretofore announced.


Transportation -- Railroad - Corporate

Capt. O. A. Browne, it is said, will be the successor of H. W. Dunne. Advices to that effect, in fact, reasonably authentic, were received at the time of going to press on yesterday.


Moral -- Property crime

The store of J. H. Drummond & Son, Pennyville, this county, was entered by thieves on Monday night last and $95 in bank notes stolen therefrom. They got in through a window on the lower floor which was accidently left open at night. Nothing else was taken away by them not even a bag of silver left on the counter. They either did not see it or didn't want it.


Moral -- Alcohol

At the reunion of the graduates of the Keely Institute, Ashland, Va., in Staunton, Va., on the 4th of the September, the name of Mr. W. T. Bundick appears among the speakers on the occasion. He is reported, as having made a touching appeal to the graduates to do all in their power to lift up the downfallen and to rescue the perishing from the awful disease of inebriety.


Infrastructure -- Public : Churches

The M. E. Church, South, Drummondtown, having been thoroughly repaired, painted and furnished, will be reopened, next Sunday, September 16th. Rev. G. H. Ray, D. D., of Richmond, Va., will preach at 11 a. m., and 7:30 p. m. The usual services will both be held at Amiss Chapel in the afternoon.


Moral -- Other violent crime

Elias Hallett and Long Andrews, both colored, had a little 'scrap' at Cheapside, Northampton last Saturday, in which the former was knocked out on the first round. Hallett reinforced himself later with an old musket and discharging its contents in the crowd, wounding seven of the colored brethren, two of them seriously. Hallett now languishes in durance vile in jail at Eastville, Va., waiting the action of the grand jury.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - ResortsInfrastructure -- Commercial - HotelsSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : SeasideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : SurveyingFields -- Livestock - Horses


The Atlantic Hotel, with 52 rooms, and the largest on the Eastern Shore, and a few years ago considered much too large for the place, has proven to be entirely too small at times during this summer. It was so full last week that the overflow could only be accommodated with cots in parlor, attic and every other available place in house. It looks now as if the hotel instead of being too large, would have to be much larger for another season.

The steamer Petrel, with Lieut. Baylor and other prominent gentlemen on board, arrived here on 6th inst., and Dr. J. W. Bowdoin, fish commissioner, together with Christian Hanson, William J. Burton and Edward Thomas, commissioners for Accomac, arrived this week, for the purpose of designating the natural oyster rocks in our waters.

Wallop's Island Club House has been closed for the season.

The prize for the finest spring colt of Gold Dust was awarded by the owner, Dr. N. S. Smith, this year, to Edward Clark.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Field sports - TrespassInfrastructure -- Commercial - Commercial constructionProfessionals -- TeachersProfessionals -- MarinersTourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Excursions


Suit is about to be entered by William Walsh, Esq., and others, against certain parties, and will probably determine the rightful ownership of what is known as Assawaman beach. The boundaries of this private ownership in the beach and adjoining marshes, bays and creeks, we hope will then be definitely settled, so that the public may know the limits of its privilege in these contested waters and marshes.

A. E. Poulson is building a new storehouse of some size in Cattail Neck.

Ewell & Abbott are adding a room to their storehouse at Persimmon Point.

Our people, without a single exception so far as known, are congratulating themselves upon the fact that Mr. V. S. Dietrich will again have charge of our school. Mr. Dietrich seems to have accomplished the almost miraculous feat of having pleased every patron of the school, and besides is beloved by all of his pupils. Thrice welcome will he be to our village.

Samuel Peterson, one of Neptune's gallant sons, and captain and owner of the saucy little sloop Minnie, is justly entitled to the smiles and thanks of our village ladies and gentlemen too, for uniform kindness, courtesy and forbearance received at his hands whilst being conveyed to and from our beach, on more than one occasion during the present party season. Three cheers for the Minnie, her captain and crew, say we.


Fields -- Crops - FodderInfrastructure -- Commercial - BanksInfrastructure -- Commercial - Residential developmentInfrastructure -- Public : Schools


The army worm has put in an appearance on the farms in this vicinity and has damaged considerably, fodder and other crops.

Mr. W. J. Doughty has resigned as teller of Onancock National Bank and Claude Nottingham has been appointed as his successor. George H. Powell has accepted position vacated by Nottingham.

Our citizens owning the property claimed by Outen et al say that they are into the fight to a finish with the claimants. The attorneys in the case have not yet shown their hand in the matter, and the parties upon whom writs of ejectment have been served, fail to see any reasonable grounds for alarm yet.

L. Dix Warren and family moved to town this week to take charge of boarding department of Margaret Academy which opens next week.

John Fisher Shot and Instantly Killed.

Moral -- Murder

The following account of a tragedy in upper Accomac, handed to us by a messenger, Thursday, has been confirmed by later advices:

"A feud of long standing resulted in the death of one of the parties about 10 o'clock on Wednesday night at Persimmon Point, about one mile east of Mappsville. John H. Fisher, a man of some good traits, mingled with many bad ones, was killed by the Wright boys, his old enemies. Fisher seems to have been the aggressor in the affray that terminated his own earthly career. William Wright a very quiet and well disposed young man together with several neighbors, had gathered in Ewell & Abbott's store, Fisher came in and immediately began accusing Wright of burning his fodder and with many other disreputable deeds, Wright told him that if he meant that he had burned his fodder that he was a liar, Fisher thereupon grabbed a weight off the scales and struck him. Wright drew his pistol and began firing at Fisher, but without effect, who immediately withdrew. Wright then apparently thinking that Fisher had gone home after his gun, went to his brother Arthur's house a short distance off and returned immediately with his brother to the scene both armed to the teeth for the expected battle. Fisher soon made his appearance, and when within about forty yards the Wright boys opened on him. Fisher fell without firing a shot. He died in a very few minutes, being shot through the right lung with a ball and with many gun shots in his breast. No weapons have been found on or near Fisher's body."

That the words of Fisher led to the tragedy there seems no doubt, but that the crime is worse than detailed above appears from the evidence of parties who witnessed it. The following, as we are advised, is substantially correct: That William Wright after chasing John Fisher from the store and shooting, after him until the contents of his pistol were discharged, three shots or more, went to his brother Arthur's home and accompanied by him returned to the store, one armed with pistol and gun, the other with axe and gun -- that though advised by all present to return home they refused to do so -- and that while waiting there, hearing Fisher coming from his home, they went to meet him and when in about forty yards of him without giving him further warning, deliberately took aim at him and riddled him with shot and bullets, inflicting wounds of which he died instantly.

The verdict of the coroner's jury is "that John FIsher came to his death at the hands of Arthur Wright and William Wright from pistol and gun shot wounds."

The parties charged with the crime were arrested and lodged in jail by Constable C. C. Dix, on last Thursday.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcementInfrastructure -- Public - Government : Maryland-Virginia boundary

Gov. O'Ferrall's Letter to Gov. Frank Brown.

Richmond, Va., September 8. -- The following is a copy of a letter Col. C. O'B Cowardin, Gov. O'Ferrall's chief of staff, delivered today to Gov. Brown, of Maryland, at Annapolis:

To His Excellency, Frank Brown, Governor of Maryland, Annapolis, Md.

Sir: -- On the 2nd of March, 1894, the General Assembly of Virginia adopted the following joint resolution, of which you were duly informed:

Resolved, (the Senate concurring) that a committee of five, consisting of two members from the Senate and three members from the House of Delegates, be appointed, who may act separately or conjointly with a like committee to be appointed by the General Assembly of the State of Maryland, to whom shall be referred the message of the Governor of the Commonwealth, this day communicating to the General Assembly of Virginia the joint resolution of the General Assembly of Maryland with reference to the conflict between the steamer Chesapeake and the dredging vessels mentioned in said message, together with the copy of the said joint resolution, whose duty it shall be to investigate and ascertain the facts in connection with the said conflict, the said committee to have power to sit during the recess of the General Assembly, and to enforce the attendance of witnesses, and such other powers as may be necessary to enable the said committee to make a full and complete investigation of the subject referred to them.

Resolved 2d, That the said committee, upon the completion of the investigation to be made by the hereunder, shall report the facts ascertained, together with their own conclusions as to the subject matter of their investigation, to the Governor of the Commonwealth, who is hereby empowered to take such action as he may deem proper in the premises.

Resolved 3rd, That the said joint committee shall have power and authority in their discretion to employ such clerical held as they may need.

Pursuant to this resolution the committee appointed made an investigation and have submitted their report with their conclusions to me for such action as I may deem proper in the premises. A copy of said report is appended hereto. The facts as found by said committee are as follows:

That for years, certainly as far back as 1885, the oyster beds of the State of Virginia, in the Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, have been depredated upon and large quantities of oysters taken therefrom by citizens of Maryland, and the State of Virginia has been thereby deprived not only of her property illegally, but her oyster beds have been greatly injured by the dredging machines used by said Maryland depredators.

That on the 17th day of February last the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson and other vessels owned and manned by citizens of Maryland in the early morning and before daylight, were discovered by the Virginia oyster police schooner Tangier to be engaged in dredging for oysters in Tangier Sound, on what are known as Old Woman's Marsh and Hurley's Rock within the territory of Virginia, and when approached by said police schooner retired into Maryland waters.

That about 8 o'clock a.m., of this same day the said vessels returned to the said Old Woman's Marsh and Hurley's Rock, and began to dredge thereon; that when approached again by the police schooner almost simultaneously the said vessels, with rifles and the police schooner with cannon and rifles, opened fire, but the police schooner, with her small crew and insufficient supply of ammunition, could not cope with the large force and many crews of the said vessels, and was compelled to retreat and leave the depredators to pursue their illegal work without molestation.

That again, on the afternoon of the 19th day of February last about 5 o'clock, the said Maryland vessels were found in the locality and waters already described, engaged, as before, in dredging, and when again approached by the said police schooner, they opened fire upon her and again overpowered and forced her to retire from the scene and allow them to continue their depredations.

That a few hours later, after night fall, the Virginia oyster police steamer Chesapeake entered Tangier Sound and proceeded to the scene of trouble, and found the said vessels, including the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson, still engaged in dredging on Old Woman's Marsh and Hurley's Rock; that the said vessels, emboldened, no doubt, by their success in driving off the police schooner, as soon as they discovered the Chesapeake, opened a vigorous fire upon her with rifles. The fire was immediately returned by the Chesapeake, whereupon the said vessels, including the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson, retreated in the direction of Maryland waters, keeping up a constant fire upon the Chesapeake as she hotly pursued them.

That while in this pursuit, which was continuous, and under this constant and sharp firing from the retreating vessels, the Chesapeake, in the darkness of the night and with shore marks obscured, crossed the dividing line between the States, but as soon as her commander was informed that he was in Maryland waters he ordered the firing from his boat to cease and returning he found first the William E. Price and then the C. W. Stevenson aground, and supposing they were in Virginia waters he picked them up and with their crews (the Captains having fled in small boats) and their cargoes of culled and unculled oysters taken from Virginia waters, towed them to Accomac county, Va., and delivered them to the proper officials of said county, where they were subsequently condemned as forfeited to the Commonwealth and ordered to be sold by the COunty Court therefor.

This concluded a brief summary of the facts and circumstances connected with the conflict between the Chesapeake and the vessels aforesaid, and the capture of the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson, as set forth in the report of said committee.

Your excellency must admit, from this summary of facts which are undisputed, that the patience of Virginia has been sorely tried by the depredations which have been committed for years upon her valuable oyster beds by citizens of your State, and you can well imagine that the people of the Tidewater, as well as other sections of Virginia, familiar with the facts and not devoid of a sense of State pride and regard for State interest, have felt that her grievances have been great and that they should be redressed.

Your Excellency will further admit that the provocation given by the citizens of your State who were engaged in dredging in Virginia waters and bidding defiance to her authority in the most desperate manner, on the 17th and 19th days of February last, respectively, for their pursuit, regardless of State lines, was very strong, and I am sure you will concede that the commander of the Chesapeake exercised great prudence and displayed a most commendable spirit when he abandoned the pursuit, and returned to Virginia waters immediately upon being informed that he was in Maryland waters.

In the simple performance of his duty and within the territory of Virginia, he had been fired upon by marauders and his life and the lives of his crew imperiled in the effort of these marauders to drive him off, as they had done the Tangier in two instances just previous thereto, that they might continue their thieving, and yet his presence of mind did not forsake him, and as soon as he discovered that he had invaded the territory of your State he withdrew from the pursuit and retired to the waters of his own State.

Your Excellency will find upon an examination of the report of the committee an exhaustive discussion of the right of one State to pursue and arrest offenders in the territory of another. The conclusions of the committee I adopt as my own after careful consideration, and in the language of the committee, "it would seem clear that if the necessity exists for Virginia to pursue the marauders who have been persistent in their depredations upon Virginia territory, Virginia would have the right to pursue the offenders for capture into Maryland waters."

But at the time of the conflict aforesaid, it is the opinion of the committee, in which I concur, that the condition of affairs between the States did not justify a pursuit into the waters of your State, and recalling with pleasure the intimate relations which have existed between Maryland and Virginia, their friendship and blended interests, I desire now, as Governor of Virginia, to convey to you, as Governor of Maryland, my regret that the waters of your State were invaded by the steamer Chesapeake on the said 19th day of February last, and to express the hope that the cordial relations between the States may not in any wise be effected thereby.

It is, however, proper in this connection, in the interest of candor, and without duplicity, now that the authorities of Maryland have had their attention called directly to the constant and persistent depredations and violations aforesaid, to state that should it become necessary in the future, in order to protect the property and territory of Virginia and bring to punishment violators from Virginia waters into Maryland waters, I shall claim and exercise that right. The oyster grounds of Virginia are too valuable and the rights of her citizens therein too important to submit longer to these wrongs committed by reckless citizens of your State, who bear no portion of Virginia's burdens, pay nothing into her treasury, and have no claim upon her bounty.

Virginia has enacted wise and judicious laws for the preservation and building up of her great oyster industry, and she prohibits non-residents from catching oysters in her waters, just as your State forbids the citizens of one county from catching oysters in the waters of another county, and if Virginia's grounds can be properly guarded against piratical crafts and non-residents dredgers, the time is not distant when this industry will give employment and support to thousands more of her citizens and her revenues will be largely increased from that source to the relief of land and other property.

The next question for consideration is the course for me to pursue in reference to the captured vessels, the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson. Under the joint resolution of March 2d, 1894. I am empowered to take such action as I may deem proper in the [illegible].

Directly after the adoption of this resolution, in order to avoid any complications which might arise by an enforcement of the judgement of forfeiture of the County Court of Accomac county, I directed the Sheriff of said county to suspend the sale of said vessels, pending the investigation provided for in said resolution, and until further orders, which direction was followed, and the vessels are still in his custody.

The evidence as to the exact locality of the capture of the William E. Price and C. W. Stevenson is conflicting, but in my opinion, according to the weight of the testimony, they were captured in Maryland waters, contrary to the information which I received directly after the conflict. Having conceded that the pursuit into Maryland waters was not justified by the existing condition of affairs between the States, it would follow that I must hold, with the committee, that the capture of these vessels in Maryland waters was improper and that they should be turned over to you in obedience to your request.

It is true that the delivery of these vessels to you will result in their restoration to their owners whose depredations upon the oyster grounds of Virginia have been constant and persistent for years, and whose wanton violation of her laws caused their capture, but however great may be Virginia's grievance against these marauders, the committee recommends the tender of the vessels to you and their recommendation accords with my view of the matter. As soon, therefore, as I hear from you, I shall direct the Sheriff of Accomac county to deliver said vessels to such agent as you may designate to receive them.

I hope that there may be no further trouble resulting from violation of the laws of Virginia in her waters by the citizens of your State, and I rely upon the hearty co-operation of yourself and officers in the future protection of Virginia's rights, I trust that the necessity may not arise for me to exercise the right of pursuit aforesaid, and assure you that I shall stand ready at all times to aid you in the preservation of the rights of Maryland, and to condemn all illegal invasions of her waters by citizens of Virginia.

As evidence of Virginia's desire to preserve the most cordial relations with Maryland and afford to each State full opportunity without complication, to arrest offenders, I point your excellency to the action of the General Assembly of Virginia at its last session in the passage of an act giving Maryland the right to pursue offenders against her laws into Virginia waters, conditioned upon the passage of a reciprocal act by the General Assembly of Maryland, but which reciprocal act I regret to say was not passed by your General Assembly.

With highest regards I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant, CHARLES T. O'FERRALL, Governor of Virginia.


Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Maryland-Virginia boundarySea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcement

The Governor of Virginia has at last arrived at a conclusion in regard to the disposal of the schooners Price and Stevenson, sunk in Pungoteague Creek for several months, and the long official letter in which he has taken occasion to ventilate his views about their pursuit and capture, is published in full in this number of our paper. The interest which our people feel in the matter will, we believe, justify this encroachment upon our space. The document will be an interesting one to many of our readers. To this letter, the Governor of Maryland has responded, and it is gratifying to us to state, that he reciprocates the expressions of our Executive that the occurrence, to wit, the capture and retention of the Maryland vessels, shall in no wise disturb the friendly feelings that have so long existed between the States. The Maryland Executive, however, is a little vague, in that part of his reply, as to whether, he will permit us to go beyond the line to take thieves who steal our oysters -- but that need not worry us -- our Governor asserts his intention to protect our oyster beds, even if he has to pursue offenders into Maryland and that suffices. The two States are bound together by too many ties to disagree very materially as to whether or not protection shall be given to thieves -- and now let us have peace, and we will, perhaps, if Col. Hodson can be reconciled to the decision of the highest tribunal in the land.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcementInfrastructure -- Public - Government : Maryland-Virginia boundary

Mr. Thomas S. Hodson, counsel for Capt. B. F. Marsh, isn't satisfied. He has written a letter to Governor Brown, and still claims "that the place where Capt. Marsh's boats are said to have dredged illegally [illegible] standing the decision of the [illegible] last resort. He dies hard; reminding us very much of the snake with a mashed head -- still wriggling his tail. He says "it can be demonstrated" that the ground where Marsh dredged "is the property" of the Marylanders. If this is true Mr. Hodson and the other counsel should have "demonstrated" it when they had the opportunity. Did they fail in their duty to their client if "it can be demonstrated" and they did not do it? He says, "the Stevenson and Price when captured, were good boats, in good repair and full of oysters." Aye! Oysters stolen from Virginia grounds. "They have been sunk . . . the Toredo has cut them through and through and rendered them worthless." They were sunk to keep Mr. Hodson's Marylanders from stealing them -- as they have done others before. Mr. Hodson isn't able to appreciate Virginia's magnanimity -- but likely that's not his fault. He will feel better after awhile when he has had time to cool off -- and may be will be able to see through less jaundiced glasses. Let him do a little missionary work among his people -- it will make him feel better -- and his powerful influence may induce them to quit poaching on other people's premises -- possibly.


Moral -- Murder

Another murder has been committed in Accomac and every law-abiding citizen hangs his head in shame at the reproach and dishonor which has thus been brought upon the county. The crime cannot be judged by the provocation which led to it or by the shortcomings or vice of the victim.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
September 15, 1894