Peninsula Enterprise, February 15, 1896


Forests -- Forest products - BarrelsTransportation -- Railroad - Legislation

A bill "to regulate the size of barrels used for the shipment of truck" has been introduced in the House of Delegates, by our representative, Hon. S. W. Matthews, and bills, of which he is the patron, have passed the House, in relation to fencing of railway tracks in the counties of Accomac and Northampton, defining when the corporations are not liable for injuries in certain cases, and "to legalize primary conventions in the counties of Accomac and Northampton."


Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Fairs

At a late meeting of the stockholders of the Eastern Shore Agricultural Association, the following directors were elected: Dr. John W. Kellam, William T. Mason, William B. Pitts, Leonard C. Mears and George T. Coleburn. At a meeting of the directors last week, the officers selected for the present year were: Dr. John W. Kellam, president; William T. Mears, vice-president; Leonard C. Mears, treasurer, and A. M. Nottingham, secretary.


Moral -- Other violent crime

George Phillips, colored, alias Murphy, on his way home last Saturday night, was shot in the head and knocked down senseless for several minutes. The place where the shooting occurred was near Accomac C. H., early in the night and by one of three men whom he met, unknown to him. It is thought that some one merely intended to frighten him by shooting over his head. The ball could not be extracted but is not likely to injury him.


Moral -- Murder

John Watson, colored, took a drink of cider with Edward Leatherbury, merchant at Kendall Grove crossing, Northampton, at his store, last week, and died the following morning, 8th inst. An inquest was held over him and the verdict rendered that death resulted from cider given him be Leatherbury. The stomach and heart of the dead man has been sent to Richmond for examination by the State chemist. Leatherbury was arrested on Monday and admitted to bail by bond in penalty of $250 for his appearance before the next grand jury.


Transportation -- Water - FreightInfrastructure -- Commercial - BanksNatural resources -- Conservation - GameForests -- Barrel factories Infrastructure -- Public - Government : Lighthouse serviceInfrastructure -- Public : Schools


Capt. E. H. Deakyne, of Gladstone, N. J., advises your correspondent that he has purchased a new double propeller steamer at a cost of $35,000, with all modern improvements, and that he will be here first of next month prepared to take freight and passengers at very low rates from this place, Wachapreague and Machipongo to Lewes and other points along the Delaware.

Our bank commenced operations this week under the name of "The Boatsmen Bank." It will have the liberal support of our people, both because they appreciate the necessity of a bank here and have confidence in Messrs. Wilson, Collins & Co. to whom their hard earned cash is to be trusted for safe keeping.

Mr. G. W. Conner has been appointed game warden by the E. S. Game Association.

Our barrel factory, for want of material, has been closed for last ten days.

The fog bell of Killick Shoal Light is being removed this week from under the lighthouse to a place on the platform by Mr. S. B. Irwin, Superintendent of Public Works, and men under his employ.

Our Female Institute, under the management of Miss A. A. Knight, is doing a good work here. It has 25 day, 15 night and 8 musical scholars on its roll.


Sea -- Market huntingFields -- Livestock - Dog problemMoral -- Property crimeTourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Horse racing

Fair Oaks.

Mr. A. S. Bull has sold several dozen black ducks and geese, and is spending the week in Hog Island Bay in order to fill his contracts.

Mr. W. D. Tunnell was with us a few days ago, asking the question: How many dogs have you?

Many of our farmers of late have had their potato kilns robbed by the unknown.

Mr. J. E. Roberts has sold Little Ike, the trotter, to Mr. Harrison, of Petersburg, for the sum of $225. Mr. Roberts and Mr. S. C. Turlington met Mr. Harrison and his best man on the Cape Charles track on February 5th, to show them Little Ike's way of going. It was a rough day and the track very muddy, and Ike being just out of winter quarters a slow mile was all to be expected. The first mile was done up in three minutes; second, first half in 1:25 and last in 1:18. The third mile no doubt would have been in the 2:30's, had not Mr. Harrison counted out the cash and said the little horse had shown enough for the price.


Tourists and sportsmen -- Field sports - Hunting : FoxFields -- FertilizerTransportation -- Railroad - MaintenanceSea -- Fish factoriesMental illnessForests -- Barrel factories


Our Kennel Club added one more brush to their trophies, in their fox hunt on Cedar Island, on 8th instant.

Fertilizers now seem to engaged the attention of our farmers to the exclusion almost of every other topic.

Section Boss Pickle reports one washout on his track during the heavy rains of late.

Capt. John W. Bunting, of Chincoteague, was a visitor to this place last week in the interest of his fertilizing business.

Miss Margaret Kellam was taken to the State Asylum for treatment on the 7th instant.

Mr. S. H. East is making repairs to his barrel factory, and proposes to be in trim when the shipping season begins to fill all orders promptly.

Sloop Luna, on returning from Rappahannock river on Saturday, carried away her mast just below the Tangier light, and had to anchor in about 25 fathoms of water. Early on Sunday she was sighted adrift in the sound and a party went to the rescue and towed the boat in. The broken mast and sails were recovered on Monday.


Sea -- Finfish - Methods : Pound-netSea -- Finfish - LegislationSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Bayside


The people here are getting ready for pound net fishing, and are making bigger preparations than ever before. They are anxious to hear if there will be any legislation affecting the business at this session of the Legislature.

Oysters are scarcer with us now than at this time of the season for several years.

Hon. George W. LeCato.

Professionals -- Doctors

The following sketch and cut of our popular Senator appeared in the Richmond Times of recent date, and it is through the courtesy of the publishers of that paper that they appear in the ENTERPRISE this week:

Dr. George W. LeCato was elected Senator from the 37th or Eastern Shore district two years ago. He lives in the village of Wachapreague, on the seaside of Accomac county where he has a large medical practise. Graduating at the University of Maryland in 1864, he entered upon the practise of his profession in the adjoining county of Northampton. He moved to the city of New York in 1869, and became sanitary inspector in connection with the Board of Health there. He is a member of the Virginia State Medical Society, and is the author of several papers that have been published in the best medical journals of the country, expanding his professional reputation from the Eastern Shore of Virginia into larger fields of fame.

Dr. LeCato is a gentleman of exceptional intelligence and accomplishments outside of his profession, as well as within it. He has fine literary attainments and has travelled in foreign lands. He is apparently middle aged, with a most attractive face, and a manner and bearing that denote the well bred, well poised gentleman.

No man in the Senate of Virginia is more esteemed in that fine body of representative Virginians. He is a strong, clear thinker, and when he speaks he does so with fluency, force, and effect. In attention to the interests of his constituency no senator excels him. He is watchful, prompt and always ready to promote or protect the interests of the Eastern Shore. The Doctor is an acknowledged authority on the oyster question, and his large information derived from experience, his justness, his accuracy of statement, his conservative tone, and his calm counsels must impress his opinion strongly upon his associates in the Senate.

It may be added, that Dr. LeCato, attractive to the ladies as he must be, has been a widower for twenty years.

Local Option Meetings.

Moral -- Alcohol

A mass meeting in favor of local option was held in the Y. M. C. A. Hall, at Eastville, last Monday, at 12 o'clock. Many of the most prominent and substantial citizens throughout the county were present and much business was transacted, and great interest manifested. The meeting was called to order by Mr. W. L. Elzy, a permanent organization was effected an the following officers chosen: John W. Guy, president; W. B. Fitzhugh, secretary; W. L. Elzey, treasurer; F. A. Shield, John H. Roberts, Rev. Henry Hunt, vice-presidents. Rev. Asa Driscoll, George W. Bounds and S. D. Richardson were appointed on the local option committee for Cape Charles. The following resolution was offered by Rev. N. H. Robinson and John H. Roberts:

That the press of the Eastern Shore aid and sympathize, and espouse the cause of local option.

The same was adopted. Committees will hold meetings at the following places: Bayview, Saturday, 15th, 3:30 p. m.; Franktown, Monday, 17th, 2 p. m., at the old M. E. Church, South. Everybody that is interested in the local option movement is earnestly requested to be present. The public generally are cordially invited to attend.


There will be a meeting of the local option committee at Accomac C. H., next Monday, for the purpose of examining petitions in accordance with the judge's instructions; also a local option mass meeting held at same place, on Monday, 24th, court day. The friends of the local option cause and all interested to be present.

W. L. Elzey, Chairman, Local Option Committee.

Reply to Officers of State Navy.

Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcement


We are glad to see that our letter published through the columns of your paper relating to the recent depredations on our oyster rocks by non residents, termed "a slur" by the ever watchful and vigilant James H. Costin, has proven to be a "stir" instead of a "slur." We think that we ought to have slurred long before February 1st. If Captain Costin was doing his utmost to look after violators of the oyster law in the past, why has he been so active here of late? He reminds us of Uncle Ephraim's mule: This animal in question was exceedingly slow and hard to move, so to help Ephraim out of the difficulty, one day a bystander suggested that a little benzine be applied to the back of the mule. The bystander was requested to make the experiment, which he did. The effect was magical. The mule started off at such a rapid pace that Uncle Ephraim was unable to overtake him. In almost hopeless despair the old "nigger" turned to the stranger and said, "Mister ef you put some of dat stuff on may back I'll never ketch dat mule." The police boats have been so active of late, that we oystermen will be obliged to get Capt. C. to slur us, in order that we may keep up with his movements.

Capt. Costin calls us "soreheads," and says that we "have nothing else better to do." We agree with him that we can find nothing better to do than oversee the men we hire and to see that our money is not thrown away and our oysters not carried off by non residents.

We must confess that we are at a loss to conjecture what he means by the term "soreheads." If he alludes to certain parties arrested by him on September 11th, 1895, he has done those parties an unprovoked injustice. Not one of them had anything to do with the article published February 1st.

He admits that there have been violations of the oyster law this season in Pocomoke Sound, and nearly all were from Sykes Island, and they were arrested, tried and convicted.

We are glad that the public can see that the infallible Costin errs again. How about the Weaver brothers? Capt. Costin did you have them convicted as you claim? You certainly caused them a trip to the county seat.

Capt. Costin claims that the Accomac has repeatedly gone up the sound, and when Sykes Island boats would see her coming -- they would put on sail and go into Maryland, they knew they were violating the law, and to keep from being arrested would flee into Maryland waters for a place of refuge.

Capt. Costin, did you ever arrest a Sykes Island man that was trying to flee from your immaculate justice? We are obliged to infer, that the real violators escaped into Maryland waters and you did not follow them. We find then, the public must take your guess work for facts, or else clear the fleeing parties upon the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Captain Costin, did you not say while at Byrd's rock, on the morning of the 11th of September, 1895, in the hearing of oystermen that you intended to go up the sound to examine oysters, and that you intended to arrest every man you found with one shell or one oyster under two and one half inches in length? It can be proven that you did make the statement. Now every man who knows anything about the oyster industry, knows that every oysterman was subject to an arrest, though he was honestly endeavoring to carry out the cull law.

Since Capt. C. has denounced Sykes Island men as a set of violators and convicts, the controversy may develop some unpleasant things on the part of Accomac's "efficient" captain.

Now as to dates: How does your infallible log correspond with the date of September 26th, 1895, Capt. Costin? On that day sixteen non resident boats, every boat manned by two oystermen tonged on the Ledge rocks, some of them all day and all of them until late in the afternoon, and one of the first to quit the rocks had not less than 12 bushels in 12 X 16 -- 192 bushels at 40 cents -- $76.80. This little sum was the loss to the State by non-resident tongmen on the above date from a single rock. On October 18th, 1895, on the Dog fish rock there were a still greater number of depredators. When it is necessary our affidavits will be cheerfully forthcoming. Capt. Costin claims that on January 5th, 1896, every creek was frozen over. The creeks to the windward were open and boats dredged on the above date mentioned.

Capt. Costin denies that there was dredging in the sound on January 9th, 1896, and claims that he cruised up as far as the sand bar and there encountered heavy ice, and that there was no boat of any description in the sound on that day. There was no ice in the middle of the sound after leaving the leeward shores or bars for two miles, at least no ice to bother dredging on the Dog fish rock, and in the forenoon there was a breeze sufficient to dredge with.

Capt. Costin claims that on January 19th, 1896, "the Accomac worked Tangier Sound." We believe him. We are informed by a resident of Tangier that the little steamer was in the Cod, and her gallant captain paying his respects to one of Tangier's fair ones, therefore the captain may be somewhat excused if he did sacrifice his duty on leap year's altar. However, there was dredging in the Pocomoke all the same. In regard to January 23d, which was a typographical error -- it was intended for January 22d, and all that we claimed for that date is correct.

Capt. Costin claims that there was no dredging on January 24th, 1896, in Pocomoke. We are prepared to prove there was dredging on that date, and we were close enough to see them take the dredge, and the affidavits from reliable parties as the captains of Accomac and Pocomoke, will be forwarded if necessary.

Mr. Editor, we will not impose upon your kindness any further at present. Thanking you for your kindness,

"SORE-HEADS."Sykes, Va., Feb. 10, '96.

Oyster Bill in the Interest of Mr. Ellinger and Non-Residents.

Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : LegislationSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Planting


I have before me a bill relative to the planting and taking of oysters in this State, recently introduced in the Senate by a Mr. Jones of one of the mountain counties, which by reason of exceptional favors granted in said bill to our Mr. Ellinger, of Fox Island, has become known as the "Ellinger Bill." This bill, while it seems to embody some good features, contains others repugnant to our sense of right and justice, and still others that if enacted into law will work a great hardship upon our laboring oystermen. The purpose of this communication is to inform our people generally and as soon as possible of the most salient features of the bill affecting those of them engaged in the taking and planting of oysters, in order that they might know of the impending evil, and take steps at once by petitions and meetings to protect themselves if possible from the threatened injury. No time should be lost in presenting their remonstrances at Richmond, either by delegations composed of the right sort of gentlemen, or failing in this, by petitions, addressed to the General Assembly. I am assured that the evil provisions of this bill are being fought stubbornly by the solid delegations of our two counties, and by tidewater representatives generally, but I am sorry to say that their chances of saving our people from the iniquities of this measure, are greatly lessened, if not wholly nullified by the active opposition of paid lobbyists and others.

The first section of the bill named requires that every tonger shall before he takes an oyster, register. He shall then appear on every Monday during the oyster season before the county treasurer, and pay on the value of his week's catch of oysters, the same rate of tax, as is paid to the State by taxpayers on other property, and shall in addition appear once every month before the county judge and swear to the correctness of his weekly return, or in lieu of the above, he may if he so elect, pay before he catches an oyster, to the treasurer the sum of $5.00, for the privilege of catching oysters during the season. Many of our tongers don't have the $5.00, and this bill gives them no time in which to make it. It closes the season for tonging on the 25th of March, and opens it the 1st day of September. It permits dredging, in Pocomoke Sound to those who own or plant one hundred acres or more of adjoining oyster beds. If one should own or plant less than this number of acres, he will be compelled to use tongs in taking up his oysters in competition with the much cheaper method to dredging employed by the larger planter, to his great disadvantage. It allows the tonger to take five per cent. of culls, which practically does away with the cull law that has been so much help in keeping up the yield of our rocks. It prohibits dredging entirely to all parties in exclusively Virginia waters, except to those who own over one hundred acres of planting ground. This provision, besides being unjust to planters of less than one hundred acres, practically confiscates our dredging fleet of 125 vessels worth thousands of dollars, and allows to go to waste thousands of bushels of fine oysters that can't be caught with tongs. It allows non-residents to take up any amount of land in Chesapeake bay -- all of it if they should so desire -- for planting purposes, and allows them to work their oysters in any season of the year, and by dredging or any other method. This same privilege is also given to planters in Pocomoke Sound. These non-resident or bay planters are allowed to employ anybody, whether foreigners or not, to plant and to handle their oysters. All planters in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds are denied the privilege, except Mr. Ellinger -- he alone can employ non-residents. These last named provisions are wrong in my opinion, for the reason that we have no more good planting ground in the bay or elsewhere, than our own people would soon use, provided the State could and would provide adequate protection to planters against loss by thieves and otherwise. If non-residents are allowed to take up this bay ground, it should be done only in connection with residents of the State, and in conjunction with home capital to the extent that natives should acquire and exercise a controlling interest in the business. Our own people only, should be allowed employment -- in the planting and handling of these oysters -- except that crews of men engaged on vessels used exclusively as "run boats" might be employed. Otherwise I can't see any benefit to accrue to our people or State by these concessions to non-residents -- except the few dollars of rental the State may get from them, and this will be but a poor return, in consideration of the ultimate injury this concession will do our home planters and workmen, if granted as proposed without restrictions and limitations of any sort.

It should be held in mind that the proposed privileges to non residents, if once granted, can't with justice be taken away from them. Having seeded these barren bottoms with oysters, it wouldn't be right to rob them of the fruits of their labor and expenditure. Therefore the land once granted to him would be gone forever, so far as its possession or use by our own citizens is concerned. I hold that there is not an acre of good planting ground in the bay that would not be utilized by our own capital and native planters in a short course of time, provided the State guaranteed them security of title, a fixed rental, and protection from marauders; these conditions prevailing there isn't a foot of good oyster bottom in Virginia waters that can with consideration for the future needs of her own people, be given or leased to foreigners.

I hold that it is not only the part of wisdom but the duty of the State as well, to provide for the present and future needs of its own people, before she can make grants to foreigners of any kind. "A man that doesn't provide for his own family is worse that an infidel," so the Good Book tells us. Why could not the same be said of a State that didn't provide for its own citizens first, to the exclusion if need be, of foreigners? Beyond the annual rental, not one cent of benefit will, under the proposed bill, accrue to our people or to our State, not one cent will be added to our taxable values. No provision is made for the employment of our laboring people, and the slums of the Northern cities will be raked for the cheap tramp labor that will be employed in doing the work, that might otherwise provided, be done by our own oystermen and laborers.

It seems to me that it is necessary, in order to defeat the objectionable features of the bill, that the people should hold meetings, pass resolutions protesting against them, also circulate petitions at once for signatures, and forward same immediately to Richmond. It is possible that the worst provisions of the bill may yet be defeated.

Respectfully, N. W. NOCK.

Onancock, Feb. 12, 1896.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Legislation

The iniquities of a bill, relative to the planting and taking of oysters in this State, "which by reason of exceptional favors granted in said bill to our Mr. Ellinger, of Fox Island, has become known as the Ellinger Bill," are clearly set forth in a communication in another column by Mr. N. W. Nock, Collector of Customs at Onancock. It merits not only a careful reading, but prompt action on the part of our citizens, as suggested herein, if they would not suffer irreparable injury at the hands of a few men who have presumed to dictate to our Legislature the kind of oyster legislation needed for Virginia. Action is not only necessary, but due to our representatives from the Eastern Shore in the gallant fight which they are making for the defeat of the iniquitous measure. It is for you to say, as Mr. Nock suggests, by public meetings, petitions and otherwise, whether you stand by and approve the fight which they are making for you and all Virginia, or approve the acts of those, who usurping the rights delegated by you to them, have presumed to speak for you. In other words, shall a few persons, with Mr. Ellinger, who a few years ago acquired 177 acres of land in Virginia by purchase, to which thousands of acres have since been added by favors of the Legislature, dictate the legislation which is to govern you, or will you who have so much at stake in lands and houses and the future means of livelihood, assist your representatives in showing to the Legislature the iniquity of the measure before them, and the injury which would result to all Virginia, by its passage? The bill must be defeated. The best interests of Virginia demand it.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
February 15, 1896