Peninsula Enterprise, January 28, 1888


Transportation -- Road - Maintenance

A public meeting will be held at Parson's store, Atlantic, to-night, to consider the road question and to take steps looking to an improvement in their condition.


African-Americans -- Work - Forests

Daniel Scarborough, an old colored man, well known in and around Onancock, and residing for some years past at Mr. Wesley Bull's near that town, dropped dead suddenly Wednesday evening. He sharpened his axe and was on the point of leaving for the woods when he fell down dead in his house. Daniel was a noted character. He was honest, industrious, and fond of strong drink.


Mr. Wm. E. Lewis has opened an oyster saloon at Accomac C. H., and proposes to serve the "luscious bivalve" at all hours and in every shape at reasonable prices. He will also furnish them to families by the gallon or bushel.


Infrastructure -- Utilities - Water Infrastructure -- Utilities - IceWeather -- FreezesInfrastructure -- Public : ChurchesInfrastructure -- Commercial - Millineries


The borers of the artesian well on Assateague have struck rock bottom and cannot get any further.

Every icehouse on Chincoteague has been filled during the late freeze, with the finest ice that was ever saved here.

The M. P. Church was dedicated last Sunday and every dollar of the indebtedness thereon, three hundred dollars, was raised on that day without difficulty. The church was built at a cost of $1,200.

The millinery store of Mrs. Sallie M. Lewis, recently improved by bay window, is an object of interest to many of our citizens. The ladies are attracted thither by the many pretty millinery goods and the young men by a pretty girl who is often an occupant of the window.

During the late freeze, by order of the school trustees the school children, numbering nearly 400, were given holiday one afternoon to participate in the frolic on the ice which our people, regardless of age almost, have been indulging in. A thousand people on ice the most of them skating, could be seen at one time and presented a pretty spectacle. The only mishap was to Miss Bertie Caulk, who was disabled by a fall and has since been compelled to use crutches.


Weather -- FreezesSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Seaside


Chincoteague bay has been frozen over since last Saturday, and all communication with Chincoteague was cut off until Wednesday, when the steamer Widgeon resumed her regular trips to Franklin City.

Oysters are in a fine condition at this point, but fears are entertained that the cold "snap" will injure their quality to some extent. They are now bringing good prices in the markets, but owing to the hard weather and the great quantity of ice in the bay the shipments are light.

Gibb's mill pond has been a favorite resort of our young people during the freeze, and the "huge enjoyment" which they seem to have found in skating compensates for all the inconveniences which our young blizzard has occasioned the weather grumblers and rheumatics.


Transportation -- Road - Maintenance


Our roads are in a fearful condition, and need badly the attention of some one.


Sea -- Shellfish - Oystering : BaysideSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : Law enforcementSea -- Shellfish - Oystering : PricesTransportation -- Railroad - FreightTransportation -- Water - SailboatsInfrastructure -- Commercial - Commercial construction


Capt. John S. Gaskins, commander of the police schooner, arrived in our port on 22nd inst. He reports, that there have been very few depredations by oyster pirates in our waters this season. The captain and his crew have been so vigilant, they have possibly thought it best to practice that discretion, which is the better part of valor.

The quality of our oysters continues to improve, and the shipments are growing larger daily. Messrs. M. G. Stant & Bro., received for 100 barrels lately shipped by rail to Philadelphia, $2.75 and $3 per barrel, net.

The sum of $250 was paid by Mr. C. Corbin for the sloop T. J. Hallock, and not $50 as reported in your last issue.

Our enterprising merchant, Mr. K. S. Robins, will have a new storehouse erected soon. He is compelled to make the improvements in order to meet the demands of his increasing trade.

Pound Nets.

Sea -- Finfish - Methods : Pound-netSea -- Finfish - Legislation

The Committee on the Chesapeake and its Tributaries reported to the House Wednesday that they have had under consideration the several petitions referred to them in relation to amendments of the existing laws relating to the subject of fishing with pound nets in the waters of the Chesapeake bay contiguous to the shores of Northampton and Accomac counties, and after a full investigation they have arrived at the conclusion that it would be inexpedient to make any change in the law as it now stands, and the committee asked to be relieved from its further consideration. Adopted.


Transportation -- Road - Maintenance

MR. EDITOR -- In resuming the subject of the roads, I wish to urge upon all the people to give this matter some thought and study, and learn the great loss entailed by bad roads. See that of the farmers in hauling only a part of a load. What damage a doctor or other persons, who ride the roads sustain in the wear and tear of their carriages, how they are kept dodging holes (and tumbling in others) shunning ice, and beating about like a flat boat in a sea wave. Drainage is the remedy for the roads -- if the water runs off as it falls, it will be impossible for a hole, mud or ice to be on the road. Mud cannot be made without water. The ground will not get soft without water, and a hole cannot be made without water. If we wish to make mud for making bricks, water is absolutely necessary, and without water to work into the earth, we can have no bricks. The evil of water on the roads can be seen by all. A ditch on each side of the road will accomplish but little good unless the water can run into it. If the road has depressions so that the water will be held on it, the soil will be made soft in that spot, the wheels rolling over and into it, will quickly make a hole, the next rain will furnish more water, and the wheels will cut it larger and deeper, so with more water and mixing the road gets worse, and finally the whole road is a mud bed. A little work, if only by one person, for a short while after each rain, will prevent all the trouble. One man could accomplish much good if his time and attention was devoted constantly to the work. -- Our soil is one of the very best for road making (as it is for farming), a sandy top with red clay bottom -- a combination of the two kept dry, and we have the best and cheapest roads in the world. Keep the road dry and it is good, and if every reader of this article will recall the various roads that he travels, he will see that every dry piece of road is good, no matter where, in the woods or not, if no water stands on it, it is good. If there is water on it, it is bad. In order to start the work of drainage, I suggest that one-half of the four thousand and one hundred dollars ($4,100) collected for road purposes, and now in the hands of the county treasurer, be spent on the roads under the directions of the supervisor for each magisterial district, and that certain parts of the roads in the county be let to contract for drainage at once. There is money enough to do it, and the following are the roads:

From Miles
Horntown to New Church station 4
Messongo Neck 6
Messongo bridge across Savannah road 2
Oak Hall to Jenkins' Bridge 2
Jenkins' Bridge to Pitts' wharf 4
Oak Hall station to Oak Hall village 2
Atlantic to sign post on middle road 2
Atlantic to Assawaman 3
Temperanceville to Hallwood 4
Modestown to Mappsville 3
Modestown to Nelsonia 2
Muddy Creek to Bloxom station 3
Muddy Creek to Guilford 2
Hallwood to bayside road 2
Mappsville to Bloxom station 3
Mappsville to Woodberry 4
Guilford to Bloxom station 2
Guilford to Guilford wharf 2
Leemont to Hunting Creek 3
Marsh's store to county road 2
Hickman's store to Leemont 4
Hickman's store to Drummondtown 4
Drummondtown to Leemont 5
Drummondtown to Onancock 4
Drummondtown to Locustville 5
Locustville to Onancock Pt. Forks 5
Wachapreague across Nickawampus 2
Wachapreague to Keller 4
Onancock to Deep Creek road 2
Onancock to Evans' wharf 6
Pungoteague to Keller station 4
Pungoteague to Mappsburg 4
Pungoteague to Hoffman's wharf 3
Pungoteague to Boggs' wharf 4
Boggsville to Pungoteague 3
Craddockville to Davis's wharf 2
Craddockville to Pennyville 4
Mappsburg station to Coal Kiln 3
Belle Haven to Coal Kiln 3
Belle Haven to line of county 1

Apply the money to the road or such others as seem best, and the results will soon be seen.

Let each supervisor with the aid of the road overseers spend the money directly on the road, and the courthouse charges be allowed from this fund. The county can be drained. It is 35 miles long, 8 miles wide, and 51 feet elevation, with water on each side, and streams making into it, forming fine watersheds. It can all be drained where one foot above high tide. The railroad is drained, and the roads can be in just the same way.

Drainage will add to the health of the people, increase the productiveness of the soil, by increasing the crops, enhance the value of real estate where ever it is done. There need be no extra outlay of money. Now will it be done?



Transportation -- Road - MaintenanceTransportation -- Road - LegislationTransportation -- Road - Construction

MR. EDITOR -- Considering the state of our public roads at this time coupled with the fact that our legislature is in session, I hardly think it amiss to call the attention of the people to the fact that the present is a proper time to secure some action upon the part of our lawmakers looking to the improvement of our system of roadmaking. The people in all sections of the county are very justly complaining because of the terrible condition of our roads and are crying aloud for some measure of relief at the hands of our officials. No country that has not enjoyed them can appreciate the advantages arising from good roads. On the other hand no one can estimate the losses which have been sustained in various ways from bad roads. Among other things here health, worry of mind, loss of time and money, wear and tear of vehicles and teams, and in many instances loss of life itself, can very properly be attributed to the wretched condition generally of the roads. Without a doubt the losses arising to our people from this source in the years past, will aggregate hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially when we consider the depreciated values of lands arising in a great measure from this fact. In this immediate neighborhood (Seaside) the public highways deserve the name of mud puddles, rather than roads. And I am informed this condition is prevalent throughout the county. This is an evil which our people have sooner or later to face and remedy -- and probably there will be no better time to begin a reform in this direction than the present. I hardly think it the part of wisdom much less of justice, viewed from an intensely selfish standpoint even, that this generation should continue to tolerate the present inefficient system of road making, in order to save a few dollars, and throw the burden of reform upon our children. In my mind such a plan is not only wrong in principle, but also very damaging to the material advancement of our county. It is emphatically a selfish 'penny wise and pound foolish' idea. that we can ever have absolutely good roads here, no one hopes or believes, at least not without the expenditure of such vast sums of money as we dare not dream of in this connection. The geological formation of this section of our State precludes such a consideration, but it is possible to have much better roads than we have and that at a cost not much in excess of the system now in vogue, that is for annual repairs after they have once been put in thoroughly good order. To accomplish this latter fact, and to remedy effectually the evil complained of, the expenditure of much labor and money will be necessary. Our people had as well realize these facts in the outset. We spend thousands of dollars for public buildings to beautify our county town without a murmur from the tax payers, why not spend a thousand or so in re-building the roads that lead to them, so that the public can have easy access to them? The main thoroughfares leading to the Court House, and in fact, all other roads in the county as a rule, now resemble and serve in many places as reservoirs of water and mud, rather than public highways. These road lakelets forming in severe freezes almost impassable ice barriers, and at other times cess pools, where many deadly diseases are generated. Sanitary, economic, political and considerations of every character, should prompt us to action in this matter. Theory upon theory has been advanced, laws upon laws have been proposed looking to the remedying of the bad condition of our roads for years past.

Some of these propositions would meet, I believe, with popular approval and would serve in a great measure to remedy the defects in the present system of road making. Thus far, however, we find that no decided steps have been taken looking to the adoption of any measure of relief by our public servants. On the contrary, they appear to be entirely oblivious to the existence, not only of the evil complained of, but also to the measures of relief proposed, and judging by their inaction, they are content that the existence of the present venerable failure, should be indefinitely perpetuated. Perhaps they are paralyzed by the multiplicity of proposed remedies, from the many effective ones, not being able to make a choice or waiting it may be, for the current of popular opinion to grow stronger in this direction, fearing at present to trust the fortunes of their political bark upon what appears to them, perhaps, as rather a fitful scream. I would say to them, never fear gentlemen, launch her forth, the stream is deeper and stronger than you dream, it has its fountain in the hearts and necessities of the people and will bear you safely on. Act up to your convictions and if in so doing you should be immolated politically, upon your country's altar, and you should for a time bid farewell to the comforts and fortunes incident to your offices, you will carry with you to private life not only the approval of your own consciences for duty well done, but also the respect and confidence of the intelligent and progressive people of the county.

It is hardly worth while to discuss here the causes that lead to the present almost inexcusable bad state of our roads. Most of them are manifest to the most superficial observer, and I only call the attention of the public to what I conceive to be the chief cause, in order that our officials and road makers may in the future avoid one of their greatest past mistakes relative to the matter in question. Our officials never required that our roads should be made, consequently the roadmakers have never made roads, that is, in a proper manner. Heretofore, road commissioners or viewers, sent by the court upon a proposed new public road, in their reports, have with few exceptions done very little more than recommend (if in favor of opening the road), that a way shall be cleared through a certain swamp or to a certain village as the case may be, omitting generally, all specifications as to what work will be necessary in order to make a good road, and the court acting upon their report, appoints a commissioner to let the building of the road to the lowest bidder, in some instances without requiring even that it shall be a good road. The commissioner, however, in discharge of what he conceives to be a part of his duty to the public, sometimes suggests to the contractor for the building of the road, that it would be best that he should build a good one. To the average contractor, the term "Good" as applied here neither conveys an idea, nor suggests a thought, beyond the "good" fat job he has on hand and in performance of his work he is governed by the known low estimate which road commissioners generally, put upon the word. This latter fact is evidenced by the many new roads (?) throughout the county which they received and for which the county paid, that were in fact nothing more than trails through a forest or to a village, no more deserving the name of roads, than Beezlebob that of saint. This manner of dealing with public roads has existed I believe in this county from time immemorial, and to this loose way of conducting our road affairs, can undoubtedly be traced the existence of our present miserable apologies for public highways. A radical change is necessary right here, or else we can never expect to see good roads in Accomac. I hardly believe that there are ten miles of public highway in our county, but that in building, should have had a ditch three feet wide and two spit deep upon both sides, running the entire length, and the earth from the ditches thrown upon the road bed and graded so as to present a convex surface its whole length. And in addition thereto, drains at proper places should have been opened and kept open by the county, thus preventing the accumulation of water on them and along the side of them, which every one must acknowledge are the chief causes why we now find them as they are. Hoping that we will hear from others concerning this subject soon and that measures will soon be inaugurated by our authorities looking to the adoption of some reform in our road system. I subscribe myself

Yours truly,



Transportation -- Road - MaintenanceTransportation -- Road - Legislation

We recur again to the subject of our public roads. We regard it as a matter of such vital importance to our people that we propose to aid in its agitation until we get out of the old ruts to a newer and better method. We print today a second letter from "Progress" and supplement it with one from "Farmer". We have long enough tried the old system of enforced labor -- with what result let the roads speak. Year by year the same old way with the same old result is gone over. Hands are called out, generally immediately before a grand jury court or near the close of the overseer's term of service -- half a dozen able bodied men to do the work of one, the holes filled with water or mud or both, have dirt shoveled in them -- and thus the roads are repaired. Practically their condition is worse than before if such a thing could be. Common sense, economy, profit, pleasure, all demand we do away with this costly and profitless method. Well may the Culpepper Exponent, whose people also suffer from bad roads, say: "The value of all real estate would be so enhanced by good roads that the increased expense in getting them would really not be felt much or if it was, the pain would be forgotten in the pleasure." These are sober words of truth our land owners may ponder with profit. We urge our people to seriously consider this matter in a purely business light. Estimate and weigh profit and loss and set down the credit as rendered by the result. As for example: "A" having one hundred barrels of potatoes can now haul only five barrels to shipping point requiring twenty trips. On improved roads, he can haul seven barrels -- in round numbers, fifteen loads. Will "A" make or lose by improved roads? He can haul half a ton of coal now -- then he can haul three quarters of a ton. On which side is loss, on which gain? We take no account here of the great wear and tear on team and cart -- heavy items though they be. We are glad to see the people are becoming fully aroused to the great importance of this subject. To night a meeting is to be held at Parson's store in Atlantic to discuss the matter. Let them take open ground -- declare by resolution their needs, and direct their representatives in the Legislature to see to it that a proper bill is introduced, passed and made a law to carry us on to a better era, and let the people all over the county follow their good example of progressive action and we shall find that "not only will the value of all real estate be enhanced," but capital and population anxiously seek us.

Farmers' Meeting.

Farmers -- Farmers' organizations

There will be a meeting of the Truckers and Fruit Growers Association, in the Town Hall, at Onancock, at 1 o'clock p.m., Saturday, February 4th. The subject, "How to improve and maintain the fertility of our soil," will be discussed by Capt. O. A. Browne and others. All farmers are invited to be present.



Foxes Island for Sale at Public Auction.

Infrastructure -- Commercial - Real estateTourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Resorts

Pursuant to a decree of the Circuit court for the county of Accomack, pronounced in the suit in which Planner Crockett is plaintiff, and John B. Blizzard's admr., and others are defendants, on Oct. 11th, 1887, we shall proceed to sell at public auction on Monday, January 30th, 1888, at 12 o'clock, m., it being county court day, at the court house door, all of that part of Foxes Island formerly belonging to Planner Crockett, on which John B. Blizzard resided at the time of his death, it being the half of the said island, and containing about 200 acres. Said island is beautifully located near the boundary line of Maryland and Virginia, the waters of Pocomoke and Tangier sounds washing its shores, valuable for oyster planting privileges and ducks, geese and other wild fowl are plenteous during the winter season. No more suitable place can anywhere be found for a club house, the buildings thereon erected by John B. Blizzard, deceased, being large and suitable for such purposes. A fine opportunity is offered in the sale of this property for those desiring a paying investment or purchasing for speculative purposes.

Peninsula Enterprise
Accomac Court House
January 28, 1888