Maryland in Focus HOME

County Pages

Anne Arundel
Baltimore City
Baltimore County
Prince George's
Queen Anne's
St. Mary's

Maryland State Archives

Photographic Collections

Somerset County seal

Somerset County is the southernmost bay county of the Eastern Shore. It is bordered on the north and northwest by Wicomico County and the Wicomico River, the east by Worcester County, the south by Pocomoke Sound, and the west by the Chesapeake Bay. The county was one of the province's older counties, created by an Order of Council in 1666. The county is named after Mary Somerset, sister-in-law of Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore.

Like other Eastern Shore counties, Somerset County relies on the seafood industry as a source of income. Crab and oyster packing houses such as those at Deal Island and Crisfield process thousands of pounds of seafood annually. The land produces truck crops, corn, and soybeans and is the feeding ground for thousands of ducks and geese.

Crisfield is a distinctive town that derives its livelihood from the water. Vessels of many sizes bring thousands of tons of oysters, crabs, and fish from this self-styled "Seafood Capital of the World." Shucking oysters and picking the meat from crabs is still done by hand by hundreds of workers in the packing houses. Oyster tongs, oyster dredges, and other equipment for local industries are also manufactured in Crisfield.

Somerset County was the home of two Maryland governors, Thomas King Carroll and J. Millard Tawes, who served 1830-1831 and 1959-1967 respectively. Some claim that Anna Ella Carroll, daughter of Governor Carroll, became one of President Lincoln's secret advisors though her contributions to the war effort were never officially recognized by Congress.

Horse-drawn sled in Princess Anne
A  horse-drawn sled on South Somerset Avenue in Princess Anne forges through the snow. MSA SC 1477-6671
In Crisfield, Maryland's most modern crabmeat producing plant, c. 1940
Crisfield has dubbed itself the Seafood Capital of the Nation, and with good reason. These crab pickers worked at Milbourne Oyster Company, c, 1940, in Maryland's most modern crabmeat producing plant. In Crisfield, oyster boats know elsewhere as skipjacks are called batteau.
MSA SC 1477-6720
Westover Rehoboth Presbyterian Chruch
In Westover Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, the Revered L.P. Bowen presides over the lectern.
MSA SC 1477-6490
Burdell White, family, and new chicken coop
Burdell White stands inside the door of his new chicken coop, while his wife and daughter stand by him, near their home on Deale Island, c. 1940.  This chicken coop was obtained through Farm Security Administration aid.
 MSA SC 1477-6560
Pretty house in Princess Anne, county seat
Princess Anne, the seat of Somerset County, was named in honor of the daughter of King George II. This charming house on South Somerset Avenue was recorded by the camera c. 1910. MSA SC 1477-6672


This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

© Copyright October 18, 2002Maryland State Archives