Somerset County

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 snow
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A horse-drawn sled on South Somerset Avenue in Princess Anne forges through the snow. .

eight women pick crabs at a crabmeat plant
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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.

reverand at lecturn in church
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In Westover Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, the Revered L.P. Bowen presides over the lectern.

family with their new chicken coop
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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.

photo of house on South Somerset Ave
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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.