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Lost to the Bay by Gary D. Crawford

We know the Bay is beautiful. There’s no doubt about that. John Smith, the first Englishman to see and describe it, was struck by this marvelous estuary, teeming with life in, above, and around its waters. He wrote, “heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation,” and af ter his many travels he put the Bay Country at the top of his list, saying it “may have the prerogative over the most pleasant places knowne.” The Bay can be cr uel, too, as Smith quickly learned from a stingray he encountered. It gave him such a jolt that his men feared their leader was dead. S ome w h at mor e r e c ent ly, i n August 2013, I wrote about a small monument in Kronsberg Park across from the Tilghman Fire Hall, on which five bronze plaques are displayed. One commemorates the gift of the park to the community by the Kronsberg family; one lists the doctors who served the island, another is a tribute to George C. Harrison, manager of the Tilghman Packing Company; a fourth plaque expresses appreciation to those who served in our nation’s wars. Then there’s the other plaque. It reads: “IN MEMORY OF THE

TILGHM A N WATER MEN W HO L O S T T H E I R L I V E S ON T H E CHE SA PE A K E BAY A N D SU RROU N DI NG WAT ER S, 1891 TO 1979,” with 32 names below this inscription. Nothing indicates how these men perished, where, or even when. Their stories live on in the memories of family and friends, of course. But time passes, and so do those who hold those memories. Out of respect, it seems worthwhile to gather any information we can, now, about the names on the Watermen’s Plaque. W hat fol low s i s, ad m it te d ly, neither complete nor proven fact. I apologize in advance, for these are sensitive matters, but my hope is that readers with additional infor-


April 2016 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times April 2016

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