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09/06/2019

David Turner, Horseplay, the History of Horses in Kent County and the Eastern Shore

September 06, 2019 5pm

DAVID TURNER competed in junior rodeo calf roping and showed jumpers as a youth in Austin, Texas. During his years at the University of Texas and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and during his years as a Washington DC speechwriter, he competed as an amateur in Tennessee Walking Horse and American Saddlebred shows across the Southwest and the East. David was asked by the American Saddlebred Horse Association to form a Sport Horse Committee in 1996 as an outreach for Saddlebreds into the Olympic sports of dressage and eventing. Horses he has bred have won at “Dressage at Devon” and in state futurities up and down the Mid-Atlantic. He has served on the Clubs Board of Directors for the Maryland Horse Council for 15 years.

09/22/2019

Historic House Cocktail Party

September 22, 2019 3pm - 5pm

10/04/2019

Diane Daniels, The Ghosts of Chestertown and Kent County

October 04, 2019 5pm

Strange encounters and ghostly presences haunt the historic streets of Chestertown and the back country roads of Kent County. The centuries-old Kent County Courthouse may be home to the ghost of Esther Anderson, who was sentenced to burn at the stake in 1746. Strange lights float above Caulk’s Field, where fallen British marines were buried during the War of 1812. The scent of lavender accompanies the ghost of Aunt Polly at the Geddes-Piper House, while the spectral Tall Man waits for passersby on a lonely country bridge. Author Diane Saylor Daniels explores the historic events behind the ghost lore of Chestertown and Kent County. Diane Saylor Daniels served for seven years as executive director of the Kent County Historical Society. Prior to working at the society, she had been the director of the public library in her hometown, having returned to rural life following twenty years of working in nonprofit and university administration in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York City. Originally from the mountains of rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania, along the border of Garrett County, Maryland, she understands what it is like to truly be “from” a place and enjoyed having an “in” to the centuries of stories woven into the fabric of life in Kent County.

10/13/2019

Cruise on the River Packet with Historical Societies of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties

October 13, 2019

11/01/2019

Donald Shomette, The Haunting Mallows Bay, Graveyard of Wooden Ships

November 01, 2019 5pm

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson issued a national call to arms against Imperial Germany. What followed in the United States was a frenzied effort to build hundreds of merchant ships to replace those being destroyed in Germany’s campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare. The newly created U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation embarked on a course that, in the span of a few pivotal years in American history, came to exhibit mankind’s genius, ignorance, avarice, drive–and folly–for the largest portion of that fleet came to rest on the muddy floor of Mallows Bay. Donald G. Shomette recounts fascinating tales of the wonders that lie beneath the bay. An accomplished underwater archaeologist, Shomette describes the cutting-edge technology used in ship excavations, the underwater hunts for the earliest English colony in Maryland, and stories of the great fleet that now rests in eternal slumber beneath the waters of Mallows Bay.

12/06/2019

Wassail Party

December 06, 2019 5pm

Join us for our annual Wassail Party.

Our new site is still under construction. Stay tuned!

About Us

The Historical Society of Kent County, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of documents and information that aid in the interpretation of all aspects of Kent County’s history. The Society shares this information through its research library, museum space, programs, publications and website in order to foster a knowledge and understanding of the shared heritage of the community. The Society supports and encourages the preservation of historic buildings and sites throughout Kent County.

The Historical Society is the only organization dedicated to keeping the record of all aspects of Kent County history. The Society is determined that the history of Kent County remain an integral part of its future, and seeks to not only preserve but promote local history in such a way that it enhances the sense of place for both residents and visitors of Kent County. The organization also engages in facilitating preservation efforts whenever possible.

The Society offers resources for local history through its museum, research library and programs, publications and website. We also offer a venue for history lovers to support history keeping and to become an active and integral part of the community.

The Historical Society was founded in 1936 to preserve and disseminate information pertinent to local heritage; in 1958 the organization purchased the Geddes-Piper House, beginning a rehabilitation project that ushered in the significant restoration effort that led to the establishment of the Chestertown Historic District, now a National Landmark District.  Through contributions and volunteer efforts, the Geddes-Piper was decorated and furnished with period pieces, and was until 2015, the only Kent County historic house open to the public on a regular basis.  In 1970, the Society organized the first walking tour of Chestertown’s Historic District, opening up the doors to historic homes and buildings on an annual basis, the first Saturday in October.

In the 1980’s, the Society partnered with Kent County and Chestertown in conducting an extensive site survey of many of the historic buildings throughout the county, primarily built before the 1860’s.  In the 1990’s, the results of the survey were expanded upon, and the Society produced and published Historic Houses of Kent County, written by Michael Bourne and edited by Eugene Johnstone.  Now in its second printing, the book remains an extraordinary work of architectural history.

In 2006, as the Society entered its 8th decade, it reevaluated its mission, and the products and services that it offered its community.  A long range plan was developed in which the need to establish an accessible and comprehensive resource for Kent County history was emphasized.

A significant private grant enabled the Society to begin a major emphasis on its library collection, the only library dedicated to local history.  Items in the collection were properly encased in archival preservation materials by volunteers and student interns. A grant from the Hedgelawn Foundation made possible the purchase a cataloging software program.  Through the efforts of staff, volunteers and interns, a major portion of the library’s collection has been cataloged, and the catalog is searchable from this site.

Beginning in 2007, the Society began publishing The Key to Old Kent, expanding upon the tradition of local history writing begun in the Society’s newsletter, Old Kent (now published simply as a newsletter).

In 2011, the Society produced The Key to Kent County History, a significant web resource for local history funded by the Maryland Historical Trust.  Containing an overview of the story of Kent County by time period, with links to other websites, relevant holdings in the Society’s collection, essays and other resources, this site serves as a framework to offer continually expanding resources on local history.

The organization continues to collect oral histories, nurture research and writing, and develop projects and programs that preserve, promote and make accessible the record of local history.

In 2015, the Society opened the Bordley History Center at 301 High Street, in the heart of downtown Chestertown, as the new location for the Kent County Historical Society and  sold the Geddes-Piper House.

We take very seriously our role as history keepers; after all, if a place does not keep its own history, then no one else will.

Please visit us, and be certain to join us for our annual Historic House Tour on the first Saturday in October.  This tradition is one of the oldest historic house tours on the Eastern Shore.

The Board

Board Members

Stephen Frohock, President
Barbara Jorgenson, First Vice-President
Gibson Anthony, Second Vice-President
Erik Gulbrandsen, Secretary
Roger Brown, Treasurer
Bridget Mahony, Assistant Treasurer

LaMonte Cooke
David Durfee
Joan Horsey
Kate Livie
Timothy Olinick
Cynthia Saunders
Kate Van Name
Evelyn Young

Robert L. Bryan- Immediate Past President

The Staff

Joan Andersen
Librarian
library@kentcountyhistory.org
410-778-3499

Carol Roe Combs
Administrative Assistant
410-778-3499
admin@kentcountyhistory.org 

 

 

Volunteer

History Lovers! We are in need of volunteers for a variety of tasks.  You can become involved in our mission of keeping Kent County history! Some of our ongoing volunteer opportunities include:

Docent at the Bordley History Center: You don’t have to know about Kent County history to be a regular docent – you can learn as you go.  You just have to enjoy meeting people of all types and welcoming them to the Historical Society.

Tour guides:  Do you enjoy learning history and telling stories?  You might enjoy being a tour guide for regular walking tours or for our fall Ghost Walk of Historic Chestertown.

Library tasks: We are in need of all library skill levels, from cataloging (easier than you may think, but does require computer skills) to indexing serials and publications to clipping articles.

Genealogists Cemetery research: Our volunteers are updating cemetery records.

Research:  If you have experience in conducting research, we are always in need of qualified volunteers to explore and document information on various topics.

Special events and programs: planning and assistance.

Project Coordinators: For those who have experience and time to take on project management, we are in need of a coordinator for an oral history project.

Exhibit planners

Outreach: volunteers to staff a table for the Society at events.

Or, think of a project of your own that you would like to pursue!  Please call us at 410-778-3499, or email admin@kentcountyhistory.org.

Membership

The Historical Society always welcomes new members.  You do not have to live locally to join, a number of our members support us in our efforts from afar.  If you are a resident, however, we hope you will not only become a member, but join us at our events and activities, or consider volunteering.  We offer a welcoming venue for community involvement for all ages.

As a Member you will receive:

  • Unlimited use of our Genealogy and Local History Research Library
  • Discount on Genealogical Research Services
  • History Happy Hour, program & discussion, wine & cheese on First Fridays
  • Invitation to Historic House Parties & other private events (some of these events may have a charge, but are offered for members & their guests only)
  • Discount on books & items in Gift Shop

Membership dues are:

  • $25      Individual
  • $40      Household

Register online securely with PayPal.

Select "Individual" or "Family" and click to register:

Students can receive a free, complimentary membership to the Historical Society. To attain membership, please fill out the student membership application.