Situated on the main thoroughfare leading to Easton, this village has had a commanding location for years.
Just when the settlement began is not known, but suffice to say that Bethlehem has been on the map for a long time.
Both a church and school have long contributed to the religious and social wants of the community.
In 1865, the school which had heretofore existed as a subscribed, or community school, was turned over to the county and became a part of the state school system. For years the present building was located on the church lot in the village, but the great need of more room for play-ground led to the school’s being moved a few years ago to its present site.
One of the largest tomato canneries on the peninsula is located here—the property of Mr.
A. J. Messick.
The road leading to the river called Dover Road, was long ago so named because of its leading to the ancient town of Dover on the Talbot side of the river.
The earlier enterprise of the locality may be seen in the announcement of a fair to be held hereabout as per the following clipping:
CAROLINE’S FAIR“The Bethlehem Fair to be held on the second, third, and fourth of next month, will probably eclipse all others ever held in the County. The programme comprises almost everything that contributes to make such occasions interesting and amusing. Prof. Faux, the champion pedestrian, will make a novel raced during the Fair with a fast trotting horse. He is to walk one-half mile in less than the horse can trot a mile. Sportsmen ought surely to see this. As there is no entrance fee to be paid on the property exhibit, come and make the Fair what it deserves to be, a success. The Ladies of Harmony are making a flag and streamer to present to the Fair Association.”
In the year 1873 the school was built at Smithson. The name Hog Creek was first given to the settlement and the school, probably, by the settlers who lived along Hog Creek branch. As there was no church near, religious services were held in the school for a while. Three years later, a church was built and named Smithson Chapel for the first minister, Rev. Rumsey Smithson. The name of the school was then changed to Smithson, by which it is still called.
In 1895 a post-office was established. It was suggested that the post-office be called Newton in honor of Mr. Newton Andre, who was postmaster. When a few years later the post-office was discontinued, this name dropped and the village now goes by the name Smithson.
In the early part of the eighteenth century there were Indians in Smithson vicinity. One tribe lived at Yellow Hill. Besides their wigwams they had several caves, the remains of which can still be seen.
A story is told of a family by the name Willoughby that lived near where MacCarty's wharf now is. One day, when their little son Richard was only a few weeks old, the father being in the field and the mother hanging out clothes, the Indians crept in and stole the baby. They took him to Yellow Hill and kept him six weeks. The father, with a band of his neighbors, went to the camp and brought the little boy home.
There seems to have been some Indians along the Hog Creek branch. One tribe went far up the branch and remains of their camp and medicine pit were found only a few years ago. Others lived near Blairtown, for we know they had a large burying ground there and their caves have been found along the banks. Still others lived near what is now the Hog Creek Mill dam. When the dam was being rebuilt several things which the Indians had buried were dug from the banks.
Blairtown referred to above was clearly a settlement of slave belonging to Charles Blair about 1790. The site of this settlement was just below Hog Creek branch on the road leading from Harmony to Smithson. In 1825 much of the land in this neighborhood was purchased from the heirs of Blair by Short A. Willis, the father of Col. A. J. Willis, who died at Williston a few years ago.
Over one hundred years ago a brick grist mill was built along Hog Creek. Perhaps the bricks for this building were brought up the Choptank from some point below where bricks were then made. It is not likely that any of them were brought from England.
In this section, several militiamen for service in the Revolutionary War were secured.
Contributed by Pupils.
Hubbard's or the Frazier's Flats region as it is more generally known, was one of the earliest settled portions of what is now Caroline County. Tradition has it that this settlement was intended to be made in Talbot County from which section the early settlers came. This seems quite plausible and perhaps is true. In those times grants of land were not as definitely outlined as now by degrees and minutes. It seems that the grant included territory above the "second turning of the Choptank river," hence a mistake in the number of bends in the river from its mouth would easily place this site on either side of the river.
Then too the soil in this region is very clayey and similar to that of Talbot County. Under these conditions it was only natural that persons from the former county would locate in the new territory and bring with them their religious worship. This, it seems, is what happened as a Friend's meeting was very nearly established-perhaps shortly after 1700.
The Flat's territory is really included by two creeks-Skillington on the south and Edmonson on the north. These two streams take their names from Thomas Skillington and John Edmonson, natives of Talbot County, who were referred to above as taking up the land in this section.
It seems, too, that the ferry across the Choptank was in this section, connecting the roads that led from Easton to Hunting Creek (now Linchester), thereby making this way a thoroughfare.
Later on William Frazier, a prominent citizen, churchman, and soldier, acquired much of this land and erected thereon a handsome brick residence as referred to elsewhere in this volume. In this house church services were held for many years; these were sometimes attended by Bishop Asbury.
It seems likely, too, that these people, many of whom were Quakers, had used their meeting house doubtless as a school in the early life of the colony. The public school for this section which was in operation prior to 1865 was at that time turned over to the County Board of Education. About 1872 the present site was acquired and a building erected thereon. This building was enlarged in the year 1919.
About twenty-five years ago a colony of Dutch people from the Northwest settled here and named the territory "Wilhelmina" after the Dutch Queen. Several farms were made and for a time the people prospered, bidding fair to dyke some of the marsh area in that region according to the plan followed in their mother country.
The Frazier residence was again used as a place of worship by these Hollanders after a period of one hundred years. Several years ago, however, these colonies began to move away and at present there are only a few of the former families living there.
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