Grove, Laurel Grove, Friendship
This section, because of its nearness to the Choptank River and Talbot County, was one of the first to be settled in the county.
Fowling Creek is mentioned in one of the earliest surveys made and was doubtless early known far and wide as the haunt of game and fowl.
The earliest mill seems to have been farther down the stream than the present one-probably where the road leading from the state road to Gilpins Point crosses the stream. General Potter was a part owner of the mill when reestablished near its present site.
The name of Harmony was evidently not applied to the village until some time after 1840, about which time the first church was erected, though there had been a chapel nearer Fowling Creek for years before this time.
It seems that a public school was started at this point rather early too, for in 1865 when the public school system was established, Harmony school was included in the provision.
With a one-room school for many years, the population of the community has so increased that a two-room school is now a practical necessity. At present the patrons are much interested in securing a school site of two or three acres and building a model two-room school.
Harmony Methodist Protestant Church was first a church of another denomination. On the 12th day of October, 1840, William A. Barton and wife, by their deed conveyed to Deliha Sparklin and others, trustees, and their successors in office for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, according to the rules and discipline of that church, the "parcel of land lying and being in Caroline County and State of Maryland and immediately on the cross roads leading from Fowling Creek and Hog Creek, one-half acre of ground be the same more or less."
On this piece of ground a church was built and dedicated to the service of God and the use of the congregation. For over seventy-five years services were held in this church and from it came a number of ministers who are now prominent in the Methodist Episcopal church, and many other useful and active Christian workers. At last through mismanagement and neglect, the congregation went away from the church and it was closed.
During the Fall of 1916 the people of the community desiring religious services, requested Mr. Wm. H. Johnson, a local minister of the Methodist Protestant church of Federalsburg, to hold services in the church. He responded and a gracious revival came in which about 51 persons were converted. These desiring to have church organization asked for help from the Federalsburg church. With the old members of the church who still remained a healthy organization was formed, and on the 5th day of August 1919, for the sum of $250 the people of the community bought back their church and rededicated it to the service of God as a Methodist Protestant church. It is now in a vigorous condition and doing the great work for which it was first deeded by William A. Barton and wife.
This section made famous on account of its furnishing the birthplace of Charles Dickinson who fell in a duel with Andrew Jackson as recorded elsewhere in this volume and lying directly on the colonial thoroughfare from Potter's Landing to Hunting Creek (now the Harmony-Preston road) was cleared and settled very early.
A few years before this county was organized Charles Dickinson, the grandfather of the later duellist, and who had been a prominent resident of Dorchester County as evidenced by his being for awhile the chief jurist of that county and the chief of the committee in the construction of her first Court House, secured by grant and purchase several hundred acres of land in the Grove neighborhood and had settled there, moving from Lower Dorchester. This Mr. Dickinson was the man who presided over the well known meeting held at Melvill's Warehouse in 1774, when resolutions were adopted urging resistance to Great Britain in her treatment of the colonies.
Henry Dickinson, the son, acquired possession of nearly 2000 acres of this land at the death of his father, together with other valuable property including many slaves. During the Revolutionary Period Henry Dickinson was active in the affairs of his county and at one time collected and headed a troop of horsemen for the war. A member of the first Constitutional Convention he became later one of the judges of our County Court.
Possessed with broad acres and many slaves to do the bidding of the family it seems only natural that the home of Henry Dickinson was the center of social activities. In this home the boy Charles Dickinson and his brother Philip along with the two sisters Elizabeth and Rebecca were reared and evidently in accordance with their opportunities and the customs of the day, these young people were among the leaders in the various social functions of the county at the time.
It seems that the family were Episcopalians and attended the Hunting Creek Chapel (near Hynson).
Henry Dickinson died about 1790 and left his large estate probably worth $50,000 to his children. Reared in luxury for the time it seems only natural that the call of the city should be strong to them. Not long after the reaching of manhood by these boys, Charles and Philip, do we find them selling their land, Philip in small sections, while Charles made larger sales. Elizabeth who married William Richardson of Talbot County, soon disposed of her interest as did Rebecca who became the wife of Thos. B. Daffin and resided in Tuckahoe Neck on the farm now known as the Thawley Farm.
Thus in 1803 we find Charles Dickinson who had married Jane Erwin of Tennessee, conveying the remainder of his real estate in Caroline County to his father-in-law for the sum of about $12,000. Shortly after this he relinquished his citizenship in Maryland and moved to the vicinity of Nashville.
In this connection may it be said that Andrew Jackson, then a rising young man of Tennessee and slightly older than Charles Dickinson, had been elected to Congress then held in Philadelphia (about 1796-1797). Going to Philadelphia as he did on horseback over the well established trail via Baltimore, it seems likely that Jackson met in the latter city prominent men of this state and section. Col. William Richardson, a relative of Charles Dickinson, was one of these. Naturally enough, he was, on one of these trips invited by Col. Richardson, the owner of a fast sailing sloop, to visit the Eastern Shore and accepted, staying while here at the Richardson, Dickinson, Daffin and Potter homes in this county. Charles Dickinson, with whom he was apparently much associated while on these visits, was a very good sport and proved a very interesting man to Jackson with the result that Jackson invited him to his home and associations in Tennessee, an offer which Dickinson clearly accepted.
For years Grove has been the site of a church and the parsonage of the Caroline Circuit of the Methodist Protestant church--American Corner, Choptank and Smithson comprising the remainder of the charge.
The first public school in this section seems to have been taught by Mr. Peter James Patchett shortly after the Civil War in a dwelling house provided by Mr. Perry Taylor. Shortly afterwards a new school building was erected near the site of the present one and Miss Annie Hains was the first teacher. This building was used for school purposes until 1887 when the present school was erected.
After awhile a cannery was erected on one side of the school to be followed in a few years by another cannery on the opposite side of the school. Hence the origin of the term sometimes applied "Cannery Grove."
Erected as a school site in 1870 when Ager Andrew gave one acre of land to the School Board, this school has been in operation ever since. After the decay of the old building about twenty years ago, the present structure was erected.
Like the church which is immediately across the county road, this school takes its name because of the fact that formerly the pine woods completely surrounded the school abounds in laurel, which in bloom is indeed very pretty.
The church here was formerly in the Southern Methodist denomination, Easton charge, but latterly has been the worshipping place of the Holiness Society.
To the general section hereabout the name of Pinetown is given, and doubtless to many of the older residents the school is better known as Pinetown than by its official name.
The first church built in this community was made of logs near the site of the present building.
The present edifice, the third one built, was completed about 1880 and is ministered to at present by a pastor from Williamsburg, in which circuit it is located.
The first school building in this community was erected about one hundred years ago and was likewise made of logs. It was burned in 1851 because of a defective stove. School was kept in a shack for awhile until the first of the present building was erected. In 1911 a new room was added, making Friendship a two-room school.
About three hundred yards from Friendship on the Hynson road may still be seen some walnut trees which mark the site of the polling place of this district fifty years ago.
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