Research Tip: When Digging Into the Past, Don’t Forget to Check Out Newspapers in Middletown, Havre de Grace & Oxford

Cecil Co. news column in Oxford Press

Anyone involved in doing local research is aware of how helpful old newspapers are for mining information on genealogy and history.  These sources provide some of the most fascinating insights while digging into the region’s past for each issue thoroughly chronicled the community, recording exactly what happened. 

Thousands of these dusty, time worn, old newspapers were published here beginning in 1823.  In addition to the Cecil Whig, titles included serials such as the Midland Journal of Rising Sun, the Chesapeake Chesapike of Chesapeake City, the Perryville Record, the Port Deposit Rock, and the Cecil Star of North East.  In addition to the Whig, Elkton had the Cecil County News, the Appeal and the Cecil Democrat as well as a dozen of smaller titles.  

This week-by-week record of happenings, all from a Cecil County perspective, is invaluable since a newspaper with a dateline from another century is a voice from another time.  Fortunately, there were over 40 of these voices here.  All the incorporated towns, except Charlestown and Cecilton, had one or more commercial publications.  

When you’re researching something don’t just rummage through the Elkton papers for the other small town weeklies covered their beat thoroughly in their day, producing a four page broadsheet full of local content about Rising, Perryville, North East or other towns.  Also don’t forget the weeklies from other nearby points.  Those publications often covered corners of the county more systematically than the distant papers in the county-seat.  One example is the Middletown Transcript, which had lots of content from the first election district around  Cecilton, Warwick, Earleville and other places south of the canal.  It is available at the Corbitt Calloway Library in Odessa. 

The Oxford Press is particularly important as it covers northern Cecil County and its smaller villages in detail with weekly columns filled with social happenings and smaller news pieces.  Special correspondents wrote in from Sylmar, Liberty Grove, Rowlandsville, Calvert, Port Deposit, Rising Sun, Fair Hill and other villages, making sure virtually nothing was missed.   But in addition to the village social goings on, there’s a strong weekly column of local news from south of the Mason Dixon Line.  I find that especially helpful when investigating political topics or sensitive matters since the distant paper may cover the issue more openly.  This product is available at the Oxford Library from 1866 to 1970s and its local Cecil County news content is particularly strong. 

Finally, don’t forget the Havre de Grace Record.  That broadsheet covers the Perryville, Port Deposit and Susquehanna areas carefully and it is available at the Historical Society. 

Header for columns from small villages in area.


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