This Blog

Welcome to a Window on Cecil’s Past. On this blog, I will post articles on the history of our county, both old and modern, and the personal stories of our people, first and secondhand. Installments may include pieces on folkways, places, events, the built environment, people and about any aspect of our past that catches my attention. Additionally, I may periodically contemplate current happenings, as I investigate the convergence of dynamics that are changing our corner of northeastern Maryland in the 21st century. History, after all, is a continuum and understanding what happened in the past provides context for current developments.

The county’s history has fascinated me since 1968 when I started volunteering at the Historical Society of Cecil County as a teenager. For nearly a half-century now, all of my adult life, I’ve had a wonderful time discovering historical traces in photographs, oral histories, documents, and the material culture. In addition to rummaging through old books, documents, and crumbling newspapers as a way of investigating our past I had the privilege of learning so much from many knowledgeable people during those rapidly passing decades. I hope to share some of those insights here. As I search for windows on Cecil Past and post entries, I hope you will find them interesting since the county has so many stories waiting to be told.

I’ve been blogging on local history since April 2007, so I have a number of articles in the blogosphere. To start this weblog off, I will cross post some of my columns from other sites here as I begin reflecting on yesterday in Cecil County with some original essays.

Thanks for reading this piece and feel free to post comments.  Also, here is a link to my professional blog, where I share news and reflections about the practice of history.


My name is Mike Dixon, and I am the publisher of this blog. I live in Cecil County with my family, and for nearly fifty years I have enjoyed studying the county’s past and chronicling historical insights on the area. I started volunteering at the Historical Society as a teenager in the late 1960s and I continue to volunteer with that organization. I hope you enjoy visiting and find the entries informative.


41 responses to “About

  1. Hi Mike,
    I am looking for more old photos of Holloway or Murphy’s Beach that was located right next door.
    Can you help me?
    Thank you,

  2. Great Blog, you write very well. Let me give you a genealogy question from the Hastings side of my family. I am looking for information on Goldsborough Hastings who in the 1900 census is listed as being a Clergyman in Cecil County (perryville) . He was born about 1854 or 1856. In the census he shown with a wife Martha. Since he is from the Delmar area in some census information he is shown as being born in Maryland other census he shown as being born in Delaware. His father and mother are John and Hester Hastings. And of course Goldsborough is spelled in a wide variety of ways.

  3. Patty:

    Can you stop by the Society someday? We have a few more photos. Also have you looked at what we’ve posted online to see if any of those are of interest.

    Here’s the address for that. On that page click on photos online.


  4. Howard:

    Let me see if I can come up with something on that for you. I check this week and get back with you.

    Thanks for the work you do on Delmar Dustpan. I surf over regularly.

  5. Mike:
    Enjoyed your article on “An African-American Slave Recalls a British Attack on Frenchtown.”
    After the holidays how about you and I getting together – finally!

    Scott Sheads
    Historian, Fort McHenry

  6. Very cool blog. I’m currently looking for information on Leslie, just north of North East. Ive located what appear to be a very old Mill and some other buildings in the woods nearby.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. Brandon:

    Thanks. There are some detailed older maps of that area, which should help you figure something out. I’ll scan one or two and put them up online so you can examine them in a few days.

  8. Found your site linked as a ‘suggest’ at the bottom of one of my historical organization’s posts. Very good stuff; great minds think alike (and so do ours).


  9. Thanks Erik. Just surfed over to the Beachwood Historical Alliance blog, facebook, etc.. You’re doing a great job with those (I assume you’re the blogger/webmaster). We’re starting to use FB to but are new to that.

    Blogs are a great way to inexpensively distribute historical pieces and get a wide audience.

    Keep up the great word in Beachwood. I send in a friends request to the group.


  10. beachwoodhistoricalalliance

    Yep, content creator numero uno right here.

    I find more than a few established local historical society people prefer to keep their history locked in vaults so people have to come to them, which is less and less frequent, rather than going to where they are and immediately in their homes and on demand at any given moment. The internet does a great job for us.

    You’re also doing great here. I look forward to learning some ideas and methods from the work on Cecil County, and invite you to write me should you ever be looking for ideas yourself, either for the main site or Facebook/etc.



  11. For sure and it is something we’re familiar with down this way. The world of historical data kept behind locked behind those walls are over and nonprofits are going to have to adjust to keep up the delivery.

    After looking over your excellent photos we make sure we cruise through the area next time we’re visiting Monmouth, Point Pleasant, etc. Attractive images there.

  12. Dear Mr Dixon,

    I read the tragic article about the crash of Pan Am Flight 214 in 1963.

    I am currently conducting a research about how lightning brought down this airliner for a project.

    I have also read the crash report, that you have kindly posted online, it states that the exact mechanism of the lighting strike on the reserve fuel tank was inconclusive.

    I shall be most grateful if you can provide me with some further information and pictures regarding this crash.

    Thank you for your time.


  13. Carl J. Strickland

    My family spent about 15 summers at Crystal Beach Manor starting around 1957. I have always wondered about the history of the old Manor Inn which still stands and is a bar and restaurant . If anyone has any info, I would love to hear from you.

  14. I just read and greatly enjoyed your article on the old jail in Maryland Life magazine. I’m an English teacher in Harford County, and I’ve collected a lot of Harford County ghost stories over the years. Every year (just for fun) I take a group of kids and adults out to supposedly haunted sites and share the history of the places. However, some of the kids who have been coming since the first year are making it difficult for me to keep from repeating stories. Do you have any more good ghost stories from around Elkton or the Rt. 40 corridor? Thanks, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, but just in case…http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%20Disk3/Rome%20NY%20%20Roman%20Citizen/Rom
    Thanks, Adam

  15. Thanks Adam. There are a number of buildings over this way with really strong, reliable reports. I’ll get you some material on those.

  16. I just wanted to let you know… I found your blog today and look forward to reading it! I love Cecil County history and historical photos!

  17. Mary. Thanks so much. It’s an interesting place with lots of history. Appreciate the feedback.

  18. Hey! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the good posts you have here. I will be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  19. My family lived in Cecil County 200 years ago, and I have been researching the War of 1812 timeperiod.

    There was a uniformed volunteer rifle regiment called the “Cecil County Greens”. (I assume their uniforms were green.) I would really like to know more about them.

    During this time, the schools of Cecil county taught surveying. What exactly were the schools in the area? Where was surveying taught?

    I would be happy to provide the references that support the above questions.

  20. J Hutch give me that reference if you have it and I’ll see what I can dig up.

  21. Here is a biography that I found that says that Cecil County had a school that taught surveying:

    It would be interesting to find out more about it.

    Please send me your email address if possible, I need to attach a PDF with information regarding the War of 1812 uniformed volunteer regiment.

  22. J. Hutch thanks for that info. I’ll take a look at the link and see if I can find anything on this end.

  23. Mike,
    I just found your blog and it is great! I am a county resident and have been a Realtor in Cecil County for 29 years and have a few blog sites. With your permission I would like the opportunity to re-blog your post in your recognition respectfully. You have put a lot of time and work into this site and I know there are a lot of people that would enjoy your blog.
    I hope to hear from you,

  24. Keith, thanks. Please feel free to share the posts and include a link back to the original article.

  25. Glad to have stumbled onto your blog. I’ve been curious about a beach that my mother used to bring us to back in the early 1970’s that was somewhere in Cecil county. All I can remember that it was a nice sandy beach with a picnic pavilion … and they played music (I can still remember them playing the song “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney, so that probably narrows it down to possibly 1973?) I don’t specifically recall any boat piers or cottages at the location, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t there.

    Holloway Beach or Crystal Beach maybe?

    • Charlestown Manor Beach is on edgewater ave and is still open, from the stories ive heard it sounds exactly the way you are describing it.

  26. Rick, thanks for sharing your info.

  27. Hello All,
    I am contacting you to inform you about an event the Upper Bay Museum, North East, MD, is hosting a dinner benefit to honor their past founders and supporters Nick DeMond, Stewart DeMond, Gene Howell, and Allan Purner. As you may know, the museum has been preserving the life style of our local heritage since 1975. I was hoping you would be interested in writing an article about these men and their contributions to the community.

    The Upper Bay Museum hosts, ” A Night on the Town” a fine dinner/auction/dance at the North East Banquet Hall (VFW) on May 19th to honor past founders and supporters Nick DeMond, Stewart DeMond, Gene Howell, and Allan Purner.
    5:00 P.M Cocktail hour begins.

    $20 ahead of time $30 at the door.

    Questions? info@upperbaymuseum.org

    Thank you for your time,

    Nichole B. Gillis
    Secretary of the Upper Bay Museum

  28. Nichole, thanks for letting us know about the event. We’ve moved your mesasge to the front of the blog, so it’ll be seen more readily. Keep up the good work in preserving the heritage of the areas watermen and hunters. Anytime you have a press release please forward it, and we’ll get it up.

  29. Mike,
    I am not sure if you could help me find some info about the house i just bought. All i really know is the house is in the book “At The Head Of the Bay” If you could lead me in the right direction on were i should look for info that would be great thank you kate

  30. kate, a few ideas for you. By-the-way, you should be able to find information. Google up the Maryland Historical Trust. They have PDFs of the more detailed files that supported the brief entries for the book. ONce you get to the Historical Trust page, looking for registry of historical properties and you will be able to look up the data behind your property. Also in a couple of months we are going to have a workshop on researching an old house. Try to make that. We’ll have an announcement on the blog about the date shortly.

  31. Thank you for operating this site. My wife and I just moved to Cecil County a couple months ago and your site has really helped us appreciate it’s history. We do have a question related to our address: Doctor Jack Road. Do you know for whom this road was named? Forgive me if I overlooked an article which already covers this: we’re at a loss on its history. Thanks!

    • My pleasure Mike and I’m glad you and your wife are enjoying the Cecil County history posts. Cecil has a really rich history to be explored and appreciated and I try to share a little of it in these posts. The road was named after Dr. Jack, a physician in the area, some 100 years ago. Let me pull up some material on him this week and I’ll do a little post at some point. Thanks for reading the blog.

  32. Hi Mike, I am working on a paper for a college course and am focusing on the history of Elkton and in particular your view on the impact a community’s history and preserving it can have on a town’s culture. If you would be willing to answer a few questions for me via email that would be great! If you could tell me how to reach you I would appreciate it!

  33. Love history, especially from my own county

  34. History if the naming of Dr. Jack Road, Cecil County

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s