Monday, December 26, 2016

For Readers Interested in the Fascinating History of St. Clements Island, Coltons Point, and Southern Maryland


Some of us cannot get enough of history, and we know the history we read is not complete, is biased, maybe fabricated, and often contains little resemblance to truth.  Actually most historians try but they have an outline or agenda that distorts the truth.

We at the Coltons Point Times have no vested interest in Southern Maryland history other than wanting it to be complete, factual, and not boring.

Thus, we have produced a series of fascinating stories about the prehistory and history of this quite sacred area, and where possible, have filled in the missing pieces from earlier works.

Submissions of the material to the St. Clements museum and other historians has failed to generate any response so you be the judge on whether our findings better explain our history.  Here are the stories published to date in the Coltons Point Times and links to them.

Southern Maryland and St. Clements Island History

Histories Mysteries - The Voyage of the Ark and the Dove

Histories Mysteries - The Landing at St. Clements Island in 1634

St. Clements Island and Manor - Four Centuries of Interrupted History

St. Clements Prehistory Part 1 Ame4rican Colonial History

St. Clements Prehistory Part 2 American Colonial History

Scenes from Coltons Point

The Miracle of St. Clements Island

Histories Mysteries - A Lighthearted View of the Pilgrims Progress in Coltons Point

CPT Monarch Factoid - King's Stuff Headlines

Histories Mysteries - The Story of John Wilkes Booth, the Black Diamond, and St. Clement's Island

Histories Mysteries - St. Clements Island - Coltons Point - and the mysterious 7th District in Maryland

Histories Mysteries - A Lighthearted View of the Pilgrims Progress in Coltons Point

St. Clements Island Lighthouse - Pilgrims Rest Stop

Many of you may remember this classic work of literature by English author John Bunyan first published in 1678. He was in jail when he wrote it in 1675 for participating in religious services outside the auspices of the Church of England, the only allowable religion at the time. Well we decided to track the Pilgrims Progress here in Coltons Point as it was the first stop over of religious outcasts from England just 40 years before John Bunyan was imprisoned and were it not for the Calvert family back in England many of our ancestors might have been in jail with Bunyan.

In 1632 George Calvert, who had been King James I of England’s principal Secretary of State at a time when the conflict between Catholic Europe and Protestant England was most serious, was granted a charter to what is now the State of Maryland. After George’s death in 1633 his son Cecil inherited his charter and determining that his brother, Leonard Calvert was the family member most expendable, sent Lenny to lead the expedition to America and establish a settlement around religious freedom. November 23, 1633 about 150 pilgrims got in two ships, the Ark and the Dove, and set out on a treacherous four month winter journey to America.

On March 25, 1634 the ships landed at Clements Island a stones throw from Coltons Point and between 150 and 300 people got off the boat, went to the bathroom, and started negotiating with the Yaocomico natives on shore for a permanent settlement. March 25 is now known as Maryland Day, the day the Catholics came to America and the holiday is celebrated everywhere but right here where it happened. Maybe we could fix that.

So the natives finally agreed they could have St. Mary’s City downstream for a settlement, there was no reason to mess up the Island or the Point with a new development, a position that remains pretty much true today. Just two years later, in 1636 and in spite of the fact he didn’t really own it Lord Baltimore went and gave the Island and Point to Thomas Gerard with the grant showing the Island was 400 acres.

Today the Island has 40 acres. It has been 380 years (1636-2016) since the first measurement of the Island in 1636 and over that time 360 acres have disappeared into the waters. Nearly an acre a year for 370 years have vanished meaning in the year 2046 the island will be gone completely and join the legends of the sea such as Atlantis.

A comprehensive history of the Island and Point should be done and a lot of partial histories have been written and could form the basis for the definitive story. Until then I’m going to add my version of an incomprehensible history to the collection.

So Lord Baltimore gave this disappearing Island to Gerard and in 1669 the Blackistone family took it over and kept it for 162 years. After that other families, possibly a beer company and a tobacco company and who knows who else claimed ownership.

During the American Revolution the Island was headquarters for the British troops. Oops, wrong side. Thirty years later during the war of 1812 it again was occupied by the British troops.

In 1853 a lighthouse was built on Clements Island for $5,000, and it survived for over 100 years before it mysteriously burnt down in 1956.

I believe in 1865 John Wilkes Booth came to the Point after shooting President Lincoln, during the missing week after the assassination, where he was supposed to catch a British ship and flee to England. Maybe the weather was bad, or for some other reason he went back and crossed into Virginia on his way to a much larger port. There is one heck of a story here along with the question, what did the English have to do with Lincoln’s death.

By 1883 the original St. Clements Manor House, built in 1636, was a hotel and beer garden in Coltons Point and became so popular it attracted ferry boat loads of tourists from Baltimore and Washington. Three weekly steamers came down to Coltons Point for the dances that were held at the old Blackistone Hotel Pavilion.

The origin of the Coltons Point name is an unverified local legend as is so much of the history surrounding the Point. R. Johnson Colton, the first Pointer Postmaster, is said to have won the acreage in a poker game in the 1800s. John Colton, vice president of government affairs for the Maryland Forests Association and R. Johnson Colton's great-grandson said it's possible. "I come from a family of card players," he said. A generation later, his grandfather supposedly won a house in nearby Clements the same way.

In the meantime in 1919 the Island was sold to the US government – used for training and weapons testing during the 1940’s, and by the 1960’s the State of Maryland took control of it.

Back in the Point by 1933 Coltons Point was known as Kopel’s Point and the manor house/hotel was now the Kopel’s Point Hotel, a time few local townspeople seem willing to talk much about. Two hurricanes the next few years pretty much destroyed the hotel by the early 1950's and it was never rebuilt. King Bob and the Ink Spot might finally be willing to talk about this time in their family history that is shrouded in mystery.

Just across the Potomac from Coltons Point in Westmoreland County Virginia three rather important historical figures were born and raised, George Washington, James Madison and Robert E. Lee. We would do well to take a little credit for them.

In the 1960’s a group of childhood friends, some descendants of the original settlers, some might even have been the original settlers, formed The Optimist Club of the Seventh District and at the urging of Father John J. Madigan started the Blessing of the Fleet Festival. That brings us up to date.

Like I mentioned there have been a few decent articles written about various parts of the history of Clements Island and Coltons Point. None tells the whole story. We would like to appeal to the public to help fill in the missing gaps in our history. If you have boring details and family histories give them to the St. Mary’s Historical Society. If you have scandalous stories, myths, rumors or information provocative in nature give them to the Coltons Point Times. We only want the fun stuff.

Consider that Jamestown was first settled in 1607 but disappeared in time. Fact is none of the early settlements in the colonies including Jamestown, Williamsburg, Middle Plantation, St. Mary’s City, etc. survived so who knows, Coltons Point could claim a spot in history right up there with Williamsburg, Busch Gardens and all the other famous historical sites.

CPT Spirits in the Sky - George Michael - Christmas Day at age 53


Britain's musical icons lost yet another legend in 2016 on Christmas Day when George Michael, a powerful force in concert who sold over 100 million albums died of heart failure according to his manager at age 53.

Here is what some of his friends and fellow legends had to say about the electric George Michael.

Last Christmas (Over 224 million views)
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Stars pay tribute to 'truly brilliant' George Michael after singer dies on Christmas Day aged 53

Sir Elton John has led the tributes to his "beloved friend" George Michael, who died on Christmas Day aged 53.

The Rocket Man singer said he was "in deep shock" at Michael's death.

The pair famously collaborated on a rendition of Elton's classic Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, released in 1992, nearly two decades after the original.

Writing on Instagram, Elton said: "I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans."

The Wham! singer died at home (PA)

His partner in Wham!, Andrew Ridgeley, said he was heartbroken.

His Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley said he was devastated.

Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx
— Andrew Ridgeley (@ajridgeley) December 26, 2016

Pop stars from the former Wham! front man's heyday were joined by current chart-toppers in declaring their sadness.

Careless Whisper (Over 162 million views)
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Martin Fry, lead singer and songwriter with Look Of Love band ABC, said on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated to hear of the loss of GeorgeMichael Truly brilliant talent £sad £sad £sad."

Contemporaries Duran Duran referenced the so-called "curse of 2016" - which has seen the deaths of rock and pop behemoths David Bowie, Prince and Rick Parfitt - as they posted on their official Twitter account: "2016 - loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to George Michael's family."

This year's X Factor winner Matt Terry said: "Noooooooooooooooo! I cannot believe this !!!! RIP George Michael".

Matt Lucas, who worked with the singer during a sketch for BBC comedy Little Britain, said: "Well 2016, you had to just take one more, didn't you?"

His Little-Britain co-star David Walliams said: "I pray George Michael finally finds peace. A deeply private man with an awe-inspiring talent that couldn't help but make him a superstar."

Entrepreneur and television personality Duncan Bannatyne said: "George Michael has now been taken by the curse of 2016. Please make him the last. RIP."

While former Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn said: "Unbelievable, George Michael has died at the age of 53. RIP.This dreadful year goes on and on.So sad, a real talent."

Somebody to Love with Queen
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Former X Factor winner Shayne Ward said: "Absolutely shocked to hear that one of my vocal idols George Michael Has passed away. I adored his voice."

Alison Moyet, who performed at Live Aid in 1985 on the same bill as Michael, said: "I met George Michael a few times & he was ever a gentle, unassuming soul. A rare presence in a world full of self. Honest, genuine talent."

Eighties pop star Howard Jones, known for the song I'd Like To Get To Know You Well, said: "Can't believe George Michael has passed of the greatest singers and writers the UK ever produced. I'm really saddened ..a lovely man."

An iconic shot of George Michael, when he was performing at Live Aid in 1985
With Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley in March 1984
The pair in October 1984
Wham! at Heathrow on their way to play in Japan in January 1985
On stage for Wham's last sell out concert at Wembley Stadium in June 1986
Michael collecting his Ivor Novello award at London's Grosvenor House in 1989 for his album Faith as international hit of the year
With BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright in August 1990
Singing onstage at Wembley for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in April 1992
Talking to Princes Diana ahead of a concert of Hope at Wembley Arena in London, to mark World Aids Day in December 1993. Diana was patron of the National Aids Trust. Mick Hucknall looks on
Leaving Westminster Abbey after Diana's funeral in September 1997
Performing a duet with Tom Jones during a tribute concert to Sir Paul McCartney's late wife Linda, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in April 1999
Looking dapper at a press conference in September 1999
Arriving at the 95.8 Capital FM London Awards with Spice Girl Geri Halliwell in April 2000
Arriving with Kenny Goss for Attitude Magazine's 10th Birthday Party at the Atlantic Bar & Grill in central London
Outside Brent Magistrates' Court after he was sentenced to 100 hours community service for driving while unfit in June 2007
A day later he was performing at Wembley Stadium
Leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in August 2010 after he appeared charged with driving under the influence of drugs after his car crashed into a high street shop
Outside his house in Highgate after being released from prison in October of that year
Smiling for the cameras in May 2011
Pop's elder statesman in May 2011
On stage at the 2012 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena
In concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London during his Symphonica Tour in September 2012
Star Trek actor William Shatner said: "Is this year over yet? Too many people are passing away. Rest In Peace, George Michael."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Very sad to hear the news about George Michael. An incredible talent who brought joy to millions of us with his music."

Very sad to hear the news about George Michael. An incredible talent who brought joy to millions of us with his music.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) December 25, 2016

Fellow politician Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said: "This is just too awful. Such an amazing talent gone too soon. Wham was part of the soundtrack to my teenage years."

Singer and stage actress Pixie Lott said: "Grew up listening to the beautiful and talented George Michael - my mama's favourite! was a pleasure to meet him so sad to hear the news."

Fellow pop star La Roux said: "Another one gone.... What a voice, what a songwriter."

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me with Elton John
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Producer and musician Mark Ronson said: "I bought (and worshipped) Listen Without Prejudice on my 15th birthday. This song readied me for Stevie Wonder... Other than a global pop phenom, George Michael was one of the true British soul greats. A lot of us owe him an unpayable debt. bye George xx"