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Crisfield, Maryland and the Surrounding Areas  

Jenkins Creek at dusk - Crisfield, MD

The History

The Pocomoke and Annemessex Indian tribes of the Algonquin Nation were the first inhabitants of the area we now know as Crisfield.  In 1666 a three hundred acre parcel of land was granted to English settler, Benjamin Summers.  Soon after Mr. Summers settled there, a fishing village grew up around him, and eventually the town was named, "Somers Cove" in his honor.  Crisfield, located at the mouth of the Annemessex River and flanked by the Tangier Sound, soon became a major distribution center for seafood along the East Coast.

In 1866 a Princess Anne Attorney, John W. Crisfield was instrumental in bringing the railroad all the way down to the Crisfield seaport.  The town was then renamed "Crisfield" honoring the attorney's efforts which proved to bolster the economy of the Town.  Once the railroad came to Crisfield, seafood was soon being shipped all over the United States and Crisfield became known as the "seafood capital of the world."  By 1904, the City of Crisfield was the largest city in Maryland, second only to Baltimore.  It continues to be famous for its seafood - particularly the Maryland Crab - and it abounds with restaurants, seafood packing houses and seafood distribution companies.


Crisfield is the southern-most city in Maryland.  Though spots on the Western Shore in St. Mary's City are notoriously referred to as southern Maryland, geographically Apes Hole of the Crisfield area is the southern most point of the State.  Crisfield is a small town, with a population of about 2700.  The median age is 36, and many people still make their living from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding tributaries.

Nationally Prominent Crisfield Natives

Harry Clifton (Curley) Byrd - President of the University of Maryland, born in Crisfield - often referred to as the "Father of the University of Maryland."

Lt. General Jefferson Fields - Commanding General of Camp Pendleton (1960), Director of Personnel for the entire United States Marine Corp (1962), Commander of the Marine Corps Development Command at Quantico, VA (1968) - born in Crisfield.

John Wesley Nelson - Founder of Del Monte canned products, born in Crisfield

Lt. General William W. Quinn - Graduate of West Point, Chief of Information for the Army(1957), Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency - born in Crisfield.

John Millard Tawes - Maryland State Comptroller, Governor of the State of Maryland (1959-1967), Head of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State Treasurer.  Governor Tawes is believed to have accomplished something that has never before been done in the history of the State of Maryland - that of filling all three seats on the State Board of Public Works: Governor, Comptroller, and Treasurer.

Lem and Steve Ward - woodcarvers famous for carving wildfowl. Pioneers of the American art of woodcarving, featured in National Geographic Magazine three times.  In 1983 Lem Ward received the National Heritage award issued by President Ronald Regan through the National Endowment for the Arts - recognizing both brothers as the fathers of the modern movement in decorative wildlife carving in America.


The Crisfield Area

Crisfield is in Somerset County, one of three counties (including Wicomico and Worcester) that comprise Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore.  In the past several years, the Lower Shore has become a popular destination for travelers, vacationers, families, retirees and singles.  The area overflows with attractions and amenities, yet still keeps a quiet rural charm and a home-town feel.  There are two Universities, a Community College, a Professional Baseball Team (the Delmarva Shore Birds), 3 State Parks, several shopping malls, and over 20 museums that uncover and interpret the culture and heritage of the Lower Shore. 

Attractions include Golfing, hiking, biking, bird-watching, swimming, fishing, boating, shopping, and site-seeing.  The links below will show just a few of the attractions and amenities the Lower Shore has to offer.


For more on the Crisfield Area, visit the following links:

City of Crisfield
Crisfield Heritage Foundation
Crisfield Chamber of Commerce - Town Page

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