I research Port Deposit, Cecil Co., MD history as a hobby, and I compiled the following two articles several years ago. They both involve Applegarths who were involved in shipping to and from Port Deposit, particularly the cargo of Port Deposit Granite, one of my favorite research topics.I would love to correspond with descendants to round out my knowledge of the family.
Captain William Applegarth
Compiled by Fred Kelso, Oxford, PA
William Applegarth was born June 20, 1808, in Dorchester County, Maryland.He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Applegarth, of that county, both of whom were from old and distinguished Maryland families.Thomas was a landowner and farmer, and raised a large family, some of whom became prominent merchants in Baltimore.
William lived on the farm until the age of twenty, having attended the local country schools.He then set out to fulfill his ambition of living a life at sea.He began by serving aboard a vessel owned by his older brother George.Soon after he became part owner of a boat which he himself commanded.William earned a reputation for reliability and seamanship among the shipping merchants of Baltimore, and within a few years he had bought an interest in quite a few vessels.He continued in that business until 1850.
Between 1833 and 1834 the following Captains Applegarth were listed as patrons of the store of Thomas Bond & William B. Morgan in Port Deposit:George, Master of the Schooners Aide, Leona, and Perry Spencer; Thomas, Master of the Schooner Leven Smith, and William.
The Schooner Perry Spencer was built in Dorchester County, MD in 1832 for George, Thomas, and William Applegarth; George was the Master.This vessel displaced 79 tons, was 60.6 ft. long and 6.6 ft. wide, and had no figure and a round tuck.
William is listed in government records as the Master of the Schooner Milhado, 75 9/95 tons, enrolled Feb. 14, 1838.
Lawson Applegarth is listed as Master of the Schooner Lion, which visited Port Deposit on August 26, 1839 according to contemporary newspaper marine lists.
In 1850 William established the shipping and commision house of William Applegarth & Son, which he ran until his death.His sons Thomas M. and Nathaniel continued the business under the same name.
On December 27, 1835, William married Elizabeth A. Mitchell, daughter of Michael and Kitterah Mitchell of Dorchester County.
In early life he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was one of the first members of the High Street M.E. Church, and a member of the Board of Trustees.
In politics he began as an old-line Whig; but after the disruption of that party, took but little active interest in politics until the breaking out of the Civil War.Although of slave-holding parentage, and himself a slave-owner, he at once took a decided stand for the Union cause.After that time he remained identified with the Republican Party.
The colored people of Baltimore recognized him as their true friend, to whom, in business matters, they were accustomed to go for counsel and advice.In 1866, when the prejudices of the white calkers and ship carpenters were driving the colored calkers and carpenters from the shipyards of Baltimore, he purchased and established for them the first railway owned and managed by colored calkers and carpenters in the State of Maryland, later known as the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company.
William Applegarth passed away on March 31, 1873, at the age of 64.
Info. taken from The Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Maryland and District of Columbia, National Biographical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1879; Ledger of Bond & Morgan in possession of Paw-Paw Museum of Port Deposit; Maritime records at the MD Historical Society
THE LUMBER SCHOONERS OF THE 1830’S
One after another the lumber ships sailed up the Susquehanna and into Port Deposit harbor.They filled the town wharves of the 1830’s, these scow schooners with names like Lovely Sue, Antelope, Cinderella, E Pluribus Unum, South America, and Seagull.In 1833 alone, 120 different captains frequented the Port Deposit storehouse of Thomas Bond and William Morgan to purchase food, drink and utensils for their crews.Given enough firepower, this fleet could have put a hurting on the Spanish Armada.
What precipitated the need for this flotilla?It seems that there was a building boom going on at the time, and the ancient pine forests of Pennsylvania were crashing to Earth in response.The loggers massed the trees into huge rafts and rode the spring freshets from Williamsport and vicinity all the way down the Susquehanna to Port Deposit.
At this end, dozens of steam sawmills sprang up to transform the trees into lumber.Also putting down roots in Port were many of the schooner captains - among them David Gilmore of the Port Deposit, Edward Glacken of the Volunteer, David White of the Cinderella, and James Lyon of the Marietta.
The scow schooner was a craft designed specifically for navigating long, shallow waterways such as the Chesapeake and its tributaries, and for carrying heavy loads.The fore-and-aft sails took advantage of the winds which tend to blow along the length of the Bay.The flat bottom and square ends allowed the ships to ride high in the shallow water even when weighted down with lumber stacked almost to the booms.
Boatyards throughout the Upper Chesapeake were kept busy building this merchant fleet.The Catherine Jane was built in Baltimore in 1830 by William Skinner for John Edmonson of Baltimore - skipper Jacob Edmonson commanded the 49-ton, 45-foot-long vessel (she was 19 feet wide and 5-and-a-half feet deep).George Daniel constructed the 50-ton Orizembo in Dorchester County in 1822 - the owners were Samuel Keen and Samuel C. Harrington; her captain was James Williams.Displacing a whopping 101 tons, the United States came out of a Dorset yard in 1822, paid for by William Miles, commanded by James Frazier.Abel Cator was Master of the Orolong, built on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County - Stephen Dice put her together in 1822 for Roger and Joseph Thomas.
The business of commanding the schooners seems to have run in families.The Captains Applegarth included George, Thomas, and William - they owned the Perry Spencer, a 79-ton ship built for them in Dorchester County in 1832 and frequently used to haul granite from the Port Deposit quarries.Abel, Joseph Jr., Thomas, and William were all known as Captain Cator.Five Hubbards plied these waters - Charles, Elijah, Henry, James, and William.As did five Marshalls - Denton, Henry, Leven, Robert, and William.Some captains sailed more than one ship.Daniel Myers patronized Bond & Morgan in 1833 as captain of the schooners Citizen, Mexico, and Owego.
Smith and Rowland were notable lumber dealers of the era who shipped products all over the region.On November 5, 1834, Edward Glacken, Master of the schooner Volunteer, carried 23, 324 feet of white pine for them to Joshua Simmons in Wilmington, Delaware.Shipments to A. B. Waller in Washington, D.C. included 12,000 feet of ark plank and 39 pieces of pine timber aboard the Carthagena (Levin Wheatley, Master); 60,000 feet of white pine inch boards via the Tigress of Vienna (Marcus Megee, Master); and 50,000 feet of white pine boards which Henry Hubbard carried on his Hero of Oxford.Edward C. Johnston, captain of the Pocahontas, hauled lumber to George Smoot in Alexandria.The Blue-Eyed Stranger (William Reeves, Master) and the Patriot of Vienna (Henry Absalom, Master) took shingles and boards to Thomas Irwin’s substantial fishery at Indian Head on the Potomac.
The going rate for lumber-hauling in the 1830’s was $1.75 per thousand board feet throughout the region.Most of the shipping contracts contained the following clause: “I promise to deliver the above-named load in like good order and well-conditioned, the dangers of the sea excepted.”I suppose that this was a standard maritime clause, as the waters of the Chesapeake, the Susquehanna, and the C&D Canal bear little resemblance to the open sea.
As you can see, the forests of Pennsylvania supported a huge economy covering dozens of industries.Loggers, raftsmen, sawyers, shipbuilders, sailors, carpenters - they all owed their livelihoods to the trees.Port Deposit was the centerpiece of this economic activity, and earned its name from its role - the logs were deposited here, they were processed, and the lumber sailed out of the port to its final destinations.If we looked hard enough, we could probably find some of that lumber still in place in buildings around the Chesapeake.