This week from our pages in history
ELKTON — Each week, we take a look back in time to examine what was on the minds of Cecil County readers. Rotating through the Whig’s 176-year history, we hope to not only provide direct text from our archives, but also context as to why the issue was important at the time.
Join us as we thumb through the pages of our history. 150 years ago (Sept. 17, 1842) In 2017, betting and sports seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly, whether you’re looking at fantasy football, daily games like DraftKings or the traditional parlay card. A century and a half ago, however, wagering on one of America’s biggest sports was just in its infancy, as evidenced by a Whig report from the base ball game in Elkton. Base Ball The “National Game” is being revived again in our county. A “match” played on Tuesday on the Elkton ground between the Bachelor Club of Philadelphia and the Elkton Club, which was a well contested game, resulting in a small victory to the Bachelor by five runs.
The Enterprise Club of Baltimore and Cecil Club, played a match game yesterday afternoon. The game was progressing when we closed up to go to press.
It has become fashionable to lay heavy bets on the “National Game,” which, is fast carrying it, like horse racing, under the special care and management of the fancy. We have not heard, however, of any bets being taken or offered, on the games played on the Elkton grounds.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), or Odd Fellows, is a non-political and non-sectarian international fraternal order founded in 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore. Also known as the Triple Link Fraternity, referring to the order’s “Triple Links” symbol, alluding to its motto “Friendship, Love and Truth,” the Odd Fellows are a charitable service organization. The group erected a hall in Elkton in 1867, but the Whig’s then-publisher, Palmer Ricketts, scolded the town’s wealthier residents for not helping in its financing. The New Hall The Odd Fellows’ Hall, which is being erected in this town, has been pushed forward since its commencement with commendable enterprise.
The brick work will be finished in a week or ten days, and when the structure is completed, it will be an ornament and an improvement to the town, that the Order and citizens maybe justly proud of. While the style of architecture of the building is comparatively plain, it is neat and handsome. The Hall, when completed, will cost twentythree thousand dollars. Fifteen thousand dollars will be raised by stock subscription, and the residue furnished by the Order.
While the efforts of the Order to erect such a public building in our town, is worthy of nil praise, especially when its comparatively limited, pecuniary means are considered, the enterprise has not met with that cordial co-operation and material aid from our wealthiest citizens it should have done. Those of humbler means have come forward nobly and helped to erect this fine Hall. The fact that such a building will add to the value of property in the town, should be an incentive to large property owners, to lend a helping hand. The stock is not asked to be taken as a donation. The investment will pay from the start 6 percent. Offices are engaged in advance, the rent of which will amount to $1,400 per annum, without counting the proceeds from the public hall and offices not yet engaged.
The wealthy property owners of the town should be ashamed to hold back, and offer no encouragement and assistance to the Order, in its efforts to increase the interest and add to the beauty of the town. The Order ask, as a matter of duly, the property holders to give them more liberal aid. They do not solicit donations, but pecuniary aid to complete a building, the rents from which, in a few years, will return every dollar of outlay. 25 years ago (Sept. 16, 1992) Following the July death of a protester in Charlottesville, Va., and the ensuing criticism of President Donald Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally there, the Ku Klux Klan has reappeared in the national conversation this year. Cecil County has a long troubled connection to the racist group, although opponents have often stood to fight its attempts to be revived. Twenty-five years ago, Elkton was dealing with just that very issue, when a Klan faction applied to march through the streets of the county seat, sparking a protest by the local community. Elkton OKs Klan march on Sept. 26 Within a few minutes and without even muttering the name Ku Klux Klan, Elkton’s mayor and commissioners followed a federal judge’s mandate Wednesday night and approved a date, time and route for the Klan’s parade.
About 100 members of the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are scheduled to march on Main Street through downtown Elkton at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.
Chester Doles, self-proclaimed leader of the Maryland Klan, requested the date and time in a letter to the town Friday. Doles also requested a police escort out of town at the end of the march.
The approval comes after an eight-month process. The Klan first asked in January to march in Elkton to protest drug dealing in a Booth Street neighborhood. The illegal drug trade leads to “race-mixing,” Doles said.
Doles changed the April date because it coincided with the anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. He requested another date in April and the town denied the parade permit fearing the violence that could be sparked by counter-protestors.
In August, a U.S. District Court judge struck down the town’s refusal, saying it was a violation of the white supremacist organization’s First Amendment right to free speech.
The town was ordered to pay the Klan’s American Civil Liberties Union legal fees of $15,633.80 as well as the $4,000 to $5,000 the town will pay its own attorneys, town administrator Lewis George told the commissioners.
Mayor James Crouse plans to avoid the march and encourages others to do the same. He is challenging Booth Street youth to a basketball game after dedicating a new basketball court on the town’s nearby school administration building grounds.
Downtown businesses may be closing during the march. And, according to the Rev. Vivian Castian of Wright’s A.M.E. Church, local churches may be having a Unity Day service during the parade.
Churches held a Unity Day service on April 11, when the Klan had previously wanted to march.
Castian plans to tell her parishioners to go to the church, go to the basketball game or stay home. “I don’t think we need to give them any attention,” she said.
Crouse agreed. “Let them just do their thing and get out of town.”