50 YEARS AGO
In the records of American court cases there is no stranger story than that of a ghost that became a very important part of a lawsuit. The trial took place in the closing days of the 1700s in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, with Judge James Tilghman presiding. At issue was the division of a sizable estate which had been left by the late Thomas Harris, a former soldier in the Revolutionary Army.
Four of his illegitimate children charged that they had been defrauded of their father’s estate by hi brother, James, who had sold the estate and pocketed the money.
James apparently repented his greed and was ready to give the four illegitimate children the proceeds of his brother’s estate, but he died before he made the transaction, and his wife, Mary, took possession of the money.
She testified to the court that James was insane and that wanted to give the money to the children because his brother’s ghost had repeatedly ordered him to.
(For the rest of the story, “Ghostly Evidence,” check back next week.)
* * * “We urge all voters to cast their ballot FOR Question 17 on November 8.”
That was the final recommendation of a special 25-member committee named by Governor Tawes to investigate supplemental Chesapeake Bay Crossings as presented to newsmen Monday night at a dinnermeeting in Annapolis.
The plea for voters to support the plan for a parallel Chesapeake Bay Bridge at the General Election came from Charles P. Crane, chairman the president of the Baltimore Gas & Electric, and a former landowner in Queen Anne’s County.
* * * Don Kelly Chevrolet of Chestertown was awarded the purchase contract by the County Commissioners last Tuesday for a new car to be used by Deputy Sheriff T.O. Pippin, working out of the Trial Magistrate’s office.
Submitting the lowest of four bids for comparable vehicles, the Don Kelly agency has agreed to deliver within four weeks time, a 1967 Chevrolet Belair twodoor sedan with a six cylinder motor and automatic transmission for the full purchase price of $2,074.95.
The decision to authorize this purchase was made several weeks ago when Pippin appeared before the commissioners in a private session to discuss the recent salary change enacted by the last General Assembly. Under the new law, the sheriff and his deputies were given increased salaries, but the usual expense accounts were discontinued.
Since the Magistrate’s Court Deputy does a considerable amount of traveling throughout the county as a process server, he explained that he did not get a raise at all, but a decrease in income what with his traveling expenses.
Because they could not, under the law, provide the deputy with an expense account, the commissioners decided to provide him with a county car.
*** Two new appointments to the Queen Anne’s County Welfare Board have been announced by William B. Wise.
Algernon Carter, well known farmer from Queenstown, and Dr. E. W. Sterling, the pharmacist from Church Hill, have been appointed by the County Commissioners and approved by the State Department of Welfare to six year terms on the local board.
Two reports show that the Queen Anne’s County school board may have inflated budget figures and that the board’s warehouse system is losing money leaving county taxpayers to subsidize a larger part of the school system than officials realized.
One of the reports, a management review of the school system’s $1 million warehouse operation, questioned the cost effectiveness of the warehouse system.
… During the fiscal year that ended on June 30, the warehouse only generated $14,00o in profit. It cost about $137,000 just to staff the warehouse.
“You are subsidizing other counties,” said William H. Landon, a former Kent County school administrator hired by the county commissioners to evaluate all phases of the school system.
* * * The living gave a memorial honoring the dead at Queen Anne’s County High School last Tuesday night.
Compassionate Friends, an organization for parents and siblings of dead loved ones, formally dedicated a plaque for QAHS students who died before graduating. The plaque has been displayed in the media center for two weeks.
Chapter Leader Angela McKenney said the parents had planned a memorial for their children since last spring. She said members decided upon a plaque and she contacted Principal William Young and the Assistant Superintendent of Supportive Services Bernie Sadusky who agreed to the idea.
Young said a clack ribbon will be put around the plaque and it will be later displayed next to the school’s Hall of Fame.
*** Some residents who recently came to listen to consultant/historian Stephen Del Sordo explain the benefits of a historic district designation were surprised and angered to find that the town doesn’t have one anymore.
Queenstown has had a historic district for over 20 years, but this year’s new zoning plan changed that status. Section 15 of the zoning ordinance adopted last month states, “No area shall be deemed to be a historic district unless and until it has been so designated by the town commissioners.”
… Some residents were upset because they fear losing tax credits and deductions they had been eligible to receive under historic district guidelines.
*** A 15-year-old idea for a county museum, once thought dead, appears to have been resurrected.
The Queen Anne’s Museum of Eastern Shore Life, to be located on a 12acre site on Route 18, was spearheaded in 1975 by the late former Maryland Sen. Robert P. Dean.
Dean had drummed up some public support, acquired equipment and funding but the project stalled until 1984 when a University of Delaware museum studies committee released a 110-page report detailing ideas and recommendations.
Seven years later the county commissioners may finally appoint a director for the museum.