50 YEARS AGO

Record Observer - - Opinion -

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.

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