This week from our pages in his­tory

Cecil Whig - - OURCECIL - By JA­COB OWENS [email protected]­cil­ It was just in the past few years that Ce­cil County es­tab­lished a county-run depart­ment, Ce­cil County An­i­mal Ser­vices, to over­see the pro­tec­tion of an­i­mals. More than a cen­tury ago, those con­cerns were not shared as wi

— 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 177-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.

ELKTON 125 years ago (Jan. 13, 1894) A cruel sport

Ch­e­sa­peake City, Jan. 8, 1894. Dear Whig: Ou Saturday last a num­ber of the sport­ing fra­ter­nity of this and ad­join­ing towns as­sem­bled here to en­gage in the sport (?) of shooting pi­geons. Nearly one hun­dred birds were slaugh­tered, and a crowd of not less than two hun­dred men and boys wit­nessed the cruel ex­hi­bi­tion. The few poor birds which were for­tu­nate enough to escape the aim of the sports­men (?) were fi­nally killed by men and boys oc­cu­py­ing all parts of the field.

This “match” as is usu­ally the case was got­ten up by the pro­pri­etor of one of our lo­cal sa­loons in which might have been seen af­ter the sport of the day was over from four to six card ta­bles in full blast, and the pa­trons of them, black and white, turn­ing the earn­ings of the week into the cof­fers of the in­di­vid­ual, who had sup­plied the ‘‘draw­ing card,” the “pi­geon shooting.”

The Whig is gen­er­ally to be found ad­vo­cat­ing the right. I there­fore ven­ture to ask if there is a law on the statute books of this state look­ing to the pre­ven­tion of the wan­ton slaugh­ter of these birds as above de­scribed. If there should be such, may I not ask that you will at­ten­tion of our State’s Attorney to it.

Cru­elty to an­i­mals

if draw the — C.

Our read­ers will find in our lo­cal col­umns a com­mu­ni­ca­tion from a prom­i­nent cit­i­zen of Ch­e­sa­peake City, dep­re­cat­ing the cruel ex­hi­bi­tions called “pi­geon matches,’’ and asks whether such “matches” are pro­hib­ited by law in this county.

We en­dorse fully ev­ery word our cor­re­spon­dent uses in de­nun­ci­a­tion of such sport (?). They are not only cruel, in­hu­man and un­sports­man­like ex­hi­bi­tions, but with the ac­com­pa­ni­ment of bad whiskey which usu­ally at­tends them, they gen­er­ally cul­mi­nate in scenes of disor­der and drunk­en­ness, and be­come a men­ace to the morals and peace of any com­mu­nity.

Al­though we be­lieve that there has never been a pros­e­cu­tion in such a case in this county, ei­ther in the Cir­cuit Court or be­fore a mag­is­trate, yet there can be no rea­son­able doubt that shooting at live pi­geons over a trap, is in di­rect con­tra­ven­tion of ex­ist­ing law, and comes within the class of of­fenses con­tem­plated in the Act of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly of 1890 chap­ter 198, en­ti­tled “An Act in re­la­tion to Cru­elty to An­i­mals,” which pro­vides

Sec. 1. That any per­son who will­fully sets on loot, in­sti­gates, en­gages in or in any way fur­thers any act of cru­elty to any an­i­mal, or any act tend­ing to pro­duce such cru­elty, or by any act, con­duct, or omis­sion, will­fully causes, per­mits, or suffers any an­i­mal to un­dergo any species of tor­ture or cru­elty shall be deemed guilty of a mis­de­meanor.

Sec. 2. And be it en­acted, That the words tor­ture or cru­elty shall be held to in­clude ev­ery­thing whereby un­jus­ti­fi­able phys­i­cal pain, suffering, or death is caused or per­mit­ted, and the word an­i­mal shall be held to in elude ev­ery liv­ing crea­ture ex­cept men.

The lan­guage defin­ing the mean­ing of the word “an­i­mal” used in the above Act of 1890, we have ital­i­cized to make its mean­ing the plainer. That a bird of any de­scrip­tion, pi­geon, or any other va­ri­ety of the feath­ered tribe comes un­der the generic terra “an­i­mal” as above cited there can he no rea­son­able doubt.

The very lan­guage of the act sets at rest all doubt as to cru­elty to pi­geons or any other birds be­ing in­cluded in its mean­ing and pro­vi­sions.

The lan­guage also of the first sec­tion of the Act, “Any per­son who will­fully sets on foot, in­sti­gates, etc., any act of cru­elty,” cer­tainly would in­clude any per­son who sets on foot or or­ga­nizes a shooting match by which cru­elty or tor­ture is in­flicted upon any bird or in its wider mean­ing, any an­i­mal. To fur ther strengthen the en­force­ment of this Act, the Leg­is­la­ture of 1892 con­fers upon Jus­tices of the Peace con­cur­rent ju­ris­dic­tion with the Cir­cuit Court in try­ing vi­o­la­tions of the Act of 1890. The Jus­tices may pro­nounce sen­tence of fine and im­pris­on­ment or ei­ther, giv­ing the party ac­cused his right to a trial be­fore the Cir­cuit Court if he prefers.

Gen­tle­men who are or­ga­niz­ing or tak­ing part in pi­geon “matches” in the county, would do well to take note of the Acts above cited.

A unique su­per­sti­tion

El­iz­a­beth Short, daugh­ter of Eli­jah Short, who died on De­cem­ber 21, was in­terred in the ceme­tery at Bouldens Chapel, a few miles from Elkton, a silk dress be­long­ing to her mother be­ing used as a shroud. Shortly af­ter the fu­neral the mother be­came sick and grow­ing worse at­trib­uted her ill­ness to the fact that the body had been at­tired in her gar­ment, the su­per­sti­tion be­ing that when a corpse is buried in cloth­ing of a liv­ing per­son the owner of the cloth­ing will de­cline in health as the cloth­ing de­cays. This so preyed upon her mind that the re­mains were ex­humed last week, the dress be­ing re­moved. Mrs. Short is re­ported to be im­prov­ing.


James and Mary Ge­orge Lout­tit, orig­i­nally of Scot­land, were also early parish­ioners at St. Stephen’s in the mid-1700s. The grave of John Lover­ing, de­ceased in 1754, is noted in the ceme­tery of St. Stephen’s Epis­co­pal Church for its skull etch­ing and po­etry. St. Stephen’s Epis­co­pal Church, in Ear­leville, is one of the old­est Angli­can churches in the state and has a noted his­tory. The fam­ily lin­eage of the Ge­orge fam­ily, early St. Stephen’s Church parish­ioners, is promi­nently dis­played on their grave­stone in the church ceme­tery.

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