The Star Democrat

Tea raises money for Quaker meeting house

- BY TOM MCCALL tmccall@chespub.com

DENTON — The Market Street Public House took on a whole new atmosphere recently when about 50 proper ladies with fabulous hats and polished silver tea pots turned out for a High Tea fundraiser to help with maintenanc­e of the historic Tuckahoe Neck Quaker Meeting House.

Finger sandwiches were arrayed on a long table. Two women served tea at each end of the table, and the crowd came for a cup of tea and a plate of hors d’oeuvres. Silver tongs were used to plop white cubes of sugar into each cup. Milk was self serve. There were curried chicken salad sandwiches cut into triangles and refreshing cucumber sandwiches. People brought their fanciest china and silver to serve the food. The ornate silver teapots gleamed as if from the Victorian age.

“We started out as a committee for the preservati­on of the Tuckahoe Neck Quaker Meeting House. It is from 1802 and is the last standing meeting house in Caroline County,” said Jo Ann Staples. “We decided we did not want to see that building fall into disrepair. We have been fundraisin­g for 24 months and have had donated to us over $27,000 for the restoratio­n.”

Paddy Richards, a member of the preservati­on group, said, “It is at the Choptank Electric building, on Quaker Road in Denton.”

They were hoping to raise $2,000 from the tea event.

“We charge $20 to get a ticket and that gets you tea and everything else. I just need some tea to pour from my pot. I brought it from home. Several of the ladies pulled out their silver to make it very nice. And Brian Tyler of the Market Street Public House has been so nice. This place was jumping with music last

night,” Richards said.

With all the heirloom silver, the event looked fancy.

“There are maybe five or six pews in there. It was built in 1802,” Laurie Burke Shaw said of the church building.

“I am amazed at the turnout, and I am delighted with what’s been done. Carol Blue Donahue is really in charge of this affair. She is originally from Canada and has a lot of experience with teas. I drink English Breakfast tea all the time,” said Staples, who has a master’s in history.

“We have done very well. The sky is the limit. Part of the restoratio­n is done and we have a plan to continue on in the springtime. The building just can’t stand cold weather. We are thinking of opening the building for tours — to form a docent organizati­on paid to do that — sort of like our Rural Life Museum,” Staples added.

She said their organizati­on goes under the umbrella of the Caroline County Historical Society for a 501(c)(3) tax structure, but otherwise it is independen­t.

As funds were not unlimited, the group decided to restore three of the four sides.

“We have restored the north, west and south. The south is really the front of the building,” she said.

During Staples’ presentati­on she gave credit to Donahue for organizing the tea fundraisin­g event.

“The food looks delicious, and I hope I get some too,” she said.

Donahue gave a short speech as well. She thanked Brian Tyler for donating the space to the group, and the Culinary Institute that sliced all the cucumbers for the cucumber sandwiches.

Tyler, owner of the Market Street Public House, said, “We have a lot banquets, a lot of fundraiser­s, a lot of functions. We try to support local efforts. Blue Donahue is a good friend of ours. She has been coming here forever. So anything she wants to do, we are always supportive.”

A celebratio­n of thanks was held at the Tuckahoe Neck Quaker Meeting House in September to commemorat­e the 219th anniversar­y of the first meeting held there. At that time, recent renovation work was highlighte­d.

For more informatio­n or to donate to the cause, contact Staples at jstaples51@gmail.com or 410-479-0497.

 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? Most of the people who attended were women and most dressed up. It added a fun energy to the whole event. Preston Councilwom­an Savannah Winston made an appearance.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL Most of the people who attended were women and most dressed up. It added a fun energy to the whole event. Preston Councilwom­an Savannah Winston made an appearance.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? Jo Ann Staples, seated, got to pour tea at one end of the buffet table. The women teamed up and brought their best china and silver to serve the meal on. Receiving the tea is Carol Seward.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL Jo Ann Staples, seated, got to pour tea at one end of the buffet table. The women teamed up and brought their best china and silver to serve the meal on. Receiving the tea is Carol Seward.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? The High Tea fundraiser featured a long table with goodies on it. Volunteers served tea at either end with the plop of a square sugar cube and a pour of some half and half.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL The High Tea fundraiser featured a long table with goodies on it. Volunteers served tea at either end with the plop of a square sugar cube and a pour of some half and half.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? The spread was mighty. Sweet and savory were in the mix. There were cucumber sandwiches, curried chicken sandwiches, Reese’s cup cookies and chocolate-covered strawberri­es.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL The spread was mighty. Sweet and savory were in the mix. There were cucumber sandwiches, curried chicken sandwiches, Reese’s cup cookies and chocolate-covered strawberri­es.

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