The Holland Island Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The informational article, written and edited by the Ghost-Bull, is based on the history of an island that, once, stood along the Chesapeake Bay—in the state of Maryland.

 

The Holland Island Story

 

[9-2-2020]

 

Inside of Maryland State, once, stood an Island of over 200 acres along the Chesapeake Bay. The man behind the Island’s name is “Daniel Holland”, a colonist and the original property buyer. Belonging to the state of Maryland, Holland Island sits in the Dorchester Country area. Explored by Captain John Smith, the original settling of the island was during the presence of the 1600s.

200 years later, around 1850, the beginning of fishing and farming families had settled into place as a community. Over 300 residents filled up the island by 1910, causing it to become one of the most populated islands of the Chesapeake Bay. Supporting themselves, they mainly dredged for oysters, fished for American shad, and trapped crabs. A total of 41 Skipjack sailboats, 10 Schooner sailboats, and 36 Bugeyes completed their fleet of workboats.

The island had an amount of, nearly, 70 buildings—including a school, a church for the community, a community center, a post office, and homes. Although the Island was a fishing village, they even had their own baseball team. By 1914, the West side of the island began to seriously erode by tides and the rise of sea level, which is where majority of the Holland Island residents were housed. Because of the situation, residents were forced to relocate to the mainland. Soon, stone walls were built, but failed to solve the erosion situation.

When a tropical storm hit, damaging the church of the community in 1918, the last remaining family had left. Until 1922, when the church was moved to Fairmount, Maryland, very few former residents returned to the island, seasonally. By November of 2010, the last building standing above the sea had fallen apart, resulting from a storm as the sea level elevated. It was a house built during the winter of 1888, making the structure over 126 years old before the collapse. By 2012, the Island—where a community, once, lived—was completely under sea.

Holland Island was made of clay and silt, laying between Bloodsworth Island—originally named Thompson’s Island, also a location where filming took place for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”—and Smith Island. There was a lighthouse, called the “Holland Island Bar Light”, not far from the island before getting destroyed by U.S. Navy pilots on a training exercise. It was remembered for the unexplained death of Ulman Owens, one of the keepers of the Bar Light. The lighthouse, itself, was built South of the island in 1889. The estuary the Holland Island belongs to, the Chesapeake Bay, is a 200-mile stretch, connecting from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Virginia Beach, Virginia. With Chesapeake natively standing for “Mother of Waters”, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest of over 100 estuaries in the United States and the 3rd largest, world-wide.

The state of Maryland loses approximately 260 acres each year, due to erosion. Rewinding this back to the island, Minister Stephen White—a former waterman of Holland—purchased the island in 1995 for $70,000. He cared for the island, forming the “Holland Island Preservation Foundation.” Wooded Breakwaters, a stack of sandbags, and a ton of rocks getting laid on the shoreline had all failed in attempts to save what was left of the land.

Nearly 150,000 U.S. dollars were spent throughout the project of Minister White. Within the 15 years of his ownership, selling the island to the Concorde Foundation in June of 2010, just about 20 acres had been loss. 4 months later, the final house of Holland Island had taken its fall. Having around 160 acres in 1914, the acres of land were reduced to 80 by 2005, showing a very slim chance of saving the remaining land above sea. Historically, Holland Island was one of the first settled on, out of all the islands across the Chesapeake Bay, taking you back to the 1600s.

Because of the rise in sea level, Smith Island is in possible danger of going through the “Holland Island” situation in the, near, future. Even with the flooding that has already occurred, it is an island that has been lived on for 350 years. Maryland, itself, carries 281 named islands. Many of these islands are historic, having history from hundreds of years ago. As an example would be Sharps Island, named after Peter Sharpe—who owned the island before 1675. Now, an island under sea, it was raided by the British on April 12th of 1813.

Also having history, but a strange one, is the Ulman Owens case from the Holland Island Bar Light. In 1931, on March 11th, Owens was found dead with only a bruise while a bloody knife was discovered within the lighthouse. The Holland Island Bar Light was in complete darkness the night of his mysterious death, causing those of another lighthouse to worry that something serious might’ve occurred. Not only was a bloodstained knife found, blood of a mysterious person was located throughout the lighthouse—surrounded, entirely, by water.

When 1960 came into existence, the abandoned screw-pile lighthouse was replaced, following the attack of a training exercise by Navy pilot. Now, standing where the original Holland Island Bar Light, once, stood is a lighthouse controlled by an automatic light. Many images of the original lighthouse can be seen in ‘black & white’ among the internet.

For the very last remaining house of Holland Island, a short—animated—film of a clay-painting was created by Lynn Tomlinson, named “The Ballad of Holland Island House”. It was released on May 5th of 2015, telling the true story of the, once, final standing house, uniquely, from the house’s point-of-view.

The 1st settler of Holland Island, Captain John Smith, was an admiral of New England, a colonial governor, an author, and—very well—known for having an important role for establishing the colony at Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown, being colonized, was the 1st permanent English settlement in the United States. In London, United Kingdom, Captain John Smith passed away on June 21st of 1631.

 

 

Written by Troy “The Ghost-Bull” Powell


Submitted: September 03, 2020

© Copyright 2022 The Ghost-Bull. All rights reserved.

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charlamaye

Good title and good story have you ever considered making it into an audio book?

Sat, February 26th, 2022 10:32pm

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