Crabbing at Coulbourne Creek, Somerset County, MD
A few years back, I performed all manner of environmental studies at Pomfret Plantation, a 770-acre private residence located in Marion, Maryland on the shores of Coulbourne Creek, Big Annemessex River, and then the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to our day trip, I asked the land owner if we could visit the estate from the water, and she said absolutely. Thank you Mrs. Ignacollo. The current estate home, known as Pomfret Plantation was built in 1810 and listed on the National Register (Maryland Historic Trust, S-82). It’s primary significance is due to to the building architecture, retaining its original interior finish and ornament of well-executed Federal Period interior woodwork.
William Coulbourne of Somershire, England came to Maryland in 1652 and founded the 1,400-acre Pomfret in 1663. Through the course of his life, Coulbourne had two wives and seven children. He had a military background, being a Lieutenant, Captain and High Sheriff of the region. In the summer of 1687, Coulbourne managed a successful treaty with the Nanticoke Indians.
Coulbourne died in 1689 and the Maryland Historic Trust has a copy of his will on-line. He disseminated all of his earthy goods to his children. His oldest son William, received the plantation, three Negroes and six draught oxen. His son Robert received 50-acres of land, a horse, and 2,000 pounds of tobacco. His youngest three children received land use rights, a mulatto boy called Will, horses, cattle, sheep and several bee hives. The will included an inventory of farm implements and house wares, many terms of which, I did not understand the old English terms for.
Pineapple, the colonial symbol for hospitality, and an early term for the later famous Maryland, National Bohemian slogan, “from the land of pleasant living.”
We set out 12 crab traps, using salted eel. Our line stretched 700-feet.
A gull watches from the shoreline.
We caught a dozen keepers in the course of two hours.
The tidal pools and flats were alive with aquatic critters.
To supplement our catch, we went just up-river to visit Mrs. Marshall, whose family are watermen, originally from my hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland. We have purchased crabs from her on several occasions, as she sells us wholesale bushels. If you are ever in Crisfield, her phone number is 410-623-2930 http://www.marshallsseafood.com.
It took Mark and Mike three loads, to steam a bushel of crabs in our outdoor propane steamer pot. On our way home from the eastern shore, we purchased 2 dozens ears of white corn, and I made a huge bowl of sliced tomato, vidalia onion and cucumber salad. Dan and Patti brought a cooler of beer and soft drinks. What a wonderful way to spend the day! Thank you Mark, Jeb and Mallory, my crabbing buddies, who worked the crab traps.