Rev. Dr Charles Albert Tindley
The Prince of Preachers, Berlin
Charles Albert Tindley was born about 1855 in Berlin, Worcester County. He overcame slavery and poverty in his determination to educate himself for the ministry. Tindley founded one of the largest Methodist congregations serving the African-American community on the East Coast. The Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is his namesake. Tindley was a noted songwriter and composer of gospel hymns, and is recognized as one of the founding fathers of American gospel music. His hymnal, "Songs of Paradise," is still in use in Worcester County, and five of his hymns appear in the revised Methodist hymnal used worldwide. Tindley Chapel Day is celebrated in August in Pocomoke City at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. There is an exhibit concerning Rev. Tindley's life on display at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum in Berlin, Md.
Comfort Powell House
Known as one of the oldest structures to remain standing in the community of Germantown, the Comfort Powell House is estimated to date to 1870. The weatherboard frame house is finished inside with lath and plaster and plain mid-to-late l9th century woodwork. Comfort Powell purchased the land from Andrew J. Powell for $45. The house stands next to New Bethel United Methodist Church, one of the oldest congregations of African-American Methodists in Worcester County.
"Uncle Zear", a Civil War Hero, Berlin
Born in slavery in 1844, Isaiah Fassett was released by his owner, Sarah A. Bruff, on November 11, 1863. That same day he enlisted in the 9th Infantry Regt., U.S.C.T., Company D. He fought at Wilderness, John's Island., S.C., Deep Bottom, Va., Fussel's Mills, Petersburg and Richmond. After Richmond fell, he was promoted to corporal. He was discharged on November 26, 1866. "Uncle Zear" Fassett was one of Maryland's "Boys of '61" to attend the 75th Battle Reunion at Gettysburg in July, 1938. He was, for many years, the commander of G.A.R. Post 1 of Berlin until its disbandment. He was the next-to-last Civil War soldier in Maryland when he died on June 24, 1946. Memorabilia associated with Isaiah Fassett and other African-Americans involved in the Civil War is on display at Berlin, Maryland's Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.
New Bethel Methodist Church
New Bethel is the most prominent historic site in Germantown, an African-American community south of Berlin. The church is a Gothic Revival frame structure built with an asymmetrical plan dominated by a corner entrance and bell tower. Tripartite sanctuary windows, filled with colored glass, follow the pointed arch design. The New Bethel Methodists are distinguished as one of the oldest black church memberships in Worcester County. New Bethel was started in 1855 by black members of Stevenson Methodist Church, several of whom were freedmen. The early ministers were white until after the Civil War. The first African-American pastor of the church was the Rev. Isaiah Broughton. In 1885, the original building was replaced with an enlarged church. In 1905, a new and larger church was dedicated.
South Division Street and Baltimore Avenue, Ocean City
Formerly known as "Henry's Colored Hotel," this building is a prominent historic site in Ocean City. Reportedly erected during the last decade of the 19th century, the three-story wood-shingled structure is one of the oldest hotels in the city and the last hotel that served black visitors to the ocean resort during the early to mid-20th century. Reserved periods, known as "Colored Excursion Days," were limited to days after the main summer season. Charles T. and Louis Henry bought the hotel in December 1926. After Charles T. died in 1942 the hotel was held by his wife and then his son, Charles Wesley Henry. Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong were guests of Henry's Hotel in the days when black entertainers could perform in major hotel ballrooms, yet not sleep in the hotels.
Stephen H. Long Hall's Hill Cemetery
Defender of Education, Cedar Street, Pocomoke City
Stephen H. Long was born in 1865 and grew up in Boston Massachusetts. He began his teaching career in Somerset County, and eventually became the principal of the Pocomoke Grammar School on Bank and Fifth Streets. In 1914, he became the first African-American school supervisor in Worcester County. Long initiated several model programs for African-American youth, including a home economics course and extended education for older children who were no longer required to attend school. He was murdered on September 13, 1921 for his efforts to ensure that orphan boys used as farm labor received the education to which they were entitled. Long was buried in Hall's Hill Cemetery. A service organization, the Stephen H. Long Guild, Inc. was formed in 1980 to provide financial assistance for the education of African-American youngsters.
Merry Sherwood Tenant House
The Merry Sherwood tenant house, dating to around 1860, is a rare survivor of a mid-19th century plantation improvement, one common on the Worcester County landscape. The story-and-a-half house, erected for a plantation overseer, or perhaps slaves, was later used as a tenant house. Built with a room-behind-room, two-cell plan, the house has a steeply pitched gable roof that extends forward to include an engaged front porch supported by chamfered posts. The kitchen is incorporated in the rear shed room. Resting on brick piers, the two-room plan house includes second-floor rooms lighted by gabled dormer windows on the west side of the roof Erected on a site directly in line with the main house, the tenant house property remained as part of the Merry Sherwood estate until 1954 when it was sold by Elizabeth Purnell to the present owners.
William Julius "Judy" Johnson
"Baseball Hall of Famer," Snow Hill
"Judy" Johnson was born in Snow Hill, Maryland on October 26, 1899. He began his Negro League baseball career in 1918 and ended it in 1939. He played in more than 3,000 professional games earning recognition from his peers as the best all-time third baseman. He also earned a reputation as a gentleman all through the years when baseball was known as a rough and tumble sport. Johnson later served as a teacher of baseball and worked as a scout for the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1975, "Judy" Johnson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Memorabilia of "Judy" Johnson is on display at the Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill, Maryland.
Ebenezer United Methodist Church
Collins Street, Snow Hill
Founded as Ebenezer M.E. Church, this structure is a prominent Gothic Revival tee-shaped frame building distinguished by pointed arch and round windows filled with colored glass. The most dominant architectural feature is the entrance and bell tower rising from its southwest corner. The Ebenezer Methodists acquired this property on Christmas Day, 1873, and built the church to replace the cabin used as a house of worship. A fire destroyed the building in 1898 and a new church was dedicated in 1899.
"A Flowing Underground Railroad"
The Pocomoke River, flowing from Delaware through Worcester County to the Pocomoke Sound of the Chesapeake Bay, was reportedly a major conduit of the Underground Railroad. While little documentation has been found to establish this, folklore tradition holds that the river was an escape artery for slaves, and for runaway soldiers and conscripts traveling north or south, depending on the nature of their loyalties. The swamp bordering the river has provided effective cover for those seeking refuge in times of social chaos and warfare since the first settlers came into the region in the mid-1600's.
St. John's (A.M.E.) African Methodist Episcopal Church
Established in 1878, the congregation of St. John's A.M.E. Church built this tee-shaped Gothic Revival church, finished in 1912, to replace the initial structure. Common to the period is the asymmetrical plan with corner entrance and bell tower. The Gothic arched front door and sanctuary windows are the most obvious stylistic features. Inside the sanctuary survives with its pressed metal ceiling, beaded board wainscoting, and a turned baluster altar rail. Alonzo Brown, a member of the church, was the builder.
Worcester County, Maryland has figured prominently in the development of the African-American presence on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Worcester County was founded in 1742, having been formerly a part of Somerset County (1666). Wicomico County was formed in 1867 from parts of Somerset and Worcester Counties. The year round population of the county is approximately 35,000. Summer brings thousands of visitors to Ocean City, increasing the population to 300,000 on holiday weekends. Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke City are historic towns with quaint museums, shops and inns. Agriculture, however, is still the number one industry, followed by tourism. The 1990 Census reveals that 21 per-cent of the county's population is of African-American descent. The early African-American pioneers of the mid-1600's are recognized as playing a pivotal role in establishing the cultural heritage and economic foundation of Worcester County. We invite you to learn more about the African-American contribution to Worcester and Maryland history.
African-American Heritage Festival
2nd Weekend in September
Shad Landing Pocomoke State Forest and Park, Maryland For information call (410) 641-1988
Worcester High School Junior-Senior Alumni Reunion
Stephen Long Guild, Inc. For information call (410) 957-2939
Tindley Chapel Day
Mt. Zion Methodist Church Pocomoke City, Maryland For information call (410) 957-1261
The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum
208 North Main Street
Berlin, Maryland 21811
The Julia A. Purnell Museum
208 West Market Street
Snow Hill, Maryland 21863
Furnace Town Foundation, Inc.
Old Furnace Road
Snow Hill, Maryland 21863
Worcester County Library
307 N. Washington Street
Snow Hill, Maryland 21863
Wicomico County Tourism Page