J.B. Norris, his son Michael and future daughter-in-law Crystal were in Buzzy’s Country Store this past weekend for a visit back to the County from their home base in Florida.  One of the many topics of conversation covered during their visit in the Store with Winkie, his brother Ronnie, and JW, involved the non-existent ferry at Pt. Lookout.  This led to J.B. noting that his wife’s great, great something or other was the first female ferry boat Captain on the Bay.  I ran it thru the google machine and sure enough found the following:
“Calvert County’s Susie Langley Brinsfield was the first woman to obtain a skipper’s license for a three-masted schooner in the Baltimore District. She became captain of the schooner Josephine Wingate.  Born in 1878 in St. Mary’s County, she began sailing in 1929. Her career hauling freight even took her beyond the Bay to the West Indies. By the end of the 1930s, other forms of transportation and food preservation made the schooner trade obsolete. The T.J. Ward was her last boat; she gave up sailing in 1942, but she outlived three husbands (also Bay captains) to live to the age of 97.
To read the rest of the story which discusses other female water-related pioneers click here

This reminded me of something that my buddy Pat Woodburn wrote about his mother Evelyn being one of the first waterman/waterwoman as she soft crabbed and fished the waters in and around St. Jerome’s Creek.  The following is from a Baynet.com write up about Evelyn following her passing in 2006:
“Having grown up on the water, Mrs. Woodburn was a champion soft crabber and fisherman, combing the shores of the St. Jerome’s Creek for over 50 years. She was an expert at what has become a lost art. In the spring of the year when crabs first began to come out of the mud to begin their molting, she would often catch 20 or 30 dozen per day, augmenting her family’s income. For relaxation, she and her husband grabbed their fishing rods and trolled the shores of the creek as well as the shores of the Chesapeake Bay from Point No Point to Butler’s Rock and rarely came home disappointed. During those years, she introduced her many family members and friends, nieces and nephews to the joys of fishing. “
Buzzy and Evelyn were classmates throughout their school years at St. Michael’s School.  In a photo of their high school graduating class of 1943, Buzzy is in the middle of the picture looking down and Evelyn is in front of him just to his right. (I’m trying to obtain a better copy of this picture to re-show you along with identifications of the other folks in it.  Stay tuned.) 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: