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Longevity in 1788 Somerset County
from the March 13, 1788 issue of the Virginia Gazette & Weekly

This article was originally from the March 13, 1788 issue of the Virginia Gazette & Weekly. It was reprinted in Vol. 14 No. 1 of More From the Shore, the newsletter of the Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society in the Spring of 1995.




The following are the ages of 59 persons now living in two hundreds of Somerset County, Maryland. This county lies very low, and the many rivers and creeks that empty themselves into the Chesapeake Bay abound in marshes, to a considerable extent. I was once led to believe it was one of the most unhealthy counties in the world; but from what cause I know not. It appears to have more aged people in it than I am acquainted with. The following list will perhaps shew the truth of this.

The manner of those people living, is nearly as follows. They rise before the sun, and generally drink one or two drams, that is, one half peach or apple brandy, the other water with honey and sugar, and eat a piece of biscuit, then breakfast on cold meat with homony and as much coffee or tea as fills up the remainder of the stomach. The most of those persons I am acquainted with, and they generally labor (although not bound to do so, for they in general have pretty good) from breakfast to dinner, which is about 2 or 3 o'clock, they then dine upon good substantial food, such as beef, mutton, turkey . . . . . . those who live near the water, have a great plenty of shell and other fish. Their drink is cyder or strong toddy, perhaps no people drink less water. They smoak tobacco before and after dinner, which is their meal and retire to bed about 8 or 9 o'clock. It is requested by the writer of this, that some gentlemen will take the trouble of examining their several counties to see whether as great a number of aged persons can be found in two hundreds thereof, throughout.

The following are the persons names:

William Adams
Josephus Bell
George Bosman
Ebenezer Collins ?
Mathias Coaston ?
Joseph Cottman
Jonathon Cloff
Nathaniel Daugherty
Thomas Dixon
Marc Dixon ?
John Evans
William Flemming
James Gunby
Michael Holland
Joshua Hall
Outenbridge Horsey ?
Thomas Handy
Spencer Harris
Alley Hickey ?
John Johnson ?
John Killam ?
Samuel Lawton (all upwards of 70)
Elijah Linton
Benjamin Langford
John Leonard
Duncan Livingston
Isaac Moore
Thomas Madox
John Madox
George Miles
Samuel Miles
Teague Riggin
Aaron Sterling
Nathaniel Smalling
Henry Schoolfield - all 87
Stephen Tull
Jonathan Tull
Peter Taylor
John Williams
Mary Eliz. Waters
Sarah Waters
William Wheatly - all 85
Isaac Carter
Suthy Whittington
Jonathon Summers & wife - all 85

All in Annamessex and Pocomoke Hundreds. This list was taken by an assistant collector of taxes upwards of seventy who will now mount his horse and ride a journey of 500 miles with ease.


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