What is Worcester County?
Worcester County is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The county borders the Atlantic Ocean (east); Sussex County, Delaware (north); Wicomico and Somerset Counties, Maryland (west), and Accomack County, Virginia (south). To view a current map of Worcester and the surrounding area, please click here . To view the USGenWeb pages for the above counties, please click on their names.
The history of Worcester County's boundaries is very important to a family researcher. Originally, it was a part of Somerset County, founded in 1666. Worcester County itself was born on December 10, 1742, when the eastern section of Somerset was incorporated into a new county. Up until 1760, the colonies of Maryland and Delaware also both claimed the area of southern Sussex County. (Even after the boundary was surveyed and marked, many residents disputed which colony they lived in.) Finally in 1867, Wicomico County was created from parts of Somerset and Worcester. What does all of this mean to the genealogist? Well, in the course of researching a single family, records may be located in Princess Anne (seat of Somerset), Snow Hill (seat of Worcester), Salisbury (seat of Wicomico), Georgetown (seat of Sussex), or in the state capitals of Annapolis or Dover. A challenge? Yes, but that's half the fun of family research... Right? To see a map of these boundary changes, please click here . You can also view a map of the original hundreds of old Somerset County.
Worcester County has enjoyed a long and prosperous history. Much of Worcester's history has been peaceful. Although her sons and daughters have served their country in times of conflict, no major battles have been fought on her soil. Worcester residents have shown a remarkable talent for adapting to change. Two-hundred years ago, three-masted schooners called at the port of Snow Hill. These ships transported tobacco down-river and brought supplies to the growing plantations. As the economy changed and steamboats replaced sail power, the main exports changed from tobacco to iron and lumber. A furnace was set up to refine the local deposits of bog iron. As the iron and lumber began to run out, and railroads replaced steamboats, Worcester switched gears once again. Worcester farmers took advantage of the railroads to send their produce to the large cities of the East coast. The railroads also brought in the first of Worcester's most lucrative imports - tourists. Enterprising businessman quickly turned the sleepy town of Ocean City into a thriving resort center. Today in the era of super highways, tourism and agriculture remain the two mainstays of the county.
That's not to say that Worcester history is all about money. There have been moments of great joy as well as great sorrow. For some of the historical highlights of the county, please click here . If you would like to contribute an article or add something to the timeline, please e-mail me.
Worcester in Cyberspace
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Last updated on Wednesday, 19-May-2004 18:20:15 MDT. Copyright 2003, Becky Hobson & Jim Hudson.