Skip to Main Content

Galesville's Waterfront and General History, Maryland

As told by Jean Trott, Danny Easter, Betty Rosetta Turner, Reva Turner Selma, Pauline Weckersberg, James Proctor, Joan Bell, Jeffrey Smith
Galesville, Maryland

Story Narrative:

A man with a brown hat and a gray jacket sits in front of a window and talks to an interviewer

This video chronicles Galesville, Maryland, residents’ relationship with water, which surrounds the town on three sides. Themes include pleasure boating on the rivers and working for companies that processed shellfish.

Speaker 1: My name's Jean Trott. I'm eighty nine years old. I live in the house I was born in.

Speaker 2: I'm Danny Easter. I'm eighty one years old.

Speaker 3: My name is Betty Rosetta Turner. I am seventy two years old. And I lived here, Galesville is my home. And I lived here from the time I was born, up until 1989. Then I moved to Annapolis.

Speaker 4: Reva Turner Selma. I'm seventy eight years old and in Galesville all my life.

Speaker 5: Pauline Weckersberg. I'm seventy two. Lived in Galesville seventy two years.

Speaker 6: My name is James Proctor. And I've lived in Galesville sixty four years. I would have lived here, came to Galesville in 'sixty two. And I'm ninety five.

Speaker 7: [1:17] My name is Joan Bell. And I'm an artist. And I'm eighty years old. And I came to Galesville at seventy four the first time, and we brought our boat down here to have Parchy's boat yard go over the reading. Because we were going to sail to Bermuda. And when we came back, we um, uh, my husband said "This is a nice town, the dogs are running loose." Now what that means is that people are tolerant, and very easy going. And we never went back Annapolis, where we were keeping our boat. Instead we decided we're going to stay in Galesville and we have kept our boat down here ever since.

Speaker 8: [2:00] My name is Jeffrey Smith, and I am sixty one years old. And I've lived in this area outside of Galesville where I was born in Cumberstone, the right adjacent, and then in Galesville now for about fifteen years. But I grew up, I went to school here, and I'm from this area.

Speaker 1: [2:27] The working-class people, the people who really cultivated Galesville itself. Um, composed of, of German heritage. Or they were Mormon, and that was very - and carpenters. Those three things. And through the years they've gradually built houses, and farmed, and so on. And all these young towns around here, these little villages, that's the women that live here. They didn't have a lot of things, to bring something up. Well today it will be a tourist attraction. People from Baltimore will come on the steamships. Come down, spend a weekend here in the country. Because it will draw, they want to draw people down here to spend a weekend, or to spend the summer. They carried produce, and tobacco, and seafood, I'm sure. And live animals, everything. Automobile chasing more than anything.

Speaker 2: [3:41] Well I worked there for like three or four years. Yeah. They used to shuck on [?]. And then they, uh, I used to bay charge to, put all the shells on the bed for the ones that's shucking. 'Cause I didn't really shucking honestly. It be cutting up my hands. Some people could really make good money out there. You wasn't getting much, eighty five cents a gallon. You got to shuck a lot of oysters to get a gallon. [Interviewer] How much is like -

Speaker 2: [4:05] Say you paid, you got eighty five cents for an hour working. All I seen them had was a sheller, basters, that they put their oysters in. And a cart that you brought 'em on. To push them out there. Yeah, I know some of the Teller's families, Boone Family, And uh, Gross Family used to work there.

Speaker 3: [4:44] Well, I went to Woodfield to shuck oysters after I wasn't making at the beauty shop. That way I could make at least forty to fifty dollars a week. So I could have at least forty dollars coming to me. And, anybody, in Galesville could go to Woodfield and get a job. All they had to do was go to office and say who they are, and I like to have a number. The most important thing in Galesville because it was our livelihood, and that's where our income came from, mainly. We all were, black people. Ya know? We didn't, uh, No white people shucked oysters at the time that I shelled. They were there, but they were the overseers. So, uh, it was very important to us. It was, what we looked forward to to earn a dollar. So, you know, it was very important.

Speaker 6: [5:54] In the late sev-, I would say the late seventies. The primary income was ice. Instead of seafood. It still dealt with seafood, but no more shells. It dealt with seafood, have to have the ice to keep the seafood.

Speaker 8: [6:23] Well many, many, over the years. Many. Uh, but currently about three or four are living. The other is only about fifteen. So it's a small company. Size wise.

Speaker 7: [6:44] Wanted to design a boat. And it's a just a big twenty. It's designed by one of the Archies, years ago. And it has a very tall mast on it, so it has more sail. It has a lightening, so it's a different class of boat.

Speaker 1: [7:07] Because if they're not, America will lose its core of it's existence. Lose the values, and the perseverance, and determination. And the people who survive, the early part of the century. The hardships, you have no idea. So you have to have a lot of determination and perseverance, and just those thoughts, to survive that. And it must be preserved. You're not going to find more trip. It's a good combination. Don't forget where you came from.

Speaker 3: [7:54] The history is rich.

Speaker 6: [7:58] It gives a lot of people joy, for quite some time. Sixty years, probably.

Speaker 2: [8:04] Why? I think it should be celebrated for working as you go through the life to, to survive. To the way we at now.

Speaker 8: [8:14] Live here, all of them. My family has been here for many many many years. Actually, its just a long, you know, settled history of, you know, feeling like you're being part of something.

Asset ID: 8536
Themes: Crossroads, small towns, waterways, water, work history, African American history, Stories: Yes, oysters, race
Date recorded: 2015
Length of recording: 8:15
Related traveling exhibition: Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: South River High School student, via Anne Arundel County’s Cultural Resources Division, Lyndra Marshall (née Pratt), Acting Chair of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and Gertrude Makell of the Galesville Community Center
More informatiion:

Media Files: