East New Market

Historic Sketches

1935 - F. Arthur Laskowski

Unpublished collection of manuscripts
by F. Arthur Laskowski
ca. 1930s

East New Market
by F. Arthur Laskowski

This quaint little village lies twelve miles to the east of Cambridge, the county seat of Dorchester County, and about one mile east of Secretary. Substantial and comfortable homes line its two main thoroughfares and their attractive appearances attest to the financial security of their occupants. While the census figures give the number of inhabitants as about 230, the citizens claim the population is more than three times that number. The climate and topography is essentially that of Dorchester County. Situated as it is, the town is in the center of a rich agricultural section in which a variety of crops is grown ranging from fruits and berries to the heavy grains and grasses.

History – East New Market is very old due in great measure to its location. It is at the cross roads of the two main arteries that lead to the upper counties of the shore toward the north, and the larger metropolitan areas to the east. Here in the older days was the cross roads tavern at which the traveler stopped, and where horses and slave traders from the northern states came to sell horses or negroes.

In the early court records of Dorchester County, we find that the present East New Market was called New Market after the old English town of Newmarket. The East being added later as the town was east of Cambridge. In fact, a number of the older generation refer to it yet as New Market.

The exact date of the town’s birth is uncertain, but we find that back in 1743, the Sulivanes bought or sold an occasional piece of property in New Market and it is said that one of the Ennalls family lived in the town about that time. Among the others of the early settlers were the Edmondsons, the forerunner of who was John Edmondson who about 1665 came from Talbot County and took up enormous acreages on the south side of [the] Great Choptank River.

About 1800, Major Anthony Manning lived in what is called "the old Manning Property", later the East New Market Hotel. Major Manning fought in the War of 1812 and his son, Dr. Anthony Manning, who also lived there, was a surgeon in the Civil War. Near the town was born Gov. Thomas Holliday Hicks, the Civil War Governor of Maryland, and from East New Market came the Websters, active in the industrial activities of the County, the Thompsons, Hoopers, Wrights, LeComptes, and Jacobs.

The town grew very slowly until the present day. It is the typical little southern town. State Highway #16 leading from Cambridge, enters the town from the west and leads to the towns toward the north. In the center of town Route #16 is crossed by the state road leading from Secretary to Rhodesdale, Eldorado, and Salisbury. The Pennsylvania Railroad station is on the eastern fringe of the town affording transportation for passengers and freight.

Among the points of interest are Friendship Hall; the old Edmondson House, built by one of the Sulivanes; the old Manning property; and Maurice Hall, another of the Sulivane houses. A mile to the west in Secretary is My Lady Sewall’s manor, built in 1662.

The industries are related to agricultural pursuits. There is a sawmill and a canning factory. One of the oldest tanning firms in Maryland for many years was located on what is now Main Street. Tanning leather was then and important and profitable industry, when Dorchester County was almost a dense forest of oak, from which tan bark was cheaply and plentifully obtained.

Modern buildings are the Realty Building, built in 1915 of brick, in which is the Post Office, Masonic Temple, and Public Hall. Across from this is a branch of the County Trust Company. High and Elementary grades occupy what was formerly the old New Market Academy incorporated in 1829. It is now known as the East New Market High School. Religious life of the inhabitants is embodied in the M.E. Church, the Baptist, and the Episcopal churches. Passing through this quaint little town, one is impressed with the air of comfort and quiet and feels that here is a place belonging to an older era.

Revised History of Dorchester County by Dr. Elias Jones
Mr. A.S. Bramble, East New Market, Md.
Mr. Wm Lee Dixon, Cambridge, Md.
Court Records of Dorchester County