East New Market

Property Reports

114 Main Street

Female Seminary (1849 - ca. 2000)

Female Seminary

In 1849 a newspaper notice advertises the need for a young lady to take charge at a Female Academy in East New Market.  A year later the state legislature passed an act to incorporate the East New Market Female Academy.  According to a descendant, Miss Amanda Dixon became the first head mistress of the Seminary in 1853.  Miss Dixon remained there for two years until she married and moved to Wisconsin.

The Academy is identified as school #3 on the 1877 map.  The building was referred to as a Primary School in a few records in the 1880s & early 1890s.  St. Stephens Episcopal Church had been meeting in the building in the early 1890s.  The P.E. Church purchased the building from the trustees of the Female Seminary in 1894.  In 1914, the St. Stephens Parish Hall was built on the seminary property and the Seminary building was moved behind the Methodist Protestant Parsonage.  In July 2002, the owner tore down the Female Seminary building without seeking approval from the Historic District Commission to the dismay of many residents and local historians.  If approval had been sought arrangements could have been made to move the building at the very least.

From "Between The Nanticoke and the Choptank, An Architectural History of Dorchester County, Maryland"   Edited by Christopher Weeks, with contributions by Michael O. Bourne, Geoffrey Henry, Catherine Moore, Calvin Mowbray, M. Fred Tidwell.

This frame building, now used as a storage barn, once played an important role in the educational history of East New Market:  It was the town's only school for girls.  In 1853 the East New Market Female Seminary opened for business, charging "eight dollars a term for board, wash included, lights--fifty cents extra and music instruction five dollars additional."  It advertised that its teachers "propose making it a school of the very first grade offering equal advantages  to any of the higher female Boarding Schools of Colleges."

Cambridge Herald - 4 November 1863

East New Market Female Seminary, J. Kent Dukes, Principal, Mrs. Sue H.L. Dukes, Teacher of Music.  The Fall term of this Institution will begin the second Monday in September (14th).  The course of study will embrace all branches usually taught in Schools for young Ladies, and every effort will be made to give general satisfaction.  Terms per Quarter for eleven weeks:  Board, Washing, and Lights $22.00; Tuition in Common English $3.00; Tuition in Higher English, including Common $3.00; Languages each $3.00; Music Lessons on Piano $7.00; Use of Instrument $2.00.  No deduction except in cases of protracted illness.  Books, Music, Stationary furnished at City prices.  September 9, 1863.  

From the Maryland Historical Trust State Historic Sites Inventory Form

The Female Seminary is a 1 1/2 story (?) rectangular structure with a gabled roof. The roof is currently asphalt tile. The original frame structure is covered with plywood and other newer materials.

Notes from Neil Frampton

School #3 is the Female Seminary.  It was moved back behind the M.P. Parsonage after the Episcopal Church was built in or around 1893.  The building on the 1922 Sanborn map behind the church is the church hall, not the old barn-like school building.  The actual school building shows on the 1922 map directly behind the parsonage at the back of the lot.  The building was torn down in the 1990's by a new owner of the parsonage property.  Marc Bramble lived in the parsonage house as a child, and we used to play in the old school building without having any idea as to its original use as a school.