Local news

Local news

Over the past few months our volunteer, Alan Gardner, has been digitizing the Oxford Press. The newspaper began in 1866 and he has digitized up to 1915. The Oxford Press was a major newspaper that covered the tri-state area, including crime, weather and deaths. Many of the obituaries are extensive and provide family histories. I have transcribed a few for your enjoyment and hopefully you are related.


Mrs. Lydia

Brown McVey

“Lydia B. McVey died December 30, 1905, at the home of her son-in-law Tyson I. Reynolds, near Rock Springs, Md., in her 80{sup}th year, and was buried in West Nottingham Presbyterian cemetery January 2. Mrs. McVey was born in Cecil County, August 1826 near the famous “Richards Oak” the property now belonging to John T. Reynolds, her parents being David and Margaret Brown. Her father did an extensive blacksmith business in the 8District near Porters Bridge, for many years, in connection with farming. Her mother died when she was but a few years old and at a very tender age she assumed the duties of housekeeping for her father. In 1849 she married John McVey of Pleasant Grove, Lancaster County, PA., and they almost immediately emigrated to Morgan County Ohio, driving the whole distance in a heavily-loaded two horse covered wagon, taking over one month to make the journey. At that time Ohio contained immense tracts of woodland so that in places it was possible to travel nine miles through stupendous forests to reach a habitation. Under these conditions the young couple willingly commenced to build a home by arduous toil, without any modern conveniences: burying a tract of 170 acres of this wooded land on which no timber had been cut, except some chance tree by hunters a, and in some places the foliage was so dense that the sunlight could not penetrate to the earth. They resided for a shot time in a small house owned by a relative until Mr. McVey could fell the great trees and erect a log house: which was soon made ready and moved into, near the center of the future farm. By most arduous labor, care and deprivations of both, assisted by their progeny, this effort resulted at last in a reality – a fine farm hewn from the wilderness. Mr. McVey died in 1884 and his widow soon after came East to reside at the old home owned now by her daughter, Mrs. M. E. Brown; occasionally living with her daughter, Sarah M. Reynolds-where she died-and with her son D.W. McVey at Sylmar, who together with the two sons in Ohio, survive her. During her life Mr. McVey had traveled by rail to and from Ohio more than a dozen times. Her life has been fraught with many trials and vicissitudes: but after many years of loving care and patient toil she has entered into rest.”

Oxford Press –

January 4, 1906

A Prominent Cecil

Countian Dies

“Richard Hall died at his residence near Rowlandville on last Monday, aged 77 years. He was the son of Washington Hall whose father, Elihu Hall; was one of the most conspicuous patriots of this country during the Revolutionary war. He was appointed second major of the Susquehanna Battalion of Maryland militia by the provincial government of his native State, June 6 1776. Richard Hall was the great-great-great-grandson of the Richard Hall who patented a large tract of land called “Mount Welcome.” On the east side of the Susquehanna River, about a mile above the mouth of the Octoraro, ion 1640. Part of the original dwelling house was built o brick brought from England and landed from scows at the mouth of the Octoraro. It is on an elevation near the Susquehanna and was a famous mansion in the palmy days the distinguished family. The home is now owned by William H. Porter.”

Oxford Press –

April, 20 1893

African American genealogy can be challenging, but this obituary trances the sad and challenging life of a former slave.

Death of an old Slave

“Last Friday a colored woman named Mary Westley died in Fulton Township, Lancaster County. It is supposed that she was a hundred years old. She was formerly a slave and belonged to a (man) by the name of John Rollins, who lived Nottingham Cecil County, MD. Rollins, in his will left her, along with all his other slaves to his daughter, Mary. In those times it was customary, after the return of the friends from the funeral of the deceased to call in all those interested and have the will read. In this instance all the slaves were called in and arrayed in line to hear of their worldly future. When it was announced that Mary was to belong to her young mistress, she made such a noise that reading of the will had to be dispersed with. Nothing would appease her short of a promise that she should be set free and placed in someone else’s charge; this young mistress agreed to do. Her objections were not so much to her young mistress as to the man she was going to marry. Her time was bought by Josiah Kirk, who resided near Hilaman’s Tavern. He took her to Nottingham, Chester County, where she served him for a “term of years”. She was well known by many of the oldest inhabitants of Nottingham and southern Lancaster County. For many years she has been regarded as a living relic of times long past.”

Oxford Press,

October 1968

If you are working on your family history, remember there were many newspapers in the tri-state area. Check them all and maybe you will find your family history in an old obituary.

When the coronavirus lockdown is over, please stop in and see us at the Historical Society of Cecil County on Main Street in Elkton to learn about this and many other topics. Access to the digital newspaper collection is free to members and is included in the $5 library fee for non-members.

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