ELKTON — Everyone has that certain person on their list that has everything and needs nothing. The Historical Society may have the answer to your dilemma. Friday, Dec. 6, is First Friday in downtown Elkton from 5 to 8 p.m. and is also the Society’s annual silent auction. The proceeds from the auction will go toward two major projects currently undertaken by the Society.
The restoration of the Sheriff John F. DeWitt Military Museum: Saving Cecil County’s Military History is moving forward. John F. DeWitt, the only Sheriff in the history of Cecil County to be elected for four consecutive terms, started collecting military memorabilia when he was eleven. His dream was to open a military museum when he retired. Three months after his retirement, while finalizing those plans, Sheriff DeWitt died suddenly on April 24, 1991. A group of his friends fulfilled his dream and opened the Museum on May 7, 1992 at the Historical Society of Cecil County. This museum is in memory of Sheriff DeWitt and is dedicated to Cecil County veterans of all wars.
This refurbishment is to enhance the quality of the displays and better preserve the artifacts within the collection and to highlight the personal stories of the Cecil County men and women that have served our country and their role in our country’s military history. The Society is also endeavoring to create an educational tool and a more interactive experience for patrons with children specifically in mind. We will be installing electronics that will present 3D images of the artifacts, video to explain the United States military history and audio to narrate personal stories from Cecil County residents. Artifacts will be identified using signage and signage rails will be used to give an overview of that period in time. The project will include new paint, carpeting, display cabinets, lighting and technology.
In 1992 the Colonel John H. Magruder Memorial Award was presented to the DeWitt Museum in recognition of the Museum’s display of military memorabilia representing veterans of Cecil County and its emphasis on Marine Corps artifacts that cover history from the Civil War through Operation Desert Storm as judged by the Marine Corps Historical Foundation.
Since 1972, a historic log cabin has resided in the backyard of the Historical Society of Cecil County. The cabin began life on Bow Street in Elkton around 1800 and was once the home of The Rev. William Duke, who used it for both his residence and his own school. Rev. Duke was an Episcopal Priest and the school master of at least 4 schools, one of which was the Elkton Academy.
As for Rev. Duke’s cabin, time has taken its toll. Historical Society Board of Trustees President, Paula Newton says both old and new problems threaten the structure’s very life. It is the society’s vision that, if restored, the cabin will once again serve as a living history museum with historical interpretation and special events emphasizing the life of the cabin, its historic occupant, and Cecil County. The organizations at 135 E. Main St., Cecil County Arts Council, Cecil Land Trust and the Historical Society of Cecil County are sharing in the fundraising efforts to save the Rev. Duke Log House. As incentives, donors will receive the following: every donor receives a log house button; a donation of $100 will receive a T-shirt; $250 receives a T-shirt and memberships to the Historical Society and the Arts Council; $500 receives a frameable drawing of the Duke Log House and for donations of $1000 or more, your name will be put into a drawing for a one-of-a kind log cabin birdhouse made by Jeff Powers, a lifelong resident of Cecil County.
Silent auction items include: framed maps of Cecil County districts from the 1877 Atlas; auto tote filled with everything you need to take care of a car; Mary Kay cosmetics; Reese’s product basket & a chocolate lovers basket; dog and cat lover baskets; spices and hot sauces; Everything Maryland basket, Maryland corn hole game, oak bookcase, Cecil County farmer’s market basket and we are still receiving donations.
Also, please consider making a contribution toward these two projects. You may become a part of saving Cecil County history by contacting us through our web site at www.cecilhistory.org or call us at 410-398-1790. The Society will be applying for grant funding, but this project will not be possible without community and member support.