Cecil Whig first edition

ELKTON — Each week, we take a look back in time to examine what was on the minds of Cecil County readers. Rotating through the Whig’s 178-year history, we hope to not only provide direct text from our archives, but also context as to why the issue was important at the time.

Join us as we thumb through the pages of our history.

152 years ago (Sept. 28, 1867)

With this week’s events on a national stage, plus scrutiny of voter rolls at a seemingly all-time high under the Trump administration, it’s interesting to read the Whig’s reaction to the losing effort by its Republican Party in the 1864 vote on the Maryland Constitution. In true political form, the newspaper made lemonade from lemons, analyzing that despite its loss on the Constitution, the voter registry proved it had a majority in the county ahead of upcoming elections.

The Vote of Cecil

The vote in this county on the Constitution foots up 2985, while the registered vote is 4611, showing an absence from the polls of 1620 votes. The registry shows something in excess of the entire voting population of the county, on account of deaths, removals, etc., which were not brought to the notice of the registering officers, and hence not taken of the lists. Three hundred votes will certainly cover this deficit, which being deducted will leave 1320 voters in the comity who did not turn out to the last election.

That the great majority of these were Republicans, there can be no reasonable doubt. In one of the districts where the voters were all known, a careful count proved that but 9 of the rebel party absented themselves from the polls, while 33 Republican voters remained away from the election. It is scarcely possible to vote a district closer than within nine votes of its party registry; and it is safe to conclude that the rebel party at the late election had out their whole strength. Taking the facts and figures in the case as revealed by the election of Wednesday week, there is not a doubt that the Republican party have a majority of voters in this county, and nothing is needed but a thorough organization, and the proper effort at the November election, to carry the county by a safe Republican majority.

In view of these facts, which must be evident to every man who will take the trouble to study the returns, our duty is plain. We owe it to the country, we owe it to ourselves individually, and the Republican party, to go forward. Nominate the best men for all offices to be filled at the coming election and rest not till every Republican voter is brought out that is able to go to the polls in November, and the victory is ours. The Republican party must not despair because no apathy has been allowed to settle upon it, and we find a full thousand of our voters absenting themselves from the polls at the late election. Victory is within our grasp and we will be recreant to our duty if we do not seize it. Up and at them Rads, and the day is ours.

27 years ago (Sept. 23, 1992)

Lions International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named for its founder, Melvin Jones. This Fellowship Award (LCIF) is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism. The recipient of this award becomes a model because of the exemplary service to his club and the community for which it serves. Twenty-seven years ago this month, the Cecilton Lions Club recognized its first recipient of the award.

Don’t forget to check out the letter in the A section of this issue of the Whig from the Chesapeake City Lion’s Club about their annual car show.

Cecilton Lions recognize own

Bill Black of Cecilton receives the highest award possible tonight from the Lions Club International — the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

Black, who at 88 is the second oldest resident of Cecilton, is a former town commissioner well-known for his quiet acts of philanthropy.

Forty years ago, he co-founded the Cecilton chapter of the Lions Club.

“He is just a very nice person,” said former town mayor Carl K. Williams, who went to work for Black’s Appliances shortly after World War II. “He’s a lifelong resident of the community and he’s done a lot of things in the community that people didn’t really know he did. He did it to help, and he didn’t expect anything in return.”

Up until about a year ago, when Black’s age started to catch up to him, he delivered flowers to hospital patients and the elderly each year on Daffodil Day and fruit baskets at Christmas.

His friend Herman Mitchell calls Black “a kind-hearted soul who loves to help everybody and never says an unkind word about anybody. I just marvel at the man.”

Black directed the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church choir for 27 years.

He has always been a music lover, and played the trombone in the town band.

And he admits he’s a baseball fanatic partial to the Orioles and Phillies. As a baseball player, Black was great friends with the great ballplayer Jimmy Foxx, of Sudlersville, Md.

He and his wife, Bertha Scriven Black, have been married 63 years and live in the house he grew up in, next to the appliance store.

“Bill has always been a good citizen and his activity has centered on the town,” said friend and former employee Reese Short.

Lions Club board member Ralph Young said Black was charter president of the Cecilton Lions Club and also served as president in the club’s 25th year.

“Lion Bill” most recently served the club as its Lion Tamer, or the member who greets people at the door and calls the meeting to order.

“He’s a man who’s lived a life of integrity,” George Fry wrote in a letter of commendation to be read at tonight’s ceremony, “and he has honesty coupled with a strong drive of community service that’s rarely encountered.”

“I appreciate the honor the club has seen fit to give me,” Black said, adding that ill health may prevent him from attending the event. He is the first Cecilton Lion to receive the award.

Jacob Owens contributed to this piece.

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