A simple white farmhouse in a rural area on the eastern shore of Maryland was once home to the first members of my family who came to the United States. They settled here, in Talbot County, in the late 17th Century. After a couple of generations, some followed the American dream and began to move west, explore and help build a nation.
I discovered this house a few years ago on an unexpected journey with my parents, who had traveled east, in part, to find this Lambdin homestead. I was in the nation’s capitol working on another story, so serendipity intervened allowing me to join my parents for a beautiful spring weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The farm and home are near the village of St. Michael’s in Talbot County. A beautiful little town it is, and we spent an afternoon exploring the graveyard at Christ Episcopal Church, an anchor in this community for 300 years. It was an odd sense of connectivity to think that the church bells we heard tolling that afternoon had also been heard by our ancestors who are now buried here.
The town is famous for a little trickery during the War of 1812. Word got out that the British ships gathering in Chesapeake Bay were gunning for the town’s ship building industry.
So the clever townspeople extinguished all of the lights and fires in town, then went a few miles down the bay and hung lit lanterns in the trees of an unoccupied area. Sure enough, that night the British blasted those lanterns to smithereens and the town of St. Michael’s was spared.