Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Coltons Point in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Potomac River Dory Boat

 
 
Potomac River Dory Boat Marker Photo, Click for full size
By F. Robby, August 31, 2009
1. Potomac River Dory Boat Marker
Inscription. The Potomac River dory boat originated around the 1880s and was built almost exclusively within this area of St. Mary's County, Maryland. How the name dory boat came to be is unknown, but its unique design features a V-bottom, planked lengthwise instead of the usual cross-planking. It is believed this style derived from an earlier flat-bottomed Potomac River craft called the "black Nancy," so named because of its black hull preserved with tar from local pine trees. After the Civil War, the oyster industry boomed, and the local watermen were looking for a vessel that was larger, more stable, and a better sailing craft than the popular "black Nancy."

Designed for working the Potomac River and its tributaries, the dory boat was originally built as a two-masted sailing craft used for tonging and dredging of oysters. It is estimated that 400 to 500 of these very fast and easy to handle boats were built between the 1880s and the early 1930s. Sporting gay stripes of green, red, and yellow, only seven have survived and are now in regional museums. Ours is one.

[picture of a dory boat]
Built in 1917 by John Cheseldine, the 30-foot "Shamrock" was the first dory boat to be preserved. Photo courtesy: Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, Maryland

The "Doris C"

The "Doris C" was built in 1919
Potomac River Dory Boat Marker Photo, Click for full size
By F. Robby, August 31, 2009
2. Potomac River Dory Boat Marker
by John Long for Captain Henry Gibson of Abell, Maryland. This 34-foot dory was named after Doris Cheseldine, Capt. Gibson's sweetheart, whom he later married. The lumber used to build her was purchased in Baltimore and shipped by steamer to Long's boat shop on Canoe Neck Creek in Avenue, Maryland. It is said that the "Doris C" was moved by oxen to Colton's Point where she was launched. The "Doris C" was used solely by Capt. Gibson from 1919 until his retirement in 1975, some 55 years. He used the dory boat for the dredging and tonging of oysters, fishing, and the transporting of goods to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

After Capt. Gibson retired from working the water, he and his son, Charles, donated the "Doris C" to the St. Clement's Island Museum in 1976. Restoration was completed in 1986.

[photos of John Long, Henry and Doris Gibson, and the "Doris C".]

The "Doris C" was donated to the St. Clements Island Museum in 1976. She remained in the water for one year, until ice pulled away her bottom caulking and she sank. Rescued, she was then moved to the museum grounds where she underwent extensive restoration by staff, volunteers, and local resident Neil Canter.

In 1989, a shelter was built to protect one of only seven surviving Potomac River Dory Boats.
 
Location. 38° 13.493′ 
The "Doris C" Photo, Click for full size
By F. Robby, August 31, 2009
3. The "Doris C"
N, 76° 45.023′ W. Marker is in Coltons Point, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Point Breeze Road 0.2 miles east of Colton Point Road (Maryland Route 242), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Coltons Point MD 20626, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Clements Manor (within shouting distance of this marker); Saint Clement’s Island (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Clement's Island Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Mother of Light Shrine (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to St. Clement's Island (approx. 0.8 miles away); Maryland Began Here! (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Shrinking Island (approx. 1.2 miles away); St. Clement's Island (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Coltons Point.
 
Also see . . .  De Waterlandse melkschuit. There is a strong resemblance between the milk boats from Waterland and this wonderful Potomac River Dory Boat, especial in the rig of the unstayed masts! (Submitted on July 19, 2011, by Anton Wegman of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.) 
 
Categories. 20th CenturyIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
The "Doris C" Photo, Click for full size
By F. Robby, August 31, 2009
4. The "Doris C"
 

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,626 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.
Paid Advertisement
Categories20th CenturyAbolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansAgricultureAir & SpaceAnimalsAntebellum South, USAnthropologyArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicAsian AmericansBridges & ViaductsCemeteries & Burial SitesCharity & Public WorkChurches, Etc.Civil RightsColonial EraCommunicationsDisastersEducationEntertainmentEnvironmentExplorationForts, CastlesFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsGovernmentHeroesHispanic AmericansHorticulture & ForestryIndustry & CommerceLabor UnionsLandmarksMan-Made FeaturesMilitaryNative AmericansNatural FeaturesNatural ResourcesNotable BuildingsNotable EventsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesPaleontologyPatriots & PatriotismPeacePolitical SubdivisionsPoliticsRailroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesScience & MedicineSettlements & SettlersSportsWar of 1812War, 1st Iraq & Desert StormWar, 2nd IraqWar, AfghanistanWar, ColdWar, French and IndianWar, KoreanWar, Mexican-AmericanWar, Spanish-AmericanWar, Texas IndependenceWar, US CivilWar, US RevolutionaryWar, VietnamWar, World IWar, World IIWars, Non-USWars, US IndianWaterways & Vessels
States or ProvincesAlabamaAlaskaAlbertaArizonaArkansasBritish ColumbiaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineManitobaMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew BrunswickNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNewfoundland and LabradorNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNova ScotiaOhioOklahomaOntarioOregonPennsylvaniaPrince Edward IslandPuerto RicoQuebecRhode IslandSaskatchewanSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingYukon Territory
CountriesArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBahamasBelgiumBelizeBrazilCanadaChinaCosta RicaCzech RepublicDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEstoniaFinlandFranceGermanyGreeceGrenadaGuatemalaGuyanaHondurasHungaryIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaKiribatiLiechtensteinLuxembourgMalaysiaMexicoNetherlands AntillesNew ZealandNicaraguaPalestinian TerritoriesPhilippinesRussiaSaint LuciaScotland, UKSingaporeSouth AfricaSouth KoreaSwedenSwitzerlandThailandTurkeyTurks and Caicos IslandsU.S Virgin IslandsUkraineUnited KingdomU.S.A.