Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
John Smith and his crew visited this area in June 1608. After passing several shallow creeks, they entered the deep waters of the Patapsco River with hopes of finding exportable metals and a passage to the Pacific Ocean.
With only rotted bread on board, they also hoped to meet friendly Indians with food to share. Finding none, they became discouraged. Hungry, cramped from the confines of their small vessel, and tired from rowing, they implored Smith to return them to Jamestown.
Smith gave a rousing speech that rallied the crew to continue. But when a sudden storm caused several men to become ill, they headed downriver as soon as the weather cleared.
“We passed many shallow creeks, but the first we found Navigable for a ship, we called Bolus, for that the clay in many places under the clifts by the high water marke, did grow up in red and white knots as gum out of trees.”
Captain John Smith, The General History of Virginia, 1624.
The explorers called the Patapsco River “Bolus Flu” for red clay they saw along its banks. They thought the clay was “bole armoniac”, a substance
Enjoy a diversity of experiences along the trail in North Point State Park: *A world-class port developed around the deep waters explored by Smith, but you can still experience natural areas and outdoor fun along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary, the Patapsco River. *Fish from the park’s pies or explore the six miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay. (Valid fishing license required) *Enjoy well-marked trails and observe some of the many birds that live or migrate through the park’s diverse habitats. *Relax at the park’s picnic area with a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1608.
Location. 39° 12.468′ N, 76° 25.433′ W. Marker is in Sparrows Point, Maryland, in Baltimore County. Marker is on Old Bay Shore Road. The marker is located in North Point State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sparrows Point MD 21219, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Smith Explores the Chesapeake (here, next to this marker); The Trolley Station at Bayshore Park (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dreaded Alarm (about 700 feet away);
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 162 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 19, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.