Searching for Water
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Imagine you are parched and can’t find fresh water. That’s what happened to John Smith and his crew as they explored the Chesapeake’s Lower Eastern Shore in June 1608.
They sailed up the Pocomoke River, recorded on Smith’s map as the Wighcocomoco. Finding only muddy water, they turned back near what is now Pocomoke City, not realizing that a short distance further upriver they could have found the fresh water they so desperately sought.
“The next day, searching them for freshwater, we could find none; the defect whereof forced us to follow the next eastern channel, which brought us to the River of Wighcocomoco (Pocomoke).”
Smith described seeing many low islands along the eastern shore of the Bay. Rising sea levels have caused some islands to disappear and reduced the size of others.
Stuck in Limbo
The crew headed back into the Bay, where a squall nearly sank their boat. Bailing for their lives, they came ashore at Bloodsworth Island, which they named “Limbo.” They stayed two days, repairing damage from the storm.
Explore the John Smith Trail along the Chesapeake’s
*Enjoy paddling the more than 30 miles of Janes Island Water Trails.
*Visit the historic town of Crisfield for a firsthand view of Chesapeake watermen at work.
*Visit Tangier Island to see one of the Eastern Shore’s “shallow broken isles” explored by Smith in 1608.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Exploration • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1608.
Location. 38° 0.591′ N, 75° 50.696′ W. Marker is in Crisfield, Maryland, in Somerset County. Marker is on Alfred Lawson Drive. The marker is located in Janes Island State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 26280 Alfred Lawson Drive, Crisfield MD 21817, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ye Old St. Peters Methodist Church (approx. 1˝ miles away); 'Spirit Of The American Doughboy' (approx. 1.8 miles away); J. Millard Tawes (approx. 1.9 miles away); The J. Millard Tawes Homeplace (approx. 2.1 miles away); Crisfield (approx. 2.3 miles away); Commerce on the Water (approx. 2˝ miles away); The Evolving Crisfield HarborMake Peace (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crisfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 248 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 14, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.