Taken in August of 2021, this picture finds Mandy on the bank of the Tred Avon River, in Oxford, MD. It’s a terminus of the ferry service linking Bellvue, MD with Oxford, which is directly across the River. This ferry began operations in 1683 and is thought to be the oldest privately-owned ferry service in the United States.
Oxford first appears on a map completed in 1670 and published in 1671. In 1694, Oxford and a new town called Anne Arundel (now Annapolis) were selected as the only ports of entry for the entire Maryland province. Until the American Revolution, Oxford enjoyed prominence as an international shipping center surrounded by wealthy tobacco plantations.
The American Revolution marked the end of Oxford’s prosperity. Maritime trade declined, and tobacco was replaced by wheat as a cash crop.
After the Civil War, Oxford was revived by completion of the railroad in 1871 and by improved canning and packing methods which opened national markets for Chesapeake Bay oysters. But it did not last. In the early part of the 20th century, oyster beds played out, packing houses closed, businesses went bankrupt, and rail and steamship services eventually disappeared. Once again Oxford became a sleepy little town inhabited by watermen.
And Mandy had a good time sightseeing!