Somerset County planning to mark 350th year in 2016

Somerset County was chartered in 1666 and its flag designed in 1693. It is based on the British flag from that era with the inclusion of an Indian’s profile to represent the Native American settlements. At that time Somerset County included all of Worcester and Wicomico counties, plus part of Sussex County.

Somerset County was chartered in 1666 and its flag designed in 1693. It is based on the British flag from that era with the inclusion of an Indian’s profile to represent the Native American settlements. At that time Somerset County included all of Worcester and Wicomico counties, plus part of Sussex County.

PRINCESS ANNE — The committee planning activities to mark Somerset County’s 350th anniversary has picked Saturday, Sept. 17 as the date to hold a celebration at the county’s recreational park in Westover. It’s nearly a month after the charter signing on Aug. 22, 1666 but considered the most suitable day especially considering the planning that would be ongoing to get ready for Labor Day weekend events in Crisfield and Deal Island.

 
The third meeting of the committee chaired by State’s Attorney Dan Powell, vice chairman of the Somerset County Historical Trust, is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 in Princess Anne Town Office meeting room on Broad Street. So far ideas in motion include an historic marker, a parade float, and a publication telling of the county’s history from its earliest days.

 
It is hoped that this will be a celebration that Wicomico, Worcester and even lower Sussex County residents can get behind because they were part of “Old Somerset” during its founding. First families will be among the honorees, and they include people like Sheriff Ronnie Howard, whose eight great-grandfather Stephen Horsey was the first “High Sheriff” of Somerset County.

 
A matching grant will be sought through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to help fund the effort, with the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council guiding the process locally. As committee member Jay Tawes of Crisfield said, this anniversary is a time to show-off the county and its history to visitors, while serving as an economic development and educational tool.

 
The Somerset County Strawberry Festival in Marion and the Soft Shell Spring Fair in Crisfield which are both held in May and will likely be the first venues where the public is exposed to the 350th theme. The plan is to have public school students design a parade float that will be built by ECI inmates and housed by the county at the roads department.

 
Anyone who would like to contribute to this effort should RSVP by email to LeeAnn Linton at llinton@somersetmd.us.

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