‘Stories of Somerset’ series to talk about county’s past

PRINCESS ANNE — History and science teach us a lot and there is always more to learn. The Somerset County Historical Society is pleased to announce a new opportunity to learn more about local history during its Spring series, “Stories of Somerset.”


The interactive series will feature speakers, including storytellers, scientists, writers, and local community members with deep connections to Somerset. “Stories of Somerset” will be shared on the second Saturday of March, April, and May. Each session will take place in a different region of the county and will highlight other partners working to preserve Somerset County’s unique history and culture.


The first offering in the series is titled “Bone Biographies: Piecing Together Stories from Human Remains.”


Biological anthropologist Dr. Dana Kollmann will present the bone biographies of two of Somerset County’s former residents. Learn how skeletal biologists are able to determine the temporal and chronological age, biological sex, and ancestry of human skeletal remains.


Additionally, learn how they assess lifestyle, health, and disease of the bones they study.

In 2017, the Somerset County Historical Society received a partial skull recovered by a local fisherman. It was sent to the state medical examiner’s office and determined to be “ancient,” 300 years old or more. The Society contacted Dr. Kollmann at Towson University. She agreed to examine the skull and share her findings. During discussions with Kollmann, the Society learned of additional skeletal remains of historical significance that were previously recovered from Somerset County.


Dr. Kollmann will have the partial skull and a full skeleton, on loan from the Smithsonian, with her. This is a unique opportunity to see skeletal remains and to learn from a scientist who studies them.


The venue for the first session on Saturday, March 10, is Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Princess Anne, is also of historical significance. In 1884, members of Wesley Chapel, a local African American congregation, purchased the land on which the 18th century Somerset County jail once stood. The site was also the location where enslaved people were auctioned prior to the Civil War. By 1886, the Gothic Revival brick church was built on the site, reclaiming the space. It’s a powerful story, and an effort to honor the remains of the people whose stories will be shared, a special musical selection will be sung by Dr. John Wesley Wright.


All series offerings are free and open to the public. Adults and students with an interest in local history, culture, and science are encouraged to attend.




Bone Biographies: Piecing Together Stories from Human Remains

March 10, 1-3 pm

Location: Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Princess Anne, MD

Presented in partnership with University of Maryland Eastern Shore


Oysters: From Abundance to Aquaculture

April 14, 1-3 pm

Location: J. Millard Tawes Museum, Crisfield, MD

Presented in partnership with Crisfield Heritage Foundation


Skipjacks: Past, Present & Future of the Fleet

May 12, 1-3 pm

Location: Rock Creek Church Hall & Skipjack Heritage Museum, Chance, MD

Presented in Partnership with Skipjack Heritage, Inc.


Each event will offer a chance for people to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Somerset County Historical Society and their partners.

Stories of Somerset is sponsored by the Somerset County Historical Society and funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. For more information, follow Somerset County Historical Society on Facebook, or email carriesamis@gmail.com.


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