Talbot County is the site of several of the oldest and most historic towns on the Eastern Shore and all of Maryland. The evolution of these towns over the past 350 years reflects patterns of development that characterized the region over this period of time. 

This course will focus on Talbot County’s five towns — Oxford, St. Michaels, Easton, Trappe, and Unionville — and highlight their importance in understanding the manner in which our region has grown and continues to evolve.

Over the course of three weeks, we will focus on the following towns:

Session 1: Oxford & St. Michaels – Two working-class watermen’s towns that ultimately evolve along very different pathways.

Session 2: Easton & Trappe – Two virtually landlocked towns whose patterns of development reflect the importance of political and economic choices. 

Session 3: Unionville – An all-Black town whose growth and decline epitomizes the dynamics of race over the past 150 years.

What to Expect:  Participants in the course will come to understand that the evolution of the five towns under discussion, and by extension Talbot County as a whole, is the result of conscious decisions made by residents. Strikingly different choices were made in each of the five towns under discussion, and when combined with geographic influences, resulted in divergent patterns of development. Put simply, choices matter, as each of these five towns continue to illustrate today.

3 Session Recording | No Charge 


William Messner, Ph.D.

Bill Messner: A historian by training, Bill served as the president of three higher education institutions over a 30-year period. Since retiring to the Eastern Shore, he has delved into the history of the region and published a series of journal articles regarding the African American population and its path from slavery to freedom in the latter part of the 19th century.

Share this course
Related Courses You Might Enjoy
epidemics in md

Katherine Marconi, Ph.D., MS.


Hans Kuschnerus

It is said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Are we ignoring obvious parallels from the past? Discussions will focus on present United States attitudes towards ‘political enemies.’
peculiar instititution

Linda Earls

Trace the lives and journey of Eastern Shore slaves in the time of Frederick Douglass.