Where buyboats have worked, there we will go….


Heading down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Heading down the Dismal Swamp Canal

The F.D. Crockett has not merely been resting at the docks of the Deltaville Maritime Museum these past several years (since the last blog entry). While the museum has been undergoing its own restoration, the F.D. Crockett has been traveling the waters where she once would have  worked.  Along with the other buyboats in the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association, she has voyaged to not only the northern  reaches of the Chesapeake Bay, where she would have carried freight to Baltimore, and to the southern rivers where she would have also bought oysters and dredged crabs, but also  down the Dismal Swamp Canal to Elizabeth City and Manteo where she would have been laden with watermelon for the return voyage north.

Heading to the Albemarle

Heading to the Albemarle

This year we will again travel the length of the Bay, from Cape Charles VA to St. Michaels, MD.  We hope you can join us at one of the following ports. In the meantime, visit the Museum/Park for updates on on our past travels.    http://www.deltavillemuseum.com/

2016 Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association Cruise Schedule

Wednesday Aug 3rd  Northern boats gather at Tangier, Parks Marina,

Thursday-Sunday Aug. 4-7 Cape Charles Oyster Buy Boat Reunion and Shuck ‘n Suck at The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek.  More details  at http://www.theoysterfarmatkingscreek.com/

Monday 8th     Tangier, Parks Marina

Tuesday-Wednesday 9th 10th       Solomon’s Calvert Marine Museum http://www.calvertmarinemuseum.com/

Thursday-Sunday Aug 11-14       St Michaels, MD 12th Annual Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Homecoming and Rendezvous at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Waterman’s Appreciation Day on Sunday.  Details forthcoming. http://www.cbmm.org/

Monday Aug 15  Head home.












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In Every Cloud…..Thank you to maritime artist John Barber

F D Crockett John Barber Painting

A message from Museum Curator Raynell Smith:

Smoke was still rising from the ruins of the Deltaville Maritime Museum last July when offers of help began flooding in. One such call came from my old friend and one of Chesapeake Bay’s most renowned maritime artists, John Barber. John and his wife Kathy have long time ties to Deltaville and were horrified by the loss of our museum building and its contents.
Immediately after the fire, John was concerned about any of his prints that might have been lost in the fire. Subsequently he replaced our copy of “Moonlight Run” which had been severely damaged. When the true extent of the museum’s lost became apparent, John called back with an amazing offer. He would create an original painting on any subject of our choosing and allow us to make prints to raise funds to replace our lost exhibits.
Selecting a worthy subject for the main focus of the new painting was simple. To date the most ambitious project untaken by the Museum has been the restoration of the log bottom buyboat, the F.D. Crockett. From a rotting hulk (We have a picture of a tree growing out of her deck), the boat was transformed by John England and his crew of Crocketteers into one of the loveliest buyboats on Chesapeake Bay. Deciding on the other elements to be included was also straightforward. We wanted to locate the Crockett in Middlesex waters and what better way than to include a portrait of Stingray Point Lighthouse? The third subject of the painting, the steamer Piankatank, completes the painting’s connection to our area. The Piankatank, a coal burning steamer, was a well-known sight in Middlesex-instantly recognizable even from a distance by her long trail of smoke.
All winter John worked on the details, sending sketches out periodically for any editing and for our approval. The material John sent was exciting, but the full scope of his creation wasn’t apparent until he sent the finished image to us in full color. You must see the print in person to fully appreciate its vibrant colors and John’s marvelous attention to detail,- and you will have your chance on Memorial Day weekend.
On Saturday, May 25th, at 10 AM John and Kathy Barber will unveil, at the Deltaville Maritime Museum, the original painting- “F.D. Crockett and the Steamer Piankatank off Stingray Point” circa 1930-Chesapeake Bay. The public is cordially invited to come see the original painting and, at that time, to purchase a print in support of the museum rebuild. From 10-2, John will be at the Museum to meet and greet the public and to personalize Crockett prints.
Until the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, prints will be on sale at Nauti Nell’s. If, by some chance, you cannot attend the Memorial Day event, but want to have John personalize your Crockett print, I can arrange this on that day. Prices for the prints are: on paper, $195.00; remarqued on paper, $695.00 (Only a few remaining); and on canvas, $495.00. 5% sales tax must be added to the above amounts. A check made out to the Deltaville Maritime Museum is the preferred method of payment.  All profits from the sale of these prints will go to replace the museum exhibits.
Once again I would like to express our gratitude to John Barber for his unprecedented donation to help our museum.

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Traveling the Chesapeake: Tangier

Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association Reunion Tour: August 1-14, 2012

August 1, 2012 Deltaville to Tangier

The F.D. Crockett arrives at Tangier on the first day of the Buyboat Reunion Tour, joining buyboats from the southern and nothern fleets.

Approaching Milton Park’s Marina

11:30 am. Tangier is in sight. We rushed around this morning getting gear on board, but didn’t try for an early start as we were waiting for the Nellie Crockett (of Georgetown, originally of Deltaville) which was tied up in Jackson Creek, and the 55th Virginia, Bill Hight’s new boat (previously named the Twin Brothers). We left ahead of them a little after 9:00. The crew spent the morning stowing and swabbing–Gordon the decks and hold, me the galley and pilot house. The captain has been heading for the water tower of the island from our side of the bay. The air is warmer and damper now than it was earlier, though there was a foggy haze before we started off. Tangier brings happy memories and good times to look forward to–we are beginning to relax!

Buyboats Iva W., F.D.Crockett, and Propwash raft up at Parks Marina on Tangier Island

Milton Parks looks over the F.D. Crockett for the first time since her restoration. Milton knew her former captain “Pretty” Green when the boat was based in Poquoson and Hampton.

8:00 pm. All the boats coming to Tangier have arrived. Buyboats Propwash from Dumfries, VA, Samuel Bailey from Bushwood, MD, Dudley from Reedville, and deadrise Miss Trudy from Poquoson were waiting for us–we were joined by Nellie Crockett, 55th Virginia, and Muriel Eileen of Georgetown. We all are greeted by Cindy Wheatley, settle in, visit, and realize it is HOT. A discarded floor fan from Propwash makes our decks inviting for the visitors who don’t hesitate to clamber aboard all the boats. Iva W. arrives during dinner and rafts up next to us–there are a lot of buyboats at Milton Park’s Marina once again, but nothing like it used to be during the busy times. Visitors tell us stories of how they used to come to the piers and swim off of the buyboats when they were youngsters. Every resident here has some connection to the boats–either a parent or grandparent was a captain, or an uncle was a deckhand. Or in Milton’s case, he owned and captained the Irene Pearl. Milton comes aboard and tells stories to John and Larry Chowning—I ‘m not there at the time, which evidently makes the tales much more entertaining. Amazingly, as the sun sets and the cool breezes waft in, there are NO BUGS. We set up the portable AC anyway, to make sure it works.

Milton Parks poses at the wheel of the F.D. Crockett docked at his marina.

Evening Sky from Parks Marina

August 2

Larry Chowning shares his wisdom with the buyboat captains of the southern fleet in a pre-breakfast discussion.

9:00 pm. Breakfast on board, early, passing coffee to Propwash and 55th VA. We have discovered that the cushion in the pilot house is great for sitting, but hard for sleeping. John’s spot on the floor may be softer. I take a walk across the island to the point of the beach on the southernmost tip. The sand is covered with the menhaden that we saw floating as we neared the island yesterday. They don’t smell yet. I pass Larry Chowning and Gordon on my return–they walk as far as the beach will go. On board we set up the new displays about the museum fire and the F.D. Crockett and get lots of questions from the visitors who have come aboard the ferries from the mainlands. Some have come just for the buyboats, others feel lucky about the timing. John spends the day investigating the boats–especially the Dudley–spending hours in the engine room and looking through pictures of its working days. We take a quick trip to the island museum as the day cools off, then return to the docks as the skies start to cloud. In spite of the weather, Carol Moore picks up me and Logan and Dave Cantera for a trip to the Up’ards–the now eroded northernmost of the islands. Artifacts from the last 400 years are continually washed up on the banks, which now have only the private hunting camp of the island’s owner and the ghosts of original settlers, and sometimes the remnants of their graves. Among our finds are pieces of pottery and porcelain–from modern toilets, 1840’s steamboat china, Native American and early settler’s dinnerware. Broken bottletops and sea glass are the most common finds, though there are several baking powder bottles. Logan finds an ancient nail. We are so involved in our search that we don’t notice that the storm has gotten close, and make a fast, furious, and somewhat wet trip back in Carol’s fast little boat–a “Flare”– to the marina where Freddie Wheatley is steaming crabs, corn and Poquoson clams for our supper. We watch the worst of the storm go to the south-east as Cindy Lou brings out her Tangier Boiled Butter Icing  Layer Cake for dessert–supposedly a present for Captain John, but luckily for his health, something he is forced to share. Cindy is the most popular woman on the island, hands down. This is butter-vanilla fudge icing with delicious butter pound cake layers inbetween. There were supposed to be more layers, but Freddie said the puppy ate one of them. We try hard to believe him. This is way better than Smith Island cake.

Buyboat families gather for Tangier Island style steamed crabs and corn on the docks at Park’s Marina

August 3

Breakfast at Hilda Crockett’s, Cindy Lou helping out.

Our planned early start  is delayed by our scheduled afternoon arrival in Crisfield, which is only an hour and a half away. We all gorge on breakfast at Hilda Crockett’s B&B, with much discussion about whether the fried biscuits or the fried potatoes are the best. I notice on my walk afterwards that the osprey are “fishing” the menhaden-strewn beach and that the bunkers are starting to smell. We have more visitors on board the boat after the ferries arrive, many of them coming to wish us farewell. The breeze is moving closer to a wind, and we are glad we will be crossing Tangier Sound, and not the open bay, to get to Crisfield. We blow our whistles for departure at 1:30.

Buyboats heading into Tangier Sound, bound for Crisfield for the 2012 Reunion

Bill Hight’s 55th Virginia heads to Crisfield for the 2012 Reunion

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Off Voyaging

Voyage Sunrise

The sun rises over the bay during a voyage aboard the F.D. Crockett

Now, it’s not likely that we’ll get underway in time to see too many of these sunrises on this particular voyage. (This picture is from October in Poquoson 2010.) First of all, the humidity will be a “little” higher.  Then, herding 12 or 13 or more huge buyboat “cats” will be an interesting job for the Fleet Commanders, and we’re more likely to consider “early” as 9:00 am. But we can dream of rose and golden skies and bacon sizzling on the electric frypan while underway in the early morning. A Tangier breakfast like Cindy Lou Wheatley can cook.  And you can dream with us.  We’ll show you the realities when we get back.  We elected last night not to take a computer to keep you updated–we’re going to enjoy the trip and see you when we get back in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, we’ve been dealing with the realities of the fire as we have been loading the boat.  Water-check; food-check; bedding-check;  travel displays—- nope; t-shirts and merchandise for sale—-nope; museum information—–nope; our pink pig for the bow (the Crockett once carried pigs as cargo up the Pagan River to Smithfield-there was evidence of the pens in the hold.)——nope. It’s the way the little losses add up that get you. We’ve made some quick replacements this week, but it could be overwhelming if you thought about it. But that’s where everyone is, throughout the museum. So they stay busy.

We’re off on our voyage tomorrow, staying at former buyboat captain Milton Parks’ marina on Tangier for a couple of nights, then heading to Crisfield in parade with some of the other boats. Check out http://www.crisfieldevents.com/ for more information about the festivities. The Crockett is in a commercial!

Buyboats gather in Urbanna 2009

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Almost Ready to Cruise the Chesapeake

I’ve been emailing announcements when I post a blog, and I’m not always able to do that–to keep getting regular notifications of when I post, please choose to FOLLOW this blog using the button on the right.

John paints the name on the stern three days before our departure for the Buyboat Reunion Tour.

Gordon gives John some helpful suggestions.

We’ve been getting the F.D. Crockett ready for another voyage.  So, in all the hustle and bustle of the Museum’s monthly Farmer’s Market, I slipped away and washed windows on the F.D. Crockett.  John and the guys have been too busy to take pictures of their work ( John’s excuse–if we’re doing it, how can we take pictures of it? I guess he’s got a point), but they have added shelves and hooks to the galley, redone the windows, enlisted someone (ahem) to make curtains for the pilot house so the captain and his wife can sleep in it, AND added a head (with an interesting setup–keeping it a  workboat and saving the good space to show off the logs was not easy.) Thanks to wonderful donors Prewitt and Beth Scripps, we have beautiful new cushions to sleep on. Painting is always part of the program, and has included new lettering on both the stern and bow, thanks to stencils by Kaptain Krunch.  But with all the overwhelming-ness of the fire, it’s been difficult to concentrate on getting shipshape. We are scurrying now.

The pilot house has new cushions and curtains.

But ready or not, bright and early on Wednesday morning, August 1, we’re taking off for the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Homecoming Tour   with our first stop at Milton Park’s marina on Tangier Island. We’ll depart Tangier Friday morning, August 3 for Crisfield, where we will celebrate the Buyboat Reunion & Homecoming–sounds like Crisfield has some festivities planned. Sunday morning August 5 we’ll leave for Calvert Maritime Museum http://www.calvertmarinemuseum.com/ in Solomon’s Island, where where the F.D. Crockett will be reunited with the only other two remaining log buyboats on the bay, Calvert’s William B.Tennison, which is a converted bugeye, and the Old Point, which was built for power and was restored by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We’ll stay until Tuesday morning.    The boats will then head to the Annapolis Maritme Museum http://www.amaritime.org/ and the upper bay on August 7. We’ll be open for tours on the 8th and on  August 9 we go to the Chester River to stay in Langford Creek,  and on the 10th we visit Chestertown and overnight at Rolf’s Wharf. For the weekend we’ll head to the Pirates’ Celebration at Rock Hall http://www.rockhallpirates.com/. Monday morning August 13 we’ll either head home or head to Baltimore for a few days (if we are still ready for adventure–I’ll bet that depends on the weather!)

The Deltaville Maritime Museum burned down, and with it some of our treasures.  But the museum still exists-what’s important are the parts of the  museum we’ll carry with us: what the Boat Shop guys have going on under their workshed (they’ve already cut the boat models for next June’s First Grade Field Trip); what goes on in  our  programs, our events,  and our beautiful park; and what has happened and is happening in the  F.D.Crockett’s wonderful restoration–our living history. So the Deltaville Maritime Museum will see you on the Chesapeake–we’re still alive and well and ready to have you visit us.  http://www.deltavillemuseum.com/

For more information about the Reunion Tour, go to the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association’s website:   http://www.oysterbuyboats.com/cbbareuncruise2012.html

The F.D.Crockett at the 2012 Cape Charles Buyboat Reunion

F.D. Crockett 2012 Cruise Schedule-Buyboat Reunion Tour

 (Schedule may be adjusted for weather, time underway, and unforeseen circumstances .)

(1)   Tangier Island , VA.  August 1-3  Dock at Parks Marina. Boats from the Northern and Southern Fleets will gather prior to going to Crisfield. Arrive on August 1st, underway morning of August 3rd.

(2) Crisfield, MD. August 3-5 Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Homecoming   Schedule of events:                                                                                                                Friday, August 3- Arrive at Somers Cove Marina.                                              Saturday, August 4 –  10am to 4pm open boats to public, 12 noon to 4pm public crab feast                                                                                                                          Sunday, August 5,  Depart after breakfast at J Millard Tawes Historical Museum 

 (3) Solomons Island,MD,  August 5 – 7  Includes reunion of the 3 remaining log Buyboats at Calvert Marine Museum Home port of the log buyboat William B. Tennison

(4) Annapolis, MD,  August 7 –  9  Dock at the Annapolis Maritine Museum. Boats open to the public for tours on the 8th.

(5) Chester River, MD August 9 – 11                                                                             August 9 overnight  on the East Fork of Langford Creek at the home port of the East Hampton                                                                                                           August 10 – Buyboats will  tour Chestertown, MD                                               August 11  Overnight at Rolph’s Wharf  Marina the home port of the Oyster Buyboat Thomas J

(6) Rock Hall,  MD  August 11 – 12 Pirate’s Weekend. Festivities abound for the entire weekend. Home port of the  P.E. Pruitt

 (7) Baltimore,  MD  August 13   Dock at  Living Classrooms   OR           Underway for home ports if not going to Baltimore. 

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Symbolic of Loss

The beautiful painting by Kathleen Noffsinger that was featured at the F.D. Crockett’s Dedication was badly damaged in the fire. The lovely colors have been scorched, but her painting of the boat remains a majestic but tragic symbol of what has been lost.

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Surveying the Damage

Click on the first picture for a slide show—

These pictures are by Marge Goettle, who is in charge of the John A. Coe Library.  At some point in the future she will need help to salvage the many scrapbooks of the museum’s own history. The damage is overwhelming, but so many people are moving forward. Help will be needed, even if not right at this minute.  If you wish to volunteer to help, please email the museum with your contact information and the area in which you feel you can help (Library, office support, clean-up, grounds–you can be creative in your suggestions). Phones are working, but the office is overwhelmed with setting up new equipment–we had a donation of a new printer to help David Moran get started and they are working on setting up a used computer to get systems online.

Contact:    Deltaville Maritime Museum,  P.O. Box 466,  Deltaville, VA  23043                      804-776-7200                                  museumpark@verizon.net

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Message from the Museum

Command Central for the museum is an office trailer donated by Usry.

The Deltaville Maritime Museum would like to thank the hundreds of people who have contacted us over the past couple of days to show their support.  The response has been overwhelming and we are humbled by the outpouring of love.

The Museum Building, several one-of-kind historical artifacts and exhibits and our outdoor Exhibit Pavillion were completely destroyed in a dreadful fire on Wednesday, July 18. Luckily, no one was hurt or injured and we are truly thankful for this.  How the fire began is still a mystery but the museum is working with County and State officials to determine the cause.

The Museum intends to move forward and produce all of its scheduled 2012 outdoor events  including the Farmer’s Markets, Arts and Seafood Festival, Groovin’ in the Park concert series, Halloween Haunted Trail and others.

More than ever, the Deltaville Maritime Museum needs your help.

The Deltaville Maritime Museum is run completely on contributions and donations from our loyal members and community supporters.

We welcome any support you can offer and monetary donations are, no doubt, needed at this time.

We have also received numerous  offers of physical assistance. Your help will be invaluable with so many aspects of recovery, especially as we learn  the specifics of what needs to be done. If you would like to volunteer your assistance, please email the museum with your contact information and your areas of skill and interest.  There will be many jobs to do but not all of them need to be done right now.  We would love to be able to contact you when we can be specific with our needs.

Please contact:

Deltaville Maritime Museum, P.O. Box 466, Deltaville, VA 23043                     804-776-7200                             museumpark@verizon.net

Memberships and general donations can be made by cash, check or PayPal.

Checks may be made out to: Deltaville Maritime Museum                                                  and mailed to:                 P.O. Box 466, Deltaville, VA 23043

The new office will be operational this week.

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Determination and Debris

Fire and Floods don’t deter the fish fry!

Fire–Fish– and Flood!!! Nothing stops Billz Bistro’s Crew!!! In the shadow of the debris from the fire, with grounds flooded by the 4 inches of rain last night, the Bistro Crew cooked up their own storm.

The Fish Fry is meant to celebrate the families of the Family Boatbuilding Week as they race their completed boats and rejoice in their accomplishments–however, this time they had lost their boats and all their tools–but as one family said–they had the memories of what they had accomplished together that week.  They were joined by people from all over Middlesex County who came to support the museum.

It was particularly touching to see how many people came throughout the day  and said–we’ve just come to give a donation.  What generosity we saw today!! We know that the support of this community will help us rebuild. We look forward to seeing you all at the Farmer’s Market and Concert next weekend.

Thank you, all.       Please elect to follow the blog to get notified of new posts.

A Message from Bill Powell, Museum Events Coordinator:

Friends of the Museum,

By now, I am sure you all know about the loss by fire of the Museum building and Events Pavilion.

Just want to make sure you all know that we will rebuild, bigger and better, and, that all scheduled 2012 events will continue as planned.

We will forge on!!!

The torrential rains this past Saturday moved off just in time for an intrepid group of Bistrobunchers to man the pumps and pull off a tremendously successful scheduled Fish Fry from 11:30-1 this past Saturday.

The rains returned at 2pm, just as we finished up the cleanup.

Farmer’s Market and Groovin’ with B. J. Leiderman will continue next Saturday, July 28th, as planned.

The Waterfront Park facilities, Boat shop, Oar House, Bistro and Classroom are all operational.

The Museum temporary office should be online Monday, July 23, thanks to Usry, Inc., Wes Mallory, and our tremendously dedicated office manager, David Moran.


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Devastated by Fire

The WA Johns’ Boat Shed is in flames on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at the Deltaville Maritime Museum

Flames shoot from the roof of the Deltaville Maritime Museum

Firefighters from 5 local fire departments work to put out the blaze.

Please go to the website for the Southside Sentinel for additional information:


Tragically on the night of Wednesday, July 18, the main building and boat pavilion of the Deltaville Maritime Museum were destroyed by fire. All of the boats pierside, the Boatshop, and Billz Bistro were undamaged.

The fire was thought to have started in the WA Johns’ Boat Shed of unknown causes, possibly electrical, and spread to the main exhibit building when the roof collapsed. The museum building is completely devastated, as is the boat pavilion which contained the WA Johns log canoe and several other historic small boats. That afternoon museum volunteers and 8 families from all over were in the final stages of building Wright’s Skiffs during family boatbuilding week.The pavilion had been tidied and tools put away in preparation for the next two days of contruction, when neighbors reported flames.The families’ boats were also a total loss, changing what was soon to be a joyful celebration into devastation.


In the museum, there was slightly better news. (All is point of view, isn’t it?) While the building is totally destroyed, the firefighters were able to save a bunch of stuff from the office, including file cabinets, and some models and pictures and artifacts–we’ll see how much. Some items near the floor were protected by the wet insulation that fell from the ceiling. However, all the exhibits were destroyed. The museum building is a total loss. We are glad that some of the contents was saved. Luckily, many original photos, including those of the F.D. Crockett, were stored off-site. Volunteers have been rescuing boatbuilding tools and other items that were tucked away. Anyone want a fire sale tee-shirt?

We were glad to see that amazingly the painting of  the late friend and board member  John Coe that hung in the John A. Coe Memorial Library was pretty much untouched, as was a painting and model of his steel schooner “Mistress Quickly.” His library, however, did not fair so well, but hopefully we have preserved the archives which his endowment is helping to develop.
Everyone is devastated, but everyone is determined. While at  this point we are all still in shock,  offers of assistance have been pouring in, and we are immensely grateful and overwhelmed.  With your help we’ll be better than ever.

To support the Deltaville Maritime Museum’s rebuilding efforts after the tragic fire, please consider becoming a Member of the Museum or, if you prefer, you may make a general donation to the Museum.  Check the Museum’s website for information.  Mail donations to:  Deltaville Maritime Museum, P. O. Box  466, Deltaville, VA 23043.  http://www.deltavillemuseum.com/

Sentinel Website can be accessed at:


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