Automobile Tales

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After World War I, the days of the horse and buggy on the shore were numbered.

Although automobiles were extremely rare on the Peninsula in 1899, the Democrat News in Cambridge examined the economics of owning one of the machines.  Such a modern contraption, driven by electricity or gasoline, would cost $133 per year per year or less, while a two horse wagon and team cost over $500.  Clearly the difference was in favor of the auto, but it wasn’t going to be too long before the autos lessened the demand for horses, which would result in “a decrease in the price of the noble animals” the editor wrote.   

That same year the first one appeared in Kent County.  It had come to Chestertown in celebration of the unveiling of the fountain in the town square.  The second automobile carriage visited there in 1901 when a patent medicine man came to town. 

A decade later, the appearance of the machines was more common, but still in the rural areas few farmers had them.  But one day in 1911, as the sun was settling on the tiny Dorchester County village of Lloyds residents noticed dust curling up above the trees off in the distance and by its motion they knew it was moving quickly toward the tiny village.  It wasn’t too long before they discovered it was an automobile and by its speed they decided someone, perhaps a speedster from Cambridge, was trying to make a record run.  However, before long they were surprized to discover an old friend and neighbor T. B. Travers sitting calmly at the wheel as if he was “driving old Nellie.”  He was alone in his big machine.  After everyone caught their breath,, someone cracked “watch him climb a tree when he turns at Morris Neck.”   He didn’t have a problem though for he made the turn safely and traveled on home.

The auto age was underway on the Shore.

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