Tangier Island: A Chesapeake Bay Island
Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts, Transportaton to Tangier Island, Tangier Island Cruises, Sunset Tours, Eco Tours, Restaurants, History, and more......
Tangier Island History

Life on the Chesapeake Bay according to a Tangier Island waterman, "It is not an easy way of life. In fact, it is a true labor of love. Commercial fishing and crabbing for the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is physical and demanding, but it is the love for the Chesapeake Bay, its wildlife, and its beauty that makes it worth all the aches and pains we live with each day".

Tangier is an island with deep historical roots. Since 1608, Tangier Island thru the centuries have historical events that have been a vitual part of the history of our United States
                                               Tangier History Museum

Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts

Tangier Island Restaurants

Tangier Island Transportation

Click Here for Tangier Island Information Visit us again soon for additional information on Tangier Island, until then contact us direct for information regarding Tangier Island:Transportation to the island, Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts - Accommodations and Lodging, Restaurants, Eco Tours, Tangier Island Sunset Tours, anything in general, Click Above.
Tangier Island Guide
Tangier Island: A Chesapeake Bay Island
Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts, Tangier Island Transportation, Tangier Island Cruises, Sunset Tours, Eco Tours, Restaurants, History, and more......
Tangier Island 
Water Trails
Tangier Island, A Chesapeake Bay Adventure
Tangier Island Transportation
Joyce Marie II - Onancock, Virginia
Steven Thomas, Crisfield, Md
Chesapeake Breeze, Reedville, Va.
Chesapeake Bay Eagle Crisfield Md
Sharon Kay III, Crisfield, Md.

Tangier Island Restaurants
Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House
Fishermans Corner
Lorraine's on Tangier
Waterfront Restaurant

Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts
Aunt Ruth's Place - Vacation Rental
Hilda Crockett's 
Chesapeake House BB
Bay View Inn Bed and Breakfast
Sunset Inn Bed and Breakfast

Tangier Island -  Parks Marina

Tangier Island Buggy Tours

Chesapeake Bay Crab Shanky 

Tangier Island Eco Tours, Sunset Tours, Crabbing, or

Southern Living Magazine - May 2005
Tangier Island Recipes
Tangier Island Real Estate
Tangier Island Real Estate
For Your Convenience
Eastern Shore of Virginia 
Real Estate
Mason-Davis, Weichert Realtors

Bike Rentals provided by the Waterfront Restaurant

Tangier Island Tours provided by the Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House

Golf Cart Rentals offered by
the Sunset Inn Bed and Breakfast

Visit us again soon for additional information on Tangier Island, until then contact us direct for information regarding Tangier Island: Transportation to the island, Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts - Accommodations and Lodging, Restaurants, Eco Tours, Tangier Island Sunset Tours, anything in general, Click Here.
Chesapeake Bay Charter Fishing, Sunset Cruises, Outdoor Adventures
Upon arriving on Tangier Island, enjoy an afternoon of days gone by............
Return to Top

Tangier Island History

                 In the summer of 1608 John Smith started out on an exploration trip of the
                    Chesapeake Bay. He traveled from Cape Charles and went up the bay to the
                    Potomac River and went up as far as present day Washington D. C. and back
                    down to Jamestown. It was actually two trips for at one point he was very badly
                    hurt by a stingray and had to return to Jamestown to be treated. It was during
                    these two voyages, while looking for fresh water that he came across a group of
                    islands in the middle of the bay. He named them the "Russell Isles," for a Doctor
                    Russell who was then on board ship with him. 
                    This group is today what is known as Smiths, Tangier and Watts Islands.
                    Tangier Island is about 6 miles below the Maryland-Virginia State line and at one
                    point all the islands below the state line were known as the "Tangier Islands" in
                    Virginia’s records. These, among others, included Shanks, Old Walnut Island,
                    Piney Island, Queen’s Ridge, Horse Hummock, South Point, and Hog Neck. The
                    latter three being attached to the lower part of Smith’s Island in Maryland. The
                    "s" was probably lost sometime after 1880 when erosion took its toll on these
                    islands and the inhabitants moved to Crisfield MD, Onancock Va or Tangier
                    Island itself.    At that time what we now know as Tangier Island consisted of six
                    ridges or long narrow areas of land rising slightly above the marsh of which
                    three are inhabited today. Main Ridge is today the center of town. The old
                    church was in the same location as the present one on the northern end of this
                    ridge and the land south of it was called "The Field." At one time it was planted
                    with corn. Canton is the ridge just to the east of Main Ridge and is connected by
                    a bridge. It was on this ridge the first settlement was made and for a while was
                    more populated that Main Ridge. It is generally believed that the homes of the
                    early fishermen were here while the other ridges were used for farming. West
                    Ridge is about a mile long. In recent times a sea wall was erected and it has a
                    small airport or airpark on it. 
                    Oyster Creek Ridge or what remains of this has long been abandoned. Joshua
                    Thomas’ son, John ran the first store on the island here. Canaan or "The
                    Up’ards" is about a mile and a half above the others and although at one time it
                    was connected to Main Ridge by a roadway it became unreachable by land
                    around 1923 and has not been inhabited since 1928. East Point Ridge was a
                    very small ridge to the northeast of Canton. It was abandoned in approximately
                    1905, shortly after the houses on it burned. 
                    In 1670 Ambrose White received a patent for 400 acres called an Island in the
                    Chesapeake Bay. the next year White assigned his patent to Charles and John
                    West. In 1673 William Walton was granted 400 acres on the western island which
                    was formerly patented by White. There is a similar entry in the patent book three
                    years later but Scarburgh and West were the recipients instead of Walton and in
                    1678 a formal patent was issued to both of them. Charles Scarburgh left his
                    interest to his wife Elizabeth in 1702 and John West’s interest went to his eldest
                    son a year later. In 1713 two patents were granted to Elizabeth Scarburgh and
                    Anthony West for Tangier Islands. One was for 900 acres which included the
                    original 400 acres and 500 acres more found within its bounds. The other grant
                    was for 170 acres of new land south of Tangier called "Sandy Beach Island"
                    which was probably the hook shaped part that is now attached to the main of
                    the island. This was the first time Tangier Islands was named in the records.
                    Although Elizabeth Scarburgh left her interest to her daughters, some how the
                    title went to her oldest son, Bennett. It then passed to Henry Scarburgh and then
                    to a Charles Scarburgh. In 1762 Charles Scarburgh confirmed an undeeded sale
                    of his half to Colonel Thomas Hall. The next year Hall sold this to William
                    Andrews as 475 acres. 
                    Tradition states that Tangier was first settled by a John Crockett and his eight
                    sons in 1686, who had come to the island to tend cattle, but nothing has been
                    found to verify this. The first Crockett of record on Tangier was Joseph, the son
                    of Sampson and the grandson of John Tyler of Smith’s Island MD. It was this
                    Joseph who bought 475 acres of the Andrews land in 1778. It does not seem
                    likely that Joseph tended cattle at all for he was left a inheritance by his
                    grandfather John Tyler, was bound to his uncle Thomas Tyler to be a weaver
                    and learn his numbers, lived on Smith’s Island MD with his uncle until about
                    1744, was made constable of "Tangier Islands" in 1763 and was given all of
                    "South Point" by John Fish in his will of 4 April 1765. It was not likely that a man
                    of some means would be tending cattle. By 1799 the West part of the patent had
                    descended down to a John West who in this year left his interest to his son
                    Anthony, who was to complete an unrecorded deed for 100 acres to Joseph’s
                    son John and the remainder was to be sold. Joshua Thomas, who was raised
                    on Smith’s Island, living with his cousin David Tyler there and had married
                    Rachel Evans, the daughter of Richard, bought 75 acres of it. 
                    The 1800 census of Accomack County showed that there were 79 people on the
                    "Tangier Islands," most of which were Crocketts or descendants of Crocketts.
                    Farming was their chief occupation. By 1880 the population was 589 and by
                    1900 there were 1064 inhabitants. The population increased slowly between
                    1800 and 1850, and then rapidly until 1900. 
                    In 1805 an event happened that had a great impact on the life on Tangier, the
                    Chesapeake Bay and Joshua Thomas in general. The number of Methodist
                    followers had been growing since the close of the Revolutionary War and
                    Joshua Thomas was hired to carry some people to a Methodist camp meeting
                    on Pungoteague Creek. While there, he heard Lorenzo Dow, a very powerful
                    preacher speak and he along with others were converted. On arriving home he
                    arranged for a meeting to be called. And, so, the Methodist Church was
                    established on Tangier. The small Methodist society, led by Thomas until he
                    moved to Deal’s Island MD met in homes until 1835 when the first church was
                    built. A list of members in 1825 includes: Henry Crockett and Sally Crockett,
                    Priscilla Crockett, a widow, Zachariah and Polly Crockett, Daniel and Esther
                    Dise, Rhoda Parks, Babel and Nancy Paul, George and Leah Pruitt, John and
                    Elizabeth Thomas, and John and Anna Thomas. The church grew and
                    prospered and in 1856 the first Sunday school was established by Henry
                    Crockett and Kathryn Sturgis; children and adults attended. 
                    The War of 1812 did not have much effect on Tangier Island until 1813 when the
                    British extended their excursions up the Chesapeake Bay. By March of that year
                    the British had traveled up the Bay for about 180 miles. shortly after, they arrived
                    on Tangier Island. They had set up a number of water wells on the beach and
                    built several houses. They threw up breastworks and mounted a cannon on the
                    south end of the island adjacent to Joshua Thomas’ camp meeting grove and
                    also had plans to erect a hospital when summer came. At one point, about 1200
                    British soldiers must have been on the island. In Summer of 1813, the British
                   disembarked for their attack on Baltimore from Tangier Island. The commanding
                    officer asked Joshua Thomas to speak before they left and his sermon warned
                    of defeat. 
                    There have been four epidemics on Tangier. First, in 1866, came Asian cholera.
                    Along with this epidemic came a religious revival with repenting and praying
                    when the people started to die. Bodies were quickly buried, many of them in
                    their front yard and without stones, for there was as many as five adults dying at
                    a time. Both the Death Records of Accomack County and the dates on the
                    graves with stones show that the island was hardest hit in the month of October.
                    In the early 1870’s there was both tuberculosis and a measles epidemic and in
                    the 1880’s there was smallpox. 
                    Besides sickness, the weather can be and was harsh at times. There have been
                    many tropical storms and hurricanes to hit the island. One such storm in 1821
                    "The September Gust" swept over the island leaving great destruction. The
                    winters can also be especially hard. Almost once a year the Bay freezes making
                    travel to the mainland impossible for a few days and at least once a century the
                    freeze is so great that people walked on the ice to get supplies. Today supplies
                    are flown in. 
                    With the advent of the seafood market in the 1840’s the Chesapeake Bay
                    became alive with sailing ships that carried oysters and later crabs to major
                    cities such as Baltimore and New York. The people gradually stopped
                    harvesting the land and harvested the waters. With the coming of the railroad to
                    Crisfield MD, their water crop could be shipped farther and oystering and
                    crabbing became their main livelihood. Tangier Island today is a mixture of old
                    and new. The people still follow the water, and along with Smith’s Island MD,
                    other bayside communities, supply a great amount of the nation’s seafood. The
                    majority of the people still follow the Methodist Religion that Joshua Thomas
                    brought to the Island in 1805. And, today, like in 1800 the population is mainly
                    Crocketts and descendants of Crocketts. Return to Top

History Document used by exclusive permission of: Gail M. Walczyk, 
Peter's Row, 27 Thomas St., Coram, NY
Return Home

Contact Us
Return Home

1997-2010 All Rights Reserved