Bestpitch Ferry Bridge
“Marshland Secrets to Escape”
This historic wooden bridge over the Transquaking River provides a view of Dorchester County marshlands. In this countryside, knowledgeable local people could hide for days, even weeks, and follow the waterways north toward Caroline County and freedom. Bestpitch Ferry Bridge is located at the site of a former ferry.
The Blackwater and Transquaking Rivers and their estuaries provided opportunities for local residents to hunt, fish and gather food for survival. Abundant fish and fowl live and breed in these waters, and many small and larger animals, including muskrats, rabbits, squirrels and deer live in nearby marshes and woods. Nuts, berries and a variety of roots and herbs round out the possible food and medicinal supplements available to 19th century residents.
Waterways were also home to many free and enslaved African-American watermen. They operated ferry crossings throughout the region, transported agricultural and timber products on rafts and vessels along the region’s many rivers, and they crewed many merchant, fishing and passenger vessels throughout the Chesapeake and beyond. This provided opportunities for self-emancipators to hitch an occasional ride or stow away in the holds of ships and sail away to freedom. Some followed the shorelines of rivers they knew to flow from the north or northeast. Following the Transquaking north could provide freedom seekers a northerly route to the East New Market area and Underground Railroad connections in that region. Even bridge keepers could provide aid to freedom seekers trying to cross rivers, streams and millponds.
GPS Coordinates: 38.417229,-75.992767