Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Boatyard Blog, where all things related to Chesapeake Bay Boats are discussed. Follow the Museum's progress on historic Chesapeake boat restoration projects, watch wooden boats being built from scratch in our Apprentice For a Day program, and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to give you the experience of Chesapeake Bay history while preserving traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building techniques. Make sure to join us as a follower of this blog so you will be notified of new posts, and make comments on anything you see on the blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From the archives: Todd Family Legacy Continues Aboard the Edna E. Lockwood

We have such a wealth of great stories in our archives that we wanted to share a few with you. This story is a bit long for a blog post, but worth the read!

Todd Family Legacy Continues Aboard the Edna E. Lockwood

by Tracey Munson 

Edna E. Lockwood
The Edna E. Lockwood under sail, circa 1967.

Pamela Todd Pitt of Cabin Creek, MD came to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for the first time this past March to do one thing—to set foot on the bugeye her father had skippered while she was growing up. Pam had only recently learned the bugeye was at the Museum, after seeing a newspaper story about a fir log being used to make a new boom for the historic sailing workboat. Pitt recalls thinking the Museum had a model or replica of the boat, not the fully restored bugeye as it stands today. So when the Museum’s shipwrights held out their hands on a mild, wintry day to help Pam onto the 54’8” Edna E. Lockwood, a silence permeated the air as she stepped aboard the bugeye’s deck.

“It was an emotional moment,”recalls Pitt. “I could just imagine dad being in the same place, climbing aboard the same deck and playing cards in the same cabin as I stood  on Edna. This has been such a great experience for me. It was like returning home in many ways.”

Todd Family
Reginald D. "Raggy" Todd with Reggie Jr., Glinda, Pam & Sandy. 1954
Pam’s father, Reginald D. “Raggy” Todd was the skipper aboard Edna from 1948 until the late 50s.
A 1958 article entitled “Oyster Dredgers Live on Hope” by Salisbury Times writer Dick Moore featured Raggy Todd’s service as a 33-year old dredge-boat captain and his work on Edna E. Lockwood, noting “ten tons of wood and rope and canvas answered almost delicately to his touch.”

With the help of midwife Mildred Clash Lake, Pam was born August 8, 1950 at the family’s home on Linden Avenue in Cambridge, MD, while her dad was out sailing on Edna. “Todd may have been seed oystering for the state, though that was more commonly done in the spring,” commented Museum Curator Pete Lesher. “With oyster dredging season beginning in November, he also may have been using Edna as a freight boat that August, carrying Eastern Shore-grown produce across the Chesapeake Bay.”

Pam's great-grandfather William Bradford,
wife Ida & baby Clarence.
Pam is one of four kids born to Raggy and Doris May Todd. Her siblings are Reginald Todd, Jr. of Federalsburg, MD; Glenda Wroten of Cambridge, MD; and Sandy Russell who lived in Seaford, DE, before she passed away several years ago. While none of the Todds continue working as watermen today, the family’s legacy runs deep in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Among many watermen in the family, Pam’s great grandfather William Bradford was the captain of the skipjack Agnes. He drowned on February 3, 1939, during a wild storm that came out of the fog along Chlora Point on the Choptank River. After skippering Edna, Raggy Todd continued working on the water on one boat or another for several years.

“It was a treat when bad weather hit and he couldn’t go out,” recalls Pitt. “Dad was all ours on those days, and we loved it when he drove us to school.”  When injuries sustained in a car accident stopped his work on the water, Raggy and his wife opened Doris May’s Restaurant on Cambridge’s Race Street in 1979. They ran the restaurant for 29 years until Doris May’s passing in 2008.

“She worked up until the day before she died,” recalls Pitt. Raggy, now 86, currently resides at Signature HealthCARE at Mallard Bay in Cambridge, MD, where he remains sharp and in good spirits. Since that initial visit to the Museum, Pamela and her husband Dennis have become members and visit often. The shipwrights working on Edna’s continued maintenance and restoration relish her visits also.

Pam Pitt recalls hearing stories from her
father about the days spent holed up in
small cabin, waiting for weather to break.
"He said they played a lot of cards." she recalls
while climbing the steps that once took her
father and his crew down below.
“A lot of people think the Museum is just about boats,” comments master shipwright Marc Barto. “But it’s really about the way people are connected to the Bay. It’s the stories like that of Pamela and her dad that make this place so meaningful to the visitors and members we serve. It inspires us every day to give our best work to the Museum.”

A nine-log bugeye, Edna was built in 1889 on Tilghman Island, MD by John B. Harrison. Harrison was 24 at the time, and Edna was the seventh of 18 bugeyes he was to build. Edna dredged for oysters before being acquired by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1973. She was dismantled down to her nine logs in 1975 and rebuilt over the next several years.

In 1994, Edna was declared a National Historic Landmark, and remains the queen of the Museum’s floating fleet, where she can be seen dockside alongside the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse.  She represents the last of more than 600 original historic bugeyes under sail, predating the Bay’s beloved fleet of skipjacks, another icon of days gone by.

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