1917 – KENT ISLAND vs. THE UNITED STATES

easternshorebrent

55Courtesy of Kent Island Heritage Society

It was one hundred years ago.

1917.

The end of summer.

Kent Island, like most of the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore, was still very rural, its sparse population living in close-to-the-soil agricultural communities based around family farms and country stores, or in rough-and-tumble watermen’s enclaves.

Most people didn’t own a car, a telephone, or an indoor bathroom.

The average national annual income was less than $1,000 per year. One in a thousand marriages ended in divorce. Life expectancy was 48 for men and 51 for women.

Prohibition loomed.

War was consuming most of the world around us, and that past April, the United States had joined the fight, the Great War, the global conflagration that would become forever known as the First World War.

One hundred years ago. 1917. End of summer.

That’s when Kent Island went into battle against their own federal government.

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