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Lancaster Community Library Update

September 17 – Library Plans Revealed

The Library purchased the old River Lanes building and will be renovating it as funding allows

The Library purchased the old River Lanes building and will be renovating it as funding allows










Dear Neighbors,

Have you been curious about how the library will fill all that space in the old bowling alley? Now is the chance to find out all the creative ways the library will use their building.

We would like to invite all Dymer Creek residents and friends to a get-together at their house on Wednesday, September 17 at 5:00 PM to hear about the plans for the new Lancaster County library.

Lindsy Gardner, Executive Director of the Library, will explain the details for renovating the former bowling alley, and she will be assisted by Marianne Henderson. Wine and cheese will be served.

Directions to the Smiths: Address: 177 Dawson Lane. From Kilmarnock, drive south on RT 3. At the turnoff for the hospital on the right (Harris Rd), turn left onto Simmons Lane. Turn at the next right ( Dawson Lane). The Smiths’ house is the third on the left. (Their telephone number is 703-209-8068 in case you get lost.) Here is a link to a Google map to help.

Best regards,

Carl and Wendy Smith

Oyster Stew, J & W Seafood, Deltaville

3 T   butter
                                                      1 C  milk
1  clove garlic, sliced
                                     1/2 C  half-and-half cream
1/2 t  salt
                                                         1 pint  fresh shucked oysters
1/8 t   ground white pepper                         2 T  chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 pinch  cayenne pepper (optional)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and pepper; cook and stir until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and half-and-half, and transfer to the top of a double boiler. If you do not have one, set the pan of soup over a pan of simmering water.

When the milk is hot, add the oysters and heat just until the oysters are opaque. Do not allow to boil. Season with fresh parsley, cayenne pepper.

Oyster Stew

Raw oysters have a protein content of about 9 percent and a fat content of less than 2 percent. One-half pound of raw oysters contains about 150 calories.

Virginia Saltwater Fishing License








Anglers ages 16 to 64 need a license to fish* in our local waters. If you are 65 and over you do not need a license but you must enroll in the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) FishLittleCatch(read more on FIP here).

The cost for a resident to purchase a license is $17.50.

The cost for license a boat (valid for all anglers on the boat) is $48.00.

There are lifetime passes and short-term licenses, and more details can be found here.

You do NOT need a license if you:

  • Are fishing from your private property/pier (including your guests)
  • Have a reciprocal fishing license from Maryland
  • Are on a private boat with a boat licenseFishing Pier at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
  • Are fishing from a licensed headboat, charterboat or public pier



Where to purchase a license

Apply online through the website here.

Call 1-866-721-6911 (available Monday – Friday)

In person at a local, licensed agent, listed in the following chart.










*the license is for recreational, non-commercial use of a rod-and-reel (hook and line), handline, spear or gig, cast net, or up to two eel pot in Virginia’s tidal saltwater areas including the Atlantic Ocean out to the three mile limit.

Virginia Boating Education Requirement



In 2007 Virginia established a boating safety education compliance requirement. The requirement is being phased-in over several years and applies to all Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators (“jet skis”) and operators of boats with motors of 10 hp and greater (including sailboats).

The schedule for compliance is as follows:

  • July 1, 2014    Age 45 and younger
  • July 1, 2015    Age 50 and younger
  • July 1, 2016:   All boaters
  • All PWC operators (a person must be 14 years or older to operate a PWC)

To be in compliance you must pass an approved boating safety course.  Check this link for information about classroom and approved online options.

Dave Herndon, a Dymer resident and boating safety authority, has identified local course options:

1.   A free Boating Education Course from the local flotilla of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGAux). Information on local courses can be found online here.  The Local (Kilmarnock area) CG Auxiliary Flotilla (Flotilla 33) website is hereWalter Montross is the Flotilla 33 Public Education Staff Officer and can set you up for a boating class in the Kilmarnock area.  Walter’s contact information is Home Phone: 580-2250; Cell: 724-3454; Email:

2.  Another free Boating Education Course option is from a local squadron of the United States Power Squadron (USPS). These courses can be found online here.  The local Northern Neck Sail and Power Squadron (NNSPS) website is found hereDave Cook is the NNSPS Education Officer for boating safety courses in the Kilmarnock area and can set you up for a boating class.  Dave’s contact information is Home Phone: 438-6029; Email:

Once you complete a course, you do not have to “register” with the DGIF.  Keep your course completion paperwork onboard with you. You may purchase an optional Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card. This is a credit card style wallet card available for a $10.00 fee. Click here for more information.

If you are checked by the Virginia Marine Police and you are not in compliance the penalty is a $100 fine.



Pecan Turtles – Kathy Davidson, upper Dymer

These are fun and easy to make! PecanTurtles

1 1/2 C   pecans
8 oz        semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
12 oz      soft caramels

  1. Cover cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil
  2. Arrange pecans in clusters
  3. Place caramels in microwave bowl . If they are stiff a few drops of water may be added. Microwave until melted stirring every 20-30 sec.
  4. Use spoon to drop melted caramel over pecan clusters
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave stirring every 20-30 sec or so. You may add a drop or two of oil to make the chocolate easier to spread. NEVER add water to chocolate. Don’t over cook.
  6. Spoon melted chocolate over caramel layer.
  7. Put in the refrigerator for 30 min.
  8. Lick spoons! Yum!

Pecan season is coming…  October and November

The Capture of the Harriet De Ford, 1865

A steamer of the type of the Harriet De Ford

The events in this story began off of Windmill Point and ended at the head waters of Dymer Creek. This was the last, bold Confederate exploit on the Chesapeake Bay in the Civil War. Although a significant Confederate success, it was overshadowed by the assassination of President Lincoln and the surrender of the Confederacy.

In spring of 1865 General Robert E. Lee was searching for a way to provide his army with supplies. A proposal was presented to capture a steamer near the Northern Neck, unload the supplies, and move them to Petersburg under the direction of Colonel Mosby. Captain Thaddeus Fitzhugh was selected to head up this mission.

On March 31, 1865, under the cover of darkness, Captain Fitzhugh, and 29 men left Windmill Point in three open boats with sails and oars.  Near the mouth of the Potomac the winds and strong currents kept the party on shore – a three-day delay.


Cedar Point at the mouth of the Patuxent River

On April 3rd they were able to continue up the Bay to Cedar Point, where they hid. Captain Fitzhugh selected nine of his best men and headed for the wharf. Posing as wood choppers who wanted passage to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the group was able to gain passage on the Harriet De Ford.

Harriet deFord sketch1


The Harriet De Ford was less than a year old. She was a one-masted propeller-driven vessel, considered one of the fastest steamers on the Bay.

When the De Ford was five miles away from the dock, Fitzhugh took over the pilot house and signaled his men to secure all of the boat’s passengers and crew. The steamer returned to Fair Haven where Fitzhugh picked up the rest of his men. They cut the telegraph line, released the passengers, and headed down the Bay toward the Northern Neck.

Two days later Union Commander F.A. Parker, stationed at St. Mary’s, Maryland, was informed by a telegraph about the capture of the De Ford. Parker was instructed to “use your best exertions to recapture the steamer or overtake the rebel party”. Parker immediately set out with a fleet of ten gunboats.

Harriet deFord locationAfter learning of Lee’s defeat at Petersburg, Captain Fitzhugh turned the De Ford into Dymer Creek. His men, under the direction of Confederate Captain Henderson, unloaded the ship’s supplies plus some contraband, and headed with the goods to Kilmarnock where they sold what they could. The money was then to be sent to General Lee.

After unloading, the Confederate troops set fire to the De Ford. Around 4:00 PM Union gunboats were sighted coming up Dymer Creek. The Union gunboats at first headed for Indian Creek where they hoped to recapture the De Ford. When they learned that the De Ford was in fact in Dymer Creek they began to shell that shoreline from a distance to prevent counterattacks.

Residents along Dymer Creek thought it was the most exciting and perilous time of their lives. Many homes and outbuildings were shelled, causing residents to flee into nearby fields and ravines.

In 1996 Brainard Edmonds, 93, recorded this “second person” oral history about the shelling and burning of the steamboat Harriet De Ford on Dymer Creek as it was told to him by “Aunt Betsy” Brown, who was a 12-yr-old slave girl at the time of the attack. Credit: Steamboat Era Museum, Irvington, VA

Upon reaching the Harriet De Ford, union troops found that she was burned to the waterline. They finished her off by firing a large number of rounds into her. The residents of Kilmarnock returned the goods they had bought after being threatened with their lives.  On April 9, 1865, the same day that General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Captain Henderson was captured and sent to the prisoner-of-war camp at Point Lookout.

Harriet deFord report

And the fate of Captain Fitzhugh? On the April 16, 1865, he wrote his report outlining the attack. At that time he was in Fredericksburg. It is believed that he escaped the area and moved to Kansas, where died in the early 1900s.

Addendum: from a Comment August 23, 2014:

Very nice article. I am a great grandson of Thaddeus Fitzhugh and wanted to add some clarification to the statement, “It is believed that he [Thaddeus] escaped the area and moved to Kansas, where died in the early 1900s.” Thaddeus was placed under house arrest by the US government for a short time after the war and his signing the oath required of other confederate soldiers. After several years as a physician in Virginia, he lived in Indianapolis IN, Fort Worth TX, then Kansaa City until his death in 1914.  ~ Kirk Fitzhugh

Note from David Herndon: In the mid-1990′s, Dymer resident Jeff Chase found an unexploded artillery shell in his field at Chase Farm.  Explosive experts were brought in to detonate the shell.  The explosion was could be heard miles away.  It also shook the ground for at least a mile away.  The shell is believed to have come from the Union gunboats shelling the De Ford.  Many historians believe that this was the last naval battle of the civil war on the east coast.  Lee surrendered to Grant a few days after this naval action.  Contact Jeff Chase to get additional information on the artillery shell.  Contact Stuart Painter to obtain information on the exact location of the sunken Harriet De Ford. Stuart found some of the ribs of the vessel in the mud near his home.

[Many thanks to the students at Lancaster High School and to the Steamboat Era Museum for the research and artwork that went into this article. More stories can be found on the Museum’s website]

Addendum from Dymer resident Mickey Kendrick,  September 5, 2014

Joy:  That’s really cool having the Confederate capture of the Yankee ship Harriet DeFord on the DCEPA web page.  Stuart (Painter, resident of Dymer Creek) gave me the file that he has on this, including a number of military telegrams that were sent regarding the engagement.

Some of the information on our web is not quite accurate.  As an example, it was not Colonel Mosby who transported the goods off the DeFord but a Major Robinson of the quartermaster’s department who handle that part of the operation.

In addition, the telegrams provide some interesting stories where private land owners asked Union naval officer Lt. Cmdr. Edward Hooker not to bombard his house. Hooker agreed but he told the owner:

“You will distinctly understand, however, that when scoundrels commit depredations innocent people are liable to be made to suffer and that when Fitzhugh and other rascals of his stamp get the opportunity to bring Federal vengeance upon innocent persons they are only too greatly rejoiced to do so, hoping thereby to alienate some neutral-minded persons from the old flag.  If necessity requires that I should punish a community, I shall do so without regard to age or sex or any other consideration.”
~ Mickey Kendrick

Crabbing in Virgina Tidal Waters

Charles Napier Hemy – The Crab Pots, 1904

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission regulates crabbing for recreational and commercial purposes. You can find all the details at this link, but the following is a brief summary for the casual crabber along Dymer Creek.

First, you are EXEMPT from any cCatching Crabs from the Dockrabbing license requirement if you have only two crab pots. You can harvest as much as one bushel of hard crabs and two dozen peeler crabs in any one day for personal use.

Second, if you like to harvest peelers (see definitions below) you are EXEMPT for one tank or float no greater than 4 ft x 8 ft  for shedding crabs for personal use.Measure a Crab


Minimum size limits:  5 inches for male hard crabs and immature female hard crabs.
No size limits exist for adult female hard crabs.

Each crab pot must have at least four unobstructed cull rings of at least 1-1/2 inch inside diameter, located two each under water in the lower portion of two opposite side panels (perpendicular to the shoreline). Most places in this area sell the right kind, but old pots may be short one cull ring. Vinyl coating on the wire helps prolong the life of the crab pot. J & W Seafood in Deltaville sells good crab pots at a good price.

Recreational Gear License

If you want to use up to 5 crab pots, you need a Recreational Gear License – and there are some restrictions.

  • The annual license fee for up to 5 recreational crab pots is $36.00
  • Any person licensed to use a recreational crab pound/trap is now limited to one bushel hard crabs and two dozen peeler crabs in any one day for personal use
  • The season for the Recreational Gear License, up to 5 crab pots, is June 1 through September 15
  • You cannot leave any hard crab pot or peeler pot in any Virginia tidal waters from December 1 through March 16  – this applies to exempt crabbers as well.

Check at the local VMRC field office for how to acquire a recreational crab pot license, and for updates on fees and restrictions:

Northern Area Office
(804) 580-2901
E-mail:  Captain Jim Rose (

6495 Northumberland Highway (street address)
P.O. Box 117 (mailing address)
Heathsville, VA 22473

Mondays & Wednesdays      8:00 A.M. – 12:00 noon & 1 – 4 P.M.
Fridays      8:00 A.M. – 12:00 noon


These come in especially handy when trying to find the right bathroom in local restaurants.

”Jimmy” means a male hard crab with a narrow apron on the abdomen.

Sook” means a mature female hard crab with a semicircular apron.

She-crab” means an immature female hard crab with a triangular apron.

Sponge crab” means an adult female hard crab which has extruded her eggs on the abdomen or abdominal flap.  The egg mass or “Sponge” may contain about 2 million eggs.

Peeler crab” means any crab with a soft shell fully developed under the hard shell.  A white, pink, or red line on the outer section of the “backfin” is an indicator.

Backfin” means the last leg of the crab, flattened to aid in swimming.  Also known as the swimmer or paddle fin.

Buster” means a crab that has begun to back out of its old shell.

Softshell crab” means a crab which has recently emerged from its old shell.  The new shell is soft and tender.

Papershell” means a softshell crab whose shell has begun to harden.  The shell stiffens and becomes tougher – usually within 12 hours after shedding the old shell.

Doubler” means a male crab carrying a female crab prior to or after mating.  Usually the females are peelers or softshells.


Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP)

FIP-logoThe Virginia Marine Resources Commission administers a program of mandatory registration for saltwater fishing. This program, called FIP, began in January 2011 and is part of a nationwide effort to collect contact information annually for everyone who fishes recreationally in the country’s saltwaters.

NOTE:  if you have an annual Virginia saltwater fishing license of any type, or an annual Potomac River Fisheries Sport Fishing License, you DO NOT have to register with the state FIP. You will be automatically registered when you buy a license and give your contact information.

Bottom line: if you are over 16 and drop a line in saltwater, you need to be registered.


According to their website

“Having an accurate Virginia “phone book” of all recreational saltwater anglers will provide a better picture of how many people go fishing and what they catch. This will result in a better understanding of the impact of recreational fishing on fish stocks, and will lead to better fishery management decisions to create and maintain sustainable saltwater fisheries.  Hundreds of thousands of Virginians are exempt by law from having to buy a saltwater fishing license. Without their contact information, there is no way to do more than make an educated guess how often they go fishing and how many fish they catch. That’s a problem. Bottom line: This registration program will help us to ensure fish are out there to catch when you, your children or grandchildren go fishing.  Besides, this free program exempts all Virginia anglers from having to register with the federal saltwater fishing registry, known as the National Saltwater Angler Registry, and pay a federal registration charge every year.” (emphasis added).


Go online here to fill out the form and register. It’s free.

What then?

“Take a number…”    If you register online, print out the final form that shows your registration information and your FIP number.  Otherwise, just write down the number and keep it with you when you go fishing.  Everyone gets a unique, counterfeit-proof number.

July 4th Fireworks – Dave Herndon, upper Dymer

Tabbs Creeks Annual Independence Day Fireworks Display begins around 9:00 PM (sunset is at 8:30 pm and last light is at 9:01 pm).

The best location to watch this fireworks show is in Tabbs Creek, near the fireworks original point. There are no public land locations in Tabbs Creek to watch this show and all non-Tabbs Creek residents desiring to see the fireworks from Tabbs Creek must come and watch by boat. Many boats enter Tabbs Creek every year and anchor near the origination point to watch the show.  If you are not familiar navigating into Tabbs Creek, it is highly recommended that you cruise into Tabbs Creek during daylight hours before the fourth and learn the entrance channel and creek.  The channel from Fleets Bay into the entrance of Tabbs Creek (just to the south of the entrance to Dymer Creek) is very narrow.  However this channel is deep (over 6 feet), has just been dredged, and is well marked with Aids to Navigation (not shown on local charts).

Alternate Dymer Creek Viewing Locations: For those who are unable to boat into Tabbs Creek to watch the fireworks show, there are several places in Dymer Creek that normally offer a partial view of these Tabbs Creek fireworks.  These Dymer Creek locations include:

  • Ashley’s Cove: vessels anchored in the southern part of the cove will have fair view of the higher-shooting fireworks looking to the southwest.
  • Homes on the northern side of Dymer Creek from around Johnsons Cove to the west to Lees Cove to the east and boats anchored in the middle of Dymer Creek in this same area should be able to see some of the higher-shooting fireworks.  The fireworks will be seen looking to the southwest.