is a town in Dorchester County
, United States
. The population was 85 at the 2000 census.
Church Creek is located at (38.505300, -76.154367). The town is located at the head of the Church Creek river, a tributary of Little Choptank River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²), all of it land.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 85 people, 41 households, and 25 families residing in the town. The population density
was 271.4 people per square mile (105.9/km²). There were 45 housing units at an average density of 143.7/sq mi (56.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 100.00% White
There were 41 households out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.8% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.69.
In the town the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 1.2% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 24.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $25,750, and the median income for a family was $26,875. Males had a median income of $21,250 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,700. None of the population and none of the families were below the poverty line.
The exact origins of Church Creek remain unclear. Popular tradition maintains that Church Creek predates Cambridge, Maryland
as the earliest settlement in Dorchester County, first established at some point before 1684 under the name Dorchester Town and then White Haven. However the accuracy of this claim has been disputed by historian Elias Jones, who found no indication of land sales in the area before 1700 in County Land Records. Both the town and river of Church Creek derive their name from the nearby Episcopalian church, now known as Old Trinity Church, built between 1686 and 1692. In 1867, Church Creek officially became the forty-second Incorporated town
in Maryland, and remains one of the one-hundred and twenty-three such towns today. In 1975, the town adopted its first municipal tax in order to qualify for state tax grants and federal revenue-sharing.
The first major industry in Church Creek was shipbuilding, established at some point before 1767, which took advantage of surrounding forests plentiful with white oak and pine. As a result, the population of the town grew during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1860 census recorded two-hundred and eighteen families and one-thousand one-hundred and three residents, of which 51 percent were occupied as “laborers” and 26 percent occupied as “farmers”. Towards the end of the 19th century, a dearth of timber resources due to regional deforestation and a downturn in the wooden shipbuilding industry greatly impacted the industrial prosperity of Church Creek, and the population subsequently declined. The economy of Church Creek has also historically benefited from human traffic resulting from the town’s location, which is situated at the crossroads of Taylor’s Island Road (Route 16) and Church Creek-Golden Hill Road (Route 335). During the first half of the twentieth century, the residents of Church Creek maintained eight or nine general stores. Nonetheless, the continued decline of Church Creek’s economic prosperity during the second half of the twentieth century has been mirrored by its decreasing population. According the United States Census Records, the town contained one-hundred and eighty-seven people in 1950 and just one-hundred and fifteen in 1990.
African American Education During Reconstruction
The town of Church Creek also played a role in the advancement of state-sponsored African American education during the Reconstruction
. Despite the Public Instruction Act of 1865, which earmarked public funds for the education of African American students, Maryland county and city school boards refused to distribute the allocated money for the building and maintenance of African American schools. Instead, private organizations such as the American Missionary Association
spearheaded the raising and allocation of money throughout Maryland. The fifth African American County school was established in Church Creek on September 27th, 1865 under the care of Mary S. Osbourne with a total enrollment of thirty-two students. The County schools quickly encountered protest from local residents and, occasionally, violence. In October and November of 1865, arsonists destroyed African American schools in Millington, Edesville and Kent County. Though the school at Church Creek was not attacked, it did encounter local antagonism. In December of 1865, a group of Church Creek residents held an “indignation meeting” to organize and communicate their opposition to the African American school and its teacher, Mary S. Osbourne. However, the Church Creek school for African American students continued to operate successfully throughout the 1865-66 school year. As teacher Mary S. Osbourne reported: “One class of six knew the alphabet but could not read at all; now they read well, as far as First Step No. 12 on the Chart…A class of seven read well in the First Reader, and are to commence Arithmetic at once. Another… [is] using the Third Reader and studying Geography.”