Updated 9/12/11

In Podcast #47 the Trekkers take you to Tangier Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.  Explore this amazing island that has been inhabited since 1686; find out how it played an important part in the events that lead to our National Anthem; go along on a crabbing expedition with the mayor of Tangier; discover why the island is shrinking, not only in size but in population; hear the unique accent they speak with due to their isolation in the past; see what it’s like to spend the night in the museum; and even attend the Tangier School Prom!  Come on, let’s go trekking!

Most of the residents of Tangier Island belong to the Methodist church, thanks largely to the influence of a famous eastern shore preacher named John Thomas, “The Parson of the Islands.”  He was born in 1776 near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. In the summer of 1805 he attended a Methodist camp meeting in Pungoteague and heard a powerful message.  It was then that he decided to become a preacher. He traveled and held services on the different islands of the Chesapeake Bay including Tangier Island, Deal Island and Smith Island (both in Maryland).  He also helped build a Methodist camp on the southern end of Tangier Island.  Every summer from 1805 - 1857 people from all over the eastern shore would attend camp meetings here.  The British troops made their headquarters on this same end of the island during the War of 1812.  They asked Brother Thomas (as he was called) to give them a benediction before sailing off to attack Baltimore in 1814.  Over ten thousand troops lined up on the shore to hear his message.  But instead of blessing them, he said that God told him they would fail.  He was right!  The British were defeated!

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SOL Correlation:

VS.2 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by

  1. b)locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau;

  2. c)locating and identifying water features important to the early history of Virginia (Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River, York River, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and Lake Drummond and the Dismal Swamp);

2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.

2.7 The student will investigate and understand that weather and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.  Key concepts include b) weathering and erosion of the land surface.

3.10 The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species.  Key concepts include c) the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms; and

4.5 The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals in an ecosystem interact with one another and the nonliving environment.  Key concepts include f) influence of human activity on ecosystems.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources.  Key concepts include a) watershed and water resources;

5.7 The student will investigate and understand how the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include e) weathering and erosion; and

Coastal Plain