Historical Society Hosts Talk on Kent County Environmental History

Historical-Society-of-Kent-CountyHistorical Society Hosts Talk on Kent County Environmental History 

The Historical Society of Kent County will host a talk by Kathy Thornton to launch the exhibition “Where the Water Meets the Land: An Environmental History of Kent County from 1680-1860” on April 2 at 7 p.m. in the Bordley History Center. Thornton, who works as the Program and Intern Coordinator at Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society, will address local history through the lenses of her undergraduate thesis research in environmental studies, history, and biology completed while attending Washington College.

Environmental history offers a fresh perspective on historical events and a tangible means for understanding the history of an area. Kent County, Maryland offers a prime example of environmental history because many of the estate houses have remained within the same family ownership and much of the land has remained in agricultural production. Kent County’s history can be studied in relation to three phases: tobacco, wheat, and diversified agriculture.

Thornton’s research explores factors that drove shifts in agriculture over time such as the economic market, soil quality, and political and social events. Shipbuilding, the Chester River, and the Chesapeake Bay tie all of these agricultural phases together with the use of the land and river. “Where the Water Meets the Land” brings together newspapers, wills, inventories, and chattel records, as well as studies of environmental history, colonial history, and ecology to illustrate how people and the landscape and waterways of Kent County shaped each other.