Caroline County, Maryland

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Caroline County, Maryland
The Caroline County Courthouse in July 2012
Flag of Caroline County, Maryland
Seal of Caroline County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Caroline County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the United States highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1774
Named for Caroline Eden
Seat Denton
Largest town Denton
 • Total 326 sq mi (844 km2)
 • Land 319 sq mi (826 km2)
 • Water 6.5 sq mi (17 km2), 2.0%
 • (2010) 33,066
 • Density 104/sq mi (40/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Coordinates: 38°52′N 75°49′W / 38.867°N 75.817°W / 38.867; -75.817

Caroline County is a rural county located in the U.S. state of Maryland on its Eastern Shore. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,066.[1] Its county seat is Denton.[2][3]

Caroline County is bordered by Queen Anne's County to the north, Talbot County to the west, Dorchester County to the south, Kent County, Delaware, to the east, and Sussex County, Delaware, to the southeast.[4]


Caroline County was created in 1774[5] from parts of Dorchester and Queen Anne's counties. The county derives its name from Lady Caroline Eden, wife of Maryland's last colonial governor, Robert Eden.[6] At the time of its creation, seven commissioners were appointed: Charles Dickinson, Benson Stainton, Thomas White, William Haskins, Richard Mason, Joshua Clark, and Nathaniel Potter. These men bought 4 acres (1.6 ha) of land at Pig Point (now Denton) on which to build a courthouse and jail.[7]

Until the completion of these buildings, court was held at Melvill's Warehouse, approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) above Pig Point. Elections and other business transactions were completed there, and the town became the center of the county. The first court session was held on March 15, 1774, at Melvill's Warehouse. In 1777, court was moved to Bridgetown (now Greensboro), but in the interest of convenience, court was moved back to Melvill's.[7]

Disagreements arose concerning the permanent location of the county seat. The General Assembly reached a compromise in 1785 and ordered that 2 acres (0.81 ha) of land at Melvill's Landing should be purchased for a courthouse and jail. In 1790, the county court and its belongings moved to Pig Point. The Caroline County Courthouse was completed in 1797.[7]

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[8] The National Park Service is considering organizing a site in the southern half of Caroline County dedicated to interpreting the Underground Railroad.


Caroline County was granted home rule in 1984 under state code in an initiative led by County Commissioner Charles T. Dean, Sr.[9]

  • County Administrator: Ken Decker[9]
  • Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners: Sara Visintainer[9]

Growth is a major issue faced by Caroline County and several other Mid-Shore counties. Retirees and workers willing to commute across the Chesapeake Bay to the western shore are increasingly attracted by the rural environment and low cost of living. The county commissioners have fought to preserve the rural nature of the county.

It is the only county in the state not represented by a resident legislator in the Maryland General Assembly. Caroline last enjoyed a home delegate in the 1994 session. Redistricting and a sparse population are to blame.


The county is divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans. There are 54 fewer Democrats than Republicans.[10] There are approximately 18,000 registered voters in the county.[10]

In the 2010 midterm elections, there were a total of 18,037 eligible voters in Caroline County.[10] 7,461 were affiliated with the Republican Party,[10] 7,407 with the Democratic Party,[10] 59 with the Libertarian Party,[10] 36 with the Green Party,[10] 5 with the Constitution Party,[10] 2,949 were unaffiliated,[10] and 120 were affiliated with another party.[10]

Caroline County Eligible Voters by Party Affiliation, 2010
  Party Eligible voters  %
  Republican 7,461 41.36%
  Democratic 7,407 41.07%
  Libertarian Party 59 0.33%
  Green Party 36 0.2%
  Constitution Party 5 0.03%
  Unaffiliated 2,949 16.35%
  Other 120 0.67%


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 326 square miles (840 km2), of which 319 square miles (830 km2) is land and 6.5 square miles (17 km2) (2.0%) is water.[11] It is the second-smallest county by total area in Maryland. Notable waterways include the Choptank River and Tuckahoe Creek, as well as the man-made Williston Lake in Caroline County.

Caroline County currently ranks seventh nationally in terms of land protected under the Ag Preservation Program.

Its eastern border is the Mason–Dixon line.

Caroline is the only Eastern Shore county not to touch either the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean.

Tuckahoe State Park, Holiday Park Campgrounds and Martinak State Park are located in Caroline County.

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 9,506
1800 9,226 −2.9%
1810 9,453 2.5%
1820 10,108 6.9%
1830 9,070 −10.3%
1840 7,806 −13.9%
1850 9,692 24.2%
1860 11,129 14.8%
1870 12,101 8.7%
1880 13,766 13.8%
1890 13,903 1.0%
1900 16,248 16.9%
1910 19,216 18.3%
1920 18,652 −2.9%
1930 17,387 −6.8%
1940 17,549 0.9%
1950 18,234 3.9%
1960 19,462 6.7%
1970 19,781 1.6%
1980 23,143 17.0%
1990 27,035 16.8%
2000 29,772 10.1%
2010 33,066 11.1%
Est. 2014 32,538 [12] −1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2013[1]


Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 29,772 people, 11,097 households, and 8,156 families residing in the county. The population density was 93 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 12,028 housing units at an average density of 38 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.69% White, 14.77% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 2.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.4% were of United States or American, 14.8% English, 14.4% German and 9.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 11,097 households out of which 34.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 13.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% were non-families. 21.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.80% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,832, and the median income for a family was $44,825. Males had a median income of $31,119 versus $21,915 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,275. About 9.00% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.50% of those under age 18 and 12.30% of those age 65 or over. It is regularly ranked among the poorest of all 23 Maryland counties.

As of Census 2010 the racial makeup of Caroline County was 78.19% Non-Hispanic white, 13.87% black, 0.37% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 0.10% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 1.68% Non-Hispanics of two or more races and 5.49% Hispanic or Latino.



The local newspaper is The Times-Record. A second local publication, the Caroline Review, circulates monthly and is free of charge.



Caroline County is one of three Maryland counties that does not have an Interstate or U.S. Highway running through it. Caroline's "major artery" is Maryland Route 404, four lanes in some parts but two lanes in others. It is chiefly used in the summertime by non-local beachgoers heading to Ocean City, Maryland, or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.



Strawberries are grown in abundance in Caroline County. A festival is held annually based on strawberries called the Strawberry Festival. The festival is held in Ridgely, Md. the original town that grew sweet strawberries. Corn fields can be seen in every town in Caroline County. Corn can either be feed corn or sweet corn. Soybeans and are grown as well in large quantities.[18]

Farms of cows (beef and dairy), horses, sheep, goats and even donkeys can be seen all around Caroline County.[19]



Census-designated places[edit]

The United States Census Bureau recognizes three Census-designated places in Caroline County:

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Caroline County Government - Office of the County Commissioners
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Map of Denton, MD by MapQuest
  5. ^ Noble, Edward. "The History of Caroline County". Regional Publishing Company, 1971, p.1.
  6. ^ Maryland, Caroline County "She's waiting for you"
  7. ^ a b c Formation of Caroline County
  8. ^ Staff (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  9. ^ a b c d "The County Data of Caroline County".  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "countygovt" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "2010 Gubernatorial General Election - Voter Turnout | By Party and County". Maryland State Board of Elections. 
  11. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ MarylandAgriculture.inf
  19. ^ marylandagriculture.inf

External links[edit]