Caroline County, Maryland
The Caroline County Courthouse in July 2012
Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
Maryland's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Caroline Eden|
|• Total||326 sq mi (840 km2)|
|• Land||319 sq mi (830 km2)|
|• Water||6.5 sq mi (17 km2) 2.0%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||100/sq mi (39/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
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.
Caroline County was created via 1773 Maryland General Assembly legislation 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. Seven commissioners were originally 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.
Until the completion of these buildings, court was held at Melvill's Warehouse, approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of Pig Point. Elections and other business transactions were completed there. The first commissioner meeting 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.
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.
The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service is developing a site in the southern half of Caroline County dedicated to interpreting the Underground Railroad as part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument.
- The County Commissioners as of 2021 are:
- County Administrator: Jeremy Goldman
- Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners: Sara Visintainer
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.
From 1994 to 2014 Caroline was the only county in the state not represented by a resident legislator in the Maryland General Assembly. Redistricting and a sparse population were the chief causes.
At a Presidential level, Caroline is the “reddest” county on the mostly Republican Eastern Shore, and rivals Carroll County as the most Republican county in the state outside of Appalachian Western Maryland. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Caroline County since Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, and before then it had last gone Democratic in 1940 with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Indeed, the last Democrat to reach forty percent of the county’s vote was Jimmy Carter in 1980. In earlier times Caroline was a swing county, less secessionist than Wicomico, Worcester, Queen Anne’s or Cecil.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment of Caroline County|
|Independents, unaffiliated, and other||4,435||21.19%|
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. 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.
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. Additionally, it is the only county on the Eastern Shore without an Interstate or United States Highway within its borders.
- Kent County, Delaware (northeast)
- Sussex County, Delaware (southeast)
- Dorchester County (south)
- Talbot County (west)
- Queen Anne's County (northwest)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,772 people, 11,097 households, and 8,156 families living 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 American, 14.8% English, 14.4% German and 9.9% Irish ancestry.
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.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 33,066 people, 12,158 households, and 8,702 families living in the county. The population density was 103.5 inhabitants per square mile (40.0/km2). There were 13,482 housing units at an average density of 42.2 per square mile (16.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 79.8% white, 13.9% black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.2% Pacific islander, 3.1% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.7% were German, 15.6% were Irish, 12.3% were English, and 6.9% were American.
Of the 12,158 households, 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.4% were non-families, and 22.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.12. The median age was 38.7 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $58,799 and the median income for a family was $65,801. Males had a median income of $45,944 versus $33,927 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,294. About 8.0% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.
Caroline County Public Schools provides public education in Caroline County.
The Caroline Review circulates monthly and is free of charge; a digital daily, Caroline Past and Present, was established in 2018.
- The citizens of the towns of Hickman & Preston were once recognized by the TV show Hee Haw. In fact, the Hickman segment is the episode featured in the comedy wing of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- Baseball Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx began his career as a semipro catcher in Ridgely. Another Hall of Famer, Home Run Baker, played for the town team as well.
- Rocker George Thorogood played Caroline County bars while attending the University of Delaware before hitting the big time.
- The 2004 South Caroline baseball team made it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and placed third in the nation.
- Summerfest is held each August in Denton.
- The Caroline-Dorchester County Fair is held each August in Williston.
- The Strawberry Festival is held every Memorial Day weekend in Ridgely.
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.
- James Gordon Bennett Jr., publisher, participated in a duel near Marydel in 1877
- Patty Cannon, slave kidnapper, operated out of the county, owning a house in Reliance.
- Charles Dickinson, killed in a duel in 1806 by future President Andrew Jackson
- Frederick Douglass, orator, social reformer, former slave
- Thomas Alan Goldsborough, noted jurist and congressman
- Harry R. Hughes, Governor of Maryland, 1979-1987
- Sophie Kerr, early 20th century author and benefactor of the largest undergraduate literary prize in the nation, at Washington College in Chestertown
- William Richardson, hero of the Battle of Harlem Heights in the Revolutionary War
- Thomas Alexander Smith, early 20th century congressman and businessman
- Sherman W. Tribbitt, Governor of Delaware, 1973-1977
- Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, humanitarian, former slave
- George A. Waggaman, US senator from Louisiana
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Caroline County, Maryland
- USS Caroline County (LST-525)
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Caroline County Government - Office of the County Commissioners Archived 2008-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Map of Denton, MD by MapQuest Archived June 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Maryland, Caroline County "She's waiting for you"
- Formation of Caroline County
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
- "The County Data of Caroline County". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- "Caroline County Government". Archived from the original on 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 220-221 ISBN 0786422173
- Levine, Mark V.; ‘Standing Political Decisions and Critical Realignment: The Pattern of Maryland Politics, 1872-1948’; The Journal of Politics, volume 38, no. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 292-325
- "Summary of Voter Activity Report" (PDF). Maryland State Board of Elections. August 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- Official website
- Caroline County Fair
- Times-Record, county newspaper
- Geographic data related to Caroline County, Maryland at OpenStreetMap