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Chowning’s new book on Deltaville is published

This image of Stingray Point Hotel was provided by Edmond Harrow Jr. and is one of nearly 200 images in the new book “Images of America: Deltaville” to be released on June 16.

Book signing is June 20-21

On Monday, June 16, Arcadia Publishing of Charleston, South Carolina, will release the new book “Images of America: Deltaville,” a historical pictorial book on the community of Deltaville.

Author Larry Chowning of Urbanna has compiled nearly 200 images and copy in this eight-chapter, 128-page book on Deltaville. A book signing will be held on the first floor of the Donovan Masonic Lodge next to Zoar Baptist Church in Deltaville on Friday and Saturday, June 20-21. 

The Friday, June 20, signing will be from 1-6 p.m. and the Saturday, June 21, signing from 10 a.m-4 p.m.

Chowning also will have a story hour from 1-2 p.m. on June 21 where he will relate stories of old Deltaville that involve his many interviews with such community notables as Lee and Ed Deagle, Captain Johnny Ward, Jesse Hurd, Lewis Wright, Edmond, Talmadge and Duck Ruark, Willis and Elizabeth Wilson, Hugh and Dorothy Norris, Edna Deagle Shackelford, Molly (Crab) Weston, the Walden Brothers, Edmond Harrow Sr., Paul and Robert Green, Milton, Floyd and Melvin Ward, Alvin Sibley, Randolph Norton, and others. The talk will be informal and everyone is invited to attend and share their own stories of old Deltaville.  

For over 30 years Chowning has covered the Deltaville area as a Southside Sentinel newspaper reporter. However, he first started reporting on Deltaville in 1980 covering the boatbuilding beat for National Fisherman Magazine, the nation’s largest seafood trade publication. In 1986 he was named a Mid-Atlantic field editor for National Fisherman, taking over the job long held by veteran journalist John Frye. As the baton was being passed, Frye told Chowning, “There are two things you need to know about this job. You will know it is time to give it up when you can’t get on and off the boats any more and, secondly, you live near Deltaville where there are some of the best boatbuilders in the United States and some of the finest people I’ve ever known.”

The chapter “Boatbuilding and Boats” features most of the active Deltaville boatbuilders of the 1980s and is an accumulation of years of Chowning photographing boat launchings, builders and boats. Bryan Miller, Chip Collamore and other non-wood boatbuilders, along with the wooden boatbuilders, are well represented.

The book also addresses Deltaville’s early colonial settlement and history, including, education, religion, steamboats, the lighthouse, vegetable-packing businesses, and commercial freighting in sailing schooners and powered buyboats. 

“Most importantly,” said Chowning, “the book highlights the many people who have lived in the Deltaville community.”

With every project there is a favorite story. Willard and Shirley (Harrow) Norris were extremely helpful in the book project, said Chowning.

“Shirley had a great deal of image material spanning several generations of the Harrow family who lived on Lovers Lane,” he said. “One image she provided was of the 1937 second grade class at Deltaville School appearing on page 73. Willard and Shirley were able to identify the entire class. However, as they were figuring out each student’s name, Willard struggled to identify one of the students. Shirley asked to look at it. She looked at it closely and then looked at Willard and said, ‘For Lord sake, Willard, that’s you!’ ”

Also, there was a restriction on the number of words used for the dedication to the book. “My first dedication was rejected because the word count was too long,” said Chowning. “However, I think the book’s dedication truly speaks to why I took on this project.”

The dedication reads: “Dedicated to Hugh and Dorothy Norris and Willis and Elizabeth Wilson. They inspired and encouraged me to write and learn of the waterman’s culture and taught me how wonderful and giving the people are in the Deltaville community; and to the lifelong relationship between my mother Emily Chowning and Mildred Ward Ailsworth that brought our families together in the 1950s on those hot, sweet July days at the beach on Stove Point, with delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sprinkled with sand, and canning jars filled with all you could drink iced tea. Those memories of the sounds of summer, the touch of sand, wind and water on Fishing Bay, and those far away voices of my childhood have enriched my life and greatly contributed to this book on Deltaville!”

“Images of America: Deltaville” sells for $21.99 and will be available for purchase at stores in the Deltaville community.

From 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, Chowning will be at Make Thyme on Prince George Street in Urbanna to sign books for those who cannot make the two-day signing event in Deltaville.

posted 06.11.2014

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