Shore Found Complicit in Cape Charles Lighthouse Raid

Civil War-era encampment outside Cape Charles Museum (pay no attention to the power lines). (Wave photo)

Civil War-era encampment outside Cape Charles Museum (pay no attention to the power lines). (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Museum

August 11, 2013

Were Shore people complicit in John Beall’s August 3, 1863, raid on the Cape Charles Lighthouse? Exactly 150 years later to the day, a majority of the more than 120 people attending Kellee Blake’s lecture at the Cape Charles Museum voted “yes.”

Blake, a noted Civil War historian, drawing on primary sources – letters, military documents, and news accounts — provided abundant detail of the highly successful operation, which was commissioned to Beall, then only 28 years old and at his request, by Confederate high command.

The Confederacy desperately needed supplies, and had information that valuable supplies were being stored on Smith Island at the mouth of the Bay where the new (second) lighthouse was under construction.

Beall and a crew of nine men started from Mathews County and on the morning of August 3, paid a surprise visit to lighthouse keeper William W. Stakes. Posing as fishermen, Beall and three men pressed Stakes for a detailed accounting of security, supplies, and citizenry on the island before summoning the remainder of his crew.

The full Beall force secured Stakes and his family, as well as any islanders who happened by, then worked for six hours dismantling the light and gutting the working lighthouse, as well as one under construction. It was well worth the trouble. [Read more…]

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SUNDAY: ‘Piece of Eden,’ Quick Draw, Art Rocks the Inns

Sunday, August 11, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. — Cape Charles 757 Quick Draw plein air event. Artists will be all over the historic downtown district creating original art showcase in 3 hours or less. Artists will paint from 9 a.m. to noon and then return to Stage Door Gallery, where their works will be judged and available for sale. Register at or immediately prior to the event.

At 2 p.m., a Young Artists’ Quick Draw will begin for artists 15 and younger. They will bring their creations back to Stage Door Gallery at 4 p.m. for judging, awards, and sale.

Sunday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m. — Brass 5 in Central Park (Free). The big band group Brass 5 offers a repertoire from Renaissance, Classical, Dixieland, Jazz, and Rock to Country. Bring a beach chair and a picnic. Wine and Margaritas available.

Piece of Eden

Piece of Eden

Sunday, August 11, at 3 p.m. — Piece of Eden at Historic Palace Theatre (Free). A combination of live theatre and film paying tribute to the original, musical epic stage play that follows Thom Savage and his descendants and depicts their relationship with the Native Americans of the Shore from 1618-1776. Repeats Monday, August 12, 8 p.m., and Tuesday, August 13, 8 p.m.

Sunday, August 11, 1-4 p.m. — Art Rocks the Inns (Free). The porches of the bed & breakfasts of Cape Charles will be rocking with artwork. Each B&B will feature local artists showcasing their works, from all different mediums – paint, sculpture, wood, jewelry, and photography. Take a walking tour from inn to inn, or travel by bike, golf cart, or car among the five properties in Cape Charles’ historic downtown district within 3/4 mile of one another.

"Stairway to Bay" oil by Duong

“Stairway to Bay” oil by Duong “U” Nguyen.

Chesapeake Bay View B&B, 212 Bay Avenue: Duong “U” Nguyen — oil paintings of Eastern Shore scenes done on board with a palette knife. Sandy Mayer — spiritually inspired paintings in oil on canvas or board and mixed media mandalas.

Sea Gate Bed &Breakfast, 9 Tazewell Avenue: Mama Girl – papier mache figurines.

Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, 403 Tazewell Avenue: Lena Gonzalez — painted canvas placemats. Heather Gladden — ink wash sketches, photography, and pen illustrations of nature with a surreal twist.

Cape Charles House, 645 Tazewell Avenue: Pam Kossman — handmade jewelry. Ocean Pottery — whimsical ocean motif porcelain pottery, metal serve ware, and Turkish glass bowls.

Fig Street Inn, 711 Tazewell Avenue: Windsor House — handmade Windsor chairs, farm tables, stools, hand painted signs, and folk art using local and reclaimed woods.

PASSINGS: Dolores Pfund, 81; Thomas Booker, 79

August 11, 2013


Dolores A. Pfund, 81, wife of Robert H. Pfund and a resident of Cape Charles, passed away Thursday, August 8, at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

A private funeral mass for family and friends will be 11 a.m. Friday, August 16, at St. Charles Catholic Church with Father J. Michael Breslin officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Randy Custis Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 237, Nassawadox, VA 23413.

Mrs. Pfund was a native of Bronx, NY, and was the daughter of the late Thomas Byrne and the late Florence Feeney Byrne. She was a member of St. Charles Catholic Church. In addition to her husband, she is survived by five children, Robert T. Pfund, James J. Pfund and his wife Julie, William J. Pfund and his wife Teresa, Mary E. Krafft and her husband Chris, Cathryn A. Doughty and her husband David,  a brother, Thomas J. Byrne and his wife Carolann, and six grandchildren.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at Arrangements are by Wilkins-Doughty Funeral Home, Cape Charles.


Thomas Willett Booker, 79, husband of Barbara A. Booker and a resident of Seaford, DE, passed away Thursday, August 8, at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

A graveside service will be 1 p.m. Tuesday, August 13, at Cape Charles Cemetery with the Rev. Jack D. Pruitt officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, DE 19963.

Mr. Booker was a native of Cherrystone and was the son of the late Charles M. Booker, Sr,. and the late Grace Brown Booker. He was a retired conductor for Conrail Railroad. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Michael T. Booker of Port Orange FL, a brother, Grayson S. Booker and his wife Joyce of Capeville, a step-son, Robert Reese Wilkins, Sr,. and his wife Terry of Seaford, a step-daughter, Brenda Wilkins Baker and her husband Victor of Gumboro, DE, five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Nancy Williams Booker, and three brothers, Charles M. Booker, Jr., Robert C. Booker, and John E. Booker.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at Arrangements are by Wilkins-Doughty Funeral Home, Cape Charles.