From the Great Plains to the Eastern Shore

MD-Calton Nabb on farming_1920 tractor_3x

Milton Malkus Sr. on an IHC Titon 10-20 tractor in 1920.

After having a really enjoyable afternoon talking with Milton Malkus Jr. and Theodore Malkus, I could not help but think of the family’s footprint left on Dorchester County fertile farmland.

At the turn of the century many of the German families knew that the Great Plains of the Midwest was not for them. The cold, heat, drought and wind was not for families longing for a climate and topography more like the “old country.” The German church newspaper ran articles about the good soil and climate on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Also, land priced at about $12 per acre sounded good and the German families knew the wine grapes would grow much better in Dorchester County than the arid plains.

MD-Calton Nabb on farming_wheat

Wheat Harvest in 1920, from left, Godfrey Luthy, John Luthy Sr. and Ernest Luthy.

Heading the exodus east were some of the old families that still till the soil, as well as many community leaders in all of our society. No family is more embedded in this journey than the Malkus family of Blackwater Farms.

From about 1890 to 1910 was the time frame that the majority of the families settled in Dorchester County. The Malkus and Luthy families came together in marriage and still today the majority of their families are on Maple Dam and Egypt Road.

I knew that before I left I had to ask Milton Malkus about how he got his nickname “Boots.” I thought that maybe because of the many jobs on the farms involving animals a pair of knee boots was best for walking. Both of the brothers laughed and said they had no idea where the nickname came from.

MD-Calton Nabb on farming_Malkus farmers

Malkus farmers at Blackwater Farms, Milton “Sonny” Malkus III, Milton “Boots” Malkus Jr., Calvin Malkus (deceased), Ted Malkus, Bill Malkus and Pat Malkus.

Mr. Ted is now 88 years old, while Mr. Milton is 93. Both men can look back on their lives and the success that now surrounds Blackwater Farms. No greater tribute can be said of the Malkus family than that they are true stewards of the earth.

Note: A DVD about the German families’ exodus to Dorchester County can be viewed at the county library or the Dorchester County Historical Society. Ted Malkus’s narration about the movement should be heard by all.

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