Dorchester County, Maryland
Seal of Dorchester County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Dorchester County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1669
Seat Cambridge
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

983 sq mi (2,546 km²)
558 sq mi (1,445 km²)
425 sq mi (1,101 km²), 43.28%
 - (2000)
 - Density

54/sq mi (21/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Dorchester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland on its Eastern Shore. It is bordered by the Choptank River to the northeast, Talbot County to the northwest, Caroline County to the northeast, Wicomico County to the southeast, Sussex County to the east, and the Chesapeake Bay to the west. Dorchester County uses the slogan, "The Heart of Chesapeake Country," due to its geographical location and the heart-like shape of the county on a map. In 2000, its population was 30,674. It was named for the Earl of Dorset, a family friend of the Calverts (the founding family of the Maryland colony). Its county seat is Cambridge.


Settlers from England began to claim lands in the mid 1600’s under land grants from Lord Baltimore and by 1669 Dorchester County was recognized as a County. [1]

In 1773 a part of Dorchester County, together with a portion of Queen Anne's County, was taken to form Caroline County.

Dorchester has been home to a number of famous people:

Patty Cannon was a notorious slave trader who lived in Dorchester County near the Caroline County and Delaware state line. She used her proximity to those borders to avoid authorities. Cannon and her husband Joe Johnson would steal slaves or kidnap free blacks, and sell them to slave markets in Georgia. [2]

Harriet Tubman (c. 1820March 10, 1913), also known as "Black Moses" or "Moses of Her People," was an African American abolitionist. An escaped slave, she made 19 voyages into the Deep South and helped over 300 slaves escape to Canada. During her lifetime she worked as a lumberjack, laundress, nurse, and cook. As an abolitionist, she acted as intelligence gatherer, refugee organizer, raid leader, nurse, and fundraiser.

Annie Oakley (August 13, 1860-November 3, 1926) b. Phoebe Ann Mosey was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Oakley's amazing talent and luck led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill's Wild West, and propelled her to become the first American female superstar. Using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m), Oakley could split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.

Gloria Richardson was one of five women honored for civil rights leadership during the March on Washington.

Law and government[]

Dorchester County operates under the Charter Home Rule form of government and the affairs of the County are managed by five County Council Members, one from each of the five Council districts defined within the County. Meetings of the County Council are held weekly. The agenda and the minutes of each week’s proceedings are public record.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,546 km² (983 sq mi). 1,444 km² (558 sq mi) of it is land and 1,102 km² (425 sq mi) of it is water. The total area is 43.28% water.

Adjacent Counties[]


As of the census2 of 2000, there were 30,674 people, 12,706 households, and 8,500 families residing in the county. The population density was 21/km² (55/sq mi). There were 14,681 housing units at an average density of 10/km² (26/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 69.45% White, 28.39% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. 1.26% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. 20.1% were of American, 12.7% English, 9.8% German and 8.2% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 12,706 households out of which 27.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.50% were married couples living together, 15.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.10% were non-families. 28.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.30% under the age of 18, 6.70% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 25.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 89.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,077, and the median income for a family was $41,917. Males had a median income of $29,014 versus $22,284 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,929. 13.80% of the population and 10.10% of families were below the poverty line. 18.10% of those under the age of 18 and 14.20% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Public Schools[]

  • Dorchester County School of Technology
  • North Dorchester High School
  • Cambridge-South Dorchester High School
  • Mace's Lane Middle School
  • North Dorchester Middle School
  • Sandy Hill Elementary School
  • Choptank Elementary School
  • Hurlock Elementary School
  • Maple Elementary School
  • South Dorchester PK-8
  • Vienna Elementary School
  • Warwick Elementary School

Cities and towns[]

This county contains the following incorporated municipalities:

Other areas not listed as CDP's but known in the area include:

  1. Bishops Head-Toddville
  2. Crapo
  3. Crocheron
  4. Elliott-Salem
  5. Fishing Creek
  6. Hoopersville
  7. Linkwood
  8. Madison-Woolford
  9. Rhodesdale
  10. Taylors Island
  11. Wingate

Sister Counties[]


The local newspapers are The Daily Banner and The Dorchester Star (a free, weekly publication). A regional newspaper, The Star Democrat, serves several counties including Dorchester.

External links[]

Coordinates: 38°25′N 76°05′W / 38.42, -76.08

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Dorchester County, Maryland. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.