Before the automobile, boat transportation was the only efficient way of moving goods in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Throughout the 19th century, Centreville Landing was a prosperous commercial area serving the schooners that carried grain, lumber and agricultural products to Baltimore and Norfolk and returned with manufactured goods for merchants in Centreville and the rural farming districts of Queen Anne's County.
Today, the upper reaches of the Corsica River have gradually filled with sediment from soil erosion, limiting boat traffic.
Kings of CommerceTwo men cornered the maritime market here on the Centreville Landing. Cloudsberry Clash owned extensive property, including much of the waterfront, and operated a wharf and warehouse. Captain John Ozmon was born to a life of sea; in 1858, he put down roots in land. Prominent among the half-dozen schooner captains residing in the area, Ozmon built a wharf, a warehouse, a store, and several residences, including a large home overlooking Clash's property on the Corsica River waterfront.
Taking Care Of His CommunityDuring his tenure in Centreville, Capt. Ozmon built a row of small houses along the Corsica Creek along with more than 40 other homes—-most of which still stand today. These homes are essentially untouched and take us back to a time when schooner ships plied these waters. One can just imagine the creak of a tall ship's mast and yards as it came around the bend, and men shouting as they loaded grain from the wharf.
(Inscription in the upper right) The waterfront property of Cloudsberry Clash is shown in the 1877 Atlas of the Delmarva area. Image courtesy Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin.