"On the map, the western part of Dorchester
county seems to be a part of the mainland. However, for a long time, and
in fact so long that the 'memory of man runneth not to the contrary,' most of
this section has been an island separated by a narrow stream called Slaughter
creek from the mainland. One of the early settlements in the county was on
this island, then considerably larger than at present since much of it has
unfortunately been washed away by the stormy waters of the Chesapeake bay.
The pioneer settler on this island was THOMAS TAYLOR, after whom the
island was named. Shortly afterwards his cousin, WILLIAM TRAVERS,
came there to settle. WILLIAM TRAVERS died in 1701, devising by his
will a considerable amount of real estate. One of his sons, MATTHEW,
became one of the wealthiest and most prominent men in the county. He
married ELIZABETH, daughter of HENRY HOOPER, the second in line of
successive generations of HENRY HOOPERs, who furnished probably the most
striking illustration in the history of the county of the passing not only of
the surname but of a marked degree of prominence from father to son. A
brother of this ELIZABETH was HENRY HOOPER, owner and builder of
Warwick Fort Manor. Another sister married JOHN BROOME,
sometimes spelt BROME, whose prominence personally and that of his family
were well known to students of Maryland Colonial history. From both of
these daughters of HENRY HOOPER, THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS, the subject of
this sketch, was descended.
"Successive generations of Traverses and
other allied families continued to live on Taylor's Island. The status of
island, the distance from Cambridge, the county seat, and the almost impossible
roads prohibited easy communication with Cambridge and other parts of the
county. This isolation and the unusual industrial advantages of Taylor's
Island resulted in the development of a community unique in many respects.
Fertility of the soil, large holdings of slaves, big profits from shipbuilding,
ownership of vessels trading with 'Brazil and The Indies,' produced a state of
considerable prosperity. The water as well as the land furnished food in
abundance. The houses were commodious, although a simple style of
architecture prevailed even in the homes of the richest. The dominant
families were closely bound together by blood and almost daily association.
House parties were large and frequent. Educational provisions were quite
good. The children were usually sent to school in Baltimore or taught by
tutors in private homes. It is doubtful whether any section of Dorchester
county, or of any other county in the colony or State, had in proportion to
populations so many men of wealth. The loss of slaves, injurious tides, the wash
of the sea and other causes brought about serious changes for the worse in the
community life of Taylor's Island. In recent years a new era of prosperity
has begun to develop.
"THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS was born in
1802, the son of THOMAS BROOME and DELIA TRAVERS. He was born in
one of the Travers' homesteads which had been in the family for many
generations. He increased his inheritance, which was considerable, by
industry and excellent judgment, so that at the time of his death he was one of
the wealthiest men in the county. His many farms were well handled.
Throughout his life he was constantly building vessels, which from their ocean
and bay trade brought in considerable revenue.
"THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS was an
excellent representative of the type of business man which in many respects has
perforce ceased to exist. Since not a bank existed in the county until the
latter part of his life, all of his various operations were conducted
without the use of bank checks. Payments running up in the thousands of
dollars were made and received in gold. Large quantities of gold were
frequently kept on hand. For instance, a package containing $4,000 in
twenty dollar gold pieces was allowed by him in one case to remain unopened for
a period of at least fifteen years. He loaned many thousands of dollars to
his friends, always without any form of note or written acknowledge or receipt.
"He was an Episcopalian throughout his life
and furnished the larger part of the funds for the building of the Episcopal
church now standing on Taylor's Island. This church with its solid walnut
pews and other unusual features is an interesting survival. It took the
place of one of the old Colonial 'Chapels of Ease' which had been a
matter of interest to students of history. The dramatic scenes illustrated
on the coast of Taylor's Island during the Revolutionary War, especially during
the War of 1812, and which have never found proper place in history were matters
of keen interest to him, and he endeavored to preserve fitting mementoes of
these times, especially in so far as members of his family had participated.
"He married his cousin, ELISABETH
TRAVERS, who died at the age of twenty-two, leaving three little daughters.
These three daughters survived him. They were SOPHIE D., widow of
JOHN ANTHONY LeCOMPE RADCLIFFE, a sketch of whom precedes this;
MARY, widow of WILLIAM CATOR, and ADDIE, wife of E.
L. GRIFFITH. THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS never married again, but
devoted the best of his time and energy to the welfare of his daughters.
It was his aim to bridge over the loss to his children of their mother by
assuming personally as many as possible of maternal duties and responsibilities.
In spite of the engrossing nature of his business enterprises, he followed most
closely the details of the daily lives of his daughters. He provided
private instruction for them at his home, and as soon as they were large enough,
he sent them to private school. A little instance illustrating his efforts
to see that their desires and plans were properly looked after is seen in the
arrangements which he made in regard to the wedding cake of his oldest daughter
[Sophie D. Travers]. To insure as much as possible against
accident, he sent one of his best sailing vessels to bring the cake from
Baltimore and permitted the vessel to have no other mission.
Possibly the most distinguishing characteristics of THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS
were the personal attention and interest which he gave to the daily life of his
daughters, and his constant efforts to give them the best of training and
education. This was carefully done in spite of engrossing business cares.
"He died in 1875, leaving one of the
largest estates in the county. The best heritage to his many descendants
was, however, his reputation for integrity, ability and general worthiness. "
Moses Cator; Edward and Mary LeCompte
Cator; Levin and Aney Cator
GENERATION 2 Family
Levin Cator (son of Edward and Mary LeCompte Cator) including Joseph and Hannah
Brohawn Cator, son/daughter-in-law of Levin Cator.
GENERATION 3 Not an
active page - combined info with other Generations 2 and/or 4
GENERATION 4 Families of Joseph E, Capt Wm., &
Robinson W. Cator
GENERATION 5 Family of Capt. Wm. Whitefield Cator and Mary Ann
Augusta Travers Cator.
THOMAS BROOME TRAVERS
Mary and spouse WILLIAM CATOR
Please share information.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN CATOR
ARTICLE FROM BOOK