Stockton, Maryland

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Stockton is a census-designated place (CDP) in Worcester County, Maryland, United States. The population was 143 at the 2000 census.



Stockton, originally called Sandy Hill, grew up at the crossing of the post road from Snow Hill south to Virginia (whose track is generally followed by modern Maryland Route 12) with the road from Mattapony Landing on the Pocomoke River to the Chincoteague Bay (the eastern part of which is now Maryland Route 366), where ocean-going vessels could drop anchor. The landing on Chincoteague Bay came to be known as George Island Landing. Settlement in the area began in the 1660s, when the area was still part of Somerset County. Worcester County was separated from Somerset in 1742, and by 1774 Sandy Hill had grown large enough to merit a chapel of ease within All Hallows' Parish, today called Holy Cross Chapel. Sandy Hill, unlike neighboring Girdletree, was never incorporated, but in 1870 the[1] name of the town was officially changed, by act of the legislature, from Sandy Hill to Stockton. In 1872 the Worcester County election district which took its name from Sandy Hill was renamed Stockton.

In 1876, a railroad (which would eventually become part of the Pennsylvania Railroad) was laid from Franklin City and Greenbackville in Virginia to Snow Hill. The line's main purpose was to haul seafood harvested from the Atlantic Ocean and Chincoteague Bay to Philadelphia, but the line also carried passengers. To avoid confusion with other Stocktons, the station at Stockton was named Hursley Station.

The center of Stockton was destroyed by fire in 1906, but was soon rebuilt, with many of the new buildings constructed of brick. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Stockton boasted a canning factory, two sawmills, and two barrel factories. However, the overfishing of Chincoteague Bay led to a permanent decline in the commercial seafood industry.

A new Stockton High School was dedicated in 1926, but closed in 1942. Stockton's only bank failed in 1929. Passenger trains ended service in the late 1940s, and the last freight train made its final run through Stockton in approximately 1955. Holy Cross Chapel stopped holding regular services in 1943. The Stockton Poultry Plant opened as World War II ended, but closed around 1970. Today, Stockton residents are as likely to work at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia than to be farmers or watermen.

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