This photograph is from a copy in the collection of H. Robins
Hollyday of Easton and shows a 20 hp Reeves steam engine which was
recovered from the bottom of the Chop tank River after it went
through the Dover Road Bridge sometime in April, 1914.
Fred Christopher of Cambridge and the late George Pritchard of
Glebe Road, Easton, both employed by Shannahan & Wrightson at
that time were delivering the engine to a prospective Caroline
County purchaser. Since these engines, weighing about 15 tons, were
so heavy for bridges of that day, Caroline Countians would not
purchase such merchandise until it was delivered to their side of
Heavy 2×12 inch boards were placed on the bridge for the engine
to ride on but it gave way despite these and the two men were
forced to jump to safety. Mr. Prichard managed to jump to that part
of the bridge still standing but Mr. Christopher jumped into the
water and swam to shore. The steam engine was so heavy that it
stayed upright on the sills and rode them down into 40 feet of
A Mr. Covey of Trappe, purchased the engine on the bottom of the
river got a derrick from Baltimore and, with block and tackle,
rolled it across the river bottom and up onto the beach on the
Talbot side, where the picture was taken.
Immersion evidently didn’t harm the engine, according to Mr.
Hollyday, because after it was cleaned up it was operated for a
number of years.
The derrick shown in the picture was used to drop a cable over
the engine to help hold it upright while it was being rolled across
The original picture was taken and is owned by Richard W. Engle
Two steam engines somewhat like this one are still in repair and
run as hobbies, one being at a sawmill near Cordova and another