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  • During a May 10 visit to the Severna Park Library, author Marianne Taylor will discuss her book and her volunteerism with the Magothy River Association.
    Photo by Judy Tacyn
    During a May 10 visit to the Severna Park Library, author Marianne Taylor will discuss her book and her volunteerism with the Magothy River Association.

“My River Speaks” Author To Share Magothy River History At Severna Park Library

Judy Tacyn
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May 2, 2018

Twenty years after “My River Speaks: The History and Lore of the Magothy River” was published, Pasadena resident Marianne Taylor is celebrating her book’s third printing.

Taylor will be at the Severna Park Library on May 10 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The author, who said that the Magothy River still speaks to her, will discuss her book and her volunteerism with the Magothy River Association.

Taylor moved to North Ferry Point in Pasadena in 1974 and immediately fell in love with the Magothy River. “The energy of the river and the relaxation I felt by being on the shore of the Magothy was a feeling I had not yet experienced. The river was captivating,” said Taylor.

The former English professor was enthralled with the river and wanted to know everything she could about its tranquil water. She was surprised to soon realize that there was little information to be found about the Magothy. While the Severn River to the south was well documented, Taylor found little information about the Magothy. With small children and her teaching career, Taylor didn’t have ample time to dedicate to fully researching the Magothy, but the mysteries of the Magothy and her mounting list of unanswered questions never left her mind.

“In the early ‘80s, there were rumors of the Chesapeake Bay’s poor health,” said Taylor. “If the Magothy fed into the bay, why couldn’t I find information about the river? It was my great sadness over the data coming out of the bay, and my curiosity and love of the Magothy, that really got me going and kicked my research into gear.”

Taylor attended every Magothy and Chesapeake Bay meeting she heard about. She attended archeological digs along the river and the bay. It was during one of these outings that she met a fellow Magothy kindred spirit, local resident Milton T. Oler. Taylor got to know Oler and discovered that he had myriad wide-ranging Magothy artifacts, all documented, and some dating back to 10,000 B.C. The treasure trove of artifacts spurred even more questions for Taylor.

“I wanted to know everything!” exclaimed Taylor. “How were these things used on the river? How did people use our river? How do these things relate to their lifestyle, river use and history? I was excited to see what else I could unearth to make people proud to live here.”

Taylor’s book, “My River Speaks,” details in great depth the early settlers on the river, including the Algonquin and Piscataway Indians. She reveals locations along the Magothy, which were used as part of Maryland-native Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad in the early to mid-1800s, as well as locations that served as ferry stops and old mills.

Taylor will discuss the book, and along with Paul Spadaro, president of the Magothy River Association, she will also share the history of the Magothy. They hope to lead a lively discussion with participants by inviting everyone to share their living history stories of the beloved Magothy River. Joan Machinchick, the illustrator of “My River Speaks,” will also be in attendance.

“Without history, we do not know ourselves,” said Taylor.

A limited number of copies of the third printing of “My River Speaks” will be available at the Severna Park Library on May 10; however, copies may be purchased at Angel’s Food Market at 4681 Mountain Road in Pasadena and The Cottage in the Park Plaza shopping center at 562B Ritchie Highway in Severna Park. Taylor will sign copies as requested.

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