Brice Stump: George Chevalier helped save history

It has been said that when a person dies, a library dies with him or her. So is the case with the recent passing of George Chevalier of Salisbury.

GEORGE

His family lost a devoted father and grandfather and his friends are now without a kind and considerate man. To those of us who value history and its relevance to our families, communities and the Eastern Shore, we have lost a prime source for background on history topics.  

For years I had worked with George on history mysteries and stories relating to Salisbury and Wicomico County. I was always delighted with his discoveries of artifacts relating to Salisbury’s past. An avid bidder on eBay, George often knew the historical value of an auctioned piece tied to Salisbury because he knew the background and context of these items.

Better yet, George also knew the role individuals played in Salisbury ’s past. He was able to tell me the history of commercial and civic buildings, contractors, landmarks and houses. Because he was raised in town, George really knew the ins and outs of the city’s past because he was interested in history since he was a boy.

He always shared whatever he could with the people wanting to know about their ancestors or landmarks in town. He treated each individual with respect and consideration. Folks came to rely perhaps too much on him, but he stayed the course.

His knowledge enabled me to write better, more accurate and more interesting stories during my career with The Daily Times.

As a president of the former Wicomico County Historical Society,  George did his best to save what he could of the county’s historical past.

It was always fun to sit at his dining room table and be surprised with his vast collection of all things Salisbury. Many times I sat there and realized that George was the last great Salisbury go-to resource for background on writing about the city’s past.

I mentioned it to him one spring afternoon. He reminded me that there was a time when he could turn to others for answers to history questions, and then, one day, he discovered there was no one else to consult. It was just him.

What would happened to his one-of-a-kind collection of documents, photographs and books and artifacts?

They would be cared for by his sons, he said.  He spent so much time and money pulling together this things that bring history alive. That collection is now a living legacy of their father.

As they grow older, they will probably develop a love of history, too. Thanks to George Chevalier, so much that could have been lost has been saved.

Contact Brice Stump at myshorehistory@gmail.com.

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