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The town of Easton Maryland was established in 1711 as the seat of its county of Talbot, although settlers had already lived in the area for at least sixty years. The town gradually grew up around the country courthouse, with businesses, restaurants and hotels opening to serve the people who worked and had business there. The town was known as the "Eastern Capitol" of Maryland because it functioned as a secondary state capital, serving all of the Eastern Shore peninsula.
In its early days the Easton area was also home to a large population of Quakers who had come to the region seeking religious freedom. Their meeting house, built in the late 1600's, can still be seen there; it is open to the public as a historic museum. Many Scottish and Irish immigrants also made Easton their home.
In addition to a variety of Europeans, Easton was also home to one of the nation's largest populations of free blacks before the Civil War; Among those unfortunate enough to have been born into slavery in Talbot County was Frederick Douglas, the famous advocate for African American freedom during the 1800's. During the Civil War the population of Easton was deeply divided.
Because of its location near Chesapeake Bay, Easton's industry had long been centered around the fishing industries and agriculture. Before the Revolutionary War, some tobacco farming was also done there, but soon farmers switched to wheat.
Today, Easton is a community with a population of about 15,000 people. It has a charming town center that retains its feel as an early courthouse town.