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Meet: John North, Board Emeritus

Judge NorthJudge John North is Past-President of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and was instrumental in its founding in 1965. He negotiated the acquisition of much of the land on Navy Point and prepared CBMM’s Articles of Incorporation. He has remained active in the Museum, serving as Board Emeritus.

Born and raised in Easton, Md., Judge North attended local schools before earning degrees from the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School. After law school he spent two years in the United States Coast Guard, and, in 1956, commenced the practice of law with his father in Easton. He served nine years as State’s Attorney for Talbot County, 18 years as Judge of the District and Circuit Courts, and 12 years as Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission, the State’s principal environmental agency dealing with the protection of the Bay.

Judge North and his wife, Ethel, make their home on the Miles River, and have spent much of their lives together enjoying everything the area has to offer. For more than 65 years, Judge North has captained the 1882 log canoe built by his great-grandfather, Island Bird, and has won every major log canoe trophy several times over. He and his family also own the 1892 log canoe Island Blossom and the 1931 log canoe Jay Dee.

His long-standing passion for log canoes inspired Judge North’s recently completed book, Chesapeake Log Sailing Canoes: A Study in Tradition, Speed, and Elegance, edited and illustrated CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher and noted Chesapeake artist Marc Castelli, respectively. Published by CBMM, Chesapeake Log Sailing Canoes will be released later in 2016, with all proceeds from the sale of the book being donated to CBMM.

The founding of the Museum remains one of Judge North’s most cherished memories and proudest achievements. He takes great pride in everything that CBMM has accomplished in its first 50 years. “The preservation of vessels and artifacts that demonstrate the way of life on the Chesapeake Bay and times gone by has been the Museum’s greatest contribution. It’s a working resource for residents and tourists alike.”

The Judge states that, “It is important to recognize that CBMM is the premier repository of Bay matters. It preserves a tangible history with a broad and expansive collection.”

Even after all these years, his passion for CBMM continues to grow. He points out the Museum has something of interest to all guests. “The education programs—for all ages—are an important factor in expanding awareness that would not otherwise be explored.”

CBMM is very grateful for Judge North’s time and dedication to the Museum!