In the early 1600s, Capt. John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay from Jamestown. On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, he found dozens of small islands, including a chain of three islands that later came to be named Hoopers Island. Fifty years later, when Lord Baltimore allowed permanent settlement on the Eastern Shore, Hoopers Island was quickly settled. Planters came for the island s fertile soil, fresh water, timber, and easy access to the sea. Oysters and crabs were of little interest. However, after the Civil War, more and more Hoopers Islanders turned to the water to make a living, and it is for its seafood that the area is best kwn in modern times. Island watermen have been harvesting the bay s treasures for more than a century and sending them to the kitchens of Maryland and beyond. Over the last 400 years, Hoopers Island has lost much of its land to erosion, but its culture still retains connections to its past.