At Earskon Myers’ home in the 1300 block of Souder Road in Rosemont, a colorful peacock named Blue struts around in a metal cage, mingling with geese and other livestock.
Myers, who recently turned 76, is honest — he likes peacocks, but they aren’t his favorite animal. He prefers geese, as they’re usually friendlier.
“You buy a swan for $650, $1,000, and a swan is never your friend. Never. And that’s kind of the way with a peacock. He’s not friendly, he’s not loving, he just plays and is pretty,” Myers said.
Myers bought his peacock more than a decade ago for much less than a swan — about $60 — from a farmer down in Damascus. He doesn’t remember the farmer’s name, but a year after the first purchase, he bought a female peacock for her to mate with the male.
She laid five eggs. Two hatched. One didn’t make it through the first few days, Myers said. The other survived, but neither female survived past two or three years — leaving Blue as the last surviving peacock.
“Both of the females died unexpectedly and within days of each other, and for no obvious reason,” Myers said. “They had plenty to eat, plenty of water, plenty of shelter and everything else, but things like that just happen when you own animals.”
Along with Blue, Myers has owned chickens, fish, horses and several other animals on his property. It’s one his family has owned since 1920, and has historical significance — three times, it served as Gen. George B. McClellan’s headquarters during the Civil War.
Myers grew up in the house, and is close friends with Rosemont Burgess Tom Watson. Myers said they camped together, attended the same schools and remain friends.
“Earskon would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He’s always been a good neighbor,” Watson said. “I need some help, all I got to do is call down there and one of the boys will come up and help me.”
Watson was referring to Trey, 35, and Blake, 46, Earskon’s two sons. Blake takes care of the peacock and other animals, giving them food, cleaning the cage and doing other maintenance.
Trey can’t help out as much because he works in the monster truck industry, through himself and Feld Entertainment. The job has allowed him to travel the globe, he said.
Blake said there needs to be a plank or some other board for Blue to roost on. In the wild, peacocks will often find the highest tree to sleep in as a protection against predators, Earskon said.
Peacocks aren’t uncommon in the county, Earskon added. In the past month, the Coyne family in Rosemont had their peacock escape from their property. Now, interested people can go on Facebook and buy one for $100 or more.
You can hear peacocks at night if you listen in rural areas of the county, Myers said. And Trey said the former Cracked Claw Restaurant in Urbana, which closed roughly eight years ago, used to have peacocks.
Earskon said the reason many people raise peacocks, besides their being pretty, is their tail feathers are valued by flower shops. Those shops will pay $10 for a tail feather to include in flower arrangements, he said.
Peacocks also aren’t free-range animals for practical reasons, Earskon added.
“Peacocks are a little bit difficult to take care of,” he said. “If they are born on your property, they will stay. If they were bought and brought to your property, they’re always trying to get home, so they fly away.”
Outside of raising animals, the Myerses also perform auto maintenance and repair at their property in Rosemont. Earskon worked at Frederick Auto Body on the Golden Mile from 1962 to 1991, and did everything from paint work to serving as the shop foreman.
But whether it’s raising animals or fixing cars, neighbors noted his dedication to Rosemont and the surrounding communities.
“He’s a great guy. I don’t know how else to say it,” said Rosemont Commissioner John Leach. “If you ask him to do something, he’ll do it for you.”
And Earskon’s passion for the area is evident. He knows he’s getting older, but even as more of his friends die, he wants to stay.
“Rosemont, it’s one of the best places on Earth to live ... and Brunswick and Rosemont share a symbiotic relationship. They may be considered the center of the universe,” he said.