Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Miracle of Marketing Makes Soap Mandatory for the Well-informed - May 1814


Charlestown, Massachusetts.

To enumerate the particular virtues of this admirable SOAP would be supurfluous [sic] to those who hav e ever used any of the kind.  Its superior delicacy and delightful fragrance render it quite unnecessary to enlarge upon its qualities.  The Manufacturers, therefore, would only observe, that, in consequence of its being entirely purified from the alkaline and other salts, it may be used without the disagreeable effects of the soaps in general use; and that "in improving the complexion makes the hands soft and delicate. and rendering the most indifferent skin perfectly clear and transparent."  it exceeds any of the washes or cosmentics ever yet offered to the public.

               SOAP of the above description may be had of
                                                                                          Wm. F. Thorton,
                                                                                          Druggist, Fairfax Street, or

                                                                                                         Richard H. Litle,
                                                                                                         Druggist, King Street.
May 26 [1]                          

[1] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 05-28-1814; Volume: XIV; Issue: 4168; Page: [2]; Location: Alexandria, Virginia.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 28th, 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bladensburg Crossroads: The Town as a Regional Gathering Place for Business, Information, Refreshment and Entertainment

Bladensburg’s location as a port at the highest navigable point on the Anacostia River (Eastern Branch), created a natural spot for people to gather for business and other purposes.  Ships brought European goods in exchange for tobacco.  Later, the local economy diversified, but Bladensburg remained a center for commerce and industry.   At the time of its founding, the river was the most important transportation link, but as the first fordable point, the head of the Eastern Branch also was a place where east-west travelers would find their fastest land route from Annapolis or Upper Marlboro to the regional port towns emerging at Alexandria and Georgetown and points farther west.  In addition, Bladensburg was a node on the north-south road, connecting the Virginia tidewater region with Philadelphia and fast-growing Baltimore.  As a crossroads, Bladensburg also became a regional economic center with businesses and services.

Commercial Operations.  Stores, warehouses, wharves, grist mills, gunpowder mills, a blanket factory, tannery, forges, manufacturing locations and smaller service businesses provided by carpenters, shoe makers, saddlers, tailors, etc.  These were places where the buying and selling of tangible goods occurred; locations where products were processed or made.  The post office often was located at a commercial site, and the mails were the way newspapers were distributed; hence, post offices were a key locus drawing people interested in timely information.  Some of these operations were quite extensive, as suggested by this 1820 description of a tannery on the river, “51 layaway vats, 4 limes, 3 trendlers, 2 pools, 2 bates, 4 latches, a complete bark mill, with machinery to grind the bark by water, team and bark houses, a large and convenient currying shop, newly erected, new mill for grinding Spanish hides, lofts for hides, hair, wool, and horns, a comfortable dwelling house, with a good garden attached, suitable either for the owner or manager.  The whole yard is supplied with the best water and hydrants which convey the water..." [1]

Taverns & Hotels.  Licensed ordinaries appear almost as soon as Bladensburg was laid out and remained a constant feature of the crossroads town.  Taverns usually were the location of the stagecoach stop.  In addition to food and drink, taverns usually provided overnight accommodations.  Hotels eventually emerged as an alternative to drinking establishments.  Performances (dramatic, musical) and other entertainments (prize fights, cock fighting, balloon ascensions, prostitution) sometimes occurred in or near taverns and hotels.  Many business transactions occurred at taverns, such as sales of real estate and property, including slaves.  Taverns were one enterprise where women thrived.  In Bladensburg tavern licenses were held by Jane Martin, Elizabeth Prather, Mary B. Scott, Catherine Wirt, and Margaret Adams.  Adams was an African American, whose tavern was patronized by Charles Willson Peale and Thomas Lee Shippen.

Spa Spring.  Early travelers through Bladensburg noted the presence of a mineral spring and its potential to become a spa.  Over time, a spa did emerge in a park like setting.  It was the site of both organized events and casual visitation.  One local tavern keeper, William Ross, saw the spa as a potential inducement for visiting his establishment in this advertisement from 1804, “The subscriber respectfully informs his friends and the public generally, that he has opened a House of Entertainment in Bladensburg...Such persons as feel disposed to visit the spa, during the season, can be comfortably accommodated...” [2]

Educational & Professional Services.  Professionals such as medical doctors and lawyers, also ministers, school masters, artists, dance and music instructors, midwives, bookbinders, etc.   The Bladensburg Academy was established with the support of some of the leading businessmen in the town.  A published account of a public performance of a poem written by the school master, Samuel Knox, preserves the names of some of the students at the school: Thomas Dick, O.H. Williams, William Stuart, John Howitt, Thomas Contee Bowie, and George Ponsonby. [3] Their teacher went on to publish several treatises on the need for a system of higher education in the United States.  Knox’s ideas were said to have influenced Thomas Jefferson’s plans for the University of Virginia.

By Doug McElrath, May 27, 2013.

[1]  Daily National Intelligencer, 11/18/1820.  Repeated in Nov and Dec.  "Valuable Tannery in Bladensburg For Sale."
[2] Washington Federalist, 6/8/1804
[3] American Museum, April 1789

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prince George's County Business Makes News in New York in 1809

               In proof of the attention of country gentlemen to the improvements of their breed of Sheep, we learn that two young rams were shorn at Northampton, the seat of Osborne Sprigg, Esq. [1] of Prince George's Co. a few days since whose fleeces averged [sic] nine & a half pounds and whose carcases [sic] 186 lbs. each.  At the same time and place the fleeces of six ewes, with twin lambs, averaged eight and a quarter pounds.  The fleece of one of the ewes weighed 12lbs.; the whole of the wool being of a remarkable fine fiber and length of staple. [2]

[1] Reporter names the plantation as the seat of Osborne Sprigg whose son, Governor Samuel Sprigg, was most likely responsible for the 1809 news. Samuel Sprigg (c.1783– April 21, 1855) served as the 17th Governor of the state of Maryland in the United States from 1819 to 1822.

"For nearly three centuries Northampton was a tobacco plantation which also produced other crops. Today the physical remains of the plantation include the ruins of the manor house, its outbuildings and roads, and the remains of two slave quarters. The latter are the focus of current archaeological excavations and historical research. Excavations continue at the frame dwelling, while the foundation and partial walls of the brick quarters have been reconstructed.

Historians and archaeologists are working together to reconstruct the lives of the many slaves and tenant farmers who lived at Northampton Plantation. Detailed information about the life of one slave, Elizabeth Hawkins, was obtained from descendants who live in the area and are active participants in the research and excavations relating to this site.

Northampton is located at the Northlake residential development in Lake Arbor, Maryland,in a community park."  - The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George's County. http://www.pgparks.com/places/eleganthistoric/northampton_intro.html

[2] The Public Advertiser; Date: 05-25-1809; Volume: III; Issue: 744; Page: [2]; Location: New York, New York.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 26, 2013.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Edward Suit of Bladensburg: 1809 - 1850

Edward Suit of Bladensburg

Edward Suit lived in Bladensburg from circa 1820 until his death in 1850; the recorded activities of Suit and his family offer some interesting details about life in Bladensburg in the early 19th century.  Born in 1788 and married in 1809 to Catharine Tolbert/Talbert, Suit served in the Maryland Militia in the War of 1812, in Captain James Veitch’s Company of Infantry.  After the war, Suite farmed land that adjoined the town of Bladensburg on the east - several parcels of the large tract, Columbia, that had been amassed by the Lowndes’ family in the late 18th century.  He also purchased several lots in the town of Bladensburg, including Lots  #21, and #22, and it was in his house in town that he died in August, 1850. [1]

Archival records give us tantalizing bits of information about Edward Suit’s activities in the 1840s.  On 7 March 1844, Suit purchased all of the “goods, wares and merchandise” in the store operated by Joshua Selby in the village of Bladensburg, as well as all of Selby’s household furniture from the same building.  The following week Suit entered into a contract to take on a young African-American boy as an apprentice; this contract gives us information on the apprentice process.  William Beckett and Thomas Clements, both Justices of the Peace and neighbors of Edward Suit, drew up the contract, which bound Suit and young James Galloway, according to the Act of the General Assembly passed in 1839 “for the better regulation of the free negro and mulatto children in this state.”  James, who was not quite six years of age, was the son of a free Negro woman, Sarah Galloway, recently deceased.  By this contract, it was the responsibility of Edward Suit that the boy “learn to labor and all habits of industry after the manner of an apprentice.” And young James was to “dwell with and serve the said Edward Suit . . . until the first day of May A.D. 1859 when . . . . [he]   . . . . shall attain the age of twenty-one years.” During all of this time, James was to faithfully serve his master in all lawful business set to him by Suit, and to behave himself in an orderly and honest fashion toward Mr. Suit and his family.  Suit covenanted to faithfully provide good and sufficient meat, drink and clothing, lodging and other necessaries “fit and convenient for such an apprentice.”   At the expiration of his term Suit was to give to his apprentice “two suits of wearing apparel, one suitable for Sundays and the other for working days.”[2]

Edward Suit did not live to provide the two sets of clothing to James Galloway – he died at age 62 in 1850.   The 1860 census shows that James Galloway, well after his 21st birthday, continued to live in Bladensburg with Suit’s family - the widow Catharine Suit, and her adult son, George Washington Suit.  What happened to James Galloway after this has not yet been discovered – he is not listed in the Bladensburg household of George W. and Catharine Suit in the 1870 census, and a search of Civil War troops is beginning.[3]

One more interesting fact about Edward Suit is that he served as Inspector of Plaster of Paris for the Bladensburg District.  Plaster of Paris was an important item in construction and architectural trim, as well as medical treatment (casts for broken bones), and concern that it “be of good quality, accurately weighted, and well coopered”  occasioned Acts of the General Assembly in 1833 and 1834 to appoint an Inspector of Plaster of Paris in Baltimore.  The following year, the Assembly provided for inspection in Bladensburg, and Edward Suit was appointed to this post in 1847.[4]

 By Susan Pearl, May 22, 2013.

[1]  Prince George’s County Land Records AB#2:447, AB#10:483, AB#11:138; Prince George’s County Tax Assessments, 1820-1850;  Brown, Helen W., Index of Marriage Licenses, Prince George’s County, Maryland 1777-1886, Genealogical Publishing, Co. Inc., Baltimore 1973; War of 1812 Pension Records.

[2]  Acts of General Assembly Chapter CLV, 1827;  Prince George’s County Deed JBB#3:378; Federal Census 1850, 1860.

[3] Prince George’s County Will PC#1:438; Federal Census 1850, 1860;  Alexandria Gazette, 26 August 1850. Obituary.

[4] Acts of the General Assembly 1832-1834,  Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Cause of the Present War - May 21, 1814


               The Congress, who declared the present war, and the people who supported them in the declaration, it appears were totally mistaken, in the causes they ascribed for it.  It was not the commercial appression of England, her illegal blockades, her impressments of our seamen &c. which caused the resort to arms; - it was not, (strange, as it may seem,) on the other hand, the dictation of Bonaparte, who had go the cord so cleverly about our necks, and whose defeat gave such pleasant slumber to Mr. Harper[1], which produced it.  No, no.  Here follows the detection of the true "desideratum,"  and the sympathy which it causes, is really appropriate and natural.  The article is from a violent Massachusetts tory print.

               The next news from that quarter, will probably furnish the great desideratum for which this war was waged, that is - the possession and governmet of the immense and fertile tracts of land, of which these unfortunate denizens of the woods were the rightful owners; not by conquest or plunder, but by natural inheritance.

            How perfectly and natural and obvious all this is, but no one but this wise gentleman happened before to think of it.  Our rulers, it appears, declared war against Great Britain, simply for the purpose of cheating the Indians out of their land!  What a craving for land our government seem to have!  First they bought the Louisianian woods, and now they have fought for the Canadian wilds.

            But for the poor Indians. - Alas how melting are the plaints of their weeping condoler!  Is the massacre at Fort Mims forgotten?[2] Is the massacre at Fort Mims forgotten?  Did the ornament, which accompanied the mace [sic] at York, the capital of Upper Canada indicate n[] state of humanity, which could call for such tender sympathy?[3]- It is all of a piece, however.  If fear of superior force did not deter our internal foes from displaying their real temper, it would be a matter of indifference, whether an American, faithful to the republican administration fell into the hands of an English Hampton ruffian, a Creek Indian, or an Essex tory.[4]

[1] Heidler and heidler. 2004. Encyclopedia of the war of 1812. Annapolis, Md.  Naval Institute Press.

John Adams Harper (November 2, 1779 – June 18, 1816) was elected as a Democratic-Republican from New Hampshire to the Twelfth Congress (March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813). He was a key member of the War Hawk faction that strongly supported the War of 1812. 

[2] "The Fort Mims massacre was a battle that occurred on 30 August 1813 during the Creek War, when a force of Creek people, belonging to the "Red Sticks" faction under the command of head warriors Peter McQueen and William Weatherford, or Lamochattee (Red Eagle), stormed the fort and defeated the militia garrison. After the defeat of the garrison there ensued a massacre and almost all of the remaining Lower Creek, white settlers, and militia at Fort Mims were killed. The fort was a stockade with a blockhouse surrounding the house and outbuildings of the settler Samuel Mims, located about 35 miles north of present-day Mobile, Alabama." from Wikipedia.

[3]  "The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on April 27, 1813, at York, Upper Canada (present day Toronto) on the north-west shore of Lake Ontario. An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the fort, town and dockyard. The Americans themselves suffered heavy casualties, including Brigadier General Zebulon Pike who was leading the troops, when the retreating British blew up the fort's magazine. The American forces subsequently carried out several acts of arson and looting in the town before withdrawing." from Wikipedia.

[4] Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.; Date: 05-21-1814; Volume: 3; Issue: 120; Page: [2]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 22, 2013.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Charles Willson Peale in Bladensburg, 1789

Charles Willson Peale in Bladensburg, 1789

            Many famous individuals have traveled through Bladensburg, and the record of the 1789 visit of painter Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) is one of the most interesting.  Peale was the patriarch of a large and talented family, who preserved for us a legacy of visual and written information about America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Peale recorded his experiences in writing nearly as voluminously as he recorded his subjects in paint; his visit to Bladensburg is a good example.

            Peale left Annapolis on Friday, 14 August 1789, crossing the Patuxent River at Queen Anne, and spending the night with Benjamin Hall at his Partnership plantation.  On the following morning, Peale left Hall’s “to go to George Town, and reached Bladensburg at mid day – I waited on Mrs. Ross, who informd me that Mrs. Lounes (sic) wanted her portrait in miniature to give one to each of her Children.”  Ariana Brice Ross was the daughter of John Brice of Annapolis, and the widow of Dr. David Ross.  Peale would have known Mrs. Ross from their younger days in Annapolis; her brother, Edmund Brice, was Peale’s first pupil in painting.  Elizabeth Tasker Lowndes was the daughter of Benjamin Tasker of Annapolis, and widow of Christopher Lowndes.  David Ross and Christopher Lowndes were two of the most prominent citizens of Bladensburg in its early years.  Their two Bladensburg houses, built in 1746, were among the finest houses in the town.  Christopher Lowndes had died in 1785, and Mrs. Lowndes, in failing health, wanted a portrait of herself for each of her seven children.

               On Sunday, 16 August, Peale “began a miniature of Mrs. Lounes” and on the next day “began a portrait of Mrs. Lounes in head size” (i.e., life size, oil on canvas), continuing also to work on the miniature.  He recorded in his journal over the next few days: “I persue my business of painting the portraits of Mrs. Lounes, and finish all of them 7 in number vizt. 4 in oil and 3 in miniature, except the drapery of one of the miniatures which was for Mrs. Francis Lounes, who living in George Town, neglected sending me directions about it – and I thus determined to compleat it at George Towne.”

            On 8 September, after more than three weeks in Bladensburg, Peale wrote: “Mr. Benjn. Lounes paid me in full for these pictures 78 £ 15, that is 8 Guineas for the first Miniature 7 Guineas for the first head size & 6 Guineas for each of the 5 other Copies – making in all 45 Guineas.  I paid Peggy Adams for my board £ 3:10. And for keeping my Horse – 4.15.0   And left Bladensburg.”[1]

            Peale arrived in Georgetown on the 9th of September, and began a painting of the three grandchildren of Elizabeth Tasker Lowndes, children of Rebecca Lowndes and Benjamin Stoddert.  His journal gives considerable detail about the planning and painting of the children’s portrait[2] and also the completion and framing of the portraits and miniatures of Mrs. Lowndes.  On 18 September, he “left George Town and reached Bladensburg to a late dinner.”  Staying overnight in Bladensburg, probably at Margaret Adams’ inn, Peale left Bladensburg on the 19th, heading north toward home in Philadelphia, recording a poignant note as he departed: “left Bladensburg at X [10] O clock, and I am apprehensive about the same hour Mrs. Lounes departed this life. – it was accidental that I visited Bladensburg, and I am happy that I was in time to paint those 7 portraits which she desired for her 7 Children.”[3]  Heading north, Peale arrived in Philadelphia on 23 September.

Charles Willson Peale had a habit of writing into his journal curiosities that he found interesting.  For example, while working on Mrs. Lowndes’ portraits in Bladensburg, Peale interrupted the recording of his progress by copying directions for “preserving Plants in their Original Shape & Colour . . . “  Similarly, just after reaching Baltimore on 20 September, he copied into his journal innkeeper Margaret Adams’ detailed recipe for pickling sturgeon.

By Susan Pearl, May 22, 2013.

[1] Margaret Adams was an elderly black woman who ran a successful Bladensburg inn that was preferred by President Washington..  See letter from Thomas Lee Shippen to William Shippen, 15 September 1790, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

[2] Now owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and hanging at Dumbarton House in Georgetown.

[3] At least two of the oil portraits of Mrs. Lowndes are known to survive – one was last recorded in the ownership of an art dealer, and the other is now owned and displayed at the Washington County Museum of Fine Art in Hagerstown, having been given to the museum by direct descendants of Mrs. Lowndes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Planting, Profits, People, and Politics in Bladensburg, Maryland - 1814

               In 1806, The New and Complete American Encyclopedia describes Bladensburg as " a post town of Maryland in Prince George's county on the E[ast] side of the branch of Potomac at the junction of the N[orth] W[est]and N[orth] E[ast] branches about seven miles above Washington city consists of one long street on which are erected about 160 dwellings and a warehouse for the inspection of tobacco It is 38 miles S[outh] W[est by S[outh] of Baltimore, 8 [miles] E[east by N[orth] Georgetown, and 140 S[outh] W[est] by W[est] of Philadelphia [at a] Long[itude of] I 57 W[est] Lat[titude of] 38 57 N[orth]. (The New and Complete American Encyclopedia, 1806)[1]

               Bladensburg was the commercial center for the primary source of income, tobacco cultivation, in the northwestern part of Prince George's County, Maryland, lying just outside and east of the border of the District of Columbia. Tobacco production was serviced by convenient access to the Potomac River through its tributaries and by a growing system of roads linking the American South with coastal cities along the way to New England in the north.

               Agriculture and horticulture produced income and wealth that supported adjunct businesses such as seed and farm supply companies, shipping and brokerages, retailers of consumer goods and secondary value added enterprises such as mills. Social structures and politics in 1814 Bladensburg supported lawyers, doctors, and teachers. The complexities of tobacco cultivation consumed everyone's attention and time, and in turn dictated the annual cycles of political, religious, business and social seasons (Bozman, 1837; Morgan & Culture, 1998; Morse & Webber, 1802)[2]

               And at its core, commerce in Bladensburg depended on the institution of slavery (Morgan & Culture, 1998). This does not mean that everyone owned slaves, but it does mean that many benefited from the wealth accrued by the work of slaves. While not all tobacco planters had the capital to acquire slaves, the large planters who did had become dependent on the institution of legalized bondage. The small return on investment that tobacco cultivation provided made tobacco a risky  business choice for small planters and often resulted in foreclosures in poor growing seasons and global market swings. This risk resulted in small farmers turning to farming, to growing small grains such as wheat, an alternative business leaving slave agricultural production to large wealthy land owners.

               The need for both planters and farmers to access capital to purchase agricultural supplies and to buy more acreage resulted in a key political crisis in early 19th century Maryland over the role of banks, monetary regulation, and the power of a central government and its relation to transportation infrastructure projects such as turnpikes and canals. The division of the body politic into two partisan camps pitted small government supporters to oppose the 1811 renewal of the First Bank of the United States in support of Jefferson's ideas of a yeoman republic unconstrained by urban banking control. [3]

               Businesses centered on trade and commerce in Bladensburg as in other commercial centers tended more to the Hamiltonian concept of a level playing field with access to commercial loan instruments, and under the Federalist banner sought to fight of the ideas of the Democratic-Republican Party. This political fight pitted Bladensburg against the rest of the county for much of the first 25 years from 1788 until 1814, and reflected much of the political debate in the Chesapeake and Mid Atlantic.

               The war with Great Britain was ardently supported by proponents of small government, the very same supporters who had successfully prevented a renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States charter would soon prove the Federalist's point as the country was driven into debt in large part due to the military buildup and costs of the war itself. Bladensburg paid a high price for being on the losing side of the national political debate as well as the management of the war that many residents did not support (Buchholz, 1908; Riley, 1906)[4]

Bozman, J. L. (1837). The history of Maryland: from its first settlement, in 1633, to the restoration, in 1660 ; with a copious introduction, and notes and illustrations. J. Lucas & E.K. Deaver.  

Buchholz, H. E. (1908). Governors of Maryland: from the revolution to the year 1908. Williams & Wilkins company.

Morgan, P. D., & Culture, O. I. of E. A. H. and. (1998). Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-century Chesapeake and Lowcountry. University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Morse, J., & Webber, S. (1802). The American Universal Geography: Or, A View of the Present State of All the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Republics in the Known World, and of the United States in Particular. In Two Parts ... Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews; sold at their bookstore; by said Thomas in Worcester; by Thomas, Andrews & Butler in Baltimore, and by other booksellers.

Riley, E. S. (1906). A history of the General Assembly of Maryland, 1635-1904. Baltimore: Nunn & Co.
The New and Complete American Encyclopedia. (1806). (Vol. II). New York: John Low.

By John Peter Thompson May 21, 2013

[1] The New and Complete American Encyclopedia. (1806). (Vol. II). New York, NY USA: John Low.
   p. 121.

[2] Morse, J., & Webber, S. (1802). The American Universal Geography: Or, A View of the Present State of All the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Republics in the Known World, and of the United States in Particular. In Two Parts ... Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews; sold at their bookstore; by said Thomas in Worcester; by Thomas, Andrews & Butler in Baltimore, and by other booksellers. p. 582.

" The soil of the good land in Maryland is of such a nature and quality as to produce from 12 to t6 bushels of wheat or from 20 to 30 bushels of Indian corn per acre. Ten bushels of wheat and if bushels of corn per acre may be the annual average crops in the state at large... Wheat and tobacco arc the staple commodities. Tobacco is generally cultivated in sets by negroes in the following manner: the feed is sown in beds of fine mould and transplanted the begin of May... That pride which grows on slavery and is habitual to those who from their infancy are taught to believe and to see their superiority is a visible characteristic of the inhabitants of Maryland. But with this characteristic we must not fail to connect that of hospitality to strangers which is equally universal and obvious Many of the women possess all the amiable and many of the elegant accomplishments of their sex "
[3] A History Of Central Banking In The United States. 2012 The Federal Reserve Bank of Minnepaolis. [accessed May, 2013].http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/student/centralbankhistory/bank.cfm?

" Though the intent of the Bank was to facilitate government finances, Hamilton had another goal in mind—to function as a commercial bank. At the time of the revolution, there were barely any banks in the colonies; Britain had used its authority to protect its own banks and prevent the development of financial rivals. Hamilton's vision was to create a central source of capital that could be lent to new businesses and thereby develop the nation's economy. So while in some ways the First Bank prefigured the Federal Reserve, it also differed from it significantly by offering commercial loans, which the Fed, along with most modern central banks, does not do."

[4] Buchholz, H. E. (1908). Governors of Maryland: from the revolution to the year 1908. Williams & Wilkins company. 
" The national administration in 1812 was republican Maryland however was in a rather uncertain mind the republicans and federalists being almost equally strong... Both the Maryland federalists who had opposed the war and the Maryland republicans who had advocated it were forced to bear the burden of the nation's war as far as Maryland was concerned without any aid from the central government."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An ACT to prevent the obstruction of the navigation the eastern and north west branches of the river Patowmack

Chapter XV November 1784

An ACT to prevent the obstruction of the navigation the eastern and north west branches of the river Patowmack 

WHEREAS it is represented to thiB general that great numbers of wears and hedges have of been erected in and upon the eastern and north west of Patowmack Tiver near the town of Bladensburg to great injury of the navigation of the said river and of trade of the said town therefore 

II Be it enacted by the General Assembly of That all wears and hedges already made or hereafter to made in the eastern and north west branches of the Patowmack which obstruct or injure the free navigation thereof shall be and are hereby deemed and declared nuisances and may be by any person or persons pulled down prostrated and abated as such 

III And be it enacted That no person or persons whatsoever shall after the first day of April next put place make any wear or hedge or any other erection which injure the navigation in the said eastern or north west of the river Patowmack under the penalty of five current money for every such offence to be recovered any magistrate of the county of Prince George's one half the informer or him or them that will sue for or prosecute effect for the same the other half to the use of this state 

IV And be it enacted That any person or persons shall fish any such wear or hedge already erected or shall hereafter be erected so as to obstruct or injure the navigation in the said eastern or north west branch of the said river Patowmack shall forfeit and pay for every such offence sum of three pounds current money to be recovered and applied as herein before directed 

V And be it enacted That all wears and hedges made or hereafter to be made upon the water above the of Bladensburg so as to obstruct the natural course of the water or to cause the said water to overflow any part of said town of Bladensburg shall be deemed and taken to nuisances and may be abated as such and any person making erecting or fishing such hedge or wear after the first day of April next shall forfeit for every such offence the sum of five pounds current money to be recovered and applied as aforesaid.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ensign Bryan Dies at Bladensburg, Victim of Duel May 1814

               A very aggavated [sic] case of duelling [sic] occurred neat Bladensburgh the other day.  It was nothing less than a gross and palpable murder.  If this species of crime is to escape punishment by the parties crossing lines of particular jurisdiction, justice is nothing but a mockery.  We understand that ensign Bryan [1] was the name of the person slain.  His murderer ought certainly to be arrested for trial.  If an appeal to the duel is ever to be allowed, it must be where the provocation is deadly.  According to the modern practice, however, a few harsh words uttered in hot blood, are immediately followed by pistols; and every fop, sporting with human life, may strut the man of honor. - Balt. Whig. [2]

[1] The Panoplist (and Missionary magazine) conducted by an association of friends to evangelical truth. 1814. Samuel T. Armstrong, Boston.

"In the district of Columbia Ensign S. H. Bryan murdered in a duel by a Lieutenant of US army. Bryan's pistols missed fire twice."

[2] The Delaware Gazette.; Date: 05-02-1814; Volume: I; Issue: V; Page: [3]; Location: Wilmington, Delaware.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 17th, 2013.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Arson at Navy Yard Foreshadows Things to Come - May 1814

Washington, May 14.

               The evening before the last an unsuccessful effort was made by some incendiary to set fire to one of the old frigates lying at the navy yard in this city, and thus, to burn up the new frigate building near to the old one.  The attempt was doubtless that of a British partisan, since it is difficult to conceive a motive on the part of any other person for committing so at[]rocious an act and you well know that the British cabinet employs incendiaries and agents in every quarter of the world, to effect by their plots and intrigues, what it cannot do by an open course of policy, the aggrandizement of England and English commerce, and the depression of other nations in their march to greatness.[1]

[1] Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.; Date: 05-16-1814; Volume: 3; Issue: 115; Page: [2]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John peter Thompson, May 18th, 2013.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A long-lived life at Riversdale near Bladensburg - 120 years old in 1810


               Died on Sunday, the 120th instant. at the plantation of George Calvert, Esw. Prince George's county, negro JACK, in the 120th year of his age. - He retained every faculty in a remarkable degree to the last. [1]

Riverdale Park, Maryland 20737

[1] Federal Republican & Commercial Gazette; Date: 05-28-1810; Volume: II; Issue: 201; Page: [3]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 15th, 2013. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Music for May 1814


Just received by J. Milligan & Co.

Colonel Croghan's March. [1]
Six Walzes, four hands, Vanhal.
Pleyel's Sonata in A.

J. Milligan & Co. have also received a supply
of the following

Allan a Dale, Erin Go Brah.
Pleyel's Sonata in B, Rondo Steibelt, [2]
Steer[e]man's Song.

May 9 - [3]

[1] Echoes of Mackinac: II. Colonel Croghan's Troops. Uploaded by Tess Miller on May 17, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zA-00fKCn8

[2] Example - Daniel Steibelt: Rondo, "Élégant". Uploaded by Spencer Alaee on Jun 18, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVtagQ_eaAs

[3] Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 05-13-1814; Volume: II; Issue: 425; Page: [4]; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 13th, 2013.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Blue-eyed Slave Runs Away from Plantation in the Vicinity of Upper Marlboro - May 10 1814


               Asconded [sic] from the subscriber, the latter part of March, Negro Frederick, sometimes calls himself Frederick Hall, a bright Mulatto, 21 years old, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, strait and well made, with a short chub nose, blue eyes and freckled. - His clothing was home spun cotton shirts, his jacket and pantaloons of cotton and yarn, twilled.  Since his elopement, he hired himself to Mr. Long, in Washington, as a waiter, where he stayed but a few days.  It is likely he may still be in the City of Georgetown, or he may have gone to Alexandria or Baltimore[1], in the latter place he has an acquaintance, sold about 2 years since to the Hon. Mr. Williams[2], a senator of Maryland.  The above reward will be paid for apprehending and committing him to jail
                                                                           BENJAMIN ODEN.[3]
               April 25-tf.[4]

Bellefields, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Md Historical Trust

[1]  If he was able to get to Baltimore the most traveled route from Washington was through Bladensburg.
[2] perhaps refers to Nathaniel F. Williams:  Born March 14, 1782, in Roxbury Massachusetts. Some of Susanna and Joseph Williams. Graduated from Harvard College, 1801. Read law in Boston and Annapolis. Married Caroline Barney, daughter of Anne and Commodore Joshua Barney, 1809. Married Maria Pickett Dalrymple, 1829. At least four children. Unitarian. Died in Baltimore, on September 10, 1864. Attorney. Maryland Senate, Western Shore, 1811-1816. Private, Baltimore Fencibles, War of 1812; wounded at the Battle of North Point, 1814. Acting Attorney General of Maryland during illness of Luther Martin, 1820-1822. United States Attorney, District of Maryland, 1824-1841. Executive Council, 1835-1837. Maryland Senate, Baltimore City, 1853. Trustee, University of Maryland, 1826. Noted for his support of theaters in Baltimore. Archives of Maryland , (Biographical Series).

[3] Benjamin Oden (1762-1836) began operations in Prince Georges County as a business agent for Stephen West, Jr. (1727-1790), eventually marrying two of West's daughters and acquiring substantial lands in his own right. The home plantation, Bellefields, and a store Oden owned were in Upper Marlborough, Prince Georges County. Earliest papers show the conditions of Anglo-American trade, and subsequent materials concern land sales and acquisitions; tobacco sales and cultivation; slaves and slave management; banking; and family matters. Oden Papers, 1755-1836, Maryland Historical Society.

[4] Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 05-10-1814; Volume: II; Issue: 422; Page: [4]; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 10th, 2013.