Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gunpowder for Sale near Bladensburg, Maryland - August 1813


               The subscribers offer for sale, at the Franklin Powder Mills, Near Bladensburg, and at the store of Stull & Williams, in Georgetown,


Warranted to be of superior quality.

               From the great expence [sic] and trouble which they have incurred to make their powder good, they flatter themselves that they will meet with encouragement. - Persons residing in the several counties in the adjacent states, who are in the habit of vending powder, can be supplied on the most liberal terms. - Orders from a distance will be punctually attended to, the powder carefully put up in tight casks, and forwarded without delay.


August 27 - 12t [1]

Federal Republican, August 30, 1813
This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004

[1] Federal Republican and Commercial Gazette.; Date: 08-30-1813; Volume: VII; Issue: 1013; Page: [3]; Location: Georgetown, District of Columbia.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, July 28th, 2013.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wheat and the Hessian Fly in Maryland 1812 - Advice to Farmers

Poulson's American Daily Advertiser.;
Date: 07-28-1812;
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rural Economy:
               The following method is recommended to preserve Wheat for years from the fly that prevails more or less every year in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Delaware and Jersey, and more particularly on the Bays, Rivers and adjacent country.[1]
               Get your wheat out of your straw as early as you possibly can; clean the straw well from the chaff and wheat; if you have a barn, put your wheat away in bulk, leaving the chaff with it.  I knew wheat kept several years during the Revolutionary War in this way free from all insects. - Rats and mice cannot burrow in this bank, it will continually fall on them.  Those that have not barns may make pens with logs, or fence rails; first laying logs or rails on the earth sufficent to keep the damp from rising to injure the wheat; then cover the floor twelve or eighteen inches thick with with straw well tread down - put your wheat on this floor miced with all its chaff, and as you fill the pen, line the sides well with straw; when you have filled your pen in this way, stack your straw on the top of it, seeing that the straw extends well over the top of the pen to carry off the rain water.              E. K. [2]

[1] Asa Fitch. 1847. Diptera. C. Van Benthuysen and Co., Albany. [accessed July 23, 2013]

 "The insect which we are about to consider, has for a long period been, at times, a severe scourge, in every district of our country. It is more formidable to us, says Dr. B. S. Barton, than would be an army of twenty thousand Hessians, or of any other twenty thou sand hirelings, supplied with all the implements of war. Hence it has forced itself prominently to the notice both of agriculturists and men of science. No other insect of the tens of thousands that teem in our land, has received a tithe of the attention, or been chronicled with a tithe of the voluminousness that has been assigned to this species. Our scientific journals, our agricultural magazines, and our common newspapers, have each accorded to it a conspicuous place in their columns. As may well be supposed, almost every point in its history, has by one and another of its observers, been closely investigated, and laid before the public. Very little that is  new, can, therefore, at this day be embodied in an account of this species. The most that an observer can accomplish, is to add his testimony in confirmation of facts that have been already announced. The most that a writer can aim at, is to gather the various papers that are scattered through volumes sufficiently numerous of themselves to form a library, sift from them whatever they contain of importance, and arrange the facts thus acquired, into a connect ed and symmetrical memoir. Such is the object of the present essay ; to carefully review the various accounts that have been hitherto published, extract from each the items of value which it contains, compare these with personal observations made under favorable circumstances during the past twelve months, and with the materials thus acquired, rite out a history of this species, more ample in its details than any that has been hitherto attempted, and containing a complete summary of all that is known of this insect down to the present day."   

J. W. Chapin, Extension Small Grain Specialist, Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, Clemson
University, Edisto Res. & Ed. Center, 64 Research Road, Blackville, SC 29817. 803-284-3343-ext. 226 [accessed July 23, 2013]

"The Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say), got its common name from the belief that it was introduced
to North America in the straw bedding of Hessian mercenaries during the Revolutionary War. It was
first reported attacking small grain on Long Island in 1779. By 1845 it was causing damage in Georgia and
has remained a sporadic pest of wheat in the South. Hessian fly can cause economic injury anywhere in
South Carolina, but fields in the southern Coastal Plain usually have greater risk.

Annual damage exceeded $4 million dollars in several outbreaks from 1984 -1989. Contributing factors for severe infestation include use of a susceptible variety, early planting, unusually warm Nov. – Dec. weather, reduced tillage into wheat stubble, volunteer wheat, and lack of rotation. Hessian fly attacks wheat, triticale, barley, and rye in that order of damage severity. Oats are not affected."

[2] Poulson's American Daily Advertiser.; Date: 07-28-1812; Volume: XLI; Issue: 11131; Page: [2]; Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, July 23rd, 2013.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Partial Bibliography - Agricultural and Political Life in Bladensburg, Maryland - 1814

Anon, 1836. A General History of the Tobacco Plant: Intended as an Authoritative Reference to Its Discovery, Dissemination, and Reception as a Luxury, Newcastle upon Tyne: Pattison and Ross. Available at:

Biddle, J.F., 1953. Bladensburg: An Early Trade Center. Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., 53/56, pp.309–326. Available at:

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.

Calvert, R.S., 1992. Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, 1795-1821 illustrate. M. L. Callcott, ed., Johns Hopkins University Press. Available at:
Abstract: he book features letters from Rosalie Stier Calvert, a wealthy Belgian woman who married in to one of Maryland’s most prominent families after emigrating to America in the late 18th century. Her family ultimately returns home while she stays with her new husband, affording her the opportunity to write many letters detailing life in early America. ~ Book Review: Mistress of Riversdale By Brian. 

Carr, L.G. et al., 1991. Robert Cole’s World: Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland, Institute of Early American History and Culture. Available at:

Abstract: In 1652 Robert Cole, an English Catholic, moved with his family and servants to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Using this family's story as a case study, the authors of Robert Cole's World provide an intimate portrait of the social and economic life of a middling planter in the seveneenth-century Chesapeake, including work routines and agricultural techniques, the upbringing of children, neighborhood relationships and community formation, and the role of religion. The Cole Plantation account, a record that details what the plantation produced, consumed, purchased, and sold over a twelve-year period, is the only known surviving document of its kind for seventeenth-century British America. Along with Cole's will, it serves as the framework around which the authors build their analysis. Drawing on these and other records, they present Cole as an exemplar of the ordinary planter whose success created the capital base for the slave-based plantation society of the eighteenth century.

Fields, B.J., 1985. Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the Nineteenth Century, Yale University Press. Available at:
Abstract: Probing the relationships among Maryland’s slaves and free blacks, its slaveholders, and its non-slaveholders, Fields shows how centrist moderation turned into centrist immoderation under the stress of the Civil War and how social channels formed by slavery established the course of struggle over the shape of free society. In so doing, she offers historical reflections on the underlying character both of slave society and of the society that replaced it.

Gottschalk, L.C., 1945. Effects of Soil Erosion on Navigation in Upper Chesapeake Bay. Geographical Review, 35(2), pp.219–238. Available at:
Abstract: Alfred M. Rives, engineer in charge of a survey of bridges across the Potomac, who wrote, in 1857:13 Examination of old charts, as well as reflections upon the necessary operations of nature, convince me that these flats date from a period long antecedent to the erection of the cause? way. That they have increased rapidly during the past fifty years is but natural, when we consider what vast deposits must result from the freshet waters of the Potomac, now rendered doubly turbid from washing the shores of a highly cultivated region. It must be evident that ploughed hill sides furnish more alluvial deposit than unbroken forests or grassy slopes. By the operation of these and similar causes, many ports, formerly deep and accessible, now scarcely exist, of which Bladensburg, in our immediate vicinity, and others on our rivers of the Atlantic seaboard, are familiar examples.

Heidler, D.S. & Heidler, J.T., 2004. Encyclopedia of the war of 1812, Annapolis: U S NAVAL INST Press. Available at:

Holmes, O.W., 1948. Stagecoach Days in the District of Columbia. Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., 50, pp.1–42. Available at:
Abstract: The stages met and exchanged passengers at a tavern in the vicinity of the present town of Laurel that was then kept by Thomas Rose.3 Here the passengers also dined. For the first few years the Potomac crossing was at Alexandria, not at Georgetown. From the Maryland side of the ferry the stage travelled up to Bladensburg on the road that ran east of the Anacostia River.4 The fare between Baltimore and Alexandria was $3.00. The proprietors “presumed this commodious and speedy method of travelling will meet with due encouragement,” but the trip apparently consumed the entire day.

Johnson, W., 1999. Soul by Soul, Harvard University Press. Available at: .
Abstract: The focus of this book is on nineteenth-century New Orleans and the slave market that emerged then and there. More than other workings of slavery, slave markets reduced humans to commodities with prices. In particular, this book is interested in the story of slave showrooms, which held up to 100 slaves and where appraisals, accountings, back-room dealings, and other activities took place. The book attributes the slave trade to mercantilism whereby colonial imports serviced and stocked metropolitan centers and generated profits secured for both state-sponsored companies and the monopoly-granting state itself. Companies with well-connected leaders and government ties could gain state privileges and favors and receive special monopoly licenses to dominate trade, first in goods such as tobacco, indigo, rice, cotton, coffee, and so on, and later in human beings. The ban of the international slave trade in 1808 did not lead to the reduction or softening of slavery, but rather to new shapes and manifestations of slavery, especially as slave populations moved increasingly from the upper to the lower South. The ban led, more importantly for the purposes of this book, to the domestic slave trade. The domestic slave trade intensified during the rise of the cotton kingdom. The price of slaves changed with the price of cotton until the 1850s.

King, J.A., 1997. Tobacco, Innovation, and Economic Persistence in Nineteenth-Century Southern Maryland. Agricultural History, 71(2), pp.207–236. Available at:

Kulikoff, A., 1986. Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800, University of North Carolina Press. Available at:
Abstract: A major reinterpretation of the economic and political transformation of Chesapeake society from 1680 to 1800. Building upon massive archival research in Maryland and Virginia, Allan Kulikoff provides the most comprehensive study to date of changing social relations?among both blacks and whites?in the eighteenth-century South. He links his arguments about class, gender, and race to the later social history of the South and to larger patterns of American development.

McWilliams, J.W., 2011. Annapolis, City on the Severn: A History, Johns Hopkins University Press. Available at:
Abstract: The story of Annapolis resonates in every century of American history. Annapolis has been home to tobacco plantations, political intrigue, international commerce, the U.S. Naval Academy, ballooning population growth, and colonial, state, and national government. Jane Wilson McWilliams’s captivating history explores Annapolis from its settlement in 1650 to its historic preservation campaign of the late twentieth century. McWilliams brings alive the people of Annapolis as she recounts their fortunes and foibles. Be they black or white, slave or master, woman or man, each has a place in this book. With unsurpassed detail and graceful prose, she describes the innermost workings of Maryland’s capital city—its social, civic, and religious institutions; its powerful political leaders; and its art, architecture, and neighborhoods.

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.
Abstract: Philip Morgan compares and contrasts African American life in these two regional black cultures, exploring the differences as well as the similarities. The result is a detailed and comprehensive view of slave life in the colonial American South. Morgan explores the role of land and labor in shaping culture, the everyday contacts of masters and slaves that defined the possibilities and limitations of cultural exchange, and finally the interior lives of blacks?their social relations, their family and kin ties, and the major symbolic dimensions of life: language, play, and religion. He provides a balanced appreciation for the oppressiveness of bondage and for the ability of slaves to shape their lives, showing that, whatever the constraints, slaves contributed to the making of their history. Victims of a brutal, dehumanizing system, slaves nevertheless strove to create order in their lives, to preserve their humanity, to achieve dignity, and to sustain dreams of a better future.

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.

Renzulli, L.M., 1973. Maryland: The Federalist Years, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. Available at:
Abstract: The rise and fall of the Federalist Party in Maryland is detailed in this solid, traditional, narrative. Carefully documented, it examines the nature and voting patterns of the Federalist electorate in Maryland during the pre-Jacksonian era.

Riggs, J.B., 1946. Certain Early Maryland Landowners in the Vicinity of Washington. Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., 48/49, pp.249–263 CR  – Copyright © 1946 Historical Soc. Available at:

Riley, E.S., 1906. A history of the General Assembly of Maryland, 1635-1904, Baltimore: Nunn & Co.

Sarson, S., 2000. Landlessness and Tenancy in Early National Prince George’s County, Maryland. The William and Mary Quarterly, 57(3), pp.569–598. Available at:
Abstract: In the first three quarters of the eighteenth century, the landless component of the free population in the tidewater Chesapeake grew from a third to more than half, and that trend continued after Independence.6 In Prince George’s County, the proportion of landlessness was almost 70 percent in i8oo, 67 percent in i8io, and 75 percent in i820 (see Tables I, III, and V).

Sarson, S., 2009. Yeoman Farmers in a Planters’ Republic: Socioeconomic Conditions and Relations in Early National Prince George's County, Maryland. Journal of the Early Republic, 29(1), pp.63–99. Available at:

Taylor, J., 1814. Arator: Being a Series of Agricultural Essays, Practical & Political, in Sixty One Numbers 2nd ed., Gerogetown, District of Columbia: J.M. Carter. Available at: 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Enemy is in the Patuxent - July 19th, 1814


               An expressed arived on Sunday evening from Gen. Winder stating that the enemy were ascending the Patuxent in great force; orders were immediately issued from the War Department for a detatchment of volunteers to proceed from this city; yesterday about 12 o'clock capt. [sic] Davidson's light infantry, capt. Burch's artillery, and capt. Doughty's rifle companies took up the line of march; the whole under the command of Captain Davidson.[1]

The Enemy in the Patuxent;
Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 07-19-1814;

[1] Daily National Intelligencer; Date: 07-19-1814; Volume: II; Issue: 481; Page: [3]; Location: Washington (DC), District of Columbia.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, July 19th, 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ravages of the Enemy - Report from the Patuxent July 2, 1814

American Advocate; Date: 07-02-1814; Volume: V; Issue: 24; Page: [4]; Location: Hallowell, Maine

Peirce Nursery Catalog Cover 1824, Rock Creek, Washington DC

Peirce Nursery 1824, Rock Creek, Washington DC

Author: Peirce, Joshua; Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection
Volume: 1824
Digitizing sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library

 links to Peirce catalogs online:


Monday, July 1, 2013

War in the Chesapeake - Dedham Gazette, July 1, 1814

War in the Chesapeake

               A great degree of alarm, and many war movements - on paper at least, - existed, at the last date, on many of the branches of the Chesapeake.

               In these waters there is considerable British naval force, but the exact number has not been ascertained, - At the entrance of the bay, there is a 74, and other vessels, forming a general blockading squadron.

               In the upper water there is a British 74, the Dragon, Capt. Barrie, two frigates, and a considerable number of smaller vessels and craft; who are opposed to the flotilla of gun-boats and launches, which have been fitted out at Baltimore, &c. at an expense of 50,000 dollars (~$516,700), and commanded by Com. Barney.  This force was declared to have been fitted out for the protection of that city and to be competent to its defence [sic]: But, for some unexampled cause, this flotilla has gotten out of its latitude, and having left the Potapsco [sic], has run into the Patuxent, and carried the war from Baltimore, into one of the most federal counties of the Sate. - The Maryland papers think this movement to be one of the pitiful artifices of the administration, to make the federalists feel the pressure of the war they abhor.

               In a creek of the Patuxent Com. Barney was strictly blockaded by a frigate, and some sloops of war.  This flotilla, from which so much was expected, and of which so much has been vapoured [sic]; being thus disposed of, the British boats and barges have been trying, as Mr. Jefferson would say, how "much harm they can do;" and if a twentieth part of the reports circulated of their doings be true, the people of the vicinity of the Capitol where the war was declared, find it a very "unprofitable contest."  The account states, that the barges had proceeded to Benedict (Maryland), about 15 miles from the creek where the blockading force lay; and where they continued for some time.  It was at this place where Mr. Dorsey met the British Commodore.  As that gentleman's accounts of events appear to me the most responsible, we continue his report of events.

               He says, "the British loaded their barges from the schooner which was aground, and conveyed it on board a privateer: - That while waiting events, near Benedict, " he had the mortification to see a brig, and a number of barges coming from St. Leonard's creek, for the evident purpose of saving the American merchants the trouble of looking out for shipping to carry their produce to market, by becoming themselves the carriers of our tobacco to the fine markets which the present state of the continent is likely to produce."  He adds, "if this tobacco is lost, the British will have taken from the public warehouse on this expedition, at least seventeen hundred and fifty hogsheads.  I can form no opinion of the length of time necessary to load their brig, and am convinced from the nature of the county, they can only be resisted by artillery."  He then hopes the President will order some heavy artillery to prevent the brig from regaining St. Leonard's creek. -  He concludes his letter of the 18th June saying, " You have no conception of the universal panic which prevails here.  The regulars who were stationed in Benedict lost a part of their baggage and provisions.  Believing I can be of no further service here, I return home," &c.

               The barges are said to have attempted to take Nottingham (Maryland), where there were large public warehouses with tobacco in them, and which is only 22 miles from the capitol in Washington; but were discharged of some heavy guns then on their way to St. Leonard's creek.  There are other accounts of similar events; but they are all, probably, the fabrications of newsmakers.

               It is added, that barges plundered on both sides of the river, unmolested. - They declared their orders to be to burn every house which was deserted, or where the stock was removed from the farms.  Provisions they said they wanted, and would have by purchase or force.  They burnt the public ware-houses at Lower Marlborough 5 miles from Benedict, &c.  Thus it appears a contemptible force has carried the war to within a few hours march of Mr. Madison's palace (the White House) without any resistance; and this too, in a narrow river and after we have been two years at war!  The people call for the "defence" [sic] which the Constitution declares the General Government shall give them, and for which they have paid scores of millions; they ask for arms, ammunition and provisions; and they are answered that the government troops are gone to take Canada; and if any succor is sent, it arrives after the enemy has retired.

               By the Georgetown and Washington papers it appears, that the British have evacuated the town of Benedict, and returned down the river.  The quantity of tobacco carried away, and destroyed by the British, during their excursion up the Patuxent, is computed at 8000 bdds.

               It is generally believed that they are now about to concentrate all their force for another attack upon Barney's flotilla.

               The people of that part of Maryland which is now the seat of war, are represented as being extremely exasperated at the President for leaving them in the exposed aituation.  A letter from Leonardstown [sic], after mentioning the consternation and sufferings of the people, adds - " But these are only exceeded by the high-state of irritable sensibility discovered by all classes of citizens, of whatever party, with scarcely an exception, whenever Madison's or Barney's name is mentioned.  The dethroned tyrant is scarely [sic] more execrated by the people of Paris, Lyons or Bordeaux, than our President is by the good people of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's (counties).  Curses are poured out upon him daily by thousands of mouths, for bringing the enemy upon them without affording protection.  Old Major _______ has spoken his mind fully to Barney, and the language in which he vented his indignation is a fair sample of the general feeling among the people."  - [Centinel. [1]

[1] Dedham Gazette; Date: 07-01-1814; Volume: 1; Issue: 46; Page: [2]; Location: Dedham, Massachusetts.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, July 1st, 2013.