Sunday, March 18, 2018

Patapsco Female Institute and the women who ran it

As pictured in 1854, the institute (opened 1837) was managed or owned by three ladies ... and a few men.  The most well-known, from 1841 to 1856, was Almira Phelps who moved in with her family and made it a nationally celebrated school. Sarah Randolph, author and great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson, was the last director from 1879 to 1885. A descendant of one of the Ellicott founders, Lilly Elliott owned it from1891 until her death in 1924; first as her home, then hotel, then as a WWI hospital.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Martha Ellicott Tyson - Swarthmore founder, writer, Quaker elder

Martha (Ellicott) Tyson (1795-1873) was born in Ellicott’s Mills to George Ellicott, son of one of the founders, and younger sister of Elizabeth Ellicott Lea.  She married Nathan Tyson, lived in Baltimore and had a country home “Jericho” north of Baltimore by the Tyson mills. While raising a large family she became an Elder in her Quaker (Society of Friends) meeting, stressed education, women’s rights and abolition. She helped found Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1860. Her many books include a genealogy of her family, The Settlement of Ellicott's Mills, and A Sketch of the Life of Benjamin Banneker.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Elizabeth Ellicott Lea and the first Maryland cookbook in 1845

Elizabeth (Ellicott) Lea (1793-1858) was born in Ellicott’s mills to
George and Elizabeth (Brooke) Ellicott, the son of one of the
founding Quaker brothers.  In 1812, she married Thomas
Lea Jr. (1789-1829) at the New Elkridge Meeting House in Ellicott City,
and lived at his family mills near Wilmington, DE.

After moving to her mother’s Brooke family lands near Sandy
Spring MD in 1823, Lea’s husband died and left her to
raise their large family at "Walnut Hill" farm.  Lea sent her newly
married daughter a recipe manuscript which was first published
in 1845.  Domestic Cookery went through two more editions -1846, 1851 -and numerous printings during the next 40 years. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Maryland Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, and the relief of poor negroes and others unlawfully held in bondage

Elias Ellicott, one son of Ellicott City founder Andrew Ellicott, was a founding member and on the 'acting committee' of the Maryland Society was also a member of the Philadelphia Abolition Society (logo on left). The Maryland Society, founded 1789, was the sixth in the world after Phila, NY, London, Paris and Delaware.  Constitution, bylaws and founding members (by 1797 membership had increased to 231) from a book 90 years later...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Tom Randall and the Howard House

Tom Randall was the son of Julia Bacon, a slave who was the cook at Howard House.  The Howard House hotel, built in 1850 contained a bar and dining room in addition to the bedrooms.  Randall told his story in the WPA's Slave Narrative Project in 1936.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Ellicott City Colored School House and Beulah Buckner

Beulah (Meacham) Buckner (1930-2005) saw the dilapidated building while searching for tombstones and other records for slaves and free African Americans.  She found out that it was the old "Ellicott City Colored School", the first publicly funded school for African Americans in Howard County, Maryland.  Tirelessly working to restore and fill the old building, Buckner saw that it became a museum.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Jail and Courthouse Underground Railroad markers

The stone section under the porch roof was the original jail built in 1851 and is behind the courthouse built in 1843.  The National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom website HERE

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thomas Ellicott was the author of "The Millwright's Guide"

Thomas Ellicott (1738-1799) did indeed write and include drawings in his section "The Practical Millwright" which was combined into Oliver Evans' Young Mill-wright and Miller's Guide, 1795. Ellicott was listed in the subscribers list at the end of the book for buying 150 copies at $2 each; and also wrote a 10 page article about his new mill in Occoquon, Va in the journal Repertory of Arts and Manufactures, London: 1796.  Thomas Ellicott was not involved in the mills in Maryland started by his brothers and now called Ellicott City.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Elkridge Quaker meeting house in Ellicott City

The Ellicott family donated four acres for a Quaker meeting house and a cemetery.  Later the cemetery was moved across 'Quaker Hill'.  Excerpts from Martha Ellicott Tyson, and an 1891 article about the abandoned meeting house.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Joe Nick - from slave to Civil War soldier

During the Civil War, Joe Nick drove a pair of horses with a covered wagon from his master Reuben Rogers' ("a lawyer and farmer") farm to join the Union Army.  In Ellicott City he hopped aboard a freight train going west.  Nick returned in uniform in June 1865, and Rogers had him put in the EC jail as a fugitive slave. The US Marshall freed Nick and arrested Rogers.  The story was retold by "the younger generation" as "Old Nick: Rogers lemon."  The photo (left) is of an unknown soldier in the Library of Congress collection.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Oakland Mills blacksmith shop in danger

The blacksmith shop is literally falling down. Colonial Williamsburg staff called it "unparalleled by anything we have seen elsewhere on the East Coast."  Built in 1820 on the Columbia to Georgetown Turnpike, the house "Felicity" and shop is at 5471 Old Columbia Road next to Rt 29.  It remained a working forge until 1950.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"New Year's Gift" in Columbia and Glenwood

There are two "New Year's Gifts" in Howard County. "Linden Grove" was built by Capt. John Worthington Dorsey in 1817 near Ellicott City (now Columbia area). The other, "Villa de Speranza," (image on left) was built circa 1730 as a log house, with 1788 additions in the western part of Howard County.  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas poem written at Ellicott's Mills in 1856 by M. C. P.

Someone from Ellicott's Mills - M. C. P.  (Pue?) wrote a poem about Christmas for the magazine The Little Pilgrim (Phila: April, 1856)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lea mills on the Brandywine

Joseph Tatnall and his son-in-law Thomas Lea, Sr. dug a mill race on the rocky north shore of the Brandywine, and by 1764 there were four mills on the shore. An 1873 article (image left) stated that the Lea mills were still in operation by the Lea family.  Elizabeth Ellicott of Ellicott mills married Thomas Lea, Jr. in 1812.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Brandywine Mills in the Revolutionary War

During the Revolutionary War the Tatnall and Lea flour mills furnished flour to the American army. Washington and Lafayette visited Joseph Tatnall.  Before the battle of the Brandywine, Washington ordered the top grinding stones of the mills to be removed and hidden from the British troops.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lea's Brandywine flour mills near Wilmington Del., 1800

The famed Tatnall and Lea flour mills in Delaware were visited by many foreigners including the Duc de La Rochefoucauld [1747-1827], who left France during the beginning of the French Revolution. He described Thomas Lea - whose son married Elizabeth Ellicott (1st Md. cookbook) daughter of George Ellicott - as "a handsome, cheerful, active, man...a candid and obliging man" and their private "flour manufactory" bought "corn" (grain) and shipped the flour to Philadelphia then exported.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ellicott City to Clarksville turnpike milestone 9 M TO EC

The turnpike company was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1868 and lasted about 50 years. For some reason the 9 is backwards. The stone in Clarksville is located on the west side of Rt. 108 across from Great Star Drive in front of Clarksville Commons.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Baltimore to Frederick town turnpike milestone - 10 M to B

The 10 mile marker stone, on lower Main Street under the railroad bridge, is testament to the Ellicott brothers who built a road from Baltimore to their new settlement of Ellicott's mills.  When the turnpike was financed it went from Baltimore through Ellicott Mills to Frederick to Cumberland and joined the National Road.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Covered turnpike bridge and trolley bridge at Ellicott Mills

A circa 1909 photograph shows the trolley bridge (on the left) and the covered bridge (for the road) crossing over the Patapsco to Baltimore County.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bloede Dam - Power plant inside a dam

The first hydroelectric plant within a dam was built just south of Ilchester and Ellicott City on the Patapsco River in 1907. The underwater plant had windows behind the falls for light, but during rain when the "water is muddy" less light entered the room.