Monday, June 18, 2018

1831 B & O horse drawn carriage

During an 1831 trip to North and South America, Sir James Edward Alexander (1803-1885) took a detour from riding a “coach (a sort of windmill, freely admitting the cold air through the leathern sides)” from Washington to Baltimore to ride on the “Baltimore Railway”.  They rode in a "heavy double carriage, drawn by one horse."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ruthless, winner of first Belmont Stakes, killed by a hunter at "Oakland Manor"

In 1867 the first Belmont Stakes race was held at the new Jerome Park racecourse.  A filly won. Ruthless was raised by Francis Morris (1811-1886) at Throggs Neck, now part of NYC.  Morris also owned farms in Texas and "Oakland Manor" near Ellicott City where Ruthless was shot in 1876.  In her short career, Ruthless ran in 11 races: won 7 and second in 4, before an injury.  Her first foal Battle Axe, won the Kentucky Stakes at Saratoga in 1873.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Surgeon General Robert Murray from Elkridge

Robert Murray (1822-1913) was born in Elkridge and earned his medical degree at University of Pennsylvania in 1843. After serving in the Army for forty years - 1846-1886 - the general retired to live in his childhood home in Elkridge.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Enchanted Forest - a fairy tale wonderland - now at Clark's Elioak Farm

In August 1955 the Harrison family opened a new concept family park.  A story-book-land.  And it was a success.  It closed in 1989 and luckily, after 2004, many of the buildings and figures were moved to Clark's Elioak Farm, restored and now part of the popular petting farm.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Ellicott's Mills and Bonnie Branch mill 1907


Now all gone, one mill on the Bonnie Branch river was preserved in photos and described in this 1907 article.  Wooden gears are also described from the Ellicotts' Gwynn Falls mill, and the problems they had with Oliver Evans, 200 years ago.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Bollman truss bridge images

Wendel Bollman (1814-1884) from Baltimore started working for the B&O railroad and created a more stable bridge of iron for the trains. His first iron bridge was at Savage in 1850, and received a patent in 1852. Many photos (one of Mr. Bollman) and information at link below.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bleak House - historic home ruin becomes a tot slide

On a hill off the east side of Rain Dream Hill near Wilde lake sits the shell of a stone house - "Bleak House" - once part of "Oakland." The wealthy George Riggs Gaither built the home for his newly married son George (who became a Confederate cavalry officer) and his wife Rebecca Dorsey.  As the home of a confederate, Bleak House was sold during the Civil War in 1863 and the family moved to a safer Baltimore.  During the Depression the home was deserted and was just a few wall fragments by 1960.  The ruins form a creative play space with a slide, a ramp and a few levels to practice stairs.  A small outbuilding, probably the dairy, is beyond the slide in the photo to the left.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ilchester tiny post office is even tinier

At one time the smallest post office in Maryland, it was built about 1910 on the shore of the Patapsco River.  In the 1950s it was moved to 4607 Bonnie Branch Road at the postmistress, Teresa Schaad’s house.  Originally it had wood siding, but it now has stone to match the current home. 

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.