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 has windows behind the falls, so during rain when the "water is muddy" less light gets into the room.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Commodore Joshua Barney home

The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veteran's home has been vacant and has been on the Howard County top ten endangered sites.  It is hidden behind a subdivision at 7912 Guilford Road, Savage.  The house was sold at auction last month. The famed naval officer was born in Baltimore and went to sea at age 12.  During the War of 1812 he was assigned to protect the Chesapeake area, and he devised a fleet of shallow draft barges.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Howard County iron ore deposts; Elkridge and Savage furnaces

Elkridge Furnace (1750s-1872) and Savage Furnace (before 1835-c1839; 1864-74) are described below, as well as 6 ore banks found in Howard County.  Pictured at left are the remains of Elkridge Furnace in early 1900s.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Duc de La Rochefoucauld's visit to Ellicott's mills in the 1790s

"Ellicot’s-Mill is a small village, the principal establishment of which is a large gristmill belonging to Mr. Ellicot.  This mill has six pair of millstones, and is constructed as well as any of the mills of Brandy wine [Lea mills]."

François Alexandre Frédéric de La Rochefoucauld, Duke of Rochefoucauld (1747-1827) escaped France during the Revolution for England then sailed to America, finally returning to France.

Monday, September 25, 2017

B&O train ride described in Harpers 1857


By 1857 the B&O railroad had a kitchen and dining car combo but the restaurant in the Relay House (in picture) still offered a breakfast of "Maryland luxuries" of "softcrabs" and "spring-chickens" which tasted like "luscious flavor of solidified cream browned over a hickory fire in clover scented butter."  The article also described the stone viaducts, Bollman's iron bridge, granite and iron works.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Howard County in 1882

The second smallest county in Maryland, Howard County was described in the 1882 book Industries of Maryland, in particular Ellicott City (population 1,600) and Elk Ridge Landing (400). Among the attributes were the several "streams" providing waterpower, limestone, granite quarries, iron ore and good soil. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

George Poe, artificial respirator, laughing gas and Elkridge

George Poe, Jr. (1846-1914) was born at 'Elkridge Landing', was a cousin of Edgar Allen Poe and invented the artificial respirator (patented in 1907). He also was the first to liquefy nitrous oxide - laughing gas - for commercial use in the 1880s, and other gas 'firsts' (see below). According to his Washington Post obituary, he was mentioned for a Nobel Prize in chemistry.


Poe was the son of Elizabeth Ross Ellicott (1810-1881) and George Poe (1808, or 1807-1879).

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lafayette in Elkridge

In April 1781 the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) and his soldiers were guarding the Chesapeake area, but were ordered to join the forces heading south to eventually be in Yorktown for the final battle against the British in Oct. 1781.  To lighten their mood and decrease desertions Lafayette had the men ride in wagons through Maryland and crossed the Patapsco River to camp at "Ridge Ferry" - Elkridge - on April 17 to 18.

"Lafayette's troops camped here April 17-18, 1781 on the way to engage Cornwallis in Virginia. George Washington passed many times."  Elk Ridge Landing marker on Rt. 1.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Transporting the huge tobacco barrels

A previous post on 'Rolling Roads' HERE showed one way of transporting large hogsheads of tobacco to Elk-ridge and other ports. In addition to 'rolling in hoops' by hand, the large barrels were pulled by horses, put in wagons, in 'upland boats' or on two canoes.