Monday, November 14, 2016

Ellicott City's Ligon and Chatham Streets ... and Gov. Ligon

Thomas Watkins Ligon (1810-1881) was Governor of Maryland from 1854-1858 as a Democrat when the Whigs/Know Nothing Party (honestly their name) had control.  Ligon married two daughters of landowner Charles Worthington Dorsey and Mary Tolly (Worthington) Dorsey - m1 1840 Sally Ann Dorsey (1817-1847) and m2 1854 Mary Tolly Dorsey (1825-1899).  Histories of "Chatham" and "White Hall" differ in books.  Chatham and Ligon streets lead south from Frederick Road (the old Baltimore-Frederick turnpike) to the Dorsey/Ligon property between St John's Church and Miller Library. They are buried in St. John's cemetery.

One source states that Charles Worthington Dorsey built "Chatham" for his daughter Sally who died, and Ligon lived there with his next wife, but it was burned in the 1890s, rebuilt in a different design and named "White Hall" by one of their sons after the Dorsey home.
 Maryland Women book 1931, contained an account from Mary's daughter -

"Mary Tolly Dorsey, daughter of Colonel Charles Dorsey...born July, 1825, at White Hall, Howard County" where she was raised. After marrying Ligon they spent four years in Annapolis and then lived at Chatham.

As you drive north on St John's Lane, at the top of St. John's cemetery's hill, there are 4 tall obelisk gravestones.

'T. Watkins Ligon' is the draped obelisk, and his second wife Mary T. Ligon is next to him with the tall cross.  Her Dorsey parents are the obelisks on the other side of Ligon, and her sister, Ligon's first wife, is buried in the Dorsey graveyard at the old family home "Arcadia," now gone.

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
Forgotten history of Ellicott City & Howard County MD

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