L[eonard] Magruder Passano.

History of Maryland online

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being the oldest county on the Eastern Shore. The first
settlement within the present limits of Maryland was made
on Kent Island in 1628 by Protestants from Virginia under
the leadership of William Claiborne. Calvert claimed the
island as part of his grant, and the contention was not ended
until 1647, when Claiborne was dispossessed. The Mary-
land Proprietary, having established his authority over the
island, in 1650 organized Kent County, it then embracing
the upper Eastern Shore. Kent is a peninsular, lying be-
tween the Sassafras and Chester Rivers, its eastern border
being the Delaware line and its western boundary the Chesa-



peake Bay. With its standing timber, fertile soil, game, fish
and many natural advantages, under the liberal policy of the
Proprietary, Kent soon became a flourishing colony, with a
population consisting of Protestants, Catholics and Quakers.
And presently negro slaves were brought into the county.
In 1864 about one-fourth of the population were colored
people. The soil of Kent yields a great variety of crops,
and agriculture is the leading occupation of the people ;
although the fishery interests are extensive. A paper mill,
basket factory, phosphate factory and other manufacturing
plants are located at Chestertown, the county seat (popula-
tion, 3,008). Canneries, mills, and other plants are numerous
in the county, The people, though conservative, are pro-
gressive. They have promoted railroad and steamboat com-
munication with Baltimore and Philadelphia. During the '
ante-Revolutionary period Kent was active in opposition to
the oppressive measures of Parliament. It is not commonly
known that Chestertown, then a port of entry, had a " tea
party " of her own, a small cargo on the Geddess brought
into the Chester for the neighboring counties, being seized
and thrown overboard by the indignant citizens. In the War
of 18 1 2 the British under Sir Peter Parker landed a force in
Kent for an important military operation. The enemy was
met by a body of local militia under Col. Philip Reed (a
Revolutionary officer and United States Senator 1806-13)
and driven back to their ships with heavy loss, Parker being
among the killed. Washington College (founded, 1782),
which has a normal department, is at Chestertown. Rock
Hall, Betterton, Millington, Edesville, Galena, Still Pond,
Kennedyville, and other thriving towns are in Kent.



Anne Arundel County was erected in 1650 and has an
area of 400 square miles. It was named after the Lady
Anne Arundel, whom Cecilius Calvert married. It fronts
eastward on the Chesapeake, and within its territory five
rivers are contained — the Severn, most beautiful sheet of
water of its size in the United States ; Magothy, South,
Rhode, and West. On the north and northeast is the Pa-
tapsco, and Howard County lies northwest of Anne Arundel.
The Patuxent separates it from Prince George's on the west,
and Calvert is on the south. Annapolis, the State capital,
is also the county seat. In 1694 it supplanted St. Mary's
City as the seat of government in the colony, and grew to be
the " Paris of America," the abode of wealth, elegance and



fashion, lu the Senate chamber of the historic old State
House Washington resigned his commission as commander-
in-chief, to the Continental Congress, at the close of the
Revolution ; on State House Hill, where Revolutionary
troops encamped, is a historic statue of Baron de Kalb,
commander of the Maryland Line on the gory field of Cam-
den. Near the State House is the Executive Mansion, and
in the vicinity are numerous specimens of eighteenth century
architecture. The city and county are rich in historical as-
sociations. Eden, the last of the colonial governors, died in
Annapolis, and his grave is on the Severn. Tombs of the
early settlers, bearing still familiar names, and other traces
of the past preserve county history. The Mixryland Gazette,
first printed in 1745, is one of the Annapolis newspapers.
The United States Naval Academy is a government reserva-
tion adjoining the city. The population of Annapolis is
8,525. It was named after Queen Anne. Agriculture and
horticulture are leading industries of the county, and its
manufacturing interests are numerous, and some of them of
great importance. South Baltimore, in the northern part of
the county, is a manufacturing center, with car works and
other large plants ; Brooklyn has various industries ; An-
napolis, a port of entry, is a leading center of the oyster
industry. Tobacco, wheat, corn, vegetables and fruits are
grown, and woodland areas have heavy growths of oak, pine
and other trees. The railroads are the Baltimore and Po-
tomac ; Baltimore and Ohio ; Annapolis, Baltimore and
Washington ; and Baltimore and Annapolis Short Line.
St. John's College, the alma mater of many distinguished
Marylanders, is at Annapolis. Anne Arundel institutions
have been notable in the educational annals of Maryland.



Calvert County has 222 square miles of territory, and is
the smallest in the State. It dates back to 1654 and pre-
serves the family name of the Proprietar}^ The Patuxent
curves around the southern and western sides of the county,
and its eastern line is washed by the Chesapeake. The
bayside is marked by highlands, and the " Cliffs of Calvert "
attract much attention among students of geology and physi-
ography. The soil is productive and divided between sandy
and clay loams. Tobacco and cereals are the chief crops,
and a considerable number of the people are interested in
fisheries. The oyster grounds of Calvert are among the
best in the State. Timber is plentiful, and iron ores and
sihca arc found in extensive deposits. Drum Point, at the



mouth of the Patuxent, has one of the finest harbors in the
United States, and in time may become the location of a
vast Federal or commercial maritime enterprise. Fruits and
vegetables mature early on the sheltered lands, with south-
ern exposure, along the waterways. The county seat is
Prince Fredericktown, which is centrally located, and, like
other Calvert towns, is small in population. Solomon's, in
the southern part of the county, 26 miles from Prince Fred-
ericktown, has a marine railway and shipyards, and Sollers',
on St. Leonard's Creek, St. Leonard's, Chaneyville, Lower
Marlboro, Drum Point, Huntingtown, Plum Point are among
the villages of the county. In the colonial and early State
history of Maryland Calvert was conspicuous. The first
railroad to enter the county is the Chesapeake Beach, which
was built from Hyattsville, near Washington, to the Bay a
few years ago, and runs for a short distance through the
upper part of Calvert. A large portion of the population is
colored. Among noteworthy sons of the county were Gen-
eral James Wilkinson and Rev. Mason Weems ('* Parson
Weems "), the once popular biographer, who pointed a moral
with his celebrated myth of little George Washington, his
hatchet, and his father's cherry tree.



Charles County lies on the Potomac River, its southern
and western boundary, with Prince George's on the north
and St. Mary's on the east. Between the two counties a
tongue of Charles extends to the Patuxent, and it was on
this, at Benedict, that Ross' army disembarked for the
march to Washington in 1814. The county was organized
in 1658 and given the christian name of the second Lord
Proprietary. Its area is 460 square miles, and its great
reach of water front on the Potomac, in a huge bend of
which it is situated, gives it important resources in riparian
products — oysters, fish, water fowl. The Wicomico River,
Nanjemoy, Port Tobacco and Mattawoman Creeks are tribu-
taries of the Potomac in this county. Tobacco is the



principal crop, tiie average yield being fi\e hundred pounds
to the acre, and corn and wheat are grown in considerable
quantities. The Pope's Creek line of the Baltimore and
Potomac Railroad terminates at Pope's Creek, on the
Potomac. In the middle section of the county the land is
level, and in other parts its rolling surface is locally desig-
nated as " valleys." Port Tobacco, from colonial times the
county seat, was succeeded a decade ago by La Plata, on
the railroad. The entire village population of the county is
very small. The United States Naval Proving Grounds, a
government reserv?.tion at Indian Head, in northwestern
Charles, is where guns and projectiles for the Navy are
tested. Marshall Hall, nearly opposite ]\Iount Vernon, is
closely connected with the memory of Washington, and is
now an excursion resort. General William Smallwood was
from Charles, and for a century his grave on the ancestral
estate, near the old brick dwelling in which he and General
Washington held Masonic meetings, was marked only by a
walnut tree. On July 4, 1898, the Maryland Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution unveiled a massive monu-
ment on the spot. This county was also the home of
Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence ;
of Michael Jenifer Stone, a representative in the first Con-
gress, who voted to place the seat of P'ederal Government
on the Potomac ; of Governor John Hoskins Stone, dis-
tinguished at Long Island, White Plains, Princeton, German-
town ; of Robert Hanson Harrison, Washington's military
secretary, and a long list of able and brilliant men.

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Online LibraryL[eonard] Magruder PassanoHistory of Maryland → online text (page 14 of 23)