Alexander Contee Hanson, Jr

Although relatively unknown today, Alexander Contee Hanson, Jr. was a highly controversial figure during the War of 1812, and packed a lot of living in a brief lifespan of 33 years.

Born in Annapolis, Maryland on February 27, 1786, he came from an important family in Maryland, his grandfather, John Hanson, having played a prominent role in the Revolution.  Graduating from Saint John’s College in Annapolis in 1802, he embarked upon a career as an attorney.  An extreme partisan Federalist, he published the Federal Republican newspaper in Baltimore.  His attacks on the Madison Administration and the war against Great Britain sparked a series of riots by outraged Republicans in Baltimore in June-August 1812. (more…)

Published in: on February 10, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Alexander Contee Hanson, Jr  
Tags: , , ,

July 6, 1864: Ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland

Brigadier General John McCausland, Jr.

On July 5, 1864, Early’s Corps marched into Maryland in an attempt to take the pressure off Lee.  As part of this invasion Early sent Brigadier General John McCausland, Jr. to occupy Hagerstown, Maryland and demand a ransom from the town of $200,000.00 in recompense for the destruction wreaked in the Valley by Union General Hunter.  McCausland took the town without fighting early in the morning of July 6.

For some unknown reason McCausland demanded only $20,000.00 and 1500 suits of clothes for the ragged Confederates.  The dismayed citizens of Hagerstown raised the sum from three local banks and the clothes were provided.  McCausland and his men rode off at 1:00 AM on July 7.

Hagerstown got off lightly.  Frederick, Maryland during this campaign paid a ransom of $200,000.00.  The city of Frederick would be paying off this debt to local banks for almost a century, with the last payment made in 1951. (more…)

Published in: on July 6, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,

The Ark and the Dove

 

Andrew White, born in 1579 in London, followed the well worn path of many English Catholics of the period to study for the priesthood at the English seminary in Douai, France.  Continuing his studies at St. Alban’s College in Valladolid, Spain,  he was ordained at Douai in 1605.  Returning to England as an undercover mission priest, he was arrested in the persecution that occurred after the Gunpowder Plot and was exiled from England in 1606.    He joined the Society of Jesus in 1607.  Defying a death sentence hanging over his head, he continued to visit Southern England to say clandestine masses and to preach to the faithful.  He also served as prefect at the seminaries of Leuven and Liege.

Father White was instrumental in the conversion of George Calvert to Catholicism in 1625.  Calvert was a truly remarkable man, a favorite of James I, who sacrificed a promising career in English government by publicly declaring his Catholicism at a time when being a Catholic in England was a criminal offense.  After his conversion his main goal in life was to create a colony where English Catholics could worship freely.  He established a small colony called Avalon in Newfoundland for Catholics in 1627.  Appalled by the rough climate of Newfoundland, and the author of this post knows from first hand experience how rough that climate can be, he sought and received lands from Charles I that became the foundation of Maryland.  Like Moses, Calvert was not fated to enter the promised land, dying in 1632.  Fortunately he had a Joshua in his son Cecilius Calvert,  who carried on with the colonization project,  paying out of his pocket the  sum of 40,000 pounds which would have a current value of approximately 8,000,000.00 dollars.  Under his brothers George and Leonard, the colonists, a mixed group of Protestants and Catholics,  the Calverts emphasized that their colonly would be a bastion of religious tolerance, sailed in The Ark and The Dove on November 22, 1633 (Old Style) from the Isle of Wight for America.  Father White sailed with them. (more…)

Published in: on April 26, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Ark and the Dove  
Tags: , , ,

May 25, 1738: Ending of the Conojocular War

300px-Cresapwarmap

 

Boundary disputes were quite common between the colonies, but few got as violent as the boundary line war between Pennsylvania and Maryland from 1730-1738.  Pennsylvania’s charter (1681) provided for its southern boundary as follows:  “on the South by a Circle drawne at twelve miles’ distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and then by a streight Line Westward”.  Subsequent surveys established that Dover was a full twenty-five miles south of the 40th Parallel.  Maryland insisted on the 40th Parallel which would have made Philadelphia a Maryland town.  Pennsylvania pushed for a boundary at 39 degrees, 36 minutes which would have taken a strip out of what is northern Maryland.  The dispute simmered for decades breaking out into open conflict in the 1730s with the settlement of the Conejohela Valley west of the  Susquehanna River.  Maryland and Pennsylvania settlers in the disputed territory quickly came into conflict with raids and counter raids by the militias of the two colonies.  The leader of the Maryland settlers was Thomas Cresap, a tough and fearless man as the French would later have reason to attest during the French and Indian War.  Cresap was captured by the Pennsylvanians.  Upon being paraded through the streets of Philadelphia prior to being imprisoned, Cresap remarked:   “Damn it, this is one of the prettiest towns in Maryland!”. (more…)

Published in: on May 25, 2016 at 3:25 am  Comments Off on May 25, 1738: Ending of the Conojocular War  
Tags: , , ,

The Old Line’s Bugle, Fife, and Drum

Something for the weekend.  Maryland, my Maryland.  Written by James Ryder Randall  in white heat in 1861 after he learned that his friend Francis X. Ward had been killed by soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts in the Baltimore riot of 1861.  A heart felt plea for his native state to join the Confederacy, set to the tune of O’Tannenbaum  it became one of the more popular songs in the Confederacy.  Tuberculosis prevented Randall from serving in the Confederate Army, so he joined the Confederate Navy.  After the War he was commonly referred to as the poet laureate of the lost cause.  A Catholic, his later in life poems were usually religious in nature.

Although the Civil War brought forth Maryland my Maryland, there are many references to Maryland’s proud Revolutionary history:


 Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland! (more…)

Published in: on March 5, 2016 at 5:53 am  Comments Off on The Old Line’s Bugle, Fife, and Drum  
Tags: , , ,

Maryland, My Maryland

Something for the weekend.  Maryland, my Maryland, James Ryder Randall’s  cry from the heart after his friend Francis X. Ward was killed in the fighting that occurred when the Sixth Massachusetts fought its way through Baltimore mobs on its way to Washington at the beginning of the Civil War.  The Sixth Massachusetts received a  much friendlier reception from the citizens of Baltimore during the Spanish-American War. (more…)

Published in: on November 20, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Maryland, My Maryland  
Tags: , ,