Baltimore History

Monday, 12 January 1880 was the 150th anniversary of the actual founding of Baltimore- the following pages are from a newspaper article about those 150, now more than 285 years. On January 12, 1730, the first stake was driven into the ground for the survey of the original plats of this great city, which, unlike some of the mushroom cities of the West that presume to be its rivals, has a history as well as a future, a pedigree as well as great expectations. There can be no better guarantee of a glorious future than an honorable and reputable past, and this The Angels of Baltimore present unchallenged to the inspection of the world.

History of Baltimore City
A City of Many Firsts and these are the Beginnings

Patapsco River 2

The accompanying map, which is reduced from the elephant folio map in the city commissioners office, presents, as far as possible within its reduced scale, the original occupiers of the land which is included within the present limits of Baltimore. Some streets and roads and other localities not laid down on the original chart have been introduced in the diagram for the sake of indicating localities more accurately. Beginning at Whetstone point, originally patented to Mr. Charles Goresuch, but escheated to Mr. Daniel Carroll, we find it next “Upton court” and “David’s fancy,” the property of Mr. John Moale. On the west and northwest is the Mount Clare estate of the Carrolls, where, later, Mr. Charles Carroll and his fine residence. Northeast of that is the estate of Chatsworth, which was originally the property of Dr. George Walker, clerk two and one of the commissioners for laying off Baltimore town. Between this and Carrolls property we find “Rigley’s delight” annexed to the town at the same time that Howards and Rogers additions were made; “bonds pleasant hills” and “Welches adventure,” of which we have no record. Eastward are “Timber neck” and “London’s lot,” property of Col. Howard, added to the city as specified in the article accompanying. The track called “Saulsberry planes” is the Howard homeplace, no later as “Belvedere,” and “Elizabeth’s diligence” sooner or later became part of this plaque. “Cole’s harbor” or “Todd’s range,” very accurately given on the map, was the original contract out of which “Baltimore Town” and “Jones town,” and many other additions were carved. “Darley Hill” was an old track, in which the friends very early purchased an interest, set up their meeting house and had and it still have their burying grounds. “Hansen’s would lot” was only a part of the Hansen mill site property, described elsewhere. “Mountenay’s Neck” was part of a patent of 299 acres originally granted to Alexander Mountenay, extending on both sides of the Hartford run into “old town,” this property, escheated by the Fells and others, was claimed by Mountenay’s heirs, and a good deal of litigation resulted. “Fells prospect” seem to have been an original patent, but out of “Carter’s the Light,” “Gallows Baron,” “Kemps addition,” “Parkers Haven,” and some other tracks we have no certain details.



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First Seal of Baltimore

10 January 1880

Monday, 12 January 1880 was the 150th anniversary of the actual founding of Baltimore- the following pages are from a newspaper article about those 150, now more than 285 years. On January 12, 1730, the first stake was driven into the ground for the survey of the original plats of this great city, which, unlike some of the mushroom cities of the West that presume to be its rivals, has a history as well as a future, a pedigree as well as great expectations. There can be no better guarantee of a glorious future than an honorable and reputable past, and this The Angels of Baltimore present unchallenged to the inspection of the world.

It seems fitting that such an anniversary should be kept with some degree of ceremonious observance – that is a duty equally of courtesy and respect to those venerable founders to commemorate such an occasion, and how better can it be done then by a brief historical review of their work? – That work into which, while perhaps indeed they “build it better than they knew,” they certainly put all the force of honest and earnest endeavor, and acumen and discernment in the choice of a loyalty, and the discovery of its present and prospective advantages for suppressing those of the founders of any other town on the Chesapeake Bay. It has seemed to The Sun that there could be no better time than now for the enumeration of some of the leading events and circumstances connected with the founding and establishment of Baltimore, and it is entitled to claim that the present contribution to the annals of the city, while it embraces many particulars not generally known, and reached, in fact, after a considerable volume of original research, has been severely tested, with a view to the most perfect accuracy attainable in such an article.

Baltimore seal


When George Calvert, gentlemen, of York Shire, had been dubbed night by James one, who was much fonder of paying for good service in such honors them in a coin of the realm, he was already principal secretary of state for Great Britain, and one of the most valuable officers attached to the crown. He was still no more than Sir George when he obtained his charter and found it his colony of Avalon, in Newfoundland, upon the mistaken theory that that island, with the same latitude as Great Britain, must possess an identical climate. In 1624, however, Calvert became a Catholic, and in his own manly way asked the king to release him from his offices, telling him of his change of faith. The king, who knew when he was well served and was a shrewd observer of character, [witness his reliance upon “juggling Geordie” Harriet, the Edinburg goldsmith,] was deeply attached to Calvert, and, while relieving him of his secretaryship, not only retained him in the privy of counsel but also raised him to the Irish peerage. Calvert, in selecting his title, close to becoming Baron Baltimore of County Longford. The town from which he took his title [by force of what memory or association does not appear in the records] is in the providence of Münster, County Cork, a small seaport in the extreme south of Ireland, over 40 miles from Cork, with some little coastwise trade, a registered shipping of 4000 tons in a population of under 200.

The title of Lord Baltimore has been extinct since the death of the last Lord, Frederick, 14 September 1771, but the name Baltimore seems to be in a fair way of enduring – Esto Perpetua! Besides Baltimore in Ireland and Baltimore in Maryland, and Baltimore County, there is a Township in Windsor County, Vermont of the same name, and there is a Baltimore in Hickman County, Ky., One in Fairfield County, Ohio, one in Barrie County, Michigan, one in Warren County, Indiana one in Joe Daviess County, Illinois one in Tuolumne County, California, besides a Baltimore hundred in Sussex County, Delaware. The name Baltimore, if we may be allowed to resort to the far-fetched analogy and assume an origin for the world, would seem to be singularly significant in respect both to the causes which led to the city’s founding and the circumstances inducing the belief of its perpetuity. In ancient Irish BALT means the same BELT, WELT, and MORE signifies “great.” The original Baltimore was seated upon a considerable arm of the ocean. The Baltimore of our love and hope certainly derives much of its commercial importance from its site and the most convenient and accessible part of that "great belt" of the scene known as the Chesapeake Bay, and under such circumstances, the equities and necessities of the case entirely apart, it would seem as if the city's determination to annex the "belt" of Baltimore County were a congenital and hereditary purpose, one of those forces which it is useless to resist.


The city of Baltimore, it must be premised, however, is not the first nor the only town settlement to which the Lord proprietors name was affixed. In spite of the agricultural pursuits of the people of the province, their large plantations, and their essentially country life, the efforts to create cities and towns was strangely persisted in by the Gen. Assembly of Maryland, and the quantity of paper towns chartered, some of which were never even laid out, and nearly all of which have vanished utterly from the face of the earth, is surprising. All roads still bear their names, perhaps, but the objective point at which the roads aimed has gone utterly, leaving not a wrack behind. There are a dozen “JOPPA roads,” for example, in Baltimore County, but a search for JOPPA itself would be as fruitless as the guest for Atlantis or for the island of St. Brandon. Baltimore County was created in 1659 – at least it is known that at that date there was such a County, for land patents in the county, were in that year issued to Col. Utie, who gave his name to “Spesutia Island.” In July 1661, the Baltimore County court was held at the house of Capt. Thomas Howell. In 1674 there was a general act passed to provide each County with a courthouse, and we all know them very soon afterwards a courthouse and County – seat must have been erected in Baltimore County, for in 1683 – the date of the first act relating to towns – we find authority accorded by the legislature to lay off the town on “Bush River, on the Towson near the courthouse.” This town, the earliest County – seat, was on the east side of Bush River, near its mouth, and its name was Baltimore – Baltimore the first elder brother of the city we now know. The site of this premature capital has not been definitely ascertained, but it was somewhere within the eye-range of the traveler who crosses Bush River bridge on the Philadelphia Wilmington and Baltimore railroad. As the historian of Marilyn says: “tradition still attaches the name of “old Baltimore” to a spot about a mile south of the Eastern terminal of the present railway bridge on Bush River; though its annals have perished, and new stone now marks the site of this elder sister the namesake of the present metropolis of the state. We can only surmise that, after a placid existence of about half a century, this ancient Baltimore dwindled and faded before the rising glories of Joppa.”

Another Baltimore was christened but could not be made to exist. This town was provided for in a charter granted in 1744, setting apart a tract of 50 acres upon Indian River, and Worchester County, but the counties surveyor did not lay off the locks. The next year the town was directed to be seated on some more commodious and navigable part of the river; and, to make the story short, there is no evidence accessible to prove that this will – named town was ever seated at all. It was probably a stillborn infant, and in that respect, much luckier than some of the town ventures of the lands peculator’s of the period.


The next tentative County seat of Baltimore County and Emporium of Maryland was Joppa, which came very nigh being a success. A certain instinct seems to direct the seating of great commercial cities near or about the head of tied upon great streams. Ships which go to see like to rest in salt water, but must seek the products which compose their cargoes in freshwater regions. The compromise point is the head of tied – water. The Liverpool sits there, on the Mersey, London on the Thames, Philadelphia on Delaware, Bremen on the Weser, Hamburg on the Elbe – but the catalog is too long to extend your weight upon. When “old Baltimore,” on the Bush River, at the head of tied, began to fail and decay, the Metro polish – seekers went to the head of tied on the Gunpowder and established Joppa. It was a good roadstead; the approach was by means of a very broad yet place it stream, quite navigable for all craft which then came in; the site was salubrious – in short, Joppa was almost sure to be the place where the commerce of Baltimore County and the country back of it must center. It was much nearer to that ideal focal point of the county than Towsontown, Texas or Timonium was ascertained to be by vote in 1851. Baltimore County then included Harford County also, and the head of tied on the Gunpowder was very near the center of population. In an enumeration of voters, made even so late as 1770, to determine which end of the county was most populous, two polling places were set by act of the legislature – one at Baltimore town, the other at the head of Bush River. The vote established the fact that the upper hundreds or most thickly settled, and Thomas Cocky, Deye, John Paca, John Matthews and Acquilla Hall were elected to the legislature on that basis. Joppa, besides, a good shipping place for tobacco, the staple product of the colony. It received more tobacco than any other landing in the entire compass of the county. It was even the rival in this respect of Elkridge Landing. The lands about and back of it were much more strong and fertile than those near the several branches of the Patapsco. Aziz, indeed, were as a rule were sterile and wild, and utterly void of attractions to the husbandman. Where the low lands were flat they were ill-drained and lacked salubrity; all the upland country was scrubby in its forest growth and Baron and Rocky in the subsoil. The ore banks on the middle and south branches of the Patapsco, the clay deposits, the regions of “Bare Hill,” the “white grounds,” “the soldiers delight,” the rocky ravines of the Gwynns and Jones falls – all signified that it was a section sure to be uninviting to the farmer and planter. Indeed, Baltimore County was settled first by way of Elkridge Landing, by planters who eschewed the sterile lands near Tidewater and migrated my degrees across to the Gunpowder and the rich Harford hands by the lines of the fertile valleys which traverse the upper part of the county. From Elkridge one got by the old church and court roads, the roads to JOPPA and to Garrison forest church, (originally the “chapel of the ease” to old St. Paul’s church, in Patapsco neck, into the rich lands owned by the Worthington’s on the upper Patapsco, into the Greenspring and Worthington valleys, and thence further across to Long Green and Cockeysville. These were the lands which the Cocky’s, and the Deyes, the Worthington’s, the Tollys, Halls, Matthews, Ridgely’s, Merryman’s, Hammonds, Risteaus, Gists, Howards, Dorsey’s, Stansberry’s, Gittingses, Welshes, Randles, Maccubbins, Slades, Holmes, and hundred other old County settlers took up by degrees, in their necessary advancement from the worn, outlands of Anne Arundel and Prince Georges, carefully avoiding the sterile sites in and around the forks of the Patapsco.

Surely no one in his senses would’ve dreamed, in 1730 or 1740, of abandoning such a place as Joppa for such an unpromising site as Baltimore town, on the Patapsco. The former was created by an act of the legislature, and christened with a good deal of ceremony. It was finally chartered in 1724, when the courthouse, jail, and St. John church were already built and comprised some 21 acres of land, divided into 40 lots, the greater part of which were taken at the price of L 1 7s apiece, but some of the most substantial citizens of the county – Matthewses, Pacas, Sheradines, Dorsey’s, halls, lows, Hollingworth, Wards, &C. Joppa had a court street, a church Street, a high and low Street. They had a shipyard and some shipping, and a foreign commerce of consequence with Europe and the West Indies. Many of the county notables lived there and grow rich, and, during the Revolutionary war, JOPPA is a shipyard had the honor to contribute a man – of – war to the Navy of the United States.

Fruit Rium. Nothing now remains to Mark the site even of Joppa, save one old house and a few moldering tombstones, grown up with grass and weeds, and what was once the churchyard of St. John’s Paris church. But towns are not made, especially on paper. They are born and grow, as the poets are said to do, and, like beauty, have their own excuse for being. – Few have the presence which enables one to put down his stick and say, this is the place for a city, as Alexander of Macedon did when he found that Alexandria, after demolishing Tyre. Most make the mistake of going to the wrong place, the wrong side of the river or bay. This was the case with the British capitalist who, in 1750, having money to invest, after examining the advantages of all the growing downs in the province – Annapolis, Baltimore, Chestertown, Elkridge, Oxford – put his money in town lots in Charleston, on Northeast River, as the place which promised to become the great city of the Chesapeake.


But it does not by any means follow from this that the growth and prosperity of Baltimore are accidental, or the JOPPA or Elkridge, Charleston or Georgetown could’ve done so well had they been similarly favored in the chapter of chances. Baltimore grew up almost without tutelage and in spite of the rivalries and jealousies of other towns in the province and elsewhere. It is, perhaps, possible to show why this happened:

In the 1st Pl., Baltimore had a harbor, while Elkridge, Joppa, the Bush River town and others only had landings. The basin of Baltimore was a natural harbor for the craft of the day, landlocked, placid, ease of access. Secondly, Baltimore had iron deposits of great value hard by, the working of which was actively pursued, and of course, attracted population and made trade necessary. Third, Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls and the South Branch of the Patapsco go with three of the best milling streams in the country. It is undoubtedly the case that the earliest settlers of this country hereabouts, after the original patentees, built Mills on Jones falls and made flour and meal, not only for home consumption but for foreign shipment. Fourth, as these small mills developed into merchant males they needed larger supplies of grain; thus Baltimore not only extended its trade with the bay but opened up a trade with the “backcountry,” and was found to be the nearest and best market for the farmers of Carol and Frederick County’s, as also for those further westward. When Baltimore became the ENT report for the rich valleys of Pipe Creek and Monocacy, of the Shenandoah and the Cumberland, its future was a short. It controlled the growing flour trade because it controlled the short lines of the grain growing sections because it had the milling facilities, the harbor, and the shipping.

That is examining a little further into the character and history of this site. It was not very closely inspected by Capt. John Smith in his peregrinations around the “Chesapeake.” In his narrative of his sixth voyage he speaks of the river 30 leagues north toward of the mouth of the Patuxent, “not in exhibited, yet navigable; for the red clay, resembled bole Armeniack, we called it Bolus.” This Bolus River was the Patapsco, but it does not appear that Smith ever was on the site of Baltimore, and spite of Bozeman’s assertion that he ate Maize with the Indians at the foot of Calvert Street. In fact, from the impression which the red earth seems to have made upon him, it appears likely that, the sending the bay from the Susquehanna, his pinnace entered the river above the Bodkin, and skirting the Anne Arundel store from rock point to Brookline, he was persuaded that all the soil on the banks of the bolus was read and ferruginous. It is doubtful, indeed, if Smith entered the middle branch at all, or was conscious that there was a North branch.


It is probable that if he had done this he would not have called the Bolus an uninhabited river. There certainly were Indians on the Patapsco, and it seems likely that there was a considerable tribe which hunted from Baltimore to the North branch of the gunpowder, and fish about the head of the basin. The fierce and powerful Susquehannoughs used to hunt through this region, and entered the Patapsco, as he entered the Severn also, in their great war canoes; but the indigenous race probably belonged to the more Pacific fishing Indians, just as the Patuxent and other bands did, and were off suits of the tribes whose chiefs seat seemed to have been at Yaocomico and Piscataway. This Patapsco band is called the Mattawas by some authorities and was probably in a measure subject to the Susquehannoughs. In 1661 and the Susquehannoughs were in allegiance with the province, and in that year the assembly ordered the governor to raise what force he could to aid the Susquehannoughs and arrayed against the Ciniquo (Seneca) or Nayssone Indians “that have lately killed some English at Patapsco River.” These Indians were hunters, but they were fishing Indians primarily, and not nomads. In the treaty of peace of 1666 between the Lord proprietor and the collective Maryland tribes, it appeared that they used to paint their faces, that they carried guns, bow and arrows, spear and hatchet; that they insisted on the privilege of hunting, crabbing, fishing and fowling being preserved it to them inviolate, and that they grew corn in a systematic way, for the treaty requires them to fence in their cornfields in order to protect them from the hall and cattle of settlers.

There are persons still living who can remember the last foreign remnants of the Mattawas of the Patapsco with great distinctness. They retired into the mountains and wilderness in summer, but in winter often came into the settlements debate, wrapped in their blankets, sad and silent stragglers out of the tragic line of march of the Grand Army of extinction. There were certain hospitable houses where they were fed and entertained and permitted to sleep by the kitchen fire. They were not ungrateful for these favors. In the morning, they have stalked away after breakfast, they would see cans with their hostess and hold up a finger or two, or it might be three. This was a sign that at the end of one or two or three weeks they will return and bring venison with them. These appointments were kept to the day and hour.


As the Indians faded away the white settlers came in by degrees. As we have seen already, one stream of settlement payment into Baltimore County by way of Elkridge Landing; a second penetrated by way of Bush, gunpowder, middle and back rivers; and a third came by way of Patapsco, and it was not long before fourth began to enter the county from York and Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. Until 1659 Baltimore County simply the upper district, or “hundred,” of Anne Arundel, had probably many patents were taken to land in it. It was erected into a County by order of counsel about this date, and much of the land seemed to have been rapidly taken up, though probably not much was brought into immediate cultivation. The discovery of the iron ore deposits on the Anne Arundel side of the Patapsco must have tended to stimulate speculation in the land patents in Baltimore County. By the act of assembly of 1706 three new towns were authorized in Baltimore County – one on Whetstone point, where Fort McHenry now is; one at Chilberry, on Bush River; one on Forster’s neck, on the gunpowder. (This latter site was afterward abandoned in favor of the “Taylor’s choice” property, owned or leased by Anne Feiks, and would soon after was turned into Joppa.) The Whetstone point site came to nothing. It seems to have been bought by the Principle furnace company, whose chief estates or later in Cecil and Harford County’s, and whose property was confiscated and sold during the revolution, in 1781. In July 1659 at the same time that patents for land on the gunpowder and Bush rivers were issued to Col. Utie, of Spesutia Island, other patents for land on the Patapsco, near the present site of Baltimore, were granted to several persons, some of whom, as, for instance, the Gorsuches and the Coles, who intermarried with them, must have belonged to the society of friends. Robert the Gorsuch took 500 acres, Richard Gorsuches 500, Hugh Kensey 400, Thomas Humphreys (another Quaker) 300, William ball and Walter Dickinson 450 acres each, John Jones 200 acres, Thomas Powell and Howell Powell 300 acres apiece. Thomas Howell, Thos. Stockett, Henry Stockett, and John Taylor, Commissioners for the county, held County court at Capt. Howell’s house on 20 July 1661. In this year, also, Mr. Charles Gorsuch took up 50 acres on Whetstone point at an annual rent of 1 pound sterling, and Mr. Abraham Clark bought out the patents of Dickinson and Collett, and part of the lands of Gorsuch, with a view to establishing a shipyard, probably on Harris is a creek. Mr. Charles Gorsuch is patent having vacated at a later date, Mr. James Carroll got Whetstone point, at a rent of two shillings per annum.

We now approach familiar names and trend upon our native Heath. In 1661 Mr. David Jones took a patent (surveyed for him by Mr. Peter Carroll) for 380 acres of ground on the line of the North branch of the Patapsco, (ever since objurgated under the name of Jones falls,) and actually settled, for a time, at least, on his property, residing on what is now Front Street. Mr. Jones’s property was – a part of it, at least – subsequently annexed to the original Baltimore town, as will be shown hereafter, under the name of Jones town. “Mountenay’s Neck” was next surveyed and patented, a tract of 200 acres on both sides of Harford run, which Alexander Mountenay took up, but which was subsequently escheated by William Feil, though Mountenay’s heirs claimed it when it became of value, and much litigation resulted.

In 1668, 13 January, Thomas Cole, a Quaker name also, took off 300 acres on the side of what is now the basin. Coles track, which he ultimately increased to 550 acres, was patented to him in fee and common socage for the yearly rent of 11 shillings gold and an equal fee upon every alienation of the land. His property was subsequently the property of Thomas Todd, was called “Todd’s range,” and was least at the quilt – rent of 10s 2½ d per annum, or less than a farthing per acre. It would all of it rent today, for free, for a dollar a square foot. In June 1668, Mr. John Howard patented 200 acres in “timber that,” paying a rental of four shillings sterling.


it all to be noted here that the entire system of irredeemable ground rents, which distinguish Baltimore from nearly every one of her sister cities, is the legitimate and necessary consequence of the leasehold system set up by the property government in the pursuit of its endeavors to establish a colony and preserve its property rights at the same time. The very name itself of “proprietary government” tells its own tail. Calvert owned the province; its inhabitants were his feudal tenants, which held under him, paid him a half a yearly quit – rent, due and payable “at our seat at St. Maries, at the two most usual feasts of the year, namely, at the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at the feast of St. Michael the Archangel,” (say April 1 and October 1.) and were liable to him besides for military duty. It is possible that Sir George Calvert, when he drew up to charters of Avalon and of Terra Mariae, had in view a period when it might be expended, if possible, to establish a sovereignty independent of the British Crown. At any rate, in coordinating the principles which should regulate his palatinate he secured to himself all the elements of sovereignty, excepting the only allegiance to the throne, and he dealt with all settlers and a right royal manner, leasing lands liberally to all, but selling fee – a simple to none, except in very rare cases. Cecilius Calvert, the true founder of the colony, probably only executed the plans laid down by his father. He encouraged men of property and consequence to come over by granting them large manners at moderate quit-rents, the number of acres in their holdings being regulated by the number of “taxable” in their family. These lords of the manor were absolute on their own estates, owing nothing but allegiance, rent, and military service to the Baron at St. Mary’s. Cecil Calvert besides retained a great many manners in his own family – several of each County – which were sublet it to tenants of small tracts, the purpose probably being too secure to the Proprietary in person a body of direct adherents who would be sufficiently numerous to hold the tenants and feudal lords of the manners in check. Estates were very generally entailed, and many obstacles put in the way of their alienation. It is only a few years since the entailed ceased up the Hampton and Doughoregan manners. Thus, the leasehold system became engrafted into the thoughts of the people, and the possession of land in fee was unfamiliar. Nor was it strongly desired, when rents were so low.

In 1766 the last Lord Baltimore, the unworthy Frederick, alarmed by the attitude of the people in opposition to the Stamp Act, and oppressed by debt, ordered his agents in the colony, Daniel Delaney, Gov. Sharp and Mr. Jordan, to sell all his manners and other lands in the colony, and 300,000 acres were at once advertised for sale in the Annapolis Gazette. The best of this property was disposed of at prices ranging from 20 to 30 shillings per acre and was bought by large proprietors, who held the fee and sublet it to tenants on ground rent. The reserved manners remained unsold, however, at the date of the revolution were numerous, and many large at least manners were still held under the original quit – rent payable to the Proprietary. The custom of perpetual ground rent was further enforced by the feudal exaction of “alienation fines.” This distinctly feudal fee was part of the contract under which the Proprietary lease out his lands, and by which the tenant found himself not to alienate his holding without the consent of the landlord, or, if he did so, to pay a fine equivalent to at least one year’s rent. If this find was not paid the transfer was void. This tax, laid from the earliest days of the colony, was continued up to the time of the revolution, and it had the effect to make short leases so onerous that few persons resorted to them. If a man every time he transferred a share of stock was required to pay to the state a fine equal to a year's dividend upon that stock, there would soon be very little speculation in the dividend – paying line of Sears. But this is practically the way in which the Proprietary government of Maryland taxed every alienation of fees, and the effect of it was to make the long-term lease system universal.

At the time of the revolution, it was estimated that the annual value of the Lord proprietary quit grants was 30,000 sterling. None of these were paid after the date of the Declaration of Independence, and in 1780 legislator wiped them out entirely as far as the Proprietary was concerned at a single blow, by an act of assembly, was declared that the citizens of Maryland, “from the declaration of independence, and forever thereafter, B, and they are hereby, declared it to be exonerated and discharged from the payment of quit grants” to the Lord proprietary or any other subject of a foreign prince, and that “the same shall be forever abolished and discontinued.”

In 1780 the confiscation and seizure of British property and the property of tories and refugees were declared, after considerable opposition, debts being accepted, and the estate of ex-Gov Sharpe (after a sharp Street is named) exempted. The losses of Henry Harford, the error to the Proprietary, under this act were put by him at 447,000 silver this being exclusive of his losses in w quit-rents – the capitalizing of which at six percent would be 500,000 silver so that Harford’s loss in the neighborhood of $5 million by the war, the British government only allowing him 90,000 and compensation. After the conclusion of peace, in 1783, Harford, Gov. Eaton, and some other loyalist came over to Marilyn and salt to regain their property. It’d changed hands finally, however, it was not to be restored. Eden tried to reassert his antebellum authority – but found it advisable to desist. Harford memorialized the general assembly, which replied that “we cannot, consistently with the duty we owe to our constituents, do, or suffer to be done, any act that has the most distant tendency to create a supposition that any power on earth can place the free people of Marilyn in the degraded condition of tenants to a superior Lord, a foreigner, and a British subject. We are also clearly of the opinion that the quitrents reserved upon the grants of the former proprietors were here ditaments, subject to all the rules and consequences of other real estates, and, therefore, cannot, consistently with law, be held by an alien; and that no part of the treaty of peace can give the smallest color to the supposition that these here ditaments, more than others, were saved and reserved. That the claim of the former Proprietary to quit – rents ceased upon the declaration of independence we have not the smallest doubt, and we think the legislator acted wisely in declaring that the payment of them, even to this government, should never be exacted and that the citizens of the state should hold their lands on equal terms with the citizen of the other states.”

Ground rents, however, were not abolished. They had only changed hands. They were a popular security, because lying against real estate, and constituting a lien upon the improvement and personal property thereon, at the same time that they were exempt from taxation. The people were not averse to them since the usufruct of land would be in this way enjoyed without capital. Capitalist naturally favored the best security in the world – the security by which the owner of the land lent it out at interest, paid no taxes, and secured his annual dividend in perpetuity by taking a lien upon all the improvements put upon the land by the tenant. Thus the system became engrafted upon the whole community.

One Charles Carroll received the great grant of manner lands from where Catonsville now stands to the Monocacy – of which a part is now the Doughoregan Manor – he extinguished the Indian claims and pretensions by the payment of 200 shillings and satisfied the feudal rights of the Proprietary at the annual quit – rent of 20 shillings cheap enough for attract of 20,000 acres of forest and field, including some very fat lands. This quit-rent was abolished by the act of 1780, but Mr. Carroll did not on that account release is tenants. There are still a great number of farms “upon the manner,” small holdings, from 50 to 400 acres, is the least ease of which are tenants in Proprietary, and have the right of sale and conveyance of their leaseholds – upon condition of delivering, on or before a certain day or date, at certain specified mills – a certain quantity of merchantable wheat. Some of these farms pay a rent of half a bushel per acre, some more, some less. In each case the tenancy is an estate – the rent cannot be increased, the farm is conveyed subject to the ground rent in Brussels; whether wheat is worth $.80 or 280, makes no difference. Numerous other vestiges of these manners all leaseholds may be discovered throughout the late by the curious in such matters. In the system under which they were created, we have the origin of the so-called nontaxable, irredeemable ground – rent system of Marilyn. The state itself was afraid to take up the here ditaments of which it had to spoil the Lord proprietary; but that which the states dared not do, large landholders easily ventured upon.



It was upon a detached portion of the great Carol state that the first planting of Baltimore town was made. It was the custom house that created Baltimore – in some measure – that is to say – precipitated its foundation. But for the need of the colony and the Proprietary government for revenue, it is possible that the colony would have got one for a long time without more than a seat of provincial government and some few County towns in the interior, such as Merrill Burrell and Prince Frederick. An agricultural, tobacco – raising community, such as the people of Maryland, did not need seaports. The tobacco ships came as near to the plantations as they could, received the staple and scowls and lighters – and bartered their goods for it to the best advantage they could.

In 1812, August 12, John Flemming, J. P. For Montgomery County, took the disposition of Alexander Hansen and his associates – victims of the Antifederalists’ riots in Baltimore and the city jail mob, in which Gen. Lingan was murdered and Gen. Harry Lee (Father of Robert E Lee) was cruelly beaten and maltreated.

But John Flemming got none of the lots into which the original Baltimore town was divided, although there were 60 of them. We are able to give the names of all of the original subscribers to the faith the Baltimore would sooner or later become a place on the map. The act under which the town was laid out was a liberal one. It provided that when the land was laid out, surveyed, staked and divided into convenient streets and lots, and the lots and numbered, the owner of the ground was to have the first choice of one lot and then the rest to be taken up at will, none take more than one lot in the first four months, and none but citizens of the county to take up any loss within the first six months. Lots were to be built upon within 18 months after entry, the buildings to cover not less than 400 ft.², (that is, say a house 20 x 20, or 10 x 40,) and all lots not taken within seven years to revert to the original owner of the land.



The commissioners were required to employ a clerk, who was to record all their acts and conveyances in a bound book, which same book was to be logged in the keeping of the clerk of Baltimore County court. On December 1, 1729, the commissioners struck a bargain with Charles Carroll, acting for himself and for his brother Daniel, then absent, for the purchase of the town’s site specified in the act of assumingly. The commissioners who signed the agreement were Richard Gist, William Hamilton, and Doctors Buchanan and Walker. The price agreed to be paid was 40 shillings per acre, and current money of Marilyn, or tobacco, warehoused with the sheriff of the county, at the rate of one penny per pound. The money or tobacco was made payable to the order of Charles and Daniel Carroll, their errors or assigns. The articles of agreement were duly signed by Charles Carroll and the four commissioners and were sent for record in the clerk’s office at Joppa. At this meeting the commissioners appointed the second one day in January 1730, the 12th day of the month, to meet the survivor of Baltimore County on Cole’s harbor tracked, and have the 60 acres set apart for Baltimore town surveyed and laid out.



On the day Mr. William Buckner, William having, Richard just, County surveyor George Buchanan and George Walker, five of the seven commissioners, were present, with Philip Jones, Deputy County Surveyor. Mr. Richard just was a commissioner and a County magistrate and did not see proper to act as a surveyor. Dr. George Walker was appointed a clerk to the commissioners, and qualified and was sworn in before Justice Richard Gist. The survey began at a “founded” on the water side, (the corner of the lot number 37 in the accompanying diagram) a spot not very far from the present corner of light and Pratt Street. The line then ran northwesterly until, about the intersection of liberty and German streets, it struck what was called the “Great Eastern Road”. If followed this line North East to a sharp angle on the precipice corner of Saratoga and St. Paul streets; then ran down the devious line of Jones falls to near its present intersection with holiday Street; thence it went straight in a line to the basin, and thence by the waterfront to the place of the beginning.

(Those interested in such matters may like to see the surveyor’s certificate. It is as follows: “Baltimore County, to wit: pursuant to the directions of the commissioners appointed by the act of assembly to lay out a town on the river, called Baltimore town, I,, Junior., Do hereby certify that I have laid out the same, beginning at a bounded red oak and running thence East five perches and one half; then north 21° east 10 perches; then northeast 19 perches; then north 69° east 12 perches; thence South 72 ½° east 22 perches; thence South 55° east 14 perches; thence South 30° West 23 perches; thence South 41 ½° West 17 perches; thence by a direct line to the place of beginning, containing 60 acres of land, more or less. Surveyed and laid out his 14 days of January 1730, me, Philip Jones, Deputy Surveyor of Baltimore County.”)

The lot was shaped like an Indian arrowhead, its point towards the West, the supposed fluke (number 19 on the map) toward the north. It was traversed by three streets: Long Street, (new Baltimore Street,) running East and West 132 ¼ perches, and 66 feet wide; by force Street, now known as Charles Street, running 89 ¼ perches North and South, and Calvert Street, running 56 ¼ perches in the same direction. There were also nine lanes, called South, second, lovely, light, Hanover, Belvedere, East, St. Paul’s and German lanes, each one perch in with and the various Lance. The terminus of Calvert Street on the south marked the riverfront, the basin then coming up to about the middle of Lombard Street (as it was afterward called) on the North. It is evident that the speculators in the new town fancied that Calvert Street was to become the main thoroughfare since it led to the water. The county wharf was built at its foot: it was named after the Lord proprietary family, and, when the lots came to be apportioned, Mr. Charles Carroll, who had the first choice, selected number 49, an acre, nearby on the northeast corner of the basin of Calvert Street, as will be seen by the Annexed diagram. The lots were numbered from 1 to 60, number one being a square acre Northwest corner of Baltimore and holiday streets; number two and three present City Hall site corner of East Lane and the city limits; number four, corner of Belvedere Lane (North Street) and East (or Fayette) Lane; number five corner of long (Baltimore Street) and Belvedere Lane; number six opposite this; number seven, in the rear of number six, to the northward, and so one. Number 19 was where St. Paul’s church was built; number 10 where the old museum used to stand, corner Baltimore and Calvert streets; number 59 where the sun building now is, but including much more ground also.



The first lot in Baltimore, as has been said, was taken up by Charles Carroll. This was on Wednesday, January 14, 1730. Philip Jones, the deputy County surveyor, was given the second choice and took number 37, corner of light and Pratt Street, and including the site of the present Maltby house. Mr. Jones probably paid for this lot with his surveyor’s fee. Jason Jackson, took number 38, on the waterfront, transferring it later to Samuel Peel; Dr. George Walker took number 52, adjoining Mr. Carol’s; Richard Gist took 48, on the other side of Calvert Street; William Hammond took 45, Mordecai price 55, Christopher Guest 56, on January 15 Thomas Sheridan, share of the County, took lot number 44; William Buckner number 53, and James Powell number 26. This one was on Baltimore Street, facing Hanover, and running back to McClellan's alley, yet Mr. Peril let it be forfeited rather than pay the 40 shillings charged.

The next day was Friday, but Charles Ridgely took lot number 54, on the waterfront, afterward transferring it to John Diggs, who built himself a house; Luke Trotten took number 36 transferred later to Mr. Jones, to a surveyor, who already owned the adjoining lot number 37. In the course of the next few days, several warlocks were taken up, some of which were forfeited afterward, but the rest built upon in compliance with the law. Capt. Robert North took number 10 (to museum lot), Richard Hewitt, number 35 (Southwest corner trolls and German Street) Capt. Sheridan (for use of his son) took lot 40. John Gorsuch number 51 on which Mr. Harris built (this is the lot where the American building now stands, one a half way up toward Calvert Street and all the way up to lovely Lane) David Robinson took number 47 on which Squire guest afterward built, Mr. John was still in built on a number 15, William Hammond built on number 46 and Martin Parlett took number 42 but forfeited it. On February 22, 1732, the vestry of St. Paul’s Paris (the original church of which was down Patapsco neck, near the intersection of the Northpoint Sollers point road) took up lot number 19 to build a church upon it. This same year 1731 Dr. James Walker, the clerk of the board of commissioners, took number nine and built. He also took part number 53 originally taken up by William Buckner; John guiles took number 39; Richard Lewis took number 11; Richard Gist number 59 (the sun’s lot) and paid for it, like a sensible man, thus owning three of the best locks in town; Rev. Jason Hooper (Rector of St. Paul’s) took number 32, and 1731, Capt. Sheradine having forfeited, and a subscription having been started to build St. Paul’s church, although it was not completed at this time. Shortly afterward Mr. Hooper took up two more lots, adjoining each other, and numbered 16 and 21, while Thomas Woodward took number 39. In March 1735 Mr. Richard gist took up a lot number 13 for a County friend, while a Mr. Hall acquired Capt. North’s lot number 10 November, same year, Mr. Hooper took for the use of Rev. John Humphreys the lot number 34, when the Southwest corner of Baltimore and Charles streets, and asked leave to reenter his own original first select the lot.

And so the record runs on at great length. It is not until 1747, however, that the big lots in Baltimore town began to be valuable enough public, Christine, to make it an inducement to citizens to escheat them when forfeited by non-compliance with the terms prescribed by the act and the commissioners. In that year, September 16, 1747, we find that Dr. George Buchanan and Capt. William Hammond two of the commissioners, Capt. Darby Lux and Mr. Thomas Harrison, (who gave its name to Harrison Street, and was an owner of Harrison’s marsh) asked to have lot number 36 (originally conveyed to James Powell and afterward assigned to Rev. Benedict for Dylan) made over to them, each taking an equal share. At the same time, we find Mr. Edward Fotterhill, who owns much property in and about where Barnum’s hotel now stands, anxious to have some vacated and forfeited lots entered to him. Those proceedings no less than a new names show consecutively that the new town had begun to grow at last. The lot number 50, Calvert and Baltimore streets, still remains the geographical center of the city and number 59 if legends do not error, where the leading newspaper of the city, the sun, is published, included also the site from which was issued the first number of William Goddard’s Maryland Journal, the first newspaper ever printed in Baltimore.

In 1726 Edward Fell had settled east of the Jones Falls. In 1730 his brother, William Fell, bought the tract of land known as Copus Harbor, build a house on the line of what is now Lancaster Street, and thus gave a name to Fells Point. That part of town, therefore, so long the jealous rival of the westerly city, was practically founded about the same time with it. Fells point was not, however, united to Baltimore until 1796. The directory of what was expressly called “Baltimore Town and Fells point directory,” then, in the act of incorporation, it was taken in under the name of “depart for the hundred,” receiving some special exemption from taxation in order to persuade it to comment within the limits of the city. In 1732, August 8, the assembly passed an act for the erection of the Jonestown, “a town on a Creek divided on the east from the town lately laid out in Baltimore County called Baltimore town, on the land whereupon Edward Fell keeps the store.” This was the beginning of “old town” a title still familiar to our cars, it was so-called, perhaps, because people first began to settle in that part of Cole’s harbor property, line between Hansen’s mill and Fells store so that, in fact of houses and people, “old town” is older than Baltimore town, Fells store was on front Street, Near Front St., Jonathan Hansen’s mill was about the present intersection of bath and holiday streets. He had bought the property 31 acres, of Mr. Charles Carroll in 1711. It was part of the original tract of Cole’s harbor, Mr. Hansen built a strong dam across the falls at this point and put up a substantial mill. The backing of the waters by this damn tended to flood what was afterward called Steiger’s meadow, and this, with the spongy condition of “Harrison’s marsh” below the dam, and the continued overflowing of Harford run, tended to make Baltimore and Old town both of them very sickly places. Mr. Hansen sold out his mill site in 1741 to Mr. Edward Fotterill – of whom mentioned has been made above – a wealthy Irish gentleman, who spent his money in Maryland and in the improvement of Baltimore town very liberally, only to have all his property confiscated during the revolution.


Jones Town Map i


The act of August 8, 1732, appointed major Thomas Sheradine, Capt. Robert North, Thos Todd, John Cockey and John Bering, commissioners to purchase and layout 20 lots upon the 10-acre tract designated. The commissioners met on October 28, 1732, appointed Dr. George Walker as a clerk and set the survey is, Philip Jones, to work, having first appointed a jury to discover the owner of the land. William Fell had already told them that he neither would nor could sell the land, whereupon the jury declared it to be the property of the infants of Richard Colgate, deceased, and I judged its value to be 300 pounds of tobacco per acre, or L12 13s, for the track, as given in the cut. When the survey was made there was some delay in opening the new town, not for entry. This was not finally done until July 20, 1733, when John Gordon took a lot number one and built on

Edward Fell took number 24; William fell to number six: Thomas Boone number five: Capt. North number two: Capt. John Cromwell number three: Capt. John boring number 17 and 18: John Cockey number seven some of the lots were not built on and Fell in or were reentered. In 1735 and 36 nearly all the lots taken were held by the Fells, but there are some new names also, as Thomas Matthews, Dr. Buckler Partridge, Thomas Taylor, John Connell, Mary Hansen, &c. In 1740 the commissioners decided to close out the unsold lots at 150 pounds of tobacco per lot, and they were soon sold, and, it is probable, soon built on. These were the first beginnings of Baltimore, on the site of singular difficulties, a site insalubrious, cut up by torrents and ravines, quacking was saltmarsh and fresh marsh, (were the melodies of frauds and mosquitoes could always be heard,) and Gert with hills which rose to precipices and seemed equally to defy travel and for big grading. It was a sight, however, of fording an excellent harbor, waters.

Have two fares every year, in May and October, visitors at which are exempt from the civil process. To guard against fires, householders are required to keep ladders tall enough to reach the tops of their chimneys. In may sessions, 1750, Capt. Ceradyne’s and Salai’s additions were made to the town, and bracing land to the north and east of Jonestown, and which was part of Mountenays tract and Cole’s harbor, owned by the children of Colgate. At October session, 1753, Joshua Hall’s addition of 32 acres was authorized. This was North and West of the original Baltimore town tract, connecting it with what was called Lunn’s lot, belonging to John Howard. At November session, 1765, Cornelius Howards addition was made to the city, including a part of his lines lot, especially the South Baltimore portion, Lunn’s lot, which extended from timber neck northward until it joined the Belvedere estate of the Howards, was a so-called from the original patent A, who sold the property in 1688 to George Eager, Jno Eager Howards maternal grandfather. There was a very fine park of ancient forest trees in a part of this lot between Fayette and Lombard, Howard and Pat the streets, and a family mansion just about the present site of the Eutaw house. In Warner and Hanna’s fine map of Baltimore, dated 1801, this plat of ground spoken of is marked off as a “public square” it was given conditionally upon the contemplated removal of the state government from Annapolis to Baltimore, but Col. Howard subsequently gave the city the Mount Vernon Pl. lot instead of this, at the time when the plans for the Washington Monument took shape and consistency.

Harrison’s marsh was ordered to be drained filled and laid off, by the act of the legislature, in 1776. This secured the draining of all the “marks” market section of the town and added largely to its area available for settlement. These swaps, which were on both sides the falls, but chiefly on the West, were the property of Harrison, Philpot, and Plowman. They were a great nuisance and were declared so by the act of assembly, which likewise enforced their reclaiming. They probably paid the owners very well. In 1779 Mr. Harrison got an act passed to authorize him to lay out a new and amend the streets, lanes and alleys “in that part of Baltimore town commonly called the marshy ground.” Before this, in 1773, Fells and Plowman’s additions had been made to the town, Plowman’s being the tract east of the falls and south of York streets, (now E. Baltimore St.,) and Fells all his father’s purchases of Mountenay’s neck, and generally the land from York Street down to “the Cove,” part of what’s being on high ground, and comparatively healthy, grew to be quite an aristocrat quarter in the early commercial days of Baltimore town, when sea captains were rich, and all merchants had ocean ventures. Some of the old mansions in that quarter still and of the ease and luxury of those who dwelt in them, dilapidated as their present surroundings are. In 1781 there were further additions by Fell, by Moale and others, and’s diggers meadow, which had been drained by the enterprise of Englehardt Yeiser, was added to the town. It is still called the “meadow”. Yeiser, a man of pluck and energy, and one of the best of her early citizens married Catherine Keoner, granddaughter of Melchior Keener. In April session, 1782, John EAGER Howards addition was made to the town, and the same year Rogers and Ridgely’s addition. The same year a systematic plan for paving the streets was put into operation, lanes were widened, the hills cut down, wharves built. Port wardens were appointed in 1783; the next year the courthouse was underpinned and Calvert Street extended, and the town more carefully surveyed. The same session of the year provision was made for a night watch and for the erection of Street lamps in Baltimore town. In 1788 the markets were regulated by act of assembly, (the first market, built in 1761, standing at the corner of gay and market streets, the second being the marsh market,) and did the next few years are noticeable for many ask about paving. In 1793 another waterfront improvement act was passed, and in the same year, Baltimore town in Baltimore County was incorporated. In the 1800s the first water company was set up. In 1801 the letters that I was established; in 1803 the Lexington market was built, and in 1816 the last act to enlarge the bounds of the city was passed. Let us now look into some of those matters a little more in detail.


The limits of Baltimore are no greater now than they were in 1816, yet it will not be denied the city has grown more rapidly between 1816 and 1880 than it did between 1730 and 1816. In 1752 Baltimore had 200 inhabitants, 25 houses, one church, two taverns, one brig and one sloop, owned in the town. There was one schoolmaster, one barber, one Taylor, one Teamster, two carpenters and a Cooper. In 1800 the city had a population of 26,514, and in export trade exceeding $12 million. In 1816 the population was over 50,000. Since that date, it has increased some 300,000. Yet while it was attaining its first 50,000 inhabitants Baltimore’s limits were extended by no less than 19 acts of assembly, relating to valid increases in the limits. Since 1816, during which its population has increased six times as much, it has been rapidly kept by the legislature within its ancient boundaries of 1816. Nothing could be more incongruous that such a way of doing business, and it may be added that nothing could be more injurious to the true interest of Baltimore. A city needs not only a place to stand upon but room to grow. Everyone doing business in Baltimore, no matter where he lives, has a common interest in this matter and should exert himself to see the civil right it, the press can do much in this direction, though possibly the editor of


Would not have exerted himself much on the premises. The first newspaper of Baltimore was the Maryland Journal, edited and published by William Goddard, the publication of which was begun on the Friday, 20 August 1773. After a good many ups and downs of various kinds, and after changing hands several times the Maryland Journal and the Baltimore advertiser (for that was its full title) was partly burned out in a big fire on the west side of Light Street, which consumed the Baltimore Academy and the light Street meeting house, and came near burning the fountain Hotel, opposite the Journal’s office, at that time number 1 Light St., must have been badly charred. This fire took place in December 1796. The Journal was suspended, resumed in a sickly way, but June 30, 1797, it finally expired for good and all. It left no successor. Though the name was indeed assumed in 1862 by Mr. rude be Maryland Journal, at Towsontown, and a newspaper in this city, which was first begun to be printed two years after Goddard’s paper became extinct, is understood to claim the inheritance of the old journal. The interval is too great, however, between the deaths of the putative sire and the first appearance of the bantling going not to cast suspicion upon the alleged paternity.

To be sure, some of the characteristic traits of Mr. Goddard, who found that the Maryland Journal, is to be detected in the character of the assumed descendent; but these must be accidental, for Mr. Goddard left the Journal in 1792 and returned to Rhode Island whence he came. William Goddard was rather clever with the pen, made a good enough newspaper, and was full of speculative enterprise. He came to Baltimore in June 1773, having been editor of the Philadelphia Chronicle, a weekly from 1767 to 1773. This was a Tory Sheet and Goddard was himself a Tory, as his Maryland Journal proved. But he was something else besides. In his Chronicle, under date of February 10, 1772, he published a communication about the prospects of Baltimore as compared with those of Philadelphia. As regards the Former Pl., Mister Goddard’s paper was half Jeremiad, half liable. Baltimore, he said, had already reached her ne plus ultra‘s roads were so bad they afforded no access to the back settlements. It was badly located. The basin was filled up. It could never have any foreign trade. The laws were unfriendly to commerce, it was dropping to ruin in every way, and in short, Baltimore was the best town on the continent to get away from. In a brief year, Mr. Goddard was getting away from Philadelphia and seeking a maintenance in the Baltimore which he had just been traducing. When he came to Baltimore, on solvent and helpless, he was encouraged to go on, and in his journal came out on the day and date named above. The first number – a copy is before us – is a little gray and dark with age, beautifully printed on stout paper in good clear type. The Maryland Journal was a weekly, and the salutatory and today suspended for kicking ribbon the nuts promise much. The printing office is said to be on Market Street, opposite the coffeehouse. Fielding Lucas’s “picture of Baltimore” (1832) says it was printed from an office east side of South Street, near the corner of Baltimore Street. The coffeehouse seems to have been on the northeast corner of North and Baltimore Street. In 1796 the office, as we have seen, was on light Street. The original office, it might appear, was in a building now covered by the sight of the sun does not on that account claim to be the Maryland Journal successor an heir.

Mr. Goddard promised that his papers should be “of no party, and will be carefully supplied with the news, but on failure, to anecdotes of that sort the room will be supplied with such moral places from the best writers as will conduce most to inculcate good principles and humane behavior.” There is next a longish, heavy looking at a letter from the Bishop of C. To the Earl of Belmont, on his late duel with Lord Townshend, filling two solid columns out of less than 12 in the whole sheet. It then follows high a column of “moral pieces” and to scant columns of foreign, domestic and local news, including a notice of misdemeanors marriage to Mr. Englehart you nicer, and a brief price current. There is a communication in regard tithes and poll tax, Mr. Chase and Mr. Packer, written evidently by a clergyman, (their assigned “Hononchrononthotontogos,”) and a “political chronology” from Cecil County, in very poor verse, then there are some advertisements of tradesmen, tavern keepers, and &c., And Mr. Rathell, formerly of Annapolis, (where he tried a circulating library and failed) and of Philadelphia and Lancaster also, advertises himself as private tutor and “finisher” of young ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Rasul tried the circulating library business likewise in Baltimore, but he was no Mudie, and he failed. On the last page of this interesting sheet, Col. George Washington, of Mount Vernon, in Virginia, advertises that, having obtained patents for upwards of 20,000 acres of land on the Ohio and the great Kanhawa, (sic) he proposed to divide the same into any sized tenements and lease upon moderate terms, specifying conditions, advantages and &c., with great particularity. Person warning information may apply to the subscriber, near Alexandria, or, in his absence, to Mr. Lund Washington. Bernard Riley, living near Joppa, offers L 10 reward for the capture of his runaway servant man, Edwin McCarty, aged about 45, who was a soldier in some part of the country at the time of Braddock’s at the feet. Ellen has a score under his eye and is clad in country mail close. David Evans, clock, and watchmaker, (from Philadelphia,) has opened shop at the sign of the arts dial and watch – on Gay Street, and Christopher Hughes and company., goldsmiths and Jewelers, at the sign of the cup and crown, corner of market and gay streets, offer a neat and elegant assortment of plateau and jewelry. They also want an apprentice. After Solomon Bonhomme notifies the public that he rides post from Baltimore to the town of Frederick, (once a week) from whence another post rides to the town of Winchester, in Virginia, “those having any commands may depend upon having their business faithfully executed.”

We have given the contents of this first Lang of Baltimore journals with some detail. Goddard made a success at the start, he was full of work. He set up a special post to Philadelphia, and sought to establish “an American post office on constitutional principles, “and occasionally had a mall system at work in less than a month from Maine to Georgia. Paper getting scarce in November 1775, he set up a paper mill of his own. But he was a week, unreliable, treacherous man. He was twice mobbed, by the Whig Club in 1776, and by the town people in 1779, in the latter case for having published General Charles these “quarries” amid advertising in Washington. He was indicted for publishing a liable of Leonard harbor all on “kit” Hughes, the goldsmith, but was acquitted. He left the Journal in 1792, having a falling index, and, as we have seen, withdrew to his native state. The end of the journal has been given. It deserves a better fate, perhaps for Goddard was active and energetic. On 19 February 1783, he published an extra, “the Olive,” announcing in advance of any paper in the country the signing of the preliminary articles of peace at Paris, the news coming directly by a Baltimore clipper. Enterprise of this sort was so unusual that it deserved success.


Mr. John Moale’s picture of Baltimore in 1752, now in the historical society room, is a treasure of great value. It would have been worth nothing as per trade in the town, however, as it was 10 years later, and 20 years later Baltimore had got to be quite a place. It’s Mills were numerous and busy; it has a large foreign trade with the West Indies and with Europe; above all, it had retrieved a great session of active, enterprising citizens from elsewhere – thrifty Germans, from Pennsylvania or from Fatherland; French, from Acadian and the West Indies; Scott Irish, from Derry; Iris Gentry, from other places. It was men like Fotterill, Stevenson, Patterson, Harrison, user, Stiegler, fit, Keener, Reinecker, Eichelberger and their stamp, no less than the natives of the country, who gave Baltimore at an impulse to grow. These people traded with the world, and their busy craft, when the war of 1775 broke out, turned privateers, and enriched them in the town with the spoils of British commerce. The county seat was moved from Joppa to Baltimore in 1767, and the towns “boom had begun. Yet it must have resembled anything else than a city. The hills were not cut down, the streets were not paved, the houses were poor, mean and irregular. Mr. Robert Gilmor, in his reminiscence, mentioned that he caught crabs with the stick while walking around the waterfront from Jones falls, via Lombard Street, to Charles and Leo streets, (the foot of the latter being called “deep point;”) that he learned to swim in Jones falls at the corner of Calvert and Lexington streets, boats coming up to the powder House, which stood at the foot of the precipice on which the courthouse was erected, and that in the Revolutionary war he saw a mounted bugler swamped in the quad Marr in front of where the sun office is now. Calvert Street then ceased at the south end of Fayette Street; there was no Holiday Street on account of the falls and Stiegler Meadow; there was good suiting of snipe and Woodcock on Harrison’s Mars, where the center market now stands; there was a middleware the gas house now is, and Englehart you guys are had not yet cut that the now through Steiger’s Meadow, which diverted Jones falls from its old horseshoe Bend into the present bed. When the old courthouse was built (on the site of battle monument) the bluff at St. Paul’s and Fayette and Lexington Street extended on to Calvert, then descended in an abrupt precipitate no to the falls, and the courthouse stood sheer and toppings upon the very edge and comb of this bluff, until, by the ingenuity of Mr. Leon harbor all, (afterward a town Commissioner,) it was, in 1781, underpinned and arched in the street open. At that time the arts under the courthouse was supplied with stocks, pillory and whipping post, and justice straddled over the city’s center like Gulliver in Lilliput.

There was little attempt at grading or getting eight definite coordination of levels. The houses and styles of buildings were as irregular as the streets and wharves. The portrait of the town taken about the time of Mr. Harbaugh’s producer’s feet adds a spice of vivacity to the manifest accuracy. “It was a treat,” says this writer, “to see this little Baltimore town just at the termination of the war of independence – so conceited, so bustling and dominator – growing up like a saucy, chubby boy, with his dumpling cheeks and short, grinning face, fat and mischievous and bursting incontinently out of his clothes and spite of all the allowance of talks and broad salvages. Market Street had shot, like a Norm Berg snake, out of its toy box as far as Congress all, (liberty Street in Baltimore,) with its line of low browed, hipped roof wooden house in disorderly array, standing forward and back, after the manner of Regiment and militia with many an interval between the files. Some of those structures were painted blue and white, some yellow and here and there sprang up a more magnificent mansion of brick, with windows like multiplication tables and great wastes of wall between the stories with occasional courtyards before them and reverential Locust trees, under whose shade mimics a truant schoolboys, ragged little Negroes and grotesque Jiminy sweeps “guide to copper” and disport it themselves at marbles.”

The evident truth of those details about the houses of the town is confirmed by the message of Mayor John Montgomery to the City Council of the date so recent as to January 1826. He shows that even then, of 10,416 houses returned by a schoolmaster, 101 only were of four stories, 1608 were of three stories 1524 being of one story, whilst 7183, seven pants of a whole, were only two stories high. In James Robinson’s Baltimore directory of 1804, when the “city” was eight years old, Howard’s Park, trees and all, began at Saratoga Street, the West and stopped at Paca Street, and the separation of Fells point from old town was complete. The “Cove,” south of Alice Anna Street, had begun to be filled up, but the swamps of Harford run were two blocks broad, and will Street (Eastern Avenue) was a “causeway” indeed. The “meadow” was still unfilled, though Yeiser's canal had been cut, and there were half a dozen mills on the line of the falls from the Gay Street Bridge to Col. Howard’s place at the Belvedere.

There was pretty good living in town, though, in those days, and some excellent taverns, besides ordinary and coffeehouses. The assemblies were popular and recherche; there were two or three theaters, as there had been off and on from very early days, and the amusements were first-class. As early as 1773 Douglas and Holland played in the large warehouse which stood corner of Frederick and market streets; a theater to accommodate equally to old town, Baltimore town and Fells point people, was built in 1786 corner of Albemarle and Lombard streets, and in 1782 a brick playhouse was built on York, (E. Baltimore St.,) opposite exit or Street. We now and wrangle built the old holiday Street theater and opened it in 1794, the old “mud” theater, the real name of which was first “the Belvedere” and afterword “the and Delphi,” was a classic amphitheater that stood (and still stands) corner of Saratoga Belvedere (North) streets, were many excellent performances or had in the old days.

Baltimore cornerstone


And mold drawing of Baltimore we see but one church, St. Paul’s parish church, which stood then on Lexington Street a little east of Charles, facing towards Baltimore Street. A church was authorized to be built by the vestry of St. Paul’s in Baltimore town by act of assembly of 16 June 1730 as we know by the late Rev. Eston Allen’s researchers. The first a lot was chosen was on the old York road, near Walsh’s 10 yards; then it was decided to build on Mr. Edward Fells Pl., East of the falls, but finally lot number 19, in Baltimore town, was chosen, and the church completed here in 1739. The successor to this church, which was of wood, was built in 1779.

The oldest Catholic church in Baltimore was St. Peter’s, occupying the site of Calvert Hall, on Saratoga Street. This was a chapel built in 1770; built they are used to be services in Mr. Edward Fotterill’s house, on Calvert Street, as far back as 1756. St. Peter’s was enlarged and became the Episcopal Church of the diocese until in 1806 Bishop Carol laid the cornerstone of the present Cathedral. St. Patrick’s was founded in 1792, and is church building was on apple alley, near will Street, a small building, which has since disappeared. This congregation first worshiped an un-plastered room in the third story of a house corner of Fleet and Bond Street.

The first German Reformed Church was built in 1756, 1 North Charles St., about the site of the Young men’s Christian Association built in. This congregation subsequently, in 1772, erected their church on Second Street, where the old town clock used to be, and there it stood until pull down to make room for the opening of holiday Street. The first Lutheran Church was built in 1758, on First Street, (now Saratoga) where the African Bethel meetinghouse now stands. The earliest Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, founded in 1763, was a small log building on Fayette Street, near gay, and immediately on the bank of the Jones Falls. This was sold two years later, and a lot corner of North and Fayette streets, where the United States Courthouse now stands, was bought, Dr. Patrick Allison was the first pasture, and he was succeeded by Dr. James Ingalls Lewis, father of the late Judge Engle us Chief Judge of the orphans court.

The First Baptist Church in Baltimore was built in 1773, on the corner of front and Fayette streets, where the shot tower now stands, but in 1817 the Congressional removed to the church corner sharp and Lombard streets, so long spoken of as the “round” church. The first meetinghouse of the Society of Friends was built in 1780, corner of Fayette and Asquith Street, and is still standing but the Patapsco meetings used it to meet as far back as 1703, in a house standing on Harford Road just beyond the city limits, where the Quaker bearing ground now is. The earliest Methodist Church in Baltimore was built in 1773, in Strawberry Alley, a lane running north from Alice Anna Street, between Bond and Caroline St., Fells Point. The next was built in 1774, one lovely Lane, and was afterward succeeded by light Street meetinghouse, opposite the fountain in.



Baltimore city in old times was in Baltimore County, and the courts were the county and state courts alone. The county seat was removed from JOPPA to Baltimore in 1767 and then was erected that quaint building already describes, which when the bank was cut down from around it, rested upon the arts like justice on stilts. The courthouse on the present site was built in 1806 to 1808 in the old courthouse pull down in 1809. The new courthouse was burned down in February 1835

Our ancient courts were held at St. Mary’s and afterward at Annapolis, the County courts having but limited jurisdiction, and that chiefly criminal. In 1796, at the time of the incorporation of the city, there was the Chancellor’s court, at Annapolis; the General Court, Chief Justice, and three judges; the Court of Appeals, two judges: the District Court, Chief Justice, and three associates. District courts set alternatively at Easton and Baltimore four times a year: circuit courts were held at Easton and Annapolis alternatively twice a year, or plans court set on the second Tuesday of every month. Justice was sharp and severe, however, the punishments cruel. Hanging, gibbetting, whipping, the pillory, the stocks and the wheelbarrow were the common penalties. There was no penitentiary then, so convicts were sentenced to the chain gang and forced to work on the public roads. In 1758, at the time of the Baltimore County Sheriffalty of Daniel Chamber, the only jail possessed by Baltimore town was a ram sack longer structure on the east side of S. Frederick St. In the days of the Harbaugh and the old courthouse, the jail, the solid structure, stood on the corner of Lexington and St. Paul streets, where the record office now is. The Baltimore County jail, on the site of the present city jail, was built and finished in 1802 from designs by Robert Carey Long.



Government by the legislature through boards of commissioners is to slow a process to suit large cities. It besides creates too many ear responsibilities. A legislature has no time to govern a state and a city at the same time – to regulate general affairs and details at once. The general assembly of the state from 1774 to 1796 had to make no end of municipal regulations for Baltimore town: to regulate the gaging of casks, the paving of the streets, the placing and lighting of lamps, the appointing of port wardens, the cleaning of the basin, the ordering of the Night watch, the conduct of the markets, &c. At last the legislature got as tired of this as did the petitioning of people of Baltimore, and the “act to erect Baltimore town, in Baltimore County, into the city, and to incorporate the inhabitants thereof,” was passed in November session 1796, the act of specifying that “the good order, health, peace and safety of large cities and towns cannot be preserved, nor the evils and accounts to which they are exposed avoided or remodeled, was out the internal power, competent to establish a police and regulations fitted to their particular circumstances.” The charter and its subsequent amendments comprise the Constitution of Baltimore. The city was to have a seal, to be divided into wards, (8 at first,) to have a Council of two branches, (the first branch to be elected Viva Voce by voters worth not less than $1000;) the voters at the time of voting for members of the first branch were to vote for one at lector in each Ward, and these were to meet and choose the mayor and members of the second branch. The Corporation was given the power to enact all laws and ordinances necessary to preserve the health of the city, to remove nuisances, have the streets lighted and patrolled, care for docks, basin, harbor, and river, license auctions; &C., &C., Levy taxes, collect fines, &c.

James Calhoun was elected first Mayor of Baltimore, and among the names of electors and Councilman who were chosen, we find such prominent citizens as George Reinocker, doctor. George Buchanan, Samuel Owings, Zebul Hollingsworth, Jesse Hollingsworth, David McMachen, Hercules Courtney, Jeremiah Yellott, Adam Fonerden, Philip Rogers, James A. Buchanan, Peter Frick, Englehardt Yeiser, Joseph Biays, Nicholas Rogers, John Merryman, Robert Gilmor, Edward Johnson, Job Smith, Daltzer Shaeffer, & co.. It will be noted Hal the Pennsylvania German and’s got Irish names loom up on this list, alongside the good old English names, however, and those of Huguenots. James Calhoun himself was of Scotch Irish stock, coming into the province about 1771. He made himself prominent on the patriot side during the revolution and was on several of the most active committees. At the date of Mr. Calhoun’s election to the honorable place of first Mayor of Baltimore he was president of the Chesapeake insurance company, and lived “cross North Lane, 1 E St.,” that is to say, on Fayette Street, south side, one door west of North Street, his office being on the corner.

Mr. Richard H. Moale, son of John Moale, was a register of the city; Mr. James Carey president of the first branch of the earliest the City Council, Mr. John Merryman being president of the second branch. The first Council met in its first session in February 1797, at the courthouse, as directed by the act of incorporation. They continued to meet here until March 1801, when commissioners were appointed to choose a site and build a City Hall, and until the building was erected the commissioners and Mayor were to “provide fourth with a suitable house for the accommodation of the City Council and for the office of the Mayor and register.” The first the City Hall and Mayor’s office was on South Street, nearly opposite lovely Lane, on the site of the banking house of the Messrs. Garrett. This property seems to have belonged to Mr. James long and was rented for $200 a year. Afterward, the building erected by Rembrandt Peale, on Holliday Street, and called appeals a museum, was bought for a City Hall, the picture galleries being turned into Council Chambers, and this site served until the present to the hall was finished.

The city officers were not numerous nor the salaries large. Each branch of the Council had a clerk and the messenger; there were five city commissioners, three commissioners of the watch and lighting the city, nine health commissioners, three commissioners to survey the harbor and to inspectors of four, one inspector of salted meats, a superintendent of pumps for each Ward, a harbor master, a collector, a superintendent of streets, a city Constable, a superintendent of the mud machine, three assessors, a clerk for each of the three markets, four measures of lumber, for wood quarters, to hey waiters, one gauge or, keeper of the powder magazine and three sweet masters. The Mayor received $2400 a year and office rent, register $1400, harbor master $300, but machine superintendent $666.66, clerks of market $280 for three, city commissioners two dollars per diem, for each day’s actual service, council clerks five dollars per diem, messengers a $1.50 per diem, for each day a session, but, if absent, were fined two dollars per diem,. Such was our first lawmaker's first ordinances, after continuing over some necessary officers of the town and providing for the proper custody of the monies and records, was to establish a seal for the Corporation of Baltimore. It was decided to retain the old seal of the town commissioners, some necessary alterations being made in it. The the next ordinances established the office of register and the treasury department, and the collector of dues and arrearages, fines and licenses, and the seventh ordinance restrained gaming and licensed and regulated theatrical and other exhibitions, in the interest of “true religion and good morals,” which are declared to be “the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.” The subsequent ordinances take up inspections, health, Night watch, policing, nuisances, the lighting of streets, &c., in the natural order.



The total revenue of the city from all sources during 1797, the first year of municipal existence, was $14,412; 1798 it was $32,865. Small as these summits work, they sufficed to meet all expenditures. In 1810, with 3500 people, the expenditures were about $60,000. In 1880, with 350,000, a 10 fold increase in population, the expenditures are estimated at 5,500,000, or an increase of more than ninety-fold. Still the assets of the corporation and the wealth of the people have grown very rapidly. The wealth of the city in 1798 was assessed at $699,519 and in 1810 at about 2,500,000 whereas it is now 250 million, so that taxation is really not any heavier, counting the increment of wealth. The sources of revenue in 1797 and 1798 were (1) licenses, (2) fines, (3) inspections, (4) taxes. The ordinances of March 19, 1798, imposes a tax of 15 shillings per 100 pounds of real and personal property, equal to $.75 on the hundred dollars. The basis of assessment was directed, by an ordinance approved 29 April 1797, to be ascertained by the register, Treas. and collector, who are to examine and collect into one statement all the taxes levied by the assembly, and find out by whom they were paid.

Some of the sources of revenue were erroneous and restrictive. Auctioneers were taxed 5%, one gross sale; taverns were heavily licensed, license fees and inspection charges were imposed upon the visible part of every branch of industry. Other sources of revenue were founded in a mistaken policy – now pretty generally exploited – that if the state or municipality can get the people to pay money to it willingly and unconsciously without crumbling, it had the right to take from the people all they can spare. This is the spurious philosophy.



Of what is called “indirect taxation,” the tariffs in general, of the Paris Octroi in particular, and of all the lottery “systems” which of helped so materially to the improvident and on reflecting classes. Maryland and Baltimore no longer tolerate lotteries by law in practice, but they used to be the very hotbeds of this “Simon says wiggle waggle” style of gaming. The columns of the old Maryland Gazette team with advertisements of lottery schemes. They occupy the next largest space advertisements of runaway slaves and redemptioners. The first public will in Baltimore town, 1734, was built by a lottery. So was the Washington Monument. So was the cathedral. The first market house, corner of gay and market streets, was so built; thus the first streets were paved; the central market built; together with St. Paul’s precedents, the first steam mill, Pratt Street wharf, the first Presbyterian Church, the Yeiser canal for straightening Jones falls, the German reformed the sonnets, &c. the evil system hit its head and wandered the people behind the screen of these allowable and charitable objects, and it took the community 100 years to find that it was the heaviest sort of taxation in the world for them to pay a dollar in order to get back $.50.

In the first two years of its municipal life, several lotteries were “schemed” for the purpose of raising money for the use of the city of Baltimore. The first ordinance of this sort was approved on 24 April 1797, and proposed by selling 10,000 tickets at five dollars a piece and paying 3357 prizes, to raise a net sum of $9089. March 19, 1798, another scheme was put afloat to raise the same sum in the same manner. During the same period, other lotteries will put afloat through the legislature.


up to somewhere near the end of the Revolutionary War, the streets of Baltimore town had not begun to be paved. In swampy places old roads and causeways were laid, as in the case of Lombard, then called Water Street, where it crossed Harrison’s march to the “lower bridge” over Jones falls, and later, in the case of Wilkes Street, where it passed over the head of “the code” and the debauch of Harford run, on its way to “appoint.” Individuals made sidewalks here and there, to suit their fancy, but there was no law and no compassion. Baltimore was a village, and its streets were village roads and paths. At the November session (1782) of the legislature, after Howard Wrigley’s and Rogers additions to the town, there was a law passed “for the more effectual paving of the streets of Baltimore town.” This act levied, for the purpose of paving, cleaning and repairing the streets, the tax of 12 shillings and six pence per front foot one Street ordered to be paved, of six shillings and three pence on Alleys, four-wheeled car ranging 30 shillings a year, wagons and carts 25 shillings settle horses 23 shillings billiard tables 15 shillings the Playhouse 50 shillings for chimneys catching fire selling liquor without a license 30 shillings additional fines 65 additional for tavern licenses and 28 on the personal property of all ports but they were not so bad as unpaved stoops streets commissioners were appointed, but for obstructing streets. The unemployed will direct to be employed, people ordered to remove their own filth, nuisances forbidden, and various other three – municipal regulations enforced. In subsequent acts, the streets were ordered to be surveyed – and many of the lanes and alleys widened and graded down. The present municipality of Baltimore is still involved in expenses incurred in the street plans of the old founders of the city. Many hills must yet be cut down, grades changed and streets widened and cut through before convenience and symmetry will be secure.

This original act of the assembly supplies the keynote to much of our existing. The Corporation retained in the Commissioners teacher, the special and general assessments, and it is kept up many of the special taxes and fines provided for. The money realized by these taxes would not, however, have amounted to any great sum. The first Council of its first session, appropriated only $4000 for cleaning, paving and repairing the streets, and the frontage special taxes could not have yielded much more. The spirit of improvement was, however, very active in the hearts of the people, and they were determined to have good roadways and good harbor. Hence owners were compelled to keep in repair and make the sidewalks in front of their own houses, and the construction of the streets went on. At the same time the building of Turnpike road began actively, and the mania for canals set in. This was the. When MacAdam and Telford had got all the world into the idea that toll roads were going to reform all Christendom, and people had caught the disease early. As far back as 1774, the legislature had appropriated $11,000 to enable the three great roads leading to Baltimore to be built and improved. These roads were York road the REISTERSTOWN and Frederick roads, which were laid out and mended a new in 1787, after being presented by the grand jury of the county as nuisances. They were then allowed to levy tolls, and special taxes were set apart for improving and macadamizing them. In 1791 the falls road, and Philadelphia, Bel Air and Hassett Rose were made public under the supervision of commissioners. The Washington road was laid out in 1796, and the same year the attempt was made to raise money to macadamize the Frederick Turnpike from Baltimore through to Williamsport. In Warner and Hannis mapped only the Frederick, York and Reisterstown roads seem to have been improved very far beyond the city limits; the falls road ends at the Mills of Tyson and Ellicott; the Washington road is still “the road to Alexandria;” the Philadelphia road is just cut through by its new bed, instead of going around by way of the hospital and Monument Street into French Street, in order to cross the falls and Gay Street bridge; the Harford road is not Turnpike, and even the “Bridge Road” (the Bel Air” in its direct extension is called the “Perry Hall” road, showing that it went no further than the county seat of Harry Dorsey Gough, reputed to be the richest man in Baltimore town.

 The Baltimore Sun Paper Comes Along

17 May 1837



It might be supposed that the markets of Baltimore were extraordinarily well supplied. The fact, however, is to the contrary. The people lived well and hard and had great abundance, but there was not a great variety, nor will the markets well attended, except at certain seasons, this is easy to understand. 1. There was less communication with the country, less trucking, the people depend more on their own resources. 2. People ate less fresh meat and consumed a less variety of fruits and vegetables. 3. Every housekeeper nearly had his own garden, all had their own meet – houses and smokehouses; everyone, according to his means, bought his own beef, pork, shad, herrings at wholesale, made his own sausages and cured his own hands and bacon, sausage and fish for the year, just as he filled his wood collar with solid oak and pine, bought on the wharf by the vessel load, and filled his wine cellar with winds, Randy’s from by the luncheon. Today the middleman, the holster, the retailer and cost of monger had not yet arrived. People did not set so much value upon times as to appreciate the utilities of the division of labor. Fish and shellfish were abundant, but you bought these on the wharves. The markets were not well patronized. They were legislated into prosperity by giving them monopolies. Earliest market house in Baltimore was built on the corner of gay and Baltimore streets, and there was a public call over it for shows, Subscriptions were started for this in 1751, but it was not built until 12 years later, and then by means of a lottery. The central market was built in 1784, but not until the old building on Gay Street was about to fall down, and after Col. John Eager Howard had deeded land to the town to build the Lexington market upon. Then the town accepted the marsh market space, and a market house was built there, but not until South Baltimore was proprietary did by the office to take “Col. Howards Bill” and build the Hanover market; and the Fells Point and Deptford hundred people were mollified by the pledge to build “the point” Market. The “Bel Air market” was built in 1819, and the Lexington market was begun in 1803. The first market act of the assembly was dated in 1785. From the superintendent to this we gather that the leading and of legislation was to prevent “engrossing” to forestall of operations of speculating hucksters and middlemen. Some of the most obnoxious of this class of laws are still on the statute books and in the city code. The first city Council legislated on this subject to their heart's content.





The site selected for Baltimore town forbade the idea of making it a healthy one until it was graded, drained and paved. In fact, it was a very sickly place, the more so that it swamps were so extensive and his commerce and braced to so many tropical countries. Malarioes and Bilious fevers very generally prevailed; the smallpox was often epidemic, so much so that Dr. Stevenson devoted his stately mansion east of the falls, called “Stevenson’s Folly,” (it stood a little north and east of the present city jail,) to a place for the inoculation of people in order to prevent smallpox from spreading, charging 12 pistoles each for the care and treatment of patients. Up to about 1820; the yellow fever was indigenous to our wharves and low places, and broke out every summer nearly, with more or less severity

These things lead the new corporation to give prompt attention to the subject of public health, and the first Council passed several ordinances intended to promote it, appropriating likewise $22,000 for the purpose. Those ordinances created a board of line health commissioners, who were given charge



The Almshouse system succeeded that of the simple outdoor relief in dealing with the poor and helpless. In 1773, when the assembly commissions seven of the most considerable citizens of the community as trustees of the poor. They were given $4000 to buy a site and erect and Almshouse and workhouse and equipped them, and to receive the regular tobacco poll taxes for the support of the poor. The first Almshouse was built on a square, 20 acres, fronting N. Howard St., and bounded by Utah, Biddle, garden and Madison streets. Howard Street was opened through this property in 1805, and in 1819 the trustees, acting for county and city jointly, bought Calverton, the mansion of Dennis a. Smith, on the Franklin Road, and hear the cities poor were kept until the construction of Bay view asylum.

The city was, from the first, liberal to which poor, and spent much money in their maintenance. It helped to keep up the city hospital, founded in 1789 for the sick and the indigent, and in 1800 appropriated $3000 for the sufferers and victims of yellow fever.

(The subject of schools was so thoroughly treated in October last at the semi Continental celebration, and is so completely dealt within the sun, a knack that there is no need to say any more here.)



Baltimore used to be considered a well-watered city and its natural supplies – it is so considered now in its artificial stores and resources, with Jones and Gwynn's falls to draw upon ad libitum, and so many deep wells and springs and pumps, it was thought our natural stock could never be exhausted. A city with 1000 wells and springs, bounded by two great mills traversed by a dozen “branches” and “runs,” surely such a place need never dread a water famine. But, as population came in, as wells were sunk, as mills and factories were erected, it began to be soon that the supply was not so great after all. Each now well that was sunk cut off some water from its neighbors, and the subterranean soon showed the effects of this constant “tapping,” two or three bad wells that the Baltimore town people down to the legislature for laws to regard to pumps and wells. Long before the incorporation of the city, the town commissioners had the power to regulate pumps and wells and appoint superintendents for them. In 1787 the annexation of Howard tracks was urged. Upon the ground that it would enable the supply of water to be increased the first city Council appointed a superintendent of pumps for each of the eight wards and the regulations were very strict. Before this in December 1792, the legislature in the act incorporating the Marilyn insurance company gave this company the privilege of supplying the city with water “by pipes from a sufficient reservoir or source.” At December session 1800, the legislature passed an act to enable the mayor and City Council to introduce water into Baltimore, and in April, 1803, the first “Baltimore water company” was started, with the capital of $250,000 the members being Samuel Smith, John Eager Howard, William Cook, Evan Ellicott, Robert Goulet Harper, Thomas McElderberry and Alexander McKim, to whom were added afterwards John McKim James A. Buchanan John Donnell, Solomon Eytinge, James Mosher, Jonathan Elliott, John Collins and others. They were incorporated November 1808. Next year Jesse Hollandsworth and Peter Hoffman enclosed and improved the city spring, on Calvert Street, to protect its waters from ruin. The city soon after improved and enclosed Clopper’s spring, on Charles Street, near Camden, calling it the Western spring, and the Eastern Fountain Pratt and Eden streets. The water to supply the central market fountain, in March market space, was brought in pipes from Center Street near St. Paul’s. Here, in the good old days of Howards Park, a Mead house was kept by Peter Branson, who cooled his foaming beverages in a spring called “the Lombard spring.” The water company bought Peter’s spring from him, and use it to supply water blue row, (then called “lumbar NEGRO, close quote) on N. Calvert St. The city bought it from the water company, and made the marsh market fountain spilled from it.

Meantime the water company was not ideal it put up its waterworks at the old city mill property, Calvert and center streets, and brought water from Jones falls, (which tapped at the intersection of eager Street,) by a canal of quarter-mile long. From these works, the water was pumped all over the city by water power. The company's reservoir was in Howard Park – the “Belvedere.” Our gigantic gunpowder system has grown up and out of the small beginnings.



The dread of fires as one chief reason why cities seek good water supplies. We trace the beginnings of a fear of fire and the very early act of assembly (in 1747) finding every householder who lets his chimney blaze out at the top, who has not a ladder as tall as his chimney. Next come the chimney sweeps, the sweet master and the fines for building chimneys too narrow to be swept. Still, the dread of fire grew stronger as houses grew thicker, and the regulators multiplied, while the fire companies sprang into existence. One of the most curious of these regulations was an ordinance of the first city Council that required every owner or occupant of the house assessed at more than $200 to keep two well-made leather fire buckets hung up near the front door of the house, said buckets not to be used or misplaced or neglected under the penalty of five dollars sweet masters are to look after the condition of these buckets. In 1769 the fire company was formed and an engine bought for it at the cost of $264 this was the nucleus of the old mechanical fire company. The friendship fire company came next, in 1785, but was preceded by the union hose Company, 1782. In 1692 the Deptford was organized, the liberty in 1794, the independent in 1799, vigilant in 1804, Newmarket in 1805 Colombian in 1805, united in 1810, first Baltimore in 1810, &c.

these companies were volunteer organizations, yet received from the first good deal of money from the city, from the insurance companies, and from private subscriptions.



The first attempt to light the streets was in 1784, at the same time with the first attempts at paving. Then an act of assembly was passed providing for a “Nightwatch”, who were to serve as lamp-lighters and constables. The few lamps were filled with oil and burned with a feeble flame. This system continued until 1816 when a contract was made with the gas light company of Baltimore to light the city. Rembrandt Peel had got the refusal of cobblers process for making carbonated hydrogen gas; he lit his museum on Holiday Street with it, and it succeeded so well that a company was formed (Peel got 100 shares for his part – a very pretty fortune if he held them) and the city-induced to use gas, the pipes were laid down and the city was first lit with gas in 1820)

Reorganation of BPD 29 Nov 1856 Sat72

Section 12 provides for Lamplighters under the Police Department

Reorganation of BPD 29 Nov 1856 Sat72 sect 12

Section 12 provides for Lamplighters under the Police Department 

lamplighter 1883

 1883 Lamp-Lighters Wage Sheet
Eastern District



Constables the old County officers, at first did all the policing. Then came the establishment of the Night Watch, as has been seen. These watchmen were made constables also, and the commissioners of the watch were created magistrates of the county. When the city was first incorporated the old County system was left almost intact. It is not known how many of these officers there were since the mayor could appoint and remove at his discretion, nor what pay they received. In 1826, under the Mayoralty of John Montgomery, when all the old ordinance nearly were codified and reenacted, we find that there were two captains and four lieutenants for each of the three watch-house districts, all under command of the Mayor, and a justice of the peace was annually appointed to each watch-house to receive the reports of the night-watch - And to learn more about our Baltimore police simply visit the rest of this site...


Baltimore's Flag

In 1914 Baltimore designed the present-day flag, using the upper left/lower right quadrant of the Maryland flag, "The Calverts" The black and gold design on the flag is the coat of arms from the Calvert line. It was granted to George Calvert as a reward for his storming a fortification during a battle (the vertical bars approximate the bars of the palisade) The 1st and 4th quarters are part of 6 pieces, "Or" and "Sable", a bend dexter counter changed. Thus, the 1st and 4th quarters consist of 6 vertical bars alternately gold and black with a diagonal band on which the colors are reversed.

Baltimore Now Has Flag 
The Sun (1837-1989); Dec 3, 1914;
pg. 4

An official flag for the city was finally adopted yesterday afternoon (2 Dec 1914) at a meeting of the Flag Commission in the Mayor's reception room at the City Hall. It consists of the Lord Baltimore colors, arranged heraldically, with the Battle Monument, the seal of the city, superimposed on a black shield in the center and outlined in gold.

1 an 4 quad72The 1st and 4th Quad of the Maryland State Flag 
became the backdrop of the Baltimore City Flag on 1914
Flag of Baltimore Maryland.svg72

 Baltimore City's Flag
Approved 2 December 1914

BALTIMORE has had a city flag since 1914. It's black-and-gold stripes, with the Battle Monument, superimposed on a shield in the center, flying at City Hall and across the street in War Memorial Plaza every day. Yet many Baltimoreans don't know there is such a thing. The Enoch Pratt Library receives numerous calls from people who want to know whether the city has a flag, and if so, what it looks like. 

Those people might also be interested to know that what it looks like was the subject of heated and extended controversy that involved the Mayor at the time of its adoption. The Daughters of the American Revolution, the Maryland Historical Society and the British College of Arms. It all begun in June 1914, when Mayor James H. Preston proposed that the city should adopt a municipal flag in time for the Star-Spangled Banner Centennial celebration that coming September.  

The Mayor felt that the adoption of an official city flag would be appropriate to Baltimore's status as "one of the great cities of the world, not only in population but in modem improvements, in progress and in the enterprise." He, therefore, proposed to the City Council an ordinance to create a municipal Flag Commission, which should work with the Art Commission to decide on a design for the flag. The design, he said, should be both "historically significant and artistically pleasing."  

The Council passed the ordinance and the Mayor named a commission of five, headed by Judge Henry Stockbridge. The other members were Mrs. Hester Dorsey Richardson, local historian, and genealogist; C. Y. Turner and Carroll Lucas, artists, and Wilbur F. Coyle, the city librarian. 

The Continental Commission had offered a prize of $50 for an acceptable design for the flag, so when the Flag and Art commissions held their first joint meeting on July 16th there were several designs, submitted by private individuals, to study. "None of these was found acceptable," Mrs. Richardson reported in an article in the Baltimore Municipal Journal later, so the commission adjourned until July 27.  

When it next met, there were over 40 new designs to study. None of those proposed designs survive, since again "none were entirely acceptable. It then devolved upon the Joint Commission," Mr. Richardson wrote, “by right of the authority vested in them to design the flag which would go forth as their sketch."  

For some years the mayors of Baltimore had used a blue standard with the Battle Monument on it in white as the unofficial city flag, but the commission added to scrap that design. After some deliberation, the members adopted a plan combining the black and gold colors of the Calvert’s, the Lords Baltimore, with the Battle Monument in white superimposed. At the recommendation of the committee, the Mayor hired Hans Schuler to make a painting of the design. Mr. Schuler made two - one showing the Battle Monument with a green laurel wreath around it and one without. 

At a final meeting of the Joint Commission August 3, the body tentatively chose the design with the laurel wreath as more pleasing. The flag was made to those specifications and was first presented to the public in a parade on September 10th 1914, during the centennial festivities. It was "enthusiastically applauded," according to reports. 

But Mayor Preston and some others were not completely satisfied with the design. In a meeting on December 2, 1914, at which only the Mayor, Mrs. Richardson, and Mr. Lucas were present, a design suggested by Mr. Lucas was adopted as "more artistic" than that which embodied the laurel wreath. Two weeks later the City Council adopted the final design, which placed the Battle Monument in a black shield. 

The official description of the flag, in the language of Ordinance No. 565 of the Baltimore City Council of 1914, is: 

"The flag shall be of the Lord Baltimore colors; to wit: black and gold, heraldically arranged as in his armorial bearings, that is to say, Or and Sable, a bend counter changed; and superimposed thereon, as an augmentation of honor, a shield. Sable, bordered, Or, charged with the Battle Monument, Argent, in memory of the Defenders of Baltimore during the War of 1812-1814." 

The heraldic language means, six stripes of gold and black, the colors counter changed in the stripes; and superimposed on the stripes a black shield, with a gold border, containing a picture of the Battle Monument in white. 

The Municipal Journal, a semi-monthly publication, enthusiastically received the new flag.  

But shortly the storm broke. On February 2, 1915, at a meeting of the Mordecai Gist chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, "the design of the new municipal flag was shown and surprise was expressed that a black shield should be superimposed upon a background containing black, that being opposed to the positive rule of heraldry that 'Metal shall not appear upon metal, nor color upon color:"  

On February 9 the Baltimore American printed the D.A.R.'s objections under the headline, "City Flag Under Fire!" The following day Clayton C. Hall, an expert on heraldry, gave the opinion that "the criticisms made appear to be well justified."  

But on February 9 the Municipal Journal came to the rescue. The Journal, which a few weeks before had praised the flag for its "heraldic significance," devoted its front page to a denunciation of heraldry as "Un-American."  

"What care Baltimoreans about heraldry? If the flag is… artistic… what are they if it violates the rules of history? … The question of heraldic correctness is too inconsequential to merit a moment's consideration," the Journal declared, in an editorial three columns long.  

The battle raged in the letter column of the city's papers, where one correspondent took the Journal to task for a "complete misconception of the subject discussed" and hoped no one would see in its article "an indication of the measure of the average intelligence of the community."   

No chapter of the D.A.R. in Maryland would endorse the new flag until the redoubtable Mrs. Richardson, who had been out of town, returned to Baltimore on March 17 and defended her commission's decision.  

The heraldic rule barring color on color was not a rigid one, she said, and "after the most careful study of the question I can declare that the Baltimore flag is absolutely and entirely correct-heraldically and historically." This was enough to quell the D.A.R.'s objections since Mrs. Richardson was also the official historian of the Maryland D.A.R.   

But Richard H. Spencer, corresponding secretary of the Maryland Historic Society, and Francis B. Culver, both experts on heraldry, declared that the flag was not only incorrect but ugly as well.   

Mr. Spencer wrote to the College of Arms in London for a final decision on the heraldic proprieties. An answer came back in May from Keith Murray, who said that while the College of Arms could give no official opinion about what Americans did to their flags he, Mr. Murray, would be happy to give his private and unofficial opinion.   

Mr. Murray took no exception to the use of black on black, but declared t11e Rag incorrect because of tl1e narrow gold band around the shield, which he wrote, "suggests a diminutive of an Orle. There is no diminutive of the Orle."   

But by that time the public was getting tired of the argument. The flag continued to fly from its standard at City Hall just as it does today.



1860 us flag 


The Sun (1837-1989); Apr 29, 1861; pg. 2

Prohibiting the display of flags. At this very critical juncture of opinions on Bunting, the pulling down of an American flag by order of the board of police is an act which a little preserve ingenuity may distort into an atrocious, not to say flagitious, offense. But the times require good men to be true and reasonable. We are very sorry to find some disposition prevalent to deal unjustly and mischievously with this matter. We can say, with the knowledge of the fact, that our excellent board of police has done several things which none could regret the obvious propriety of doing more than they. Yet in all, they have done. Where is the man amongst us who will say he has suffered the privation of any civil right at their hands? Just think for a moment of the wonderful preservation of the general peace and order of the city seem to tearfully exciting times of the last few weeks. Think how the turbulent elements of the city have been subdued. Think how few Outrages have disturbed our sense of right and justice when the inflamed populous were bent on securing arms by any means. Think of the mild but effective restraint exercise over the whole community one passion and resentment stirred the whole city to go forth and make war upon the Pennsylvania volunteers at Cockeysville, and happy termination of that affair and sending out to them an abundance of food to relieve their family shooting condition. And think about this is the worst that can be said of that good old Baltimore, which they so lustily abuse in the North, which, as it comes to its senses, will be induced to do us justice, while the South can really have no good cause of complaint against us.

But to the flag affair. Our citizens know very well that those whose taste for the display of flags is so exceedingly susceptible. Enjoyed the opportunity of giving the nation Bunting to the breeze on the fall of Sumpter. For several days sympathy with the administration and hostility to the south was expressive in this way at several places in the city and did some newspaper offices. Then came the sad affair of Friday, the 19th, after which, and suddenly, the Confederate flag was in the ascendant, and the emblem of the Southern Confederacy was everywhere, while the national flag was voluntarily retired. But our readers are not all were that one a rush was made upon the corners of the Minutemen to pull down the American flag, the first man who appeared to stop the lawless movement was Mr. Davis, one of the boards of police, and to at once resisted their purpose. The flag remained and was removed voluntarily and that leisure by the Minutemen themselves, under the unpleasant feeling that seemed to associate their sympathize with those who had shed the blood of our own citizens.

And a word here upon the Confederate flag demonstration. That was by no means what it has been supposed to be – a secession demonstration. It was an exhibition of that feeling which still pervades pretty nearly this whole community – an unwavering devotion to southern rights. And the mistake still prevails the north that the union men of Baltimore are indifferent to southern rights: if this is not an egregious mistake, we have misunderstood at her own citizens.

The southern rights demonstration, through the exhibition of respect for the southern flag, was apparently all but universal until a few days ago when it was ascertained that a union flag was to be hoisted at two or three places in the city. The fact was one to be seriously considered apart from any disposition to oppose the hoisting the United States flag. It was a question of the same importance, had it been a white sheet, with the same probable result the belief was consistently entertained by the commissioners of police that if they did not prevent the movement or take down the flag, a mob would have attempted it, a desperate riot would have ensued, and the peace of the city have been murderously and possibly overwhelmingly destroyed. Accordingly, true to their office, and the impartial execution of their duty, they issued an order that flags of every description should be withdrawn during the session of the legislature. When that order was issued, there was nothing to be seen but the Confederate flag and the arms of Maryland. Instantly all these flags were withdrawn: but the flag of the union was run up on Fells point and on Federal Hill, and the collection of men had rallied to defend them and defy the police. Then it was that the police authorities insisted upon compliance with their orders. The union flags were taken down, and the peace maintained and that good peaceful citizen will not admit that it is far better for the display of flags should be temporarily suspended, rather than the piece of the city be so needlessly disturbed?

Amputations against the police are easily made, and the sensor is a flippant thing when reason is an abeyance. But peace and good order we enjoy are worth 10,000 times over the display of a flag. Men can cherish their peculiar views, and maintain their associations without Bunting, at least during a period of great domestic excitement.

More than 100 years later in 1970 after other agencies went with a flag on the uniform, Baltimore City under the leadership of Donald D. Pomerleau not only did not go with a flag on the sleeve, but also ordered all flag decals be taken off the patrol cars... in an Aug 1970 news article he had all police cars de-flagged

BPD Flag Peace History

9 August 1970

Police Cars De-Flagged

The Sun (1837-1989); Aug 9, 1970; pg. SD13
Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau has ordered the removal of all American flag insignias from Baltimore city police cars. The order, which was issued to the 10 district commanders for implementation earlier this month, has apparently not been completely affected and has aroused considerable opposition in the department. A number of Central district patrolmen said they would not remove the stickers from their cruisers. Commissioner Pomerleau, however, did rule that city police officers would be able to continue wearing American flag lapel pins on their uniforms.

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5 August 1970

Policeman Fight for Their Flags

The Sun (1837-1992) - Baltimore, Md. C5
Decal Removal Order Stirs Charges of “Move to Left”

The American Flag Decals that decorate half the city’s police cars have been ordered removed by the Police Commissioner because “they deteriorate and present a poor appearance.” 
However, several policemen expressed a reluctance yesterday to comply with the order and wondered out loud if it was, “A further move to the left.” In his order, Donald D. Pomerleau, the Police Commissioner, referred to a decision made two years ago forbidding bumper stickers and decals because they are quickly torn and damaged.

No reflection on Patriotism

Ralph G. Murdy, the Deputy Commissioner, noted in a statement yesterday that the order did not reflect the Commissioner’s patriotism. 
He recited Commissioner Pomerleau’ s war record as a Lieut. Col. in the Marine Corps and added that the Commissioner has required the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at every police academy graduation and flag raising ceremonies at the headquarters building. 
Moreover, he said the Commissioner allows policemen to wear an American flag lapel pin or tie tacks.  Of which about 75% of those on the force are now wearing one or the other flag pin on their uniform, he said. 
The decals decorate about 300 police cars, but most of them are weathered, cracked or torn, occasionally showing only part of the flag, Deputy Commissioner Murdy said.

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How It Happened 
Joseph Sherbow

The Sun (1837-1987); Feb 3, 1975;
pg. A8

Know–Nothing Origins of City Police Force The Police Commissioner of Baltimore city is now appointed by the governor of Maryland. The budget of the Police Department it submitted to the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore by the commissioner and after approval, it becomes a part of the city’s budget. The Maryland Commission on the functions of government is dealing with state and local powers and responsibilities, and one question is whether the power of appointment of the police commissioners should be returned to Baltimore.

The decision of the court of appeals of Maryland in 1860 upholding the validity of the transfer of the Baltimore Police Department to control of the state is now 115 years old. The principal holding of the court was that a municipality is legally a creation of the state and the legislature has the power to control its police functions.

In order to understand the reasons for this present situation, it is necessary to review the history of the era that brought this about.

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After the war of 1812, emigrants in large numbers came to this country and many settles in Baltimore. A spirit of intolerance arose between some religions and ethnic groups. The outgrowths was a series of secret societies, and later the American (political) party was born. Its members were better known as the “Know–Nothings” because this was their answer to all questions about their party. Their ammunition was pavement bricks and, cobblestones, revolvers, sawed-off shotguns, and on occasion, small cannons. One of their major aims was to keep those who were foreign-born from voting. In between, they fought each other.

H. H. Walker Lewis, lawyer, and author, in a, learned that discussion which appeared in Maryland law review, volume XXVI, number three, 1966, and Scharf in his Chronicles of Baltimore” give a vivid description of these of phrase and their casualties. Andrews, in his “history of Maryland,” page 473, describes, and colorful language, the pitch bottles, and the mob rule. In one instance, a “bloody and disgraceful riot took place at the 17th board house” one light Street where one man was killed, 20 wounded (some of them fatally), and cartloads of bricks were strewn about.

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The volunteer fire departments fought more than fires. They join battle with each other and the secret clubs of the Know–Nothings. In one instance, “the firing was regular as if it were by platoons. A great many persons were wounded and carried from the ground, and the drug shops near the scene of action were filled with the wounded and the dying.” On one occasion, the new market fire company was driven out and dispersed. Their engine house was sacked, and at least four men were said to have been killed and over 150 were wounded.

There was no real Police Department in Baltimore at this time. There was a high constable with one or two constables for each Ward and some night watchman who cried the time and described in the weather. In 1857, the police organized, but in the process, the new recruits came from the Know–Nothings and were subservient to their leaders.

Corruption permeated the whole election process. Voters were not registered. On Election Day they lined up at the polling places and handed in their ballots. The election officials could not know the voters. All sorts of ways were devised to get only the “right” people to vote and to vote the “right way.” Large numbers of hobos, drunks, and others were rounded up before Election Day and “cooped up” inconvenient places, and on Election Day March to the polling places where friendly judges of election allowed them to cast their ballot. Then they word marks or be carried onto other polling places to repeat the process.

The Know–Nothing gang was expert at discouraging adverse voting. By 1854 they elected the mayor and a majority of both branches of the city council of Baltimore. They gained control of 13 hours of 21 counties.

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There were no fair and open elections. Gov. Thomas Watkins wanted to call out the state militia. The Mayor of Baltimore refused to cooperate. Democrats were so effectively barred from the polls that the Know-Nothings swept the state, gaining control of the governorship, as well as both houses of the state legislature.

A group of Baltimore citizens formed the city Reform Association. They began to make some headway. The Know-Nothings organized a demonstration in opposition and utilize their usual weapons, plus some new ones. The Know–Nothings took possession of the polls was firearms and bricks. No one was permitted access to the polls except with their approval. The judges of the election did not intervene. No police were around. When they did arrive, they help to the Know–Nothings.

As expected, the Know–Nothings carried the day at the polls; but there was a revulsion of feelings throughout the state.

Three bills were introduced in the legislature. One of the bills was designed to place the Baltimore police under the control of the state board of police commissioners. The second bill was to reform election procedures; and, the third bill was intended to eliminate the alleged restriction on the right to call the militia to preserve the peace.

The reason for such a drastic change in police control was described by the court of appeals of Maryland in this language:

“… During a period when the police force was wholly under the control of the municipality, the city authorities failed to suppress the disorder and lawlessness which prevailed to an alarming extent, and the riots and the bloodshed which invariably accompanied a general or local election. The law was defied; the public peace was disturbed; the constabulary was powerless, if not in sympathy with the mob, the reputable citizens were driven to violence from the polls. Relief from the intolerable condition which existed was finally salt by an appeal to the general assembly, and the act of 1860, CH, 7, completely separating the police department from the city government was the result….” (Upshur v. Baltimore, 94 Maryland 743)

The legislation had rough sledding in the general assembly but was finally approved. Interestingly enough, the governor was a Know–Nothing, but under the Constitution then in effect, he had no power to veto, to the bills became law.

Court tests followed. The lower court held that the city was a creature of the state and the state legislature had the power to rearrange its function. An appeal was taken to the court of appeals and was promptly decided, upholding the lower court (Baltimore v. State, 15 Maryland 376) and the validity of the statutes.

Whatever else was set about this law, it worked. Six months later, new elections were held. The police force has done a job so well that the citizens were free to vote as they wished, free of violence, fraud or intimidation. The Know–Nothing party in the process was smashed into ineffectiveness.

In 1900 the law was changed (Ch. 15, 1900). The police commissioners were made subject to appointment and removed by the governor, rather than by the Gen. assembly. In 1920 (Ch. 559, 1920), a single Commissioner replaced the board.

There have been two referendums in Baltimore to determine whether the Police Commissioner should be appointed by the mayor of Baltimore instead of the governor. The results were as follows

In 1920 87,474 voted it should be by Gov.

72,779 voted it should be by Mayor

In 1947 56,457 voted it should be by Gov.

24,809 voted it should be by Mayor.

The law as it stands now is as follows:

“Chapter 203, acts of 1966 (Police Omnibus law) section 527.

(a) The Police Department of Baltimore city is hereby constituted and established as an agency and instrumentality of the state of Maryland. The purpose generally of the department shall be to safeguard the lives and safety of all persons within the city of Baltimore, to protect property therein, and to assist in securing to all persons the equal protection of the law…

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“Section 527

The affairs and operations of the department shall be supervised and directed by the Commissioner of police, who shall function as the chief police and executive officer of the department, and be known as the Police Commissioner of Baltimore city.

“Section 530

(a) the Police Commissioner of Baltimore city shall be appointed by the governor of Maryland for the term of six years….”

Mr. Sherbow is chairman of the Maryland Commission on the functioning of government.


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2 Dec 1956


Mystery Seal

So far as historians know, two official seals have been used by The City of Baltimore in the course of his history.

The familiar battle monument seal was officially adopted in 1827 and has been used ever since. Before that, the seal depicting the figure of liberty overcoming irony was in use. It was adopted by an ordinance of 20 March 1797, and there are several impressions of it on documents still in existence.

The ordinance of 1797 mentions still another, an earlier seal which had been in use by the town commissioners. This early seal was to be the basis for the design of the 1797 seal after certain “necessary alterations” were made on it.

What the early seal look like and what the alterations were, the ordinance does not say, nor are there any known impressions of it.

Pictured is a copper plate which recently came into the hands of Robert F. Skutch a Baltimore antiquary. Mr. Skutch does not know the plate's history, but he believes it may be one of the early forms of the seal.

Since it bears the date “1797” it is hardly possible that this was the seal of the town commissioners referred to in the ordinance. But it differs somewhat from the 1797 – 1827 seal the most important difference being in the number of stars the official seal had 13 stars spaced around the edge but this one only has three. There is also some difference between the two on the position of the Upon the spear.

The piece of copper resembles a printing plate, but the characters are not reversed as they would have been if they were used in printing.

What, then, is it? Wilbur Hunter, Dir. of Pearl Museum, thinks it may have been made as some kind of decoration. It bears some similarity to the type of ornaments once used on fire trucks and firemen helmets. It has two small holes on the back that might have been used for fastening it to something. But why three stars instead of 13?


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City Hall History


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The Maryland Seal and Baltimore Arms


1 Nov 1880

The Maryland Seal and the Baltimore Arms

In the library of the City Hall you will find to electrotypes, one of which is called “the seal of the state of Maryland” the other “the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore” and the maker of these electrotypes is mistaken in respect to both of them, for the one is not “the seal of Maryland” nor is the other “Lord Baltimore coat of arms” the first is a copy of one side of the “eventual seal of Maryland” not the seal of the state. And the other is a copy of the counter side of the same seal, with but little on it relating to Lord Baltimore’s coat of arms. These mistake mistaken named electric types are placed at the right and left of another which represents that the grand old seal of the city of Baltimore, made in 1797, and they should be taken away, for they stand out in the picture as falsehood in support of the truth. History is too frequently falsified in marble and in bronze, monuments pierce the heavens transmitting falsehoods to posterity, and error is stereotyped in all the laboratories of the world. The sequential Centennial of Baltimore was one of the grandest spectacles known in the history of North America, and it is to be regretted that so much please armory of error was brought before the eyes of the people on that occasion. He who has seen the greater and lesser seals that arms of Lord Baltimore is not at a loss to know what is their Lordship’s coat of arms four on both these seals it is accurately praised and. There you will see the Pali of six, or and Sable, the blend, counter-charge, and the two leopards guardian which are all the Harry art symbols of the coat of arms of the Lord Baltimore the greater seal at arms is square; the lesser elliptic, and an impression in wax from the greater is to be seen at Annapolis, when the treaty made in 1760 and settlement of the boundary disputes between the pens and the Baltimore’s. There, and their only can we hope to find a true impression from the blazingly of the coat of arms of the Baltimore’s. A certain motto “industry the means – plenty the result” printed on the arch at Baltimore and Howard Street is called the Lord Baltimore’s motto, but in fact, it is not at all probable that the Lordship ever heard of such a motto. It was not a provincial wall motto, but one of the states originated in the Gov.’s Council after the war of the Revolution. It is to be hoped, therefore, that this motto will not be sent down to posterity to the credit of Lord Baltimore

History of our Row Homes HERE

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Baltimore's Birthday?

We can do a Google search, check Bing it, punch it into Yahoo, or ask Jeeves and most will declare July 30th of 1729, as the day the city was founded. That's when the colonial assembly of Maryland passed the bill that established Baltimore as a town. But most historians say deciding what day to celebrate the city's birth isn't that simple. We could ask a dozen people and get a dozen and a half different answers, It's sort of a, take your pick, draw straws, flip a coin, or play Roshambo to find the most reliable answer, even among the professionals.

A native Baltimorean, who works as a historic preservation consultant, would say he prefers 9 Aug. as that is when Gov. Benedict Leonard Calvert signed the bill into law. Some might also consider Dec. 31, 1796, the date the city was incorporated, or maybe even 12 Jan. 1730, when surveyors laid the town out.  

The city's official seal says 1797 when the mayor and city council took over. speaking of mayors modern day mayors such as William Donald Schaefer in 1979 had the City's 250's anniversary, nearly 20 years later in 1997 Mayor Kurt Schmoke held the city's 200th birthday. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake seems to favor 30 July as she sent out a public "thank you" to city employees on that date a few years back, but hasn't said much about the birthday since.

For many years, the city has marked the date quietly — as it prepares for other big anniversaries, like the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, Stars, and Stripes and other events.

Francis O'Neill, a reference librarian for the Maryland Historical Society, said the dates used to mark special occasions in history tend to slide around to fit the schedules of modern celebrators. "It's like the old accountant who was asked how much is two plus two, and he answered, 'How much do you need it to be?'

The Star Spangled Spectacular marked the battle with the British in Baltimore Harbor, which took place over several days in September. Everything else is up for grabs, depending on when you need it to be.

The way I see it, a bill is just a bill until the governor signs it. In truth, though, if you'd made it to the north bank of the Patapsco on either day, you wouldn't have seen much. The city didn't happen until they laid it out and sold off the lots, moved the dirt, built the building, streets, plotted out and of course, the people moved in. The confusion around the date on a town that was originally spelled "Baltimore" can become difficult to pinpoint.

While looking it up, it was found, that the creation of the town was prompted through a petition by "leaders of nearby Baltimore County. They suggested that it be started on the 60 acres carved out of the county, surveyors then created 60 equal-sized lots and sold each for 40 shillings. Buyers were told to build houses of at least 400 square feet within 18 months. The law signed by Calvert on Aug. 8, 1729, authorized the "act of erecting a town on the north side of the Patapsco" on 60 acres north of Water Street and east of Light Street, near what's now the heart of the city's financial district. To me that is the date of conception, perhaps other dates the date the first shovel of dirt, first brick was laid, or when the job was complete could be seen as the birth date, but unlike actual birthdays where a living person or animal is born, the date of birth of a city has many variables to be considered. I like the start date so for me 8 Aug 1729 is the birth of our city.

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