A Visit to Annapolis & Baltimore, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland is one of the oldest cities in the country and was the first peacetime capital of the United States. 

We had an afternoon to wander its pretty streets.

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The Alex Haley Memorial is on the City Dock.  Haley traced his roots back to Kunta Kinte’s arrival here at the Port of Annapolis.

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We walked through the Naval Academy grounds.

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This is the Navy’s mascot, Billy.

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Captain’s Row

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Bancroft Hall is the largest dormitory in the world.  The only dorm on the campus, it is home to 4,000 midshipmen.

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U.S. Naval Academy Chapel

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We had time to take a tour of one colonial home.  We chose the Hammond-Harwood House.

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This house was built in 1774, as a five-part house.  The main body of the house is a connected by “hyphens” to the wings.  It has been a museum since 1940.  We were the only tourists on our docent led tour.

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The  back of the house looks much the same as the front.

They gave us postcards of some of the rooms. 

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Hammond-Harwood House CW Peale of Hester Chase M    This is Hester Baldwin Chase painted by Charles Willson Peale in 1789.  Her husband bought the house for his daughter in 1811.

I got pics of this pretty desk.

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Across the street is the Chase Lloyd House.  It was built in 1769 by a signer of the Declaration of Independence. 

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A little parade of midshipmen.

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The Maryland State House is topped by the largest wooden dome constructed without nails in the United States.

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St Anne’s Episcopal Church was built in 1858

Next we spent a day in Baltimore.

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The waterfront of the inner harbor is the focal point of the city.

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The USS Constellation is docked here.  It is the last all-sail ship built by the US Navy and the only vessel still afloat that saw active service during the Civil War.

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Several other historic ships are in the Baltimore Harbor.

The USS Torsk, a submarine, sank two Japanese frigates in 1945.  She made over 10,000 dives during her service.

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The Lightship 116 Chesapeake was commissioned in 1930.

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The USCGC Taney, launched in 1936, is the last surviving warship afloat today from the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Built in 1855, the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse is the oldest screw-pile lighthouse in Maryland.  It was located in the Chesapeake Bay before it was replaced and relocated to the Baltimore Inner Harbor.  A screw-pile lighthouse is one which stands on piles that are screwed into sandy or muddy sea or river bottoms.  (Thanks Wikipedia.)

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We had lunch in Little Italy, a neighborhood near the Harbor.

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The Pratt Street Power Plant is a repurposed power plant located along the Harbor.  Built in the early 1900s, it closed in 1973.  It now houses several restaurants and shops.

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This is the same “Phillips” that I mentioned in my last post about Cambridge, MD.

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And so ends our east coast visit where American history can be found around almost any corner! 

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A Family History Search in Maryland

Last fall we spent several days in Cambridge Maryland.  Will’s father, Richard, was born and raised in Cambridge.  We stayed in a lovely B&B just a few blocks from Richard’s boyhood home. 

The Mill Street Inn

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Right across the street is the Phillip’s family home, founders of Phillip’s Seafood Restaurant.  The Phillips company started a century ago on Hoopers Island, where the A.E. Phillips & Son processing plant sourced fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay.

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Down the street was Richard’s elementary school.  It’s boarded up and abandoned now. 

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One block over is Choptank Avenue. 

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The house Richard grew up in is gone but we think this is the house his mother (Will’s grandmother) moved to later.  Will has very vague memories of visiting her here.

Will’s grandfather was a minister at Grace Methodist Church.

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Dinner time view of the Market Street drawbridge in Cambridge.

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We found the Grandparents’ and Great Grandparents’ gravestones in the Cambridge cemetery.

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One day we drove north of Cambridge to the little town  of Oxford (700 residents).  This is one of the oldest towns in Maryland.  It started life as a port of entry to Maryland for ships coming from England.  It fell into obscurity when Baltimore grew into a commercial port during the Revolutionary War.

The Robert Morris Inn (1710) is the oldest Inn in America.  Robert Morris was friends with George Washington, who stayed here.  It has been updated since then.  

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We had a wonderful soup and sandwich lunch at the Inn.

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We took this ferry across the Tred Avon River.  It is thought to be the oldest privately operated ferry in the U.S., started in 1683.

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Once on the other side, it was a short drive to St Michaels on the Miles River.  The river was originally called the St Michael’s River, hence the town’s name.

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St Michaels is a pretty little town with tree lined streets, cute houses and shops.

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Frederick Douglas lived as a slave in this area from1833 to 1836.  He taught himself to read and escaped to the north where he became a noted abolitionist, orator and editor.  In 1877, he returned as a U.S. Marshall for the District of Columbia.

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Some of the friendly locals and their brew – it was almost Halloween.

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Another day we drove south of Cambridge to visit Hoopers Island where some of Will’s family, the Tubmans, LeComptes, and Geohagens, settled before moving to Cambridge.  There’s not much there there.

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We wandered through several protestant cemeteries but saw no family names.

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As we drove back toward Cambridge we passed St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic church near Golden Hill. 

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Stop the car!  The early family was Catholic!  We’d been looking in the wrong cemeteries!  Here we found the old family names. 

At some point a Tubman married a Geoghegan who married a McAllister. 

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The land for the chapel, across the road, was donated by Richard Tubman II in 1767.  The new church was built in 1872 and the graves of the early parishioners were moved to the new cemetery across the street.

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I want to mention that the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center is near here.  It opened in March 2017.  Unfortunately, our trip was in Oct 2016, too early to visit.  Harriet Tubman grew up in slavery in Dorchester County.  She escaped slavery from this area and returned about 13 times over 10 years to lead around 70 friends and family members to freedom.  We don’t know how our Tubman family may be connected.  According to Wikipedia, Harriet Tubman, born Araminta “Minty” Ross, married John Tubman, a free black man.  She changed her first name to Harriet, her mother’s name, soon after her marriage.

There’s a quote I like – “There are only two lasting bequest that we can hope to give our children – roots and wings.”

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These are our roots, and our wings have taken us far and wide.

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