HSP HISTORY Blog
Interesting Frederick, Maryland tidbits and musings .
“ He was a humane, generous and charitable Gentleman, and a great Promoter of the Public Good, by encouraging all Kinds of Industry, towards which he largely contributed, and was very Instrumental in settling the back Parts of this Province.”
-Obituary of Daniel Dulany the Elder
The Maryland Gazette,
December 6, 1753
We have Daniel Dulany the Elder to credit for the establishment of both Frederick City and County. For nearly a century after the Calvert expedition established the Maryland colony in 1634, the region including the Monocacy River Valley was described as “a howling wilderness.” As a land speculator, well-versed in provincial government politics, Dulany saw the tremendous opportunity that existed in settling the backlands of the Maryland province, both for himself and the colony.
Daniel Dulany the Elder was born in 1685 in Queens County, Ireland. He came to America with two brothers in 1703 after abandoning studies at Dublin’s Trinity College. Dulany arrived in Port Tobacco as an indentured servant and was purchased as a laborer for a four-year term by George Plater, an influential Maryland planter and attorney. Dulany’s service as a law clerk prepared him for a legal career and introduced him to the colony’s aristocratic planters’ society. He was admitted to the Charles County bar in 1709 and would continue his practice of law in Prince George’s County and England before moving to Annapolis in 1720.
In 1721, voters chose Daniel Dulany as a councilman and a year later was sent him to serve in the lower house of Maryland. He was appointed attorney general (1721-25) and commissary general(1721-24, 1734-53) by Gov. Charles Calvert (fifth Lord Baltimore) and was involved in the provincial government under Gov. Samuel Ogle. Through investments in land, slaves and an iron foundry, Dulany amassed a great fortune. With the capital means to back himself, Daniel Dulany became one of the country’s first land developers, having bought several parcels in Western Maryland for the purpose of gaining profit through resale and renting.
Dulany saw the importance of taming the western lands for the benefit of growing the colony. He and others in Annapolis focused on what was happening within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where William Penn was having great success in attracting Germans to settle the lands west of Philadelphia. Dulany copied this strategy and began to induce Germans, living in Europe and Pennsylvania, to immigrate to Maryland’s Piedmont and mountain lands, particularly the vicinity of the Monocacy Valley, at the time considered Prince George’s County. This scheme worked according to plan.
At the urging of six German settlers, Dulany purchased a large tract in early 1744 named Tasker’s Chance from business associate, friend and neighbor, Benjamin Tasker. A year and a half later in September 1745, he had part of Tasker’s Chance surveyed in an effort to lay out a market town on both sides of Carroll Creek. Dulany named his proposed settlement Frederick Town. He is said to have named the town in honor of Frederick Calvert, the 12-year-old son of Charles Calvert -Lord Baltimore. But it is possible the name was a compliment to Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, who was the son of George II and father of George III. Frederick Lewis was an important figure in public affairs in England and heir apparent to the throne at the time of the settlement of Frederick Town. The Calverts may have been eager to please him.
In 1745, Dulany assigned a group of commissioners to design the new western town. A main road running from Pennsylvania to Virginia already existed and Dulany had the town divided into 340 lots, laid out north to south with Patrick Street as the principal thoroughfare. A few people bought their own lots, paying two pounds, 8 shillings with an annual ground rent of one shilling for 21 years and two shillings a year thereafter. The majority of residents leased lots, paying Dulany a quit-rent of a shilling sterling.
To further increase value to his new town, Dulany successfully lobbied the Maryland General assembly to create a new county in 1748. Frederick County was carved out of Prince George’s County and consisted of the present day counties of Washington, Allegany, Garrett, Montgomery and Carroll. Frederick Town would become the county seat, launching its importance as home to the county courts and all legal matters and land transactions. By 1750, Frederick Town had become the Maryland colony’s largest town and a legitimate center for trade, commerce and politics on the western frontier.
Daniel Dulany died on December 5, 1753 and was laid to rest with wife Rebecca next to St. Anne's Episcopal Church, located within the famed Church Circle in Annapolis (adjacent the Maryland State House). Happy "Father's Day" just the same Mr. D., and thanks for our wonderful city and county!
Author's Note: In a town full of its share of monuments and memorials, Daniel Dulany is proudly remembered in Frederick, the town he founded, by the short, two-block avenue that bears his name....and is also, unfortunately, misspelled (Dulaney).
As I write this piece, I can't seem to get the song "The Things We Do For Love" out of my head. This was a smash hit by the British band 10cc in late 1976/early 1977. You remember it don't you?....
Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river
Too many lonely souls have drifted out to sea,
You lay your bets and then you pay the price
The things we do for love, the things we do for love
And I loved this song at the time, ironically being "10" years old and possessing a keen interest in pop music at the time but not as much as the band's earlier hit "I'm not in Love" (1975).... but I digress. 10cc really has nothing to do with this week's blog, but enormous sacrifices for love certainly do, as can be evidenced in the chorus of "The Things We Do for Love":
Like walking in the rain and the snow
When there's nowhere to go
And you're feelin' like a part of you is dying
And you're looking for the answer in her eyes
You think you're gonna break up
Then she says she wants to make up
A few years ago, I came across an article in the archives of the New York Times newspaper from July 17, 1881. It is a uniquely interesting news article about a Frederick woman named Anna Josephine Sifford (1844-1928) and "love and loss," but not the kind of loss you think. Nannie (as Anna was called) got the guy in the end, but her losses became great gains for the community.
As is usually the case with the newspapers of the day, especially with reporting on stories picked up from other newspapers, spelling errors and some inaccuracies occur. Estimates of the estate were reported to be at least $100,000. But Anna married well, so no need to worry about her making a bad financial decision. Husband Aubrey had served in the Civil War as a Confederate officer, and was quite successful in the business realm. They would reside in downtown Baltimore in the prestigious Bolton Hill neighborhood (about 1.5 miles north of the Inner Harbor) and had summer retreats outside of town such as Glyndon, just northeast of Reisterstown in northwest Baltimore County and Rose Hill near Pikesville. Col. and Mrs. Pearre lived rich lives both literally and figuratively. He passed in 1915, and she 13 years later in 1928. Both are buried in St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery in Owings Mills.
Josephine left behind the home built by early Frederick physician (and War of 1812 veteran)John Baltzell. Built in 1834, this dwelling is located at 24 East Church Street, and is the current day home of the Historical Society of Frederick County. The house had passed to Alexander B. Hanson in 1854, then to successful businessman/farmer/philanthropist John Loats in 1871. Loats bought the property for $14,000. And speaking of property, the John Loats estate was located directly south of the City of Frederick, and in particular south of the original Maryland School for the Deaf property. I do believe this property included lands on both sides of the Georgetown Pike (MD85) and this included the ground that Harry Grove Stadium sits on today.
Loats passed in 1879, but is said to have always held a special place in his heart for Anna J. Sifford Pearre, his sister-in law by marriage. Thanks to the Pearre marriage, the property would soon become the Loats Female Orphan Asylum of Frederick City. It would serve in this capacity until 1959 and a contested legal battle ensued as "40 proven heirs" were making claim on the property. The Historical Society of Frederick County would take over in 1959, and have been here at this location ever since.
And now for your listening (and viewing) pleasure:
My boys and I had a recent conversation during dinner in which they asked me about important inventions that I have witnessed over my lifetime. Possessing a college degree in Communications, I have marveled at the major advancements in my field of study since I graduated in 1989. Technological advances have definitely made the world an even smaller global community than that professors told us about three decades ago. Household computers, the internet, digital video recorders and smartphones top the list.
The boys and I got talking about different eras in history and what my ancestors likely experienced, and what they would have reported to us should they had been part of this particular dinner conversation. We looked at things that evolved over the lifetimes of my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. These included overarching achievements such as the advent of machines during the industrial revolution period, public improvements such as street paving and lighting, household commodities such as electricity and indoor plumbing, transportation innovations featuring the shift from horse and buggy to the automobile, (not to mention the local possibilities afforded by the interurban trolley and nationally/internationally via the airplane, weaponry advances with various wars, toys and games, and food storage/cooking aids (refrigerators, ovens, toasters, barbecue grills, microwave ovens, ice makers, etc.).
It’s always been important to me too use Frederick City and County for context when looking at the impact of inventions and innovations that swept our country. In the same manner, Frederick County has had its share of important inventors and innovators who helped change the nation. Off the top of my head, two individuals of note stand out immediately. I have had a familiarity with both gentlemen in the process of past research with documentary projects. These are McClintock Young of Frederick and Thurmont’s Richard O’ Toole.
McClintock Young (1836-1913) was the holder of over 100 patents over his lifetime, one of which was for the creation of an automatic “friction match”-making machine (sold to the Diamond Match Company) in 1870. Nearly 30 years later (1899), Young was responsible for a revolutionary brush producing technology which added to the heightened success of Frederick’s Ox Fibre Brush Company.
During this same time period, Richard O’Toole (1848-1918) busied himself with improving life’s lot. O’Toole hailed from Mechanicstown, a fitting name for a place full of tinkerers and experimenters. This was the original home of “great invention” in Frederick County. It was here in the 1830’s that America’s first friction match was invented by Jacob Weller, BS (blacksmith) and son Joseph sometime in the 1830’s. Three score (60 years) later, about the time of a town name change to Thurmont (another great “invention” credited to Catoctin Clarion newspaper publisher Charles E. Cassell), O’Toole received a patent for inventing the American Electric Magnetic Crossing Signal for protecting highway crossings of railroads.
His first patent was obtained in 1892, with one of Richard O’ Toole’s closest business associates having strong connections within the industry. Irvin W. Loy began a storied career with the Western Maryland Railroad in 1875 and quickly rose up the ranks. Loy (1846-1914) was a talented designer and architect who was head of the maintenance department for the railroad. Over his tenure, he built many bridges for the Western Maryland line, and would be responsible for the development of Pen Mar Park in nearby Cascade (MD). Loy built a fine residence called “Glenhurst” in Mechanicstown/Thurmont, helped design the roof of the former Thurmont Town Hall, and would have a nearby rail stop named for him—Loys Station. Today, this locale is better known for its covered bridge.
Back to Richard O’Toole, his American Signal Company attracted investors fast, and soon his Godsend device was being installed by railroads all over the country and world. His main office at one time was moved to Baltimore, 100 West Fayette Street. Unfortunately, the company was undercapitalized, big city investors pulled out and the company disbanded before reaching its full potential. Mr. O’Toole settled into a humble life back in Thurmont and became an expert in auto-chromatic photography. He is credited with making the first panoramic view of Thurmont. He also specialized in photographing dead people.
A few years ago while shuttling through microfilm in C.Burr Artz Library’s Maryland Room, I came across a local inventor that I was not familiar with—William M. Lease. I suddenly marveled at an article found in the June 29th 1901 edition of the Daily News. Due to its length, and scientific complexity, I was inclined to make a copy and had to read more than once to understand the spirit of Lease’s invention.
On June 11, Lease, a Mount Pleasant native now living in Baltimore, was given a United States patent (Patent No. 676,193) for his “Pleasure-Railway.” He would also receive a like patent (No. 135710) from the Deutchen Reiche (German Empire 1871-1943). The US patent for the “Lease Spheroid Pleasure Wheel” reads:
"This invention relates to the means for the transportation of freight or passengers from place to place; and its object is to provide a novel construction of a monocycle car movable upon a single rail and comprising a suitably large wheel within which is suspended the car-body and motor for driving the wheel."
Basically, this colossal monocycle featured plans for a 40-foot wheel equipped with 30 total baskets, each carrying four passengers. Mr. Lease boasted that his invention would change transportation forever, allowing a traveler to cross the continent in one day’s time. Read it for yourself:
Luckily, Mr. Lease didn’t quit his day job as a postmaster. He would never see the “Pleasure Wheel” come to fruition. However, he likely did see glimmers of his creation utilized as the premise for carnival amusement rides. I guess you could say he was partially successful, in a “round-a-bout” way. William M. Lease continued out his life working for the US Postal Service, a career that spanned 43 years. He passed away in 1953 at the age of 87 and is buried in Baltimore’s Mount Olivet Cemetery.