HSP HISTORY Blog
Interesting Frederick, Maryland tidbits and musings .
The Forgotten Father of Frederick
“ 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).
6/19/2016 08:09:47 am
Thank you for the nice article on Daniel Dulany. --The Frederick Town Fife & Drum Corps
Cathy Ames Graupner
12/2/2016 12:38:14 pm
Daniel Dulany was my 6th Great Grandfather. I have been researching him since the early 1990's.
3/30/2022 06:03:12 pm
I’m told he is also my 6th great grandfather. Perhaps we are related
3/30/2022 06:05:01 pm
I was told I told he is also my sixth great grandfather from older relatives
2/22/2023 10:02:14 am
This was lovely to readd
David "Drew" Dulany Howe
4/19/2023 07:18:10 am
Thanks for this post. As a resident of Frederick, and one of Dulany's descendants, I enjoyed the read. Perhaps of additional Frederick related interest, my 5th great grandfather, Col. Benjamin Tasker Dulany (Daniel Dulany "The Younger's" son) lived at Prospect Hall in Frederick with his wife Elizabeth (French) for several years. George Washington's horse called "Blueskin" that he rode during the Revolutionary War, and featured in numerous paintings of Washington, was a gift from Ben Dulany. Washington later returned Blueskin to the family after the war.
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