Saturday, March 22, 2008

Supporting "April's Hypothesis"?

A few weeks ago, I posted a research idea that Jim Gibb dubbed "April's Hypothesis". Since then we have obtained a wealth of information from the 1860, 1870, and 1880 census records, all compiled by one of our most dedicated volunteers.

I conducted a simple analysis of the the census data. The preliminary results show a changing population but raise some additional questions.

1860 population = 134 total, 11 Black, 11 Mulatto, 112 White
1870 population = 215 total, 45 Black, 50 Mulatto, 120 White
1880 population = 202 total, 36 Black, 49 Mulatto, 117 White

The most important question that we must ask is "Do these population changes reflect changes within a finite area or did the boundaries of the census change each year?". Another important question is "Does the increasing population of individuals identified as Black or Mulatto (mixed race) reflect migration or birth rate changes or are these individuals being identified and counted as a result of post-Civil War policy changes?". Interestingly, the average age of the population (24) does not change over the 30 years. This suggests that the birth and death rates remained stable and that migration or changes in census procedure are more likely.

It will take a lot more research to truly test my hypothesis but this census data suggests that "Whites" did not abandon Port Tobacco after the Civil War. Their population remains constant. However, the population does appear to shift from 84% White to 58% White, and with the politics of the 19th century this shift must be reflective of a social and economic shift in Port Tobacco itself.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Cleaning Up the Blog

In preparation for some more exploratory work on a possible Port Tobacco Wiki, I decided it was time to clean up the blog.

In the left hand column is a list of labels. These are keywords that we select to represent each blog entry just before we hit the "post" button. Over time this list has gotten a but unruly. For example, we had one label for "Native American" another for "Native Americans" and a third for "Native American site". So, I took the time to go through all the posts and make sure every post that had the phrase "Native American" had that as a label and removed the other two similar labels. We still have labels for "Aboriginal pottery" as well as specific types of such pottery, but that makes sense to me.

With the label set cleaned up, I can now consider whether each label deserves a corresponding page in the wiki. Also, once we are ready to begin adding content to the wiki, we can click on each label to view the corresponding posts that would form the basis for each wiki entry.

Take a moment to explore our blog labels and let me know if there is any aspect of Port Tobacco that is missing a corresponding label.

I have also summarized our upcoming events through the addition of a Google calendar. The link to the calender is at the top of the left hand column, just above our spiffy new logo.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Excavations at Port Tobacco

Archaeological investigations at the site of the Port Tobacco Court House was suggested at the first meeting of the Port Tobacco Court House Restoration Committe in 1966. Captain John Mathay and Mrs. Sarah Mathay led the excavations that followed. Included in the excavations were the outlining and mapping of the foundation of the circa 1819-1892 site of the courthouse.

This map was made and drawn by Captian John Mathay on May 26, 1968. The map has been sitting in the courthouse among other documents. As part of our archaeological project in Port Tobacco we have been scouring the documents at the courthouse for information. While this map is not new news to us, it is an important part of the history of archaeology at Port Tobacco.

Yesterday I digitized the map using AutoCAD so that we can use it for our work and get the original back to the courthouse.

Below is the recreation of that map. Some liberties were taken since the age of the map makes some of it a bit hard to read. The map is a plan view of the foundations of the courthouse. The main building and its two wings can be seen.

There are some curious things on the map. The curved section running from the southwest of the main building that fades off towards the middle of the main section is one of them. While it goes underneath another brick wall, there is no mention on the map or in the report written by Mrs. Mathay of what it was or what it is suspected to be. Support walls would have been necessary to support the structure (one of which can be seen just to the west of this curved section) however, this curved section is still a mystery.

Another mystery about Port Tobacco to be solved!

- Peter

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


According to the below, it was not a good idea to go against the Resolutions of the Continental Congress:

To the Honourable the Deputies for MARYLAND, met in Convention at ANNAPOLIS:
The humble Petition of PATRICK GRAHAM, of PORT-TOBACCO, in CHARLES County, sheweth:
That some time ago he very justly incurred the displeasure and resentment of the County, and the censure of the Committee of Charles County, for a breach of the Resolves of the honourable Continental Congress, by aiding a certain John Baillie secretly to land and dispose of sundry Goods imported by him contrary to those Resolves: Your Petitioner sincerely laments his imprudence and ill conduct, and being deeply sensible of his offence, with contrition for the same, and his most solemn promise and assurance, never more to do or encourage any thing inimical to American freedom, he most humbly solicits this Convention that he may be restored to his former rights of a citizen, as he has already suffered greatly, not only in his own person, property, and reputation, but should he continue much longer in the present situation, his offence must reduce an innocent wife and four young children to beggary and ruin.
We, the subscribers, being satisfied of the hearty repentance of Patrick Graham, set forth in the above Petition, do recommend him to the consideration and clemency of the honourable Convention.
T. B. Franklin,
Samucl C. Barron,
James Mudd, Jim.,
Daniel McPherson,
Joseph Marbury,
Thomas R. Cookley,
Walter McPherson,
Charles Gates,
John Luckett,
Zephaniah Turner,
Thomas Simmes,
Samuel Adams,
Marcus Latimer,
Edward Davis,
J. Parnham,
Thomas Waters,
Joseph W. Harrison,
James Waters,
Samuel Stone, Jun.,
Samuel Hanson, Jun.,
Ledstone Godfrey,
Joseph Aderton,
William Taylor,
Wm. McPherson, Jr.,
Walter Winter,
Andrew Munitwood,
William Waters,
George Swan,
Thomas Marshall,
Samuel Marshall,
Bennet Dyson,
William Davis,
Josias Smoot,
Bennet H. Clements,
Francis Shephard,
Benjamin Wood,
Charles Goodrich,
Belah Posey,
Edward Warren,
Edw. Boarman, Sen.,
Benjamin Douglass,
Richard Speake,
Raphael Boarman,
John B. Delozide,
Charles Garner,
Wm. Barton Smoot,
Ignatius Lucket,
William McConchie,
Burr Barnes,
Hezekiah Garner,
Alex. McPherson, Jr.,
Edward Sanders,
Jno. Christo. Layman,
Henry Gardner,
Henry Barnes,
James Farnandis,
Peter H. Proley,
Henry Ward,
Matthew Garner,
Henry Boarman,
Joseph Thompson,
James Seward,
Peter Davis,
Zephaniah Franklin,
Thomas Posey,
Wm. H. Smallwood,
Raphael Neale,
Edward Smoot,
David Philpot,
Jno. F. Regis Sanders,
Joseph Sims,
Walter Pye,
James Clarke,
Hy. Massey Hanson,
George Elgin,
John Sanders,
Walter Hanson,
Thomas Thornton,
Samuel Cox,
Anthony C. Gray,
Benjamin V. Posoy,
Thomas H. Powell,
Francis Posey,
Thos. Howe Red gate,
William Elgin, Sen.,
Samuel Briscoe,
Ben Carwood, Jun.,
John Stone,
Henry Chandler,
Stephen Chandler,
James Mudd,
Thomas H. Morrison,
Francis Clements,
Jonathan Sposnal,
Edw. Scott Ware,
Notley Maddocke, Sr.
John Manning,
Anthony Rowe,
Philip Webster,
Thomas McPherson,
Walter Hanson, Jun.,
Notley Maddocke, Jr.,
Robert Surrat,
William Campbell,
James Simms,
Samuel Stone,
Thomas Hanson,
Joseph Boswell,
Garrard Boarman,
G. B. Causin,
R. Bennet Boarman,
William Jones,
James Vineyard,
William Cox.
John Clements, of F.,

Friday, July 28, 1775.
Met according to adjournment.
Benedict Edward Hall, John Beall Howard, Francis Holland, and Benjamin Rumsey, appeared for Harford County.
Dr. William Molleston and Benson Stainton, for Caroline County.
Nathaniel Ramsay and William Rumsey, for Cecil County.
Josias Beall, for Prince George’s County.
Alexander Somerville, for Culvert County.
Brice Thomas Beale Worthington, for Anne Arundel County.
The Petition of Patrick Graham, of Charles County, Tailor, praying a “remission of the sentence of the Committee of Charles County, and that he might be restored to the privileges of a citizen,” being read and considered: It is thereupon,
Resolved, That the said Patrick Graham be allowed to exercise his former trade of a Tailor, and that he also be permitted to buy provisions and other necessaries for the use of his family; and that the said Patrick Graham be allowed and permitted to collect and receive all just debts due to him, and that all persons be permitted to employ the said Patrick Graham as a Tailor, and to sell him provisions and other necessaries for his family; but that the said Patrick Graham be not allowed to carry on any traffick or merchandise, until it be otherwise resolved by this or some Future Convention. (No. 1.)
Convention adjourns till to-morrow morning, ten o’clock.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our Logo Designer

My name is Alex Baird; I designed the logo which was chosen to represent the Port Tobacco Archeological Project.

The logo was created in Adobe Illustrator. After struggling with different concepts (including many fruitless attempts to draw a convincing tobacco plant), I finally decided to depict a landmark of the town - the Chimney House - in a simplified, abstract manner, and to let the project name take a more prominent role in the design.

The typefaces used are, I think, the real attraction, and for them I cannot take any credit. The words "Port Tobacco" are in Strange Newes, a beautiful font based on 17th-century typography, created by Scottish artist and type designer Feòrag NicBhrìde. The other words are done in Hypatia Sans Pro.

As for myself, I live in Toronto, Ontario with my parents and our small menagerie of pets. I'm currently studying digital publishing and graphic design at George Brown College, and I hope to someday earn a living as a freelance graphic designer. Until I get to that skill and confidence level, I am available for small projects (such as logo design) free of charge; if anyone would like to commission such a project, they may contact me at alexandrabaird(at)

I was quite surprised to learn that I won this logo contest, especially since the other submissions were so beautiful and so skillfully done. I wish to thank PTAP for providing this opportunity, which allowed me to practice my nascent skills, and to (in a very small way) contribute to their worthy project.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Disturbing The Peace

After searching through photographs at home I was unable to find a picture of me in the pillory. However, my father was gracious enough to send me (and allow me to post it here as well) a picture of him in the stocks when he was a young lad at the Catskill Game Farm in upstate New York. Enjoy!

(Kenneth Quantock, mid 1950's)

Thanks Dad!!

- Peter