Saturday, January 17, 2009

Title Searching

I was checking our digital database (an Excel spreadsheet) against the deeds that we have printed out for Port Tobacco. Although by no means finished with deed collection, we have about 220 separate land conveyances. Of course, we are still trying to place each of those conveyances 'on the ground' and establish chains of title for each of the town lots from 1728 to the present. The newspaper article abstracts that Pete has been compiling and which we will check against the microfilmed originals will clarify some of the relationships.

By my reckoning, we have 426 newspaper abstracts that relate to the town's inhabitants and their businesses, and we still have two of the six volumes of abstracts to rummage through. These entries do not include those about horses brought to town as studs or other events that lack apparent value for our research.

In sum, Pete and I are collecting a substantial archival database; so substantial that we may have to export it to Access as a relational database to effectively use all of the material and draw connections that might otherwise allude notice.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Whose House?

A member of the PTAP team, Robin Martin, brought to my attention a book of Maryland photographs and verse. Written and published by Charles T. Duvall in 1943, The Maryland Scene offers many photographs relating to significant places, persons, and events in the state. He devoted several pages to Port Tobacco, including two landscape views of the area, the Chimney House, and the "Old Port Tobacco dwelling" pictured below.

The house seems to back up onto the high ground on the east side of what is now Chapel Point Road. We know from the 1888 Page survey and various land records that there were several dwelling lots on that side of the road. Question is, which one was captured by Mr. Duvall in this ca. 1940 photograph?


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Comings and Goings

Jim and I have been thumbing through the Port Tobacco Times abstracts the last couple of days. So far, we have gone through the first 3 volumes dating from 1844-1875. In them we have the usual suspects of advertisements, court cases, election results, marriages, obituaries, as well as all the 'comings and goings' of people in and out of the town.

Some of this information will help us fill in the blanks of our title searches, giving us new names to search for. It will also help us compile a database of all the people who worked in the town but didn't necessarily live within the town.

And then there are the humorous parts of the newspaper. Such as the story of the County Commissioner who went to stay at the "Canal Hotel" in a room with lattice of iron, the "Canal Hotel" being the jail. There are mentions of contracts put out for the bridge to be put up over Port Tobacco Run. By the looks of the materials ordered, it was a shabby bridge when finished.
Advertisements for the hotels, houses, lots, stores, and who was staying in them, who bought them, or leased them.

There is one entry for a house and lot to be sold that we should easily be able to identify if we find it on the ground, " to be sold PT store house and lot on square facing courthouse, large, good store room, stone basement under whole room, kitchen, house used for grocery and countung room, tobacco barn, and stable." It will be hard to miss a 'stone basement' when we are excavating.

This is just the beginning of our research into the newspaper abstracts. Once we compile our database, we will be going back to the newspapers on microfilm to see what else we can find.
Most of the issues during the Civil War aren't in the abstracts. They may be gone for good or just hadn't been put on microfilm at the time of the publication of the abstracts by Roberta Wearmouth.

- Peter

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

News Bits

This is our 500th blog (hurray, and there was much rejoicing). I use the opportunity to mention a few bits of news:
  1. Bruce Thompson of the Maryland Historical Trust spoke to the Charles County Archaeological Society last night about the Grieb site. Great stuff...we're all looking forward to seeing that site explored further and comparing the findings to some of the Port Tobacco sites.
  2. Pete and I are starting to wade through the Port Tobacco Times newspaper and we'll soon be looking at orphan's court records as well. The volume of historical data is close to overwhelming but we are managing to keep it organized in a couple of databases. This material will be critical in deciding questions to ask and where to conduct test excavations to answer those questions.
  3. The project's traveling exhibit will move from the Charles County Administrative Building in La Plata to the College of Southern Maryland Library sometime next week.
  4. week, I hope...we will begin planning the search for Union encampments as part of the larger Lincoln conspiracy study. Stay tuned...we'll need volunteers.
  5. The Archeological Society of Maryland's Spring Symposium, in recognition of the 375th anniversary of the founding of Maryland, will be held at Historic St. Mary's City on April 4th. Plan to attend.
There's more, but I'll wait until tomorrow. Keep your calendar handy.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Barton Warren Stone Returns

Almost 1 year ago today, I blogged about Barton Warren Stone and wondered if he were related to Thomas Stone. Since then, the following information has come to light. An anonymous commenter on our blog offers the following:

"here seems to be further support of that geneology, Barton being son of second marriage thus nephew of Thomas Stone:

JOHN STONE4(1714-1775)John Stone, son of Matthew and Rachel (Smoot) Stone, was born at "Poynton Manor", Durham Parish, Charles County, Maryland. In court during 1769, he declared himself to be 55 years of age and mentioned his father Matthew Stone, then deceased. He married twice, but the name of his first wife has not been established. Children of John Stone by First Marriage1. Thomas Stone married Catherine (???). q.v. 2. Josiah Stone, d.s.p. Somerset Co., Md., 1781, willing dwelling-plantation, "Drury Lane", to brother John. 3. William Stone married Betsy Murray. q.v. 4. John Stone, d.s.p. 1783, willing "Drury Lane" to brother Thomas, "that which was willed me by brother Josiah", also named his brother William and the latter's wife, Betsy, and his brother-in-law, Jeremiah Gray. Inventory signed by Mary Gray and William Stone. 5. Mary Stone married Jeremiah Gray. By 1763 John Stone had become a widower and had married Mary, the daughter of Barton Warren, but then the widow and administratrix of Harrison Musgrove. On June 6, 1758, she, then being Mrs. Mary Musgrove, shared in the distribution of her father's estate. On April 29, 1760, she was granted letters of administration on the estate of her deceased husband, Harrison Musgrove, with Notley Warren and John Warren offering bond. The final settlement was made by her on May 15, 1762, as Mary Musgrove, and showed distribution to her and unnamed children. Children of John and Mary (Warren) Stone6. Matthew Stone married Jane (???). 7. Warren Stone. 8. Elizabeth Stone. 9. Barton Warren Stone married twice. q.v. John Stone negotiated his will on August 6, 1775, and appointed his wife, Mary, as the executrix. He named the following children--Thomas, Josias, William, John, Matthew, Warren, Elizabeth, and Barton; and grandson John Stone Gray. The instrument was admitted to probate in Charles County on September 12, 1775, by Samuel Stone, Elizabeth Stone, and Theophilus Hanson."

That's not all. The following is from Jay Moose, Park Ranger at The Thomas Stone National Historic Site:

John Stone, son of William Stone, the first protestant governor of Maryland, and his wife Verlinda was born in Accomac County Virginia and moved with his parents to Virginia in 1648. During his lifetime he married three times. He and his first wife, Elizabeth produced a son, Thomas (1677-1727), and a grand-son David. David married Elizabeth Jenifer and produced a son Thomas, signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1743.

John and his third wife Eleanor Bayne produced a son Mathew (1679-1750) who married Rachel Smoot. This union produced a son, John (1714-1775) and a grandson Barton Warren Stone (1772-1884).

Barton Warren Stone, then, and Thomas Stone the signer share a great-grandfather. The respective great-grandmothers are not common so their relationship is step-xxx.

Personally, genealogy makes my head swim, especially when two reliable source provide conflicting information.

Monday, January 12, 2009

John Glassford

The importance of tobacco in the economies of Virginia and Maryland in the 17th and 18th centuries is well known. A little less known to most is that for a time this trade was dominated by Scottish merchants. One such merchant was John Glassford of the John Glassford Company (also known by various other names) based out of Glasgow, Scotland.

Although he never set foot in America, Glassford's company did a lot of business; so much so that his company was, during the mid to late 18th century, the largest tobacco trading company in the Chesapeake. And his base of operations was in Port Tobacco. More specifically, we have found his company's name in the land records as having bought lot #46 in town from Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer in 1762.

While researching the 'tobacco lords' through readings and internet searches, I came across the below painting and an interesting fact about it. The portrait shows a Glassford family slave in the sitting room of their Glasgow home...or does it? What's missing...or should I say who's missing?


When the painting was first made in 1767, there was one of John Glassford's personal slaves in the area where the red circle is now. It was deliberately obscured during the 19th century anti-slavery movement, thus painting out Glasgow merchants' involvement with slavery. The painting has been in repair and cleaning in the Glasgow museum to uncover the missing slave.

John Glassford was just one of the 'tobacco lords' of the Chesapeake and not the only one with connections to Port Tobacco. I will see what I can dig up about the others and post about them as well.

- Peter

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Search for Church

I am pleased to announce that the PTAP team, through the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco, received a check for $1,000 from the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium, Roz Racanello, executive director. We will use this grant to attract additional funds to underwrite our search for the first Anglican church at Port Tobacco.

Working with some data that Pete extracted from our larger database, I took another look at the area in which we discovered the cemetery. It is clear from the shovel test pit data that the cemetery area lies between dwelling sites to the north (the aboriginal locus) and the south (the Swann House), with relatively few domestic artifacts in the cemetery. Unfortunately, we haven't tested the hedgerow to the west, into which the cemetery undoubtedly extends.

The team will have to put heads together to figure out a cost effective means of narrowing our search for the church.

Reminder: we have a Charles County Archaeological Society meeting at Port Tobacco this Tuesday at 7: 30PM at which we will learn about Bruce Thompson's excavations at the Grieb site.