Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Ann Matthews (b. 1832 - d. 1851)
MSA SC 5496-013784
Accomplice to slave flight, Baltimore City, Maryland, 1848


Born Ann Hatzell in Pennsylvania in 1805.  Married with one daughter, Ann Jane.  Arrived in Baltimore City with her husband no earlier than the 1830s.  Resided on Light Street, then Hill Street, then 130 Lee Street, then South Howard Street, Baltimore.  Died December, 1851.

In the 1840s, Ann Matthews was a middle-aged white woman who lived in a neighborhood filled with racial tension and suspicion. She lived not far from a Society of Friends Meeting house and the Sharp Street Methodist Church. In 1848, she was charged in with enticing "Margaret," a twenty-three-year-old slave belonging to a local brickmaker named Washington Rider, to run away and also to steal on October 12, 1847. Ann and Mr. Rider were neighbors; her address at the time was130 Lee Street and his was 118 Lee Street, Baltimore. Ann's case was brought before a jury of the Baltimore City Court in the September Term of 1848. The jury felt compelled to convict her under the law even though Margaret did not in fact run away. Ann was sentenced to serve ten years in the Maryland penitentiary, but the jury as well as a group of fellow citizens petitioned Governor Philip Francis Thomas recommending her pardon due to her advanced age and widowhood. A second petition to the governor signed by sixteen of Ann's fellow citizens asked for pardon "by every consideration of humanity and of public justice." A third petition signed by 59 people requested a pardon because Ann was "far advanced in age and her incarceration in prison would be an act of great hardship if not barbarism."  At the same time, however, Mr. Rider and 27 other citizens signed yet another petition to the governor saying that Ann was one of "the very worst characters and is a terror to her neighbors." Governor Thomas chose to listen to the more favorable petitions and issued a pardon on November 2, 1848. His handwritten note states that she was "pardoned on condition of  keeping the peace for 12 months and giving security thereto." The Secretary of State's Pardon Record states that the reason for her pardon was that, because of her advanced age and poor health, "her life would be endangered by incarceration in the Penitentiary." On December tenth 1851, Ann Matthews wrote her last will and testament, stating that she was ill and wished to settle her affairs. Leaving her house on South Howard Street to her daughter Ann Jane, she passed away by the end of the month at the age of 46.

Return to Ann Matthews'  Introductory Page

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