The Archivist's Bulldog

Vol. 12 No. 2, Newsletter of the Maryland State Archives, January 26, 1998

by Pat Melville

During the last quarter of 1997 research topics fell into the usual categories. Local studies included Catoctin Iron Furnace in Frederick County, Fells Point between 1729 and 1776, State House, Glen Burnie, Londontowne, Ellicott City, Eastport Peninsula, Fort McHenry, and 180 Main Street in Annapolis. Cultural subjects pertained to Colonial Players in Annapolis, material culture in the 18th century, history of the book in the colonial South, and music between 1930 and 1960. Education research involved needlework in girls' academies prior to 1850, Glenmar Elementary School in Baltimore County, and Patapsco Female Institute in Howard County.

Civil War topics concerned politics between 1860 and 1861, ammunition manufacturers, Annapolis, Howard County, General Sumner at Antietam, and Maryland Constitution before and after the war. Bay and ocean topics included beach resorts and coastal towns. Transportation subjects pertained to revenue cutters in Baltimore, national pike, ships in the 19th century, and Eastern Shore Railroad. Environmental and land research involved air pollution in Baltimore between 1880 and 1970, land use on the Eastern Shore, zoning and planning in Annapolis, and grasslands in Maryland.

Population studies included people associated with the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis, prostitution in Baltimore between 1900 and 1915, and families and households in Harford County in the 18th century. Institutional histories related to the Department of Natural Resources and the early years of the Hall of Records. Constitutional and political topics involved the right to bail and counsel in Maryland and boundary disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Research into slavery and servitude touched on slavery and indentured servants in the colonial period, slavery in Washington, DC, and land and will records of slaveholders.

Miscellaneous topics involved war memorials in Maryland, colonial architecture, national news between 1960 and 1965, and telegraph lines between Baltimore and Washington, DC.

by Pat Melville

Pat Guida, a former staff member and volunteer, found an unusual set of documents in Caroline County Register of Wills (Orphans Court Papers) [MSA C492-5]. The papers concern the death and estate of Levin Turner of Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It is not at all clear why the file exists in the register of wills' records, either from Turner being a former resident of the county or from his ownership of land there.

The file contains a copy of letters of administration granted on June 22, 1787 and depositions possibly taken to prove his death which occurred at sea. On September 15, 1790 John MacTier, mariner, and Alexander Leyburn, merchant, of Shelburne described the voyage of the Peggy, a thirty-five ton sloop sailing to New York City in November 1786. Levin Turner, a merchant in partnership with his brother Jesse Turner, also of Shelburne, was a passenger on the ship. The crew set sail on the 11th and on the 15th encountered stormy weather, "heavy Gales and Squalls of wind from the East with Thunder and Lightning." On the morning of the l6th Levin Turner went on deck to observe the weather conditions and was thrown overboard as the sloop almost capsized. The heavy seas prevented the crew, which was preoccupied with trying to keep the vessel upright, from trying to rescue Turner.

The storm continued intermittently until November 26 by which time the Peggy was leaking extensively and its sails were completely torn despite numerous repair efforts. MacTier, master of the sloop, had injured his shoulder when he was thrown from his cabin at the same time Turner was drowned. On the 21st "they had hard Gales with Hail and Snow" and turned west to try to return to Shelburne. By the 26th conditions were so terrible that MacTier decided to abandon ship and hoisted a distress signal. The Patsy Rutledge, operated by Capt. William Bell and sailing from Philadelphia to Hamburgh, rescued the crew two days later. Capt. Bell continued his voyage and dropped off the Peggy crew at Dover, Kent County, England.

These depositions are historically significant for the descriptions of how weather adversily affected the ship and how the crew valiantly tried to keep the vessel afloat. They highlight the dangers of conducting trade across the Atlantic in the 18th century.

by Shashi Thapar

Belt, Walter E., Jr., About 900 Descendants of Humphrey Belt, 1615-1696
Bolster, W. Jeffrey, Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail
Broughton, Levin B., A Goodly Heritage
Coleman, William C., Past Hours: A Random Collection of Tales and Addresses
Creswell, Hon. John A. J., Oration on the Life and Charater of Henry Winter Davis
Elizabeth Benton Chapter, NSDARSupplement to Genealogical Guide: Master Index of Genealogy in Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, vols. 85-89, 1950-1955
Filby, P. William, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1998 Supplement, part I
Gaylor, Annie Laurie, Women without Superstition "No Gods - No Masters"
Hoyt, Edwin P., The Damndest Yankees: Ethan Allen and His Clan
Hutchinson, Jack T., New Leaves on Old Branches: A Supplement to Leaves from the Tree
Hynson, Jerry M., Maryland Freedom Papers, vol. 2: Kent County
Iiames, Guy and Roberta, History of William Iiams, The Immigrant, His Ancestors and Descendants, the Pioneers, Their Marriages and Related Kin
Keating, Cathy et al., Our Governors' Mansions
Kemp, Thomas Jay, Virtual Roots: A Guide to Genealogy and Local History on the World Wide Web
Kent, Frank Richardson, Story of Maryland Politics
Kurtz, Michael J., John Gottlieb Morris: Man of God, Man of Science
Rock, Howard B. et al., American Artisans: Crafting Social Identity, 1750-1850
Tawes, Helen Avalynne, My Favorite Maryland Recipes
Time-Life Books, First Manassas (Voice of Civil War)
Whitman, T. Stephen, Price of Freedom: Slavery and Manumission in Baltimore and Early National Maryland
Wilson, Robert E., The Massey and Related Families, rev. ed.
Yamin, Rebecca, Landscape Archaeology: Reading and Interpreting the American Historical Landscape

Founded 1987

Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist
Patricia V. Melville, Editor
Mimi Calver, Assistant Editor
Lynne MacAdam, Production Editor
Rita Molter, Circulation

The Maryland State Archives is an independent agency in the Office of Governor Parris N. Glendening and is advised by the Hall of Records Commission. The Chairman of the Hall of Records Commission is the Honorable Louis L. Goldstein, Comptroller, and the Vice Chairman is the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The Archivists' Bulldog is issued bi-monthly to publicize records collections, finding aids, and other activities of the Archives and its staff. Subscription cost is $25 per year, and the proceeds go to the State Archives Fund. To subscribe, please send your name, address, and remittance to: the Maryland State Archives, 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1686. Phone: MD toll free: (800) 235 4045; or (410) 260-6400. FAX: (410) 974 3895. E-mail: The Editor welcomes editorial comments and contributions from the public.

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