Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company:
Kennard's Wharf at the end of Philpot Street, the very place where Frederick Douglass entered Baltimore as a slave in the 1820s, later became the site of one of the most successful black-owned businesses in Baltimore City, the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. The company, founded in 1866, employed both black and white workers, serving as a center of the city's shipbuilding industry.
"For the purpose of carrying on in this state the business of Ship Building and Repairing & the other branches of business or manufacturing necessarily connected therewith", the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company was formally chartered in 1868, by "highly respected leaders in the social, religious, and political affairs of the black community", including John W. Locks and Isaac Myers. These men and others obtained a lease through an agent, William Applegarth. Applegarth negotiated terms of a lease with its owner and then assigned the lease to "the John Smith Company" in 1866. The John Smith Company was chartered two years later as the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. Although the charter included the provision that the company was to exist for forty years, due to a misunderstanding, the lease expired and was not renewed in 1884. The company ceased operations that year.
View the Company's Charter
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© Copyright February 03, 1998 Maryland State Archives