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Lincoln in Rockville

(Originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine) In August 1861, with the first battle of the Civil War at Manassas, Virginia, resulting in Union forces fleeing in retreat, President Abraham Lincoln embarked from the White House on a carriage ride. With him was Secretary of State William Seward, his son, Frederick, assistant Secretary of State, and General … Continue reading

The Underground Railroad in Maryland

(Originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine) On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act to end slavery in Washington, D.C.—more than eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation. News of the coming abolition in D.C. had spread through nearby Maryland slave communities. Word eventually reached Lewis Swams in his quarters near Sandy Spring. … Continue reading

Domestic Manners of the Americans

In 1830, Frances Trollope—a petite Englishwoman whose acidic wit would later earn her the sobriquet “Old Madam Vinegar”—arrived in Montgomery County, Maryland, with three children in tow. She had come to summer at Stonington, a friend’s Potomac estate near Great Falls. Immediately, Trollope was taken by the beauty of the Montgomery County countryside. It “perfectly … Continue reading

The Confederate in the Courthouse Square

In 1911, on the 50th anniversary of the battle of Manassas—the first major encounter of the Civil War—a crowd of about 10,000 people gathered on the Virginia battlefield to celebrate what was called the “Peace Jubilee.” Confederate and Union veterans attended. President William Howard Taft gave the keynote address. An air of camaraderie enveloped the … Continue reading

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February 2018
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