This category contains 3 posts

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

Ex-Slaves in America

In April of 1936, the Federal Writer’s Project of the Works Progress Administration – one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s government make-work programs aimed at aiding the displaced of the Great Depression – deployed a diverse group of unemployed white-collar workers out into the field, tasked with the curious mission of locating and interviewing ex-slaves … Continue reading