May 31, 2006

Eli Scott Dance

Eli Scott Dance was Maryland's oldest lived Civil War veteran when he died in May of 1945. He was in Company C of the First MD Cavalry, CSA. Late in the war he was captured and sent to Point Lookout Prison Camp in Southern Maryland. His grandson Shearman told me the following story: "One day my grandfather said to me that this day marked the anniversary of the happiest day of his life. I asked him if it was his wedding anniversary and he gave me a disgusted look and said no, it was the anniversary of the day he was released from Point Lookout." Nevertheless, he was happily married for 70 years. Dance lived on Dance Mill Road in the Dulaney Valley where his family operated a saw mill. Later he served as bailiff for the Baltimore County Orphans Court under Judge Zimmerman, who was also a Confederate veteran. He retired from the court at the age of 100 and a day. He was supposed to retire a day earlier, but the clerks were confounded by the fact that he couldn't produce a birth certificate!

Zimmerman & Dance

May 30, 2006

Old House #6

Today's old house is currently a house of worship. I am sure it was also a church in the past as well, or perhaps a school. It's located on Fawn Grove Road. If you know anything about this building, please leave a comment.

May 28, 2006

Alfred B. Hilton

Hilton, Alfred B.
ACTION: Chaffin's Farm (Fort Harrison), VA.
DATE: 29 September 1864.
NAME: Hilton, Alfred B.
RANK/UNIT: Sergeant, Co. H, 4th U.S. Colored Troops.
CITATION: "When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy's inner line."
MEDAL PRESENTED: 6 April 1865 (Posthumous).
BIOGRAPHICAL DATA: Born: Havre de Grace, Harford County, MD. 1842.
ENTERED SERVICE: Baltimore, MD. 11 August 1863.
OTHER: Alfred Hilton was a 21-year-old farmer when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He stood 5'10 and 1/2" tall. Sergeant Hilton was severely wounded in the fierce fighting of September 29th, and his right leg had to be amputated below the knee. He died in the hospital at Fort Monroe on October 21st. He is buried at Hampton, VA.
SOURCES: Medal, p. 117; Bearss.
An order from Gen. Benjamin Butler, dated 11 October 1864, had this to say:
Alfred B. Hilton, color-sergeant, Fourth U.S. Colored Troops, the bearer of the national colors, when the color-sergeant with the regimental standard fell beside him, seized the standard, and struggled forward with both colors, until disabled by a severe wound at the enemy's inner line of abatis, and when on the ground he showed that his thoughts were for the colors and not for himself. He has a special medal for gallantry, and will have his warrant as first sergeant. Official Records, #89, p169 (From:

May 27, 2006

Rock Run Granary

Rock Run Granary: Susquehanna State Park, Maryland.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

May 26, 2006

Rock Run House

From the sign: "Rock Run House, the former home of Brigadier General James J. Archer, who resigned from the United States Army to join the Confederacy. Wounded and captured at Gettysburg July 1, 1863, General Archer died in Richmond October 24, 1864, shortly after his exchange. (Maryland Civil War Centennial Commission)"

May 25, 2006

Rock Run Tollhouse

This tollhouse served a bridge across the Susquehanna River. The bridge was in operation from 1818 - 1856. It was the first bridge across the lower Susquehanna, and like so many that came afterwards, it was swept away in a flood, but not before burning down once. Then there was the time it lost a span to stampeding cattle. The bridge was a covered bridge; we don't think of long bridges being covered, but they were, railroad bridges too. Today the tollhouse is part of Maryland's Susquehanna State Park.

May 24, 2006

Old House #5

This little house sits adjacent to Trappe Church (see the May 14 entry for more on Trappe Church), and looks like it may have been a Sunday School building, or perhaps an early mance.
Location: Harford County, MD.

May 23, 2006

Bel Air schoolhouse at center of debate

Sun Reporter
Originally published May 21, 2006

The needs of an elementary school are clashing with the town's desire to renovate a century-old building in downtown Bel Air.

Bel Air Elementary School needs more land for a playground, parking lot and a bus loop, and it is eyeing about 2 acres available next door on Gordon Street. But a two-story brick schoolhouse, vacant since December when school board headquarters moved, stands in the way. The county's schools superintendent has recommended razing it. Read on.

Whiteford Station

The MA&PA Station in Whiteford is probably Harford County's most endangered railroad station. Is the little shack worth saving? That's a tough question, there isn't much to it, but perhaps that would keep preservation costs down. The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad ceased most of its Maryland operations in 1956, though it ran to Whiteford well into the early 1980's.

(Photo courtesy of MDRails)

Footbridge at Glen Cove

Glen Cove Marina, Harford County, Maryland.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens.

May 22, 2006

Old House #4

This old house is in, but not of, Rocks State Park, so keep a respectful distance when visiting.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

May 21, 2006

The Union Hotel

The Union Hotel Restaurant & Tavern, ca 1790. Just across the Susquehanna River in Cecil County the Union Hotel serves up good eats slathered in historical atmosphere.

The Old Brick Baptist Church

The Old Brick Baptist Church is the oldest standing church in Harford County. C. Milton Wright, in his excellent book, "Our Harford Heritage," wrote that it has hardly changed since it was built in 1737. The 1787 renovation merely replaced the dirt floor with brick. Even the pews are original. The church stands alongside route 165, between Upper Cross Roads and Jarrettsville. BTW, "Our Harford Heritage: A History of Harford County, Maryland" has been reprinted and is available at Preston's Stationery in Bel Air.

May 20, 2006

Old House #3

Location: Harford County, Maryland, near Craigtown. At least I think it was a house. Kinda funny looking, could have been a restaurant maybe?

May 19, 2006

The Notable Dead: Colonel John Streett

LEGISLATURE 1799 - 1812
Camera: Canon EOS 5D with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens.

May 18, 2006

18th-century manor poses a development dilemma

The stately brick manor has stood on a Harford County hillside since 1791 and has been home to several prominent Maryland families, including that of a former governor whose signature is on the Declaration of Independence. But a developer's site plan refers to the two-story house near Bel Air as an "existing dwelling" that could be razed to make way for a luxury townhouse complex for senior citizens. And as county planners consider the proposal, preservationists have taken up the cause of trying to save the home. Read on.

Jerusalem Mills: The Mill

Jerusalem Mills (Gunpowder State Park Headquarters) -- From I-95 take exit 74 for Route 152 West (Mountain Road). Follow Mountain Road toward Fallston and turn left onto Jerusalem Road. Jerusalem Mill will be on your left after 1.1 miles. Parking is in the lot on the right, just before the mill.

First sign reads: Jerusalem Mills
Established 1772 by David Lee a Quaker from Bucks County Pennsylvania. A gun manufactory back of the mill furnished guns for the Revolution in 1776. The original tract called Jerusalem patented 1687. (State Roads Commission)

Second sign reads: Milestone
1885 milestone from Baltimore & Jerusalem Turnpike, a privately run toll road from 1867 - 1911. "14M to B" was mileage to Baltimore from original site one mile west. Displaced 1990 by development.

Learn more here:

Camera: Canon EOS 20D with EF-S 17-85MM f4-5.6 IS USM lens.

May 17, 2006

Old House #2

Location: Harford County, Maryland

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Loudon Park: Confederate Hill

"Loudon Park is Baltimore’s largest cemetery, encompassing 350 acres and 15 miles of paved roads. Since 1853, the beauty and serene atmosphere of Loudon Park Cemetery have provided peace and comfort to area families. History is reflected throughout the park, with its simple headstones, mournful statues and stately monuments adorned with handcrafted figures and funerary urns.

Over 2,300 Union soldiers and more than 600 Confederate soldiers are buried in Loudon Park. The park is also the resting place of Mary Pickersgill, seamstress of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during its bombardment by the British in 1814. This famous flag inspired the writing of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Also of note is the Weiskittel mausoleum—constructed of cast iron and painted silver—which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mausoleum is the final resting place of the Weiskittel family, who were manufacturers of cast-iron stoves."
(text from

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel

May 16, 2006

Old house #1

Location: Harford County, Maryland

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

May 14, 2006

Trappe Church

Text from the marker:
Capt. Angus Greme, one of two officers in Lafayette's army who, according to tradition, were so struck with the view from here that they vowed to return after the revolution. Greme did settle nearby with his family and in 1850 he was buried beside Trappe Church, then a chapel of ease (established 1760) of St. George's Episcopal Parish. Present stone building dates from 1875.
(Maryland Bicentennial Commission & Maryland Historical Society)

Camera: Canon 5D & 20D