Apr 15, 2011

Harford divided in Civil War

(Aegis) In early 1861, Priscilla Griffith, a prominent Harford County diarist, complained that the area’s free blacks were making her own slaves “troublesome” and that no one who dared express opposition to the Lincoln administration was safe. “Such tyranny is unheard of in civilized countries,” she wrote in her diary, according to an account by Jeffery Smart in a 2000 issue of the Harford Historical Bulletin. “Oh, if war [were] only over, and the Southern Confederacy established.” But while Griffith wrote plenty about her fervent support for the South and disdain for Lincoln’s troops, she also mentioned attending a “splendid” Christmas party with two Federal officers present, enjoying music by the New York regimental band in Havre de Grace and worshipping, apparently peacefully, alongside Union soldiers at Spesutia Church. If one person’s life could be that contradictory, it was only a small example of how divided Harford County was in 1861 on the eve of what we today call the Civil War. Continued

Photo: Slave advertisement from local paper, circa 1857 (Eric chucks).