The Research of Runaway Advertisements

During February in the year 1847, Charles G. Haslup near Savage Factory in what is today Howard County, Maryland made arrangements to place an advertisement in Baltimore’s The Sun newspaper. A few days before on Monday, David self-liberated from Charles’ enslavement. As can be seen in the advertisement, Charles was offering $20 to anyone who could find David and take him to a jail so that he could be returned to his position of servitude. But what was David’s position? The advertisement doesn’t provide any information about that, but does provide a description of David which can be read.

Baltimore Sun advertisement regarding David

David had been enslaved by Haslup, a name known by many in the local area due to him having been a Constable and Tax Collector. Imagine an eighteen year old, five foot tall “bright mulatto” with a velvet cap and striped vest on wearing an old pair of lace boots, and you’ll be meeting David when he decided to secure his freedom on his own. Charles Haslup was one of the people who placed his name onto the list of enslavers who wished to be financially compensated for his “losses” that were the result of slavery being ended for him by the state.

David’s name didn’t appear on Haslup’s list, but seven other people’s names were listed. Does that mean that David got away? No, it does not.

The reason that people shouldn’t make assumptions when viewing runaway advertisements is that it’s usually only a small part of the story. Was Haslup placing the ad because he was the enslaver, or was he just the agent for someone else? In David’s case, there was a fascinating story to be assembled about him that I will share here so that people know a bit more about what is involved when trying to get this right about the local Howard County story of this particular type of self liberation from enslavement.

First, David was captured by someone and put into jail to await Haslup. He was actually in the jail when Haslup placed the advertisement in The Sun. That probably resulted in a bunch of people scouring the area looking for someone that fit David’s description because Haslup or his agent paid to have the advertisement run seven times, though a $20 reward wasn’t much even for that time period. Was there a reason that it was so low? Maybe. It turns out that this wasn’t the first time that David had tried to self liberate from Haslup. Because of that, Haslup made a request to the court to be able to sell David out of the state of Maryland.

Courtesy of Maryland State Archives


Here’s where research patience and persistence come in handy. Haslup’s request wasn’t acted upon right away, and every day that David was in the jail meant the accumulation of jail fees that he’d be responsible for paying. So, David was released on February 12th, and back to Haslup he went. But there’s still more…

David didn’t get sold by Haslup. In 1848, Charles G. Haslup became the Sheriff of the Howard District and he’d remain the Sheriff until Howard became its own county in 1851.

While Sheriff, he made another request of the court regarding David in May of 1849. The Sheriff reported to have gotten possession of David’s mother through his father’s estate. David’s mother had been freed by this time, and she was recorded on the 1840 census as the free Black head of her household. Letty Daily had two boys under the age of ten living in her household with her, both born free.

1840 census with Letty

David was therefore still enslaved while he had younger siblings and a mother that were free. These were the circumstances that existed when David kept leaving Haslup’s. In 1849, Haslup’s legal request sought to sell him out of the state so that he could be compensated for the trouble and money he believed David’s actions had cost him. David was at the trial and heard it all. The court ruled to extend David’s enslavement period to a total of thirty two years, and authorized Haslup to sell him in or out of the state.

That’s not the end of the story though either.

By the time the 1850 census taker came around, he recorded the occupants of Sheriff Haslup’s household. His wife and children were recorded along with a sixteen year old girl he was enslaving.

Also in the household was Letty’s son David, recorded to be free.

Daily in Haslup 1850 household

What’s the likely conclusion as to how? Letty purchased her son David’s freedom from Sheriff Haslup, and then negotiated for his hire along with her son Wesley by the sheriff. Those two boys under ten recorded in her 1840 household? They may have been Plummer and Nathan who each asked that certificates of freedom be issued to them in 1860.

Plummer and Nathan’s certs courtesy of Maryland State Archives

Those connections are for another day and project. Our work will live online ultimately so that schools, etc can access and learn from these stories but we will also make them into a publication to achieve the same goal. We began our The Resistance Project some time ago by collecting data from multiple sources. Our event on September 1st is the public introduction of it. There are easily more than a hundred “runaway” situations involving the land that is now Howard County, and many were never advertised. Most had interesting stories like David’s, all were unique. The determination for where David may have been when he self liberated will lie from what property Haslup owned at that time. On the 1860 map, you’ll see that there are two for CG Haslup. Must be fully researched, and will be.


Sheriff Haslup died in 1876 and is buried in Savage at their family cemetery.

Courtesy of

What’s In A Triangle?

What in a triangle? In the case of the right lower panel of the Howard County flag, it’s the shape of the county itself that is in it. But what does the yellow triangle symbolize exactly?

The county webpage about county symbols says that it’s actually a gold color like the wheat at the top left panel. Whether it’s yellow or gold, what does it mean?

This is a follow-up post to the one done last week regarding county council bill 31 that seeks to permanently enshrine the date that the 1968 flag into the county code. That post, for those who haven’t read it, can be read by going here:

A County Flag Was Born, But Who Birthed It?

First, what has been written about what the image is supposed to convey? The county webpage has the following: “.. a green outline of the county is set in a triangle of gold symbolizing the unique position of Howard in the future development of the eastern seaboard.” There’s no notation for who said that or where that information comes from. In the newspaper article announcing the flag given to the commissioners, it was written:

So, “county’s industrial future.” Is the county known today for industrial things? Was that the plan in 1968? Possibly.

On Saturday I went to the state archives in Annapolis to scan through their collection of the Central Maryland News. I found an image and article in a 1964 edition that jumped out at me, and I think the reader will understand why. It was interesting to note that our county government was making deliberate efforts to have the county be in front of the world at the World’s Fair by having a two year exhibit there. “High type industrial development” was the audience being sought, but the county’s strategic location in the “Heart of six city Area” was depicted by the Planning Director via a triangle. Keep in mind, the year is 1964 which is four years prior to the flag contest and winning design and a bit before any shovels substantially broke ground to build Rouse’s Columbia. The Planning Director was noted to have shown that exhibit to the County Commissioners, and weren’t the commissioners also some of the judges for the flag contest?


Is that where Jean Hannon got the idea and inspiration to incorporate a triangle into the flag design? Noted that her triangle is more like a pyramid design and is the opposite orientation of the Planning Director’s, and also noted that the county has been zoomed in on by the Hannon design. I can’t determine the six points in the Planning Director’s image (I’m sure one of them is Philadelphia) but the points were supposed to mean something. What do the points in the Hannon triangle design refer to since it was inverted from his, assuming the corners do point to something?

This was the time in county history in which a Charter commission had released their recommendation that charter government get adopted in the county BUT that it be delayed for several years. That led to citizen activism which led to referendum efforts in order to put a stop to that delay. CB31 mentions the charter, but I wonder how many people know the history of the charter delay and fights that happened to finally get charter government in the county all during desegregation, federal civil rights legislation compelling local action, and county housing activism?

If the current bill passes with the goal of teaching others about this time period in county history, count our nonprofit IN.. though I hold to what I wrote last week that I’m opposed to having things made so that they don’t change.


A County Flag Was Born, But Who Birthed It?

While people were putting their finishing touches on planned Juneteenth activities in the county, legislation involving history was introduced by the current District 5 councilman on the 7th day of the legislative session (June 5). I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t monitoring council activities closely (it’s summer, beach season etc) and didn’t know it was happening until a person I consider to be a friend recently alerted me about it. Most of the current legislation are resolutions for board and commission appointments (the application process for which was just reported to have been updated by the C.E. to make it more transparent etc henceforth), but there are six bills as of today. The HoCo By Design bill is foremost in most minds and mine. But CB31 is pretty important because it seeks to intend to make “Howard County Flag Day” a permanent reality and significant thing here. Anyone hearing the news recently that our neighbor Frederick County just changed their county flag this month may have given some thought to our own. Our flag was put into place as the official flag during a time in our history when racial relations were at a fever pitch. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed on April 10, 1968, one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Things were going to be changing in the county in the arena of housing just as it had been changed regarding desegregation of schools (not fully achieved in the county until 1965, almost 10 years after Brown v Board of Ed). As the Executive Director of a local history nonprofit, I don’t often have reason to provide written testimony in my professional capacity either for or against proposed county legislation, but last week I felt I had to and did. Here’s why…


I’m going to do my best to not make this personal or about Republican/Democrat while I know I can’t control those who will. I’ve never met the District 5 county councilman, and I am aware that in last year’s election he got a surprise endorsement by a group (and I do mean surprise) which caused a lot of people to take away the message that you should look at the INDIVIDUAL candidate as opposed to their political party exclusively. I don’t know the motivations of the councilman, and they don’t have to disclose who may be influencing/requesting their proposed legislation so I probably will never know. 

What I do know is that history narratives are changing in the county for the historical sites that still exist. In our county, most of the sites and former plantations that turned into farms were bulldozed over in order to create Columbia which was built on top of them. I also know that in 1968, a newspaper article reported that our county got a new official flag. That flag is the subject of legislation that seeks to change the county Code in order to compel County Executives to embrace and celebrate that particular flag design. I have questions about how public of a process it really was and if it was a process that captured the wishes of the many as opposed to those of a few. Those of us that research and study Maryland and local history know a lot about how the political regime worked back then (this is why they say that “history is political”) and POWER had everything to do with most things. Still does. The article itself that is being used for some of the history of the flag is interestingly right beside an article titled “Races Meet in Salisbury” in which the topic of discussion was the hope of easing racial tensions on the same day that our county flag was being flown over the circuit courthouse for the first time. The interracial commissions (state and local) are a topic area I’ve been researching and compiling info about since last year. Our county had one too, and the local commission I co-chair has been patiently waiting for the county to try to locate records involving it for months now for our use, and I’ll just write that it’s ALL fascinating history that our nonprofit is planning to bring to the community through future programming. Records First though, to get it right!


A few months prior, Elbert Flurry wrote an editorial to the same newspaper in which he expressed his views about the commissioners and other things in the county:

I’m not sure if Elbert was a Black public school teacher that moved to the county, but here is one I found in 1950 living in Pennsylvania:

While I have personal thoughts about the design that was voted to be the winner by people who I don’t believe to have been reflective of all of the county populace while Rouse was building Columbia, I have concern that the legislation goes too far to make it that we can’t embrace another flag design in the future that might seek to deliberately capture the wishes of all of the populace that would be subject to it. Particularly since no other jurisdiction could be found to have done this with their jurisdiction’s code. Worcester County on the Eastern Shore (think Ocean City) has an Editor’s Note that travels with their code, and it mentions who created their flag design but it only mentions the desire to describe the design elements… Not make a separate binding Flag Day out of it with proclamation obligations, etc. 


Want to be clear that this isn’t about the work that Jean Hannon did for the flag (she had the winning design), who I won’t pretend to know personally as local preservationists in the county did. She and the organization she led was partly responsible for the preservation of the log house now sitting on Main Street, so I respect her love and dedication for the preservation of local structures that we can all enjoy today because they were saved. However, the “white European settler” narrative that was created about that structure in the 1970s obscured the truth about the actual pre Civil War Black origins of that structure that was built by a Mulatto man named Levi for his free wife and children. A research initiative of three researchers (myself included) that was sponsored by our nonprofit is what led to this fantastic historical discovery. We hoped for that new narrative/history to be shown for visitors in May to celebrate important history dates, and then Juneteenth, to no avail unfortunately. We are patiently waiting for our county to complete the necessary approvals for the language we suggested for the materials that will be inside (based upon our research that we shared with them).

Jean Hannon died without knowing this newly discovered history, but I’d like to imagine that she’d be receptive of the change as opposed to doubling down in order to resist it. Hannon is part of history now, having designed a flag in her lifetime. I’m sure she never expected that it’d be the one and only flag the county would ever have.


My testimony on behalf of our nonprofit submitted to the council on Thursday June 22nd via councilmail:

CB31 testimony.pdf

Marlena Jareaux

*Note: the county (in green) is wrapped in a gold triangle meant to represent the county’s industrial future, according to the newspaper article. This must have been meant to represent changes due to Columbia being built.


A survey of other jurisdictions and reference to flags:


















County History Does Change, Maybe.

As 2022 drew to a close, it was a natural time to reflect upon the year behind and the one ahead. Many people aren’t of the belief that history is exciting, and I often confess to not having had an interest in it while in grade school. Maybe that’s what the reader will also relate to. While I ponder what it is about history that ended up pulling me in, I hope that those reading this page have been pulled in by the way that our nonprofit has become known for doing history. The county has 4 nonprofits and one govt division doing history. Rec and Parks (Heritage department) is the govt division, and the rest of us aren’t. We all share in doing history.

During a recent presentation that I was asked to give to the Quaker/Friends congregation, I articulated who the various local organizations are and some of the differences between us. It’s not a bad thing that there are 5 of us, along with other individuals doing great work to put out information that they’ve used their time and energy to research and package. A question I get frequently is “why is there not just one history organization in the county?” and the answer I give is “It’s complicated, yet it’s simply because we are all different in how we do history which the county benefits from.” The nonprofit Howard County Historical Society, Inc. has been around the longest, but has increasingly reported (recently to news reporters) their self-reflection that they were aware that they needed to do better with Black History. We (Howard County Lynching Truth & Reconciliation, Inc) are the new nonprofit kid on the block. The Howard County African American Cultural Center, Inc. is a nonprofit that grew out of Wylene Burch’s frustrations (I’ve been told), and their collection of Black memorabilia etc is unmatched in the county. The Columbia Association has an archive that hold records pertaining to everything related to Columbia, Rouse, etc. County Rec and Parks (the Heritage division) manages historic sites in the county, including the recent addition of the Harriett Tubman Cultural Center property. You can take classes there in cooking, painting, ballet, and many other things (for a fee), while viewing pieces of county Black history therein.

Those of us who are historians, the type who get lost researching in the stacks as we lose track of time immersing ourselves in old brittle records containing handwriting that’s barely used anymore, are the ones thinking about something very important. We think about the people who go home and share the history they learned at places, and the students writing papers about history that they get exposed to. We are the ones who get bothered by history being inaccurate, and work to change it so that it’s accurate. It’s because we are thinking about how history has always been used and still is.

I finally visited the Tubman center in order to take in the history that was curated and placed there for visitors. Though there is nothing to suggest that Harriet Tubman came to our county on her many trips to free her family members from enslavement (none of her family was in our county), the legend that she came here to help others escape enslavement is a feel-good story that has helped our county tap into the events in the state that celebrate a woman known throughout the world. That helps to put us on the map in that genre, so to speak, even though our county isn’t actually reflected on the state map (link is below). Fortunately for our county, there are many local people who tried to escape enslavement (some succeeded) and there is existing documentation to support it. You won’t see them at the Tubman Center except for Oliver Cromwell Gilbert who was extensively researched by Stefanie Gilbert (his great great granddaughter) and Jody Fernald and published in a 2014 journal, but it’s my hope that that will change in 2023.

Documentation is king with history, and people learn critical thinking skills when they are able to examine things in order to discern what is and isn’t proven by them. It’s a skill I believe to be in alarming decline, and I hope that changes since it affects other aspects of life also. Due to the responses I’ve received from some people I don’t choose to name, I believe some are unaware that history evolves when you discover and learn more, and change makes some uncomfortable. I suspect our programming will step on some peoples’ toes, which under the circumstances is unavoidable. 2022 saw altercations with people and organizations unhappy with the alteration of the local history narrative that our nonprofit has become synonymous with affecting. You wouldn’t think that was a bad thing, yet I’ve received messages that I can’t repeat here and have been told that I’m being called something by county personnel that I choose to not repeat. This is what happens when you try to change things that some are comfortable with and others don’t want to change because of how they are benefiting from it being how it is.

The history in the Tubman center concerning the county’s segregation era is compelling and well-done! I expected no less since the Tubman Foundation folks have been the primary holders and compilers of the materials for decades. I was glad to finally be able to see it, and those curators should be proud that their experiences are there for all of us to learn from. However… everyone who goes there should remember that our understanding of history isn’t static and therefore changes when we learn better. The log cabin/house on Main Street did NOT exist in the 1700s, is not the oldest structure in Ellicott City, and the predecessor congregation to St. Luke did not exist in it in the year 1877. The data in this image is wrong.

They had their own building and continuous land ownership in Ellicott City after they bought land and constructed their own first church building in 1860. They didn’t need to use the log cabin for anything, since they had their own. That church is the oldest Black congregation in Howard County (it is not First Baptist Church in Elkridge), and should be recognized as such. The church trustees later sold the land and building to a Black woman who lived in it for many years. Research/p and documentation uncovered all of that and more, and it’s been widely circulated since February 2022. It’s a great photograph by Donald of the newer church, but the display otherwise contains old inaccurate information from a time when a full investigative inquiry wasn’t performed to try to uncover the truth. It has been done, and no one need think for one day in 2023 that a white European settler built that cabin in the 1700s. Will the data be changed? Maybe not since one of the other nonprofits (HC Historical Society) is who did the display according to the exhibit. 

As I conveyed to the Quaker Friends, I only want history to be accurate for peoples’ consumption. The visitors, residents and students of the county should not be thinking that:

  1. slavery didn’t really happen in our county
  2. our county wasn’t also part of The South, and acted like it in many ways
  3. Blacks didn’t own land in Md before the Civil War in their own names
  4. we didn’t have significant and compelling examples of self-liberation from enslavement by local people who have descendants in the county
  5. our county wasn’t connected to the early civil rights effort
  6. we didn’t have our own housing segregation like it’s reflected in the Undesign the Redline exhibit at the library.

If you do think these things, it reflects that you just haven’t been told differently and you aren’t seeing it reflected anywhere in the county. Yet. The only constant is change, therefore change is the thing to value. See you in this new year (the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation) with programming and content based upon all of the research being done in the areas above and more! We’ll be freeing it in 2023!


Executive Director

Link to Tubman byway sites:

Byway Sites

Book Fundraiser

Hello friends…

As we all come to the end of another year, I am as usual reflecting upon the next year ahead. There is much to be excited about, and there is also much work to still do. Our nonprofit has only just begun (literally and figuratively) in our efforts to uncover and document the accurate local history of the county so that we can all better understand the climate and culture in which our county’s lynching (and near lynching) victims (and their descendants) lived. One of our biggest achievements in 2022 was our nonprofit’s sponsorship of the research effort that led to the discovery of a pre Civil War Black community in Ellicott City. A 200+ page book has been made with the findings, and those findings are the tip of the iceberg of additional material calculated to ensure that accurate local history is told and consumed by our visitors, residents and students.

It is my hope that those who enjoy our work will consider donating to our nonprofit by purchasing a book for themselves or others through our book fundraiser. The details of that fundraiser can be found be clicking the link below. It’s my hope that a new standard of research will be created in our county so that accurate history can be consumed by our visitors and residents. History evolves when new materials are discovered to augment it, but history also evolves when primary source documents are excavated to create products and presentations for consumption. Reconciliation for a community cannot happen until the truth is first known. Actually and to be honest, reconciliation can be done without the truth being known. It’s just not the way I wish to be involved in doing it for the place I love. Hopefully, a majority of the people feel the way I do. Marlena


Local Howard County Juneteenth Stories

Juneteenth National Freedom Day, designated as a county holiday by County Executive Ball in 2021, has come to be known as the symbolic end of slavery in this country. On June 17, 2021 it became a federal holiday. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed in 1863 freeing those who were enslaved, but it did not apply to all of the states. It would take a new state constitution for Maryland to finally ban slavery in Maryland. Article 24 prohibiting slavery took effect with the new constitution on November 1, 1864. Juneteenth was initially equated with the day when federal troops arrived to Galveston Texas in order to alert those who didn’t know that slavery was no more. There’s plenty that can be found online about Juneteenth celebrations through the years. The end of chattel slavery wasn’t fully enacted until December 6, 1865, when the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states. It was then that slavery legally ended in the United States.

This post was created by a collaboration between a county historian/researcher and a recent county high school graduate. A few months ago, this nonprofit partnered with the Maryland State Archives in order to get the 1867 list of county enslavers transcribed so it could be searchable by historians, researchers, teachers and others. In 1867, a new state constitution went into effect, and a legion of men across the state were appointed to be a Commissioner of Slave Statistics in order to capture the information relative to whomever wished to be compensated for their pereceived losses due to slavery ending. Male and female enslavers in Howard County placed their names onto lists, along with names, ages, period of servitude the enslaver had intended to keep them enslaved, and any enlistment info for those in the United States Colored Troops. A total of two hundred and sixty people put their names down wishing compensation. The info was to be accurate as of 1864. In order to get the list transcribed, a collaboration was done with two high school teachers and their students to guide them through the ins and outs of 1800s handwriting. You can read about that HERE if you want to know more.

This post is designed to show how that information can be used to tell local history, and in this case, stories related to slavery’s end in the county.

We started by pulling out the names of everyone seventy years of age and up. We urge the reader to consider what life may have been like for these men and women who had been enslaved all of their lives, and had never been set free by their enslaver. What might finally having freedom have felt like for them? 

Some of the people we searched for were a little easier to find than others. The grandson of the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence had died during the Civil War, and his descendants put in a claim seeking compensation for 130 men, women and children that Charles Carroll had been enslaving. Two of them were aged 70 years old and up. 

William Joice, 70, enslaved by heirs of Charles Carroll and listed to be a “slave for life” was recorded to be “feeble.”

From the 1867 Commissioner of Slave Statistics record held by the Maryland State Archives.

We believe we located William on the 1870 census, living in Baltimore, recorded to be a blacksmith. Recorded to be 95 years old, we don’t know if the 1867 age was wrong, or the 1870 age was. We believe they are the same men because of the Mary Joice/Joyce record references on both records.
The 1870 US Census of Maryland, Baltimore District 3


Sophy Jones, 75, was also listed to be a “slave for life” by the Carroll heirs. At age 75, she was the oldest person listed on the1867 list, and we had hoped to find her in census records to be able to provide information about what she did after her emancipation. Unfortunately, we didn’t locate her which could mean a number of things. The enslaver could have had her name wrong; she could have gone by another name by 1870 or deliberately changed it; the census taker where she lived may have missed her; she may be in another record series not consulted in researching for this post; or her freedom may have been cut short by her death. Her enslaver had recorded her to be “weak”. The key to finding her may lie with Matilda Jones who was also recorded by the Carroll heirs.

Lucy Scroggins, 73, enslaved by the heirs of Charles Dorsey, was listed to be their “slave for life”. We believe we found Lucy. In 1880, she was living in District 2 of the county with her son Isaac and her grandchildren.
The 1880 US Census of Maryland, Howard County District 2


We turned our attention to the youngest people on the list who were emancipated. We found that there were a total of three children who were two weeks old and younger. They would have been too young to understand what was happening, but their parents would have likely felt ecstatic that their children wouldn’t have to experience enslavement and would have had stories to share with them.

1) Samuel, two weeks old, the child of Debora Gaither, enslaved by Martin Batson.

2) Howard Wilson, 7 days old, enslaved by William P. Ridgely (Jane Wilson, age 15 also enslaved by Ridgely)

Latisha Plummer, born to 35 year old Eliza Plummer, was only 2 weeks old when her enslaver Jonathan Miller placed her and her mom’s name on the list in the hopes of receiving financial compensation for them.

The transcription table generated by a county high school student showing Eliza, two of her children and two France children mentioned.

Latisha was found in the 1870 census in District 4, Howard County under the name “Letitia Plummir” living with her mother Eliza (still recorded as being 35), her father Lawson, and her siblings. Also in the household was James and Thomas France, both of whom had also been enslaved by Miller. In 1880, she was in the census in Lisbon, Howard County as “Lettie,” still living with her parents and noted to be attending school. While her mother and father could not read or write, Latisha could. An 1884 record shows a “Letitia Plummer” getting married to a “Basil Dorsey” in Carroll County, Maryland. She would remain in Carroll County for decades with her husband and children.

The 1870 US Census of Maryland, Howard County District 4

Thoughts by Lindsey Bloom, intern and recent graduate from Atholton High School: Latisha lived a life that her mother was largely robbed of. We were not able to find her father in the database which makes us suspect he had been free. She had access to an education that they hadn’t, and she was able to marry and have children as a free woman. The joy that her parents must have felt at her ability to live a successful life with a husband and children in a household of her own must have been immense. Latisha’s story is one of pain, hope, and progress, but it was by no means an end point. I have no doubt that Latisha suffered in life and faced racism as her parents did and as her children also would. Today, we still have a very long way to go, and the fact that stories like Latisha’s often go untold is proof of this. Seeing this piece of history unfold, however, and imagining the hope that Latisha’s family must have felt and that she herself undoubtedly came to understand when she was older is a reminder that change is possible. 

Thoughts by historian and researcher Marlena Jareaux: As historical records continue to be processed and made digital, the local stories relative to the county can be told. Only then can we know how the county we love actually processed emancipation and how/when people began to celebrate it here. Personally, I wonder what life was like on Doughoregan Manor (home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton) for those 130 people who finally got their freedom from the Carrolls. Was there a Juneteenth celebration on the grounds of the Manor? We researched some of the easier records to search through to do this post, but there are others to be consulted. Records that were created and captured by people like Black county historian Beulah Buckner, once processed, will also be able to help us to put together the county’s story. Assuming the reader has some interest in Juneteenth, this post will hopefully have you wonder about our own local history… which we continue to work on compiling and telling.



On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, our organization will be hosting a hybrid event we are calling The Underground Railroad and a Log House in Ellicott’s Mills: The Findings. 

You can read more about it on Eventbrite, but here is a part of the writeup you will find there: is the expanded talk about the history of the log house (including who likely built it), and the nearby community of Black and Mulatto citizens who lived among the Ellicotts during the time when slavery was close to everyone. We will also discuss the two year period of 1861-1863 (during Civil War) in which there were about 30 enslaved and free Black and Mulatto people jailed in the Ellicott’s Mills district for activities surrounding slavery, and briefly touch upon our nonprofit’s submission of an application to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program, anchored by this research. This announcement is timely, since it is National Preservation Month!



I’m betting (okay, hoping) that there are people like me who believe that we teach our children, but that they also teach us things. I’ve been taught things by my own child, as well as the children of others. Most of the reader of this spent time in high school, so you likely remember that adults weren’t always able to hold your attention during those years. Reaching a teen isn’t always easy when it comes to doing extra things, nor some adults for that matter. Let me tell you about some of the remarks made by the group of 30+ county high schoolers that I’ve engaged to transcribe a 1867 county historical document/list with the assistance of their two motivated teachers..

“..I was wondering if you could assign any more pages to me?”
“..I would like to do more.”
“I was wondering if I could have more to transcribe?”

Be still my heart!!

While we have another one of these county transcription projects in the works and coming soon, it’s not ready for these students but how I wish it was! I suggested they help me by helping their classmates with this phase of the work, so that we can all move to the next phase where I teach them about searching in records for a person’s name they’ve transcribed. Did I tell you that it’s handwritten? An important thing to note, because students today are not as fluent in the nuances of cursive handwriting as my peers and I had to be because we didn’t have ChromeBooks, etc. I’ll try to figure out later what age I was when I got my first PC. They’re certainly learning the nuances now! Check it out, when the letter C was fancy:

I must write “thank goodness for computers,” and here is why: having these records be in PDF format and on a screen with the ability to zoom in on the image helps tremendously! Case and point is this image that has a name that stumps us…do YOU know the spelling of the one in the middle?

The two social studies teachers as well as yours truly have been transformed into pseudo spelling teachers in this process!

And, while I’m asking you things, do you know of a student who draws/illustrates who may be interested in designing an image for the cover of our upcoming book/publication regarding the research and early Ellicott City Black History findings related to the log cabin in Ellicott’s City on Main Street? We wish to pay a student a $60 stipend for taking some images and finessing them into a collage type design for that cover. Here are three of a few images that contain elements that I want used to inspire that cover (images are from a recent trip to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture). Of course the cabin will be in it too!

If you know someone, please have them email me at marlena (at) with a sample of their work so I can get a sense of their style. The student will get acknowledged as being the creator of the final image, and they would have to be okay with granting us an unlimited and exclusive license to use the image for the publication and in our marketing of the image for purposes of selling the book. Feel free to share this post freely. To our recent donors, those funds are going towards this and the publication expenses (as well as our annual insurance bill being invoiced to us). Thanks again!

Comment on social media with your guess about the name in that image! The students will be surprised with whatever the truth ends up being.

And to the students and the reader of this post: the letter S is causing trouble by making everyone think that what should be “Moses” is “Mofes” and “Jesse” is “Jefse” which the result of something in history. It looks like this, though I assure you that the handwriting is dramatically different!

Medial S or Swash S is what it’s called, and there’s a short writeup on WHY for your consumption: HERE

Thanks, Marlena Jareaux

the original post done on the work with the students can be found by clicking County Students Making History

Does History Repeat Itself? A HoCo Police Facebook post response

On the Howard County Police Department’s Facebook page, a post was made the other day about the male who was being sought relative to the accusation that two 14-year old girls made about him. The original report by the police page included “..are alerting the public and releasing a photo of a man who approached two 14-year-old girls today around 9 a.m. near the Swansfield Pool in Columbia and offered them money for sex acts.” Noticeably missing was the word “allegedly.” Once caught, the language for the update changed to “.. the man who was reported to have offered two girls money for sex..” I suppose that’s fair, if you understand that the definition of “reported” is “described by people although there is no proof yet.” I don’t think most people know that though.

The public comments being made are surprising, particularly for someone like me who is the public face of the organization tasked with facilitating the discussions of historical lynchings in the county. One wonders if we’ve really come as far as we’d like to think we have as a society. It’s one thing to write things like the following about the girls “.. They may be saving others from a more torturous experience,” though that still presumes that the man did as was alleged and that whatever the encounter was, it was in fact torturous. Some of the comments with many “likes” crossed a line. I refuse to name names, because I don’t find that to be helpful, but some of the comments were:

“.. he needs to meet the business end of a baseball bat.”

“This how you end up in ICU”

Commenters called him a “scumbag,” a POS, and called for his “public castration” or featured an image of something being sliced. Then there was “Nothing a guillotine won’t fix” and suggestions to “beat senseless,” that he “looks like a bad guy.” One person used the opportunity to liken his image to a person in the public eye, while the majority of commenters gave kudos to the young girls and the police.

A lone voice with no likes commented: “Is there any proof that he said this to these girls other then a photo of him? False allegations are a thing..” I wish to give kudos to the person who wrote that, because it emphasizes something quite important.

When the General Assembly announced there would be public hearings across the state where lynchings happened, I made the announcement that a group had formed in order to examine the county’s lynching history. The public comments were surprising then also, largely because of WHO was saying them. I captured them with screenshots, because I knew it represented the thoughts of people who were willing to be publicly vocal about them. A few were from people with positions of perceived authority, and one in particular I want to share stands out because he is a retired county police officer. He essentially wrote that (I’m paraphrasing): Nicholas Snowden was hung by a mob who stormed the jail because he raped someone…for this we need a group? My response was “Yes. Because what you wrote above doesn’t include all of the facts, and there are inaccuracies.”

In our inquiry so far, we pushed out to the community that Nicholas Snowden had been lynched by a mob who stormed the jail in the middle of the night, but that his actual case docket revealed that he hadn’t had a trial nor had he been recorded to have an attorney. That’s hugely significant, but I fear that the prevailing thought in the county is one of act first and ask questions later. Still. And that makes me wonder on this Sunday afternoon about the work ahead of for our organization, and what kind of meaningful reconciliation we will really be able to do in the county. I wonder because of the comments I’m reading, but also with those I’m not seeing.

You don’t have to know who Edmund Burke is to be able to appreciate the phrase attributed to him: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I’m betting that in the situation of the man photographed whose image was shared more than 1000 times now on social media, there are people who think that the evil was quashed by good men (and females.) The public comments suggest that he has already been adjudged to be guilty, and publicly sentenced. That’s reminiscent of what happened to Nicholas Snowden, who entered his plea of Not Guilty in 1885. I attach the docket entry for his case for the reader’s consumption, and two others before his that show something important: their pleas of Not Guilty, and the outcome of the same. What is it in people that makes Nicholas Snowden not worthy of receiving the benefit of the doubt that he also could have received an outcome of Not Guilty, had a lynch mob not taken matters into their own hands and decided otherwise? It is the year 2022, and I ask the same about the man who has been arrested? Is it now Guilty, Until Proven Innocent? 

History provides an opportunity to evaluate how far we’ve come as a society and community, which is what makes our work to showcase the time period of county Black history we examine critically important. The facts about events are important to unearth, and they take TIME and patience to uncover. They also take a community willing to listen, and willing to learn. I feel compelled to showcase one other person’s comment/statement that they made when sharing the Facebook post, because it’s an important one that I knew would be lost in the hysteria:

“It’s a independent living for special needs men in grandbanks By the second steps.”

Grand Banks is a street name, FYI. That changes things for me, and I wonder if it at least changes things for some so that folks will at least see the value to waiting before rushing to judgment. What does that say about us when we don’t know the value of waiting?  I sure hope there are more people in the county willing to do that for our truth & reconciliation work, than there are that rush to judgment. I just can’t publicly see them, but maybe you’re out there privately. We’re going to need you…

Also, I’m aware that some are commenting about his status as having been in the court system recently and previously. A look there reveals a recent case where his competency was questioned and answered. “Defendant Found Incompetent to Stand Trial.” Again I write…that changes things for me. Does it for YOU?

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