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:


















Hard History in Howard County

The phrase “hard history” isn’t new, and the reason I’m using it for the history time period I primarily focus on is probably obvious to many. It’s things that are hard to think about considering the 2023 lives that many people have. Whenever you’re the person doing this type of work,  you often hear things of soft protest like “No one here was alive during that time so why does this matter?” or “Why stir things up with this history?” As I’ve told people, the protest here in Howard has progressed to people warning me that the recent examination into Charles E. Miller for the local public spaces commission I co-chair was going to bring “some heat.” My personal favorite thing was being told that two white women who are county employees seem to enjoy referring to me as “the Black devil.” The words of my white mother’s reminder always help me in these situations: “they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” I’m certain that I’m called worse, and it says far more about them than it does me. They’re obviously uncomfortable with what the realities of accurate local Black history mean for all of us, since it often actually reveals the generational inequities that existed between many white and Black families. If you were forced to work for someone to effectively help them build generational wealth for their family, you understood what you were likely never going to achieve for yours (and you adjust). I’m talking about slavery and also many of the forced apprenticeship contracts of free Black children, by the way. Fast forward to the time of Charles E. Miller and some of the men of his time who were early developers in our county. How do you think it felt for Black residents who lived here who saw him get appointed to fill a public county commissioner seat while he was creating a development in which property would be sold that restricted the “lot and any part thereof shall not be used, occupied by, or conveyed to a person, or persons, of Negro descent or extraction”? Yes, he was a man of his time, and yes everyone here didn’t do it. The question for the reader is, how do you think Black residents and prospective residents felt about it in the late 1930s and 40s?

I get it that I do history differently here. That seems to bother some people who have done history different from the way I do it. I get calls and texts from people sharing the words written by those they see who dislike me doing history this way. I have always examined things from the perspective of the humans who were/are involved, and approach things from an anthropological standpoint which tracks to my schooling. I also examine systems to try to understand why things were created and what they depend upon in order to exist and function. I really like how that makes me different from them, and it has so far led to my discovery that Frederick Douglass spoke in our county, the discovery of the oldest Black church of our county, and the creation of the Roundtable research initiative which discovered the true Black origins of the log house that residents and visitors have oohed and aahed over for decades.

A social media post was brought to my attention a few days ago, and I wanted to bring attention to it here. A local for-profit tour company was posting about it, and I really appreciate seeing history involving Amos Matthews who was in the US Colored Troops being showcased. In a store window on lower Main Street Ellicott City is this display with a framed piece:

I don’t know who created the display, but I do know that they have it wrong and I’m fairly certain I know why. The creator focused on the newspaper report of Amos being drafted. In the picture I can see the blow-up of the newspaper with Amos and James Treakle’s names. Amos is listed as a slave of Treakle’s. Was he though?

First, I’m not certain that Treakle was a “tenant farmer” of Charles Carroll’s on Doughoregan Manor. That Charles was the grandson of the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles. Yes, there were several white tenant farmers who lived on his property through the years. But Treakle, who was NEVER a “commissioner” as has been inaccurately said about him (he was a justice of the peace for quite some time, and he or his father was a constable in the early 1830s), was listed to be the owner of quite a bit of real estate on the 1860 census. Was he a white tenant farmer of Colonel Carroll’s who was under an arrangement to pay for the taxes for the property he and his family paid rent for? Perhaps, but surely records would reveal that. I’d like to know, since it provides an interesting dynamic to history interpretation of census materials if it’s true.

Getting back to Amos, the true focus of this post. The display reads “Despite his enslavement, Amos was drafted…” and I’m going to pause here. From his service records, you can clearly see that Amos volunteered for military service when he enlisted at Georgetown, DC on October 12, 1864. Twenty year old Amos was 5 foot 8 inches with a brown complexion, and he signed up for one year of service. He was also paid a portion of the bounty he was entitled to, which you didn’t get if you were enslaved. I can see that also on his service record. On another record, he was noted to be “Free”. See for yourselves…

I suspect I’ll be labeled a “Black devil” for wanting this history to be accurate for every person walking down Main Street in Ellicott City for the remainder of Black History Month. For those who have already seen it, you now have the accurate story about Amos but there’s more. Yes, he did have a short time in the military and did die and is buried in South Carolina. No, I don’t think it true that “Amos had been enslaved all of his young life..enjoying freedom for a short two months” from what I have. Treakle didn’t put his name on the list of enslavers who wished to be financially compensated after slavery was abolished, nor did his heirs.  But I can tell you something about people I suspect were family members of his who had an experience with Treakle while Amos had gone off to fight in the war, if you want to know.

Elizabeth Mathews, age three, was indentured by the Howard County Orphan’s Court on the day that the state’s new constitution abolishing slavery went into effect. She was to learn to be a housekeeper, and serve in that capacity for Treakle’s family until she reached age 18. So was Henrietta Mathews, age eight MONTHS, and Alice who was six. Richard who was five, was to be his farmer until age 21. Here is his indenture contract, along with the first part of George Mathews’ who was eight years old:

Whose children were they? I’ll tell you that another day. When the 1870 census got done, Treakle was reported to own $10,000 worth of real estate. The census taker also recorded four young Black girls in his household and one was “Alice” who was about the same age as the Alice apprenticed to Treakle in 1864. I don’t know if it’s the same Alice, nor do I know (yet) whose very young children they were.

This would have been prior to Treakle’s official purchase of part of Doughoregan Manor which was recorded in 1878 (book 38 page 651).  James’ four sons would receive the property from him in 1881 before he died (book 43 page 216). The names of two of his sons (Emmett and Albert Treakle) can be found on the Confederate memorial housed by the Howard County Historical Society, Inc.’s museum. They fought on the opposite side of Amos. How do you think Black people felt about that? Here’s the Treakle land at Doughoregan, shown on the 1878 Hopkins map and on a drawing made for a Carroll family lawsuit involving the division of the land being fought over:

treakle on doughoregan

Were there Black people forced into enslavement on the property belonging to the descendant of the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence? Absolutely! Stories for another day though. Today was for a line of the Mathews family.

Marlena Jareaux


Black History Event Feb 9th

For our nonprofit’s first event of many in the year that commemorates the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation taking effect, an exciting presentation is being given about local Black history. The area that would eventually become Howard County was comprised of both free and enslaved Black and Mulatto people in the decades leading up to the Civil War. In this presentation, historian Marlena Jareaux will share some of her research that seeks to uplift the scholarship and collective understanding of free Black and Mulatto people who were living among white and enslaved people in the area. This event will be a hybrid one. Space in the Charles E. Miller branch of the Howard County Library has been reserved for Thursday, February 9th from 12:30 to 2pm, and masks are required to help protect the limited number of participants that will be permitted.

For more information and to register:

click HERE

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.


The Missing Historic Oakdale Story

I wasn’t going to say anything, but now I need to. A blog post was made about the Oakdale Decorator Show, which I’ll link to at the end of this post. It eludes to missing history and mentions our nonprofit, so it seemed wise to write a few things. I had a feeling something was coming.


Albert G. Warfield, was 21 years old when Oakdale was built. His father, Joshua Warfield, owned Cherry Grove (HO-1) and is thought to have been the one who built Oakdale in 1838 for Joshua. Let’s examine the possibility that Albert built Oakdale, since that is what is written in the showcase program.

First, he didn’t get married until 1842. In his father Joshua’s will of 1846, Albert was bequeathed 10 people his father had been enslaving that were already noted to be in Albert’s possession by then. I know this part of this family’s history very well, and have the names of almost everyone that Joshua had been enslaving at that point. There are more than 50 names, and there isn’t room to list them all here. Some of them:

His son Nicholas received 13 people, already in his possession.

His daughter Eveline (or Everline) received 11, already in her possession.

His son Albert received 10, already in his possession.

His daughter Kitty received 11, already in her possession.

His granddaughter Rachel Riggs was to receive Delilah’s youngest daughter.

His grandson Joshua Riggs was to receive Fanny’s youngest boy.

His granddaughter Everline Riggs was to receive Matilda’s daughter.

His grandson Joshua Warfield was to receive Let’s youngest son, Clagget. Clagget was 6 at the time, and I’ll tell you later how that’s known.

So, let’s go with the story that Albert, 21 in 1838, was responsible for building Oakdale. With what resources and labor? I ask that question because I read a lot of emphasis being placed upon this belief about Oakdale: “It’s subsequent evolution embodies the distinctive characteristics of a grand country estate of a man of business.. run on the profits of modern business rather than those of the farming..”

??? So, folks are skipping the ENTIRE slavery and plantation part then??? Not entirely unexpected in Howard County.

I asked a question last week of a fellow historian/presenter who I won’t name here. I asked him if it’s been his experience in the county that people do or do not know the county’s history involving slavery. I already knew my answer, but was curious as to what his would be. He responded that most don’t and are surprised when they do learn. We agree on that!

I received an anonymous email before the showcase began, and I’m including it here since it doesn’t identify anyone except me. It’s someone’s opinion, and they are entitled to it.

As a historian whose specialty is this time period in county history, I understood why I was being asked to say something about the event. A number of people also called me about it. My response was then and essentially remains “I respect the right of all county nonprofits to do as they wish to raise funds and in this case to help the owner of Gov. Warfield’s plantation home to sell it. Every history nonprofit has their choices, and we only have ONE government/public history entity in the county: Recreation and Parks.” I could see that scouts and students participated so far in this event, and while I wish that the focus was accurate inclusive history, I believe that to be a choice for all private nonprofits. One of the most recognizable history nonprofits, the Howard County Historical Society, Inc, contributed to the history writeup for the Ed Warfield History Room, mentioning the brick work and “master craftsman” of the 1838 structure. I’m glad that they did.

This history nonprofit (HCLTR) asks the question: Did Samuel or his dad assist in the building of Oakdale? How about Allen or his dad? Don’t know who they are? Let me tell you, because someone should in order to give them their humanity as these stories do. Allen Bowie was reported to have been born around the year 1824. That would have made him around 14 years old when Oakdale was being built in 1838. Samuel Hall was born around the year 1826, making him 12 when Oakdale was being built. Depending upon if the 1838 date was the start or finish would help determine if Samuel and Allen would have themselves been part of the construction crew. I’m sure you saw nothing about either of them if you’ve already gone to the decorator show, but historians who examine primary source documents would know about them.

Many readers are probably scratching their heads thinking, “..but NO.. it’s been said that Edwin’s father was against slavery.” Where does that come from? From the  decision to elevate the following words from his obituary (he died nearly 30 years after the Civil War in 1891):

Records show something different. “Slave for life” means just how it sounds with no ambiguity, and this information was placed on the 1867 list of county enslavers wishing to be financially compensated after slavery was abolished. If Albert had been intending to set anyone free at age 40, “life” wouldn’t have been written in the “slave for” column. Eliza was already 46. Understand that some enslavers put their names on this list, and some didn’t. Albert G. Warfield reported having received $100 in compensation for his loss of Samuel’s labor, who was part of the 39th regiment of the US Colored Troops.

Albert’s father had bequeathed “Allen” to him, as well as “Eliza” and others in 1846. I can see their names on the 1867 slave for life list. Samuel, who would have otherwise been enslaved for life by Albert G. Warfield, went into company E at the age of 39. Here is part of the record for Samuel’s military service:

Perhaps the reader will think of and try to imagine these people if you opt to visit Oakdale and peer out one of the many windows overlooking the grounds that were once plantation fields with the ancestors of the people shown above working them. And FYI, you can think about Jesse also, who ran away from Joshua’s daughter Everline. Everline was living in Montgomery County with her husband Elisha Riggs in 1846. Placing so much emphasis on buildings and museum objects, though they do tell stories, makes it so easy to disregard the history of the PEOPLE who lived throughout the county (building it and helping people to prosper with legacies we see at places like Oakdale). Governor Edwin Warfield wasn’t born when his grandfather was formalizing arrangements for the future homes for those he was enslaving, but it’s a good bet that from the year of his birth in 1848 and forward he was exposed to it. The picture of the Oakdale reunion that circulates shows many of the same people who Albert wanted compensation for:

Warner Cook

Remus Cook

Henny Bond

Laura Bond, Henny’s daughter

Susan Garner

George Garner

And another person was Clagett Bowie who, at the age of six, was given to Joshua N. Warfield (a one year old child himself). Joshua was a few years older than Edwin.

It looks like the show started with several elected officials in attendance lending their names to support. This photo shows the applicable building dates for all to see. I just wonder how many of them knew to ask about Samuel or any of the others I’ve mentioned, and if so, did they?

Marlena Jareaux

P.S. Today’s blog post that sparked this is found below. And you now know why she made the suggestion that she did about a choice in donating…

Click Here

*Added after the original post* This is from the inventory form completed about Joshua’s nearby property: info about his enslaved, including Sam.

And here is Clagett Bowie… and Joshua’s compensation attempt:

A picture of the interior of the Ed Warfield History Room. I get it… he is the focus. That’s the choice.