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The Baltimore Sun

History Matters: Remembering Charles Carroll 75 years ago

100 Years Ago

Family sassafras

In the news briefs:

"Meat prices have taken another jump, making higher than ever known before. In a short time Sassafras tea will have to take the place of meat in the country, so don't let a Trust get a grip on the Sassafras bushes."

I can never figure out the rules of capitalization they used 100 years ago, like why Sassafras is capped. I'd like to think it's because it's such an interesting tree. From my Girl Scout days I learned sassafras are often found near water, and that they have three different mitten-shaped leaves.

If you want to learn more about leaves and trees, there are tree walks conducted at the beautiful Howard County Conservancy on Route 99.

75 Years Ago

The Ways of our Lives

There was a story in the Times about Charles Carroll, who of course was a Revolutionary War era figure and signer of the Declaration of Independence, but the story also had ties to two other wars:

"Bicentennial Celebration of birth of Charles Carroll To Be Observed This Sunday

"Doughoregan Manor, Resting Place of Leading Catholic Layman To Be Scene of Celebration -—Archbishop Curley Will Celebrate Mass — State-wide Groups to Attend

This Sunday September 19 marks the Bicentennial of the Birth of Charles Carroll of Carrolton and Catholics from the entire State, together with those of other religions, will honor his as one of the great Catholic laymen, one of the foremost patriots and one of the outstanding champions and exponents of Catholic Education in the history of the country, a country for whose independence he was ready to sacrifice his fortune and his life.

The celebration will be held at Doughoregan Manor, which lies about five miles west of Ellicott City on the Frederick, Pike. It is just across the road from the site of the old St. Charles' College, famous preparatory seminary for the education for young men for the priesthood.

"The old Saint Charles was destroyed by fire about 20 years ago. The new Saint Charles is at Catonsville. The site of the old St. Charles' and a large contribution was given to the institution by Carroll. Because of the relationship of St. Charles to Carroll, members of the facility of the college faculty of the college will be officers of the Solemn Pontifical Mass which will be sung by Archbishop Curley."

St. Charles Seminary is now part of Charlestown Retirement Community. In the 19th century, two men, John Surratt Jr. and Louis Weichmann, who became friends while attending St. Charles were both involved in events surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War.

Surratt and Weichmann had left the seminary before graduating and a few years after attending the seminary Weichmann stayed at Surratt's mother's boarding house in D.C. He was there at the time of Lincoln's death and testified for the prosecution about his recollections of what was going at Mary Surratt's homes in regard to the assassination.

At the time, Weichmann was working for the Department of War in D.C., which was headed by Edwin Stanton. As Secretary of War the military tribune in which the Lincoln assassination conspirators were tried was under Stanton's responsibility.

After the trials, John Surratt's mother Mary Surratt was executed along with others for their role in the assassination. John Surratt fled America and did not face immediate trial.

But court room drama wasn't new to Stanton. A couple years before the Civil War, he was the defense attorney for Daniel Sickles, who murdered his wife's lover, a man linked to another war, the War of 1812, because he was Philip Key II, Francis Scott Key's son.

And, in another twist of fate, when John Surratt returned to America he settled in Baltimore and married one of Francis Scott Key's cousins.

Really, who needs the soaps when you have history!

50 Years Ago

Battered Brooklyn

"Howard JV's Win Second: The fledgling Lions of Howard under coach Jim Quinlan, battered Brooklyn Park 12-0 to run its record to two wins and one loss. ... . The next game for the JV's will be Thursday afternoon here at 3:30 p.m. against burly Bel Air."

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