Because there are no guidebooks on how to create a tercentennial celebration, several members of the Manor Conservancy took matters into their own hands by forming the Manor 300 Committee with representatives from other nonprofit groups, churches, schools and historic societies.
The committee members began planning ways to commemorate the day in 1713 that Charles Calvert, third Lord Baltimore, deeded 10,000 acres in northern Baltimore and Harford counties to his wife, Margaret. Although Margaret never saw the land before her death, it was called My Lady's Manor.
So far, committee members have organized a tour through seven cemeteries in My Lady's Manor, a discussion of the Northern Central Railroad, a concert at Ladew Topiary Gardens and a half-marathon on the Torrey C. Brown trail.
An even bigger event is planned for Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m. at the St. James Episcopal Church grounds in Monkton when the current incarnation of Lord Baltimore — Scott Watkins — will arrive on horseback to kick off the free, family-oriented afternoon.
"Our idea is to celebrate the people who were in My Lady's Manor throughout its history," said Scott Watkins, a member of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland and an actor who plays Lord Baltimore.
Re-enactors include Native Americans who lived in the area and soldiers from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from Washington, D.C., will be there, dressed in Colonial uniforms with tricorn hats. State and local officials will be on hand, as well as a representative from the British Embassy.
A plaque donated by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland will be unveiled. It will later be erected on the grounds of the church, which dates back to 1750.
Students from St. James Academy will sing "God Save the Queen," "Maryland, My Maryland" and "The Star Spangled Banner."
The Maryland State Archives will bring the original deed, or patent, dated Aug. 26, 1713, to be displayed in the St. James church hall.
Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and picnic lunches and stay after the festivities to soak up some of My Lady's Manor's ambience.
"This will be the culmination of our efforts to recognize and celebrate the 300th and to promote an appreciation for the heritage of My Lady's Manor," said Gloria Cameron, of Monkton, who chaired the Manor 300 Committee. "It is going to be a delightful pageant."
Cameron was instrumental in getting several local artists to create commemorative items for the tercentennial.
She asked the husband and wife team of Jerry and Janet Beaumont, who own Beaumont Pottery in Jacksonville, to make stoneware mugs for the occasion.
"When we went to England in April, we took photos of mugs in museums so we could get ideas," Janet Beaumont said. They eventually based their mug and handle design on pewter mugs popular in the 1700s.
Jerry Beaumont, a potter for 50 years, made each mug. Janet inscribed each one with "My Lady's Manor, Deeded 1713. Lord Baltemore's Guift. Tercentennial 2013." (The unique spelling is said to have come from Lady Baltimore's will.)
The 16-ounce mugs are microwave and dishwasher safe. They are $37 and can be ordered at http://www.manorconservancy.org.
White Hall artist Betsy Hermann was commissioned to create a limited edition print that shows the historic structures and natural features of My Lady's Manor and the surrounding area.
"Gloria wanted the print to depict the legacy of 300 years within My Lady's Manor's border," Hermann said. She identified rivers, main roads, houses, taverns and tracts of historic value. Some 64 structures are numbered and identified.
The 18 by 24-inch print is $65 and can be ordered at http://www.manorconservancy.org.
Proceeds from the sale of the mugs and the prints will go to the Iglehart Fund, set up by the Manor Conservancy to be used to purchase farms that are in danger of being sold and developed.
Debt of gratitude
While My Lady's Manor was deeded in 1713, it wasn't until 1731 that Thomas Brerewood of England came to the Manor to develop the land. His son, Thomas Brerewood, Jr., had married Charlotte Calvert, who inherited My Lady's Manor. She deeded the land to her father-in-law with the understanding he would pay off her husband's debts with money he made from the land.
Thomas Brerewood, Sr., divided the Manor property into 100 lots and rented the land to local farmers. He also founded the town of Charlotte Town in the mid-1700s. The town's name was later changed to Monkton.
After the Revolutionary War, My Lady's Manor was confiscated by the state of Maryland. Lots were then auctioned off at Slade's Tavern on Oct. 22, 1782. Many of the original renters, or patent holders, bought the same land they had previously leased and farmed.
According to the application that was successful in naming My Lady's Manor as a National Registry Historic District in 1978, some of the families buying land had the names Bosley, Bacon, Cockey, Holmes, Howard, Hutchins, Pearce, Shepperd and Sparks.
Bill Pearce of Monkton has a deed dated Oct. 26, 1782, that shows his ancestor, John Pearce, bought 126 acres in the auction.
The hand-written deed is on paper so thin that it has separated into several pieces and the ink has faded, making it difficult to read.
Pearce also has several deeds from 1760 that show his ancestors leased 386 acres that were on My Lady's Manor lots 87, 88, 89 and portions of lots 79 and 86.
His family sold off land over the years, and Pearce now lives on 40 acres in Monkton.
"I've always had a great sense of pride living in an area with such a long-standing, rich history," he said. "It's a privilege to have ancestors who liked this area so much that they stayed. There's something special about living on the Manor. It's a special way of life. It's what a community really stands for."
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