Notable People

*Click notable person's name to see corresponding photo

Stevenson Archer – served as paymaster of the 40th Regiment of Maryland Militia from Harford County

Commodore William Bainbridge

Though William Bainbridge was not from either Harford or Cecil Counties, he was honored in the latter county by the naming of the World War II era founded Naval Training Center as USNTC Bainbridge, a decision made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was a Commodore in the US Navy notable for his victory over the HMS Java during the War of 1812. He was appointed to the command of the USS Constitution, a 44-gun frigate of 1,533 tons. After the War of 1812 Bainbridge served against the Barbary pirates in the Second Barbary War. In 1820 he served as second for Stephen Decatur in the duel that ended Decatur's life. From 1824 to 1827 Bainbridge served on the Board of Navy Commissioners and several ships in the US Navy have been named USS Bainbridge in his honor.

Commodore Joshua Barney
He was from Baltimore, but was immortalized at Bainbridge with the naming of one of the four camps in his honor.

Captain Henry Bennett
He was in charge of Fort Hollingsworth near Elkton in Cecil County on 29 April 1813 when Mary Henderson, a slave of Frisby Henderson, Esq., was forced to show the British the route to Elkton after they’d burned Frenchtown. She took them a circuitous route to Cedar Point opposite Fort Hollingsworth, where they were spotted by Bennett and his men who opened fire on the British.  They were forced to make a hasty retreat back to their barges.

Major William Boulden
He was stationed at Welsh Point as the British sailed the Cecil County waters on 29 April 1813. Major Boulden had a small squad of militia with him at Welsh Point and made a brave but ineffective effort to thwart the British advance. He had no artillery so his effort was unsuccessful.

James Buchanan
of the Lancaster Militia rushed to defend Cecil when two companies of militia were sent south during the Elk River action.  One company was commanded by the 22 year old man, who would later become the 15th president of the United States.

Judge Ezekiel F. Chambers
He was a young man and State’s Attorney for Cecil at the end of the War of 1812 and had charge of one of the cannon that had been trained on the frozen Elk River at Elk Landing to fire on a barrel placed on the ice in celebration of the war’s end. After a few shots were fired someone put a frozen clod in the muzzle of his gun, which caused it to explode and the Judge was seriously hurt, ending the rejoicing for that day.

Rear Admiral George Cockburn
Commander of the Naval Forces that roamed the upper Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. He later became an Admiral in the British Navy and had the distinction of taking Napoleon to his exile on the Island of Elba.

Doctor Amos Evans
was a surgeon on the U.S.S. Constitution during the War of 1812He served as a volunteer for a short duration in the fort at Frenchtown. When he heard firing at Frenchtown, while on a return visit home, Dr. Evans and H.D. Miller with a few others, rushed to the fort to lend aid. They rowed a boat to the fort and saw the British embark on barges. While Dr. Evans and the others were standing in the road surveying the damage at Frenchtown, one of the British swivel guns was trained on them and they were fired upon being showered with gravel.

Zeb Ferguson
was charged with treason for piloting the British up the Elk River.  He was arrested & confined in the Charlestown jail before being marched by militia to Elkton’s jail.  It was argued that he was falsely charged.

Brigadier General Thomas Marsh Foreman
While in command of the Cecil district, he became involved in the tumultuous Battle of Baltimore.  Foreman was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

Colonel William Garrett
The defense at Fort Defiance, and perhaps Fort Hollingsworth, in Cecil County, are believed to have been planned by Colonel Garrett, who was in command of the force that erected them. His men manned the forts.

Colonel Gerry
According to historian Guyas Cutas writing in 1876, “Col Gerry, of the War of 1812, was a notable Port Deposit man.  When the British fleet was approaching Baltimore on the eve of the Battle of North Point, the old Scotch Colonel rushed onto the ramparts and shaking his sword at them exclaimed, ‘Oh, Britons, I smell ye now!’" His son Robert was the father of L.A.C. Gerry of Snow’s Battery B 1st Maryland Light Artillery, Civil War.

Thomas A. Hays
served as quartermaster of the 40th Regiment of Maryland Militia from Harford County.

Frisby Henderson, Esq. –
A lawyer from Elkton who lived at White Hall, near Elkton, Cecil County.  He refused to show the British how to get to Elkton, prompting the British to abscond with his slave Mary Henderson, to give directions.

Mary Henderson
A slave owned by Frisby Henderson, Esq., of White Hall, Cecil County, Mary was forced to guide British troops toward Elkton after the troops had laid waste to Frenchtown. Mary led the way, but instead of taking the British directly to the county seat, she guided them to a fort (Cedar Point opposite Fort Hollingsworth) where under fire the British retreated.

Samuel Hughes
Owner of the famous Principio Furnace. This canon foundry was located in Cecil County along the Northeast River. It was captured by the British on the afternoon of the attack on Havre de Grace.  The furnace suffered a devastating blow. Henry C. Whiteley, in a history of the Principio Furnace noted that Cockburn’s first attack at Principio was on the cannon.  The British then burned the boring mill, furnace, coal house, grist mill and a bridge across Principio Creek on the Post Road. After the close of the War, Col. Hughes partially repaired the furnace but he was close to financial ruin and two or three years later abandoned the property under a heavy mortgage.

Jacob Hyland -
Jacob took on the task of entertaining, feeding and caring for the soldiers stationed at Bull’s Mountain in Cecil County, a company of cavalry set to watch the enemy and give quick word of any approach. During the summer of 1812 one of the soldiers, accompanied by his unnamed slave and dog, slept in Jacob’s fish house on the Elk River, with the purpose of giving alarm if the British barges attempted to ascend the river during the night.

Stephen Hyland, Jr.
Stephen Hyland, Jr., was the eldest son of Stephen and Araminta Hamm Hyland and served as a Colonel in the War of 1812. He was born in Elk Neck, Cecil County, MD.

Miss Catherine Knight (Kitty)
was a Cecil County born heroine who lived along the shores of the Sassafras River, and was buried in Cecil County at St Francis Xavier Church.  In 1813, she defied Cockburn and his British troops as they burned houses along the river.  Her bravery and bold demeanor halted their actions, thus sparing some of buildings from destruction. At the time of her death a newspaper noting her death observed, “Her appeal so moved the Commodore that he ordered the troops to their barges and left unburned a church and several houses standing there as monuments to her memory for this noble and hazardous act, a maiden fair, with courage bold.”

Captain Isaac Lort
He lived at Elk Neck, Cecil County, and owned and commanded a schooner named the Annon Ruth. Just prior to the British entering Elk River, he had returned from Baltimore on the Annon Ruth and found a vessel laden with flour, run aground near the mouth of Back Creek. The Captain of the grounded vessel begged Lort to load the Annon Ruth with the flour so the British wouldn’t get it. Lort did so and when he returned to the grounded vessel he found the British had taken possession of her. He feared the British would take the Annon Ruth as well, so Captain Lort ran her aground and would have scuttled and sunk her, but he lost his axe. Instead he took off her sails and carried them with him to a hiding place while making his way home afoot. Meanwhile the British burned the grounded vessel and the Annon Ruth at Cazier’s Shore nearly opposite Welsh Point where Frisby Henderson’s home stood. They also captured the sloop Morning Star in North East.

Dr. George Edward Mitchell
an Elkton native, Mitchell was appointed in 1808 to the Executive Council of Maryland, of which he served as President.  He resigned in 1812 and raised a company of volunteers in Cecil County to enter active military service. In the summer and fall of 1812 Major Mitchell and his Cecil volunteers went into camp at Albany, NY and then entered the campaign against the British on the Canadian front.  On 3 March 1813 Mitchell was honored for his valuable services in Canada by being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and the following year was promoted to Colonel for his gallantry at Oswego, NY.  Col. Mitchell was the first to announce the news of peace to the British authorities in Canada. The Governor of Maryland later presented him with an elegant sword in honor for his bravery.

Harford’s John Montgomery – vthe State’s Attorney of Maryland, commanded the Union Artillery in the Battle of North Point, September 12, 1814.

John O’Neill
Hero and defender of Havre de Grace later became the Keeper of Concord Point Light House.

Matilda O’Neill
Daughter of John O’Neill, the Defender of Havre de Grace. Matilda is reported to have rescued her father from British capture.  She went to Admiral Cockburn and persuaded him that her father was doing his job as a militia and should not be taken away.  Cockburn released O’Neil and is reported to have given her a “gold snuff box” as a reward for her courage.

Captain Thomas Patten
Captain Patten was in charge of the First Independent Rifle Company of Cecil County, which was later attached to the 30th Regiment of Maryland Militia. They were a company of sharpshooters who hailed from Port Deposit, and reportedly warned a British officer that they dare not fire on Port as the “men there were such sure shots as to shoot an eye out of a crow upon the wing.” The barracks for the company was in the area of 13 South Main Street, where a more contemporary building was erected and served as the Port Deposit library. The men of the company wore a suit of green trimmed with red and fringed with yellow, consisting of a hanging shirt and trousers, a rifle and a hat festooned with a buck’s tail. Captain Patten and his men rendered service at Port Deposit, Elkton and Hampstead Hill. A Cecil Whig reporter in 1913 wrote of this company, “they went through the Battle of North Point and when the British attempted to destroy Port Deposit they learned that in the fort where now stands the National Bank and the Tome Institute offices, there were 200 sharpshooters who could pluck an eye at 600 feet and Admiral Cockburn sailed on from the town.”

Oliver Hazard Perry
Perry built and commanded gunboats. During the War of 1812, in 1813, ships under Perry’s command defeated British forces in the Battle of Lake Erie, a turning point in the War of 1812. Perry’s flagship Lawrence was incapacitated, but he went back and got the smaller Niagara, transferred the flag that read, “Don’t give up the ship,” honoring the last words of Capt. James Lawrence of the USS Chesapeake, and went back to beat the British ships.  After the battle, his message to William Henry Harrison, waiting to advance in Canada, became famous, “We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner, one sloop.”  After the war he was promoted to captain and was later honored by the naming of one of the training camps at USNTC Bainbridge Camp Perry in his honor.

William Pinkney-
Harford County lawyer, brother in law to Commodore Rodgers.  Ratified the Constitution, member of the House of Delegates and served as a major in the Baltimore Militia and was wounded in the Battle of Bladensburg.

Mark Pringle
Owner of the house know as Bloomsbury Mansion. It was to Pringle’s house that several towns’ people fled during the attack. Pringle’s house was not burned. It is also the house where Jared Sparks, later President of Harvard University was tutoring. This house was located on what is now the west side of Route 40 at Lewis Lane.

George Ricketts
An Elkton resident, he was credited with writing the verse that was festooned on a board placed between the horns of a victory ox marched through the streets of Elkton on parade prior to a rather large bull roast. The sign read, “My horns, my hide, I freely give; My tallow and my lights, and all that is within me too, for free trade and sailors’ rights.” The Ox Roast was in celebration of the end of the War of 1812.

George Washington Rodgers
The brother of Commodore John Rodgers, was the youngest child of Col. John Rodgers and his wife Elizabeth Reynolds. He was born at Rodgers Tavern in Perryville Cecil County in 1787, his family having moved to Cecil County in 1780. George Washington Rodgers served in the United States Navy like his brother and was promoted to Captain in 1825.  He was the commander of the Firefly during the War of 1812. A volume containing sailing instructions for the Firefly and other ships in the fleet and how to sail information with other ships and fog signals, part of George Washington Rodgers Navy documentation, is housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He, too, became a Commodore in the United States Navy and married the sister of Commodores Oliver Hazard and Matthew C. Perry, Anne Perry. Several of his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons became Naval officers, as well.

Commodore John Rodgers
John was the son of Colonel John Rodgers, the founder of the Rodgers family in Maryland. A few years before the American Revolution he was living on a farm in Baltimore County two miles from Lower Susquehanna Ferry. This little village was situated on the west bank of the Susquehanna near its mouth and on the Philadelphia-Baltimore post road, for many years the chief thoroughfare between the North and the South. About 1774, Rodgers moved to the village and opened a tavern. His house was sacked during the May 3, 1813 attack. He was the first of many naval leaders of the Rodgers family. He sailed the Atlantic during the war and his younger brother George Washington Rodgers served in the Navy as well.

Harford County men also served on private ships which held a “Letter of Marque.” This document from the President of the United States gave the ship’s Captain the power to “seize and take any armed or unarmed British vessel, public or private….”

Harford County men also served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army and became prisoners of the King. Dragoon Henry Welsh (or Welsch) and sailors Thomas Stevenson and Samuel McCoates are a few of the true Americans imprisoned by the British.

Thomas Jefferson Sample
was too young to be part of the militia in 1813, but shared his remembrances of the British intrusions in Cecil County through diary entries.  He witnessed the burning of Frenchtown, and skirmishes at Head of Elk. He later became a judge.   

Mrs. Sears
Operated Sears tavern at the time of the attack on Havre de Grace.

Robert Smith-
Secretary of the Navy – Smith was a resident of Sepsutia Island and he served as Secretary of the Navy from 1801-1809.  He prepared the Navy to fight the battles of the War of 1812. Smith changed the sailor’s “rum ration” to “rye whiskey.”

Jared Sparks-
was a tutor, historian and eyewitness to the attack on Havre de Grace.  He later became President of Harvard University and wrote one of the first biographies of George Washington. His account was detailed, and published in The North American Review published in July 1817.

Lieutenant Colonel John Streett
commanded Harford County’s cavalrymen from the 7th Cavalry District during the Battle of Baltimore, September 12-14, 1814.

Col. Thomas Ward Veazey -
He was born 31 January 1774 at Cherry Grove Plantation, Cecil County.  In 1808 and 1812 he had been a Presidential Elector, voting for James Madison. In 1811 and 1812, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates but left to become a Lieutenant Colonel of Maryland Troops. He and Dr. John Thomas Veazey helped defend Fredericktown and Georgetown. With two rounds of ammunition for a small cannon, and about 35 men, their attempts to defend the villages failed.  They held out for 30 minutes until surrounded.  As they retired, the British burned the town and a number of neighboring farm houses.  Veazey earned praise for his gallant attempts to defend Frenchtown.

Admiral Sir John B. Warren
Commander of the British Navy in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812.

Lt. George Westphal
British officer who helped lead the attack on Havre de Grace, he was shot in the hand during the attack. Depending on whose version one believes, he was shot holding a white flag or a sword. While Admiral Cockburn lay in wait on the Patapsco, Lt. Westphal attacked Frenchtown in Cecil County on 29 April 1813 while aboard the Marlborough and in command of 12 barges manned by 400 men. The previous day (April 28) Westphal had landed at Spesutia Island and acquired supplies (for which he and his men paid the inhabitants). They then sailed the same day or early on April 29 to Turkey Point in Cecil County and made an effort to befriend citizens, but it didn’t work. Wrote Cecil County historian George Johnston, “The officer in command tried to make up with the daughter of the lady who lived in the farmhouse on the Turkey Point Farm. She was a bright little girl of 10 or 12 years of age and spurned the offers of friendship with scorn and contempt. The officer remarked to her mother that the child knew he was her enemy."

Lieutenant James Wilmer,
USN, Killed on board the USS Essex, March 28, 1814.

Reverend James Wilmer
Clergyman who wrote the initial account of the British attack on Havre de Grace. It was printed in the Niles Register immediately after the battle.

Governor Levin Winder
In December 1812 he reviewed the town speculation plat set forth by Philip Thomas (property owner) and Hugh Beard (surveyor) for the land south of present day Center Square in Port Deposit, and approved same. The plat recorded “A Village at Rock Run” but Governor Winder determined the village had become a port of deposit and thus it was bequeathed with the name Port Deposit, which was voted upon by the Maryland General Assembly in January 1813.