Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Silver Spring Experienced by a Mother and Child, 1861-1865
In 1860, just prior to the start of the Civil War, there were over 18,322 residents in Montgomery County, including 8,177 children. One of those youngsters was Blair Lee, (1857–1944) the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Blair Lee and grandson of Francis P. Blair. Just three years old when combat began, young Blair stayed at Silver Spring in the summer months while his father served as a Rear Admiral in the U. S. Navy. Samuel Lee, (1812–1897) led blockades along the coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina and then along the Mississippi River until 1865.
During these formative years, Blair Lee’s mother encouraged him to experience life as a curious boy should and she recorded these happenings in letters that kept her husband abreast of their son’s development. A typical day for Blair included playing outdoors in nature with his pets, pretending to be a soldier and building forts, gardening with his mother and picking flowers, spending time with his grandparents and cousins, doing chores around
Elizabeth Blair Lee (1818–1906) escaped the ordeal of losing a husband during the Civil War. She was also spared the tragic event of sending her son off to combat and never seeing him again. Her son became the first popularly elected US Senator from Maryland in 1913.
Because Blair was born into a politically connected and affluent family, his daily activities like differed from those of many other children residing in Montgomery County. For instance, more than a half of Montgomery County’s slave population included young African American boys and girls aged 18 and under. Instead of leisure, these children typically endured hard physical labor from sunrise to sunset six days a week. Although living beside seven enslaved children on the same estate allowed Blair Lee to enjoy more playful pursuits, the adoption of a new state constitution in Maryland on November 1, 1864 changed the way of life for Blair and many others.
Erected 2015 by History in the Parks.
Location. 38° 59.121′ N, 77° 1.452′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Jesup Blair Drive east of Georgia Avenue (U.S. 29), on Touch for map. In Jesup Blair Park behind (east of) Jesup Blair House. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 Jesup Blair Drive, Takoma Park MD 20912, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Blair Family and their Silver Spring Homes (here, next to this marker); The Blair Family and the Civil War (here, next to this marker); Jesup Blair House (within shouting distance of this marker); William L. Chaplin Arrested! (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Civil War in Silver Spring (about 700 feet away); Original Federal Boundary Stone NE 1 (approx. 0.2 miles away in District of Columbia); Living in Takoma Park (approx. ¼ mile away); The Metropolitan Branch and Takoma Park (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 7, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 343 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on April 7, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.