Herring Run Park in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Herring Run Park
Home of a Founding U.S. Congressman
William Smith was born in 1728 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He became a successful merchant, and moved to Baltimore in 1761 to expand his shipping business. At the time, revolutionary feelings were rising throughout the American colonies. Unlike many other merchants whose livelihood depended on trade with England, Smith joined the Patriot cause. He was appointed to the Committee of Correspondence, which served as a network of communication between the colonies. In 1777, he was elected by Maryland voters to the Second Continental Congress.
Shortly after, Smith purchased the grist mill, large manor house and surrounding farm at Herring Run. He turned the large manor house into his country retreat, renaming the property Eutaw Farm. The new name likely came from the Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina where Smith's son-in-law, General Otho Holland Williams, fought during the Revolutionary War. The property bolstered Smith's reputation as a "gentleman farmer," helping him win a seat to the first United States Congress in 1789 where he served one term. He later held positions
In 1804, Smith gave the estate to his daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Josias Carvel Hall. Three generations of Smith's descendants lived at Eutaw Manor until it burned down in 1865.
Digging up History in Herring Run
The Herring Run Archaeology Project has been working since 2014 to uncover the history of William Smith's estate. A team of local volunteers and archaeologists have excavated the site and made numerous significant findings including Eutaw Manor's foundation, outbuildings, and artifacts. These have contributed to our understanding of life in Northeast Baltimore in the 18th and 19th centuries. Discoveries dating to John Broad and his family's occupation of the site from the 1690s to the 1740s make Eutaw the earliest historical archaeological site in Baltimore City to date.
Human occupation along the Herring Run dates back more than a thousand years when Native Americans traversed the stream valley. However it was John Broad, previously an indentured servant, who first turned the property into a working farm. In 1695, Broad acquired 100 acres of land bounded by present-day Harford Road and Belair Road, which he named Broad's Choice. He passed the property on to his son who expanded it to include over 400 acres. In 1760, Valentine Larsh, a German immigrant and wealthy merchant, bought the property, harnessing the fast-moving Herring Run to grind wheat into flour.
By 1779, the farm had grown into a successful industrial enterprise and sold to William Smith for a remarkable 25,000 pounds. Smith's descendents, the Hall family, lived in the area for 100 years (see map at left from 1873, which indicates the Halls' Estate on Eutaw Farm). In 1908, descendents of the Hall family sold the land to Baltimore City for the creation of Herring Run Park.
The portrait of William Smith (left) was painted by prominent American artist Charles Willson Peale shortly before Smith would run for election to the first U.S. Congress. At the time, Smith was a prominent and wealthy merchant with a house on Calvert Street, and yet the image depicts him as a gentleman farmer at his country estate (circled). The painting is not only meant to celebrate the improvements made at Eutaw farm, but also counter public perception of Smith as a self-interested merchant, reinforcing a sympathetic scene with his grandson. Smith sits in front of an invented classical facade with columns, referencing his civic leadership in the Continental Congress and possibly his future ambitions.
Jeremiah and Venus Tilghman (above), were husband and wife who belonged to Colonel Benedict William Hall. Colonel Hall had a total of 15 slaves, living on his property, who were involved in nearly every aspect of life on the farm. Jobs included working in the fields, orchards, and at the mill, as well as maintaining the Manor for Hall and his family. While most slaves lived in quarters at the bottom of the hill, near Eutaw Mill, Venus and JEremiah actually occupied in Eutaw Manor. Archaeological evidence from their quarters has also been discovered during the dig.
Erected by Baltimore City Recreation & Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Anthropology & Archaeology • Architecture • Colonial Era • Government & Politics • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 39° 19.876′ N, 76° 34.286′ W. Marker is in Herring Run Park in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is on Herring Run Trail half a mile from Belair Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3616 Eastwood Dr, Baltimore MD 21206, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World War I Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Furley Hall (approx. ¾ mile away); Montebello (approx. 0.8 miles away); Mounted Messengers (approx. 1.1 miles away); Earl Carey Banks (approx. 1.1 miles away); Eddie Paulette Hurt (approx. 1.1 miles away); Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. (approx. 1.1 miles away); Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc. (approx. 1.2 miles away).
Additional keywords. slave labor
Credits. This page was last revised on July 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 71 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.