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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Fame, Fortune and Financial Scandal

 
 
Fame, Fortune and Financial Scandal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
1. Fame, Fortune and Financial Scandal Marker
Inscription. The Calhoun-Buchanan vault holds the remains of 29 members of two of Baltimore's leading Scots-Irish Presbyterian families spanning five or six generations. The neo-classical granite vault is probably the work of Robert Mills (1781-1855), the architect of monuments to Washington in Baltimore and the District of Columbia.

James Calhoun (1743-1816), whose death may have occasioned the construction of this vault, was Baltimore's first mayor. His son-in-law, James A. Buchanan (1768-1840), a nationally prominent businessman, was a pivotal figure in the landmark Supreme Court case McCullogh v. Maryland.

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Baltimore's First Mayor James Calhoun came to Baltimore in 1771, part of the flood of Scots-Irish Presbyterians arriving from Pennsylvania. A staunch patriot and friend of George Washington, Calhoun's success as a merchant propelled him into office as Baltimore's first mayor. His three-plus terms (1797-1804) eased Baltimore's transition from a town into an incorporated city.

James Calhoun engraving by St. Memin, ca. 1800
The Maryland Historical Society

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The events leading up to Chief Justice John Marshall's brilliant opinion reveal a complicated tale of greed, manipulation, and opportunism.

In 1817 James A Buchanan became president of the Baltimore branch of the recently chartered Second Bank of the United States. Along with bank manager James McCulloh (his name was misspelled by the court), and George Williams (a bank director also buried in Westminster), Buchanan made unsecured loans and borrowed nearly $3 million from the Philadelphia branch. The Baltimore branch soon camer under attack, ruining Buchanan, Sam Smith and
Marker and vault image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
2. Marker and vault
other businessmen, but it was an unrelated event that spurred the landmark court case.

In may 1818 the Baltimore branch was sued for refusing to comply with a Maryland state tax on bank notes that where not issued by state chartered banks. The Second Bank of the U.S. was the only such bank. When the State Court of Appeals affirmed per curriam without opinion a lower court decision, the stage was set.
 
Location. 39° 17.395′ N, 76° 37.392′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West Fayette Street and North Greene Street. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. Marker is at or near this postal address: 519 West Fayette Street, Baltimore MD 21201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 26 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Swashbuckling Merchant ( here, next to this marker); Monumental Lives ( here, next to this marker); Dugan-Hollins Family Vault ( a few steps from this marker); Among Family: Poe’s Original Burial Place ( a few steps from this marker); A Mother’s Grief ( a few steps from this marker); Original Burial Place of Edgar Allan Poe ( a few steps from this marker); Believe it or Not ( a few steps from this marker); A Beloved General ( within shouting distance of this marker); “…a truly affectionate wife” ( within shouting distance of this marker); The Sleep of Young Innocents ( within shouting distance of this marker); Infusing Style and Sophistication:
Vault as seen from the north image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck
3. Vault as seen from the north
( within shouting distance of this marker); James McHenry ( within shouting distance of this marker); The Gilmors ( within shouting distance of this marker); Final Rest ( within shouting distance of this marker); An 18th-Century Burying Ground ( within shouting distance of this marker); James McHenry, M.D. ( within shouting distance of this marker); John McDonogh ( within shouting distance of this marker); The McDonoghs of Baltimore ( within shouting distance of this marker); The Carriage Gates of Westminster Burying Ground ( within shouting distance of this marker); Bernard von Kapff ( within shouting distance of this marker); Local Hero, National Leader ( within shouting distance of this marker); Westminster Hall & Burying Ground: ( within shouting distance of this marker); Westminster Church and Cemetery ( within shouting distance of this marker); A Monument to the Memory of Edgar Allan Poe ( within shouting distance of this marker); A La Memorie D’Edgar Allan Poe ( within shouting distance of this marker); Poe’s Baltimore ( within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesIndustry & CommerceNotable BuildingsNotable Persons
 
South side of the Calhoun-Buchanan vault image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck
4. South side of the Calhoun-Buchanan vault
To the left, the Dugan-Hollins vault, in the center, the Calhoun-Buchanan vault (the pyramid), the William and Robert Smith vault and on the right, the Poe family plot, with the original burial place of Edgar Allan Poe.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 26, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,094 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 27, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   4. submitted on April 3, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.
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