Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Monumental Lives

 
 
Monumental Lives Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
1. Monumental Lives Marker
Inscription. The William and Robert Smith vault, another of Maximilian Godefroy's Egyptian-flavored designs, belonged to one of early Baltimore's most successful and accomplished families.

William Smith followed his brother John from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Baltimore in 1761, along with other Scots-Irish flour merchant families. Smith helped transform Baltimore from a raw town of some 1,500 into an international port city. He was also one of the founders of the First Presbyterian Church, whose members established this burying ground in 1786.

Robert Smith, William's nephew, was the son of John and the older brother of Sam Smith. He became an attorney and statesman of national prominence who served as Secretary of the Navy (1801-1809) and Attorney General (1805) under President Thomas Jefferson, and Secretary of State under James Madison (1809-1811). A Revolutionary war veteran and 1781 graduate of College of New Jersey (Princeton University), Robert Smith served in the Maryland State Senate and the House of Delegates. After retiring from politics, Smith spent some 20 years as provost of the fledgling University of Maryland (established in Baltimore in 1807).

[painting]
A Doting Granfather In this 1788 portrait William Smith dotes attention on his grandson at his country estate, Eutaw. He is surrounded
Marker and vault image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 26, 2008
2. Marker and vault
by symbols of virtue - books suggest a literate populace, the knife reveals pride in labor, and the well groomed estate reflects the nobility of farmers, and a treasured child shows concern for furture generations - a favorite ploy of the artist Charles Wilson Peale.

William Smith and Grandson by Charles Wilson Peale, oil on canvas, 1788
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Museum purchase with funds provided by The Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation, and The Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund.

[print]
A National Figure Robert Smith served as Secretary of Navy (1800-1811) during the war against the Barbary states, maintaining the Mediterranean blockade that eventually ended the piracy against American ships. Smith later resigned as Secretary of State at Madison's request because of disagreements over policies toward France and England.

Robert Smith by St. Memin, engraving, ca. 1800
The Maryland Historical Society

[photograph]
A Pseudo Temple The Smith Family vault is a "square pseudo-temple" (Robert Alexander) made of Baltimore freestone, and featuring a slate roof. Compare its two doorways to the one on the O'Donnell vault. Godefroy's three columns are topped by stylish Egyptian capitals.

Photograph by Jennifer White, 2006
 
Location.
South side of the William and Robert Smith vault image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck
3. South side of the William and Robert Smith 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.
39° 17.396′ N, 76° 37.386′ 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. Fame, Fortune and Financial Scandal (here, next to this marker); A Swashbuckling Merchant (a few steps from 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); Original Burial Place of Edgar Allan Poe (a few steps from this marker); A Mother’s Grief (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); The Sleep of Young Innocents (within shouting distance of this marker); “…a truly affectionate wife” (within shouting distance of this marker); James McHenry (within shouting distance of this marker); Infusing Style and Sophistication: (within shouting distance of this marker); John McDonogh (within shouting distance of this marker); The McDonoghs of Baltimore (within shouting distance of this marker); James McHenry, M.D. (within shouting distance of this marker); An 18th-Century Burying Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); Final Rest (within shouting distance of this marker); The Gilmors (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 La Memorie D’Edgar Allan Poe (within shouting distance of this marker); A Monument to the Memory of 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 SitesColonial EraNotable Persons
 
 
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 1,408 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 27, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   3. submitted on April 3, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Paid Advertisement