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”
Near Laurel in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The First Telegram

“What Hath God Wrought”

 
 
The First Telegram Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dudeindacorner, April 14, 2007
1. The First Telegram Marker
Inscription. The first telegram “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT” was sent from the Capitol in Washington to Baltimore May 24, 1844 over wires laid along the right of way of the B&O Railroad adjacent to this highway. The telegraph was invented by Samuel F.B. Morse (1791–1872).
 
Erected by the Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland State Highway Administration.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) marker series.
 
Location. 39° 6.157′ N, 76° 50.526′ W. Marker is near Laurel, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is at the intersection of Main St and 1st Street, on the right when traveling east on Main St. Touch for map. Marker is one block east of 2nd Street (US Route 1). Marker is in this post office area: Laurel MD 20707, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Laurel Railroad Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Laurel: Half-way between Baltimore and Washington (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of Laurel's Civil War Hospital (approx. 0.3 miles away); Avondale Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Avondale Mill: A Lost Treasure
The First Telegram Marker image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, December 28, 2015
2. The First Telegram Marker
Marker is on the right of this picture, behind the stop sign.
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Riverfront Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Patuxent River (approx. 0.4 miles away); First United Methodist Church of Laurel (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Laurel.
 
More about this marker. This marker was moved from Beltsville to Laurel in December, 2015. It is no longer on the highway adjacent to the B&O Railroad.
 
Regarding The First Telegram. “What Hath God Wrought” was the text on the telegram, sent by Samuel Morse, located at the U.S. Capitol, to Alfred Vail, who was at the railroad station in Baltimore. The same words were telegraphed back to the capital a moment later.
 
Also see . . .
1. Photograph of The First Telegram. From the Samuel F. B. Morse papers at the Library of Congress. (Submitted on April 14, 2007.) 

2. Before Mobile Phones: The Telegraph. “Most people would be lost today without mobile phones. Cell phones and other mobile devices are often the main ways that people keep in contact with each other, at any time and over any distance. Before the 1800s people only communicated by letters, which often would get lost and took
The First Telegram Marker image. Click for full size.
By A. Taylor, December 28, 2015
3. The First Telegram Marker
The First Telegram marker is on the right side of this picture, and the Laurel Railroad Depot marker is on the left side of this picture.
a great deal of time. Other forms of communication in previous societies included smoke signals and signal fires to send messages quickly from a distance, but these also were very simple messages; however, during the 1800s a remarkable machine appeared that would revolutionize the world by making communication almost instantaneous and able to be accomplished easily over great differences. This machine was called the telegraph.” (Submitted on May 8, 2012.) 

3. The Victorian Internet. The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers. 2007 book by Tom Standage (Submitted on May 8, 2012.) 

4. Wikipedia Entry. “On Monday, 12 July 1999, a final telegram was sent from the National Liberty Ship Memorial, the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, in San Francisco Bay to President Bill Clinton in the White House. ... They then transmitted the message to the White House via e-mail. That event was also used to mark the final commercial U.S. ship-to-shore telegraph message transmitted from North America by Globe Wireless, a company founded in 1911. Sent from its wireless station at Half Moon Bay, California, the sign-off message was a repeat of Samuel F. B. Morse's message 155 years earlier, ‘What hath God wrought’.”

“In the United States, Western Union sent its last telegram on January 27, 2006.” (Submitted on August 19, 2017.) 

5. First around-the-world telegram sent, 66 years before Voyager II launch. “The New York Times decided to send its
The First Telegram Marker at Its Original Location image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, October 13, 2007
4. The First Telegram Marker at Its Original Location
Marker was originally erected about 4 miles south on U.S. 1 just north of Md 212. When it was erected the B&O Railroad tracks that parallel the railroad could be seen from the roadway along with the since-removed railroad telegraph poles teeming with wires. By the time this photograph was taken, trees had obscured the view.
1911 telegram in order to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world by telegraph cable. The message, reading simply ‘This message sent around the world,’ left the dispatch room on the 17th floor of the Times building in New York at 7 p.m. on August 20. After it traveled more than 28,000 miles, being relayed by 16 different operators, through San Francisco, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Bombay, Malta, Lisbon and the Azores–among other locations–the reply was received by the same operator 16.5 minutes later” (Submitted on August 19, 2017.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. The Telegraph and the Railroad
The telegraph was an important method of communication and train control for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It allowed the development of the "manual block" system where a train's location was determined as being between two stations. Telegraph poles and lines were common sights on main lines throughout the United States. Telegraph has since been replaced by radio communication and Automatic Block Signals (ABS), which can be located at regular intervals determined by the maximum braking distance of a train.
    — Submitted October 15, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.

 
Categories. CommunicationsNotable Events
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 20, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 14, 2007, by Dudeindacorner of Laurel, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,385 times since then and 104 times this year. Last updated on January 23, 2016, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. This page was the Marker of the Week August 20, 2017. Photos:   1. submitted on April 14, 2007, by Dudeindacorner of Laurel, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on January 23, 2016, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland.   4. submitted on October 15, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement