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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Mural Story

 
 
The Mural Story Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 31, 2007
1. The Mural Story Marker
Inscription. The mural scene depicts various time periods in Leonardtown’s history. In general, the left side of the painting presents an older time period, around the turn of the century. As you move to the right, the chronology advances to a point in the mid 1950s. However, the time frame drops back to the 1860s where you see the sepia-toned vignette in which Congressman Benjamin Gwinn Harris is being arrested on April 26, 1865, on the porch of the Fenwick Hotel, for his opposition to the Civil War.

Though Congressman Harris was arrested after the Civil War was over, he was, nonetheless, charged with war crimes for giving a small amount of money to two freed Confederate prisoners making their way from the Point Lookout prison camp to Baltimore. In fact, the prisoners had been detained by Union officers and ordered to seek lodging from the congressman. Harris was suspicious and instead of taking the men into his home at Ellenborough, just outside of Town, he gave them each a dollar and suggested they seek food and lodging at the hotel.

The soldiers reported this to the Union officers who had Congressman Harris brought
The Leonardtown Mural image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 31, 2007
2. The Leonardtown Mural
The historical marker depicted in the mural is titled “April 26, 1865” and reads, “Congressman Benjamin Harris was arrested by Union Officers on the porch of the Fenwick Hotel for opposing the Civil War. Cong. Harris lived just outside Leonardtown at Ellenborough and is buried there.”
from his home into Town for the reading of the charges.

He was immediately transferred to a boat waiting in Breton Bay and taken to Washington, D.C. for incarceration. He was convicted of war crimes by a military tribunal, even though he was a civilian and the war was over when the alleged crime occurred. He was also removed from his seat in the House of Representatives and thrown in jail.

Leonardtown lawyer John A. Camalier pleaded the case of Cong. Harris to President Andrew Johnson who agreed that Harris had been treated unfairly. He gave Camalier a pardon for Mr. Harris and told the attorney to invite Cong. Harris to the White House for dinner that night.

The unrepentant Harris refused the dinner invitation in the strongest terms. He returned to Leonardtown and was sent back to Congress at the next election.
 
Location. 38° 17.49′ N, 76° 38.13′ W. Marker is in Leonardtown, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Washington Street (Business Maryland Route 5) near Leonardtown Road (Business Maryland Route 5), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map
Washington Street in Leonardtown image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 31, 2007
3. Washington Street in Leonardtown
Washington Street is in the foreground. Leonardtown Road returns to the highway on the right. The Town Square park is out of frame on the lower right. The mural is on the side of the building with the blue awning. The Gothic-style church in the center of the photo was originally St. Paul United Methodist Church and is now the Leonardtown Nazarene Church.
. Marker is in this post office area: Leonardtown MD 20650, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Center of Citizenship (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); Leonardtown (within shouting distance of this marker); World War I Monument -- Leonardtown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the Methodist Episcopal Meeting House (c.1847) (about 300 feet away); The Great House (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leonardtown.
 
Also see . . .  Off the Beaten Path in Leonardtown. This VirtualTourist.com page has a number of well annotated photographs of Leonardtown buildings by grandmaR. Scroll down to see them all. (Submitted on April 19, 2007.) 
 
Categories. Colonial EraWar of 1812War, US Civil
 
The Arrest of Congressman Harris image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
4. The Arrest of Congressman Harris
April 26, 1865
Congressman Benjamin Harris was arrested by Union Officers on the porch of the Fenwick Hotel for opposing the Civil War. Cong. Harris lived just outside Leonardtown at Ellenborough and is buried there.
Detail (right side) of Mural
Dillow & Hayden Bakery image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
5. Dillow & Hayden Bakery
in the mid 20th Century
Detail (middle) of Mural
St. Mary's Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
6. St. Mary's Hotel
at the turn of the century
Detail (left side) of Mural
Leonardtown Seal image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
7. Leonardtown Seal
Detail of Mural
The Leonardtown Mural image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
8. The Leonardtown Mural
Designed and painted by Tim Scheirer, Carla Tomaszewski, and Clarence Schumaker
The Leonardtown Mural image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
9. The Leonardtown Mural
on the wall of 22720 Washington Street
Photo of Mural<br>at Heritage Printing and Graphics image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
10. Photo of Mural
at Heritage Printing and Graphics
Across Washington street from the Mural
Leonardtown Seal<br>At Heritage Printing and Graphics image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
11. Leonardtown Seal
At Heritage Printing and Graphics
"Faithful to Duty"
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,782 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on September 20, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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