February 23, 2018
See article here: Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 2011
(pages 50-73 of PDF, or pages 448-472 of original publication). Text pasted below...article used by permission.
Thomas Kennedy: Washington County’s Poet Politician, by Dan Guzy
The Speaker’s Society of the Maryland House of Delegates, comprising all past and present members of that branch of the state legislature, has presented a Thomas Kennedy Award since 1995. The society gives this award annually to recognize a former member of the House of Delegates “for his or her personal courage and dedication to the principles of liberty and freedom.” The award itself is a tribute to Thomas Kennedy’s long struggle for the “Jew Bill,” which amended the Maryland constitution in 1826 to allow Jews the same political rights as Christians. Born in 1776 in Paisley, Scotland, this youngest child of William and Grizal (or Grizzell) Kennedy grew up in a family of humble means.1 In dedicating a book of poems he later composed “to my ever dear parents,” Thomas recalled how they stressed religion, education, and kindness. Grizal taught her children to read and gave them a “useful education.” She practiced, as well as taught, charity. A footnote to the poem about his mother refers to a time of famine when the family had little food, but Grizal shared half of what they had with a woman who begged for bread. In his ode to his father he wrote: “Though humble his estate, his soul was rich and great,” and, “Virtue’s unerring rule you followed calm and cool, Religion pure and charity benign, Temperance too was always thine.” (Temperance may have been one of those “pious instructions” that Thomas neglected in his youth.)2 Thomas praised his father as “a pious Christian,” and years later, in 1818, when first presenting the Jew Bill, he publicly declared: “I never expect to be so good a man as my father.” Yet he noted with regret his father’s prejudice against Roman Catholics, indicating that his views on religious toleration did not come through his parents.3 In 1800, when Kennedy dedicated the book, he noted that none of his siblings were then living in Scotland. One had not survived childhood. Three grown daughters and two sons—one perished in the East Indies and another in the West Indies—had already died. The remaining four children had all left the country. Three we can account for: Matthew, John, and Thomas Kennedy had emigrated to Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Grizal and William Kennedy never left Scotland. Grizal died in 1804 at age sixty-nine, William in 1807 at age seventy-seven.4 On April 18, 1796, at age nineteen, Thomas Kennedy embarked at Glasgow on a ship bound for the port of Georgetown on the Potomac. When he landed on May 28, Dan Guzy is frequent contributor to the Maryland Historical Magazine. 450 Maryland Historical Magazine Matthew met him and the brothers celebrated their reunion with whiskey and dinner. The next day they toured the new Federal City of Washington. Thomas found work keeping the books for a Georgetown merchant and then for the contractor building the first bridge over the Potomac River, just downstream from Little Falls. When the bridge was completed the following year, Kennedy celebrated the occasion in verse, “The Meeting of Virginia and Maryland.” In February 1797, the Potomac Company hired him as a clerk at a salary of twenty-four dollars per month. His letters and reports record the duties of a supply officer and bookkeeper stationed at Matildaville, Virginia, where the Potomac Company was building its Great Falls canal.5 Kennedy’s natural gifts included great energy, an ability to overcome adversity, and adaptability to varied occupations, yet writing and oration were his chief talents. Whatever he may have written in Scotland remained there, but in America his published poems and songs, letters, newspaper editorials, and political speeches attest to literary ability. The various organizations Kennedy joined often called upon him to serve as their secretary and frequently asked him to deliver speeches at Fourth of July celebrations and other public events. In Poems, and again in Songs of Love and Liberty, Kennedy presented his readers with a wide range of poetry, from tributes to historical and “patriotic” events to whimsical accounts of a rabbit and Jefferson’s mammoth cheese. Many of his poems involved deeply personal themes, such as his love for his fiancée and wife, Rosamond, and the births and deaths of his children. In addition to offering a glimpse into his feelings, the poems provide biographical information, including the dates and places where he composed many of these works, a span of twenty years from his arrival in the United States to the years of publication, 1816 and 1817.6 Kennedy long remembered and honored Matildaville as the place where he met and fell in love with Rosamond Harris Thomas, his future wife. Of the ten poems Kennedy published and dated “1797,” most cited the town and several mentioned “R******d” or “Harris,” his pet name for Rosamond. In the last of these, “Farewell, On Leaving Harris and Matildaville,” dated November 8, 1797, Kennedy declared: “Harris—thou dearest to my soul, Thou—dearest to my heart.” Before leaving Matildaville permanently, Kennedy and his brother John took a trip to Williamsport, Maryland. John had shipped out from Glasgow a few days before Thomas in 1796 and sailed to New York. Now together, they soon became business partners at Williamsport, a place they had never before visited.7 They began their journey on Thursday, September 21, 1797, in a horse-drawn carriage with a removable chair. Thomas kept a journal of the trip, a small notebook in which he jotted down his thoughts on romance, Rosamond, and his native Scotland. It was also something of a travelogue, with notes on the taverns and homes they visited, the meals and whiskey they consumed, and the (several) carriage mishaps they experienced.8 The brothers kept to the Virginia side over the Blue Ridge Mountains until, on Thomas Kennedy 451 Sunday, they reached the “Grand picturesque scenery” at Harpers Ferry, a “scene so Romantically beautiful I felt my bosom expand.” Kennedy later published his journal’s long and eloquent prose about Harpers Ferry in his book of poetry. After crossing the Potomac and struggling along a mile of “the Devils own road” toward Frederick, Maryland, they gave up on the route and doubled back to Harpers Ferry. Again Thomas could indulge in that town’s “delightful scene,” but not having Rosamond there to enjoy it too was “the one thing wanting.” On Monday, September 25, they crossed the Potomac River at Shepherdstown and spent the night at Sharpsburg. On Tuesday they reached Williamsport, where Kennedy wrote of the town’s access to roads and water routes, its “mostly English” inhabitants, and its “fine youngsters.” Here the brothers conducted the business portion of their trip by renting a store on Potomac Street. Kennedy devoted a mere half sentence to this transaction in his journal, then wrote four pages of thoughts about the marriage of the couple with whom he and his brother had spent the night. Thomas’s mind at this time was clearly on love and marriage, not business. Over the next few days the brothers passed through Hagerstown, breakfasted in Middletown, and ate dinner in Frederick, where John left Thomas “to settle some business.” Thomas walked two miles out of town to Happy Cottage, the home of Rosamond’s parents, where he met her father and the ladies of the house. After reuniting in Frederick, the Kennedy brothers bid farewell to the Thomas family and returned to Matildaville.9 Thomas Kennedy’s last poem about Matildaville, “Elegy – Sacred to the memory of the Hard Gum Tree of Air Hill, Matildaville, which was most inhumanely cut down, January 4th, 1798, Transcribed to Her who Mourn’d its Fall,” is dated February 9, 1798, at Williamsport, indicating that he had settled there permanently in early 1798. By then his brother had already established John Kennedy & Co., to sell dry goods, hardware, and groceries. Like Matildaville, Williamsport grew as a consequence of the Potomac Company’s opening of Potomac River navigation. In 1791, a Williamsport merchant declared, “many thousand bushels of wheat came down the river in boats and were unloaded on its bank, and many boats loaded with more than a hundred barrels of flour were sent down the river to Georgetown from this Port.”10 In addition to working as a partner with his brother in their store, Thomas Kennedy served as a toll collector for the Potomac Company at Williamsport. He placed a “Notice of Levy of Tolls—Potomac Company—Watkins Ferry” in the local newspaper during the late winters of 1798 and 1799. Initially, he sent monthly letters containing accounts of the tolls he collected to the president and directors of the Potomac Company, indicating that he collected for flour, wheat, salt, fish, liquor, coal, pig iron, planks, logs, locust posts, and “sundries.”11 Although some boatmen cooperated, Kennedy noted that others tried to avoid the charge: On my return from Great Falls I was informed that several Rafts of Logs had passed this place without paying the stated Tolls; My brother John (I being a little 452 Maryland Historical Magazine lame) went down to Shepherdstown, and found that most of the owners of said rafts had sold them and gone off, he, however, took a note of their names, and as it is probable they will be down again, I shall endeavor to obtain payment.12 Kennedy went on to relate that boatmen and raftsmen complained that the Potomac had been little improved upstream from Williamsport, and in some places made worse. The width of the river at the mouth of the Conococheague Creek, clear of obstructions and without good landings for rafts, prompted some not to stop to pay tolls. Kennedy recommended that the toll collection place be moved from Williamsport to Shepherdstown. Thomas Kennedy and Rosamond Harris Thomas apparently wed in Georgetown on October 23, 1798. Kennedy assigned that location and date to his poem, “To Harris,” which begins, “Art though mine Harris?—yes thou art, By law—by the more sacred tie of love” and ends, “And O! may love still o’er the day preside, That saw the sacred union ratified.”13 On January 31, 1801, Thomas and John Kennedy announced that they were dissolving their partnership. Thomas advertised that he “continues to keep store in the brick house, corner of the public square, Williamsport. Goods will be sold on moderate terms for cash or country produce.” John gave notice that he had moved to Georgetown that day and had rented a “commodious Warehouse and Wharf, exceedingly well calculated for receiving flour and other produce. . . . Produce will be received in Williamsport by T. Kennedy and sent by water to Georgetown, Alexandria, or Baltimore on moderate terms.”14 Thomas Kennedy thus entered the warehouse and boating business, as did several others in Williamsport. Boats were built along the banks of Conococheague Creek and in the streets of the town, and could make the round trip to Georgetown and back in five days. “The tonnage was about one hundred barrels of flour, and freight to Georgetown [cost] one dollar per barrel. Captains carried to the city markets, eggs, butter and poultry. . . . Groceries, fresh and salt fish, were brought back on return trip.”15 From 1798 to 1801 captains unloaded their cargoes at Great Falls and stored their goods in the Potomac Company warehouse or transferred them to other boats using the lifting machine and inclined plane at the downstream end of the bypass canal. In early 1802, after the Great Falls locks were completed, boats could travel directly to the tidewater from Williamsport and the other ports on the uppermost stretches of the Potomac. The first boat to make that trip belonged to Thomas Kennedy. As noted in the March 17, 1802, [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser: Potomak Navigation. Georgetown March 4, 1802. Yesterday arrived here from Conococheague, after passage of three days, the Boat Maryland, Capt. Stake— belonging to Tho. Kennedy, Williams-port, with a cargo of Flour & Whiskey Thomas Kennedy 453 consigned to John Kennedy of that place. This is the first load of Flour, Whiskey, &c. that has ever reached the Territory of Columbia, through the Locks at the Great Falls. The growth of Williamsport and its boat building industry required lumber, and in 1802 Kennedy reached an agreement with Gabriel Friend to rent his “land and appurtenances” along Conococheague Creek. Kennedy agreed to build a dam, millrace, and sawmill on this land that he would turn over to Friend at the end of his lease. The annual rent was one hundred dollars.16 Kennedy also bought lots and houses in Williamsport. The Washington County tax tables for 1803–1804 list him as owner of three houses, five lots, five horses, and three silver plates, but no cattle, sheep, hogs, carriages, or slaves. No slaves, but a Kennedy family document noted six black servants the following year. The last Washington County deed recorded for Thomas Kennedy is dated 1804. A series of lawsuits soon left him insolvent, and he apparently never owned land or a house for the rest of his life.17 The shipping business still held promise. Early in 1804, 1805, and 1806 he placed newspaper advertisements for his warehouse and offering to ship flour and other articles by boat to “any wharf in George-town, Washington City, or Alexandria.” Kennedy seems to have closed his store around November 1804. A newspaper advertisement then offered to rent the “two story brick house, situate on the corner of Potomack and Conococheague streets, in the town of Williamsport, opposite Mr. Wm. McCoy’s Tavern, lately occupied by Mr. Thomas Kennedy as a store.”18 Kennedy’s businesses had evidently failed, and creditors filed at least a dozen suits against him between 1804 and 1808. For example, an 1805 mortgage Kennedy made to William S. Compton cited a suit by Joseph and Adrianna Kennedy (no apparent relationship) “for the use of William Lee, Brooke and Dillon merchants of Baltimore.”19 Thomas Kennedy’s last will and testament, written nine years later, included the bitter statement: Should the Heirs of Wm. Lee ever produce any claims against my Estate, I desire they may not be paid, as to him it was owing in a great measure that my property in Williamsport was sacrificed and the claims they have were obtained in an unjustifiable way. In August 1807, Compton placed a newspaper advertisement for the public sale of: The house now occupied by Thomas Kennedy, Williamsport—the house is 40 by 24—stone smoke-house—large corn-house, stables, etc. The lot has near 200 feet front and is near as deep, the whole under an excellent paling fence. It is a very handsome situation. . . . At the same time will be offered for sale, that large and commodious warehouse, situate near the mouth of Conococheague 454 Maryland Historical Magazine Creek—the warehouse is 100 by 27, one story stone, the upper an excellent frame. . . . At same time, will be offered for sale, a lot and an unfinished house in one of the back streets of Hagerstown.20 Kennedy placed a newspaper notice in August 1807, saying he intended to apply to the judges of Washington County at the October term: for the benefit of the insolvent laws passed in 1805 and 1806 . . . having used every exertion in his power to avoid it, he [Kennedy] has not been able to succeed— altho’ he has met with many losses, yet his property at a fair valuation would still be nearly equal to his debts; but as his creditors have refused to take property in that way, he must submit. He must sacrifice the fruits of ten years industry, and he still hopes that it will be in his power some day to settle every claim.21 Maryland Herald & Weekly Advertiser, August 28, 1807. Thomas Kennedy 455 In February 1808, the Washington County Court placed a newspaper notice that Thomas Kennedy had petitioned it praying the benefit of an act of assembly entitled “An Act for the relief of sundry insolvent debtors,” which had been passed in 1805. Kennedy, who had been imprisoned for his debts, had been discharged upon giving bond and was scheduled to appear on May 2, 1808, to answer “interrogatories as may be proposed to him by his creditors.” The legal wrangling to resolve Kennedy’s debts went on for more than two years until at least November 1810, when the court ordered Kennedy to turn over all his property except “necessary wearing apparel and bedding” to the court-assigned trustee for his debtors. The 1805 and 1806 insolvent debtor laws provided some relief from imprisonment, but Kennedy would later champion laws for further debtor relief when he became a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.22 In addition to confronting financial ruin, Thomas and Rosamond Kennedy also suffered personal tragedies during their years in Williamsport. In Poems, Thomas tells of his wife’s sickness during pregnancy in 1801. Rosamond recovered and gave birth to their second daughter, Amelia Thomas, but “after a life of anguish, [the baby] died September 26th 1801, age 15 days.” A son, William Thomas, “died of the croup, after a short, but severe illness, November 12, 1803, age 13 months and 6 days.” A second son, also named William Thomas, “died August 8th, 1805, aged nearly 11 months.” Fortunately, two Kennedy children born in this period, Grace Amelia and John Francis, survived all such illnesses and lived into adulthood.23 After Williamsport The Kennedys moved several times following eviction from their Williamsport home in 1807. First they moved to Wooburn (or Woburn), five miles from town, where their son Howard was born in 1808. Kennedy described Wooburn as being “formerly part of Chews Farm.” In 1809, the family moved to Mount Liberty, in Williamsport, where their daughter Catherine was born on New Years Day, 1811. The next year, the Kennedys were at Roslin Castle, one mile away.24 From 1813 until 1822, the Kennedys lived on a farm on Conococheague Manor called Ellerslie, three miles from Williamsport and six miles from Hagerstown, off Downsville Pike. Here a son named Lawrence Ludlow was born in 1813 and died of “an obstinate continual fever” in 1816. Thomas and Rosamond Kennedy’s last-born arrived there in 1815, named Rosamond Thomas after her mother, but her father called her Rosa.25 Ellerslie now has an 1885 house with gingerbread decoration that replaced an earlier house, and a springhouse said to be on the site of an early nineteenth-century distillery. That distillery probably belonged to Thomas Kennedy. When he moved his family from Ellerslie to Hagerstown in 1822, a public sale was held to auction off a “number of farming articles, horses, colts, cows, wagons, carts, ploughs, harrows etc.; a complete set of stills capable of a barrel of whiskey per day, a loom and gears, 456 Maryland Historical Magazine household and kitchen furniture, and many other articles.” The next year, he again advertised the stills for sale, plus a crop of rye and corn “at my former residence near General Ringgold’s.” Kennedy advertised only those items for sale and not the farm itself or its buildings, which he likely rented.26 Politically, Kennedy admired Thomas Jefferson and became an active member of the Democratic-Republican Party, or the Republican Party as it was commonly called in the early nineteenth century. In 1800, he praised Jefferson in a song, “The Son of Liberty,” and placed in its footnotes “establishing religious freedom” at the head of the list of noble acts the statesman had instituted to overturn Virginia’s “cruel laws.” This shows that Kennedy favored religious rights seventeen years before his first election to the legislature. By 1806 he was serving on Republican nominating committees in Washington County.27 Kennedy’s involvement in politics led to political appointments long before he gained elected office. In 1803, while still a Williamsport storekeeper and owner of a saw mill and a boating service, he served as justice of the peace for Washington County. Maryland governors and their councils reappointed him every year of his life, excepting 1813–1819 (when Federalist governors controlled the patronage and replaced Republican officeholders) and in 1821. In 1807, the governor and council also granted him a notary public for the state of Maryland, to reside in Hagerstown, and at least four times between 1815 and 1821, Kennedy supervised various roads within Washington County.28 Regardless of the fact that he had been a British subject for nineteen of his thirtyone years, the June 22, 1807, attack of H.M.S. Leopard on the American frigate Chesapeake enraged him. In response he wrote “Rouse Ye Sons of Liberty,” the first of many patriotic songs and poems he composed before and during the War of 1812. Perhaps his best known was “The Impressed Seaman,” written in 1813. Kennedy admired Capt. James Lawrence, who, though mortally wounded during a ship-to-ship fight on June 1, 1813, between the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake and H.M.S. Shannon, famously shouted, “Don’t give up the ship.” Not only did he compose a poem about Lawrence, but he also named a son Lawrence Ludlow, after the captain and his second-in-command, Capt. Augustus Ludlow, both of whom died from battle wounds. The Washington Hussars and the American Blues were cavalry companies in the Washington County militia, from Williamsport and Hagerstown, respectively. In 1808, Capt. Frisby Tilghman commanded the Hussars, Capt. Otho H. Williams (son of the Revolutionary War general) commanded the Blues, and Capt. John Ragan commanded the volunteer riflemen from Hagerstown. By 1809, Kennedy joined the Washington Hussars and, while serving as secretary, often placed newspaper notices for upcoming musters and parades. He soon wrote the lyrics of “The Washington Hussars” to the tune of “Hail Columbia,” and “American Blues” to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven.”29 The British continued their high-handed treatment of American ships and sailors Thomas Kennedy 457 and provoked the country into preparing for war. In February 1812, Lt. Col. Frisby Tilghman took command of the 1st Maryland Cavalry regiment, consisting of men and horses from Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties. Otho H. Williams, now a major, took charge of the “horse squadron” including the Washington Hussars and American Blues, which his brother, Capt. Edward G. Williams, and Capt. Moses Tabbs commanded.30 President James Madison, a Republican, declared war on the British on June 18, 1812. In March 1813, Major Williams’s cavalry reported to Annapolis where the Blues and Hussars camped for a brief period. Early in August 1814, in anticipation of the British invasion of Maryland, Levin Winder, the state’s Federalist governor, ordered Frisby Tilghman’s 1st Maryland Cavalry to Washington, D.C. Tilghman’s regiment of about three hundred arrived on August 16. On the nineteenth, the British landed at Benedict on the Patuxent River. The next day, Major Williams’s cavalry arrived east of Washington at Wood Yard, the place of rendezvous that Brig. Gen. William H. Winder, commander of the Maryland militia and the governor’s nephew, had selected. The British fired rockets at one of Tilghman’s cavalry patrols performing a reconnaissance.31 Kennedy’s notes for his sixteen-page poem, Ode–On the Conflagration at Washington City, August 24th, 1814, provide a little information about his and the Washington Hussars’ involvement in the battle for the capital: The author was in Washington for about 10 days previous to the capture, and considers he is as well qualified to give his opinion impartially as any other spectator, having neither for any of his friends nor for himself military fame to gain or lose. This implies that Kennedy and the Washington Hussars were not combatants. A letter from one of Frisby Tilghman’s officers noted, “The cavalry did not participate much in the fight, being ordered not to charge until the enemy showed a disposition to retire, which unfortunately did not take place.” However, Col. John Ragan’s Hagerstown volunteers were in the heat of the battle at Bladensburg, action that Kennedy memorialized in “To the Memory of Col. J. R.”: “Thou hast met without dismay the foe, And ’midst a scene of terror true was found.”32 The will of record upon Thomas Kennedy’s death in 1832 was one he prepared on August 9, 1814, when the possibility of dying in battle loomed over him. In it he wrote: the Troop of the Washington Hussars to which I belong are ordered to be ready for actual service and it may be the fate of some to die in the service of their Country and in support of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens. I now declare that should such be my fate I shall consider death in so good and so glorious a cause as truly enviable. 458 Maryland Historical Magazine Years later, when Thomas Kennedy ran for a fifth consecutive term in the Maryland House of Delegates, a statement from an anonymous “Ultramontane Citizen” attacking his war record appeared in the September 25, 1821, Hagerstown Torch Light and Public Advertiser. The writer accused the candidate of trying to avoid combat by seeking a non-combatant assignment, said that he did not “join any ranks & march to repel the enemy” and urged the voters not to cast their votes in his favor, an attack that was certainly part of the smear campaign that kept Kennedy out of office that year. Kennedy may not have seen real fighting, but his will tells us he clearly anticipated it. Had he done anything dishonorable, it is unlikely that comrades in arms like Otho H. and Edward G. Williams would have remained his friends and associates for decades after the war. Several former cavalrymen later served in the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate, including Moses Tabbs, Frisby Tilghman, Edward G. Williams, and Thomas Kennedy. After the war ended in February 1815, Kennedy went back to farming at Ellerslie and participating in county politics. That summer, he was the secretary of the Republican committee that nominated Jacob Schnebly, John Bowles, Martin Keshner, and Edward G. Williams as candidates for the four Washington County seats in the House of Delegates. Williams, who was absent at the time he received the nomination, exchanged letters with Kennedy, who announced the former’s willingness to serve. Voters elected all four Republicans for the one-year term.33 Kennedy again served as the secretary to the 1816 and 1817 nominating committees. The latter had an unexpected outcome when Edward G. Williams declined his nomination and Kennedy was then nominated in his place. He won the 1817 election, which began his career as an elected official.34 During this period, Thomas Kennedy published the poems and songs he had been writing since he arrived in America. In 1816, Daniel Rapine of Washington, D.C., printed Poems. The 334-page book of ninety poems, including odes, “extempores,” sonnets, elegies, and hymns, sold for $1.25. In 1817, Rapine printed Kennedy’s Songs of Love and Liberty, ninety-eight pages of lyrics written to tunes already familiar to the readers that sold for 75 cents per copy.35 Kennedy did not publish any other books, but his later poetry appeared in the local paper’s “Poet’s Corner.” He remained a prolific writer, and politics drew a new audience. Newspapers frequently published his multi-column, and sometimes multipage, speeches, reports, and letters to the editor. As would become his custom, upon his election to the House of Delegates in 1817, Kennedy asked the local newspaper to print his letter of thanks in which he promised to send periodic reports from Annapolis, a practice he continued throughout his political career.36 Legislative Legacy One of Kennedy’s first actions as a member of the House of Delegates was to introduce Thomas Kennedy 459 a bill to repeal the 1774 law that required a fifty-two-day imprisonment for debts under two hundred dollars. He, who had personally experienced imprisonment for debt, later supported other measures to bring relief to insolvent debtors. He also worked in favor of turning the private toll roads in Washington County into public roads. For many years, Kennedy could be counted upon to present patriotic speeches and poems at Fourth of July celebrations and occasionally in the legislature. For example, in January 1818, after being introduced as “a farmer and delegate from Washington County,” he borrowed a little phrasing from Francis Scott Key and praised Baltimore as “the Home of the Brave” that had foiled the British under “the Star Spangled Banner.” Yet Kennedy’s work to remove “the political disability of Jews” is the legislation for which he is best remembered.37 The 1776 Maryland constitution allowed non-Christians to worship as they chose and to vote, but it required a test oath for all elected officials, who had to swear upon their faith as Christians that they would uphold the laws of the state of Maryland. Thus, a non-Christian could not honestly hold political office, become a lawyer, serve on a jury, or be an officer in the state militia. Solomon Etting and other Baltimore Jews had petitioned the Maryland legislature in 1797 and 1801 to amend the constitution to extend equal political rights, but opponents delayed and ultimately rejected the bills.38 Kennedy did not take on the issue until he had been elected to his second term in the House of Delegates. In December 1818 he introduced a resolution to form a committee “to consider the justice and expedience of placing the Jewish inhabitants on equal footing with the Christian.” The committee was approved, and Kennedy served as its chairman with Henry Brackenridge, a judge from Baltimore, and Ebenezer S. Thomas from Baltimore County. The committee’s long and rambling report covered such diverse topics as the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, and circumcision but made the point—Maryland denied Jews state and local rights that the Constitution afforded them at the national level. Kennedy presented to the House of Delegates a bill “to extend to the sect of people professing the Jewish religion the same rights and privileges that are enjoyed by Christians.”39 On January 20, 1819, after the clerk read the bill again, Kennedy rose to give a long and digressive speech in its favor—he cited both the Old and New Testaments and even touched upon John Smith and Pocahontas. Only one hundred Jews lived in Maryland at this time, none of whom Kennedy said he knew personally, but the principle of the issue motivated him. Maryland excluded Jews from state office but compelled them to pay taxes and perform military service. Kennedy’s argument failed to persuade a majority, and the bill lost by a vote of 50–24. Republicans and just two Federalists voted in favor.40 Although some criticized him for introducing the “Jew Bill,” Washington County voters elected Kennedy for a third consecutive term that fall. One vociferous critic, Benjamin Galloway, declared that Kennedy was running on an “Anti-Christian 460 Maryland Historical Magazine Torchlight and Public Advertiser, September 28, 1819. Thomas Kennedy 461 ticket,” equated his “abominable work” to that of Judas Iscariot, and warned that if “Kennedy should be re-elected, he will renew his shameful attack on the Christian religion.”41 Galloway was Kennedy’s political nemesis. Born in Anne Arundel County in 1752, he moved to Hagerstown about 1796 and died there in 1831. To some extent, opposition to the Jew Bill was part of a Federalist effort to prevent the legislature from reapportioning representation based on population rather than geography, and to keep power from shifting to Baltimore and Republican-dominated counties. But the vehemence of Galloway’s language, and the resistance put up by this old “Republican from his youth” and others in Kennedy’s own party, suggest that religious prejudice was indeed an important reason for the bill’s defeat.42 On January 29, 1820, Kennedy reintroduced another version of the bill to the House of Delegates, this one entitled “An Act for the relief of persons professing the Jewish Religion in this State.” It failed by a vote of 47–20. Kennedy wrote a poem— “To the Children of Israel in Maryland”—and sent the consolation verse to several Baltimore Jews.43 Elected to a fourth term in the fall of 1820, he did not re-introduce the legislation and in the following legislative year drew attacks from opponents on other issues, such as voting to regulate flour inspection in Baltimore. The editor of Hagerstown’s Torch Light and Public Advertiser wrote several editorials in August 1821 that sparred publicly with Kennedy’s in the Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser and urged voters specifically not to vote for the incumbent. Although Kennedy lost his seat to Caspar Weaver in the 1821 election, he again publicly thanked those who had supported him.44 Kennedy spent that fall on his Ellerslie farm with Rosamond and their five surviving children. Having been temporarily passed over for justice of the peace, he held only one appointed position, that of road supervisor. Even though he was reappointed a Washington County justice of the peace early in 1822, his family changed its way of life. By March, the Kennedys decided to leave their farm and offered for sale their farm animals and implements, as well as their whiskey stills. An advertisement for the Hagerstown Academy reveals the location of the family’s next home. “The Boarders are placed in the family of Mr. Thomas Kennedy, who has lately removed to the Academy for the education of his own sons, and are all welcome to use his library, consisting of several hundred volumes, without any additional charge.”45 In March 1822, a new act allowing for more state agents enabled Governor Samuel Sprigg to appoint Kennedy, ironically a former debtor, as “state debt collector for the Western Shore.”46 Kennedy took little time to capitalize on his new positions, and that month advertised that he had: opened an office in Hagerstown, near Mr. Beltzhoover’s Tavern and nearly opposite the Bank; where he will execute the duties of a Justice of the Peace, Draw 462 Maryland Historical Magazine Wills, Deeds, Bills of Sale, Articles of Agreement, prepare Insolvent papers and other Instruments of Writing—and will assist Executors or Administrators in stating and settling their Accounts with the Orphan’s Court. . . . in pursuance of his duties as state agent, he will be in other counties and will attend to the transaction of business of those Western Shore counties or in Washington DC or Annapolis.47 In June 1822, Kennedy announced that he had returned to Hagerstown from his first tour of state debt collecting duties and was back for business. A week later he participated, as a “steward” from the Hagerstown Academy, laying the cornerstone for a new building to house the town hall, a Masonic Hall, and a market. He ran again for the House of Delegates in 1822, and after he won introduced a resolution to repair the National Road and endorsed what would become the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. But again his focus was on the Jew Bill, which he and other supporters broadened to include political rights for all religions. In December, Kennedy introduced the act “to extend to all citizens of Maryland the same civil rights and privileges that are enjoyed under the Constitution of the United States.”48 This time the bill passed. On January 29, 1823, the House of Delegates voted 40–33 in its favor and the Senate, which had long been controlled by Federalists but now was Republican, voted 8–7 in favor. One step remained. As the act required a change to the state constitution, the measure required confirmation in the next legislative session. This gave opponents of the bill time to organize a nasty counterattack before the fall elections.49 In the 1822–1823 legislative session, Benjamin Galloway, then almost seventy, served in the House of Delegates with Kennedy, Ignatius Drury, and Thomas Kellar from Washington County. While the other three voted for the bill, Galloway voted with “point blank opposition to the Infidel act,” which he said would throw “open the doors of our state to the admission of Jews, Pagans and all unbelievers.” In the 1823 campaign, Galloway announced that he shunned the support of “Jews, Deists, Mahometans or Unitarians” (of which there were few or none in Washington County) and urged citizens to fight confirmation of the act by voting for him and others “that believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ” and not for Drury, Kellar, or Kennedy.50 In the election, Galloway received the fewest votes of the nine local candidates for House of Delegates, but the three others on his “Christian Ticket” and another who promised opposition to the political rights act won the four Washington County seats. Kennedy came in fifth, losing his seat along with Ignatius Drury and Thomas Kellar.51 The demagoguery and backlash against the act “to extend to all citizens of Maryland the same civil rights and privileges that are enjoyed under the Constitution of the United States” rippled through the state. Only sixteen of the forty delegates who voted for the act in January 1823 were reelected that fall. Consequently, the new House of Delegates voted 44–28 against confirmation, although the Senate ap- Thomas Kennedy 463 proved, 8–6. The political rights act thus was “rendered nugatory.”52 Kennedy lost the 1824 election as well, coming in sixth out of eight candidates, once again publicly thanking those who voted for him and closing with “in power your servant—out of service your friend.” During his two-year absence from the House, others such as Col. William G. D. Worthington and John S. Tyson of Baltimore, and John Van Lear McMahon of Allegany County took up the cause for the Jew Bill.53 Though no longer holding elective office, Kennedy continued with his roles as state debt collection agent and justice of the peace, and with Frisby Tilghman and Otho H. Williams became increasingly active in committees to promote the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The proposed continuous canal along the Maryland shore of the Potomac River would eventually take commercial navigation off the river. Kennedy served as the secretary to Washington County canal committees and represented the county in the canal conventions held in Washington in November 1823 and December 1826.54 In March 1825, Kennedy advertised that his duties as state agent took him throughout the western Maryland counties and offered his services as agent to those having business there and in Washington and Alexandria, Virginia. He welcomed potential clients from “any part of America, Europe or the West Indies.” In October, he announced his services as a real estate agent for lands and houses, and offered for sale properties in Washington and Allegany Counties, and in the far-off Arkansas Territory.55 During Kennedy’s absence in the 1824–1825 legislative session, John Van Lear McMahon and others prepared a new version of the Jew Bill and strategically waited until the last day of session, when many would have already left to go home, to bring it to a vote. On February 26, 1825, with only fifty-one of eighty members present, “an act for the relief of Jews in Maryland” passed by one vote. Again the act awaited confirmation in the next year’s legislative session. Kennedy ran for the House of Delegates in 1825 on the “Antietam” and “Independent Tickets,” won a seat, and in thanking the voters noted that their “renewed mark of confidence” made him “more anxious than ever to discharge his duty faithfully.”56 Kennedy introduced the last version of the Jew Bill for its confirmation vote the following year. The House of Delegates and Senate confirmed the measure, and the “act for the relief of Jews in Maryland” passed into law on January 28, 1826. Kennedy wrote, “I have seen the first of my wishes as a public servant gratified . . . in seeing the persecuted Children of Israel placed on an equality with their fellow citizens.” After seven difficult years, “Kennedy’s Jew Baby,” as it was derisively called, was finally born.57 In the House of Delegates, Kennedy pressed for support of the C&O Canal and road improvement in Washington County. At home, he continued selling properties, performing his duties as justice of the peace, and working as Hagerstown’s postmaster. In March 1826 he announced that he would be a candidate for congressman from 464 Maryland Historical Magazine Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District. Michael C. Sprigg of the Jacksonian Party won the seat, and Kennedy, who placed third, was again out of elected office. But when Daniel Sprigg declined to serve in the Maryland Senate, Kennedy gained the five-year appointment and promised to continue his newspaper reports as “the only senator from Washington and Allegany Counties.” He also remained active in meetings and committees supporting the proposed new canal. The C&O Canal Company would officially succeed the Potomac Company in the summer of 1828.58 Although achieving elected office led Thomas Kennedy to resign as postmaster and state debt collection agent, he held on to his annual appointments as Washington County justice of the peace or magistrate.59 These helped his private legal and real estate businesses: Thomas Kennedy has moved to the brick house in South Potomac street, next door to Dr. Jacob Schnebly’s. Magistrate’s business will be attended to—Deeds, Wills, Agreements and other instrument of writing drawn—Executors and Administrators assisted in preparing their accounts for settlement. Lands & Houses bought, sold, and rented.60 Kennedy supported William Crawford in the 1824 presidential election, in which Andrew Jackson received the most electoral votes but not a majority, and the House of Representatives gave the office to John Quincy Adams. Kennedy then actively worked toward Old Hickory’s 1828 election, becoming “the head and pillar of the Jackson party in this county.” He bought and edited a relatively new newspaper, the Hagerstown Mail, a logical move for one who had written so many political editorials, legislative reports, and poetry, and in that capacity backed Jackson and his party in the 1832 campaign. Editorials in the Hagerstown Mail sparred with those in the Torch Light that supported the anti-Jacksonians, or National Republicans as they were then called. Once again he was out of office after his term as state senator expired, but when Governor George Howard appointed delegate Col. William H. Fitzhugh as sheriff of Washington County, leaving a vacant seat in the House of Delegates, Kennedy won that seat in a special election held on February 27, 1832.61 Kennedy arrived in Annapolis near the end of the session, in time to vote with the other Washington County delegates against “An act relating to the People of Color of this state.” That bill, passed on March 12, 1832, established the Maryland State Colonization Society, whose intent was to free slaves and send them to Liberia. Kennedy’s public remarks in opposition to the bill included his opinion that most Maryland slaves were happier than their masters and that “slavery instead of having been a curse to this country has . . . been a blessing.”62 Although he may never have owned slaves, newspaper advertisements from 1817 and 1820 attest to the fact that Kennedy sold them, perhaps as an agent or as part of his duties as justice of the peace. In the spring of 1824, he was a key witness in the Thomas Kennedy 465 defense of a slave catcher accused of kidnapping a free black man. At the trial in Huntington, Pennsylvania, Kennedy identified the captured man as a slave who had escaped from his friend, Edward G. Williams. The jury declared the slave catcher “not guilty” of kidnapping.63 At fifty-five, Kennedy had reached the pinnacle of his career in 1832. He sold real estate, served as a Washington County magistrate, and now had his own newspaper in which to publish his literary efforts and express his political views. He ran again for the House of Delegates and won, along with three others on the Jackson ticket from Washington County. But suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, disaster struck.64 Cholera was an ancient disease in India and Asia, but it had not spread out of that part of the world until it reached Eastern Europe in 1831. Then it moved swiftly. A year later it reached England and France. In June 1832, it came to Montreal and New York. Doctors had misunderstood the cause of cholera for many years, but they soon learned of its terrible consequences firsthand. The disease attacked healthy people, giving them diarrhea, acute spasmodic vomiting, and painful cramps. Subsequent extreme dehydration rendered faces and bodies blue, drawn, and puckered. Victims often died within a few days, or even hours.65 Hagerstown followed the news of the 1832 cholera pandemic with growing apprehension. In July, Kennedy’s son Howard, who was a doctor, and another local physician went to Philadelphia and New York to see the disease for themselves and report back home. In the middle of that month, Kennedy wrote to Rosa, who was being schooled near Baltimore, that she should “mind your studies and cholera will not trouble you.” By early August the disease had abated somewhat in New York and Philadelphia, but Baltimore was seeing more than twenty new cases daily, and several C&O Canal workers along the Potomac River had died from it.66 Hagerstown escaped until late September, but by the third week of October the epidemic there had peaked, with seventeen cholera deaths.67 In the Friday, October 12, 1832, Hagerstown Mail, Kennedy thanked the voters for re-electing him and the other Jacksonians and boasted that Henry Clay’s party might as well “give it up” in Washington County. The following Monday, he attended the funeral of “one of his household” (but not of his immediate family) who had succumbed to the disease. On Thursday, October 19, Kennedy himself was dead from cholera, after only a few hours of the sickness. Kennedy’s obituary summarized his character: “He was a sincere and obliging friend, warm hearted and liberal—as a husband and father, kind and affectionate—as a neighbor and citizen, accommodating and generous—and as a public man, useful and devoted.”68 Originally he was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery on Potomac Street in Hagerstown. Both his living sons, Howard and John Francis, served as the administrators of his estate. In the November 2, 1832, Hagerstown Mail, they advertised that their father’s newspaper was for sale, called for whatever claims were 466 Maryland Historical Magazine held against him to be reported to them, and announced the upcoming sale of his personal items “consisting of household furniture such as tables, chairs, cups, boards, bedsteads and bedding, woolen carpeting, a variety of kitchen furniture, also a large number of books and other articles too numerous to particularize.”69 Howard Kennedy continued administering his father’s estate for the next two years and purchased his father’s newspaper in partnership with another man. Howard lived in Hagerstown until his death in 1855, and then was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery. His older sister, Grace Amelia, married Capt. William Neal in November 1833, and lived until 1862. John Francis Kennedy served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in the Florida War and died from exposure in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1837. Rosamond Harris Kennedy also died in 1837 and was buried next to her husband in the Presbyterian cemetery, where in 1849 they were joined by their unmarried daughter, Catherine.70 The 1864 Maryland constitution removed the word “Jew” and the 1867 version removed all allusions to Christianity. Legal distinctions among religions were no longer part of the state constitution, the change Thomas Kennedy and others had advocated decades before.71 The graves and gravestones of Thomas, Rosamond, and Catherine Kennedy were relocated to the Rose Hill Cemetery in 1913 and placed about one hundred yards east of the graves of Howard Kennedy’s immediate family. In 1919, the Independent Order of B’rith Sholom erected a twenty-foot stone obelisk at Kennedy’s new grave site in recognition of his efforts to bring political rights to the Jews of Maryland. Special ceremonies have been held at this monument several times, with delegations coming Thomas Kennedy monument, Rose Hill Cemetery, built in 1919. (Author’s photograph.) Opposite foreground: Two slabs in Williamsport’s River View Cemetery mark the graves of the four Kennedy children who died between 1801 and 1816. (Author’s photograph.) Thomas Kennedy 467 from Baltimore and elsewhere to decorate the site. A state historical marker honoring Thomas Kennedy stands just outside the Rose Hill Cemetery fence. Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital and the Maryland State House in Annapolis have Thomas Kennedy plaques.72 The monuments and markers recognize a man who struggled along with others on behalf of religious tolerance and acceptance. John S. Tyson, among the last to take up the Jew Bill fight, paid homage to Thomas Kennedy. “Atlas-like [he] bore it [the Jew Bill] upon his shoulders at a time when it was too heavy for all other men. It fell, he raised it, it fell again, he raised it again and again.”73 NOTES 1. William may have been a weaver. In dedicating his book of poetry to his parents, Kennedy lamented: “Why was not your situation in life equal to your deserts?” See Thomas Kennedy, Poems (Washington, D.C.: Daniel Rapine, 1816). 2. Kennedy, Poems. Kennedy drank whiskey and later produced it on his Washington County farm. 3. E. Milton Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle for Religious and Civil Liberty in Maryland (Baltimore: M. Curlander, 1924), 101. 4. Ibid., 15–17. Thomas’s older brother Matthew immigrated to America around 1783. In 1795 his parents, fearing him dead, at last received a letter from Matthew. He lived in Georgetown (now in Washington, D.C.), where he ran a hotel or tavern, and had married Christina Hines 468 Maryland Historical Magazine in 1794. His 1801 advertisement for the sale of his two-story house and lot, on Fayette Street near the main road to Frederick, noted that it was “peculiarly well adopted for a tavern or store,” with “a wagon yard large enough to hold 25 wagons and teams.” Matthew and Christina Kennedy moved to Ohio, where they died in 1847 and 1836, respectively. See John Clagett Proctor, Johannes Heintz and His Descendants (Greenville, Pa., 1918), 15. Advertisement, Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser, March 26, 1801. 5. Thomas J. C. Williams, A History of Washington County, Maryland (1908, repr. Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1968), 170. Alfteld, The Jews’ Struggle, 17; minutes from the February 6, 1797, meeting of Potomac Company president and directors, File 79.12.1, “Records of the Potomac Company,” Record Group 79, National Archives Annex II, College Park, Maryland, hereinafter “Potomac Company records.” Kennedy to John Goulding, March 28, 1797, and Kennedy to Potomac Company president and board of directors, October 31, November 7, and November 8, 1797, Potomac Company records. 6. Kennedy, Poems; Songs of Love and Liberty by Thomas Kennedy (Washington, D.C.: Daniel Rapine, 1817). 7. Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 18. 8. Thomas Kennedy’s 1797 journal is in the Kennedy Collection, Washington County Historical Society. One can imagine Kennedy carrying similar notebooks to jot down his poems. 9. J. Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland (1882, repr., Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1968), 1225, noted that Rosamond Harris Thomas was the daughter of William and Amelia (Selby) Thomas, of Welsh extraction. “Happy Cottage” is the third song in Songs of Love and Liberty by Thomas Kennedy. 10. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1124. The mouth of Conococheague Creek had a long history as a trade center and port. In 1787, Gen. Otho Holland Williams founded “Williams-Port” in this area where he had been raised. Elie Williams, the general’s brother, later became a president of the Potomac Company and later still one of the commissioners of the 1822 survey of the Potomac. That survey led to the deaths of Elie Williams and the Potomac Company, the first from “bilious fever” and the second from the harsh assessment of the company’s business and engineering capabilities. The general’s sons, Otho H. and Edward G. Williams, became militia leaders and political figures later closely allied with Thomas Kennedy. See Williamsport Chamber of Commerce, Williamsport and Vicinity Reminiscences (Williamsport, Md., n.p., 1933), 20, 22; Dan Guzy, “The Potomac River Survey of 1822,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 103 (2008): 382–403. 11. [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser, March 1, 1798, and February 28, 1799; Thomas Kennedy to president and directors of Potomac Company, March 26, 31, and April 23, 1798, Potomac Company records. In the last letter, Kennedy inquired about what form his toll accounts should take. Perhaps a decision was made not to issue further letters, because no more letters from Thomas Kennedy can be found in the Potomac Company’s correspondence file. 12. Thomas Kennedy to president and directors of Potomac Company, March 26, 1798, Potomac Company records. 13. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 662, lists a marriage license issued on October 23, 1798. 14. Three separate advertisements in the [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser, February 5, 1801. 15. Williamsport and Vicinity Reminiscences, 70. 16. October 25, 1803, Land Record Book P, page 327, Washington County Land Records, Hagerstown courthouse. Thomas Kennedy 469 17. “Washington County Taxes, 1803–1804,” on Western Maryland Historical Library (WHILBR) website (http://www.whilbr.org/WashCoTaxes1803/index.aspx). February 11, 1804, deed of lease from Christian Ardinger to Thomas Kennedy in Land Record Book P, page 473, Washington County Land Records, Hagerstown courthouse. Among the genealogy sources this author relied upon were personal communications with Katharine Minott, the great, great, great granddaughter of Thomas Kennedy, and the daughter of Polly Berry Kennedy. The latter donated the material in the Kennedy Collection now at the Washington County Historical Society, but also kept some more personal material within her immediate family, such as an 1805 document written by a black servant boy that noted the servants in the household. 18. [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser, March 21 and November 30, 1804, March 1, 1805, and March 21, 1806. 19. Edward C. Papenfuse, “Thomas Kennedy and the Maryland Test Oath,” January 13, 1987, draft in Maryland State Archives, Special Collection MSA SC 1456-576. Papenfuse cited “Washington County Judgements” as the source for his statement about “at least a dozen suits” between 1804 and 1808, and MSA SC 1138-1747 contains handwritten notes on these suits. The mortgage to William S. Compton was recorded in the Washington County land records on July 20, 1805 (Land Record Book R, page 311, at Hagerstown courthouse). 20. [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, August 28, 1807. In the April 1, 1808, edition of this newspaper, Compton announced another public sale of Kennedy’s former warehouse, unfinished dwelling house, and lots. 21. [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, August 28, 1807. 22. Ibid., February 12, 1808. Deed from Robert Kennedy to John Irwin, recorded on November 26, 1810 in the Washington County land records, Land Record Book W, pages 344–345, Hagerstown courthouse. 23. Grace Amelia was born November 14, 1799, in Williamsport, and died March 18, 1862. John Francis was born in Williamsport on July 31, 1806, and died May 19, 1837, personal communications with Katharine Minott and other genealogy sources. 24. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1226. Datelines given in Kennedy’s Poems cite the Wooburn, Roslin Castle, and Ellerslie locations, but only “Washington County” or “Williamsport” for the 1809–1812 period when the family lived at Mount Liberty in Williamsport. Kennedy wrote of Howard’s birth in “To Howard, the Author’s Son.” Thomas Buchanan, a Hagerstown lawyer and future associate district court judge, bought the large Woburn estate in 1810, after the Kennedys had left, and built a substantial manor house there. Patricia Schooley Architectural and Historical Treasures of Wash. County, Maryland (Keedysville, Md: The Washington County Historical Trust, 2002), 312–14. Hagerstown Herald-Mail, July 13, 2000. Catherine S. Kennedy’s grave is next to her parents at Rose Hill Cemetery. The gravestone reads “daughter of Thomas & Rosamond Kennedy, Born Jan. 1, 1811 – Died July 20, 1849.” 25. Lawrence Ludlow Kennedy was born on August 26, 1813, and died August 10, 1816. Rosamond Thomas (Rosa) Kennedy was born on November 7, 1815, and was alive in 1832, notes from Kennedy’s Poems and personal communications with Katharine Minott. 26. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, March 19, 1822, and July 8, 1823. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, March 19, 1822. 27. The Republican Party of the early nineteenth century should not to be confused with the Republican Party of today, which essentially started with the presidential campaigns of Fremont and Lincoln. On the national level, the Republicans favored an agrarian society, small government, and tended to be pro-French. The Federalist Party of Alexander Hamil- 470 Maryland Historical Magazine ton and John Adams favored a large central government and tended to be pro-British. The Republicans supported the War of 1812 against the British while the Federalists initially opposed it. In Maryland, the Federalists represented the traditional planter aristocracy along the seaboard and tidewater. Republicans supported the interests of the western parts of the state, plus the new immigrants and entrepreneurs in the rapidly growing city of Baltimore. Washington and Allegany Counties were strongly Republican, whereas nearby Frederick County was Federalist. See Joseph A. Whitehorne, The Battle for Baltimore, 1814 (Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Pub. Co. of America, 1997), 4, 13–16. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, June 6, 13 and August 6, 1806. 28. [Hagerstown] Maryland Herald & Elizabethtown Advertiser, February 2, 1803. Similar announcements of the appointments of Washington County justices of the peace appeared in Hagerstown newspapers in the early parts of each year, with the number of appointees increasing as time progressed. In 1831 and 1832, the justice of the peace position was renamed, and Kennedy was appointed as a “magistrate.” Kennedy’s state notary public position was announced in the Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, July 24, 1807. Becoming a road supervisor required setting a bond with the state. Washington County land records for November 13, 1815, June 26, 1817, November 20, 1820, and October 11, 1821, record the road and bonds associated with Kennedy. Land Record Books AA, page 685; CC, page 125; EE, page 824; and FF, page 397, at Hagerstown Courthouse. 29. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 176; Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, March 17, August 30, 1809, June, 20, 1810, October 31, 1810 and September 8, 1813. Francis Scott Key’s poem “The Defence of Fort McHenry” was set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven” as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 30. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 182–83. 31. Ibid., 184, 186. William M. Marine. The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812–1815 (1913, repr., Hatboro, Pa.: Tradition Press, 1965), 87. Whitehorne, Battle for Baltimore, 119; Ralph E. Eshelman, Scott S. Sheads, and Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 9, 18, 83. 32. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 189. Although 7,000 American troops outnumbered 4,000 British troops at the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814, the British routed the Americans and went on to burn Washington. Factors in the American defeat were the incompetence of General Winder and the rawness of the Maryland militia in contrast to British troops seasoned by the Napoleonic Wars. 33. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, August 30 and September 13, 1815. 34. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, September 18, 1816, August 27, and September 24, 1817. 35. The version of Poems this author studied had “1816” on its title page, but its last poem was dated as “March 14, 1817, at Ellerslie.” The Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, July 16, 1817, advertised Poems as “just received and for sale at Anthony B. Martin’s store. Price $1.25. A few copies left at this office and at Mr. Sackett’s, Williamsport.” The Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, May 6, 1818, stated: “Just received for sale by A. B. Martin Songs of Love and Liberty by Thomas Kennedy. Price 75 cents. A few copies of Kennedy’s Poems on sale at Mr. Sackett’s, Williamsport for one dollar.” 36. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, December 10, 1817. 37. Ibid., December 17, 1817, January 1, 1818. 38. Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 10. Edward Eitches, “Maryland’s ‘Jew Bill,’” American Jewish Historic Quarterly 40 (September 1970 to June 1971): 265; Jerry Klinger, “From Test Oath to the Jew Bill,” Jewish Magazine, July 2004. Thomas Kennedy 471 39. Harry Golden, “The First Kennedy,” Baltimore Sun, March 19, 1972; Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 70–110. 40. The Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, April 27, 1819, took over two full pages to print Thomas Kennedy’s January 20, 1819, speech. Rhode Island and North Carolina also had test oaths at the time. Although there may have been no Jews in Washington County, Kennedy had met and befriended Jacob Cohen and other Baltimore Jews before he took up the Jew Bill. See Isaac M. Fein, The Making of an American Jewish Community: The History of Baltimore Jewry from 1773 to 1920 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971), 30, 32, 35. 41. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, September 9, 1819. 42. Information on Benjamin Galloway from Maryland State Archives File MSA SC 3520- 472. Eitches, “Maryland’s ‘Jew Bill,’” 283–85, discussed Federalist Party resistance to the Jew Bill and reapportioning legislative representation. 43. Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 23–27, 134–35; Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, February 15, 1820. 44. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, August 7–28, September 25, 1821. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, October 2, 9, 16, 1821. 45. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, April 23, 1822. 46. The Western Shore included all of Maryland’s counties west of the Chesapeake Bay. 47. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, March 26, 1822. 48. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, June 18, 1822, December 17, 31, 1822; Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1195–96. 49. Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 28. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, February 4, March 11, and May 6, 1823. Kennedy was initiated into an Annapolis Freemason lodge in January 1823 and soon after joined Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 33 of Hagerstown. See Paul R. Kach, “An Advocate of Tolerance: Thomas Kennedy, Mason,” The New Age Magazine, September 1934, pages 546–48. In the interim, Thomas Kennedy issued his “Second report of the State Agent” and announced his intent to publish A History of the State of Maryland, an ambitious project he apparently never completed. As a new Freemason, he helped arrange for the dedication of the Masonic Hall above the Hagerstown City Hall. 50. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, August 19 and 26, September 16 and 30, 1823. 51. Ibid., September 23, 1823. 52. “A Battle for Political Freedom,” Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1902; The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1905) 8:361. Eitches, “Maryland’s ‘Jew Bill,’” 267. 53. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, October 5 and 12, 1824; Isaac M. Fein, “Niles Register of the Jews,” Jewish Historical Quarterly 50 (1960): 3–22; T. J. C. Williams, “Washington County, Maryland,” Maryland Historical Magazine 2 (1907): 350–51. Robert J. Brugger, Maryland, A Middle Temperament, 1634–1980 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 259. 54. T. J. C. Williams, History of Frederick County, Maryland (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1967), 149. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, October 24 and December 30, 1823, and January 6, 1824. During a January 1, 1824, canal meeting in Hagerstown, Kennedy gave remarks in which he estimated that the C&O Canal would cut the cost of shipping a barrel of flour to Georgetown from $1 by wagon to 32 cents by canal boat, and a cross-cut canal to Baltimore would cut the cost from $1 to 42 cents. 55. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, March 22, October 18, 1825. 56. Eitches, “Maryland’s ‘Jew Bill,’” 267; Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 164; “A Battle for Politi- 472 Maryland Historical Magazine cal Freedom,” Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1902; [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, September 27, October 4, 11, 1825. 57. Eitches, “Maryland’s ‘Jew Bill,’” 258, 267; 1825 Session Laws, Maryland State Archives; Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 14–15. Neither William G. D. Worthington nor John Van Lear McMahon was in the House of Delegates for the 1825–1826 session. John S. Tyson was, but he deferred the honor of introducing the Jew Bill for confirmation to Thomas Kennedy. 58. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, January 31, March 21, 1826, January 18, February 1, 1827. A few months earlier, in August 1826, Kennedy had been appointed postmaster of Hagerstown. As was his wont, he issued reports through the newspaper on such mundane items as dead letters and postal procedures. Kennedy resigned as postmaster when he became a Maryland senator in early 1827. In 1829, this postmaster position was filled by his son Howard Kennedy, replacing another postmaster who had been “removed.” [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, August 31, October 5, November 11, 1826, April 5, November 18, and November 22, 1827, May 14, November 26, 1829. 59. Ibid., July 27, 1826. 60. Ibid., April 3, 1828. 61. Ibid., August 9, 1827, August 22, October 17, 31, 1828, and September 30, 1830, April 7, 1831; Hagerstown Mail, April 1, 1831, February 27, March 2, 9, 1832. 62. Ibid., April 13, 1832. 63. Maryland Herald & Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser, April 9, 1817, August 1, 1820, and April 27, 1824. [Hagerstown] Torch Light and Public Advertiser, April 27, 1824. Williams, History of Washington County, 251. The lack of slaves being listed in the 1803–1804 Washington County tax table, the sale of his possessions in Williamsport in 1804 and Ellerslie in 1822, and the personal property book for his 1832 estate are strong indications that Thomas Kennedy did not personally own slaves. 64. Hagerstown Mail, October 5, 1832. 65. Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 2, 23–36. 66. Hagerstown Mail, July 20, 1832. Personal communication with Katharine Minott revealed the July 15, 1832, letter Kennedy wrote to “Miss Rosamond T. Kennedy c/o Thomas Compton . . . near Baltimore.” Rosenberg, The Cholera Years, 25n. 67. Hagerstown Mail, August 7, and September 28, 1832. 68. Ibid., October 12, 19, 1832. 69. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1097; Hagerstown Mail, November 2, 1832. 70. Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1096, 1226; Hagerstown Mail, June 28, November 22, 1833, and August 15, 1834. Inscriptions on Kennedy gravestones at Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown. Two large gravestones in Williamsport’s River View Cemetery currently mark the burial sites for the four Kennedy children who died during childhood. 71. Altfeld, The Jews’ Struggle, 60. 72. “Jews Plan Tribute to Thomas Kennedy,” Baltimore Sun, May 29, 1922; “Securing the Privileges of Citizenship for Jews,” ibid., November 2, 1930; “Jews Honor Early Legislator’s Fight for Them,” ibid., July 14, 1980; Frank D. Clawson, “Thomas Kennedy, Hagerstown’s ‘Thomas Jefferson.’” Maryland Cracker Barrel, July 1987. “Honor Plaque,” letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun, April 26, 1992. The Thomas Kennedy monument and gravesite are in the eastern part of Section K of the Rose Hill Cemetery, and near Henry’s Lane. 73. Fein, The Making of an American Jewish Community, 34.