Friday, July 29, 2005

Scenes from the Vale of Neath

The Lewis family lived in the Neath Valley (or Vale of Neath - Cwm Nedd) in South Wales from the 18th century until at least the mid 19th century.

Our earliest known Lewis ancestors, David and Ruth, lived near Crynant in the late 1700s. Their son, Evan Lewis and his wife Anne lived in Aberpergwm, in the upper Neath valley, near Glyn Neath in the 1820s and 1830s.
Evan's son, David,lived in Pwllfaron at the time of his marriage in 1838. He and his wife Hannah eventually settled in Resolven. David's son, Richard Lewis, was born and grew up in Resolven, until the Lewis family emigrated to Pennsylvania in the early 1850s.

All of these generations of the Lewis family belonged to the parish church of St. Catwg in Cadoxton-juxta-Neath.

Parish of Cadoxton Juxta Neath - St.Catwg`s

The Vale of Neath is very scenic, and has long been the subject of paintings and photographs.

Tours through the Vales of Glamorgan, paintings by Thomas Horner, 1819. Pictures 1-16 are a tour up the Neath Valley from the sea to Pont Neath Vaughan (Pont Nedd Fychan).
Landscapes of Wales, Glamorganshire Images 12-17 show the Vale of Neath. (from the National Library of Wales Welsh Landscape Collection - see link for waterfalls of the Vale of Neath)
Waterfalls of the Neath Valley
Waterfall walks in the Vale of Neath

A prominent feature of the Neath Valley is the Neath Canal, completed in 1795. Today only two miles of the canal, near Resolven, are open to traffic.

The Neath Valley and the Neath & Tennant Canals (map and photo tour)
Neath and Tennant Canals (history)
Photos of Neath Canal (photo tour)
Photos along the lower Neath Canal

Legend has it that King Arthur sleeps beneath Craig y Ddinas (Dinas Rock) near Glyn Neath at the head of the Neath Valley.

Engraving of Craig-y-Dinas, 1830
Dinas Bridge, by Thomas Horner, early 19th century.
The Treasure of Craig-y-Ddinas (story)

Other Vale of Neath Links
Official Neath-Port Talbot web site
Neath, Glamorgan images and history (Brian Wagstaffe's site)
Items from the Neath Museum (Gathering the Jewels)
Vale of Neath Railway
Images of Wales (John Ball's site)
Cadoxton-juxta-Neath GENUKI page

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Is Mary Ann Metcalfe the mother of Ann Elizabeth Metcalfe?

As noted in the previous post, in 1850 a woman named Mary A. Metcalf, age 50, was living with Joseph Metcalf, Ann Elizabeth Metcalfe's brother. At that time, Joseph Metcalfe was about 31 and Ann (Metcalfe) Betts was about 29. It would not be unreasonable for Mary, age 50, to be their mother.

Mary A. Metcalfe prior to 1850

In 1850, Mary A. Metcalfe was living with Joseph Metcalfe and family, probably at 202 Sassafras St. In the 1840s, there was a Mary Metcalfe living at nearby 178 Sassafras:

Philadelphia City Directory
[1840] Metcalfe Mary, 178 Sassafras
[1841] Metcalfe Mary, 178 Sassafras
[1842] Metcalfe Mary, 178 Sassafras

This was probably the same person listed in the 1840 Census:
Lower Delaware Ward, Philadelphia, p. 16
Mary A. Metcalf - - - 2 3 - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - 1 - - - - -
(two males age 15-20, three males age 20-30, two females age 20-30, one female age 40-50). When this census was taken, Joseph would have been about 21, and Ann would have been 19 or 20 (she may have been married to Edward Betts at this time).

I have not found any earlier listing for Mary - she would probably have been listed with a husband.

Where was 178 Sassafras St?

178 Sassafras St. was probably on the south side of Sassafras (Race) Street between 5th and 6th (listed under "Race"). Today that location is part of the National Constitution Center of the National Independence Historic Park.

What happened to Mary Metcalfe after 1850?

Mary Metcalfe was not living with Joseph Metcalfe in the 1860 census.
However, a Mary A. Metcalfe, age 63, was living with Henry Loughlin, his wife Sarah, and their children in the Upper Delaware ward. Henry was a sailmaker.

In 1870 and 1880 Mary A. Metcalfe (at age 74 and 85 respectively), was living with the widow Sarah Laughlin.

It is likely that Mary Metcalfe died before 1900. More research will be needed to determine whether this Mary is the same as the woman living with Joseph Metcalfe in 1850.

It is of possible significance that Joseph's son Thomas also worked as a sail maker, like Henry Laughlin, rather than following his father's profession of painter.

Hopefully we can find evidence that Henry Laughlin married Sarah Metcalfe.

Was Thomas Metcalfe the husband of Mary A. Metcalfe?

In the 1830 Census and 1825 and 1830 City Directories, there are three Metcalf(e)s in Philadelphia:

Wm. Metcalf in Kensington, James Metcalf (or Medcalf) in , and Thomas Metcalfe in Upper Delaware Ward.

William Metcalf lived at 174 Germantown Road in Kensington. He was a well known minister of the Bible Christian Church, as well as teacher and proponent of vegitarianism. His life and family history, has ben extensively documented, making it unlikely that he is the father of Joseph and Ann. William died in 1862.

James Metcalf was a laborer who lived on North Broad Street, between Cherry and Sassafras Streets. He is listed in the 1825 and 1830 city directories, but has not been found in the 1830 census, possibly because he is living in someone else's household.

Thomas Metcalf(e) was a cabinet maker who lived at 7 Sassafras St. in Upper Delaware Ward. He was living in Philadelphia as early as 1820. In 1830 there were four children living in his household: two boys, age 5-9 and 10-14 and two girls age less than 5 and 5-9. There is one man, age 30-39 (presumably Thomas) and three women, aged 30-39, 40-49 and 80-89. Thomas's wife could be either age 30-39 or age 40-49. In 1830, our Joseph Metcalf would have been about age 11, and Ann Metcalfe would have been about age 9, so their ages are consistent with Thomas's census record.

I have not found any listing for this Thomas Metcalfe after 1835.
(note that there was another Thomas Metcalf, married to a Jane, who appears to have arrived in Philadelphia from Ireland in the early 1820s, and worked as a laborer.).

One reason that I favor Thomas as the husband of Mary (and father of Ann) is his occupation of cabinet maker. Edward Betts was living in Philadelphia by at least the mid-1830s. As a pianomaker, cabinent making would probably have been one of his skills. It's pure speculation, but Edward may have apprenticed with a cabinet maker in his youth - maybe with Thomas Metcalfe in Philadelphia. (I hope that I can find evidence of this one way or another).

Addresses on Sassafras (Race) Street
- 178 Sassafras was on the south side of the street between 5th and 6th
- 202 Sassafras was on the south side of the street at the corner of 6th
- 7 Sassafras was on the corner of 10th street.
Map of the intersection of 6th and Race (click for a closeup view of each quadrant) from the Hexamer & Locher Atlas of Philadelphia, 1858-1862

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The Metcalfe Family of Philadelphia

Edward Betts and Ann Elizabeth Metcalfe married some time between 1836 and 1846, when their daughter Sarah was born in Baltimore. We know little about Ann, other than that she was born about 1820 in Philadelphia. Affidavits filed by Sarah's aunt, Rebecca Metcalfe, have provided us some information about the Metcalfe family in Philadelphia.

On June 15, 1903, Rebecca Metcalfe "aunt by marriage" of Sarah Lewis, the former Sarah Betts, filed a General Affidavit in support of Sarah's pension as the widow of Civil War veteran Richard Lewis. At the time the affidavit was filed, Rebecca was living at 606 Race St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah's cousin, Bessie Metcalfe, also living at 606 Race St., also filed an affidavit on Sarah's behalf.

Location of 606 Race St.

Current maps show 606 Race St. on the southwest corner of 6th and Race Streets. This is approximately where the American College of Physicians is located today (in a building dating to the 1980s. Map).

Once a residential neighborhood, the northeast corner of this intersection is today is highway interchange and the southest corner is part of the National Constitution Center.

Little changed from the 19th century, the northeast corner of Race and 6th is Franklin Square park, which is currently which is being revitalized into a US History theme park.

Rebecca Metcalfe, widow of Joseph

Fortunately for our research, the Metcalfes lived at 606 Race St. continuously from at least 1854, allowing us to travel back through the years find the name of Sarah (Betts) Lewis's uncle, Joseph Metcalfe:

1900 Federal Census, ED 114, Ward 6, Division 7, p. 283, 606 Race St.
Metcalfe Rebecca head born March 1818 in Pennsylvania, widow, Real Estate
Metcalfe Elizabeth daughter born October 1844 in Pennsylvania, single
1890 Philadelphia City Directory
Metcalfe Rebecca, wid. Joseph Address: home 606 Race
(a George Viola was a barber working at 606 Race and living on 6th St.)
1880 Federal Census, ED 111, 6th Ward, 7th District., page 469B, 606 Race St.
Metcalfe Rebecca age 63, born Pennsylvania, widow
Metcalfe Elizabeth daughter, age 35 born Pennsylvania, single
(also living in this household was Hugo Scheda a lithographer, possibly boarding in the Metcalfe household).
1870 Philadelphia City Directory
Metcalf Rececca[sic], wid. Joseph, home 606 Race
Metcalf Thomas, purser, home 606 Race
1870 Federal Census, 6th Ward, 17th District, page 216B
Metcalf Rebecca age 52 born Pennsylvania keeps house
Metcalf Thomas age 27 born Pennsylvania purser on steamer
Metcalf Elizabeth age 24 born Pennsylvania at home
Note that the family name is Metcalfe, but is often written Metcalf in old directory and census records.

Joseph C. Metcalfe (~1818 - 1863)

From the information above, we know that Rebecca was married to Joseph Metcalfe, who died before 1870. They had at least one daughter, Elizabeth "Bessie" and probably one son, Thomas.

Earlier records give us more information about Joseph, who is presumably the brother of our ancestor, Ann Elizabeth (Metcalfe) Betts.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 03 Feb 1863 Death Notice; p.3
METCALFE - On the 30th ult., Joseph C. Metcalfe, in the 45th year of his age.
His relatives and friends, and the members of Robert Morris Lodge, No.29, of the I. O. of O. F., and the Order in general, also the Eagle Beneficial Society, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, from his late residence, No. 606 Race street, this (Tuesday) afternoon, at 2 o’clk, without further notice.
(an 1862 article noted that Joseph was the secretary of the lodge)

1860 Federal Census, 6th Ward, 2nd Division, page 974
Metcalf Joseph age 42 born Pennsylvania, painter
Metcalf Rebecca age 42 born Pennsylvania
Metcalf Thomas age 17 born Pennsylvania, sail maker
Metcalf Elizabeth age 15 born Pennsylvania
1861 McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory
Metcalfe Joseph, painter, 606 Race
Metcalfe Joseph C., painter 606 Race
1860 McElroy’s Philadelphia City Directory
Metcalf Joseph, painter, N 10th ab Market, home 606 Race
Metcalfe Joseph, painter, 14 N 10th, home 606 Race
It seems likely that Joseph was listed twice in the 1860 and 1861 directories, because there is only one Joseph listed in the household in the 1860 Census.

Metcalfe Residence Prior to 1854

Before 1854, Joseph Metcalfe's residence was at 202 Sassafras St., rather than 606 Race St. This does not indicate that the Metcalfe family moved, however; in 1854, a number of Philadelphia streets were renamed and renumbered. Race Street was indeed originally called Sassafras, and 202 was on the southwest side of Sassafras near 6th.

In 1854 numbered Wards were also created. The 6th Ward was created from the eastern parts of the former Upper and Lower Delaware Wards (the boundary between Upper and Lower Delaware was Race/Sassafras St., with the south side of Sassafras in the Lower Delaware Ward).

1851 McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory
Metcalf Joseph C., painter, 202 Sassafras
There is a possible listing for Joseph in the 1850 Census: Lower Delaware Ward, page 72
Metcalf Joseph C. age 30 born Pennsylvania plasterer
Metcalf Margaret age 30 born Pennsylvania
Metcalf Thos. C. age 6 born Pennsylvania
Metcalf Elizabeth age 5 born Pennsylvania
Metcalf Kate age 1 born Pennsylvania
Metcalf Mary A. age 50 born Pennsylvania
This is presumably the correct family, because the ages of Joseph, Thomas and Elizabeth match the later census records, and they are living in the expected area. However, this entry raises more questions than it answers.

-- is Margaret the same person as Rebecca in the later census records, or was Rebecca Joseph's second wife?
-- did Kate, age 1, die before 1860?
-- is Mary A. Metcalf, age 50, Joseph's (and therefore Ann's) mother?

There is no Joseph Metcalf listed in 1843 (or earlier) Philadelphia city directories.

1890 Philadelphia City Directory (requires pdf viewer plugin (such as Acrobat Reader)).

There are numerous pictures and paintings of the neighborhood around 6th and Race Streets.
Southwest Corner of 6th and Arch Streets, 1879, Northwest Corner of Race and Fifth Streets, 1888, 6th and Vine Streets, 1883 (from the Watercolors of Benjamin R. Evans Collection at Bryn Mawr)
Edward Pennington's Countinghouse, 409 Race St. ("On the Northeast corner of Race and Crown Street, his sugar factory was in the rear, facing Crown Street; the building in view is an extensive enlargement of the old 'Sugar house'.") and Old house at the corner of 6th and Cherry Sts. (from the Frederick DeBourg Richards (1822-1903) Photograph Collection)
•The Independence Park area today.

Old Maps:
606 Race St. is in Philadelphia's 6th Ward (since 1854)
Intersection of 6th and Race (click for a closeup view of each quadrant) from the Hexamer & Locher Atlas of Philadelphia, 1858-1862 (squinting at the houses to the southwest of the intersection of 6th and Race, the addresses could be in the low 600s - or maybe it's my imagination)
1897 Philadelphia map
1846 Philadelphia map showing the Wards.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Photo of Richard Lewis in Civil War Uniform?

One of the photographs we have of Richard Lewis shows a young man in a dark coat with a high collar and large round buttons. This looks very similar to the uniform worn by enlisted men in the Signal Corps during the Civil War.
Young Richard Lewis

Civil War photos for comparison (links open in a new window):
Signal Corps Enlisted Uniform
Signal Corps men at Washington, D.C. Central Signal Station
Photo of Henry Sherriff from the Gettysburg Camp Life Exhibit

Of course it's possible that this was simply the fashion in the 1860s. Comments?

Earlier posts about Richard Lewis in the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery and the Signal Corps.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sarah Betts in York County, PA: living through the Civil War

Sarah Betts was born in 1846 in Baltimore, Maryland, where her father, Edward Betts was a piano maker. In 1859, Edward died in New Freedom, York County, Pennsylvania. What happened to Sarah at that time is unclear.

New Freedom is in the southern Shrewsbury Township, just north of the Maryland border. In 1860 the following household was found in Shrewsbury Township.

NAME_____________________AGE BIRTHPLACE
Henry O. Diffenderfer____63 M Penna farmer
Mary B. Diffenderfer_____47 F Delaware
Sarah Betts _____________13 F Maryland attended school
Lilly Betts ______________6 F Maryland
Nathan Shire (Shise?) ___18 M Penna
Hester A. Smith _________13 F Black Maryland
George Lickner __________10 M Maryland attended school

The age and birthplace is consistent with our Sarah Betts. We have no information as to whether our Sarah had a younger sister Lilly. In 1870 this family (Henry and Mary Diffenderfer with Sarah and Lilly Betts) were living in Manheim Borough, Lancaster County. Our Sarah married Richard Lewis in Mannheim in 1872, so that is again consistent with our ancestor.

York County is on the northern side of the Mason-Dixon Line east of Gettysburg in neighboring Adams County. In June 1863, Confederate troops marched into the city of York, where they met little resistance, and were handed the keys to the city by town fathers.

Many Republican-leaning townspeople at that time and some students of the Civil War today believe that the town’s fathers were too soft. Gen. Jubal Early, in command of the occupying rebel forces, would not have extracted as much from the town if he had met resistance instead of cooperation. The Confederates were under orders not to harm private property. Early was bluffing, and York’s fathers fell for it.

The Confederate cavalry under Jeb Stuart began moving west. On June 30th, the 1500 citizens of Hanover in southwestern York county were overrun by 7500 battling horsemen, when Stuart's troops clashed with the Union Cavalry. This was the first civil war battle to take place in Pennsylvania.

On July 1st Union and Confederate troops converged in Gettysburg, where the battle lasted three days.

How did this effect the residents of York County? It is likely that property and possessions were ransacked by the underequipt troops.
York served as a transportation hub, playing host, often at personal cost, to tens of thousands of soldiers from elsewhere moving to and from battle.

Many county residents did not even take a moment to savor the Yankee victory at Gettysburg. They were too busy gathering food and supplies for the care of the wounded at the battlefield, a short 30 miles away.

York County residents were accustomed to mobilizing in such relief. During the course of the war, volunteers helped nurse more than 14,000 wounded and diseased soldiers back to health at the U.S. military hospital in town.

The experience would have been traumatic for anyone, let alone a teenage girl, as Sarah was in 1863, with her young sister.

Map of Southern York County
Civil War Comes to York County (warning: autmatic audio)
East of Gettysburg (from the York Daily Record)
Lee Marches North
Battle of Hanover
Eyewitness to History: Battle of Gettysburg
Battle fo Gettysburg: the aftermath

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Richard Lewis in the Civil War: Signal Corps

As described in the previous post, Richard Lewis enlisted as a corporal in an artillery unit in August 1862. On January 12, 1864 Richard transferred to the Signal Corps.

The Signal Corps were in charge of communications, usually using signal flags, torches or lamps to send encrypted messages. They were also involved in setting up temporary telegraph lines in the field. Assignment to the signal corps required successfully passing an examination, followed by special training at Red Hill, Georgetown, D.C. in signaling systems (flags and telegraph) and codes used.

We know little about the details of Richard's service in the Signal Corps. According to one roster, he was assigned to the Department of North Carolina. The Department of North Carolina was part of the Eighteenth Corps. However, we do not know where exactly Richard served while with this unit.

Richard was mustered out on July 1, 1865, 18 months after his transfer to the Signal Corps and after almost 3 years in the army, with the rank of corporal. At that time, he probably returned home to Trevorton.

In 1866 Richard Lewis enrolled in the Polytechnic College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. See post here.

Roster of the US ARmy Signal Corps (use your browser's "find" feature to jump to Lewis, Richard)
The Story of the Signal Corps
"A Manual of Signals: For The Use Of Signal Officers In The Field." (Washington DC, 1864)
Civil War Signal Corps and United States Military Telegraph (this is the site of a reenaction group, with lots of historical information about the equipment used by the Signal Corps).
History of the Signal Corps
another History of the Signal Corps in the Civil War (with the signal code)
General History of the Signal Corps

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Richard Lewis in the Civil War: 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery

Our ancestor Richard Lewis emigrated from Wales with his parents in about 1851. They settled in Trevorton, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Ten years later,Richard enlisted to serve his country in the "War Between the States". On August 14, 1862, Richard Lewis enlisted as a Corporal in the independent battery recruited by Captain David Schooley.

At the time of his enlistment, Richard was a 22 year old clerk. He was 5 foot 6 inches tall, with a light complexion, light hair and blue eyes.

On November 24, 1862, Schooley’s Battery was incorporated into Company M, of the Pennsylvania 2nd Heavy Artillery unit of the 112th Volunteers.

"As soon as recruits were received, they were sent to Charles G. Zimmerman's "Diamond Cottage," a pleasure resort in the suburb of Camden, NJ, where a rendezvous camp (Camp Angeroth) was established, and where they were drilled in the 'school of the company'." (Regimental History)

From the training camp. soldiers joined the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery units that were defending Washington DC, north of the Potomac River.

For the most part, a soldier's duty in the fortifications consisted of maintaining the existing defense structures and building new ones, constructing roads and performing other fatigue details. Most of this work was tough, physical labor and performed under all weather conditions. When not assigned to fortification detail, the individual batteries would engage in parade drill, gunnery drill, marksmanship, and various inspection routines. In addition, the heavy artillery units also received infantry and bayonet instruction. Overall, however, the general view of battle tested veterans of Washington defense duty was regarded as "soft assignments." (from An Account of a Civil War Regiment)

On January 12, 1864, Richard and several other members of his Company transferred to the Signal Corps. (see next post for more details about the Signal Corps.)

Most of the information in this post is from the pension application file of Richard Lewis, and later, his widow Sarah (Betts) Lewis.

Captain David Schooley
2nd Heavy Artillery Pennsylvania Volunteers, Company M
2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery Regimental History

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

John Walsh: Relative from County Mayo

The 1910 Census of Tacoma lists and family living at 2923 N. 30th (at the corner of Junett). In the household are Teddy (age 49), his wife Kate (47), sons John (24) and Teddy (18), and father Michael (85).
Also living in the Hopkins household was John Walsh, age 18, nephew to Teddy. John emigrated from Ireland in 1909. He was listed as an laboror for the "mill company".

A little digging has turned up more information about John and his family (our relatives) back in Ireland.

Passenger on the Ship Caronia
A search of the database of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island turned up the following listing:

John Walshe on the ship Caronia, which departed from Queenstown and arrived in New York on October 17, 1909.

passenger record from Ellis Island (registration required, pages 552 and 553).

The passenger manifest gives a description of John: he is 5 foot 4 inches tall, with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion. He declared he was not a polygamist or anarchist, and had no mental or physical problems.

John's last residence was Callow, Ireland. His nearest relative in the old country was his brother, James Walsh of Derrigan, Callow, County Mayo.

Most importantly, John indicated that he was going to join his "Uncle Teddy Hopkins, living at "2923 N. 30th St." in Tacoma.

Traveling with John was his sister Mary, age 16, who gave her occupation as "waitress". She also indicated that she was traveling to join her Uncle Teddy Hopkins.

The Walsh Family in Callow, County Mayo

The information in the passenger manifest gives enough clues to traces the Walsh family back to County Mayo.

The townland of Callow is in the Barony of Gallen in the Civil Parish and Roman Catholic Parish of Killaser, Swinford Poor Law Union, in County Mayo. It is near the town of Foxford. Map.

In the 1901 Census transcription, I have found only one Walsh family living in Callow:
Walsh Thomas(age 51), farmer
Anne(age 37) wife
children: John(10), James(8), Mary(6), Patt(5), Delia(2), Annie(3mo.)

This appears to be a close match to our John and Mary who emigrated to New York, leaving behind their brother James. Additional research is needed to confirm that this is indeed our Walsh family, and to determine the relationship to Teddy Hopkins.

John Walsh in Tacoma
It is unclear what happened to John Walsh after 1910. While there are several John Walshes listed in the 1920 Census, none clearly match the information we know about John. It is unknown if he stayed in Tacoma, or moved elsewhere.

Two men named John Walsh are listed in the 1921 Tacoma City Directory:
Page 767
Walsh John lab r 2016 1/2 N 30th
Walsh John lab Northwest Chair Co r 6320 South D.

It is unknown if either is related to the Hopkins family.

Hopefully researh on this branch of the family will lead to more information about the Hopkins family in Ireland.

Steve Morse's one-step search forms for Ellis Island records and other genealogy-related databases.
Description of Killasser Parish from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
Swineford Poor Law Union
Museums of Mayo
1901 Census Transcription including counties Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Wexford and Westmeath.

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Baltimore in the 1840s and 1850s

Edward Betts and family lived in Baltimore from the mid 1840s through at least the mid 1850s. This was a turbulent period in Baltimore's history.
"Anti-foreign and Anti-Catholic feeling which had been growing steadily among the native Americans in Baltimore, finally crystallized in the formation of the Know-Nothing Party . . . The latter [foreigners and Catholics] retaliated in kind, their clubs affiliating themselves with the Democrats. During the election campaigns, municipal, state and national, there were frequently bloody clashes between members of the two factions, armed with every conceivable weapons from brad awls to cannon.
To add to the confusion, there were the rival volunteer firemen's associations which frequently engaged in armed conflicts in the streets. Fires burned themselves out while these fights were in progress, and it sometimes seemed as if fires had been started by incendiaries to provide opportunities for the belligerents. . . .
Underneath the contest on local questions was the growing tension between the Abolitionists and the Pro-Slavery advocates ...."
Despite the turmoil, Baltimore of this period had many positive attributes, particularly for small tradesmen and laborers.

A visitor from England noted that "... small shop-keepers, mechanics and tradesmen ... appeared to him to be better informed, more industrious and in better circumstances than the same class in England."

"The mechanics," [commented a visitor from Scotland] "usually live in self-contained houses owned by themselves, of which there are whole streets in the city. These houses are fifteen feet in front and three stories high, and are built of brick, on leasehold sites held for ninety-nine years, renewable forever."
Many visitors from the British Isles commented on the "proverbial beauty" of the women of Baltimore. Said one visitor "Every man is an outré Parisian, and nearly every woman whom you meet good looking." Another said "I had repeatedly heard . . . that the ladies of Baltimore were exquisitely beautiful, and I found that they justify that assertion . . . . . There is much vivacity in their appearance and in their language; they seem very fond of music and have the credit of singing and playing very well; their society is most pleasant."

All were disgusted by the habit of most men (and many boys) of chewing tobacco, which was permitted even in church.

Quotes from "Baltimore as Seen By Visitors 1783-1860" by Raphael Semmes, published by the Maryland Historical Society, 1953.

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