Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Rambler

I think it is nice that Jim can share some of the exciting things he and Peter do when they are not involved with Port Tobacco. My real job isn't so exciting. Guess what I did? I continued writing a paper on Reliability and Maintainability (RAM) for Psychological Operations Communications Platforms based out of Fort Bragg. I know. Ya'll are jealous.

I found the following information and thought it interesting. It gives an outsider's view of PT in the early 20th century. Please enjoy.

THE RAMBLER is the name given to a series of articles on Washington, District of Columbia, and its vicinity, written by John Harry Shannon from 1912-1927 and published by the Washington newspaper called THE EVENING STAR. Some of these articles are available on microfilm at the Fairfax County Public Library in Fairfax, Virginia, although they are very difficult to read.

On 26 December 1915 (vol. 1, no. 231), the Rambler wrote about Port Tobacco, an early settlement on the banks of the Potomac River, on the Maryland side. Port Tobacco was mentioned by Captain John Smith in his book about Virginia, A MAP OF VIRGINIA, WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY....

In its heyday, before settlement spread into the interior, Port Tobacco was the county seat. These are the last 2 paragraphs of this essay:"As you journey over the road and approach Port Tobacco you will notice that the hilltops are crowned with big old houses. There is quite a bit of decay now, but one cannot help getting the impression that this was a region of wealth. About many of these old places is an air of aristocracy. The village itself is nearly a ruin. Two little wings of the old court building are standing. Brawner’s Hotel is no more, but you stand on its debris-strewn site. Old natives will tell of Brawner and a fine horse called Rebel which he owned. A man named Shackleford kept the hotel before Brawner, and it was last run by a man named Birch. That was many years ago. Middleton’s Hotel, which was still operating in 1876 under the name of the Centennial Hotel, is a tenantless shell; where Christ Episcopal Church stood is a tree-grown lot. "All around the town on the ridges above it are the old farms and homes of the Brawners, Neals, Floyds, Jenkins, Hamiltons, Mitchells and Wingates. Some other time the Rambler will write more of the old families of the Port Tobacco region."

"Following is the advertisement of Moore’s Hotel, Leonardtown: ‘$35 per month: children under twelve years of age and nurses half price; steamer Thompson leaves Washington every Wednesday and Saturday and steamer Sue every Sunday. Herbert F. Moore, proprietor.’ Herbert’s brother, Jack, was proprietor of Brawner’s Hotel at Port Tobacco. That was the leading hotel in Port Tobacco at the time of the assassination of Lincoln, when Port Tobacco and its neighborhood were thronged with soldiers and secret service agents, and at that time Booth and Herold were in hiding in a bit of pines on the Cox farm (now Cox’s station on the Popes Creek line). Jones’ home, called Huckleberry, whence Booth and Herold crossed the Potomac to the Quesenberry place at Mathias point, was only a few miles from Port Tobacco."note: John Wilkes Booth was a Confederate sympathizer who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, just after the close of the Civil War. He was shot (or perhaps killed himself) a couple of weeks later, in a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia. Several people found guilty as co-conspirators were hanged.

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