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History & Lore

From Ford’s Theatre through ­Southern Maryland to Virginia

       On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Over the next 12 days Booth scurried through Southern Maryland and into Virginia, evading his pursuers in the manhunt of the century.        Southern Maryland was familiar territory to Booth, who visited under cover of real estate investment. During the long years of the American Civil War (1861-1865) he built a cadre of co-conspirators whose Confederate sympathies drove them to extreme measures.

Local students are stepping up, speaking out and marching for a safe education

       Right here in Annapolis, students are assembling behind their colleagues in Parkland to speak up for their right to a safe education.        Mackenzie Boughey, a sophomore at the Severn School in Severna Park, watched with rising unease as the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, overwhelmed television and social media. First she felt horror. Then inspiration. 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s ­Chesapeake connection

       The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, have a patron saint to inspire them as they reconstruct their terror and grief into a national cause, rallying students around the country to end gun violence. Their school’s namesake was a champion for social justice activism for most of her long life.       In her greatest achievement, she also has an intimate connection to Chesapeake Country, where our own students March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24.

Pysanky, the jewel-like Ukrainian eggs, keep the world in balance

     As an American of Ukrainian heritage, Coreen Weilminster cherishes the Easter traditions with which she was raised. Especially when it comes to the ancient art of pysanky, eggs decorated using a wax-resist method similar to batik. In design, in legend and in Christian tradition, these eggs have kept alive a gentle folk art reflecting the Ukrainian nation.
Teens Crochet for the Bay to aid Patuxent Riverkeeper and American Chestnut Land Trust
      Think today’s teens always have their hands busy texting or playing video games? Not Angela Arnold and her pals at Huntingtown High School in Calvert County.       Arnold, a senior, is vice president of a club of teens who keep their hands busy with crochet hooks and yarn. Crochet for the Bay, now an official nonprofit student group, crafts handmade products to raise money for Bay conservation.
Forensic artist puts images to 200-year-old descriptions
       Lot Bell, who became a free woman in 1816, survived through two centuries of history in a few words written by the man who had claimed her ownership. Granting Lot her freedom in his last will and testament, ­Silbey Bell described her of “pretty dark complexion, long face and high cheek bones … a very remarkable scar on her head on the left side thereof which resembles a mulberry very much.” On the 30-year-old woman’s Certificate of Freedom, those words were the equivalent of her passport photo.

Researchers track down slave descendants’ legacies

Legacy (n) 1. Any special privilege accorded a firstborn. 2. Something immaterial that is passed from one generation to another.  

Dr. Joan Gaither’s quilts document lives and history

      Mention quilts, and people often share memories of grandmothers or great aunts working with needle and thread, joining pieces of fabric with precise stitching.       Dr. Joan Gaither, who documents history with cloth and thread, describes herself as “a quilter who breaks all the rules.” Her quilts are covered with images, words and objects: buttons, ribbons, pieces of jewelry, shells — anything that can be sewn to fabric and symbolizes an aspect of the story she tells.

Lincoln was the first to use photos to shape public perception

       Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership the country celebrates on Presidents Day February 19, a week after his February 12 birthday, ranks as one of our best presidents. He won the Civil War, saved the Union, ended slavery and uttered some of the most eloquent words ever spoken by an American leader. 

Making beer is fun. Can it also be a means to make a living?

       For beer lovers, this is a heady time. Some 1.15 million Americans brew beer at home, in their kitchens, garages and porches, according to the American Homebrew Association. Most are guys, and most older than 30.        “Access to information and equipment has never been better,” says John Morehead, the Association’s competition director, noting that in those areas, “the lines between professional and amateur bleed into each other.”