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Biographies

Benjamin Henry Latrobe
1764 - 1820
Furnished by : John Sharp

 
Benjamin Henry Latrobe
Benjamin Henry Latrobe
circa 1804


Benjamin Henry Latrobe
born in England, he traveled extensively through England, France, and Germany. He studied engineering at a time when the two disciplines were rapidly achieving professional status. After the death of his first wife, followed by some financial difficulties and the failing economy, he emigrated in 1795-96, to Virginia, and eventually settled in Richmond. In 1798, he moved to the more cosmopolitan locale of Philadelphia, where he designed the city's first water system and was appointed architect for the Bank of Philadelphia.

Latrobe and President Jefferson first collaborated when Jefferson sought his expertise to design a dry dock at the Washington Navy Yard. Although Congress never funded the elaborate project, the architectural talents of the young Latrobe did not go unnoticed. In 1803, Jefferson, who was himself well known in the architectural field, appointed Latrobe the country's first Surveyor of Public Buildings, and from that point a long mutual admiration developed. As surveyor, Latrobe was responsible for the continuing design and oversight of construction of all government buildings, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol. The Gate which still bears his name was completed by 1806.

Latrobe also helped layout of the various trade shops and promoted the adoption of the latest technology, the steam engine. Writing in 1811 Latrobe observed: ’the Steam engine had been constructed, not only to do the work of the Smiths shop, but to drive the Saw mill, to make blocks and perform much other work.”(Latrobe 1984, vol. 3, 8). Latrobe was keenly aware of the need to have a skilled operator for one of the few steam engines ( see letter of 9 January 1811 from Secretary Hamilton to Commodore Tingey expressing his concern about Samuel Ellis's demand. Latrobe was among the new nation's earliest proponents of steam power. Hamilton finally agreed to raise Ellis wage to $ 2.00 per day and he was allowed an apprentice (Payroll for Blacksmiths employed in the Navy - Yard Washington in the month of July 1811).

This pioneering steam powered industrial complex made the new technology possible. The steam engine drove the tilt hammer, blew the Blacksmith's fire and rolled iron plate. The new device also gave the workforce new occupational categories such as Steam Engine Operator. (See Paul Hamilton's letter to Thomas Tingey 9 January 1811.).

Paul Hamilton's 9 January 1811 letter to Thomas Tingey reflects the Secretaries puzzlement with the necessity of the new steam technology. By 1822, the Navy Yard would employ four steam engine operators who kept the new engine going around the clock (American State Papers, vol. 2, 848).

Latrobe continued to work with Jefferson on a revision of the White House and later helped Dolly Madison on the design and function of the interior spaces. Latrobe's greatest work was his Roman Catholic Cathedral in Baltimore.

Latrobe Letter to Benjamin King, 8/5/1804 : http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/biographies/latrobeletters.html 

Benjamin Henry Latrobe died in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1820.

Benjamin King
1779 - 1837

Furnished by : John Sharp

 
Benjamin King

Portrait by Saint Memin
circa 1806
This portrait is from
the Library of Congress
and is said to be the likeness of

Benjamin King


Benjamin King
Master Blacksmith,
Benjamin King, was born in Carron Scotland; he later immigrated abroad and fought with the French armies in Santo Domingo. He was first appointed in 1804 and later reappointed following the War of 1812 by the Board of Naval Commissioners on 15 August 1817 at a salary of $ 1500.00 per year. King did much of the early iron work for the nation's capitol and the White House.

Benjamin King held numerous early District public offices. In addition King was an inventor who was often called upon to assist and evaluate new naval devices. King held a number of patents including one for an ’Equilateral Level for leveling lands” (straw cutting machine) that he wrote (2 December 1822) of to Thomas Jefferson.

During the war of 1812, King fought at the Battle of Bladensburg. As Washington Navy Yard Master Blacksmith he supervised the anchor shop which employed as many as 19 slaves including 5 owned by King himself, which he leased to the Yard.

In 1806 after his first meeting with Benjamin King, Engineer Benjamin Latrobe wrote ’He is a Universal Mechanic and the dernierresort [Last recourse] of all officers and artizans in every difficult undertaking and is seldom found at a loss.”

Despite his acknowledged technical competence, Benjamin King's often outspoken manner and frequent critical comments regarding his naval superiors and colleagues caused friction and often acrimonious relations with Commodore's Thomas Tingey, and Isaac Hull, he also had strained relations with WNY engineer Benjamin Latrobe and Secretaries of the Navy, Paul Hamilton & Robert Smith. Benjamin Latrobe eventually came to believe King ’was a fool more then a Rogoue, yet he is a very dangerous Man.” By 1812, Benjamin Latrobe's patience with Benjamin King ran out when King voluntarily appeared before a Congressional Committee and charged Latrobe with wasteful operation of the Navy Yard Steam Engine. Latrobe responded with a detailed response to John Randolph the Committee Chairman ((25 January 1812) attributing problems with the Steam Engine to King's failure to supply the engine sufficient water.

Letter to Benjamin King from Benjamin Latrobe : http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/biographies/latrobeletters.html

Both WNY Commandants Thomas Tingey and Isaac Hull tried unsuccessfully to remove Benjamin King for insubordination. See Paul Hamilton's 25 January 1811 and W. Jones letter of 3 February 1813 (King was eventually demoted to a non supervisory position.).

Benjamin King lived at 14th Street East near Eastern Branch, Middle Bridge.

Benjamin King died in 1837 and is buried in Congressional Cemetery (R35/87).

Letters between Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin King


Newspaper articles relating to Benjamin King

 

Paulson's American Daily Advertise
19 September 1811
Washington City, September 12,

The United States ship Hornet will, we learn, proceed to sea in a few days from the Navy -Yard at this city, where she has been thoroughly repaired, almost rebuilt.

The frigate Congress, which was repaired last summer, is now rigging, and will be ready for sea in the course of very few weeks.

Melancholy Casualty - On Monday last, Master Benjamin King, one of the Navy Yard in this city, was sculling in a small boat in the dock near the navy-yard wharf, he fell overboard and was unfortunately drowned , every effort to restore him to life proving unavailing. His father, who was not distant when the information reached him, ran to the spot, and leaping into the water, had nearly partaken of the untimely fate of his son. The youth was in his thirteen year, of the most promising genius; and his loss an affliction to his father, which none but a fond affectionate parent can realize.

 

Note
The ability to swim was rare in the early 19th century America even among sailors of merchant and naval ships and the waters of the Potomac River and its tributaries can be and still are treacherous,
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Alexandria Herald
April 03, 1823
DIED
In Washington City, on the 1st instant Mrs. Elizabeth King in the 38th year of her age, Mrs. King was consort of Mr. Benjamin King living near the navy yard.

 

Benjamin King
Master Blacksmith,

Benjamin King Washington Navy Yard Master Blacksmith, entrepreneur, veteran of the War of 1812 and inventor left a wide mark on early Washington D.C. and the new Navy Yard. In his lifetime, King was perceived as intelligent, creative and clever but just as often thought of as outspoken, boisterous and occasionally cruel. People who met King were rarely indifferent to his larger then life character. King was born on the Isle of Man circa 1764; little is known of his early life on this small rugged isle. His small homeland with a people of Celtic origin had its own distinct language, Manx Gaelic, (then spoken by the majority of the inhabitants, and although nominally under British rule the islanders) fostered King’s independent streak. King probably grew up with Gaelic and English spoken around him. Still in his early teens his parents or relations secure him a blacksmith apprenticeship. In time, he desired a larger world and left to work and train at Carron, Scotland renown as “Scotland’s Forge.” Here King perfected his superb metal working skills. Ambition and adventure led King as it did many of his fellow country men to immigrate abroad.

Like many King went to the Caribbean to make his fortune, he later claimed to have fought with the French armies in Santo Domingo. If this account is correct King may have worked for as one of the numerous mercenaries and freebooters who offered assistance for a price to the French in putting down the largest successful slave revolt in history. In 1801, famed Haitian liberator Toussaint L'Ouverture issued a constitution for Saint-Domingue which provided for autonomy and decreed that he would be governor-for-life. In retaliation, Napoleon Bonaparte dispatched a large expeditionary force of French soldiers and warships to the island, led by Bonaparte's brother-in-law Charles Leclerc, to restore French rule, and under secret instructions to later restore slavery. Such and experience with slavery and revolt left profound impressions on many European observers but what did it mean to King? Documentation is meager but nothing that occur during this time appeared to effect his attitude toward slavery as he continued a slave owner much of his adult life. How long King stayed in French service is and what he made of France’s military defeat is unknown he probably left with the defeated French forces. Ever resilient at he immigrated to Philadelphia and through contacts came to the notice of Commodore Thomas Tingey, first Commandant of the new Washington Navy Yard and his senior officer Captain John Cassin. The Department of the Navy first appointed King, Master Blacksmith of the Washington Navy Yard on April 12,1804 (and later reappointed following the War of 1812 by the Board of Naval Commissioners on August 15,1817) at a salary of $ 1.000.00 per year.

From his first days at the Yard, King, always stood out. He was not only a blacksmith but someone who constantly strove to reinvent or rework work outdated processes. Quickly King gained a reputation for helping other inventors and entrepreneurs by taking their design concepts and transforming them into actual working models. Famed inventor Robert Fulton specifically requested King’s assistance with metal fabrication for his newly invented torpedo. Early Department of the Navy correspondence reflects King’s own inventive nature and that he were often called upon to assist and evaluate new naval devices. Secretary of the Navy, Robert Smith writing to Commodore Thomas Tingey relates one such instance “King states that he has invented a Mathematical instrument, which is calculated to ascertain certain distances with great facility and he wants the assistance of Mr. Small to enable him to complete the instrument. Let him have Mr. Small or any other Mechanic of the Yard that he may require for this purpose.” King’s frequent absences from his salaried duties as chief blacksmith to work with inventors or to examine new nautical devices gradually became a source of irritation to Tingey and other naval officers.

King held a number of patents including one for an ’Equilateral Level for leveling lands” (straw cutting machine) on which he corresponded with President Thomas Jefferson. In 1819 King took out a patent for a cable twisting machine which allowed one man to the work of many. King was proud of his patents and defended them with vigor. One invention “a mode of making parallel holes” in iron plates for railings was apparently a favorite of his, he placed a notice in a newspaper stating that he would prosecute all “offenders to the utmost rigor of the law as he has already done in one case.” As early as 1804 King installed some of first plumbing fixtures in the “water closet” of the new White House then know as “the President’s House” for Thomas Jefferson. As late as April 29, 1807 King still worked on various projects, Benjamin Henry Latrobe the newly appointed Architect of the Capitol and Engineer of the Navy Yard worked closely with King. Latrobe writing to Jefferson recounts King’s work in a favorable light. “Having laid out the ground with the assistance of Mr. King, to whose kindness and skill I am under the greatest obligations…”

As WNY Master Blacksmith, King, by 1811 supervised a large shop composed of 47 journeymen, apprentices, laborers and slaves. In 1818 a writer noted there twenty two forges and three furnaces. In addition the blacksmith’s domain had large new tilt hammer operated by newly installed steam engine. The blacksmith shop like other departments at WNY made extensive use of enslaved labor. King owed five slaves and with other senior officers and civilians such as Tingey, Cassin, Master Plumber John Davis of Abel, Master Mast Maker Peter Gardner, and Clerk of the Yard, Thomas Howard these men leased their slaves to the Navy Yard. This was a profitable arrangement both for the slave owners who pocketed the enslaved workers wage and for the Navy Yard since white blacksmiths were paid $1.81 per diem versus 80 cents per day for each enslaved worker. Most of these enslaved men were used for heavy work as strikers wielding large hammers to beat molten metal into anchors. The payroll for 1811 reflects as many as 19 slaves including the 5 owned by King himself.

When the Secretary of the Navy sought to reduce enslaved labor King protested that enslaved workers were ideal for the blacksmith shop. “Experience has pointed out the utility of employing for Strikers Black Men in preference to white & of them Slaves before Freemen – The Strict distinction necessary to be kept up in the shop is more easily enforced – The Liberty white men take of going & coming is avoided the Master of Slaves for their own interest keep them at work- The Habits of Labor they are Inured to & then Ability to support it are striking Obvious – It also takes some time to learn their Business & the time a White Man learns, he quits us & the trouble is to be renewed.”

The WNY blacksmiths had a reputation as a tough group of tradesman who were often unhappy over their wages and working conditions. The mix of enslaved and free workers made for a volatile situation, and as a complicating factor the early shipyard and naval customs allowed men to drink beer and grog during their work hours as “refreshment.” Discord and occasionally violence flared up.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe first saw King, as a force of nature. After an August, 11, 1806 meeting with King, Latrobe wrote in his journal, ’He is a Universal Mechanic and the dernierresort [Last recourse] of all officers and artizans in every difficult undertaking and is seldom found at a loss.” As the two men worked together Latrobe quickly came to see King in more critical light while still willing to concede King’s ability as a craftsman he found the master mechanic too out spoken and thought him a severe and harsh task master ’Ben. King is forging the Crank. He has thought proper to alter his opinion and is making it the most tremendous lump of Iron, the Necks 4 inches in diameter, the squares 5 inches. He now thinks it too weak. He has been swearing and whipping his black Strikers at a terrible rate these two days past ...”

Kings first wife died in childbirth in 1806 he married again with the year to Elizabeth a young lady he met on one of his journeys to Philadelphia. In September 1811his young son and namesake Benjamin King Junior died in a tragic accident. “ On Monday last, Master Benjamin King, one of the Navy Yard in this city, was sculling in a small boat in the dock near the navy-yard wharf, he fell overboard and was unfortunately drowned , every effort to restore him to life proving unavailing. His father, who was not distant when the information reached him, ran to the spot, and leaping into the water, had nearly partaken of the untimely fate of his son. The youth was in his thirteen year, of the most promising genius; and his loss an affliction to his father, which none but a fond affectionate parent can realize.”

In an era where most people paid strict attention to hierarchy and deference to ones betters, Benjamin King paid little heed to either in his dealings with military or civilian authorities, King was unbowed. Indeed within a few months of his initial appointment as Master Blacksmith, senior Naval Captain, John Rodgers angered and displeased with the bilge pumps King’s blacksmiths manufactured wrote threateningly “It is in your Interest to pray that my Head may be knock’d off before I return for be assured if you are not punished before that period I will revenge the Injury you have done me, with my own hands.” Fortunately for both men Rodgers temper cooled and they continued to work together.

During the war of 1812, King age fifty, volunteered and fought heroically at the Battle of Bladensburg. Despite his acknowledged technical competence, Benjamin King's often outspoken manner and frequent critical comments regarding his naval superiors and colleagues caused friction and acrimonious relations with Commodore Thomas Tingey, and his successor Isaac Hull. King strained relations with Latrobe continued to deteriorate and Latrobe eventually came to believe King ’was a fool more then a Rogue, yet he is a very dangerous Man.” By 1812, Latrobe's patience with King had completely run out especially after King voluntarily appeared before a Congressional Committee and charged Latrobe with wasteful operation of the Navy Yard Steam Engine. Latrobe responded with a detailed response to John Randolph the Committee Chairman) attributing problems with the WNY steam engine to King's failure to supply the engine sufficient water. This Congressional hearing ended without no blame attributed but both men’s reputation suffered.

At various times Commandants Thomas Tingey and Isaac Hull tried unsuccessfully to remove King for insubordination. Two Secretaries of the Navy, Paul Hamilton and William Jones, both moved to discipline or remove their errant blacksmith but each finally relented and returned King to the navy payroll. Hamilton became upset with King over the blacksmith using the Georgetown newspaper Independent American to charge naval officials and others with “fraudulent practices.” Secretary Jones letter to Tingey nicely catches the essence of their dilemma, “The late Master Blacksmith of the Navy Yard, Mr. King having been dismissed for an irregularity and seriously implicating his character as a man or as a public Servant, and presuming that his suspension may be considered as inadequate to the offense he committed, you will again receive him into this Navy Yard and reinstate him in his former situation. The unquestionable character I have of him as able Mechanic renders his services of importance in the contemplated increase of the naval Forces of which a portion will go into early operation at the Navy Yard here.” For Secretary Jones, King’s technical competence proved far more persuasive than his rough out spoken manner, proud demeanor and disregard of orders.

King’s conduct and business dealing toward the end of his life increasingly became the subject of rumor and gossip. In the early years the Navy Yard had allowed some of the Master Mechanics to from their own private forges and workshops. Due to limited naval budget appropriations the early yard simply did not have workshops and facilities to house the blacksmith shops and King and others were allowed to work out of their private homes and shops invariably the line between public and private became muddled.

From February 12 to 20, 1829 the Board of Navy Commissioners conducted an investigation into accusations made by Master Boat Builder William Easby against, Benjamin King and his son Robert. Easby alleged that the King's had taken the property of federal government and had used official time to conduct their own private blacksmithing and iron foundry business. The Board inquiry called numerous master mechanics, journeymen blacksmiths, and apprentices who had worked with King and his son Robert over the years as witnesses. The Board concluded the King's had in fact worked on a variety of private business, while on the rolls of the WNY and on occasion, used government supplied materials for their private endeavors. After reviewing the investigation file, Hull noted that he found William Easby's complaints justified. "I find King so excessively stupid that I cannot get at time or anything else for him." Hull later wrote to the Chairman of the Board of Navy Commissioner, Commodore John Rodgers, "from some cause he appears deranged in his mind, and not to know what he is doing . . . I have informed Mr. King, that his services were no longer required in the Shop until your pleasure could be known." Hull pressed for King's removal but the Secretary of the Navy intervened with the decision that in view of Benjamin King's long service, he would be reduced to journeyman status, and allowed to continue on the rolls.

King’s residence in Washington DC was at 14th Street East near Eastern Branch, Middle Bridge.

Benjamin King died in September 12, 1840 at his residence in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. His obituary remembered “he was esteemed by the public authorities and by all who knew him as an honest and kind-hearted man as well as for his preeminent skill in his profession.”

END NOTES

1 For King’s birthplace and probable birth date see Daily National Intelligencer September 21, 1840. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who worked with King, recorded some of their conversations and what he knew of King’s origins and early life. The Journals of Benjamin Henry Latrobe , 1799 -1829: from Philadelphia to New Orleans / Edward P. Carter, John C. Van Horne and Lee W. Formwalt /editors (New Haven : Yale University Press, 1980) , 67-69. This account of King working at Clyde and Carron is confirmed in D.B. Warden’s, a Chorographical and Statistical Description of the District of Columbia, the Seat of the Government of the United States (Paris: Smith and Co. 1816), 64.

2Thomas Tingey lived in Philadephia and worked and sailed in the Caribbean did he meet King during this time? WNY payroll records have at least two other Benjamin King’s who worked at the Yard at the same time as Benajmin King was Master Blacksmith. These two individuals are Benajmin King 1779 – 1837 a carpenter who worked in the Boar Building Department and his son Benjamin King junior also a carpenter.

3Robert Smith to John Cassin, April 12, 1804, Naval Documents Related to Wars with the Barbary Powers, Volume IV, (Washington D.C.:U.S. Office of Naval Records and Library, Government Printing Office. 1939 – 44), 20-21.

“List of Persons , employed on annual salaries , at the Navy Yard Washington , with the stations they fill , amount of Salary by whom appointed and date of the present appointment vis: dated May 1819 lists King as first appointed in 1804 and later reappointed August 15, 1817 with an annual salary of $1,000.00 per annum. See http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/wny1819payroll.html

4Robert Fulton to Thomas Tingey December 24, 1807, Fulton requests Tingey to have King do the fabrication of the copper torpedo housing “as you receive them Mr. King will immediately complete the work.” Thomas Jefferson’s to King regarding his “straw cutter” is dated December 22, 1822. King recounts his work on “Equilateral Level” in his letters of December 2, 1822 and January 3, 1823 See Library of Congress the Thomas Jefferson Papers 1606 -1827 accessed at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/.

5Smith to Tingey May 5, 1808 RG441, NARA.

6The American Monthly and Critical Review,Volume IV 1818, 68.

7City of Washington Gazette, 4, October 1, 1819.

8Microfilm Edition of the Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe edited by Thomas E. Jeffrey, Clifton, N.J. Letter to Benjamin King dated August 5, 1804 LB (34/C4). I have transcribed this letter from Latrobe to King regarding his work on Thomas Jefferson’s water closet at: http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/biographies/latrobeletters.html
Benjamin Henry Latrobe letter to Thomas Jefferson dated July 6, 1806, notes "everything relating to the water closet to be in perfect order" See Library of Congress The Thomas Jefferson Papers 1606 -1827 accessed at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/.

9Latrobe to Jefferson April29, 1807 See Library of Congress The Thomas Jefferson Papers 1606 -1827 accessed at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/.

10Warden, ,64.

11PAY ROLL for Blacksmiths, employed in the Navy -Yard, Washington in the month of July 1811, accessed at: http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/WNY/wny1811julypayrollmech.html.

12King to Cassin, January 14,1809, RG45/M125, NARA

13WNY Blacksmiths Petition to Smith, March 11, 1807, RG45/125, NARA.and Blacksmiths Petition to Hamilton circa October 1812. See http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/biographies/bio5.html#Washington_Navy_Yard_Blacksmiths_Petition_October_1812.

14Latrobe Journal August 11, 1806, and Latrobe to Jefferson April 29, 1807. See Library of Congress the Thomas Jefferson Papers 1606 -1827 accessed at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/.

15Latrobe to James Smallwood, October 5, 1810, Benjamin H. Latrobe Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. (Maryland Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984-1988) Volume II, 1911.

16Paulson's American Daily Advertiser September19, 1811.

17John Rodgers to King, June 15, 1804, Naval Documents, Volume I, 193-194.

18Samuel Miller to James Madison, April 20, 1836. Miller, King’s commanding officer at Bladensburg, states King, took charge of disabled gun and was instrumental bringing the gun into action assisting the gum crew “cut down sixteen of the enemy.” See Library of Congress, The James Madison Papers accessed at: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/collections/madison_papers/.

19Latrobe to Randolph, January 25, 1812. Latrobe Papers Volume III, 240-242.

20Hamilton to Tingey August 1, 1810 and Independent American August 1, 1810.3.

21Hamilton to Tingey, January 25, 1811 and Jones to Tingey February 3, 1813.

22William Easby later married Ann Agnes Maria King the daughter of Benjamin King. Shortly after Andrew Jackson's election Easby left federal employment and set up his shipbuilding firm. He built a successful. http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/biographies/bio5.html#William_Easby.

23Daily National Intelligencer September 21, 1840.

Margaret Adlum Biography
Margaret Adlum
July 13, 1767 - July 16, 1852
Wife of John Adlum, a Revolutionary War Soldier
Furnished by : Gene Kerr Sharp and John G. Sharp

Margaret Adlum was born July 13, 1767, at Frederick Town Maryland. She was the eldest of six children born to John Adlum and his wife Margaret (last name is not known). Her father was born in Ireland about 1725 or 1727 and emigrated to Pennsylvania 1732. He first settled in York Town,York County, PA, but moved to Frederick, Maryland about 1764. Over the years he became a prosperous farmer and took an active interest in the growing political movement against British rule. He took part in the Committee of Observation for Frederick County, MD meetings that plotted a strategy of resistance to the crown. During the Revolution, he was an officer in the local militia and is referred to in many documents as: "Captain John Adlum". About 1780, Margaret Adlum met her first cousin and future husband Major John Adlum (1759-1836) who had come to Frederick, MD to visit his uncle. Her future spouse John Adlum was gone for many years seeking his fortune on the then uncharted American frontier and worked as a surveyor and land developer. He returned to Frederick twenty years later in 1805 to marry Margaret Adlum on 13 December 1805.

Together Margaret and John Adlum had two daughters: Margaret Catherine Adlum born 1810 and Ann Maria Dent born 1815. Their family correspondence reflects a warm and loving relationship. The Adlum family first lived and farmed at Harve de grace, MD and later moved to the District of Columbia (about 1814) where Major Adlum pursued his business interests and especially his experiments with domestic grapes and production of table wine.

Margaret's father Captain John Adlum died about 1814. Throughout her long life she remained close to her family; especially her sisters and her roots in rural Maryland. From the extended family correspondence that survives, Margaret Adlum appears to have been a kind and loving mother and grandmother Her husband died in 1836. After Major Adlum's death she seems to have managed the family business interest with great success and ability. Her daughter Margaret Catherine Adlum married Cornelius Barber scion of a wealthy planter family, the couple had five children then tragically these five young lives and Margaret's joy were all taken in 1849 during an outbreak of cholera. This sad event is reflected in lengthy provisions of her Last Will and testament, where she takes extraordinary care to protect the financial future of her family, especially, the surviving child of her daughter Margaret C. Barber and the children of her younger daughter,Ann Maria Dent, who died in 1849.

Margaret Adlum died July 16, 1852 and is buried along side her husband Major John Adlum at Oak Hill Cemetery Georgetown, MD.
John Adlum's Biography and gravesite.

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In transcribing Margaret Adlum's Last Will and Testament and its subsequent Codicil, we have taken care to retain the documents punctuation spelling grammar, and document lay out as faithfully as possible. Where the spellings are unique or may cause confusion it has been followed by the bracketed conventional usage. We have also placed some footnotes where necessary to note the individuals specifically mentioned in the will. Bracket information denotes that which is not in the original manuscript.

 

[Last Will and Testament of Margaret Adlum (1767 -1852)]
[dated 1 December 1849, Box 21]

 


This is the last will and Testament of me  Margaret Adlum of Washington County in 
the District in the District of Columbia widow of John Adlum Late of said County  First I
 will and direct that all of my just debts be fully paid  Next I give devise and bequeath  
unto Eliza Kolp,  Daughter of Henry Kolp late of Frederick County Maryland, the House 
and the lot which I own in Frederick City  in the said County with appurtenances, to her 
and her heirs for ever But I will direct that she and they permit her mother Catherine 
Kolp and Miss Elizabeth Adlum  to reside therein during their lives and life of the 
survivor without paying rent, but they are not to have the privilege renting the same Also 
I give and bequeath unto the said Eliza Kolp my negro boy Ned aged about seventeen 
years, a slave for life, to her own use absolutely  Also I give and bequeath unto my two 
sisters the said Catherine Kolp  and Elizabeth Adlum the legacy of or sum of two 
hundred and fifty dollars each to be paid to them respectfully as soon as the same can be
[ paid]to them respectively as soon as the same can be made out of the fund or property to 
which I am entitled arising from the settlement between the heirs of William Bingham 
late of Philadelphia and the representatives of my late Husband.  Further I direct that all 
my household goods and effects of every kind and all my farming implements shall be 
equally divided between my Daughter Margaret C. Barber the wife of Cornelius Barber  
and my said niece Eliza Kolp, to whom I give the same accordingly   Also I hereby 
charge all my said debts, and also the expense of removing the remains of my said late 
Husband to the place of my interment, and of erecting a suitable tomb stone  upon the 
sum of thirteen hundred dollars I pass out at interest in Virginia, if the same shall not be 
used by me during my life; and I further charge upon the same sum the legacy of two 
hundred dollars, which I do hereby give to my said niece Eliza Kolp, to be paid to her 
thereout as soon after my decease as can be: and any residual there may be of the said 
sum of thirteen hundred Dollars , I give the same to said Daughter Margaret C. Barber  
Also I give and bequeath unto my Grandson John Adlum Barber,  the son of said 
Cornelius and Margaret C. Barber, the sum of five thousand Dollars, to be paid out of the 
said Bingham fund , at his age of twenty one years, with the increase and accumulation 
thereof in the mean time, to be invested by Executor herein after named,  until said age; 
1 Elizabeth Adlum Kolp 1791 - after 1860
2 Miss Elizabeth Adlum born January 1, 1777 is Margaret Adlum's youngest sibling she remained unmarried.
3 Catherine Adlum Kolp born February 13, 1771 is Margaret Adlum's younger sister
4 Margaret C. Adlum Barber 1810-1892 & Cornelius Barber 1803 -1853.
5 John and Margaret Adlum are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, District of Columbia
      http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/bio_adlum_j.html
6 John Adlum Barber 1838 -1905


and if he die before the age the said legacy and its increase shall pay to his proper legal 
representatives.  Also I give and bequeath unto Rebecca Austin, the Daughter of Austin 
late of the Eastern Shore of Maryland , the sum of three hundred dollars, out of said 
Bingham fund  And I give and bequeath out of the same to my Daughter Margaret the 
sum of one thousand Dollars to be placed at interest and the income applied equally to the 
benefit of my slaves Peter and Ellen , Peter to begin to receive his when he attains sixty 
years of age, and Ellen her share at the age of fifty; neither of which said Negros shall be 
sold; the said principal sum to sink into the residuum of my estate when no longer needed 
for the purposes aforesaid And from and after my decease I hereby do manumit and set 
free my negro women Mary Augustus  in consideration of her faithful conduct  And as to 
all the rest residue and remainder of my Estate real and personal and mixed whosesoever 
situated, I direct the same shall be divided into two equal parts; one of which said parts I 
hereby give devise and bequeath to unto my said Daughter Margaret C. Barber her Heirs 
Executors Administrators and assign: and the other equal half part thereof I give devise 
and bequeath unto my friends Robert Barnard and Joshua Pierce of the County aforesaid 
and the survivors of them and their Executors Administrators and Assigns of such 
survivors In trust that the same can be converted into money as may be, and placed out at 
interest upon good and safe securities, and kept out at interest until the youngest of the 
children of my late Daughter Ann Marie Dent the late Wife of Henry H. Dent shall attain 
his or her age of twenty one years; and I direct that the interest accruing from such 
investments shall from time to time as received be invested until the time aforesaid and 
from principal; and upon the youngest of the said children attaining his or her age of 
twenty one years, my said Trustees or Trustee shall divide the whole of the said trust fund 
with accumulations equally between the said children of late Daughter share and share 
alike; and if any of them die before the said period of division , without leaving lawful 
issue the survivors or survivor shall take the share or shares of him or them so dying , 
equally, at the period aforesaid; but if any of them shall leave  such issue , such issue 
shall be entitled  to his her or their parents share; and if all the children  of my said late 
Daughter shall depart this before the said period of Distribution , without leaving such 
issue then living , then I do give devise and bequeath the whole of said trust fund 
intended for the children of  my said late Daughter unto Margaret C. Barber her heirs and 
executors administrators and assigns And I do herby direct that Trustees of the said fund 
shall be kept up and appointed by the nomination of the survivor or by the proper Court, 
so that the preservation of the said fund, for the purposes aforesaid shall not fail; and I 
direct that the said Henry H. Dent  shall not at any time or in any circumstances be a 
Trustee of the said fund, or in nay way receive or control the same I authorize my said 
Trustees or Trustee for the time being to change this said securities form time to time , 
and to reinvest the funds as aforesaid; hereby declaring that they or he shall not be 

7 In the year 1849 the year this will was written, slaves Peter and Ellen Jenkins were 52 and 47 years of age respectively. In 1862 they 65 & 60 respectively and listed as "slaves for life" in Margaret Adlum's daughter, Margaret C. Adlum Barber's, Petition for Compensation.
See http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/slavery/barber1862petition.html
8 Mary Augustus is the only slave named in this will who is to manumitted and who is designated a legacy directly on Margaret Adlums's death, most likely Mary Augustus was Margaret Adlum' personal maid. Her name is not listed on the 1860 census for the District of Columbia.
9 Henry H. Dent 1815 -1872 married Ann Marie Adlum ( 1841


answerable for any loss unless the same happen by or through his or their willful default 
or neglect; nor the one for the other; and are authorizing them to obtain from time to time 
out of the said trust fund all costs and expenses to which they may be put and a 
reasonable compensation for their services; and enjoining it upon them to pay the said 
trust funds at the period fixed for distribution, to the said children of my said late 
Daughter personally and to no other person whomsoever, hereby declaring that this his or 
her receipt alone shall discharge the said Trustees of Trustee  And I do personally 
nominate and appoint Robert Barnard and Joshua Pierce joint Executors of this my last 
Will and testament hereby revoking all former or other wills by me at any time heretofore 
made  In witness whereof I the said Margaret Adlum have hereunto set my hand and seal 
this first day of December in the year Eighteen hundred and forty nine


Signed sealed and Declared 
by the above named Margaret Adlum 		)
The Testatrix as and for her last Will and
Testament in the presence, at her request 	)		[signed] Margaret Adlum 
and in the presence of each we hereunto 
subscribe our names as witnesses thereto 	)

[Margaret Adlum died July 16, 1852 the following paragraphs were from the probate proceeding]



Hezakiah Magruder [signed]

Susan Ann Pierce [signed] 			July 27, 1852

Mary Ann Clark	 [Signed]


A 3 

	District of Columbia Orphans Court [District of Columbia Probate Court]
Washington County July 27, 1852 - This day appeared Hezekiah Magruder 
& Susan A. Pierce two of the subscribing witnesses to the forgoing last will and 
testament of Margaret Adlum later of Washington County aforesaid, directed & severally 
made oath on the holy Evangels of almighty God, that they did 
See the Testatrix therein named Sign & Seal this will; that she published pronounced & 
declared the same to be her last will and testament that at the time of so doing she was to 
the best of their apprehensions of sound & disposing mind , memory, that they together 
{ilegible] subcribe their names as witnesses to this will in the presence & at the request of 
the testatrix , & in the presence of each other.

10 Hezekiah Magrude, born circa 1805, and was a wealthy physician with a practice in Georgetown.

 

[Codicil to the Will of Margaret Adlum (1767 -1852),]
[dated 10 August 1850 Box 21]


This a Codicil to the last Will of Margaret of me Adlum widow of the late John Adlum of 
Washington county in the District of Columbia, bearing date the first day of December 
last past. Whereas in and by my said last Will I have directed all the residue of my Estate 
real personal an mixed to be divided into two equal parts, one of which I have given to 
my Daughter Margaret C. Barber absolutely; and the other to Robert Barnes and Joshua 
Pierce and the survivors in Trust for the benefit of my Grandchildren , the children of my 
late Daughter Ann Maria Dent s therein expressed Now in regard to the said [illegible] or 
half part of the said residue of my estate given to my said Daughter Margaret C. Barber I 
do hereby give devise and bequeath the same unto the said Robert Barnard and Joshua 
Pierce and the survivor of them and their heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns of 
such survivor In Trust for my said Daughter Margaret C. Barber and to permit her to 
receive the  income and proceeds thereof and to use and employ and dispose of the 
principal of the same in such a manner and for such purposes, either absolutely or 
otherwise , as she my said Daughter shall think proper; the said Trustees or Trustee for 
the time being in all respects to  observe and carry out whatever directions my said 
Daughter may give in writing relative to the employment or disposition of this or half 
part of the said residue of my Estate or of the income and proceeds thereof both principal 
and income to be at all times for her sole and separate use and benefit and free from the 
control , debts and engagements of her Husband  And I do hereby authorize my said 
Daughter Margaret C. Barber to make such deposition of the principal and interest and 
income of the said trust fund as she may think proper , absolutely or otherwise, by Will or 
deed to be executed by her in the usual from; and if she shall die without making any  
disposition thereof , I give the same unto the child or children she may leave at her death, 
and to any lawful issue of such as may have died , equally the children taking their 
parents share, with benefit of survivorship among them And in event of my said 
Daughter dying without leaving children or issue of any as aforesaid , and without having 
made any such disposition of the said Trust fund as I have hereby authorized her to make 
by Will or otherwise , then do direct that such part thereof shall remain unconsumed and 
undisposed of by her , shall pass to my nearest relations according to law  And I do 
hereby direct that the trustees for the purposes above expressed shall be kept up in the 
manner directed by my Will as to the fund given for the benefit of my said Grandchildren 
the children of my late Daughter Ann Maria Dent  And in my said Will I have given the 
said other moiety or heft part of the said residue of my Estate unto my Grandchildren the 
children of my said deceased  Daughter , and have provided in event of their death 
without lawful issue before the period fixed for the distribution of the same; that the same 
shall pass to my said Daughter Margaret C. Barber absolutely  Now I do further declare 
that if the share intended for my said Grand children Dent shall come to my said 
Daughter under the provisions of my Will , the same shall be held by the Trustees above 
named upon the same trusts and with the same powers of disposition in all respects that 
are herein before expressed declared and given in relation to her original moiety or half 
part hereby and by my said Will given and bequeathed to or for her benefit as aforesaid.  
And in addition to the devises and bequests contained in my said Will to and in favor of 
my niece Eliza Kolp I give her the sum of Three thousand dollars to be paid out of the 
Bingham fund as soon as the same shall be realized.  I also give to my said Daughter 
Margaret C. Barber out of the same fund, instead of the provision made by my Will, the 
sum of one thousand dollars to be expended or such part as may be necessary, in 
purchase and improvement of a burial place for myself and family; the expenditure to be 
entirely under her direction and in her discretion. I give a Legacy of one hundred dollars 
to my woman Mary Augustus, to whom I have given freedom by my Will.  And I give 
Peter and Ellen to my said Daughter, confirming the provision made for them by my said 
Will Further, I give unto my said Daughter Margaret C. Barber, the negro woman I have 
recently purchased called Susan Carroll  until she shall arrive at the age of forty four 
years, and then I do direct that she shall be free. I have directed by my Will and also by 
this Codicil, certain of the Legacies to be paid out of the Bingham fund.  If my share of 
that fund or a sufficient fund thereof should be realized in my life, or if I should leave 
sufficient personal Estate /other than the specific bequests I have made / my intention is,  
that  the Legacies above referred to shall be paid thereout, although the whole of my 
interest in the Bingham fund any not have been realized.  In witness whereof I have 
hereto set my hand and seal , and declare this to be a Codicil to my said Will, this of our 
tenth day of August in the year one thousand and eight hundred and fifty, confirming my 
said Will in all respects.  




Signed sealed published and declared 		)		
by the said Margaret Adlum  as 
Codicil her last Will, in the presence		)		[signed] Margaret Adlum
of us, who in her presence, at her request,
and in the presence of each other, has	 	) 
subscribed our names as Witnesses thereto.

11 In 1862 her Petition for Compensation, Margaret C. Barber listed Susan Carroll as 36 years of age. She is described as "seamstress & house servant". Susan Carroll is noted as "To serve till 44 years of age - 8 years to serve", she also has three young children Dennis, Ann Marie and William all described as "slaves for life"
http://www.genealogytrails.com/washdc/slavery/barber1862petition.html

 


Hezakiah Magruder 	[signed]

Susan Ann Pierce	[signed] 			July 27, 1852

Mary Ann Clark	[Signed]



A 6 x
	District of Columbia Orphans Court [Probate Court for the District of Columbia]
Washington County July 27, 1852 - This day appeared Hezekiah Magruder 
& Susan A. Pierce two of the subscribing witnesses to the forgoing last will and 
testament of Margaret Adlum late of Washington County aforesaid, directed & severally 
made oath on the holy Evangels of almighty God, that they did 
See the Testatrix therein named Sign & Seal this codicil; to the last will and testament 
that at the time of so doing she was to the best of their apprehensions of sound & 
disposing mind, memory, that they together with Mary Ann Clark subscribe their names 
as witnesses to this will in the presence & at the request of the testatrix, & in the presence 
of each other - 

				Ed. N. Roach Regt of Wills  


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sources

District of Columbia Orphans Court (Probate Court) Will of Margaret Adlum, 1852 Box 21

Eisenhart, Willis W. "The Abbott-Adlum - Green Families", Abbotstown, Pennsylvania 1957

Gahn,Bessie Wilmarth "Major Adlum of Rock Creek", Records of Columbia Historical Society Volume 19 pages 127 -139. 1937

Burke, Helen Whitacre "Mostly About the Whitacre and Warner Families" 1981 with revisions 1982

 
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