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Upcoming Lecture on Taking Oral Histories

November 30, 2011

Throughout a lifetime many experiences occur in a family or community and if these happenings are not permanently recorded they are often lost in the mist of time.  Oral history, one of the tools of genealogists and historians, provides a valuable method for capturing these insights, the stories and experiences of an earlier generation.  This program will introduce you to the tools and methods for recording individuals.  The programs presents basic instructions in techniques of oral history.

How To Take and Use Oral Histories
Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 7 p.m.
Location: Havre de Grace Library, 120 N. Union Ave., Havre de Grace, MD 21078

Speaker: Mike Dixon, MA, MS
Public Historian with Havre de Grace War of 1812 Grant Project; Historian at Historical Society of Cecil County; Visiting Scholar at Delaware Humanities Forum; Adjunct Instructor at Harford County Community College


Upcoming Lecture on the Rodgers family

November 4, 2011

Erika Quesenbery, the director of Havre de Grace Main Street, will be speaking on “The Rodgers Family: Six Degrees of Separation,” based on her extensive research on War of 1812 hero John Rodgers and his descendents. John Rodgers and many of his family members made their home in Havre de Grace through the years.

Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 7 p.m.
Location: City Hall, 711 Pennington Ave, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
Cost: Free!
Sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council

Havre de Grace to Host FREE Community History Day on Saturday October 29 to Kick Off “War of 1812: Havre de Grace Under Fire” Commemoration

October 18, 2011

Public encouraged to clean out their attics and bring finds to Community History Day.  Unique items to be filmed for MPT’s Chesapeake Collectibles

 Music, dance, and artisans from 1812 era will perform; many history-related organizations will exhibit

The Heritage Museums of Havre de Grace is hosting a FREE Community History Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Activity Center, 351 Lewis Lane in Havre de Grace. (PLEASE NOTE: This is a new venue!!) This event serves as the community kick-off for the bicentennial commemoration “War of 1812: Havre de Grace Under Fire.”

Community History Day is a free event that allows the community to explore early nineteenth century history via music, dance, artisans, museums, historical research, archeology, genealogy, and more.

Attendees are encouraged to clean out their attics and basements, and bring any unique or historic finds with them to Community History Day. Appraisers and experts will be on hand to tell you about the history of your items and how to preserve and care for them. Items of interest include old documents, letters, photographs, clocks, paintings, furniture, and other collectibles and memorabilia.

Particularly unique or historic items may be chosen to be filmed for MPT’s Chesapeake Collectibles. An MPT crew from the regional version of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow will be on site filming footage for the second season of the show. People interested in having their historic objects appear on the show should email Event Manager Heidi Glatfelter at to be considered for the day’s filming.

A variety of entertainment is scheduled for Community History Day. Dancers in period costume from Goucher College’s Choregraphie Antique will perform dances from the early nineteenth century time period, accompanied by musicians from the Splendid Shilling Consort. These performances are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. David Hildebrand of The Colonial Music Institute will present two performances of music from the 1812 time period at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Lauren Muney of Silhouettes By Hand will be cutting silhouettes of visitors freehand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each silhouette takes about 2 minutes to cut.

A variety of history-related individuals and organizations will be exhibiting during the day and providing information to the public about their craft. The exhibitors include the Harford County Historical Society, the Archeological Society of the Northern Chesapeake, the Harford County Genealogical Society, the Maryland Archeology Conservation Laboratory, the Maryland Historical Trust Underwater Archeologist, the Head of Conservation at the Maryland State Archives, the Maryland War of 1812 Commission, and Preservation Maryland.

Additionally, the six museums who form the Heritage Museums of Havre de Grace will be exhibiting: the Concord Point Lighthouse and Keeper’s House, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, the Steppingstone Museum, the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, and the Skipjack Martha Lewis.

These six museums are currently involved in a collaborative grant project that is preparing a wealth of information as part of “The War of 1812: Havre de Grace Under Fire,” which includes the May 3, 1813 burning of the city of Havre de Grace by British Rear Admiral George Cockburn. The grant project includes the building of a scale model of 1813 Havre de Grace, a local history research project to document the citizens of 1813 Havre de Grace, exhibit panels for each of the participating museums, and educational materials to circulate to the local schools. This project is being funded by the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Community History Day is being funded by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The entire day will be free to the public, thanks to the support of the Humanities Council.

For more information:

Heidi Glatfelter, Event Manager

Event Details:

Community History Day

Saturday, October 29, 2011, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Havre de Grace Activity Hall, 351 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace, MD 21078

Performance Schedule:

10 a.m. Doors Open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. MPT’s Chesapeake Collectibles filming

10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Choregraphie Antique

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Silhouettes by Hand

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. David Hildebrand

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Choregraphie Antique

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. David Hildebrand

3 p.m. Doors close


To be considered for the Chesapeake Collectibles filming schedule:

Contact Heidi Glatfelter at


Lecture! Susquehanna Hose Company: Who We Are, Where We Came From, What We Do

October 11, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 7 p.m.

House #4, 911 Revolution St. Havre de Grace, MD 21078

Charlie Packard, President of the Susquehanna Hose Company in Havre de Grace, MD, gives an overview of the fire department that now exists in the town that the British burnt to the ground on May 3, 1813, during the War of 1812.

Lecture is FREE to the public – PLEASE JOIN US and TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

We need your help – preserve HdG’s history!

May 10, 2011

The National Park Service is soliciting feedback on the management plan for the future of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway. You can view the entire plan by visiting their site here and then downloading the “Management Alternatives Newsletter” PDF file at the bottom of the page.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with management and interpretive plans, this document may be a bit intimidating or confusing. Here is the main message as it pertains to Havre de Grace: only Alternative 3 includes Havre de Grace in the National Park Service’s plans! If the NPS decided to go with Alternatives 1 or 2, Havre de Grace will lose out on a lot of tourism opportunities, as our site will not be promoted as part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail!

But all is not yet lost. The NPS is taking public comments until May 15. So go to the National Park Service site, click “Comment on Document” and ask the NPS to select Alternative 3. This plan is the most comprehensive in terms of interpreting the region’s history – not only is Havre de Grace included, but so are the District of Columbia, Alexandria, Jefferson Patterson Park, and Kinsale. The other alternatives leave these important sites out completely!

Please go vote for Alternative 3 now!

Havre de Grace War of 1812 Event, May 7-8, 2011, with Re-enactors and Historians Chris George and Scott Sheads

May 4, 2011

The British are Coming 8 x 10

Join us Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8 for a War of 1812 encampment and re-enactment of the Battle of Havre de Grace. British and American re-enactors in uniform will be camped at the Lock House Museum both days. On Saturday afternoon around 2:00 pm the American troops will drill, followed by a re-enactment of the British bombardment of the town and the defense of the town by local hero John O’Neill and fellow militiamen on May 3, 1813. Prior to the re-enactment, I, Christopher T. George, historian for the Havre de Grace War of 1812 Bicentennial project, will be on hand at 1:00 pm to talk about the background to the battle, and to put Havre de Grace into the context of the whole war. At 3:15 pm, following the re-enactment, ranger-historian Scott Sheads from Fort McHenry will talk about the Star-Spangled Banner. On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm I am planning another talk on Havre de Grace and the war. Don’t miss us!

Although the British sailors and Royal Marines under Admiral George Cockburn captured the town, the townspeople stood up to the might of the Royal Navy. The town was attacked after the people of the town dared to fly a Star-Spangled Banner from the battery on Concord Point and to fire a cannon which Admiral Cockburn stated in his despatch to Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren persuaded him that the town was worth attacking. Other communities in the area surrendered to the British, including Charlestown on the North East River, Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. . . so the bravery of the people of Havre de Grace is notable. The flying of the flag at the battery at Havre de Grace in May 1813 mirrors the flying of the Star-Spangled Banner over Fort McHenry nearly 18 months later on September 13-14, 1814 when the British attacked Baltimore but failed to get past the fort. Baltimore was saved when the Fort McHenry garrison held out along with other forts on the shoreline. The British failed to get past sunken hulks and gunships in the channel between Fort McHenry on Whetstone Point and Lazaretto Point. Moreover the burning of two-thirds of the town of Havre de Grace in 1813 by the piratical Cockburn and his sailors and marines presaged the burning of Washington, D.C., on August 24-25, 1814.

What happened at Havre de Grace in May 1813 therefore is of national significance. When it happened, it caused consternation throughout the young United States. The town of Havre de Grace became a poster child, along with the sack later that summer of Hampton, Virginia, of what the British could do. The fate of Havre de Grace undoubtedly helped lead to the determination of the Americans that Baltimore would not be burned. Local favorite son Commodore John Rodgers, whose wife Miranda helped save the Federal architecture Rodgers House at 226 N Washington Street in downtown Havre de Grace from being burned, was in Baltimore in September 1814 as the chief U.S. Navy commander in defense of the city. He gave the orders to sink those hulks in Baltimore harbor and his brave U.S. Navy sailors, whites and free blacks side by side (yes! fifty years before Lincoln freed the slaves!) manned batteries to repel the greedy British. Havre de Grace in 1813 therefore became a watchword for British voraciousness, much as the blowing up of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor in 1898 became a slogan in the Spanish American War and Americans cried, “Remember the Maine!”

British Burn the U.S. Capitol, 1814, General Ross and Admiral Cockburn at Left

British Burn the U.S. Capitol, August 24, 1814, with General Robert Ross and Admiral George Cockburn at Left

1812 Schedule May 7 2011

We need help coming up with a name for this project!

April 1, 2011

As you can see from the top of this blog, we are currently calling this project “Havre de Grace 1812 Project.” Wow! What a great title! Not really…it’s actually pretty boring.

But we need some help coming up with a catchier name! So hit the comments below with your ideas…

Some things we would like the name to capture:

  • Havre de Grace
  • War of 1812
  • Fire in town
  • Rebuilding of town/resilience
  • Defending of town against British/bravery
  • Importance of community
  • Excitement for anniversary
  • Importance of town’s history

Your suggestions should incorporate one or several of these themes. Thanks in advance for all of your creative suggestions!