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Miscellaneous Notes: Maryland’s Defenders’ Day

1814, Sept. 14

Forenoon, this Wednesday, the garrison of Fort McHenry and the Sept. artillerists of Covington’s and Webster’s (or Six-Gun) batteries behind the Fort assemble to rejoice over their repulse of the British landing party at the cove the night before...

Origin of the future Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Maryland. Newspaper notices of Veteran assemblies yearly from 1815 to 1840, inclusive, are quoted.

Albert K. Hadel, M.D., Registrar, Md.
Society, in Baltimore American, July 25, 1895

1842, May 14

Founding of the “Association of the Defenders of Baltimore in May 1814.” Dr. Hadel has continuous records of the 1812 Society (Md.) under its various titles, from 1841 to 1895, inclusive.

Ibid. Cf. also the A. K. Hadel “Scrap
Book,” 1891-1901, MS #762 in Maryland Historical Society

1843 The Association adopts a constitution.
1870 Group photograph, this year, of twelve unnamed Defenders in Baltimore Sun, Sept. 12, 1938.
1870 and 1878 Group photographs, these years, by Bachrach Brothers, of thirty and thirteen unnamed Defenders, respectively, appear in Photogravure Sect., Sunday Sun, Apr. 4, 1920.
1880, Sept. 25 Harper’s Weekly, New York City, this date carries clear, individual engravings of seven named Defenders. (James C. Morford, see below, not included.)
1881, Sept. 25 Bachrach photograph, this date, of twelve Defenders at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore. They are named, including J. C. Morford, in the photo as reproduced in the Eve. Sun, Sept. 11, 1936. Same photo much better reproduced in Harry L. McCulloh’s article, “I Remember. . . The Last of the Old Defenders,” Sunday Sun, Sept. 6, 1959.
1887, Sept. 12 Baltimore hotelier Robert Rennert stages his last banquet for the Old Defenders. (Next year only two would remain, both too enfeebled to attend such a function.)
1888 By necessity, descendants assume reins of the Veteran organization, now styled “Association of the Descendants of the Defenders of Baltimore in the War of 1812.”
1888, Dec. 17

Death of the last Old Defender, and the last Veteran president of the 1812 Society (Md.), James Chamberlain Morford. Born at Long Green, Baltimore County; interred in family burying ground there. At age 19 he had served at North Point as quartermaster in the Company of his kinsman, Capt. Harry Fowler [46th Regt.].

For many years Mr. and Mrs. Morford were members of the High Street Baptist Church, Baltimore. Their pastor, Rev. 0. F. Gregory, recalls: “He was the sole survivor at the last dinner given to the Old Defenders, and after retiring from the dinner took the street cars by himself and went to Patterson Park, where a celebration was in progress, was introduced to the audience and made a few remarks.”

0. F. Gregory, letter to the Editor, Sun, Sept. 12, 1913 (p. 6)

1893, Oct. 25 “Association of the Descendants incorporated under title, Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Maryland.
1984, April 12 At Philadelphia the Pennsylvania, Maryland, and recently formed associations in Connecticut and Massachusetts organize the General Society of the War of 1812.
1895, July 23, Sept. 4, Nov. 17 Appleton Morgan, a vice-president of the Pennsylvania Society, contributes lengthy letters to the Baltimore American, these dates, demolishing Pennsylvania’s and New York’s claims to chronological precedence over the Maryland Society.
1908 Heretofore a municipal holiday, Defenders’ Day is proclaimed a State-wide commemoration by the General Assembly. (Chap. 181, Public General Laws of Maryland, 1908.)
1939, Aug. 7 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs bill providing for national participation in Defenders’ Day. Bill introduced into the Senate of U.S. by George L. Radcliffe (Dem., Md.) and into the House by Lansdale G. Sasscer (Dem., Md.).
1952, Sept. 12 A clear route-map of the Cavalcade, with photographs of six of the Halts, appears this date in the Eve. Sun.
1960, Sept. 14 Post Office Department first-day issue at Baltimore of the Francis Scott Key postage stamp (4 cents), in “American Credo” series.
1969, Sept. 7 Special Defenders’ Day issue appears in “Maryland Living,” magazine section of the Baltimore News-American, with photographs of Key’s manuscript and of the first sheet music, plus feature articles by two of the editors (and Md. Society members), Neil H. Swanson and Walter F. Herman.
2003, Sept. 14 Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, then Mayor of Baltimore City, was named honorary colonel of the Fort McHenry Guard.
2007, Sept. 8 Governor Martin O'Malley issues an Executive Order to create the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. The Commission will plan a multi-year cultural tourism and educational initiative to commemorate Maryland's unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation including the pivotal clash that ensured American victory, an iconic flag, and our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.
2008, May 8 The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is authorized by the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. It is a National Historic Trail that commemorates the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. The trail commemorates the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812 as it traces four major historical events along bikeways, byways, and waterways in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The 290-mile (467 km) trail was named after "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States.

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