Mount Clare

Mount Clare (HM15LK)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21230
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 16.746', W 76° 38.598'

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Freedom Seekers at Georgia Plantation

— National Underground Railroad-Network to Freedom —

In 1760, Mount Clare was built as the summer home of Charles Carroll, Barrister. Mount Clare was the center of Georgia, Charles Carroll's 800-acre Patapsco River Plantation. The estate supported grain fields and grist mills along the Gwynn's Falls, an orchard and vineyard, racing stables, brick kilns, and a shipyard on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

Industrial Slavery-
When it first went into operation, the Baltimore Iron Works had a labor force of eighty-nine individuals. Forty-seven were white (thirty-eight were free men on wages, nine were indentured servants) and forty-two were enslaved African Americans. At the height of its development in 1763 the Baltimore Iron Works owned one hundred and fifty enslaved African Americans and hired still more free African Americans. The enslaved workers performed a wide spectrum of jobs within ironworks, many of them skilled. By 1737 the forty-three enslaved individuals at the Baltimore Iron Works were listed as performing many duties including miners, colliers, woodchoppers, farm hands, cooks and at least one skilled blacksmith.

Conditions for the workers, both enslaved and free were far from desirable. The Baltimore Ironworks periodically suffered from food shortages for the hands, at least during the late 1760's and early 1770's. In 1777 one manager wrote that the people and stock were almost starving. Under these conditions the managers realized that the incentive to escape would be great. Working with the white indentured servants also likely gave the enslaved individuals additional opportunities and contacts and increased their change of successful escapes.

Freedom Seekers-
Throughout the mid 1700's Charles Carroll posted several ads in the Pennsylvania Gazette, for runaway enslaved men, indentured servants and convict laborers. It appears that planning and group efforts were often involved as most of the runaway postings indicate the escape of multiple individuals simultaneously along with the theft of horses food and supplies.

The explosive growth of Baltimore's free African American community from a few hundred in 1790 to more than 10,000 by 1820 played a role in the evolving pattern of runaway destinations. Constituting a majority of Baltimore's African Americans after 1810, free people of color could ally with runaways, harbor them or provide other services. In addition there were many religious and abolitionist groups active in the city that provided support.

Two documented instances of Charles Carroll posting ads for enslaved individuals who had runaway from the "subscriber" (Charles Carroll) are in the museum collection.

Individual Maryland freed, or manumitted, thousands of enslaved African Americans by individual voluntary acts recorded in deeds or wills. Balancing economic necessity with religious and moral reasons, owners who manumitted their enslaved person often did so by term, meaning they were to be freed at a future specified date. These were called "delayed manumissions."

Prospective manumitters also freed their enslaved individuals by will once the state lifted its prohibition against the practice in 1790. The will of Margaret Carroll, the Barrister's widow in 1817, is a perfect example of this trend as its terms state that: I hereby devise all my negroes and slaves To Mr. Henry Brice and Tench Tilghman, my Executors, in trust that they will set them all free in such ages, and on such terms as they deem best under all circumstances, having a view to a provision for the comfortable support of the aged and infirm with which duty my Executors are charged, if either decline acting or die, I vest all these powers in the acting or surviving executor.

One specific enslaved person, "my Negro boy Tom" was singled out in the will to be given to Charles Ross with a specific time period for his delayed manumission "til the boy arrives to thirty one years old, when he shall be free."

Slavery at Mount Clare-
Charles Carroll, and his wife's family the Tilghmans, were among the few slaveholders in Maryland who owned large plantations with over one hundred enslaved persons. Slave at Mount Clare were not only involved in typical agricultural and domestic work but also industrial jobs at the Baltimore Iron Works, and industrial company that produced pig iron in which the Barrister was part owner.

Documentation on the life of slaves at Mount Clare during the Colonial and early-Federal period (1760-1817) of Charles and Margaret Carroll has been found in letters, wills and local newspapers.

Mount Clare July 10, 1780—-RAN away, from the subscriber's island plantation, at the mouth of the Gunpowder, about the beginning of this month, a mulatto slave called JACK LYNCH, about 35 years of age, a short well set fellow, has a down look, is an artful rogue, speaks slow, and appears to be very mild. Had on an took with him, a blue broadcloth coat, country cloth jacket, one Irish linen shirt, one pair of country linen trousers, a pair of half-worn shoes with buckles, and old country made hat, and has lately had a breaking out on his head. Whoever brings him to the subscriber, or secures him, so that we may get him again, shall have the above reward, and reasonable charges. CHARLES CARROLL

HM NumberHM15LK
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 5:39am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 358260 N 4349036
Decimal Degrees39.27910000, -76.64330000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 16.746', W 76° 38.598'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 16' 44.76" N, 76° 38' 35.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1500 Washington Blvd, Baltimore MD 21230, US
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