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Burnside

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Sanborn Insurance Company Map 1921
Evening Capital, May 26, 1905
Evening Capital, June 4, 1919

Burnside was the estate of William H. Burns (1845 - 1919), a veteran of the Civil War, railroad man, farmer and developer. In the 1890s he built the house on the corner of what is now Burnside Street and Bay Ridge Avenue in Eastport, Annapolis, Maryland and resided there until his death in 1919.

History of the Area[edit]

The peninsula between Spa Creek and Back Creek descended through the Clarkson and Hill family from the original 300-acre patent, called Horne Point, granted to Robert Clarkson in 1665, to Henrietta Margaret Hill a century later. Henrietta Margaret Hill married Benjamin Ogle in 1770, and the two of them resurveyed her land and patented it in 1803 as an 809-acre tract they named President. In March 1781, troops under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette camped briefly on Henry Margaret’s land while awaiting transport down the Bay to Yorktown. A contemporary map of their encampment shows troops to the south of what is now Sixth Street.[1]

After Henry Margaret’s death in 1815, her son sold her land to pay the debt she and Benjamin had incurred, most of it owed to his mother, Anne Tasker Ogle, who was still alive. The brothers George and John Barber bought 645 acres of the President at a public sale in 1815 for $35.50 an acre. The Barber family sold several parcels of the land over the next 50 years, but the most of it remained a farm known as Horn Point Farm.[2]

After the death of the last Barber to own the farm, trustees for his estate sold 305.75 acres of The President to William F. Pentz of Baltimore City. Pentz sold 200.5 acres to Henry H. Lockwood in 1867. Pentz also sold two small parcels in 1866 and 1867, and then in 1868, he conveyed to The Mutual Building Association of Annapolis, the 101.5 acres that became Eastport.[3]

Born on a farm in Delaware about 1814, Lockwood was a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy, class of 1836, and had served in the Second Seminole War and as a brevet brigadier general in the Union army in the Civil War. When he took ownership of the Barber farm, he was teaching physical science and naval history at the Naval Academy. Lockwood lived with his wife, Anna, their seven children, and a teenaged boy on the grounds of the USNA. In June 1880, he was living with his family in Georgetown, but he was still teaching at the Academy.[4]

The Atlas of Anne Arundel County, published in 1878 by G. M. Hopkins, shows the plat of “Horn Point” and, outside, beyond Front St. (sic), is land identified as “Gen. Lockwood” on the Back Creek side of Bay Ridge Ave. A house that might be associated with Lockwood lies on the Spa Creek side of that road, as does another house with “Lockwood” below it on the Spa Creek side of Severn Ave. Sprogle and Reeder also have houses in that area, closer to Spa Creek.

Farther out the peninsula is the land of Jno. B. Wells. Lockwood is clearly the owner of most of the land adjacent to the village of Horn Point.[5]

With a farm heritage, Lockwood apparently continued that tradition, and he employed a local farmer, Job Griscom, to cultivate his land. According to a 1952–3 interview with Griscom’s daughter, Mabel Wood, Lockwood was interested in raising sweet potatoes that would not rot. “Cantaloupes, watermelons, and sweet potatoes were shipped to Baltimore by boats which came to Eastport.” The 1880 Agricultural census shows Griscom as a sharecropper on 200 acres of tilled land and 60 acres of woods. The farm, including buildings and land, was valued at $10,000. (Lockwood had valued his real estate in 1870 at $15,000.) The 1880 census shows on the farm four horses, two milch cows and their calves, three swine, and 15 head of poultry that produced 30 dozen eggs in 1879. Three hundred pounds of butter were made on the farm that year. But the census does not list the farm as producing potatoes, other vegetables, cereals or fruits. Lockwood sold ten parcels of his land, totaling about 93 acres, between 1869 and 1887.[6]

William H. Burns House[edit]

In May 1894, Henry Lockwood and his wife, Anna, then of Washington, DC, sold to William Henry Burns, at that time “a resident of the state of Montana,” for $8,000, 187 acres of a farm, part of the President, adjoining the village of Eastport. Forty-eight-year-old Burns was born in Boston, had fought in the Civil War, and had remained in the army after the war was over, serving with the Pawnee Scouts. He went west to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad and, later, became the president and general manager of the Montana Railroad. In 1875 he married Sarah Tracy of Rayham, Massachusetts (1843–1934). Their son and daughter were born in Omaha. Their daughter, Frances Miller Burns, married in 1896 Nicholas Harwood Green of Annapolis, a lawyer, state’s attorney, judge of the Circuit Court, and descendant of Jonas Green.[7]

William Burns, former army and railroad man, described himself as “farmer” in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses. But he was also platting his land and selling lots to develop the part of Eastport that lay outside of the 1868 plat. He built his house on Burnside Street, the name he gave to his country estate.[8]

Burns became quite a man about town in Annapolis. His obituary describes him as a lover of nature and outdoor life; he had horses and cattle and poultry on his farm. But he also played golf and was known for his wit, his stories, and the lavish entertainments presented by his wife, said to be a charming hostess. The Burnses wintered in Pinehurst, NC. William H. Burns died of nephritis and heart disease on 3 June 1919 at his home in Eastport. His body was buried in St. Anne’s Cemetery, where the tombstone names both William H. and Sarah.[9]

  1. Jane McWilliams, “Eastport Notes,” typescript dated February 1993, pp. 1–2; Patents, Liber IC#S, folio 79; “Plan of the Harbour and City of Annapolis” by Major Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, see McWilliams, Annapolis, City on the Severn (2011), p. 103.
  2. McWilliams, Ibid.; AA Co. Land Records, Liber WSG 4, folio 43.
  3. AA Co. Land Records, Liber GEG 2, folio 278; Liber GEG 3, folio 29; Liber SH 1, folio 336; Liber SH 2, folio 419.
  4. Sweetman, Jack, rev. by Thomas J. Cutler, The U.S. Naval Academy, An Illustrated History (1995), pp. 20–22; 1870 US Census, MD, AA Co., Annapolis, page 14; 1880 US Census, District of Columbia, Georgetown, p. 78.
  5. Hopkins, G. M., Atlas of Anne-Arundel County, Md., reprint 1994, p. 22.
  6. Sweetman, op. cit., p. 21; “Discovering Our School Community” Grade 5, Eastport School, 1952–53, p. 12; 1880 MD, Agricultural Census, AA Co., District 2, 20th enumeration district, p. B 24; 1870 US Census, MD, AA Co., Annapolis, page 14 (There is no real estate valuation in the Georgetown census for 1880); AA Co. Land Records, Liber SH 47, folio 185. Quotations from the Grade 5 history.
  7. AA Co. Land Records, Liber SH 47, folio 185; Robert H. McIntire, Annapolis, Maryland Families, (1980), Vol. 1, pp. 104, 282; National Archives and Records Administration online at https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/185235683:2344?tid=&pid=&queryId=384e58da70ee1934a485491a5a677c40&_phsrc=LEQ49&_phstart=successSource;
  8. 1900 US Census, MD, Anne Arundel County, District 2, p. 61 A; 1910 US Census, MD, Anne Arundel County, District 2, p. 39 A; See for instance AA Co. Land Records, Liber GW 10, folios 415, 416; GW 49, folio 436; Evening Capital 4 June 1919; plats in MSA C2081-33, MSA S1532-6157, MSA C130-34, which is described as “Plat B = Wm H. Burns 2nd Addition to Eastport,” dated 1903, MSA SSU1235-904, and MSA C2156-38; AA Land Record index 1897 to 1908, which lists 72 transactions with Wm H and Sarah as grantors.
  9. Evening Capital, 4 June 1919; Death Certificate, AA Co, #7885; Findagrave.com.