Hunt’s Methodist Church, 1908

A Miss Clara Miller mailed this real photo post card (RPPC) of Hunt’s Methodist Church in the Green Spring Valley area of Baltimore County to a Miss Clara Chew, Brunswick, Md. in December 1908.

According to the church’s historical sketch, a group of Methodists began meeting at the home of Phineas Hunt here in 1773. The stone building was erected in 1874 on the site of several previous log meeting houses.

The church, located near the junction of Joppa and Old Court roads, is considered to be located in Towson, but the church itself refers to its location as “Riderwood.”The Baltimore County Historical Sociey erected a  historical marker to remember this spot as one of the earliest Methodist meeting-places in Maryland.

The structure has clearly undergone expansion and renovation since this homemade photograph was taken.

According to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, it was rebuilt in 1933 following a 1932 fire.

Immanuel Episcopal Church, Glencoe, Maryland

Mary Bosley Matthews Mitchell (1888-1978) sent this real photo postcard of her church to her friend, Grace Guthrie of Monkton Maryland, in 1947.

Mary Mitchell, the daughter of physician and farmer Frederick Gibbons Mitchell and Rebecca (Gorsuch) Mitchell, grew up on Retreat Farm, on Glencoe Road, in Baltimore County.

The farm came into the family via Rebecca Gorsuch, daughter of prominent county farmer Dickinson Gorsuch (1827-1882?). Retreat Farm was part of the extensive Gorsuch land holdings in northern Baltimore County,  amassed throughout the 19th century by merchant John M. Gorsuch and his descendants.

Mary Mitchell may have taken this photograph of her church, Immanuel Episcopal, Glencoe, herself, using a special amateur camera designed for creating postcards. Since we cannot see the stamp box, we can tell very little about when this card was made. (For an excellent guide to the history of real photo postcards, visit the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City .

Mary Mitchell remained single and lived quietly at Retreat Farm until the mid-1950s. She and her parents are buried in Immanuel’s cemetery.  Apparently, all that is left of the structures on the farm is the historic stone Gorsuch barn , now owned by a stoneware auction house.

Mary had an infamous lineage. Her grandfather, Dickinson Gorsuch, and her great-grandfather, Edward Gorsuch, were at the center of an explosive episode in the history of slavery.

In 1851 Dickinson  accompanied his father, Edward Gorsuch, and other male relations, on a journey to Christiana, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to retrieve several escaped Gorsuch slaves. The party was armed with a writ backed by the Fugitive Slave Law, which gave slave owners the right to reclaim runaway slaves in any state, free or not.

The disastrous attempted assault on the Parker home, where one of the escaped men was hiding, sparked violence against African-Americans throughout the area,  and became known as the notorious  “Christiana Riot.” Edward was killed; Dickinson was seriously wounded.

The incident sparked widespread discussion throughout the country. Frederick Douglass wrote of the episode in his newspaper in an article entitled “Freedom’s Battle at Christiana;” imagined depictions of the scene were published widely. Some historians hold that the violence and resulting trial raised a new awareness in the north of the far-reaching impact of the Fugitive Slave Law and moved the nation closer to war.

Old Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Feagaville, Maryland

This frame church, located on the Jefferson Pike just outside Frederick, Maryland, lost its tower and other features when it was converted into apartments about 1950.  Does it still exist?

According to the Feagaville Survey District document that was filed in 1980, the church was built in 1880. The building to the right was a stone schoolhouse built ca. 1840-1850; perhaps it had been whitewashed. The hand-drawn map accompanying the survey document locates the church just north of Feagaville Lane.

A newer, brick church, surrounded by its cemetery, thrives just a few miles away at Mount Zion and Mount Phillip roads.

The history of this church is confusing. The History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume One, published in 1910, speaks of the church being built 1819, but says it was a stone structure. There is no mention of a frame structure. But, as mentioned above, the 1980 survey says this frame church was built in 1880. The History mentions a new stone church being built on the site in 1885 (p. 503)–but nothing about a brick church.

A contemporary photograph taken by Jody Brumage shows a stone above the new church door on Mount Phillip Road with the date 1885.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford, Maryland

Cartes de visite and cabinet card photographs of notable buildings and places in Maryland are always exciting to find.

This cabinet card by Aloise Reiser of Easton, Maryland depicts the one of Talbot County’s better known churches, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity on South Morris Street, Oxford Neck.

According to the church’s brief historical sketch, wealthy Talbot County landowner General Tench Tilghman of Plimhimmon was the driving force behind the establishment of a third church in the parish in 1852, but the war and the population loss brought about by the closure of the Maryland Military Academy left construction to languish incomplete until the end of the nineteenth century.

The building, designed by influential ecclesiastical architect Richard Upjohn, was completed in 1894. According to Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, the photographer, Reiser, was working in Easton from 1894-1897, so it seems plausible to suppose this photograph was taken during that period.

An Aloise Reiser, born about 1868, Bavaria, is listed in the 1880 census of Chapel, Talbot County, Md., son of carpenter Johann Reiser; this is the only trace of the photographer I have found in vital records.

In Where Land and Water Intertwine: An Architectural History of Talbot County, Maryland, historian Christopher Weeks says the church was completed and dedicated in 1892, without “the tower called for in Upjohn’s original plan” (Weeks, 212).

The church, according to Weeks, underwent some alterations after it was rebuilt following a 1945 fire: “the entrance was relocated from the north to the west facade with a circular window above; and the chancel was enlarged.”

This view is from behind the church, looking in through the windows above the altar and chancel. The Easton Diocese of the Episcopal Church has a small modern photograph that offers a slightly fuller view of the church from a similar angle.