Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gov. O'Malley, meet Gov. Veazey

Amidst everything else going on with the project, we shouldn't neglect to mention, for history's sake, that we recently had a visit from the current Governor of Maryland. Gov. Martin O'Malley was in Chestertown for the day, and when we learned that he'd be visiting the Custom House, home of Washington College's C.V. Starr Center (one of the cosponsors of this project), we thought he'd like to see some of the treasures we've been finding. (Gov. O'Malley is a notorious history buff.)

The research team came over from the Archives warehouse where they've been working, and set up a display of some of the more interesting items. The photo above shows the team - with the exception of Jim Schelberg, who was absent for Marine Corps training - with our distinguished guest. (Left to right: Kowalewski, Wood, Rothwell, Goodheart, Papenfuse, O'Malley.) Dr. Papenfuse and Gov. O'Malley are holding an 1838 commission on parchment empowering Gen. Thomas Emory to go to England and raise $8 million to fund his beloved Eastern Shore Railroad. (For the outcome of that endeavor, see Abbie's post below.) The parchment bears the signature of Gov. O'Malley's illustrious predecessor, Thomas Ward Veazey (1774-1842), who was governor from 1836-39.

By the way, Gov. Veazey was a Washington College man - Class of 1795. And Gov. O'Malley has been heard to say that he aspires someday to be president of Washington College ... coincidence?

Gen. Thomas Emory himself aspired repeatedly to the governorship of Maryland in the 1820s and 1830s, without success. At least he might be pleased to know that the office's current occupant has taken an interest in his old family papers. One hopes that, as an ardent Whig, he would condescend to forgive O'Malley's Democratic politics ... which are, after all, somewhat different from those of Andrew Jackson, which Emory so vehemently opposed ...

Say, Gov. O'Malley, what's your position on internal improvements?

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