Gotta Love the Hat!
Last week I posted a blog titled, Grandma was penniless…but the letter is priceless. It chronicled a letter I discovered at the Maryland Hall of Records written by my my gggg-grandmother – Henrietta Simpson Gardiner in which she wrote to the Governor of Maryland in the year 1863. In the letter she eluded that Chief Justice Richard J. Bowie did rob or swindle her, taking her money and land. She begged the Governor to re-open her case. Today I am sharing with you another letter that Henrietta Gardiner wrote this time to Richard J. Bowie, the alleged robber. It gives us great insight not only to her character, but the sad turn of events that left her penniless.
I typed as written with no corrections.
Honorable Richard J. Bowie
October 22, 1863
My reason for not sending those letters. I thought that the Governor has no power to give me my jeopardy but necessarily calls upon me to say, Can you, will you, will you hold my property and longer? Is not the weight too heavy for you to walk under when you think of your kind language you made use of and what you would do for my brother if I would let you file a bill and get me a chancery deed. Mr. Gardiner asked Dr. Warfield what he sold my land for. Dr. Warfield said he did not sell my land. Richard J. Bowie sold it to Thomas J. Hobbs some few months after you gave him the deed, said you wrote to him and Price if they would make you up $900 against March 1837 you would give them deeds for my land. You do know that my land was paid for. You know that Mr. Gardiner did give up his property for fear of his life and liberty. Henry C. Gaither you know said that property should not remain in the state you put it in but, they would not be too good to burn him and his property up if he interfered in it. You know that Price never had possession given him. Mr. Gardiner rented a house took his little son home with him for fear their lives and liberty would be taken. My son was taken sick. I went to see him, Price drove my servant out and put my furniture out for you know the Sheriff said he never would give him possession; for he had no right to it. You thought I had better give it up, but I never give up though I look for death every hour. I am not willing to give up my land.
Uriah Forrest came to our house shortly after you got their deeds for them and said to my son in my presence, Price gave me $200.00 to take your land from you, and if you will employ me, when you are a grown man, I will take it from him, for he had no right to it. Dr. Warfield said he had no hand in drawing up the petition. You sent it to him and he signed it, believing you were my Counsel and I was satisfied with it.
Oh let me entrust you to believe to believe the word of God, for it says things can be done in secret but shall be proclaimed. Cant you with an honest heart go to those that may have the power to give me my property, tell them you were my Counsel, did take my property from me and wish them to give it to me. Oh how beautiful it is to acknowledge the truth. You will never be more respected than you are; you know Prices’character and if I had sent him to penitentiary when I had it in my power. It would have not been in your power to give him my land.
My charges are heavy against you, but truth is mighty and I feel the weight of these truths. What was done with the $2200 I paid on the land? What was done with the $900 the Trustee sold my land for? What was done with the $114o you sold my land for? Lend me the interest on the $200 you paid me in the year 1859. What right had you to demand my papers from Dr. Warfield if you were not my Counsellor? Warfield states in his answer that it was put in his hands for debt, that debt must have been satisfied or Warfield would have brought some claims against the land. The first Trustee knew my land was paid for when se sold it to Hobbs or he would have not told Hobbs to give Dr. Warfield his note for the balance of the money for my use. After paying Jamison the note he gave Jamison for his own debt. My brother with the consent of his friends allowed me $30 per acre for the land 3 or 4 years before he appointed a Trustee, put up a large barn, repaired the house and built a brick Spring house improved the land and you gave Price and his son-in-law my 200 acres for $2000. You deny being my Counsellor – what did you come into the office for and beg me to file a bill? You know Mrs. Williams had appointed my husband her agent in order to prevent that note. I got judgement on from doing us any evil. You know that Simpson was owing her at the lowest rate $1200 or $1300. I have a letter you wrote to Mrs. Williams you ought to answer a note of $550, Forrest had to collect for Simpson. I hope you will not try to deny one word I have written, for did you I could get twenty to swear it was untrue, it would still remain the truth.
I am you well-wishes,
When I find myself hitting a brickwall in genealogical research what do I do? Well…google it of course. So here I am researching Henrietta Gardiner, my gggg Grandmother. Frustrated…and against a wall…I google her name. Now mind you I have googled it consecutively for the last few years, when ALAS (something I think she would have said) a result was returned! The link read:
“Alleged swindling of Henrietta Gardiner by Chief Justice Bowie.”
So I blinked…once then twice, and eagerly clicked on the link. It directed me to the Maryland State Archives website. I couldn’t wait for Saturday to come to head to the Hall of Records in Annapolis, MD. Upon arrival, I carefully filled out the request slip for the original document to be retrieved from storage. It was housed in GOVERNOR (Miscellaneous Papers) 1863. I pulled my white protective gloves on and waited what seemed to be a lifetime, reminding myself, not to get too excited. Finally the storage box was delivered to my desk, I carefully took of the lid and started going through all of the correspondence to the then Governor of Maryland, Augustus Williamson Bradford who was Maryland’s Civil War Governor serving in office from 1862-1866.
Then I found what I was looking for. They were indeed letter from my gggg Grandmother written to the Governor as well as her correspondence to Chief Justice Bowie. What I would learn would saddened me, but also gave me insight to Henrietta – her strong will and pride. What saddened me was her plea for money to survive. I have retyped one of the letters below exactly as she wrote it on October 22, 1863
New London, Maryland
October 22, 1863
To his Excellency the Governor of Maryland
I have seen your address to the Senate and house of Delegates and was pleased to see you so interested in the behalf of that good Government that we once enjoyed in peace and flatter myself that you feel equally interested in the behalf of your state and even to an individual of your State. With an honest heart I tell you that Richard J. Bowie now Chief Justice of your state did rob or swindle me out of the last cent of my fortune that my father gave me. To give you a true statement would be intruding too much writing on you..if you please you can read a letter I have written to Mr. Bowie enclosed in your letter. I will give you some idea of the treatment Mr. Bowie gave me. Is it not in your power to have my case opened, to see if the Chief Justice Richard Bowie is guilty of my charges? He did when acting as my counsel assist Price and Hobbs to rob or swindle me out of seven thousand dollars worth of land at the time they took it from me. If your Excellency would show him this communication he would be with a smile of contempt say who is this Mrs Gardiner? He knows who she is and I am pleased to know I have it in my power to say to your Excellency there is no one in America that can boast of better fore-fathers than I can there names are recorded in Annapolis – Worthington and Ridgely. If money could add anything to standing few could command what they could. I am happy to say your Excellency that it was not in the power of Bowie nor adversity to rob me of this rich principles that my ancestors left me – Justice – Truth and Mercy. I know your Excellency can give me a support according to standing, but the Country is already appraised enough. I would be obliged if your excellency would loan me $25 to $30 dollars until the Assembly meet and I lay my case before them as my need is great. I am unable to attend to business by reason of age being 75 years old and very feeble.
I am Your Most Obedient Servant,
The majority of my research is focused on the following family lines: Gardiner, Simpson, Clarke, Worthington, Green, Harris, Sullivan and Fealy.
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of search on a family name, let me know
and let's see if we are related! After all,
It's a small, small world.