ABOVE - Colin Ferguson, Washington College
president from 1793 to 1805, was a respected scholar and an
Episcopal priest. His silhouette will be used to represent notable
alumni for whom we have no portrait.
Joseph Hopper Nicholson, 1780s
(May 15, 1770-March 4, 1817)
One of the earliest students to attend Washington
College, Joseph Hopper Nicholson went on to win national
fame as a political and military leader. He is best
remembered today for his role in securing the election
of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency – as well as for
assisting his brother-in-law, Francis Scott Key, in
creating the song that would become America’s national
Born into a Kent County family that had participated
with distinction in the Revolution, Nicholson moved with
his young wife, Rebecca Lloyd, to a family plantation
called Chesterfield, which he subdivided to help create
the new town of Centreville. He entered public life
early, serving in 1792 as one of the counselors to the
Eastern Shore Society for Promoting the Abolition of
Slavery. After several terms in the Maryland legislature
(where he opposed repealing property requirements for
voting) he was elected in 1798 to the U.S. House of
Representatives as a member of the Democratic-Republican
party, adherents of Jefferson.
In 1801, he proved his party loyalty in dramatic fashion
when a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr in the
Electoral College threw the choice of president into the
House. The story was told that although gravely sick in
bed, Nicholson insisted on being carried, still in his
bed (and through a driving snowstorm, no less), into the
House chamber, where he cast his crucial vote for
Jefferson on 36 consecutive ballots. In any case, he
became one of Jefferson’s most trusted allies in
Congress, as well as a frequent dinner guest at the
White House. Nicholson defended the Louisiana Purchase,
and served as an impeachment manager in the notorious
trials of federal judges John Pickering and Samuel
Chase. Shortly before resigning his seat in 1806, he
introduced a resolution calling for the non-importation
of British goods, which led eventually to the Embargo
Act of 1807.
Nicholson’s smoldering hostility to Britain rekindled in
1812, when he was one of Maryland’s most vocal advocates
of war. The following year, he raised a militia company
known as the Baltimore Fencibles, and became its
captain. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry in
September 1814, Nicholson and his men kept their posts
in the fort for more than 25 hours. Just after the
British attack ended, Nicholson encountered his
brother-in-law and close friend, Francis Scott Key, who
had witnessed the engagement while detained aboard a
British warship. Key showed Nicholson a poem he had
written about the bombardment, and Nicholson wrote an
introduction and arranged for it to be printed as a
broadside even before the smoke of battle had cleared.
He also suggested that the verses be set to music, an
old drinking tune called “Anacreon in Heaven.” The song
that Key and Nicholson created would become known, of
course, as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Joseph Nicholson is mentioned in William Smith’s 1784
Account of Washington College as one of three freshmen
students who participated in the 1783 Commencement
dressed in shepherds’ garb to perform a “Pastoral
Dialogue.” (It was common then for students to begin
college at the age of 13 or 14.) He may also have been
present when George Washington visited the following
year. Due to the loss of graduation records from that
period, it is uncertain when or if he received his
Sources: Scott S. Sheads, “Joseph
Hopper Nicholson: Citizen-Soldier of Maryland,” Maryland
Historical Magazine, Vol. 98, No. 2 (Summer 2003), pp.
133-151; Roger Brooke Taney to Charles Howard, March 12,
1856, in Samuel Tyler, Memoir of Roger Brooke Taney
(Baltimore, 1872), pp. 109-119; William Smith, An
Account of Washington College in the State of Maryland
(Philadelphia, 1784), pp. 29-30; Thomas Jefferson
Papers, Library of Congress.
(March 4, 1765 -
April 18, 1836)
Charles Smith, third son of William Smith and his wife
Rebecca Moore Smith, graduated Valedictorian of
Washington College at its first Commencement on May 14,
1783. He studied law with his eldest brother,
William Moore Smith in Easton, Pa., and was admitted to
the bar in Philadelphia in June 1786. He set up a
law practice in Sunbury, Pa., and was elected a delegate
to the convention that drew up a new constitution for
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1790. On March 3,
1791, he married Mary Yeates and moved from Sunbury to
Lancaster, Pa. Thereafter, he traveled extensively
in the northern and western parts of Pennsylvania with
the circuit court, pleading cases on the settlement of
land titles. He became one of the Commonwealth’s
most eminent land lawyers, and in his mature years
framed, under the authority of the Legislature, a new
compilation of the laws of the State, that came to be
known as Smith’s Edition of the Laws of Pennsylvania.
In March 1819, Charles Smith was appointed President
Judge for the Judicial District comprising Cumberland,
Franklin and Adams counties, and the next year President
Judge for the city and county of Lancaster. The
father of seven children who reached maturity, he later
practiced law in Baltimore and then in Philadelphia,
where he died at the ripe age of seventy-one.
Smith, An Account of Washington College in the State of
Maryland (Philadelphia, 1784), p. 28-29, with
valedictory oration on pp. 31-36, and Horace Wemyss
Smith, Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William
Smith, D.D (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1880), 2:542, 543-44,
James M. Anderson, Jr. 1790's?
(1774 – May 31, 1830)
Washington College Grad, President pro temp, 1819
In 1819, as the United States economy suffered through
its first major depression since the end of the
Revolution, Dr. James Mouat Anderson sat as the
President pro temp.
of the Board of Visitors and Governors of
Washington College. As with much of Washington College’s
history, mystery surrounds Anderson’s identity. Living
in Kent County in 1819 was a father-son duo, both named
James M. Anderson, and both worked as medical doctors.
It is likely, however, that James Jr., a Washington
College graduate, was the Anderson who held the
Presidency of Washington College’s Board in 1819.
The elder Anderson was the son of a Scottish immigrant
doctor and was the first President of Chestertown’s
Abolition Society in 1791. Early in his life, James Sr.
became a devout Methodist and strictly adhered to
Methodism’s initial antislavery dogma. The senior
Anderson studied medicine at Edinburgh, and although he
returned to Chestertown without a proper diploma, he did
carry a certificate signed by the era’s foremost medical
authorities. Upon his return he began a joint medical
practice with his father, “James Anderson and Son.” The
two lived in a large brick house on Cannon Street that
his father purchased in 1737. Upon the death of his
father, James M. Anderson, Sr. was bequeathed “all
medicines, drugs, chirurgical instruments” as well as
the brick house. It was in that house where Anderson,
Sr. raised five children, the oldest of whom was James
James Mouat Anderson, Jr. was born in 1774 or 1775 in
Chestertown, Maryland, and was likely delivered by his
medical doctor father and grandfather. James Jr.
graduated from Washington College and then studied
medicine under the Declaration of Independence signer
and abolitionist Dr. Benjamin Rush at the University of
Pennsylvania. Like his father before him, James Jr.
returned to Chestertown and joined his father’s medical
practice. On February 16, 1796, he married his first
wife Elizabeth Bedingfield Hands. They had four
children, none of whom lived past the age of three. His
first wife died in 1804. Two years later he married
Elizabeth Smith, who bore him seven children.
A friend and fellow
Chestertown doctor described James Jr. as “a great
reader” of popular and medical literature of the day. As
a doctor, he was “a good Physician, and always held a
respectable rank among his professional brethren.” In
1800, James Jr. was an Honorary Member of the
Philadelphia Medical Society and in 1807 he was a
founding member of Maryland’s first “Medical and
Chirurgical Faculty or Society of Physicians and
Surgeons.” By 1810, James Jr. was so highly respected
that he sat on the Board of Examiners for the Eastern
Shore. He was actively involved in local politics
and in 1812 was unanimously appointed to the county
committee of the Democratic Republicans. And in 1826,
James Jr. was one of two representatives from Kent
County to sit on Maryland’s Electoral College.
James Jr., “was quick at repartee, and enjoyed the
society of kindred spirits so keenly” that friends
report having “seen him almost fall from his chair in
convulsions of laughter.” But as President of the Board
at Washington College, James Jr., oversaw the reform of
the school’s boarding practices. The Board, under his
leadership required all students to live with the
college’s steward and pay $120 per year for room and
board. Additionally, the Board composed a list of
twenty-four rules that regulated student behavior in the
steward’s home. The rules ensured proper treatment of
the steward’s “servants,” specified that students keep
their rooms “free from filth,” prohibited “games of
chance,” the possession of alcohol and firearms, and
outlawed “whistling, jumping, ball-playing or other
boisterous noise at any time within the College.”
Although Thomas Worrell had taken over fulltime
Presidency of the Board by the October 30, 1819, meting,
Andersons continued to guide Washington College. Edward
Anderson, James’s younger brother, who had been a board
member during his brother’s tenure, remained on the
On May 31, 1830, James Jr. died suddenly in his bed.
Notices of his death were placed in most of the major
newspapers throughout Maryland. He left behind his
second wife Elizabeth and four children, one of whom,
unsurprisingly, became a doctor.
Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian
America 1815-1846 (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1991), 135-7; Virginia Jones, ed., “The Minutes
of the Board of Visitors and Governors 1816-1848,” 22.
Dr. Peregrine Wroth, “Memoirs of Physicians of Kent
County,” 1852 from George A. Hanson, Old Kent: The
Eastern Shore of Maryland; Notes Illustrative of The
most Ancient Records of Kent County, Maryland, and of
the Parishes of St. Paul’s Shrewsbury and I.U. And
Genealogical Histories of Old and Distinguished Families
of Maryland, and their Connections by Marriage, etc.
(Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1990, 1876),
364; “Constitution of the Chester-Town Society, for
promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and for the Relief
of Free Negroes, and others, unlawfully held in
Bondage,” (Baltimore: Goddard and Angell, 1791), 7; for
information on the house see: Michael Owen Bourne and
Eugene Hall Johnstone, Historic Houses of Kent
County: An Architectural History: 1642-1860
(Chestertown: Historical Society of Kent County, 1998),
105-106; Hanson, Old Kent, 367; “The Act of
Incorporation and Laws of the Philadelphia Medical
Society,” (Philadelphia: Carey, 1800), 22; “A summary of
Proceedings from the Organization of the Medical and
Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland,” (Baltimore:Fryer and
Rider, 1807), 1; Easton Star, March 27, 1810.
Easton Star, June 1, 1812; Baltimore Patriot,
September 15, 1826; Hanson, Old Kent, 367;
“Minutes of the Board of Visitors and Governors,
1816-1848,” 22-25; Baltimore Patriot, June 8, 1830.
Picture borrowed from
Maryland State Archives website. The photo is of a
portrait of Thomas W. Veazey by C. Gregory Stapko.
Thomas Ward Veazey, 1795
Thomas Ward Veazey, a
1795 Washington College graduate, dedicated his
career to serving Maryland. Born in 1774, Veazey
married three times and had eleven children. He died
in 1842 after an illustrious career in government.
The youngest son of Captain
Edward Veazey, who was killed in the Battle of Long
Island in 1776, Thomas Veazey served as a Lieutenant
Colonel during the War of 1812. Better known, however,
for civilian public service, in 1808 and 1812 Veazey was
a presidential elector who supported James Madison. In
1811 he was elected to the Maryland House of
Representatives as the delegate from Cecil County and
from 1833 to 1835 he was a member of Governor James
Thomas’ Executive Council.
In 1836, Veazey, a
slaveholder who opposed abolition and advocated states’
rights, began his first term as Governor of Maryland.
The state’s final Whig governor, he was also the last
governor elected by the General Assembly, rather than by
direct popular vote. Re-elected in 1837 and 1838, he
served the maximum three one-year terms. During his
tenure, eight million dollars was allotted to public
works projects, including the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The Maryland
Constitution was amended during his term of office to
provide for direct popular election of the governor and
Sources: Dumschott, Fred. W. Washington College.
Chestertown, Md.: Washington College, 1980,Miller
Library Archives. Vertical Files 1728-1832. Series I, 5,
B(2) pre 1782-1832. Alumni. Members. Biographical info
&/or papers & correspondence. Thomas W. Veazey,
National Governor’s Association.
of William Jones '88
Peregrine Wroth, 1803
(Apr. 7, 1786 – June 13, 1879)
Baptized as an infant by Washington College founder Dr.
William Smith, Peregrine Wroth, class of 1803, never
lost his loyalty to and love for the school in
At age eight, Wroth entered the college’s preparatory
school. After graduation, he studied medicine at the
University of Pennsylvania before returning to Kent
County where he practiced for nearly fifty years. During
his years as “one of the ablest and most learned
physicians on the Eastern Shore,” Wroth wrote a
well-known paper on the history and treatment of Endemic
Bilious Fever, or malaria, which was prevalent on the
Eastern Shore. His advocacy for the establishment of a
school for training pharmacists, led to the formation of
the Maryland College of Pharmacy.
From 1846-1854, Wroth was a lecturer and professor of
chemistry at his alma mater. He served on the Board of
Visitors and Governors at the college, and was the
president of that body for several years, until he moved
to Baltimore. He was married and widowed four times.
His first wife, Martha Page, the daughter of Milcah and
John Page, who served on the founding Board, bore him
nine children, of whom three, including his favorite
daughter, Eugenia Maria (Feb. 26, 1817- Sept. 30, 1861),
survived to maturity. Upon Martha’s death, he married on
June 19, 1827 Margaret S. Nicols, who had five more
He was also a close friend and correspondent of Mrs.
Robert E. Lee.
Throughout his life,
Wroth’s “active mind continued to keep him in the
forefront of chemical thought.” He also remained
dedicated to Washington College. In a letter to a friend
in 1874, five years before his death at age 93, Wroth
wrote: “I still feel and, forever shall while I live, a
deep interest in my dear old College – with which so
many delightful memories are associated.”
Sources: J. M.
Miller, “Vignette of medical history: Peregrine Wroth,
MD (Hon.) and his Maryland descendants.” Maryland
Medical Journal, 43 (9) (1994): 807-09., Gina Ralston
’04: “Dr. Peregrine Wroth, George Alfred Townsend, and
the Literary Life of 19th-Century Chestertown.” WC
senior English thesis, McLain, Joseph H. "Dr. Peregrine
Wroth (1786-1879) and Chemistry at Washington College
1846-1854." Maryland Historical Magazine 75 (1980):
233-237, Dr. Peregrine Wroth letter to Wm. J. Rivers,
Esq.,. 25 July 1874.
Lower photo courtesy of William Jones '88.
Found on Wikipedia
(Apr. 11, 1789 – Dec. 16, 1835)
Called “one of the most eminent men in the history of
the American Methodist Church” by The Methodist
Protestant-Recorder, John Emory was born in Queen
Anne’s County, Md. in 1789. Emory’s father planned
a law career for his son and after graduating from
college, Emory studied law under Richard Tilghman Earle,
passing the bar in 1808. Despite an aptitude for the
profession and against his father’s wishes, he began an
exceptional career in the Methodist ministry after a
profound conversion experience.
His humble start as a circuit preacher led to
nominations to the Methodist General Conference nearly
every year after 1816. In 1820, he had the honor of
serving as a delegate to the British Wesleyan
Conference. Three years later, Washington College
recognized “his reputation for pre-eminence as a
preacher and pastor” with an honorary doctorate of
In 1824, as the Methodist Church’s Assistant Book Agent,
he began publishing a church periodical and when he
became agent, Emory was able to pay off the office’s
growing debt. He was in charge of the Methodist
Magazine and Quarterly Review from 1830-1832, until
he was elected a bishop. Emory was involved in
organizing both Wesleyan University and Dickinson
College but is perhaps best remembered by Emory
University, an institution founded in 1836 and named in
“A man of unflinching integrity, of great strength of
will and of more than ordinary discretion,”Emory’s brilliant career in the ministry was cut
short when he was killed by a runaway wagon team en
route to Baltimore from the Eastern Shore in 1835.
Most accounts of Emory’s death state only that he was
killed in a “tragic accident” while traveling. An
undated letter in the Miller Library Archives,
handwritten by Albertus Perry, originally read: “He was
killed in what appears to have been a team runaway.”
That phrase was crossed out and replaced with “He was
killed in an accident while on his way to Baltimore from
his farm on the Eastern Shore.”
Sources: Adams, J. Peyton. “John Emory.” The
Methodist Protestant-Recorder, April 1940, 8-9.
“Dr. Mead’s Address on John Emory.” The Centreville
Observer, May 1935 (a clipping in the archives noted
a “Centreville Paper,” which at that time would have
been either the Observer or the Queen Anne’s
(a weekly). No author was given. Mead, Gilbert W. Letter
to Rev. Roy T. Thawley. 3 March 1941. Perry,
Albertus. Undated letter. Simpson, Bishop
Matthew. “John Emory.” Cyclopedia of Methodism.
(February 28, 1788-1January 30, 1867)
Yankee and Southerner, patriot and slave-owner, Ezekiel
Forman Chambers is a perplexing figure for historians.
Throughout his many years as a public figure, Chambers
engaged in battles for freedom as well as drag-out
fights for the status quo. His career
encapsulated the paradox of Antebellum America.
In 1814 young Ezekiel played the part of the Yankee,
raising a group of volunteers to fight the British at
the Battle of Caulk’s Field in western Kent County.
His bravery and leadership earned the admiration of his
superior officers. Chambers continued to serve his
country, serving in the United States Senate from 1826
to 1834, when he was appointed as a Maryland District
Judge. He would also later serve as President of
Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors for
twenty-four years, greatly affecting the course of the
The Civil War emboldened the Southern disposition of
Judge Chambers. In the early days of the national
crisis the Judge was associated with the “Peace Party,”
men who favored recognizing the Southern Confederacy and
desperately opposing coercion from the North.
Never an open secessionist, Chambers nonetheless
presided over the “Southern Rights Convention,”
assembled in Baltimore in February, 1861, where he
goaded his colleagues to “refuse” the benefits of Union
if Southern “honor” could not be guaranteed. The
conservative-leaning voters of Kent County sent the
Judge as one of the county’s delegates at the tumultuous
Constitutional Convention of 1864, where Chambers
delivered an impassioned, but futile, defense of
slavery. The Judge berated the new constitution as
“a sudden, violent, and most mischievous destruction of
the relation of master and slave.” Also in 1864,
Democrats chose Chambers to be their candidate for
Governor. He lost to Thomas Swann of Baltimore.
The Judge’s life tells an important part of the tale of
Kent County and of Maryland; he has been cast as a
obstinate conservative, or, as one local historian has
described him, a model for “all who love freedom in
government and justice to all men.” The life of
Ezekiel Forman Chambers tells of the complexity of the
Sources: Fred W. Dumschott, Washington
(Chestertown: Washington College, 1980) 85-7;
Unpublished Biography of Ezekiel Forman Chambers, author
unknown, Historical Society of Kent County Archives.
Address and Resolutions Adopted at the Meeting of the
Southern Rights Convention of Maryland, Held in the
Universalist Church, in the City of Baltimore, February
18th and 19th, 1861:
Together with the Address Delivered by the President,
Hon. Ezekiel F. Chambers, on Taking His Seat”
(Baltimore: J.B. Rose, 1861) 10, 6
Image from Wikipedia
William Jones '88
John Woodland Crisfield, 1826?
(November 8, 1806 — January 12, 1897)
John Woodland Crisfield was a U.S. Congressman from
Maryland, representing the sixth district from 1847—1849
and the first district from 1861—1863. The town of
Crisfield, Maryland is named after him.
Born near Chestertown, Maryland, Crisfield was educated
at Washington College on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1830,
commencing practice in Princess Anne, Maryland.
Crisfield entered the Maryland House of Delegates in
1836, and was later elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth
Congress, serving the 6th Congressional district of
Maryland from March 4, 1847 until March 3, 1849. He was
a delegate to the State constitutional convention in
1850, and a member of the peace conference of 1861 held
in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to
prevent the impending American Civil War.
In 1861, Crisfield was elected as a Unionist to the
Thirty-seventh Congress from the 1st Congressional
district of Maryland, serving one term from March 4,
1861 until March 3, 1863. He was an unsuccessful
candidate for re-election in 1862, and resumed the
practice of law. He served as a delegate to the National
Union Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1866.
The town of Crisfield, Maryland was located and founded
by Crisfield in 1866, and he was instrumental in
building the Eastern Shore Railroad and served as
president. He died in Princess Anne in 1897, and is
interred in Manokin Presbyterian Cemetery.
article incorporates facts obtained from the public
domain Biographical Directory of the United States
Congress, as found on Wikipedia.
James Barroll Ricaud, 1828
(February 11, 1808 – January 24,
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Ricaud attended the common
schools and graduated from Washington College of
Chestertown, Maryland in 1828. He studied law, was
admitted to the bar in 1829, and commenced practice in
Chestertown. He served as a member of the Maryland House
of Delegates in 1834, served in the Maryland State
Senate from 1836 to 1844, and served as presidential
elector on the Whig tickets in 1840 and 1844.
Ricaud was elected as the candidate of the American
Party to the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses,
serving from March 4, 1855 to March 3, 1859. He later
resumed the practice of his profession and was appointed
associate judge of the second Maryland judicial district
in 1864 by Governor Augustus Bradford and served during
the May term. He died in Chestertown and is interred in
St. Paul’s Church Cemetery
Source: Biographical Directory of the United
George Alfred Townsend. Attended in the
(Jan. 30, 1841 – April 15, 1914)
Journalist and novelist George Alfred Townsend was born
in Georgetown, Delaware, on January 30, 1841, to the
Reverend and Mrs. Stephen Townsend. Townsend lived
throughout Delaware and Maryland, as his father
transferred from parish to parish, before his family
settled in Philadelphia, in 1855. There, Townsend was
graduated from Central High School with a Bachelor of
Arts in 1860.
Townsend's first full-time employment began in 1860 as a
news editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In
1861, he moved to the city editorship of the
Philadelphia Press, and in the same year, his play,
The Bohemians, was published. Although Townsend's
stories and poems had been published in high school
newspapers and, in fact, Townsend had published a small
high school magazine, this play is his earliest known
By 1866, Townsend had become a noted news journalist, as
a war correspondent covering the Civil War for the
New York Herald, the New York World, and
later, as a ghost writer, for The New York Times.
His reports of Lincoln's assassination (part of which
was later published as Life, Crime and Capture of
John Wilkes Booth ) and General Sheridan's
victory at the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, brought
him considerable recognition. Townsend, who was the only
correspondent present for the battle on March 31, 1865,
conveyed word of the Union Army's decisive victory,
which resulted in the Confederate abandonment of
Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia.
Townsend's reflections on the Civil War and on his
two-year journey in Europe during the war were collected
in his Campaigns of a Non-Combatant and his
Romaunt Abroad during the War (1866). Townsend's
recognition as a war correspondent led to his popularity
as a lecturer. He traveled throughout the United States,
lecturing on the Civil War, European politics and U.S.
By 1867, Townsend had made his home in Washington, D.C.,
choosing the capital because of his desire to report on
political news and issues. His books, The New World
Compared with the Old (1869), Washington Outside
and Inside (1873), and Events at the National
Capitol and the Campaign of 1876 (1876), explore
American government, the nation's capital, and political
During the 1860s and 1870s his columns, articles, and
letters appeared in newspapers throughout the United
States, including papers in Boston, Baltimore, New York,
Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, San Francisco, St.
Louis, and Cincinnati. Some of these articles, as well
as some of his books, were written using a number of pen
names, including "G.A.T.," "Swede," "Laertes," "Johnny
Bouquet," and his favorite, "Gath."
Several of Townsend's books, written during the 1880s,
are set in Delaware and Maryland. The first, Tales of
the Chesapeake (1880), was a collection of poems and
stories about Delaware and the Maryland shore.
Townsend's first historical novel, The Entailed Hat
(1883), tells the tale of Patty Cannon, the slave
"runner," and her adventures in what is today the
Governor's House in Dover. The sequel to The Entailed
Hat was Katy of Catoctin (1884), set in
In 1884, Townsend purchased land near Burkettsville,
Maryland, and established an estate, which he named
Gapland. It was on this estate, in 1896, that he built
the only national memorial to Civil War correspondents.
Located near the Antietam Battlefield, the monument
bears the names of 157 correspondents and artists.
After Townsend's death in 1914, and following a
succession of other owners, the estate was deeded to the
Maryland State Department of Forests and Parks in 1949.
The estate was renamed Gathland State Park, using
Townsend's popular pen name "Gath." The park honors
George Alfred Townsend as one of America's most
important journalists and novelists of the
Many of Townsend’s works can be read or downloaded free
of charge on the internet.
Univ. of Delaware web site on Townsend papers.
Frank, Bill. "Famed Sussex War Correspondent," The News
Journal (Wilmington), February 23, 1987. Hindes,
Ruthanna. George Alfred Townsend: one of Delaware's
Outstanding Writers. Wilmington: Hambleton Printing &
Publishing Co., 1946.
Image found on Wikipedia from the Biographical
Directory of the United States Congress
William Jones '88
Charles Hopper Gibson. 1862
(January 19, 1842 – March 31, 1900)
Gibson was a United States Senator from Maryland,
serving from 1891–1897. He also served as a U.S.
Congressman from 1885–1891.
Gibson was born near Centreville, Maryland, and attended
the Centerville Academy and the Archer School in Harford
County. He graduated from Washington College in
Chestertown, Maryland, engaged in the study law, and was
admitted to the bar in 1864, commencing practice in
President Andrew Johnson appointed Gibson as collector
of internal revenue for the Maryland Eastern Shore
district in 1867, but Gibson was not confirmed. He
became auditor and commissioner in chancery in 1869 and
resigned in 1870 to accept the appointment of State’s
attorney for Talbot County, Maryland, serving from 1871
Gibson was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth,
Fiftieth, and Fifty-first Congresses from Maryland's 1st
congressional district, serving from March 4, 1885 until
March 3, 1891, but was not a candidate for reelection in
1890. He was appointed and subsequently elected as a
Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of Ephraim King Wilson II, and
served in that position from November 19, 1891 until
March 3, 1897. As senator, Gibson served as chairman of
the Committee on Manufactures (Fifty-third Congress).
After his service as U.S. senator, Gibson resumed the
practice of law, and later died in Washington, D.C. in
1900. He is interred in Chesterfield Cemetery in his
home town of Centerville.
Source: Biographical Dictionary of the
United States Congress as found on Wikipedia
Robert Franklin Bratton 1864
(May 13, 1845 – May 10, 1894)
An American politician, Bratton was born in Barren Creek
Springs in Somerset (now Wicomico) County, Maryland, and
graduated from Washington College of Chestertown,
Maryland, in 1864. Thereafter, he served as deputy
register of wills for Somerset County and was admitted
to the bar in 1867.
Bratton's political career began as a member of the
State convention of 1865, which sent delegates to a
peace convention held in Philadelphia in the following
year. He also served as a member of several state and
congressional conventions and as member of the Maryland
House of Delegates in 1869. He entered the Maryland
State Senate in 1873, and was re-elected for terms in
1879, 1887, and 1890. During 1890, he served as
President of the Maryland State Senate.
After his tenure in the Senate, Bratton engaged in the
practice of law in Princess Anne, Maryland, and was
elected late in his life as a Democrat to the
Fifty-third Congress. His tenure was just over a year in
length, having been brought to an abrupt conclusion
after his death in Princess Anne in 1894. He is interred
in St. Andrew's Cemetery.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, as
found on Wikipedia
George Avery Bunting, 1891
(Apr. 3, 1870 – Jan. 1, 1960)
George Avery Bunting, a precocious and entrepreneurial
young man who entered Washington College at the age of
16, pursued a career in pharmacology and invented the
facial cream known as Noxzema. He founded the company in
1917 and served as its president until 1948. He donated
Bunting Hall as the college’s first library.
Source: WWA, vol.
3. p. 122.
(May) Matthews Jones, 1895
Women were first admitted
to Washington College as day students in 1891. No
facilities were available for their residence until
1893, when the college acquired a house a few minutes
walk from campus, in order to accommodate those coming
from a distance. May Matthews of Chestertown enrolled as
a freshman in 1891; at commencement ceremonies four
years later, she became the first woman to graduate from
Washington College. By her senior year, the student body
included 24 women, eleven of whom were enrolled in
herself academically throughout her college years,
maintaining an academic average of 85.7 as a freshman,
82.3 as a sophomore, and 83.4 as a junior, each year
earning herself the designation of “Meritorious”
scholar. She took first prize for Declamation in 1893,
for an oration she delivered before the student body,
and served as founding Vice President of the college’s
first female student organization, the Pieria Literary
Society. Founded in 1894, the eighteen members of the
literary society met twice a month in the college chapel
to share essays, recitations, and debates.
Enrolled in the “scientific
course,” as opposed to the “classical,” Matthews took a
full schedule of Latin, German, Political Economy,
Science, Psychology, Elocution, and Composition her
senior year. As the only female member of the senior
class, she had the option of substituting a third year
of French for Differential and Integral Calculus. She
also took three hours of Gymnasium per week, in the
company of female underclassmen rather than her male
After graduation, Matthews
married J.S. William Jones, a professor of mathematics
and natural science, and remained in Chestertown. Her
husband later became Dean of the College, and served as
Acting President from 1918-1919.
DePasquale, Sue. “Coeducation and the Changing Role
of Women at WC,” Washington College Magazine, Vol. XL,
No. 1 (Fall 1991)
Fred W. Washington College. Chestertown, Maryland:
Washington College, 1980, p. 115-127; 165-167.
Marcia C., ed. Washington: The College at Chester.
Chestertown, Md.: The Literary House Press at Washington
College Catalogue, 1891-92; 1894-95; 1897-98, Special
Collections & Archives, Miller Library
Burchinal, 1896, M.A. 1899
A member of the college’s
second coeducational graduating class, Mary C. Burchinal
spent a lifetime pioneering new frontiers. The first
woman to serve on the Washington College Board of
Visitors and Governors, Burchinal helped lay the
foundation of the Philadelphia public schools’ foreign
language curriculum, and earned a Ph.D. from Johns
Hopkins University in 1911, only four years after the
university trustees formally approved the admission of
women to graduate study.
Burchinal enrolled in the
“scientific course” at Washington College in 1893, and
graduated three years later, earning the prestigious
“Prize for Scholarship in Senior Class.”
After graduation, Burchinal
taught in the Chestertown public schools, and became a
charter member of the Women’s Literary Club, which
established the town’s first library in 1907. The
college bestowed the M.A. degree upon her in 1899. She
joined the WC faculty in 1902, teaching French, German,
and drawing. Moving across the bay to Baltimore, she
briefly taught at Goucher College before relocating to
Philadelphia in 1909 to teach French and German at the
newly opened William Penn High School. After earning her
Ph.D. in Germanics, she refused several offers for
college work, choosing instead to accept a position as
inaugural chair of the Foreign Language Department at
West Philadelphia High School for Girls, opened in 1912.
Later moving to Overbrook High School, Burchinal took an
active role in the city’s modern language associations,
developing a new syllabus for high school French that
was soon adopted statewide.
A leader in the
Philadelphia chapter of the Washington College Alumni
Association, she made history in 1923 as the first woman
appointed to the Board of Visitors and Governors, where
she served on the Faculty & Curriculum Committee.
Reappointed in 1929 by Gov. Albert Ritchie, she remained
a member of the board until her death in 1935, at which
time she donated her extensive library of French and
German literature to Washington College.
According to her colleagues
at Overbrook High School, “those who worked with her
will not easily forget the fearlessness she showed, her
utter indifference to adverse opinion, in fighting for a
cause which seemed to her a righteous and just one.”
Burkart, Anna D., “Necrology: Mary C. Burchinal,” The
Modern Language Journal, Vol. 20, No. 7 (April 1936), p.
“Women’s Work: Forging a Town’s Character,” in Here on
the Chester: Washington College Remembers Old
Chestertown, ed. John Lang. Chestertown, Md: The
Literary House Press of Washington College, 2006, p.
Catalogues, 1893-94; 1894-95; 1896-97; 1899-1900;
1902-03; 1923-24; 1930-31; 1937-38, Special Collections
& Archives, Miller Library
Alan Goldsborough, 1899
(Sept. 16, 1877 – June 17, 1951) LL.D., D.C.L.
Goldsborough, a Representative from Maryland was born in
Greensboro, Caroline County, attended the public schools
and the local academy at Greensboro. He was graduated
from Washington College, Chestertown, Md., in 1899 and
from the law department of the University of Maryland at
Baltimore in 1901. He was admitted to the bar in
1901 and commenced practice in Denton, Md.
Goldsborough served as prosecuting attorney for Caroline
County 1904-1908 and was elected as a Democrat to the
Sixty-seventh and to the nine succeeding Congresses,
serving from March 4, 1921, to April 5, 1939, when he
resigned, having been appointed an associate justice of
the District Court of the United States for the District
of Columbia, where he served until his death. He
was a cosponsor of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and
a regent of the Smithsonian Institution from1932-1939.
He was buried in Denton Cemetery, Denton, Md.
Source: Biographical Directory of the United
States Congress, 1771-Present
(Oct. 3, 1882 – May 4, 1950)
Called “The Last Emperor” by the Washington College
faculty and staff, Colonel Hiram Staunton Brown, class
of 1900, handled the institution’s personnel and
finances during 28 years as chairman of the Board of
Visitors and Governors.
As an undergraduate, Brown was already prominent on
campus. According to a classmate, federal judge T. Alan
Goldsborough, Brown held many student offices, earned
high grades, and always had the prettiest dates. He
graduated magna cum laude at seventeen, then moved to
New York City, where his success as a banker and
businessman prepared him to be Chief of Finance of the
Air Corps during World War I.
After the war, Brown served five years as president of
the United States Leather Company before becoming
president of the Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corp (RKO)
A fan of Broadway, Brown was behind the pairing of the
legendary Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose
popularity kept RKO from bankruptcy during the
Depression and allowed RKO to offer jobs to a number of
Washington College graduates.
Brown had been chairman of the Washington College Board
since 1922, earning a reputation as “a benevolent
dictator” for closely monitoring the college’s finances
and making important decisions without consulting
anyone. His legacies include helping arrange the 1933
visit of his close friend President Franklin D.
Roosevelt and convincing Colonel Clarence Hodson to make
a generous financial gift.
Though Phillip J. Wingate remembered him as “a glamorous
and awesome figure on the Washington College campus,
Brown’s life ended tragically in 1950 when, after a
lengthy battle with a nervous condition, he shot himself
through the heart.
Source: Phillip J.
Wingate, “Hiram S. Brown is Formidable Board Chairman”
in Washington: The College at Chester, ed. Marcia C.
Landskroener (Chestertown, Md.: The Literary House Press
at Washington College, 2003), 183. “Colonel Hiram
Staunton Brown, W. C. Alumnus, Dies Thursday in
Chestertown.” The Washington Elm XLX, no. 24, 5 May
1950. Dumschott, Fred. W. Washington College.
Chestertown, Md.: Washington College, 1980. Wingate,
Phillip J. “Hiram S. Brown is Formidable Board
Chairman.” In Washington: The College at Chester, edited
by Marcia C. Landskroener, 183-188. Chestertown, Md.:
The Literary House Press at Washington College, 2003.
Mary Adele France, 1900
(Feb. 17, 1880 – Sept, 1954)
student and as an educator, Mary Adele France, class of
1900, was a pioneer. The fifth woman awarded a
Bachelor’s Degree from Washington College, she was also
among the first women to receive an honorary degree from
who also earned Master’s Degrees from Washington College
in 1902 and from the Teachers College at Columbia
University in 1923, dedicated her career to providing
young girls with inspiration and educational
opportunities rare in the early 20th century.
spending the first six years after graduation teaching
at a private school, France began teaching at St. Mary’s
Female Seminary in Maryland in 1909, beginning what
would be an enduring association with the school.
the 1913-1914 school year, she taught science and math
at the Bristol School in Ocean City, Md. before
returning to St. Mary’s. From 1918 to 1920, France was
the supervisor of the Kent County Elementary Schools,
and during the following two years, she held the same
position in the Shelby, Tennessee school system.
1923, she returned to the seminary, where she served as
principal for fourteen years before becoming president
in 1937. During her tenure, she established a junior
college program which laid the foundation for the
present-day St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
alma mater’s fiftieth anniversary of coeducation in
1942, France, along with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
and the writer Sophie Kerr, received an honorary degree
from Washington College for her significant
contributions to education for young women.
Dumschott, Fred. W. Washington College. Chestertown,
Maryland: Washington College, 1980.
“Eleanor Roosevelt and the 50th
Anniversary of Coeducation.” In Washington: The College
at Chester, edited by Marcia C. Landskroener, 72.
Chestertown, Maryland: The Literary House Press at
Washington College, 2003.
“Three Honorary Degrees to be given to
Women.” The Washington Elm XLI, no. 27, 1 May 1942, p.
Lewin Wethered Barroll,1908
(Oct. 16, 1921 – Feb. 2, 1969)
Born in Chestertown, the son of Margaret Wethered and
Hopewell Horsey Barroll of the Class of 1878, Barroll
attended Yale receiving the A.B. in 1910 after
graduating from Washington College in 1908. As a young
man, he wrote a fundamental article on the founding of
the College, based on a now lost ledger of early College
accounts: “Washington College, 1783,” Maryland
6 (1911), 164-78. From New Haven, he moved to Baltimore
where he studied at John Hopkins and the University of
Maryland Law School, receiving the degrees of Master of
Arts and Bachelor of Laws in the same year. He first
practiced law in Chestertown with his father and later
in Baltimore in the firm of Barroll and Wethered. He
rose to the rank Major in the Army in World War I,
commanding installations of coastal artillery.
Throughout his life he was a great supporter of
Feb. 2, 1969.
Julio Del Toro, 1913
Born in Cuba and educated in the United States, Del Toro
spent most of his career as a professor in the
Department of Romance Languages at the University of
Michigan. He served two terms as president of the
National Federation of Modern Language Teachers and was
editor of the Modern Language Journal for a longer
period than any other editor.
Bibl., J. Alan Pfeffer, The Modern
Language Journal, 43, No. 8 (Dec., 1959), 365-372
Colin F. Stam, 1916
(Aug. 21, 1896 – Jan. 1966)
Colin Stam was an attorney for the Internal Revenue
Service from 1922 to 1926 and served as assistant
counsel for the Joint Congressional Committee on
Internal Revenue taxation 1927-29, counsel 1929-38, and
in 1938 was made Chief of Staff. Dr. Stam was coauthor
of the Internal Revenue Code of 1939.
James M. Cain. 1910, MA 1917
(July 1, 1892 – Oct. 27, 1977)
Born in Annapolis, Cain moved to Chestertown with his
family in 1903 and entered the College’s preparatory
school the next year. Cain’s father was the President of
Washington College and his mother was an opera singer.
After graduation, he returned to the college to teach
English and math, earning an MA in 1917.
Cain then began a career in journalism. He edited the
79th Division’s newspaper during World War I, and later
wrote for The Baltimore American and The
Baltimore Sun. He contributed several pieces to H.L.
Mencken’s American Mercury, including one about
Washington College’s football team.
After a brief stint with The New Yorker, Cain
moved to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, but his biggest
successes in the movies came from his three novels
adapted for film by other writers. The novels, and
the movies they inspired, firmly established the film
In 1934, he published his first novel, The Postman
Always Rings Twice; it was an instant sensation but
was the last of Cain’s books to make it to the big
screen, in 1946. Double Indemnity (a 1935
novella first published as a serial in Liberty
Magazine) was the first to be filmed, in
1944. It was Cain’s favorite, with a screenplay by
his peer, Raymond Chandler. In 1945, Mildred Pierce
(published in 1941)was released on film, starring Joan
Crawford, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for
Cain’s novels “of crime, sex, and violence” were notable
for their “terse, almost brutal simplicity,” a style
honed when he was a newspaperman earning just enough
money to support his drinking and pay for three
Cain continued to write until his death in 1977, which
was memorialized with a cocktail party per his request.
Sources The articles from the periodicals are
from clippings in the Miller Library Archives, vertical
files 1873-1923. Full citations were not available for
all clippings; 1910 Pegasus yearbook; “Author Spotlight:
James M. Cain.” Random House.ca, 2006,http://www.randomhouse.ca/author/results.pperl?authorid=4020&view=full_sptlght;
Bode, Carl. “Let’s Lift a Glass to James M. Cain.”
The Baltimore Sun, 25 June 1978, Section D.;
Cain, James M. “Tribute to a Hero.” The American
Mercury XXX, no. 119 (1933): 280-288; Dorsey,
John. “The Writer Never Gives Up.” The Sun Magazine,
29 March 1970; Dumschott, Fred. W. Washington
College. Chestertown, Md.:
Washington College, 1980; Hoopes, Roy. Biography from
The Washingtonian (1975): 186-196; “James M.
“James M(allahan) Cain.” Books and Writers, 2002,
Marcia C., ed. Washington: The College at Chester.
Chestertown, Md.:The Literary House Press at Washington
College, 2003, Well, Martin. “James M. Cain, Author of
Almost 20 Novels, Dies.” The Washington Post, 29
October 1977, “James M. Cain,”
William J. Wallace, a 1918 Washington College graduate,
had a long, distinguished military career.
An Eastern Shore native, Wallace played basketball in
college and was sophomore class president. In 1916, he
alerted the campus to the devastating fire raging in
William Smith Hall.
After graduation, he enlisted in the United States
Marine Corps (USMC) and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant.
After his flight training, Wallace was stationed in
Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic until 1924.
He was a squadron commander in China in the late 1920s.
From the beginning, Wallace had an important role in
World War II, for he was on the ground defending Oahu’s
Ewa Airfield during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Soon promoted to colonel, Wallace was a commanding
officer at the Battle of Midway, Okinawa, and
Guadalcanal, where he was wounded.
One of Washington College’s most decorated alumni,
Wallace received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a
Distinguished Service Medal, as well as other medals
with stars for his service.
On June 6, 1948, Wallace was the keynote speaker at the
College’s 166th Commencement. Introduced as a “leader of
men, faithful and honored warrior,”1 he talked fondly of
both the school and his former coach, Tom Kibler, before
delivering his address and accepting an honorary
doctorate of laws.
From 1948-1950, Wallace served as Director of USMC
Aviation, and he was commander of the Aircraft, Fleet
Marine Force in Santa Ana, California until his
retirement in 1952.
Wallace died in 1977 at age 82.
Colonel Joseph H., USMC (Ret). “The Final Campaign:
Marines in the
Victory on Okinawa.” Marines in World War II
Reminiscences of William Jennings Wallace.” In the First
Press LLC, 2006.
Landskroener, Marcia C., ed.
Washington: The College at
Md.:The Literary House Press at
Washington College, 2003.
Miller Library Archives.
Assorted documents from the
The Washington Collegian XIII,
no. 4. February 1916. Notes on a
1948 Commencement program in the
Miller Library Archives,
vertical files: 1944-1948 G. W.
Mead, folder: Commencement 1948.
Gilbert Valliant Byron, 1923
Known as "The Voice of the Chesapeake," Gilbert Valliant
Byron was born in Chestertown, Maryland on July 12,
1903. He is also referred to as "the Chesapeake Thoreau"
because he shares the same birth date with Walden Pond's
Henry David Thoreau and is known for his poems, short
stories, novels, historical research and magazine and
newspaper columns and articles detailing life on the
Chesapeake Bay from the early through the latter years
of the 20th century. During his lifetime, Byron
published 14 books and over 70 short stories, poems, and
articles. His books and poems, including The Lord's
Oysters, Done Crabbin', and These Chesapeake Men,
make up what is likely the largest collection of written
works on the Chesapeake Bay area authored by one person.
The Gilbert Bryon Society was founded in 1991 to
cultivate an awareness and appreciation of the
Chesapeake Bay region's literature in particular, and
the environment in general, through the works and legacy
of Gilbert Bryon. The Society is a subcommittee of the
Pickering Creek Audubon center-www.pickeringcreek.org.
Dorothy Hudson recalls: Someone had purchased the
bookcase. The books, unwanted, had been dumped
helter-skelter on the floor. A small sign gave notice, "
All books — 10¢ each." Buried near the bottom, I found a
first edition of Chesapeake Duke by Gilbert Byron. Never
has a dime been proffered so gladly. To a Delaware book
collector, the moment was absolute delight!
Gilbert Valliant Byron was the son of Mary Evelyn and
George Valliant Byron of Chestertown, Maryland. Also
born on July 12, was Henry David Thoreau (1817) whose
philosophy and writings were later to inspire and
At the age of 14, Byron was awarded a tuition
scholarship to Washington College's preparatory school
in Chestertown. He entered in September 1917, five
months after the country entered World War I.
His teaching career began in 1923 at Kennedyville
(Maryland) High School, where he taught all subjects to
all of his 20 students. Byron said, "I was everything
but the janitor. I was even the coach." A Pennsylvania
coal-mining region school became his next teaching
In 1926, Gilbert Byron went to Lewes (Delaware) High
School where he taught history and English; he also
served as principal and athletic coach. Here, in
partnership with a student, he became the owner of his
first boat. Friendships begun here were to remain
through the years until his death. Lewes people, scenes,
and incidents later became the themes of many poems and
From 1933 to 1945, he taught at Dover (Delaware) High
School, where he was also coach of the basketball team
and was active in Sea Scouts.
While in Dover, he published his first book, These
Chesapeake Men. Included is a 34-verse poem about
Parson Joshua Thomas.
In a move not intended to be permanent, he established a
small cabin at Old House Cove on San Domingo Creek near
St. Michaels, Maryland. After a brief return to Dover,
he went back to his cabin where he continued writing,
selling some work to Colliers and the Saturday Review of
Literature. While trying his own Thoreau lifestyle,
Byron lived off the water and the land; he did odd jobs
such as painting barns and repairing buildings. For six
years he held a job at Easton (Maryland) High School; at
the same time he was principal at St. Michaels
A weekly journal column was begun in the Easton
Star-Democrat newspaper titled "Cove Journal" —
later "Chesapeake Cove." Byron said the columns helped
him survive those years.
A book was published — then another — and another. (It
is interesting to note how many were published in the
later years of his life.) As his visual world
increasingly narrowed due to glaucoma, Byron said in
1978, "It's like twilight." He continued to write —
first on his typewriter on which a friend fastened large
letters, then by using large pencils with heavy lead,
and then with black felt marking pens.
Byron's genres included prose, short stories, and poetry
(including the Japanese form haiku). Among the haiku in
The Sight of a Marsh Hawk is a sequence titled "Memories
of Old Lewes." The concluding line of the poem "Dear
Superintendent" would find echo in the heart of every
teacher: "I've been taught by some mighty fine
To you, Gilbert Byron, we say, "Our lives have been
enriched by a mighty fine man."
Rebecca Neal Brown Owens, 1925
(March 4, 1904 – January 7, 2007)
A retired teacher, Rebecca
Neal Brown Owens advocated for the elderly for over
thirty years, and served as the first female president
of the Washington College Alumni Council.
Born at Quaker Neck’s
Wilmer Point in 1904, she walked to a one-room
schoolhouse in Johnsontown as a child, and drove a horse
and buggy to high school in Chestertown. As a Washington
College student, she played intramural basketball, took
part in dramatic productions, and served on the Girls
Owens taught school for
many years and earned a Masters degree from Montclair
State University, before beginning a second career in
community service and elderly affairs. After directing
the Newark, New Jersey Office of Elder Affairs, Owens
moved to Florida in 1975, where she co-founded the
Charlotte County Council on Aging, and served as the
driving force behind several other senior programs,
including a companion-caregiver service, a retired
volunteer program, a meals and activities program, and a
A few weeks after her 70th
class reunion, Owens, a member of the National
Association of Senior Friends, traveled to Washington,
D.C. to lobby members of Congress regarding cuts to
Medicare. In 2006, Charlotte County opened the Rebecca
Neal Owens Senior Center, honoring her tireless work on
behalf of the elderly.
A lifelong friend of
Washington College, Owens was instrumental in
establishing the Alumni House. “When I was president,
the Alumni Council had the best attendance ever,” she
noted. “All the men came to watch me so I wouldn’t put
anything over on them.”
Class Notes, Washington College Magazine, Vol. LV,
No. 1 (Winter 2006)
Marcia C., ed. Washington: The College at Chester.
Chestertown, Md.: The Literary House Press at Washington
Neal Brown Owens, ’25: An Advocate for the Aging,”
Washington College Magazine, Vol. LIV, No. 2 (Spring
Mark. “Charlotte Leader Helped Found Council on Aging,”
Herald Tribune, 13 January 2007,
L. Goldstein, 1935
( March 14, 1913 - July 3, 1998)
Maryland’s longest serving elected official, Louis L.
Goldstein graduated from Washington College in 1935 and
remained attached to the school until his death in 1998.
His experiences in college – selling shoes to cover
expenses during the Depression and acting as business
manager for The Pegasus, The Elm, and the student
handbook – prepared him for the role of state
comptroller, which he held for forty years (1958-1998).
The “happy, carefree manner” that made him a popular
figure on campus contributed to Goldstein’s later
successes in state politics. After earning a law degree
from the University of Maryland in 1938, Goldstein was
elected to the state House of Delegates. In 1942, during
World War II, he enlisted in the United States Marine
He was elected to the state Senate upon his return in
1946, rising through the ranks to majority leader
(1951-55) and then president (1955-58) before becoming
He was a delegate or alternate to 14 Democratic Party
National Conventions and was a six-time member of the
conventions’ platform and resolutions committees.
In 1957, Goldstein joined Washington College’s Board of
Visitors and Governors. He became chairman in 1980,
serving in that capacity until his death.
Of his years as an undergraduate Goldstein said, “I had
the best time I’ve ever had in my life! He worked
tirelessly to give others the same opportunities. Using
his government contacts, Goldstein secured funding for
several campus projects, including the renovation of the
college’s original buildings. He also donated more than
one million dollars to the school and endowed the Louis
L. Goldstein Chair in Public Affairs.
Sources: 1935 Pegasus; Landskroener,
Marcia C., ed. Washington: The College at Chester.
Chestertown, Md.: The Literary House Press at Washington
College, 2003. The Washington College Elm,
Dr. Baker in his office at Bell Labs in Murray
Hill, New Jersey, in 2002. Photograph
courtesy of A. Michael Noll.
William Oliver Baker, 1935
(July 15, 1915 – 2005)
William O. Baker, a Chestertown native and 1935
Washington College graduate, was a pioneer in scientific
research and public policy for more than half a century.
Baker was born on July 15, 1915, at his family’s farm,
Comegys Bight Plantation on
Quaker Neck, and died of heart failure in 2005 at
As an undergraduate, Baker won awards each year for the
highest scholastic average and was the senior orator at
his graduation. He was active in numerous
extra-curricular organizations, most notably as editor
of The Elm during his senior year. After
earning his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University
in 1938, Baker began a long career with Bell
Laboratories, joining the company in 1939. During World
War II, his research contributed to the development of
synthetic rubber. Baker became
vice-president of research in 1955 and had overall
responsibility for Bell Laboratories research programs
for the next 25 years. He served as president of
the company from 1973-1979 and retired in 1980 as
Chairman of the Board of Bell
Telephone Laboratories, Inc.
Applying his technical knowledge to national issues,
Baker was an advisor to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy,
Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan. He served on the President’s
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Federal
Emergency Management Advisory Board and was a member of
the National Academies of Science and of Engineering.
Modest and unassuming, Baker earned more than 25
honorary degrees and numerous accolades. In 1982, he
received the President’s National Security Award and in
1988, he was honored with the National Medal of Science
“for a distinguished record of leadership in the
combined disciplines of science and engineering, and for
distinguished service to government and education.”
He also served as
vice-chairman of the New Jersey Board of Higher
Education and co-authored A Nation at Risk: The
Imperative for Educational Reform (1983).
A “diplomat of science in…improving life in America,”
Baker received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the
Marconi International Fellowship Foundation in 2003.
National Science Foundation,
Martin Meyerson quoted in “In Memoriam: William O. Baker
’35, Former President of Bell Laboratories and
Presidential Science Advisor.”
Much more information is available at
William Beck Nicholson,1936
(December 11, 1914 – March 8, 1996)
Better known as “Swish” because of his powerful swing,
Nicholson was a Kent County native who graduated from
Kent County High School and played football and
basketball as well as baseball at Washington
College. He was recruited by the Philadelphia Athletics
in 1936, played several years in the minor
leagues, and moved up to the majors
in 1939 when the Chicago Cubs bought his contract.
Nicholson, a right fielder who batted left and threw
right, starred as a two-time National League home run
and RBI leader, helping to carry the club during the
World War II years. He was traded to the Philadelphia
Phillies in 1948 and was a member of the team when they
played the Yankees in the 1950 World Series. Recently
diagnosed with diabetes, however, Nicholson was unable
to play. He returned and played part-time until 1953.
During his professional career, Nicholson appeared in
five All-Star games, hit 235 home runs, batted in 948
runs, and had an overall .268 batting average.
Sources: Wikipedia and oral
history from the archives of the
Historical Society of Kent County
Joseph H. McLain, 1937
(d July 26, 1981)
Joseph McLain, a brilliant Washington College graduate,
of his junior and senior classes, played varsity
basketball, football, lacrosse and track, and
graduated magna cum laude. After earning his doctorate
at Johns Hopkins and serving as an officer during World
War II, McLain returned to Washington College as a
professor of chemistry. Students voted him their
most popular instructor, both for his
inspired teaching and his loyal support for the
college’s athletic teams. Named as President of
Washington College in 1973, McLain was the first and
only graduate to hold this position. During his tenure,
McLain worked tireless to increase faculty compensation,
broaden the curriculum, and put the college on a sounder
A distinguished innovator in the field of pyrotechnics,
he held more than 30 patents for devices such as
pyrotechnic actuation devices for stage separation in
spacecraft and smoke grenades for camouflaging troop
movements. He also authored three textbooks in the field
of solid-state chemistry.
Source: Washington, the College at
Click on tennis team pic to
Jean Harshaw Lesko,
Throughout her four years
at Washington College, “sweater girl” Jean Harshaw
dominated the athletic fields, making a name for herself
as the best of her era in tennis, field hockey, and
basketball. Despite the fact that the college supported
varsity teams for men only, relegating women to
intramural sports, Harshaw played two years of varsity
tennis, becoming the only woman in Washington College
history to hold a spot on a normally all-male team.
A former Pennsylvania
junior champion, Harshaw helped the newly resurrected
team make a “credible showing” against its opponents.
She remembered no opposition to her involvement from
coaches, administrators, or other players, although the
1937 student yearbook, the Pegasus, did note that when
she accompanied the team on the road, “it was quite a
new experience to the St. John’s boys.”
President of the Board of
Managers of the Women’s Inter-Class Athletic
Association, which oversaw the women’s intramural
program, and Vice-President of the Women’s Student
Government Association, which managed the internal
affairs of Reid Hall, the women’s dorm, Harshaw never
saw herself as a feminist. “For me, that wasn’t the
question,” she reflected. “I just liked to play team
A “consistently good
student,” she served as Sports Editor of the school
newspaper, the Elm, President of the Mt. Vernon Literary
Society, Maryland’s oldest college literary society, and
Secretary of “Le Cercle Francais.”
In 1986, she was elected to
the Washington College Hall of Fame, the second female
athlete so honored.
Brown, Gary. “Women Athletes Vie to Even the Score
at the Century Mark,” Washington College Magazine, Vol.
XL, No. 2 (Winter 1991), p. 15-19.
Marcia C., ed. Washington: The College at Chester.
Chestertown, Md.: The Literary House Press at Washington
Pegasus, Special Collections & Archives, Miller Library
College Hall of Fame listing, http://alumni.washcoll.edu/halloffame/1986/jl37.html
Benjamin Hays Vandervoort, 1938
(March 3, 1917 – November 23, 1990)
A famed officer in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division,
Vandervoort was one of the few soldiers to be awarded
three Distinguished Service Crosses for Bravery in
combat, in addition to three Purple Hearts and a Bronze
Star with Valor. Renowned for his heroics during the
Normandy Invasion, Lt. Col. Vandervoort refused to
abandon his troops despite breaking his leg during the
early morning jump into France. Actor John Wayne
portrayed him in the 1962 movie, The Longest Day.
One of the most decorated Washington College alumni to
fight for his country, Benjamin Hays Vandervoort earned
numerous honors for his bravery in World War II.
Vandervoort, whose brother
also attended Washington College, was a member of the
Washington Players drama club, the Y.M.C.A., the Mount
Vernon Literary Society, and the football and track
teams. He also was an officer in his fraternity, Theta
His senior yearbook hailed him as “one of the leaders in
the class of ’38: President of the Thetas, President of
the Debaters, A letterman in football.”1
The same “aggressive influence…in all the many
organizations in which he has held membership” in
college made him an effective leader in the Army’s 82nd
Vandervoort took part in all the Division’s World War II
combat jumps, including those at Normandy and the Battle
of the Bulge. He broke his leg during the jump on D-Day
but continued fighting, using his rifle as a crutch. He
was unstoppable until the winter of 1945, when a
fragment of shrapnel struck him in the face, taking his
left eye, leaving a hole in his forehead and causing
severe sinus damage.
Vandervoort was awarded three Distinguished Service
Crosses for bravery in combat, three Purple Hearts, and
a Bronze Star for valor; he also received honors from
France, Holland and Belgium. In 1962, the film The
Longest Day, in which he was portrayed by John
Wayne, immortalized his heroics on the silver screen.
Sources: “Benjamin Hays Vandervoort.” 1938
Pegasus; Thompson, William L. “Remembering a Hero:
Benjamin Hays Vandervoort, ’38,” in Washington: The
College at Chester, edited by Marcia C.
Landskroener, Chestertown, Maryland: The Literary House
Press at Washington College, 2003, 50-51.
Owen R. Anderson '40, a native of Chestertown who achieved distinction
a 45-year career with the National Geographic Society, died August
6, 2003, three weeks shy of his 84th birthday. A highly-decorated Army
veteran, Anderson was an enlisted man in the first full division to arrive
in Hawaii after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He returned Stateside
a few months later for Officer Candidate School, and in September 1944
shipped out to Europe as a reconnaissance officer in an anti-tank company.
For his 130 days of combat, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, a
European Ribbon with three battle stars (Ardennes, Rhineland and Central
Europe), and Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals. Anderson joined the
National Geographic Society in 1946, rising from printing press operator
to executive vice president. By 1967, Owen had been promoted to associate
secretary and was responsible for its fulfillment operations. He became
vice president and secretary in 1976, and was named to the number two
position in 1980, handling such administrative duties as accounting,
membership services, purchasing and promotions. With his duties
distributed among six senior staff, Anderson retired in 1991, becoming a
trustee emeritus of the Society. Anderson received Washington College's
Alumni Citation in 1981. Upon his retirement, he received the Society's
Grosvenor Medal for exceptional service. Throughout much of his career,
Anderson maintained a summer home in Kent County, and a close association
with his alma mater.
On August 9, 2008 the Miller Library became the proud recipient of a
state-of-the-art Stellanova illuminating globe, imported from Germany.
Dr. Ralph Thornton '40 spearheaded the friends-and-family donation of
the globe in memory of his classmate Owen Anderson. "He would have
been so proud to have his achievements at National Geographic and his
love for Washington College combined this way," said daughter Penny
Anderson at the Miller Library globe-unveiling ceremony. "It's the
William B. Johnson,
A true captain of industry in the classic American mode,
Johnson enjoyed 50 years at the heights of corporate
leadership. After graduation, he became a tax lawyer and
counsel in the railroad industry, first for the
Pennsylvania Railroad, and later for the Illinois
Central Railroad, where his management and financial
skills guided the company during the challenging 1960s.
Johnson became Illinois Central’s director and later CEO
and Chairman in 1969, bringing his company and his
investors out of the “railroad blues” through
diversification and the creation of a multi-billion
dollar conglomerate that included businesses such as the
Abex Corporation, Pepsi bottlers, Midas Mufflers, Pet
Foods, Hussman refrigeration equipment, Pneumo Aircraft
Systems and the Illinois Center corporate office complex
in downtown Chicago.
Photo from The
Society of Neurological Surgeons
(May 18, 1922 - 2002)
After graduating from Washington College’s accelerated
program during World War II, Theodore Kurze
revolutionized the field of neurosurgery.
Kurze received his medical degree from the Long Island
Medical College in 1947. In 1949, he enlisted in the
U.S. Army Medical Corps and was promoted to captain
after serving at Fort Bragg, N.C. and in Germany. After
leaving the army, Kurze relocated to the West Coast,
where he became a prominent neurosurgeon.
While removing a tumor from a child’s ear in 1957, he
became the first to use a microscope during surgery. He
was also one of the first to mount a small light on his
forehead during surgeries and to use diagnostic
In 1961, Kurze began a long career at the University of
Southern California, where he was Chairman of the
Department of Neurological Surgery from 1963-1978 while
simultaneously serving as the Director of Neurosurgery
at the Los Angeles County Medical Center.
According to the American Association of Neurological
Surgeons, Kurze “was a key figure in establishing the
role of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center as a
leader in the development of neurosurgical concepts and
A Senior Fellow at Washington College and professor
emeritus at USC, Kurze published more than 100 articles
on medicine and philosophy. He also served as a
consultant for medical television shows and in 1978 was
the subject of an episode of NBC’s Lifeline.
In his spare time, Kurze sailed around the West Coast of
Mexico and earned a master’s degree in literature. He
died from prostate cancer in 2002, at age 79.
Sources: “In Memoriam.” American Association of
Neurological Surgeons Bulletin 11, no. 3 (2002).
Theodore Kurze ’43.” Washington College Magazine
XLX, no. 3 (2002).
Liu, Charles Y.,
M.D., Ph.D. and Michael L.J. Apuzzo, M.D. “The Genesis
of Neurosurgery and the Evolution of the Neurosurgical
Operative Environment: Part One – Prehistory to 2003.”
Neurosurgery 52, no. 1, (2003): 10.
“Marriages, Births and Deaths.” USC Trojan Family
The Society of Neurological Surgeons.<http://www.societyns.org/society/bio.asp?MemberID=293>
Betty Brown Casey,
After leaving Washington College, Casey earned a MSSW at
Catholic University in 1953 and subsequently practiced
psychiatric social work until her marriage in 1955. She
joined the Washington College Board of Visitors and
Governors in September 1973 and continues this service
as an emeritus member. Mrs. Casey, with a long and
special affection for opera, has served on the board of
the Washington Opera since 1974; she now holds the title
of life chairman. She has served as chairman of the
Eugene B. Casey Foundation since her husband’s death in
1986. In 2001 she created the Casey Trees Endowment Fund
to establish an organization to restore the tree cover
of the District of Columbia. Her lifelong appreciation
of trees and green spaces influenced her decision to
donate $50 million to the District of Columbia/s tree
planting and maintenance program. Her generosity to her
alma mater is credited with pushing Washington College
into a “higher orbit,” renovating existing buildings and
constructing new facilities to provide space for the
arts, academics, technology instruction, athletics and
Betty “Betts” Brown’s senior profile in the 1947
Washington College yearbook reveals a dedicated,
well-rounded student: biology major, basketball player,
member of the Young Women’s Christian Association. Her
plans – “to enter the field of economics”1 – do not
foretell her future as a philanthropist and one of the
school’s most generous benefactors.
With her husband, Betty Brown Casey “championed
opportunities for economically disadvantaged students
and leadership opportunities for women.”2 Mrs. Casey
endowed the Eugene B. Casey Medal in her husband’s
honor, awarded annually to the most outstanding senior
women, and the Clark M. Clifford Scholarship, given to a
deserving pre-law student, in addition to numerous other
In 1984, the Caseys pledged five million dollars to
build the indoor swimming facility on campus, and they
funded the construction of the Casey Academic Center,
the Cater Walk and Martha Washington Square, as well as
the purchase and renovation of the Rose O’Neill Literary
Mrs. Casey’s altruism is not limited to Washington
College. She established the Casey Trees Endowment Fund
for planting trees and restoring green spaces in the
nation’s capital and, after sitting on its board for
years, earned the role of life chairman of the
Mrs. Casey’s generous gifts made an indelible mark on
her alma mater, but her greatest contribution was
enabling students to fulfill their ambitions.
Sources: “Betty Brown.” 1947 Pegasus;
“Caseys Provide Impetus for ‘Higher Orbit.’” In
Washington: The College at Chester, edited by Marcia
D. Landskroener, 199-203. Chestertown, Maryland: The
Press at Washington College, 2003.
(1917 – April 1, 2007)
Born in England in 1917,
Jean MacNeil spent World War II in Paris and Tunisia,
working as a translator for the American army in North
Africa. She relocated to the United States in 1947,
married Frank Wetzel, and later enrolled at Washington
College as a nontraditional student. Mrs. Wetzel majored
in French, completed certification in education, and
served as President of the Student Education
Association. She spent her career teaching in
Centreville, Maryland, at Kennard Elementary School and
Queen Anne’s County High School, where she instituted an
exchange program with a high school in France.
In Memoriam, Washington College Magazine, Vol. LV, No. 3
Pegasus, Special Collections and Archives, Miller
Christine Lincoln, 2000
Winner of the 2000 Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest
undergraduate literary prize in the nation, Christine
Lincoln published her first book, Sap Rising, to
great acclaim in 2001. The short stories that comprise
Sap Rising have been hailed as “luminous…in the
great tradition of Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison,
and the early Alice Walker.” Set in a fictional rural
Maryland community, the connected narratives that make
up the collection probe deeply into the world of the
town’s African American residents, revealing, according
to Kirkus Reviews, “the author’s deep conviction
that the writing process can redeem the poverty,
ignorance, cruelty in her characters’ lives.”
Born and raised in Baltimore, Lincoln came to Washington
College as a nontraditional student, a single mother
with a young son and little disposable income. She was
active on campus, serving as the driving force behind
the establishment of the Center for the Study of Black
Culture. She overcame enormous obstacles to graduate at
the top of her class, hone her literary voice, and
pursue her dream of writing. Within six months of
graduation, she had been profiled by the New York
Times, interviewed on Oprah, and courted by
several publishing houses. After a nationwide book tour
for Sap Rising, she and her son returned to
Johannesburg, South Africa, where she is pursuing a
doctorate in African literature at the University of the
Pantheon Books, the publisher of Sap Rising,
called Lincoln “a stunning new voice in contemporary
American fiction.” She exemplifies the best of the
Washington College writing tradition, and her stories
are far from finished.
“History of the Center for the Study of Black Culture,”
“Lincoln Signs Contract
for First Book,” Washington College Magazine,
Vol. XLIX, No. 2 (Spring 2001),
WC Press Release, “Sophie
Kerr Weekend Brings Author Christine Lincoln ’00 and
Musical Poets Brady’s Leap to Campus, March 18,” 9 March
WC Press Release,
“College Opens Nationwide Tour for Sophie Kerr Prize
Winner,” 27 August 2001,
WC Press Release,
“Washington College Awards Nation’s Largest
Undergraduate Prize,” 21 May 2000,