Monday, 29 August 2016

William Paca’s Education in Context

Plate from Birch’s Views of Philadelphia 1800

The city of Philadelphia was the perfect city for founding schools in the 18th century. Being commercially wealthy and active, it was possible for more schools to survive as there was a larger middle class with the stability and motivation to pay for education. Importantly, it was a cosmopolitan city, where people could learn English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, as well as Classical Latin and Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic.[1]

William Paca and his older brother, Aquila, were sent to the Philadelphia Academy and Charity School in 1752.[2] From this advertisement in the Maryland Gazette, printed in December 1750, we get a sense of the education they would have received:

Youth will be taught the Latin, Greek, English, French, and German Languages, together with History, Geography, Chronology, Logic, and Rhetoric; also Writing, Arithmetic, Merchants Accounts, Geometry, algebra, Surveying, Gauging, Navigation, Astronomy, Drawing in Perspective, and other mathematical Sciences; with natural and mechanic Philosophy, &c. agreeable to the Constitutions heretofore published, at the Rate of Four Pounds per Annum, and Twenty Shillings, entrance.[3]

Maryland Gazette for 27th February 1751

The curriculum of the Philadelphia Academy and Charity School may look very out-dated, but it was cutting-edge for its time. While many schools in colonial America tried to imitate European systems, the Philadelphia Academy was decidedly more innovative. The curriculum was shaped by important authors on education in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin and William Smith, who both encouraged a strong, artistic education, but also placed a huge emphasis on the pragmatic side of learning. This was to prepare men for the unique conditions of colonial life. 

Benjamin Franklin founded the academy and college in 1749-50 in buildings that had acted as an underdeveloped charity school. It was also in this year that he published his pamphlet, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania.

William Smith was a Scottish educator from Aberdeen who was in correspondence with Franklin. After winning Franklin’s approval of his own theories of a progressive education he was appointed to the position of provost in 1755.

Franklin’s Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania (1749) discusses the need for mixing Classical, ‘ornamental’, and practical, ‘useful’ subjects:

As to their STUDIES, it would be well if they could be taught every Thing that is useful, and every Thing that is ornamental: But Art is long, and their Time is short. It is therefore propos’d that they learn those Things that are likely to be most useful and most ornamental. Regard being had to the several Professions for which they are intended.[4]

by David Martin (1767) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

The basics were clear handwriting, arithmetic, accounts, and the principles of geometry and astronomy. In addition, instead of just teaching Classical languages and the famous authors for the sake of it, Franklin clearly states that even the artistic side of education must have a purpose. For instance, reading ‘universal history’ will ‘furnish them with Matter for their Letters, &c.’ and be ‘of great Use to them, whether they are Merchants, Handicrafts, or Divines.’[5] ‘[T]rue Merit’ should be the aim of every youth, ‘as consisting in an Inclination join’d with an Ability to serve Mankind, one’s Country, Friends and Family; which Ability is (with the Blessing of God) to be acquir’d or greatly increas’d by true Learning; and should indeed be the great Aim and End of all Learning.’[6]

William Smith’s A General Idea of the College of Mirania (1753) is slightly more severe. He divides education and the boys who should receive it into two distinct groups, which suggests a different education was necessary for those of the thrifty middling classes than that intended for the young men who were required to develop ‘eloquence.’

First, the ‘Mechanic Professions’ course lasting nine years, which Smith believed was ‘the shortest Way of forming Youth to act in their proper Spheres, as good Men and good Citizens.’[7] The curriculum primarily consisted of ‘Mathematics, Ethics, Oratory, Chronology, History, the most plain and useful Parts of natural and mechanic Philosophy’, then ‘something of Husbandy and Chymistry’.[8]

Gilbert Stuart, Dr. William Smith, (1801-1802) University of Pennsylvania Museum

The second type of education was ‘The Latin School’. Smith theorised that ‘Knowledge of the learned Languages [Latin and Greek], as the Means of acquiring other useful Knowledge, is indispensibly necessary to the first Class [Latin school]. To the Second [Mechanic school], the Time thus spent is entirely thrown away, as they never have any Occasion to make use of those Languages.’[9] The Latin School devoted the first five years to learning Latin, ‘Declensions, Conjugation, St. Luke’s Gospel, Lucian’s Dialogues, &c.’,[10] before moving on to Greek and mathematics, including geometry, astronomy, chronology, surveying, navigation, ‘and the other most useful Branches of the Mathematics.’ Logic and metaphysics were also included, but were not a major focus as they were less advantageous.

The curriculum then moved on to philosophy in the third year, with Plato, Cicero, Locke, and Hutchinson. In the fourth year rhetoric was studied in the works of Tully and Quintilian. Pupils were reading these works to learn ‘eloquence’, with the ambition that reading these works made the students ‘apprehend its Plan, Series, Delicacy of Address; the Strength and Disposition of the Proofs; the Justness of the Tropes and Figures; the Beauty of the Imagery and Painting; the Harmony and Fullness of the Periods; the Pomp and Purity of the Diction; and, in fine, the Grandeur of Thought; that astonishing Sublime; the Torrent of Eloquence; which, moving, warming, seizing the Soul, sweeps all irresistably down before it.’[11]

Smith wants his students to achieve ‘a certain Elevation of Thought’, through both practical, advantageous, and useful subjects, but also learning the ornamentations that would make his students seem a class above the rest.

[1] L. B. Wright, The Cultural Life of the American Colonies: 1607-1763 (Dover, 1957), 109.
[2] J.B. Russo, William Paca’s Education: The Making of an Eighteenth-Century Gentleman and American Patriot, Historic Annapolis Foundation (Annapolis, 1999), 2-3.
[3] Maryland Gazette (27th February 1751), 3.
[4] B. Franklin, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania (Philadelphia, 1749), 11.
[5] Ibid., 26.
[6] Ibid., 30.
[7] W. Smith, A General Idea of the College of Mirania: A Sketch of the Method of teaching Science and Religion, in the several Classes: and Some Account of its Rise, Establishment and Buildings (New York, 1753), 14.
[8] Ibid., 16.
[9] Ibid., 14.
[10] Ibid., 17.
[11] Ibid., 20. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Paca Bed: Bedrooms in the late eighteenth century

The William Paca House might be closed for the winter, but take a tour later this year, and you will see our forthcoming exhibit: an eighteenth-century bed with possible Paca connections, newly conserved and awaiting assembly in the second floor of the house.

A few months ago, Historic Annapolis staff members and interns piled into several cars and took a weekend trip to Williamsburg. We were off to pick up the Paca bed!

The bed; loaded into our curator's car (with Natalie's supervision, and some custom-made padding!)
and ready to return to Annapolis

Recently donated to the William Paca House, the dismantled bed pictured above will soon be assembled in the room that is currently interpreted as Mrs. Paca’s lying-in chamber. The bed has been confirmed as dating from the 1780s-90s by textile expert Natalie Larson. It is thought to have been bought by the donor’s grandfather, one James Bordley, from his uncle. There is therefore reason to believe that the bed has Paca connections; the Bordley family shared Wye Island with the Pacas after William Paca moved to Wye Hall.

Dr James Bordley, Jr. (1874-1956), a collector of fine American antiques and early champion of historic preservation in Annapolis, might have been the buyer. Perhaps he was trying to preserve for posterity an important piece of Annapolis' history: William Paca's bed.

Eighteenth-century beds are exciting objects, not least because a bed like this would have been the most valuable possession in a household when it was first bought.

The Paca Bedchamber
The Bed in the Bedchamber

There was rarely more than one elaborately decorated bed in a late eighteenth-century house. As the most valuable item in a household, such a bed was designed to be seen. Bed hangings were therefore extremely important. They were indeed so important that they warrant a blog post all to themselves. Look out for that!

A good and complete bed [see: "bed & furniture" in the glossary at the bottom of this post], owned by a wealthy Annapolitan in the 1760s and 1770s, would usually cost between £3 and £6. This would not have included a feather bed; feathers were incredibly expensive, and a feather bed would usually cost more than a bedstead.

Feathers needed to be properly cured and oil-free. If not, they would start to smell pretty awful after a while. Accruing enough feathers for a bed, and treating them properly, was no mean feat.

Excerpt from the Inventory of Henrietta Maria Dulany, 1766.

Key: ££.ss.dd (pounds; shillings; pence)

7 ¾ yds Irish Linnen 1/10: 14.10 ¼.0
8 ½ yds ditto 1/8: 14.2.0
24 ¼ yds cotton check: 2.5.0

9 prs. yellow and white cotton and wasted window curtains: 2.18.8
1 rich suit of bed curtains of yellow silk damask tester, valences, head piece, 4 large window curtains, 1 dozen mahogany yellow damask bottom chairs, feather bed mattress blankets bolster, 2 pillows and calico quilt: 50.0.0

1 tent bedstead and suit of curtains: 3.0.0
1 bed and bolster upon the tent bedstead: 3.0.0

Henrietta Maria Dulany (née Lloyd) was Paca's mother-in-law; she bought her property in Annapolis, on 162 Conduit Street, in 1761. Among the items listed in a 1766 description of her £50 matching bedroom furniture (see above), the yellow silk and feather bed mattress would have been most expensive new.

In the 1780s, Samuel Grant, a Boston upholsterer, charged between three and four shillings per pound for feathers. To put this into perspective, a complete bed required roughly sixty pounds of feathers, which would have cost between £10 and £12 in England at the time. In contrast, a bed frame alone typically set back an individual just over £3. The feather beds we see in the Annapolitan inventories are not priced at £10 each – but then, they are not new. It is very unlikely that the societal elite of Annapolis would buy a used mattress, and - like a new car today - mattresses and bed sheets would have quickly depreciated from their first day of use.

Camp bed with sacking bottom, from Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinet Dictionary, 1803.
Feathers for me, flock for you

In the inventory of Robert Eden, the last Governor of Maryland, of the furniture &c. ‘left on his departure in his dwelling house at the city of Annapolis taken the 26th day of June 1776’ contains good examples of beds at the extremes of wealth.[1] A ‘Servant mans Bed Room’ contained ‘1 Corded Bedstead, flock Mattrass, Bolster, 1 Rug, 1 Windsor Chair’, valued together at £3. ‘Flock’ was waste or surplus wool, sometimes combined with old rags, used to stuff mattresses or upholster other furniture. A ‘corded bedstead’ was a bedstead strung with ropes, which required regular tightening in order to hold the weight of layered mattresses – and, of course, the weight of a sleeper.

A bed currently in the Paca House, featuring a sacking bottom,
in the room that is interpreted as a child's sick room
Eighteenth-century bedsteads, especially the cheaper examples, would often be corded or feature sacking bottoms. Regularly tightened rope would create the tension needed for a bed that wouldn't swallow the sleeper whole.

The coming Paca bed features slats to better support mattresses. Slats were a more expensive alternative to a rope-based bed support, but they were available to those who could afford them.

Another interesting bed in Robert Eden’s house is his own, recorded as belonging to 'His Excellency's Bed Room'. On top of the ‘Mahogany 4 post Bedstead with white Dimothy furniture ornamented Cornice with vases compleat’ were the layered mattresses that ensured the comfort of a wealthy man or woman. Ordinarily, a straw-filled tick would form the base of the bed, followed by a feather bed and a mattress, a bolster, the bottom sheet, two pillows, a top sheet, blankets, and a counterpane (bedspread). Eden’s hair mattress (£4) probably sat atop his large feather bed, which – together with a bolster, and pillows – cost £10. A mattress of hair, wool, or straw would have been a much cooler surface to sleep on than a feather bed in hot summer months. It is likely that Annapolitans would only have layered their feather beds on top of their mattresses during the winter, when extra warmth in the night was welcomed.

Things that go bump in the night

The bedchamber was the scene of all sorts of night-time activity. It seems needless to say that a bed (and before public hospitals, one's own bed) was central to life’s ultimate moments: birth and death.

The Paca Bedchamber
Less monumental events, though just as essential, also occurred in the bedchamber. In January of 1775, Charles Carroll (III) ordered “a very neat night chair, with its furniture formed with such a deception as to appear anything but what it truly is … but not troublesome to use”.[2] An equivalent in the Paca House is not quite so glamorous, but is more akin to the usual receptacles used by men such as Paca and Carroll.

Indeed, Carroll ordered many chamber pots from England - often several dozen (highly breakable!) pots at a time. Those readers who witnessed the November 2013 installation of the carpet in the Paca dining room will understand the drama of knocking over a full chamber pot, and watching in horror as the contents pour onto your luxurious woolen carpet!

Shortened shut-eye

Contemporary literature and modern studies suggest that it would have taken much longer to get to sleep at night before the introduction of artificial light. Whilst today lying awake for two hours before drifting off is frustrating, in the mid-eighteenth century it would have been the norm.[3]

Surprisingly, before artificial lighting sleep patterns in the Western world were not so uniform as the conventional c.11pm-7am of recent centuries. In the early modern period and into the eighteenth century, it was not uncommon to have a 'first sleep' and a 'second sleep', the alert period in-between used for study or prayer among other activities. One explanation for such a routine is that a fire intended to last throughout a winter night would require tending in the early hours. As a man with servants to tend his fire for him, and as a man whose work was conducted in daylight, Paca was likely to have slept through the night.

Henry Robert Morland, Woman Reading by a Paper-Bell Shade, 1766.

Away from prying eyes

A four-poster bed, surrounded by a canopy, had a variety of practical benefits. Not only would the canopy provide privacy, but it would also protect the sleeper from cold drafts and insects. Rooms would often be shared by several occupants; and it was not uncommon for families to sleep in one room. In the house of a man like Paca, however, privacy would have been important. Increasingly over the eighteenth century, the bedchamber ceased to be a public arena for entertaining. At a time when social elites were increasingly concerned with appearances, Paca and his wife Mary would have required private spaces.

Whilst William Paca was wealthy enough to afford matching curtains in the bedroom, it was not uncommon for a room to be without window hangings in the late eighteenth century. There were few window curtains in comparison with bed hangings before the American Revolution. When privacy within a room was as significant as protection from prying eyes on the street, bed hangings become the priority; they provided a little of both.

Privacy behind curtains in the room currently interpreted as Mary's lying-in chamber, where she might have slept apart from her husband during pregnancy
It is likely that William and Mary shared the same bed. Peter Earle writes, ‘it is clear that the wife was expected to sleep in the same bed as her husband and be available for his embraces, though under some circumstances, such as catching the pox from his whores, it was accepted that a wife may well want to ‘part beds’’. One does not suppose that any such "circumstances" afflicted the Paca House.


Bed and furniture’: A bed, fully kitted out. i.e. with a mattress, bolster, pillows, sheets, pillowcases and hangings.
Similarly, a ‘tea table and furniture’ referred to a tea table complete with the objects needed for the service of tea.[4]
BolsterA long, thick pillow used at the head of the bed for support. It would be placed under other pillows to stop them shifting out of place or falling behind your soft feather bed.
Tick(en)/ticking: A linen twill fabric used for cushion cases, which would have enclosed feathers[5] – or any other filling material.

With thanks to Samantha Dorsey, Curator of Historic Properties and Museums at City of Bowie; Carter Lively, Executive Director of The Hammond-Harwood House; Tara Owens, Research Intern/Education Programs Coordinator at The Hammond-Harwood House; Paul Koch.

Keep reading the curatorial blog in the coming weeks to learn more about colonial bed hangings.

Written by OUIIP intern, Elena Porter


A. Roger Ekirch. At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime. (London, 2005). Orion Books. (Kindle edition).
Clive Edwards. Eighteenth-Century Furniture(1997). Manchester University Press.
Elisabeth Donaghy Garrett. At Home: The American Family 1750-1870. (New York: 1990) Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 
R.T.H.H.‘Textiles as Furnishings in Early American Homes’. Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Jennifer N. Johnson.‘The Upholstery and Chairmaking Trades of Eighteenth-Century Newport, 1730–1790’,  May 14, 2012. Thesis for the MA Program in the History of the Decorative Arts and Design: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum,Smithsonian Institution; and Parsons The New School for Design.
Whitney A.J. Robertson. ‘Sleeping Amongst Heroes: Copperplate-printed Bed Furniture in the "Washington and American Independance [sic] 1776; the Apotheosis of Franklin” Pattern’, Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings.
Peter EarleThe Making of the English Middle Class: Business, Society, and Family Life in London, 1660-1730. (Berkeley, 1989). University of California Press.

[1] All Robert Eden inventory information is taken from: Graham Hood. The Governor's Palace in Williamsburg: A Cultural Study. (1991). Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, p.299-300
[2] “Anywhere So Long as There be Freedom”, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, His Family and his Maryland. BMA, 1795.
Garrett, Elisabeth Donaghy, At Home: The American Family 1750-1870. p.109
[3] A. Roger Ekirch. At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime, loc. 5082 (Kindle edition).
[4] ‘A Guide to Reproduction Fabrics’, The Old-House Journal: Restoration and Maintenance Techniques for the Antique House. Vol V, No. 11, November 1977. p.131
[5] Jennifer N. Johnson.‘The Upholstery and Chairmaking Trades of Eighteenth-Century Newport, 1730–1790’,  May 14, 2012. Thesis for the MA Program in the History of the Decorative Arts and Design: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design 

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Sauceboat of a Signer

It is amazing how one tiny fragment of pottery from an archaeological dig can tell us the appearance and function of an entire object. At Historic Annapolis, we have been delving deep into past archaeological records to see if they can tell us anything new about William Paca’s Annapolitan lifestyle.

Figure 1: White salt-glazed stoneware fragment found during the William Paca House garden excavations

This white salt-glazed stoneware fragment was dug up in the 1960s from the area just in front of the west wing of the William Paca House.[1] Although it may not look like much in its current state, a closer examination of its shape enables a direct match to be made with a white salt-glazed sauceboat on exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The diaper pattern and the rococo edge of the fragment perfectly matches the sauceboat. This match gives us a wealth of information about William Paca’s tastes in both fashion and food!

Figure 2: White salt-glazed stoneware sauce boat. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Online:

The design of the sauceboat and the material in which it was made conveys that William Paca was an exceedingly fashionable gentleman. Rococo tableware was all the rage amongst elite circles from London to Annapolis in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. An excavation of the Calvert House on State Circle, Annapolis, has revealed that the Calvert family owned rococo style white salt-glazed plates with similar decorative motifs to William Paca’s sauceboat.

Figure 3: White salt-glazed plate from the Governor Calvert House.

What would have been served in William Paca’s sauceboat?

The colonial dining table would often have included a large dish of meat or fish accompanied by a complementary sauce served in an elegant sauceboat. A popular combination was the serving of duck with an orange sauce, a pairing still popular today! To make your own authentic eighteenth-century dish, follow these instructions:

·         1.) Stuff a duck with a mixture of ducks liver, streaky bacon, butter, onions, parsley and mushrooms

·         2.) Place bacon slices on top of the duck and cover with paper (or foil if you want to follow twenty-first-century conventions!)

·         3.) When the duck has been roasted, pour some of the gravy juices into a stew pot

·         4.) Add minced shallots and the juice of an orange to the stew pot and heat[2]

·         5.) Serve the sauce in a beautiful rococo stoneware sauceboat

Figure 4. A little after Paca's time, a gentleman demonstrates the joy that a sauceboat (albeit a slightly less elegant version)  could bring.  A convalescing man happily eating a meal, assisted by his grinning servant, coloured etching by J. Sneyd, 1804, after J. Gillray.   © Wellcome Library, London

[1] Stanley South (1967). The Paca House: A Historical Archaeological Study. Alexandria, Va., Contract Archaeology.
[2] The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Online at

Friday, 12 September 2014

William Paca's "Sleeve Buttons"

Dusty, dog-eared reports that seem to sit unloved on office bookcases can bring to light a wealth of fascinating information; the William Paca cuff-link is a good case in point. Though this artefact has been known to us for some time, and even exhibited, it is revealing to revisit it and deepen our understanding of William Paca and late-eighteenth-century Annapolitan society as a whole. This brass cuff-link (or sleeve button as they were called in the 18th century) was recovered from the archaeological excavations of the William Paca garden in the 1960s. From pottery fragments in the same archaeological layer, we can date this sleeve button to the time when William Paca lived in Prince George’s Street meaning that this sleeve button was almost certainly worn by William Paca himself. Although the design has lost its clarity over the centuries, we can still make out the image of a running fox and the word “tallio”. This gives the sleeve button a novelty appearance and shows that during his free time, William Paca was a keen foxhunter (as well as a snappy dresser) . William Paca was not the only colonial to own such a cufflink. The same design was incredibly popular in eighteenth century America and identical sleeve buttons have also been found at Williamsburg and Ferry Farm, George Washington’s childhood home.[1] The use of accessories to express a love of a particular sport is still practiced by many Americans today. Think of the modern baseball cap. Originally an essential and purely practical element of the outfit, the baseball cap (like Paca’s cufflink) now carries various baseball related designs intended to mark the user out as an enthusiast. The men of the 18th century would have used their sleeve buttons to show that they were a fan of foxhunting much in the same way.

Figure 1:  Brass ‘tallio’ cufflink. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Museum Purchase.

Hunting in Colonial America

The motif and lettering gives us a clear indication that the owner enjoyed foxhunting. “Tallio”,  a quaint misspelling of Tally-Ho, demonstrates that the vernacular of the British hunting gentry was easily transferred to America where the sport continued to be practiced. The British citizens of colonial America wished to continue the leisurely pursuits of their homeland.

Who participated in American foxhunts? In Britain, hunting was a marker of high society. Due to the Game Laws Act of 1671 which ruled that one’s land had to be worth upwards of £100 per annum to participate, hunting in Britain was restricted to the landed gentry.[2] The right to foxhunt was less restricted in colonial America. However, only the Anglo-American landed elite would have had enough leisure time and have owned enough hounds and horses to be able to run their own pack. Though slaves and servants did not hunt the foxes on horseback, they still participated in the sport as huntsmen who controlled the hounds.[3] 

American fox-hunting in the colonial period did not generally consist of organized clubs. Instead, men would hunt in informal packs.[4] An exception to this was the Gloucester Fox-hunting Club, probably the first formally organized club of this kind in America. Formed in 1766 in a Philadelphia Coffee house, this club was full of important men such as Benjamin Chase who each paid a subscription fee of £5 for the maintenance of foxhound kennels.[5] William Paca himself probably hunted in private, informal packs with men of his station, perhaps on their plantations. His interest in hunting is clear from his sleeve button. It is also known that he had a keen interest in horse sports as he was a member of the Maryland Jockey Club.[6] Its members in 1783 included other Annapolitan elites such as Charles Carroll of Carrollton.[7] Charles Carroll was known for his love of foxhunting; perhaps the two neighbors and signers spent a few afternoons hunting together.

Many of William Paca’s contemporaries expressed in writing their fondness for the sport. George Washington in particular records diligently in his diary the pleasant and sometimes frustrating hours he spent indulging his hobby. In September of 1768 he laments that he “Went fox hunting in the Neck. Started and run a fox or foxes three hours and then lost”.[8] John Adams, at a Sons of Liberty meeting in 1769 records in his diary that they watched a Mimickry of “The Hunting of the Bitch Fox” indicating that it was an accepted part of the culture of the Anglo-American elite.[9]

Figure 2: Fairfax Fox-hunting with Washington. Engraver Henry Bryan Hall (after Felix F.O.C. Darcey). in: Irving, W. (1855) The Life of George Washington.

Maryland: The home of American fox-hunting?

Colonial Maryland had a special association with fox-hunting and it is apparent that its residents had a particular fondness for the sport. Maryland, like other the other prominent hunting colonies, Virginia and Delaware, was free from a puritanical influence which condemned sport.[10] Foxhunting could therefore flourish free from any moral condemnation. It was in Maryland that the sport first came to America. An English settler to Queen Anne’s County brought his pack of foxhounds and held the first fox-hunt on record in America around 1650.[11] It was also in Maryland in 1730, on the Eastern Shore that a few tobacco planters, talking wistfully of the red foxes of ‘merrie England’, decided to import eight red foxes from Liverpool to hunt in place of Maryland’s native gray.[12]

An apocryphal tale of Charles Carroll of Carrollton demonstrates the distinct sense of pride that Marylanders had in their sport. The story goes that Charles Carroll claimed that “fox-hunting was the grandest sport ever invented by man and [was] sanctioned by an all-wise providence”.[13] In response, Light-Horse Harry Lee commented that “tis hell if your nag is slow and your hounds poor”.[14] Charles Carroll immediately responded, with an unabashed sense of state pride, “I refer to fox-hunting in Maryland, sir”.[15]

Fox-hunting held a special place in the heart of Marylanders in the colonial period, so much so that it altered the lawmaking process. The 1765 Dog Bill which imposed a tax on owning more than two necessary dogs faced so much outcry and opposition that it was later amended to include the exception that

the keeping of Fox Hounds for destroying of Foxes is usefull and Necessary and that therefore they should be Allowed to be kept Tax free.[16]

Considering all this, one can imagine William Paca riding out on his prize horse, wearing his Tallio sleeve buttons and spending an enjoyable afternoon hunting.


Black, J. (2005) A Subject for Taste. Hambledon and London.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Museum Purchase [] Last Accessed: 09/04/2014

Culver, F. (1922) Blooded Horses of Colonial Days: Classic horse matches made in America before the Revolution. Kessinger Publishing.

Fine, N. (2010) “Tally-ho Back”Foxhunting in North America and the MFHA. Centennial View. MFHA Foundation.

Founders.archives (2014a). Washington Papers. Online [] Last accessed: 09/04/2014
Founders.archives (2014b). Adams Papers. Online [] Last accessed: 09/04/2014

Schemmer, C. (2011). Scanning pieces of past. Online 
[] Last accessed: 09/04/2014

Hiss, H. (1897) The Beginnings of Fox-hunting in America. Outing Magazine.

Maryland State Archives (2014). Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1766-1768 vol. 61. Online [] Last accessed: 09/04/2014

Stewart, S. (1971) A Historical Survey of Foxhunting in the United States, 1650-1970. Ma Thesis. Denton, Texas.

South, S. (1969) The Paca House: A Historical Archaeology Study. Contract Archaeology Inc, Alexandria, Va.

[1] Schemmer 2011
[2] Black 2005, 72
[3] Stewart 1971, 47
[4] Stewart 1971, 38
[5] Stewart 1971, 45
[6] Culver 1922, 70
[7] Culver 1922, 70
[8] Founders.archives 2014a
[9] Founders.archives 2014b
[10] Stewart 1971, 40
[11] Hiss 1897, 13
[12] Fine 2010, 3
[13] Hiss 1897, 160
[14] Hiss 1897, 160
[15] Hiss 1897, 160
[16] Maryland State Archives 2014