A historical book such as this stands on the legs of its research. On the day the book went to print, I had the highest level of confidence in the facts included. In that way, it is frozen in time and, therefore, (let’s call it) perfect. However, everything changes. And quickly. New information comes to light and more details emerge. I worked so hard to get things right that I am interested to know when I didn’t. Here is what the lens of time manifested:
Mary Shealy should be Mary Shealey. Ultimately, I felt making the connection with Shealy Avenue (named after her and her family) was more important than the historic spelling. I figure over time, the name was just towson-americanized and that was the accepted spelling. In fact in all my research, Shealy and Shealey seemed interchangeable. Technically, historically, it is Shealey. I think. I am still not sure.
Did I make the right call? Perhaps not, but ultimately I decided that the connection to the little centrally-located road was more important for this type of book.
Did I overthink this? You bet. Am I OK with calling this an error? You bet.
* And I know of the ly- rule for compounding words. But I disapprove of it because it is stupid. It helps make it more
readable, which is what I go with. All those big style guides need to get with the program. In fact, just read today that the AP decided to start using email over E-mail, website over Web site, (I've been making those arguments for years) and even cellphone over cell phone. Announced over twitter no less, they said “language evolves”. I couldn't agree more.
And I know the rule for the punctuation inside of the quotes. That's stupid too, so I break that one. I have developed my own personal style guide over the years as a copy editor. Do you need one? Email me.
Technically, the book contains no error here. Captain Charles Ridgely (1733-1790) had a son who became Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely (1760-1829, the 15th governor of Maryland. The Governor definitely released slaves upon his death. But did the Captain as well? I think so. Did he release more than the Governor? Probably not. Who best deserved to be remembered for this fact. Well, I thought I was sure, and now I am not. If someone knows more specific info on this, I am all ears!
1306 West Joppa Road is the historical address of this property. A few years ago, or a hundred years ago, this was the correct address. That is not true anymore. I do not know exactly when it happened (2010 being my best guess, perhaps 2009), but now the large hill-crested property has an encircling street that has allowed for development. The new updated address is 702 Abell Ridge Court. Named for the man who built this mansion (I named him in the book) and because it is on one hell of ridge. In fact, not too long ago (in deep winter 2011) I was traveling east on 695 close to the Charles Street exit and I looked to my right and saw a big beautiful house that I don't EVER remember seeing before. And I have been travelling this freeway my whole life and working on a book about Towson for more than a year! I thought, WHAT is that and why don't I know about it? Then I realized, it was the backside of this property. What a relief! And an even better reason it got entry into the book. I guess with all the development around it, buffering trees have been cleared away, and now it is the big beautiful house on the hill. Look for it on the beltway.
The Ridge as seen from the 83 overpass at 695 in March 2011.
Patuxent Publishing was inadvertently omitted from my list. The Towson
Times served as a vital resource in my research:
Towson Times. www.explorebaltimorecounty.com/towson-times.
(Accessed April 2010–September 2010.)
Why isn't Hampton Mansion in the book?
I considered Hampton fairly well-covered territory, book-wise. Most long-term residents are knowledgeable of the Mansion's existence, if not its history. And technically, it is not located in Towson. The Mansion anyway. It is outside of the beltway. The irony here is that an enormous chunk of its original property is Towson. (In 1790, it was the largest private home in the United States.) So leaving it out could be looked upon as a flaw. But was it intentional? Yes. It was just so thoroughly documented that I thought other locations deserved coverage.
But it is mentioned at least 5 times in the book, so I just did not cover it photographically.
Written March 19, 2011 by Melissa Schehlein