Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Halloween Treat

The James Trundle Farm (or Huntview as it is now known) has had many ghost sightings and strange happenings. In honor of Halloween night, below is an excerpt from the book:

One night sometime during the 1940s there was a terrible snowstorm.  Everything around was shut down and no one was out who didn’t have to be.  It was evening and the caretaker [of the James Trundle Farm] at the time was looking out the window when he saw footprints in the snow.  He called the family together because he had told everyone to stay inside.  This was the kind of storm where one could be in great danger outside.  But everyone was in and no one had gone out.  The next morning, the man went out to see what damage the storm might have caused.  Under the window where he had seen footprints last night there was a set of deep tracks leading down to River Road.  As he followed the tracks, they became shallower and shallower until they disappeared altogether in the middle of a field. 

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In the News

The Gazette has an article in today’s paper about ISOMG: MC. I hope you enjoy it! http://www.gazette.net/article/20121031/ENTERTAINMENT/710319818/1265/authors-write-about-ghosts-in-montgomery-county&template=gazette

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Putting Flesh on the Bones of a Ghost Story

Thanks to my friend Shellie, I have a guest blog on the writer’s blog, The Rockville 8, on inserting history into a ghost story. I hope you enjoy it! http://rockville8.blogspot.com/2012/10/putting-flesh-on-bones-of-ghost-story.html

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Book Launch

The official book launch took place tonight at the Beall-Dawson House. I want to thank everyone who braved the threat of bad weather to turn out (although I completely understand those who were still battening down the hatches).

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The Battle of Ball’s Bluff and More on Baker – The Life of a Death

Death of Baker at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. Library of Congress.

Full-length portrait of Baker in uniform from the Library of Congress.

I hope you will excuse this longish post, but once started, I realized it needed to be a bit more than originally written. After my post on Col. Baker when I was in San Francisco, I began to wonder if there was a photographic record of his original gravestone. The current stone in the Military Cemetery at the Presidio was placed there in 1940, but he wasn’t originally buried there.  I was also intrigued with all the places where he has been memorialized. As often happens during a war, heroes emerge whose story is significant at the time, but eventually becomes an historical footnote. Their memory lives on mostly because of all the places that were named after them while their story was still fresh. (Montgomery County is one of many counties named after Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War hero, who is remembered mostly for all the places that were named for him after his death in 1775.) BUT then I realized that today, October 21, is the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, and so I had to say more.

Dorothy had the thankless task of writing the stories for Annington, the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, and the C & O Canal. These stories trip all over each other, and separating them into three distinct tales was a challenge. You see, while Baker died at Ball’s Bluff, he haunts Annington. The ghosts that were created out of the tragedy that was the Battle of Ball’s Bluff spilled over into the C & O Canal.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield – stone marks where Baker died.

The Battle of Ball’s Bluff was a debacle. Ball’s Bluff is a steep cliff rising above the Potomac River in Loudon County, VA. The Confederates had the high ground. Baker should have called for a retreat, and was advised to do so by his subordinates. Perhaps it was being back on the battlefield after so many years, or hoping to take a decisive stand early in the war, but Baker pushed forward. It was a rout, with the Union wounded and dead clogging the Potomac. Baker, too, died, and was temporarily laid to rest at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.. Then, after some negotiations, it was decided that California would get him even though he was a senator from Oregon. (He had been a lawyer in San Francisco before moving to Oregon.) After a lengthy train ride to San Francisco, with many stops for mourners to view him along the way, he reached Lone Mountain Cemetery (later renamed Laurel Hill Cemetery) in San Francisco. This was an appropriate place as Baker had given the dedication speech for the cemetery when it opened in 1854.

Baker Monument, Laurel Hill Cemetery. San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

In 1940, after it was decided to close Lone Mountain/Laurel Hill, Baker was moved to the Presidio, where his grave can be found at plot site OSD 488.

Meanwhile, how is Baker remembered? There are three forts named for him – a Fort Baker can be found in Washington, D.C., Nevada, and San Francisco.  In addition, San Francisco has Baker Beach and Baker Street. Also in California, Gray Eagle Creek was named for Baker – the “gray eagle of republicanism.” In Oregon, where Baker was senator, there is Baker County, Baker City, and Edward D. Baker Day (February 24). His likeness can be found in the U.S. Capitol and the Illinois State House, where he had practiced law.

With so many possible places to haunt, is it any wonder that Baker seems to have chosen Annington, the site of his last peaceful meal?

(A special thank you to Lorna Kirwan at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley who actually located the image for me.)

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The Book Is Here!

The advanced copies of the book just arrived today! Along with a nice bottle of wine so we could celebrate! Expect to see them in stores and online before Halloween.

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Book Launch Party!

Sunday, October 28; 5:00-7:00 pm

Help us celebrate the release of our book at the historic Beall-Dawson House! We’ll give brief remarks and there will be a dramatic reading of one of the stories (not by us). And of course, book signings and champagne.

103 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20850

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