Honoring My Home State on Maryland’s 228th Anniversary


On April 28 in 1788, Maryland became the 7th state admitted to the United States. During our nation’s first census in 1790, Maryland’s population numbered 319,728. By the 1790 Census the United States had expanded to 13 states and its total population was just under 4 million (3,929,214).  The Census Bureau estimates and projections program estimated that Maryland’s population in 2014 was just under 6 million (5,976,407), and the United State’s population nearly 320 million (318,857,056).  The United States has grown about 80 times the size it was 220 years ago, while Maryland’s population grew  about nearly 19 times its originally counted population in 1790.

MD 2010 CensusLike so many other native-born Americans, my earliest ancestors helped settle America about 16 generations ago.  They came primarily from England and the British Isles.  My paternal ancestors landed in 1609 in Jamestown, Virginia, and my maternal ancestors in 1620 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

It was my paternal grandfather who ventured from Virginia  to Maryland through the District of Columbia in and around 1930, when my dad was just two years old.  Likewise, my mom’s family came from the south through the District of Columbia in 1920. I was the first child in my parent’s family to be born a first generation Marylander and I am proud to call Maryland my home state.

Maryland’s Nicknames: America in Miniature, Old Line State, Free State

Maryland has been called “America in Miniature” because there is so much packed into its 12,407 square miles of land and water.  Being a Mid-Atlantic state it is defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic. Native Americans living along its shores gave the Bay an Algonquian name. Chesepiook, meaning “great shell-fish bay.” This name signified the abundance of crabs, oysters, and clams. In June 1608, Captain John Smith led two voyages throughout the Chesapeake Bay, and in its midst European settlers first landed at St. Clement’s Island, Maryland, in 1634.

Maryland is for crabsYet, it was not until 1989, that Maryland’s Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus Rathbun) was designated the State Crustacean (Chapter 724, Acts of 1989; Code General Provisions Article, sec. 7-303).  The blue crab’s scientific name translates as “beautiful swimmer that is savory.” Its name honors Mary Jane Rathbun (1860-1943), the scientist who described the species in 1896.

Blue crabs are Maryland’s culinary specialty. Meat from the Blue crab has been compared to the sweetness of lobster meat; the flavor best appreciated by cracking and eating steamed hard shells or feasting on soft shells. Restaurants and homes alike steam or saute crabs.  They shape the raw meat into crab cakes and bake, broil or fry them.  Then there’s Crab Imperial–a special tangy rich delicacy served in a pie dish, or Maryland’s wonderful cream of crab and crab bisque soups, or savory hot or cold crab dips to be eaten with bread or crackers.

Maryland was home to the first railroad, the first dental school and the first umbrella factory. And Maryland inventors gave us the gas light, the linotype machine and the refrigerator.

The “America In Miniature” title also applies to the role Maryland has played in our nation’s history, from the founding of the United States to the present. And like our country, Maryland is home to ethnic groups of every origin.

Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, has a long history as a major seaport. Fort McHenry was the birthplace of the U.S. national anthem,The Stars Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key. It was September 13, 1814, when Key penned his poem that was  later set to music and became America’s national anthem in 1931. The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Francis Scott Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812.

Maryland is also called the “Old Line State” and “Free State.“The Old Line nickname was given during the Revolutionary War, when 400 soldiers in the First Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000 and helped General George Washington’s army to escape. Washington depended on the Maryland Line throughout the war, and the soldiers’ discipline and bravery earned Maryland its nickname.

The name “Free State” was given in 1919, when Congress passed a law prohibiting the sale and use of alcohol. Marylanders opposed prohibition because they believed it violated their state’s rights. The “Free State” nickname also represents Maryland’s long tradition of political freedom and religious tolerance.

Maryland, My Maryland

“Maryland, my Maryland” is Maryland’s official state song. The song is set to the tune of “Lauriger Horatius” — better known as the tune of “O Tannenbaum“. The lyrics are from a nine-stanza poem written by James Ryder Randall (1839–1908) in 1861. The state’s general assembly adopted “Maryland, My Maryland” as the state song on April 29, 1939. The poem was a result of events at the beginning of the American Civil war. President Lincoln ordered to bring troops to Washington. Many soldiers came from Baltimore, many of them sympathized with confederate ideas, especially at Baltimore. Listen now as Tennessee Ernie Ford, famous country singer, sings Maryland, My Maryland in the background to this slideshow:  16 Undeniable Reasons Why Maryland Really Is America In Miniature (Photos and captions by onlyinyourstate.com)

Famous People Born in Maryland

Famous Marylanders include politicians, lawyers, painters, craftspeople, writers, health professionals and religious leaders. The following lists names, occupations, and dates of births-deaths of famous people born in Maryland (in no particular order), as compiled by biography.com (BIO).  With over 7,000 biographies and daily features that highlight newsworthy, compelling and surprising points-of-view, BIO was my digital source for true stories about these people.  When you click on the named person’s link, Bio takes you their full page of information about this person, including a mini-bio video.  In all, there are 74, dating from births as early as 1731 with the birth of Benjamin Banneker, Astronomer/Scientist to famous basketball player Kevin Durant, born in 1988.

Barbara Kingsolver WRITER 1955–

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