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  • Former Severna Park resident Libby Hinson (left) joined the Fort Severn chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution after learning that her ancestor, Matthew Tilghman, was “Father of the Revolution in Maryland.”
    Former Severna Park resident Libby Hinson (left) joined the Fort Severn chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution after learning that her ancestor, Matthew Tilghman, was “Father of the Revolution in Maryland.”
  • Matthew Tilghman
    Matthew Tilghman

Maryland Residents Celebrate Ties To Patriotic Ancestors

Zach Sparks
View Bio
July 6, 2017

Severna Park resident Andrea Frazier is proud of her sixth-great-grandfather, Matthew Tilghman, and for good reason. “He served in the Continental Congress and helped bring Maryland from colonyhood into statehood,” Frazier said.

Born in 1718 in Queen Anne’s County, Tilghman eventually moved to Talbot County before serving in the Maryland House of Delegates and becoming Speaker of the House in 1773. His responsibilities were widespread – chairman of the Committee of Safety, president of the Revolutionary Assembly, head of the Maryland Delegation to the Continental Congress, and a member of the colony's Committee of Correspondence.

Frazier and her sister, Libby Hinson, knew few of those details until 10 years ago. Growing up with a father in the Marines, they moved frequently, and it was only by coincidence that they settled in the state where Tilghman was known as “Father of the Revolution in Maryland.”

“One of our ancestors painted George Washington in his Masonic regalia, but we didn’t know much else,” said Hinson of her family’s historical roots.

The siblings started investigating their genealogy. After learning of their ties to Tilghman, they joined the Fort Severn chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

“To join, you have to be a direct descendent of someone who has contributed to the freedom of the country,” said Frazier, vice regent of the Fort Severn chapter.

The sisters learned that Tilghman supported the Declaration of Independence, and that as chairman of the Maryland Constitutional Convention in 1776, he presided over the 78-member group that penned Maryland’s first constitution. They learned that he was elected to the Maryland Senate from 1780 to 1783, the same year he died at his home, Rich Neck Manor, which still stands. They learned that Tilghman was a zealous advocate of civil and religious liberties.

History buff John Harvey didn’t have to go digging to learn about his lineage. “My family has been involved with Daughters of the American Revolution, and I’m the first one to go into the Sons of the American Revolution,” explained Harvey, who lives in Arnold. “Eight years ago, I became president of the John Paul Jones chapter.”

Harvey is a descendent of Patrick Anderson (1719–1793), who was an officer in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Later, Anderson was a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. During the revolution, Anderson was on Chester County’s first Committee of Safety. He was later recruited to form the Chester County Minute Men of 1775, which enlisted 56 men, many of whom were Anderson’s old soldiers. Anderson was appointed senior captain of the Pennsylvania Battalion of Musketry in March 1776. He fought at the battles of Long Island, Fort Washington, Brandywine and Germantown.

Not only is Harvey linked to an ancestor from the American Revolution, but he also has a familial tie to the Civil War. Harvey’s great uncle was Andrew Gregg Curtin, governor of Pennsylvania during “the War Between the States.” The son of a Scots-Irish immigrant, Curtin practiced criminal law in the 1830s. He served Governor James Pollock, and in 1860, he aligned himself with the People’s Party, which favored Republican policies of high tariffs and free public land while being conservative on issues regarding slavery.

He defeated Democrat Henry D. Foster by 30,000 votes to become governor of Pennsylvania in 1861. As popularity for the Civil War began to slip, Curtin was credited with organizing the Loyal War Governors' Conference, which bolstered northern unity and morale. During his second term as governor, Curtin continued to aid war efforts while establishing a system of state schools for war orphans.

After departing from the governor’s office, Curtin went on to serve as minister to Russia until 1872 and delegate to the 1872-1873 state Constitutional Convention. From 1881 to 1887, he served three terms as a Democratic congressman.

Harvey pays tribute to his ancestors through his involvement with the Sons of the American Revolution.

“We have a lot of functions: wreath-laying at the Annapolis National Cemetery, working with Eagle Scouts and getting younger people involved in their lineage,” he said. “We have a national society for Children of the American Revolution.”

Civil War letters are the only mementos Harvey has of his ancestors, but it’s their impact that stays with him. “The Revolutionary War was the founding of this country,” Harvey said. “The Civil War defined the country; it was the beginning of the establishment.”

Frazier and Hinson feel compelled to honor their heritage through their involvement with Daughters of the American Revolution.

“We coordinate welcome home committees and hand out water and goodie bags to soldiers,” Frazier said. “We also collect things for veterans hospitals, and place flags on the graves of veterans.”

Now living in Talbot County – the same jurisdiction that houses the Tilghman family cemetery – Hinson is glad that she discovered her family’s history and that she is connected to the past as regent of the Fort Severn chapter.

“I think it’s important to realize where you came from and realize what your ancestors have done in the past,” Hinson said, “whether they’re famous or not.”

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