Rosaryville State Park
Rosaryville State Park is a state park in Rosaryville, Prince George's County, Maryland. It includes the restored Mount Airy Mansion, an event facility that Pineapple Alley Catering, Inc. operates. The park, which contains hiking, biking and equestrian trails, is three miles southeast of the Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility (formerly Andrews Air Force Base).
The Calvert family
Benedict Swingate Calvert, (c.1730-1788), son of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, lived at Mount Airy, and died there on January 9, 1788. Calvert was a politician and planter in colonial Maryland. Mount Airy was most likely a gift from his father, Lord Baltimore, who had ensured that Calvert would be provided with lands and revenues, and Mount Airy had originally been a hunting lodge for Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore. Calvert began construction of his house, which still survives, in 1751.
In 1774, Calvert's daughter Eleanor Calvert (1758–1811), married John Parke Custis, son of Martha Washington and the stepson of George Washington. Washington himself did not approve of the match owing to the couple's youth, but eventually gave his consent, and was present at the wedding celebrations, which took place at Mount Airy. The couple's son, George Washington Parke Custis, who was born at Mount Airy in 1781, built and named Arlington House near the Potomac River, married Mary Lee Fitzhugh, and became the father-in-law of Robert E. Lee.
By the 1770s Benedict Swingate Calvert controlled a large and profitable estate of around 4,000 acres (16 km2), with upwards of 150 slaves. He was also an enthusiastic horse breeder, training thoroughbreds and running them in competitions in Maryland and Virginia. Benedict Swingate Calvert died at Mount Airy on January 9, 1788. He was buried beneath the chancel of the church of St Thomas in Croom, Prince George's County, Maryland, a church which Calvert had helped to found and maintain. His wife died ten years later, in 1798.
Benedict Calvert's second son Edward Henry Calvert, who was born on November 7, 1766, then inherited the estate. He married on March 1, 1796, and died on July 12, 1846. He left the estate to his widow, who died on March 26, 1857. On her death the estate, by this time reduced to around 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), was to be divided among her children. Two of her children were the last Calvert owners. After the death of "Old Miss Eleanor" the house and its contents were sold at auction.
In 1902, the property left the Calvert family, being purchased by Matilda ("Tilly") Duvall, who renamed it Dower House and operated a country inn here. Another fire in 1931 left only the masonry walls standing. Eleanor Medill ("Cissy") Patterson, publisher of the Washington Times-Herald and a prominent hostess of the era, purchased the ruins and restored them to their former glory. Ms. Patterson entertained presidents, ambassadors, authors and other prominent guests at Mt. Airy. At her death in 1948, "Cissy" Patterson bequeathed the property to Ann Bowie Smith. In 1973, the State of Maryland purchased Mt. Airy, with state and federal funds, from the Smith family and made it part of Rosaryville State Park.
- State Park U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rosaryville State Park Retrieved August 10, 2010
- Maryland Historical Society. ""Mount Airy" marker". in Robby, F (2008-06-17). "Mount Airy". HMdb.org The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved June 6, 2011
- Pineapple Alley Catering, Inc. Retrieved August 10, 2010
- Russell, George, p.8, The Ark and the Dove Adventurers Retrieved January 28, 2010
- Callcott, Margaret Law, p.17, Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, Johns Hopkins University Press (1992) Retrieved February 1, 2010
- Yentsch, Anne E, p.262, A Chesapeake Family and their Slaves: a Study in Historical Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994) Retrieved January 2010
- Letters of George Washington Retrieved July 31, 2010
- Maryland: Federal Writer's Project, p.465, A Guide to the Old Line State, Scholarly Pr (1973). Retrieved January 20, 2010
- Rosaryville Conservancy. "History: Mounty Airy Mansion". Mount Airy Mansion. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Yentsch, Anne E, p.264, A Chesapeake Family and their Slaves: a Study in Historical Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994) Retrieved January 2010
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Rosaryville State Park Retrieved August 10, 2010
- History of Mount Airy at genealogytrails.com Retrieved August 10, 2010
- Official website: "Mount Airy Mansion". Upper Marlboro, MD: Rosaryville Conservancy. Retrieved June 7, 2011.