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AUTOMOBILE TRIP TO HISTORIC BENEDICT
BY HOWARD FISK. NINETY-FIVE years ago today Augrus-t 23, 1814?the British, after burning the Capitol, presi dential mansion and other public buildings at Washing ton, arrived at the little town of Bene dict. Md.. forty miles distant, on the Pa tuxent river, embarked on the transports awaiting them and quietly sailed away. The town today is still replete with inci dents and memories of those stirring ?vents nearly a century ago. The landing of the British took place August 18, 1814, when they marched overland to Wash ington, and after its destruction returned in the same manner. This Interesting bit of historical information was revealed last Sunday, while Ralph Stinehardt and the writer, as guests of Abe Cohen, were on an automobile trip, in the latter's Co lumbia touring car. "While the residents ?willingly indulged in reciting the history of the quaint hamlet, no thought was given to dates, but careful research dis closed the above facts. * ? * * Benedict is situated on the western bank of the Patuxent river, in Charles county, about forty miles southeast of Washington and a short distance from the ifciouth of the river where it empties into Chesapeake bay. The population is about 300 inhabitants, most of whom are own ers of large farming Interests In that vjcinity. A destructive fire last May de 6|royed a large number of homes, and oarae near wiping out the entire village. Many of the homes are being rebuilt, some of them on the bungalow style. It is an ideal spot for the fisherman, and is considered one of the best fishing grounds around Washington. Motor boating an' sailing are popular pastimes, and the boats owned by residents comprise a good-sized fleet. Ample supplies of every kind are on hand at all times, and during the hunting season the sportsman is looked after equally well. The river is lined with oyster beds, and some of Washington's finest bivalves are shipped from Benedict. A large canning factory employs several hundred hands during busy seasons. The farmers for miles around haul their tomatoes to the plant, where they are canned and crated for shipment to all parts of the country. A majority of the farmers engage in the raising of this vegetable and tobacco, the soil being of a fertile character. Two hotels are located within a short distance Of each other, where tourists are well taken care of after the journey over the deep sands and hills of lower Maryland. * * * The interesting history of Benedict Vads back to the time when the British fleet sailed up the Patuxent river and landed an army of five thousand men, who n?t out 10 march to Washington over the roads. They were landed with three cannon under covfr of an armed brig Most of the other large British ves sels were below, some of them aground, and all too heavy to ascend the compara tively shallow stream. After landing they marched to Lower Marlboro and thence to Big Point and Upper Marlboro. Prom there they marched on to Bladens burg, where they encountered and defeat ed the American forces August 24, 1814. An entrance being easily secured 1o the city, the invaders took possession of Washington and burned the Capitol, pres idential mansion, arsenal. Treasury build ing. besides private residences, and after plundering a number of stores returned by the same route .to Benedict, where they again went aboard the ships lying at anchor. At one time the town was the entry port to Baltimore. The people of Charles county ar^ very hospitable and nothing is left undone for the entertain ment of visitors. On the road the same courteous treatment is accorded the auto mobilist. but care should be exercised when approaching teams in that locality. The country is II supplied w ith young colls and in most cases they are un broken. Drivers invariably give way on the road to the autolst, but they object to reckless driving and especially when a warning to "stop" is unheeded. The road for the greater part of the way is com posed of snake-like turns, and often it is impossible on the narrow, sandy road to see a -few feet ahead, owing to the heavy overgrowth. For this reason cautious driving is urged when such points are reached. ? * * There are numerous roads along the route which eventually turn into Bene dict, but the shortest and most direct route was taken on the trip last Sunday. The departure from the city was made via 11th street southeast over the new Anacostia bridge, and after crossing the bridge turned left on Nichols avenue to Good Hop*: road, which is a macadam oiled road '.or a considerable distance. After going 1.3 miles from the bridge we turned right at the top of the hill and a short distance further on a fork loomed into view. Toe left fork, which is known as the Walker road, was taken, and on arrival at Silver Hill, 2.1 miles, proceed ed by the right fork. Silver Hill is 6.8 miles from Washington. Half a mile from Silver Hill we kept to the left road to Red's Corr?r. Both roads lead to the same place, but the left road is the short est and most direct route. The road is hilly and in many places rutty, making the going slow. When a point 1.1 miles from Silver Hill was reached we kept straight ahead to Red's Corner, 10.2 miles from Washington. The little village of Red's Corner is easily distinguishable by a long red building which immediately at tracts the eye. * * * Continuing straight ahead the road im proves slightly. The small amount of sand interferes but little and riding is smooth and enjoyable. Numerous fords are encountered en route, none of which, however, are of any depth to speak of, but are beneficial to the tires in cooling them off in hot weather. After motoring a short distance the historic town of Sur rattsville was reached. The name has since been changed to Clinton. John Surratt, whose wife was executed July 7, 1865, in connection with the assassination of President Lincoln, was one of the pioneer residents of the town which up to a few years ago bore his name. Shortly after his marriage in 1SS5 he bought a farni in Prince George county, on which he es tablished the tavern known as "Sur ratt's," and was afterward appointed postmaster at that point, but he being an uneducated man the duties of the of fice devolved upon his wife. He died three years previous to President Lin coln's assassination, and soon after his widow leased the property and came to Washington, where she opened a board ing house on H street, which house later became notorious as the scene whera was concocted the plan to assassinate President Lincoln. Mrs. Surratt rented the tavern for $500 per annum when she came to this city. , * * * After leaving Surrattsville, which la thirteen miles from the National Capital, the straight road was followed, and about a half mile farther on a side road came into view, but we continued along down the pike. The roads were well supplied with curves, most of which were so com pletely cut off by the trees and heavy foliage that it was necessary to proceed slowly and cautiously. The autoists would extend thanks to the county if a portion of the leaves M^ere removed and the. view unobstructed. About 4.5 miles out from Surrattsville the left turn was taken, and after traveling"" another half mile we reached the town of Tee Bee, eighteen miles from the city. By keeping straight ahead the road brought us into Brandy wine, a town of good size proportion, on the Pope Creek branch of the .Potomac, Baltimore and Washington railroad, and about half way between Washington and Benedict. Crossing over the railroad tracks we continued in a southeasterly direction, passing through a burg con taining a blacksmith shop, several barns and a store, called Palmberry, otherwise 100 NEW MODEL Q MAXWELL. known as "Ash Box," as we were inform ed by some of the residents in that vicin ity. This plaoe was 3.5 mii-js from Brandywine. Within a short :lme we reached a fork In the road (4.9 miles from Brandywine), and by taking the right fork reduced the distance somewhat. The other road has the same destination and joins the other a short distance down, but by taking this road we found it slightly shorter, although both roads come in at Horsehead, the next point of Interest along the route. * * * The next stop was at Horsehead, a small village, which we were informed is over 100 years old. The town is recognized by a large and ancient sign post, mounted several feet in the air, exhibiting a paint ing of a horse's head, which Is badly weather beaten. The head, however, is still distinguishable and is a gentle re minder of the name of the town. Beneath the frame with the picture is a large town lamp, which is lighted nightly to guide the traveler who happens to come that way. A large old homestead and several other ancient landmarks, includ ing a store, comprise tne make up of the place. After leaving this attractive bit of scenery behind uh we proceeded by the left fork, and had not more than gotten comfortably seated when we found our selves plowing over a new made road. A force of workmen was busily engaged in shaping out gutters and throwing the sur plus dirt up over the roadway. A little farther on a new layer of gravel, several inches in thickness, had Just been put on, and any chance to make speed whatever was crushed out at once. This is another section of the state where no speed laws are ever broken and no speed traps are found necessary. There is never any danger of that, as conditions are such i that it is impossible to attain any great speed to speak of. In order to force the operators of machines to keep to the road large logs are placed in the gutters, lean ing against the sides of the embankments.) to prevent any autos from using them in stead of the roadway. From Horsehead on the balance of the way to Benedict the going is bad. The sand deepens as the low country Is reached. The curves be come more numerous and steering ardu ous. Our approach to Woodville, another small village, was greeted with more new gravel on the road, which slightly retard ed progress. Woodville Is 30.7 miles from the starting point. * * * On the outskirts of Woodville, about eight miles, the right fork was taken, and some good stretches enjoyed, where fairly good time was made. This is undoubt edly the best portion of the road on the trip, and where the speed can be in creased without so much danger, as the curves are somewhat fewer and broader. The roads in this vicinity are also un dergoing repairs, and in some cases the road Is being widened, which will be of great advantage to the motorists when completed. By keeping straight ahead the road leads direct to Patuxent City, the road, 3.9 miles from Woodville, lead ing to Hughesville, which is off the route to Benedict. The name Patuxent City will be hard to find, as it only contains one large old-time homestead and a large barn. It is recognized,..however, as "the place with a pile of wood and a pump ori the road." which are the directions given to tourists on their first visit. After plowing through hearly five miles more of deep and treacherous sand the Patuxent river adds its charms to the surrounding scenery, and the hamlet of Benedict stands off in relief ready to receive its visitors. Some of the distances of the towns on the route are as follows: Start. Piacetoplace. Totals. Washington to Anacostia....... 3.4 3.4 Silver Hill 3.4 .6.8 Rp<1r Corners. C.4 10.2 CUBton ?... 2.S 13.0 T. B 6.0 18.0 Brandy trine l.ft 19.6 Horw Iltftd.*,.?,?? i*.i 25.3 Woodville . 5.4 30.7 Patuxent City.... ? 3.0 34.6 Benedict 4.7 38.3 ? * ? In the afternoon a pleasant ^ sail ? was enjoyed down the Patuxent river to the old homestead of the late Col. John H. Sothorn. erected over 200 years ago and one of the many historic points of Interest to visitors in that section of lower Mary land The home and grounds resemble to a marked degree the home and grounds of George Washington at Mount Vernon. The British ships when creeping up the Pa tuxent river, prior to landing at Benerict, opened fire on the old mansion, to assure themselves that there would be no re sistance whereby a landing would be prevented. The shots riddled the hand carved woodwork on the walls in the interior, which were later removed and placed in the cellar of the house. The place is called "The Plains" and was seized by the Federals during the civil war and held for six years. It was taken during President Lincoln's term and re turned to the family when President Johnson went into office. The grounds surrounding the home covers 1,800 acres, a large portion of which is in tobacco and the remainder being used for farming purposes. The house occupies a com manding position on the banks of the river, with beautiful green, well shaded lawns. The building is in its natural state of preservation and very fascinating. Col. Sothorn's four daughters and a son are now living, the latter residing in Baltl mor3 and the four sisters occupying the home. MaJ. James Sothorn, a great-great grandfather, fought in the war of 1812. During the civil war the soldiers destroy ed a large quantity of tobacco stored in the barns and a claim for damage is still pending against the Federal government at the present time. ? * * Responses from governors of twenty-five states and the mayors of scores of cities have been received by the national con vention committee of the second annual good roads convention, to be held at Cleveland, Ohio, ?*?ptember 21, 22 and 23. In many cases these officials have named their official delegates, and, judging from the interest that the purposes of the con vention have aroused in all parts of the country, the coming meeting will not only be th? largest of its kind ever held in America, but is certain to be productive of far-reaching results in the national good roads movement. It is a significant fact that among the favorable responses already received to send delegates the southern and far western states are par ticularly well represented. There has been a gradually increasing interest in favor of good roads throughout the south during the past year, and this sentiment has been clearly reflected in the replies received from many governors and other officials. * * * C. C. Hildebrand and E. C. Gordan, after spending a few days In this city, re turned last week in a six-cylinder model Y Stevens-Duryea touring car for Rich mond, Va. The route was via the Shen andoah valley. 1 ? * * During the past week the new 1910 mod els of the Chalmers-Detroit and model X Stevens-Duryea touring cars were re ceived and placed on exhibition. * * * S. J. Venable of this city has purchased a new Cameron touring car. The car will seat Ave passengers and is fully equipped for touring. ? * * The entry into the automobile field of implement houses and similar concerns dealing chiefly with farmers, which is now taking place, is one of the many signs which show that the motor vehicle is being taken seriously as a companion, and ultimately a supplanter, of the horse drawn buggy, which' is used so extensively by the farmer. * * * The holding of the flag-to-flag endur ance* and reliability -contest from Denver to the City of Mexico under A. A. A. sanction and rules Is now an assured fact. The rules, which are practically Identical with those governing the com petition for the Glidden, Hower and De troit trophies, have been issued. The date of the start from Denver has been fixed for Monday, October 25, and the contestants will arrive at the Paso del Keforma, In the federal district of Mexioo, e "week of November 15. The route ill be from Denver by way of Trinidad, f'Jl.; AmarilLo and San Antonio, !'ex., crossing the border at Eagle Pass stead of at El Paso, as was originally banned, and touching In Mexico the cities f Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Oelaya, San Juan del Rio, Tula and the City of Mex ico. At the end of the tour the com peting cars will be exhibited at a mon ster "feiutomobite show in Mexico City. Ad ditional interest is lent to the contest thrcnigh the fact that the government o" Mexico, which is using foreign cars al most exclusively, is in the market for 250 cars for the mail service and for sixty trucks for the military department, deliveries to be made within the next two years. Upon the showing of the Ameri can cars will depend, to a large extent, the sending of this contract to Europe or to the United States. * * * T. B. Spence, TV. B. McBurney, R H. Johansen and R. C. Tillman enjoyed a two-day trip to Benedict, Md., last week in M*". Spenoe's Pope-Hartford touring car. The return trip was made Sunday evening. ? * * Brucs Emerson, accompanied by a par ty of friends, spent the week end at Hills boro, Md. Th? trip was made in his Stanley steamer, those in the party being Mrs. Eifferson and children, Miss Lottie Parry and Allen Pennington. James Orme in his big Matheson car, with his family, was also in the party. TV-bile at Hilisboro they were the guests of rela tives of Mr. Pennington. The return trip was made Monday evening after tour ing the eastern sohre, covering 650 miles. * * * F. A. Peese, chairman of the demonstra tion committee of the second annual na tional good roads convention, has been actively engaged during the past two weeks confeiring with the municipal au thorities of Cleveland regarding the prac tical demonstrations on the roads in and around that city which will be the pre dominent feature during the convention, from September 21 to 23. Delegates to the convention will have the privilege of witnessing the construction of five-inch bricks, Medina block and sheet asphalt pavements in different parts of the city, where thirty miles of road construction of these methods have been undertaken for the present year. * * * The motorist is well repaid for a little care expended on his lamps. Not only will they look better if properly attended to. but they will always light up when re quired and burn without the necessity of constantly stopping to adjust them. * * * Maj. H. G. Cole, lT. S. A., is enjoying an automobile trip in a Chalmers-Detroit "30" roadster to the Gettysburg battle fields. Buena Vista and Pen Mar. He will consume two weeks on the trip. * * * Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Mark left for Buffalo last Monday, and after visiting Albany proceeded to Atlantic City, where they are now sojourning. Between Bedford ?n<l Pittsburg some bad rOads were encount ered. Thirty-five miles were covered over a rough, stony road in the Allegheny mountains. * * * The cutting of tires by the rims 1b generally caused either by overloading or . lack of sufficient inflation. If the tires are called upon to carry a greater load than their dimensions are calculated to bear, no amount of inflation will keep them from.flattening under the excessive load. 41 * * A bit of practical advice is contained on printed cards issued by the Auto mobile Club of Delaware county. Pa., to motorists: "If an officer accosts you. even if he Is wrong, don't dispute with him; he can make an additional charge ag&inet you for so doing." * * * Griffin Halstead with a party of friends took advantage of the fine weather last week and journeyed to Leesburg, Va., in his big Premier touring car. He was accompanied by Mrs. Halstead. Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Lynn and Joseph Thew. The return was made Monday evening. * * * F. E. Richards returned home Monday from Benedict, Md., where he has been engaged in overhauling his boat. He was accompanied by his family and Miss Sav age. The trip was made in his Pops Toledo touring car. * * * Fred Harveycutter and Ed Ash return (Continued on Sixteenth Page.) 9 More Washington Cars Sold Here During Last 6 Days. The WASHINGTON CAR marks the highest attain ment in automobile construction. The best grades of material are combined with skilled workmanship. Constant perform ance makes the Washington Car all that can be desired in an automobile. Washington car owners are enthusiastic. MODELS. ROADSTER, seating 3 - - - - $1,450 TOUR ABOUT, seating 4 - - - $1,500 BABY TONNEAU, seating 4 - - $1,550 TOURING CAR, seating 5 - - - $1,600 DEMONSTRATIONS BY APPOINTMENT. Carter Motor Car Corp. Offices, Munsey Bldg. Single engine _ Ignites by Remy Magneto and Atwater Kent Non-s parker and Batteries. ?