By John T. Marck
Maryland, being rich in history has the distinction of having many "firsts." Listed here are just some of the events, discoveries, and inventions that occurred first in Maryland, and in some cases America. Many of these happenings you have probably heard before, but perhaps did not realize that they happened first in the great state of Maryland.
Maryland's first jury composed entirely of women was used in the trial of Judith Catchpole, accused in the murder of her child. This jury of seven married and four single women was ordered by the Generall Provinciall Court at Patuxent on September 22, 1656. The jury acquitted her.
In 1657, Rev. Francis Doughty, the first Presbyterian minister came to Maryland.
Instructed by Lord Baltimore to record the proceedings held in the Provinciall Court, St. Johns, on November 15, 1681, this is the earliest shorthand record, made by John Llywellin, a Clerk of the Council.
The first Presbyterian Church in America was established in Snow Hill in 1684, by Francis Makemie, the father of American Presbyterianism.
The engraved bookplate of Charles Carroll the immigrant, who came to Maryland in 1688, was the first used in the Province.
William Nuthead was the first printer in Maryland. He established his press in St. Mary's City in August 1685.Upon his death, his wife, Diana inherited his Maryland printing business and became the first woman licensed as a printer in America.
Maryland's first hospital was established in what is now Charlotte Hall in St. Mary's County.
Maryland's first brewery was established in Annapolis in 1703 by Benjamin Fordham. It remained in operation until his death in 1716.
The first Maryland portrait painter was Justus Engelhardt Kuhn, of German descent from the Rhine Valley. He applied to the General Assembly for naturalization on December 3, 1708, and continued his painting until his death in November 1717.
Maryland's first newspaper was The Maryland Gazette, printed on September 12, 1727 in Annapolis by William Parks.
English-style racing of pedigreed horses, the first in America was introduced in Maryland by Governor Ogle in 1745. A short time alter the Maryland Jockey Club was formed.
The first drug store in Maryland and Baltimore was located at the corner of Market (now Baltimore) Street and Calvert Street and was established by Dr. William Lyon in 1746.
Baltimore's earliest volunteer fire company was organized September 22, 1763. It was later known as the Mechanical Company.
The first school in Maryland and Colonial America was established by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Bacon, Rector of the Parish of St. Peter in Talbot County in 1750.
Baltimore's first bakery was founded by William Speer in 1764 on a small island in the basin off Gay Street.
The first book printed and published in Baltimore in 1765 was: The Detection Of The Conduct and Proceedings of Messrs. Annan and Henderson,....Baltimore-Town, By John Redick-Le-Man, printed by N. Hasselbach.
The first smallpox hospital in Baltimore was established in 1769 by Dr. Henry Stevenson, an Oxford graduate. It was located several feet north of Eager Street on the west side of Greenmount Avenue.
The earliest granting of a business charter by the Maryland Legislature was to the Susquehanna Canal Company on December 26, 1783.
The first balloon ascension in the United States was made in Baltimore on June 24, 1784. Built by Peter Carnes, a Bladensburg attorney, the balloon was 35 feet in diameter and 30 feet high. Although Carnes wanted to make the flight, he believed he was too heavy, so a volunteer was sought. A thirteen- year- old Baltimore boy, named Edward Warren made the first ascension.
The first water company to be chartered in the United States was the Baltimore Water Company, founded in 1792.
The first African-American emigrant who came to Maryland on the Ark and the Dove in 1634 was Mathias Sousa. A plaque dedicated in his honor is located today near the waters edge near the Maryland Dove, in St. Mary's City.
Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo was the first Jew to emigrate to Maryland, arriving on January 24, 1656. He was also the first Jewish physician to come to America.
In 1650, Reverend Robert Brooke and his family arrived in Maryland from England. He brought with him some English fox hounds. Today, the American fox hounds are those descended from those he had brought with him.
The "Maryland Act of Religious Toleration," was the first colonial religious liberty act enacted by an established legislature.
The earliest court jury of twelve to meet occurred on January 31, 1637, at Mettapient in St. Mary's County. They were investigating the death of John Briant, and determined that his death was caused by a tree having fallen on him.
Augustine Herman became the first naturalized citizen in Maryland on January 14, 1660.
The first printing of the laws of Maryland occurred in 1700. They were printed by Thomas Reading. The only known copy is owned by the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
The first portrait painter in Maryland was Justus Engelhardt Kuhn, who came to Maryland from Germany and received his citizenship on December 3, 1708. He painted until his death in November 1717, in Annapolis.
The first open market in Maryland was established in Baltimore in 1763, and was located at the corner of Baltimore and Gay Streets.
John Archer of Harford County was the first American to receive a Bachelor of Medicine degree on June 21, 1768, from the College of Medicine in Philadelphia. A Bachelor's degree was the only one given at the time.
The first Native-American Methodist minister in Maryland was Richard Owings, who began his preaching in 1772. He was born in 1738 and died in Westminster in 1786.
In 1774, William Goddard of Baltimore was responsible for the establishment of the first "Constitutional Postal System," which in later years formed the United States Post Office. Baltimore's first official postmaster was William Goddard's sister, Mary. She was appointed to this position in 1775 and served until February 16, 1790. On December 31, 1793, George Washington reappointed her as postmaster where she held his position until 1800.
The first paper mill in Maryland was founded by William Hoffman in 1776. Known as the Hoffman Paper Mill, it was located in Baltimore County on the Gunpowder Falls. When paper currency was first adopted by the Continental Congress, it was Hoffman's Mill who made the paper for it.
The first printing of the Declaration of Independence that contained the signers was done in Baltimore. It was printed by Mary Katherine Goddard in 1777. This first printing contained all the signatures except one, that of Thomas McKean of Delaware, who was in the army and did not get the opportunity to sign it until 1781.
The first college in America named for George Washington was Washington College, in Chestertown, founded in 1782. This was also the only college so named with the consent of Washington.
The first Methodist College in America was Cokesbury College, located in Abingdon, Maryland. It was founded in 1785 and named in honor of Bishops Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury. It opened on December 6, 1787, and was destroyed by fire in 1795.
Maryland's first glass maker was John Frederick Amelung, a German immigrant. It was located in Frederick in 1787.
John Carroll became the first Bishop of Baltimore and the first Bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States on November 6, 1789.
Benjamin Banneker, who was born in Ellicott's Mills (now Ellicott City) was America's first African-American scientist. He was born in 1731 and died in 1806.
The first magazine published south of the Mason-Dixon Line was done in Maryland in 1793. It was titled, "The Free Universal Magazine," Volume I, # III, and was printed by Philip Edwards, in Baltimore. Volumes I and II were published in New York City.
The first fire insurance company in Maryland was the Baltimore Equitable Society. It issued its first policy on April 10, 1794, to Humphrey Price. The policy covered a three-story building located on Baltimore Street.
Maryland was the home of the first Sunday newspaper published in America. It was The Sunday Monitor, from Baltimore, and was issued December 18, 1796.
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore's harbor, was the first fort built by the United States government. Surveying began in 1798, and construction started in 1799. It was named in honor of James McHenry of Baltimore, who served as the first Secretary of War under George Washington.
In 1803, Thomas Moore of Brookville invented the first refrigerator.
Established in 1805, the Farmers Bank of Annapolis was the first financial institution in America to pay interest on deposits. It paid four percent on deposits led longer than six months, and three percent on demand deposits.
The first highway in America that was funded by the United States Treasury was the Cumberland Road. It ran from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois, and was constructed between 1806 and 1840.
The first money loaned to the United States government was buy William Wilson. He loaned the government $50,000 to help with the war with England in 1814. Upon its repayment, Wilson refused to accept any interest.
The first time the "Star-Spangled Banner" appeared in any newspaper in America, was in the Baltimore Patriot. It appeared on September 20, 1814, and was titled, "Defense of Fort McHenry."
The first war memorial built in the United States was the Battle Monument . It is located at Calvert and Fayette Streets in Baltimore, and it's cornerstone was laid on September 12, 1815, on the first anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore. It was not complete until ten years later.
The first railroad to be chartered in the United States was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It received its charter on February 28, 1827.
The first patent in the United Stares for a steam locomotive was issued to William Howard of Baltimore on December 10, 1828. His design was for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, but was never built.
The first magazine in America dedicated to sports was issued in Baltimore in September 1829. It was called the American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine. It ran until December 1844.
The first train in America to run at a speed of thirty miles per hour was owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on April 30, 1831. The Baltimore & Ohio was also the first in America to have a double-track line. It ran from Baltimore to Ellicott Mills (now Ellicott City) and was first used in February 1831.
The first ordained rabbi in America was Abraham Rice, who came to Baltimore from Bavaria in 1840.
The first dining cars on a train in America were put in use by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1843.
The first YMCA building built in the United States was in Baltimore at Pierce and Schroeder Streets. It was built in 1859.
The first synthetic sweetening agent, Saccharine, was discovered by Constantine Fahlberg on February 27, 1879. Fahlberg worked at Johns Hopkins University.
The first commercial electric street car in America and the world, was put into operation in Baltimore on August 10, 1885. It ran from Oak Street to Roland Avenue and 40th Street. It was powered by an exposed rail, and thus was hazardous, and lasted in operation less than one year.
The first Linotype machine in America was invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in Baltimore in 1884.
The first steam tanker, the Maverick, was built in America by the firm of W.T. Malster of Baltimore in 1890.
The Ouija board was invented in Baltimore by brothers, William and Isaac Fuld. In 1892, William received a patent.
The first and only major league baseball player to hit seven for seven in a game was accomplished by Wilbert Robinson, a catcher for the Baltimore Orioles. It occurred on June 10, 1892 in a game against St. Louis. Robinson hit six singles and a double and the Orioles won the game 25-4.
The first use of rubber gloves in surgery in America was introduced by Dr. William S. Halsted, a Chief Surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1894.
Maryland was the first state in America to adopt the "Shield Law," which protected reporters and newspapers from revealing their sources of information.
The first Rural Free Delivery service of the United States Post Office in America was in Carroll County, Maryland. It began on December 20, 1899.
The first bookmobile in the United States was put into operation from an idea of Miss Mary Titcomb, a librarian at the Washington County Free Library. It went into operation in April 1907.
The first orchestra in the United States to have municipal support was the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Their first concert was held on February 11, 1916, and was conducted by Gustav Strube.
The first newspaper in America to use an airplane for news gathering was the Evening Sun in Baltimore. It began its operation on September 1, 1920. Piloted by Lt. William D. Tipton, it became a useful tool, sighting a train wreck on its first outing, and two days later sighted a submarine in trouble off the Delaware Capes.
James Hubert (Eubie) Blake, who was born in Baltimore, composed the first black musical in 1921, titled, "Shuffle Along."
In 1922, Dr. Elmer V. McCollum discovered Vitamin D at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
In April 1930, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the first in America to introduce and use an air-conditioned car. In May 1931, the B & O was also the first in America to have a completely air-conditioned train.
In 1964, the Holiday Inn in Baltimore was the first commercial building in the United States to have a revolving restaurant.
The first African-American to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court was Thurgood Marshall of Baltimore. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967.
The first gas lighting of a building was demonstrated by Benjamin Henfrey of Baltimore in 1802.
The first automatic elevator was invented in Baltimore by James Bates in 1856.
Copyright © 1993-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.
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