NPS Hampton NHS
  • Home
  • keypad
  • Downloads
  • Return to Portal
  • Daniel and Mary Harris

    One case in Hampton's historical record shows a free person of color from Hampton buying his own daughter and then manumitting, or freeing, her.

    Daniel Harris himself was manumitted in 1829 after Governor Ridgely's death. The terms of the Governor's will allowed children under age 2 to go off with their parents into freedom: Daniel's 3 year old daughter Mary just missed the cut off. Daniel stayed on at Hampton following his manumission, "working in the garden" for $15 a month. In 1831, Daniel purchased and immediately freed his daughter, Mary, from Harry D. G. Carroll, one of the Governor's sons-in-law, who had inherited her in the settlement of the estate.

    Daniel spent much of his other pay at the estate's store for supplies and food, returning money to the Ridgely's pockets. Despite this, Daniel Harris saved enough to purchase a plot of land from Benjamin Payne in Towson in the early 1850s. The Baltimore Sun reported, in a 1983 article on Towson, that Harris paid $187.50 for the land, and a 1994 publication of Historic Towson, Inc., cites Harris as Baltimore County's first black landowner.

    To learn more about Hampton's transition to becoming a historic site, you will end where you began, at the Lower House.