Historical Society of Harford County » Special Collections » The Booth Research Center » Tour of Booth Family Historic Sites, II
Researched and Written by Dinah Faber March 2002
Part of the mission of the Booth Room Committee is the encouragement of the preservation those sites important to the history of the Booth family, especially those places in Maryland. Thus, this page is devoted to providing accurate information on some of those sites.
14833 York Road; Sparks, Maryland 21152;
phone: 410-771-4366; fax: 410-771-4184.
The former Milton Boarding School/Academy is currently occupied by the Milton Inn, which offers fine dining for lunch and dinner.
Description: In 1849, at the age of eleven, John Wilkes Booth began attending the Milton Boarding School located in Sparks, Baltimore County, Maryland. He attended this Quaker school for three years.
According to his sister, Asia Booth Clarke, John Wilkes gave one of his earliest dramatic performances during a school picnic on the grounds of the Milton Boarding School. With mother and Asia in attendance, John Wilkes gave a dramatic reading as Shylock from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Asia later wrote, "The general impression created by this scene was visible in each countenance, and in the stillness which followed the wild exit of Shylock. A swift torrent of applause recalled the young actor, who smiled, and blushed, and bowed repeatedly." (Unlocked Book pg. 54 ) We thank Michael Stishan for his cooperation
St. Timothy's Church;
200 Ingleside Avenue;
Catonsville, Maryland 21228
Hours: For information about viewing the interior of the church call 410-747-6690.
Description: In 1852-53 fourteen year old John Wilkes Booth attended a boarding school called St. Timothy's Hall in Catonsville, Maryland. His sister Asia Booth Clarke later wrote that John Wilkes Booth and "younger brother [Joseph] were placed at the finishing school at Catonsville, St. Timothy's Hall . . . They here received Baptism [January 23, 1853], and were prepared for the Confirmation according to the Episcopal Church. They entered the Hall as artillery cadets, and wore the steel-gray uniform of the class. Some of the best names of Maryland were on the roll of students at this Hall, names that have resounded through our country both in honor and contumely, names, too, that seem to have gone down in silence with the cause they espoused."
According to the school's prospectus, "The object of . . . St. Timothy's Hall is to make it an institution of strict discipline, of good morals, and by the grace of God, a religious home for the young. [St. Timothy's is] a literary institution, for the education of young gentlemen whose appreciation of knowledge, and love of order, have made them diligent and patient of restraint."
Comments: The bell tower of St. Timonthy's Church in Catonsville bears the date 1857 which indicates the bell tower and perhaps the present church were built after John Wilkes and Joseph Booth attended St. Timothy's Hall. For more information, see Asia Booth Clarke, John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir, edited by Terry Alford, (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1996), pgs. 44-45. This is an edited and annotated version of a biography of John Wilkes Booth published under the title of The Unlocked Book by Asia Booth Clarke. We thank the Rector, Stevin R. Randall, for his cooperation
Old Town Hall;
8044-8046 Main Street;
Ellicott City, Maryland 21043
Currently occupied by the Forget Me Not Factory gift shop.
Description: There is an oral tradition in Ellicott City, Maryland, that John Wilkes Booth made his first amateur performance in the Ellicott City Town Hall which was located on the top floor of a building standing at 8044-8046 Main Street in Ellicott City. Tradition maintains that at the time of this appearance John Wilkes was a student at St. Timothy's Hall in nearby Catonsville. John Wilkes Booth did indeed attend St. Timothy's in 1852-53. However, John Wilkes gave a well-documented reading from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice at a school picnic at the Milton Boarding School (see above) where he was a student from 1849-1852. This certainly casts serious doubt on Ellicott City's claim.
It is also interesting to note that according to Historic Ellicott City Walking Tour by Joetta Gramm the top floor of the building at 8044-8046 Main Street was not added until 1858. Gramm writes, "The building was named 'the new Town Hall' after the top floor was built and used as the Town Hall. . . . School groups and others performed in the new Town Hall located on the top floor." As mentioned above, John Wilkes attended St. Timothy's in 1852-53. By the time the top floor was added in 1858, he was 20 years old and had made his first professional performance in Richard III at Baltimore's St. Charles Theatre on August 14, 1855.
Therefore, it would seem that if John Wilkes Booth did perform in Ellicott City while he was a student at St. Timothy's, it was not in the top floor of this building and it was not his debut performance as either an amateur or a professional.
Although Ellicott City's claim that John Wilkes Booth made his amateur debut there is shaky, historic downtown Ellicott City is certainly worth visiting for its charming historic downtown district complete with excellent restaurants and a variety of gift and antique shops. The Ellicott City B&O Railroad Museum (which bills itself as "The Oldest Railroad Station in America") and the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park are just two of the sites of interest to history buffs in downtown Ellicott City.
Booth Family Plot;
Dogwood Lot Number Nine;
Green Mount Cemetery;
1501 Greenmount Avenue;
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The cemetery office is open during the same hours except that it closes early on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. The cemetery is closed on Sunday.
Description: After the death of Junius Brutus Booth on 30 November 1852, his body was stored in a mausoleum at the Baltimore Cemetery until it was buried there in the spring of 1853. On 1 May 1858, which would have been Junius Brutus Booth's 62nd birthday, Edwin Booth had an impressive marble shaft placed on his father's grave. In 1869 the body and the shaft were moved to Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery.
Other Booth family members buried in the Booth Family Plot at Green Mount Cemetery include:
Three Booth Sons Not Buried at Green Mount Cemetery:
Old St. Paul's Church;
At the intersection of Charles and Saratoga Streets;
Baltimore, Maryland 21201.
Link to web site including directions:
Description: Asia Booth and John Sleeper Clarke were married here 28 April 1859. Built in 1854-56 under the supervision of architect Robert Upjohn, the present building replaced an 1814 structure, which was destroyed by a fire. A stained glass window from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany graces the chancel. A visitor to St. Paul's in 1840 described St. Paul's as "the aristocratic or fashionable church of the Episcopalians . . . The congregation is very large, at least a thousand, and most fashionably and expensively dressed."
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