Public Invited to attend one of many free events
Dorchester’s rich history as a home to extraordinary political, business and literary figures comes to life Saturday, August 24 when the Friends of Anna Ella Carroll presents a daylong celebration of this civil war era political pundit, presidential advisor and “pamphleteer”. Events kick-off at the Dorchester County Public Library with an 11 am ceremony and continue with afternoon tributes, a concert at Christ Episcopal Church, and 6 pm showing of the film, “Lost River – Lincoln’s Secret Weapon” at the Historical Society, 1003 Greenway Drive in Cambridge. All events are free and open to the public.
“Anna Ella Carroll Day provides our citizens with a unique opportunity to connect the County’s past as a center of commerce, culture and conviction with Dorchester’s role shaping American history,” said Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director. “Carroll’s life is a testament to the strong and smart women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes at pivotal moments in our country, and whose efforts would be unknown were it not for the unwavering commitment of county residents.”
One such group of citizens working to keep Anna’s story alive and introduce the world to this pioneering woman is event organizer the Friends of Anna Ella Carroll. Reviving the long held commemorations that originated with the Veterans of the Civil War, and continued in various forms until Anna’s niece Nellie Carroll passed away in the 1960’s, the Friends resuscitated the annual tributes on Carroll’s birthday in 2010 with the world premiere of the Lost River film.
Frank Bittner, President of the Friends, learned Anna’s story when he moved to Church Creek in 1997. “Living near the cemetery where Anna was laid to rest by her parents at the Old Trinity Church, I met people who were taught about her in school, or who attended earlier tributes; they told me then that they hoped to live to see the day when the world would learn about her great influence and role.” Thanks to Bittner’s groups’ efforts, that day is closer.
AEC day ceremonies also include tributes to two of Carroll’s contemporaries, James Wallace and Thomas Hicks. Cambridge born lawyer Wallace, a Maryland state legislator and Civil War hero, led the “First Maryland” brigade at Gettysburg. Former Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks will be remembered at a 1 pm tribute at the Cambridge Cemetery.
The oldest of eight children, Anna was born in Somerset County at her family’s home, Kingston Hall. Her father, Thomas King Carroll, was a lawyer, tobacco farmer and one-time Maryland Governor. Anna was schooled in politics and business as his assistant for almost a decade. She is buried next to both of her parents at Dorchester’s Old Trinity Church near Church Creek Maryland. AEC Day includes a graveside tribute to Carroll at 2:00 pm at Old Trinity Church.
Anna Ella Carroll was recognized by the Maryland Society of Pennsylvania in a 1959 monument inscribed: “Maryland’s most distinguished Lady. A great humanitarian and close friend of Abraham Lincoln. She conceived the Successful Tennessee Campaign and guided the President on his constitutional war powers.” According Bittner, “Some believe her presence with Lincoln’s Cabinet was signified by the empty chair in F. B. Carpenter’s famous painting “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation”. The painting was recreated in 2010 by Dorchester native, award-winning portrait artist Laura Era, the ‘new painting’ includes Anna’s image seated in the once empty chair draped by a woman’s shawl.”
For information and event schedule, visit www.FriendsofAnnaEllaCarroll.org.