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Stoddert Family papers


Stoddert Family papers
Stoddert Family
Collection number:
38 items
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

The Stoddert family of Virginia and Maryland traces its history to Richard Parker, the Viriginia judge at the trial of abolitionist John Brown, and General William Smallwood, a Revoluntionary War soldier from Charles County, Maryland. The collection contains family correspondence, legal documents, and genealogies of various families connected to the Stodderts. It also includes material related to West Hatton, the Stoddert family home in Charles County; the trial of abolitionist John Brown; and a 1906 "colored" wedding in Winchester, Virginia.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Stoddert Family papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

The Stoddert family of Virginia and Maryland traces its history to Richard Parker, the Virginia judge at the trial of abolitionist John Brown, and General William Smallwood, a Revolutionary War solider from Charles County, Maryland.

Margaret Parker McCormick Stoddert (1858-1917) was the daughter of William Adams McCormick (1814-1893) and Charlotte Foushee Parker (1825-1875). Charlotte Parker was the daughter of Richard Elliot Parker (1783-1840) of Westmoreland County, Virginia, and Elizabeth H. Foushee (1786-1859) of Richmond, Virginia. Elizabeth H. Foushee was the sister of Richard Parker (1810-1893), the judge at the 1863 trail of John Brown.

Margaret Stoddert's husband, William Truman Stoddert (1854-1885), was the son of Elizabeth Stoddert (born 1836) and Robert Bowie (1821-1860) of Maryland. William Truman Stoddert's name was officially changed from Robert William Bowie to William Truman Stoddert in 1864, presumably to continue the Stoddert family name. Elizabeth Stoddert Bowie's great-uncle was Benjamin Stoddert (1751-1812), the Secretary of the Navy under President George Washington. Her great-grandmother, Lucy H. Smallwood Stoddert (1733-1768), was the sister of General William Smallwood, who served in the Continental Army and later was a governor of Maryland.

Elizabeth Love Stoddert (born 1880), the daughter of Margaret and William Truman Stoddert, married Foster Reader (born 1879). She inherited the Stoddert family home "West Hatton," in Charles County, Maryland, in 1908.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Stoddert Family Papers span the years 1797 through 1939 with the bulk of the material dating between 1895 and 1908. The collection contains family correspondence, legal documents, and genealogies of various families connected to the Stodderts. Subjects covered include brief histories of the family members copied from several different sources; "West Hatton," the Stoddert family home in Charles County, Maryland; the trial of abolitionist John Brown presided over by Judge Richard Parker; and a 1906 "colored" wedding in Winchester, Virginia.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

This collection was separated from the Paul Dennis Brown Family Papers which were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries in 1978 by Margaret Brown Klapthor and Mary Brown Moore, daughters of Paul Dennis Brown.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Terry Ann Sayler, June 2008.

Processing note:

The materials have been placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Elizabeth A. McAllister, July 2008.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is organized into three series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1895-1939 (8 items)

Most of the letters in this series are addressed to Margaret Parker Stoddert and relate to her research into her Stoddert and Smallwood relations. For example, the 1895 letter from G. G. Eaton details a Stoddert/Smallwood connection. In 1907 Margaret Stoddert offered two family portraits for exhibit in the Jamestown Exposition and received a reply from the First Lady of Virginia, Lizzie Lyons Swanson.

Margaret Stoddert's daughter, Elizabeth Reeder, received a letter in 1939 providing details of the history of the Stoddert family home, "West Hatton," from 1663 to 1819, when John Stoddert purchased the land.

Arrangement of the correspondence is alphabetical by recipient and then alphabetical by sender. Under each recipient the arrangement within each sender group is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
To Elizabeth L. Stoddert Reeder (Bessie), 1916 and 1939 series 1box 1folder 1
To Margaret Parker McCormick Stoddert (Mrs. William Truman Stoddert), 1895, [1901?], 1902, 1904, and 1907 series 1box 1folder 2

Series 2: Legal Documents, 1797-1908 (5 items)

This series consists mainly of documents related to the property called "West Hatton," Charles County, Maryland. A 1909 copy of the 1797 deed of sale between George Dent and John Maddox noted that Thomas Hatton owned the land in 1663 and it was "called West Hatton." A 1904 copy of John T. Stoddert's 1869 will bequeaths "West Hatton" to his daughter, Elizabeth Stoddert Bowie. The appeal and the summary from the Circuit Court of Charles County to the Court of Appeals of Maryland for the October Term, 1908, describe a "suit in equity" brought by Elizabeth Stoddert Reeder against Catesby Graham Brown, Robert Stoddert, and others to establish her title to "West Hatton."

Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Deed of Sale of West Hatton from George Dent to John Maddox, 1797, 1909 series 2box 1folder 3
Bill of Lading, 1850 series 2box 1folder 4
Will of John T. Stoddert, deceased, 1869, 1904, 1934 series 2box 1folder 5
Brief of Appellees, Brown et al vs. Reeder et al, October 1908 series 2box 1folder 6
Syllabus of the Decision of Brown et al vs. Reeder et al, November 1908 series 2box 1folder 7

Series 3: Genealogical Records, 1895-1908 (25 items)

This series consists mainly of items copied from various sources and collected by Margaret Parker Stoddert and her daughter, Elizabeth Stoddert Reeder. Also included are two wedding invitations and a newspaper account of John Brown's raid.

In 1895, Margaret Parker Stoddert began the "M. P. Stoddert Record Book." It contains newspaper clippings, primarily of obituaries, and her handwritten notes and articles copied from other sources. Among the items included are:

  • "Memoir of the Parker Family in Virginia," by Captain William Harnar Parker of Richmond, VA.
  • "Genealogy and Biography of the Parkers of the Northern Neck of Virginia," written by the third Judge Richard Parker for the Shenandoah Book (Valley) in April 1888.
  • "Report of the Committee on the Death of Most Worshipful Richard Parker, Past Grand Master," 1895.
  • Smallwood-Stoddert Genealogy

Among the newspaper articles several pertain to John Brown's raid and his subsequent trial presided over by Judge Robert Parker, Margaret Stoddert's uncle:

  • April 8, 1888, St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat includes an interview with Judge Richard Parker.
  • The Green Bag, an entertaining magazine for lawyers dated April 1899, written by Bushrod C. Washington.
  • An early twentieth-century newspaper article recounts an interview with Jacob Widner, the sole survivor of John Brown's raid.
  • Harpers Magazine, July 1905, written by Frederick Trevor Hill
  • The Kansas City Star, 1906, three articles commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1856 battle of Osawatomie.

In addition, articles from Maryland and Virginia newspapers relate the 1908 judgment awarding "West Hatton" to Elizabeth Stoddert Reeder. Two articles mention the death of Margaret Parker Stoddert in 1917.

An invitation and two newspaper articles describe the "colored" wedding of Mary E. Taylor to John M. Morris in Winchester, Virginia on May 10, 1906. Elizabeth Stoddert Reeder and her husband may have received this as they resided in Winchester at that time.

Additional genealogical Stoddert and Parker materials are:

  • 1948 Department of the Navy press release from the 150th anniversary of the department which includes a description of Benjamin Stoddert's career as Secretary of the Navy.
  • Dangerfield Family of Virginia, undated, originally prepared by Sarah J. Keene.

Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Newspaper articles, 1888, 1899, 1905-1906, 1908, 1917, 1930, and undated series 3box 1folder 8
M. P. [Margaret Parker] Stoddert Record Book, 1895 series 3box 1folder 9
Mary E. Taylor and John M. Morris wedding, 1906 series 3box 1folder 10
Leila Moss McGuire and Lewis Huntington Hyde wedding announcement, 1907 series 3box 1folder 11
Benjamin Stoddert, 1948 and undated series 3box 1folder 12
James Stoddert Family, undated series 3box 1folder 13
Dangerfield Family: Parker, Bathurst, and Merriwether Families, undated series 3box 1folder 14
Parker/McCormick family genealogy prepared by M. P. Stoddert, undated series 3box 1folder 15

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