Capital For A Summer

Capital For A Summer (HM19RW)

Location: Frederick, MD 21701 Frederick County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 24.918', W 77° 24.643'

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Foiling Maryland Secession

The building in front of you, Kemp Hall, was the capitol of Maryland during the spring and summer of 1861, as the state came perilously close to leaving the Union. Because secession would have placed the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. between the Confederate states of Maryland and Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln could not let it happen.

Two weeks after the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Maryland Gov. Thomas H. Hicks called the General Assembly into special session here in Frederick, a strongly Unionist city to debate secession. The state capital, Annapolis, was seething with resentment over the recent Federal occupation of that city.

Both the Senate and the House of Delegates began the session on April 26, 1861, in the former Frederick County Courthouse building located two blocks west of here. The next day, the senators and delegates moved here to Kemp Hall, a larger meeting space that belonged to the German Reformed Church.

As early as June 20, under Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, Federal troops began arresting suspected pro-secession legislators, starting with Delegate Ross Winans of Baltimore, who was stopped on his way home from the session here. He, like several other lawmakers, was confined briefly under Lincoln's orders.

The legislature continued to meet here at Kemp Hall throughout the summer. Finally, lacking a quorum—primarily because of the arrest of so many secession-leaning senators and delegates—it adjourned in September without ever considering a secession bill.

Abraham Lincoln
Courtesy Library of Congress

Gov. Thomas H. Hicks
Courtesy Library of Congress

Delegate Ross Winans
Courtesy Maryland Historical Society

Kemp Hall, ca. 1870 - Historical Society of Frederick County
HM NumberHM19RW
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Historical PeriodCivil War
Historical PlaceChurch/House of Worship, Community Center
Marker TypeHistoric Building
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleFree Standing
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 1:12pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 292465 N 4365637
Decimal Degrees39.41530000, -77.41071667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 24.918', W 77° 24.643'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 24' 55.0800" N, 77° 24' 38.5800" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 410, 240
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2 E Church St, Frederick MD 21701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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