The Belair Mansion is the ca. 1745 Georgian brick plantation house of Maryland's colonial governor Samuel Ogle and his wife Anne Tasker Ogle. Over a century and a quarter of Ogles and Taskers made this their home, concluding in 1871. Inventories reveal that at least 50 bondsmen were at Belair at any period of time, and list names, ages, and sometimes occupation. We learn of individuals such as "Negro Pompey 56" worth 10 pounds in 1775, or "Cser, 25,hired to Mr Buchanan" and "Phyllis, too old to be worth anything" in 1815 or "Peggy & infant, infirm" for $40.75 and "Hercules, a carpenter" in 1844. Glimpses into the relationships of the owners ("Negores [sic] who have alliances at Belair....may be sold with wife and husband") contrast with slaves choosing their own destinies. In 1744 Governor Ogle's "Negro Joe...his cook" went off on a boat to Philadelphia. Shoemaker Tom was in 1775 "probably concealed...by some white people who make too familiar with my slaves." Liberated by soldiers in 1814, another "Tom" departed Belair with the British troops. "Dennis" with good teeth and whiskers ran off in 1852. This history of humans bound and humans seeking their freedom is told in the exhibit "African American Slaves at Belair."
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 12207 Tulip Grove Drive, Bowie, 20715
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: City of Bowie Museum
Location Type: Site