The undersigned can only consider himself a native of the Maryland free State through ancestry and adoption. But the impression of the fames and the domains, the vistas and the glories of Maryland followed many a young man West after the Civil War and my father was of that number. Much of my early childhood in Minnesota was spent in asking him such questions as:
“—and how long did it take Early's column to pass Glenmary that day?” (That was a farm in Montgomery County.)
“—what would have happened if Jeb Stewart's cavalry had joined Lee instead of raiding all the way to Rockville?”
“—tell me again about how you used to ride through the woods with a spy up behind you on the horse.”
“Why wouldn't they let Francis Scott Key off the British frigate?”
And since so many legends of my family went west with father, memories of names that go back before Braddock's disaster such as Caleb Godwin of Hockley-in-ye-Hole, or Philip Key of Tudor Hall, or Pleasance Ridgeley—so there must be hundreds and hundreds of families in such an old state whose ancestral memories are richer and fuller than mine.
But time obliterates people and memories and only the more fortunate landmarks survive. In the case of this fine book, it is upon the home above all that Don Swann has concentrated his talents and his painstaking research—the four walls (or sixteen as it may be) of Baronial Maryland, or the artistic result of the toil and sweat that some forever anonymous craftsman put into a balcony or a parquet. And outside this general range, the etcher has also paused here and there to jot down some detail of plainer houses that helps to make this a permanent record of the history of the Free State.
His work, naturally, will speak for itself, and, to allow it to do so, I cut short this prelude with the expression of high hopes for this venture by one of the State's adopted sons.