Washington Almost Gave Georgetown Back to Maryland in 1839

Now here is an interesting article that we dug up in the old archives. We found an article in The Baltimore Sun, from January 28th, 1839, discussing the possibility of retroceding Georgetown to Maryland. Most of you know that Virginia was given back their portion of the District in 1847 (check out this 1835 map).

Below is the piece.

Several memorials have been presented to the legislature of Maryland, and some to the Congress of the United States, having in view the retrocession of that portion of the District of Columbiam lying west of Rock Cree, embracing Georgetown, and the neighboring country, to the state of Maryland. In our legislature, the subject has been submitted to a committee composed of one member from each county, who we doubt not will give it all due consideration and attention.

We do not, however, fancy that such an event will take place, at least for a long time to come; first, because Congress will not consent to curtail the “fair proportions” of the “ten miles square,” and second, we dot not think the people of the state are prepared to acquiesce in a retrocession, should Congress desire it. The Rockville Journal, published in Montgomery county, the portion of the state immediately adjoining the part of the District proposed to be lopped off, objects in strong terms to any annexation, for several reasons given; the first of which is a conviction that the inhabitants of that part of the state are almost, if not quite unanimous in opposition to it. Again, it hazards the opinion that the move would be but an entering wedge to the removal of the seat of Government to some point in the far west, which once done would utterly destroy, not only the cities of the District, but take from the adjoining counties in Maryland the only market they now have for their produce. This argument is, to be sure, very “far retched,” but there may be some weight in it.

Very interesting to read stories about the potential removal of the capital. The story continues.

Washington and Georgetown are now very nearly one city, and the Journal thinks that if the latter were joined to Maryland, the Federal government might thereby at some future time have a controlling influence on the elections for members of the Legislature from that county, as that city has a population sufficient in all cases to hold the balance of power. As we have before said, we should like to see a statement of the causes which have operated to induce the citizens of Georgetown to desire the annexation to this state, together with the arguments in favor of the proposition. ‘Tis a matter in which the citizens of the state at large are interested.

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1835 map of Washington
1835 map of Washington

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • tassojunior

    There was no Hains Point on this map. ?.

    • Mark

      No – Prompted by severe flooding, the island that is now West Potomac park was created by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1880s by dredging the shipping lanes of the river. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Potomac_Park

    • lol

      Shhh. Don’t tell Hains.

    • Popeye D. Saylorman

      Thats when it was just Haines, with no point.