Man dis­plays Civil War mem­o­ra­bilia at li­brary

Dis­play runs through end of Fe­bru­ary

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By TAMMY SHOWAL­TER tshowal­[email protected]­

The Lex­ing­ton Park li­brary now has a Civil War dis­play avail­able for those in­ter­ested to come in, ask ques­tions and check out books re­lated to a prom­i­nent time in his­tory.

Li­brary man­ager Amy Ford said the dis­play has been at the li­brary now five times, and will be on dis­play this time through Feb. 28.

“It’s when peo­ple stop in and take a look. There’s such a va­ri­ety of St. Mary’s his­tory that he has there,” Ford said. “Many of the books [on dis­play] will be avail­able through the li­brary.”

Budds Creek res­i­dent Jonathan Beasley a his­tory en­thu­si­ast who owns the items dis­played, was in­flu­enced by his fa­ther, Hu­lon Beasley, and his mother, Orie “Penny” Beasley-Bell, whom he said walked three miles a day just to learn to speak Eng­lish at school.

Beasley’s fa­ther passed away when he was young, and

his mother could never com­ment on the dis­plays as she bat­tled Alzheimer’s this past decade. The very close Beasley fam­ily laid her to rest just two months ago.

The love of his­tory and its preser­va­tion has been passed down in his fam­ily, and his chil­dren and neph­ews all pitch in to as­sist with the dis­play now, which Beasley said has now been tak­ing across the coun­try for a decade.

“It’s such a learn­ing tool,” he said, adding that the idea all started when Grace Mary [Brady], who works at the North Beach mu­seum in Calvert, bor­rowed one of his dis­plays. In­ter­est grew quickly, he said.

“I was amazed,” Beasley said.

The dis­play just came from the Tow­son pub­lic li­brary.

“It will be in Bel Air li­brary in March, Frost­burg pub­lic li­brary May and June, Fred­er­ick li­brary in July and Au­gust, Prince Fred­er­ick Sep­tem­ber and Oc­to­ber and El­li­cott City in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber. It’s only home one month out of the year,” he said.

Beasley talks of racially tense times right now, but his love for his­tory is his way to give back to his lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“I’m half Mex­i­can be­cause of my mother, who grew up in Colorado dur­ing the De­pres­sion,” Beasley said. “She en­tered the United States Army at age 14 and was a corps nurse in Eng­land and to this day, her sis­ter, who’s five years older, took her birth cer­tifi­cate to get her out of the desert, and my aunt is still alive to­day.”

“Both of my par­ents taught me to ap­pre­ci­ate his­tory and taught me about com­mu­nity ser­vice,” he said.

On dis­play are Mary­land ammo boxes, belts, weapons, bot­tony crosses, ex­ca­vated buck­les and orig­i­nal pho­tos of Leonard­town sol­diers, among other items from both the North and the South.

Beasley has been on the St. Mary’s County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety since 2001.

He is quick to men­tion that Leonard­town once had its own cur­rency. On dis­play is the “script” money of April 10, 1840. It was printed by Mur­phy and Com­pany from Bal­ti­more with 6¼-, 12½- and 25-cent notes. Bank­ing crises of the 1830s af­fected mostly South­ern and Western banks, and many Mary­land towns is­sued their own lo­cal notes, he said.

One of Beasley’s fa­vorite things to dis­cuss is how Mary­land got the nick­name “The Old Line State.”

“It was writ­ten in blood,” Beasley stated. “It was 390 Mary­lan­ders who scar­i­fied them­selves against the Hes­sians. Six times they turned and went right to the mid­dle of the line, and nine made it back; nine out of 400. Gen­eral Wash­ing­ton was cry­ing, watch­ing the sac­ri­fice from the heights and gave us the name, Old Line State, Aug. 27, 1776, for hold­ing the line of bat­tle in Brook­lyn,” New York, he said.

Beasley says he’s now look­ing for­ward to grand­chil­dren one day.

“I have an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old, so no rush.” he said. “But my great­est joy is to sit by the dis­play and lis­ten to chil­dren talk about it and want to learn more and check out books per­tain­ing to this time in his­tory.”

A book not on dis­play, but which would pro­vide in­sight for the younger read­ers ages 6 to 8, is called, “Civil War on Sun­day (Magic Tree House),” au­thored by Mary Pope Os­borne, ac­cord­ing to Ford.


Orig­i­nal pho­tos of the sol­diers who fought for Leonard­town and other Civil War ar­ti­facts owned by Jonathan Beasley of Budds Creek are on dis­play at the Lex­ing­ton Park li­brary through Feb. 28.


One of the items on a dis­play from Johnathan Beasley set up at the Lex­ing­ton Park li­brary is an ammo case from the Civil War.


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