Historic Sites in the Kingsville Area


Kingsville takes its name from Abraham King who came to Maryland from Pennsylvania. He acquired 280 acres in 1816 from parts of the original grants of "Leafe's Chance" and "William the Conqueror". The family lived in the mansion later known as the Kingsville Inn, where his son continued to live after Abraham died in 1836. This building was an inn as early as 1750. It is now the Lassahn Funeral Home. Abraham's daughter Eliza married Mr. Haven Wilson, who owned a property called the "Tuileries", on which the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company is now located.

Gunpowder River

Although Captain John Smith extensively explored the Bay in 1608, he apparently missed discovering the Gunpowder River, although he probably assumed that a river was there. In old records, the two branches were known as The Little Falls of Gunpowder or the north branch and The Great Falls of Gunpowder or the south branch. The Gunpowder River itself was the larger part connected to the Bay into which these "branches" emptied. In early days, Gunpowder was the settlement in the fork at the mouth of these falls. There are several stories of how the river got its name, the most likely being that early explorers found saltpeter deposits near its mouth, being one of the ingredients of gunpowder. In fact, Salt Peter Creek flows into the Gunpowder River from the south.

St. John's Episcopal Church

St. Johns parish in Kingsville traces its beginnings to 1680 when Rev Yeo traveled through northern Baltimore County as an itinerant preacher. Later, a church was built at Joppa, then a thriving sea port. As the port silted in, Joppa gave way to the new Baltimore in the mid-18th century and the county seat was moved from Joppa to Baltimore in 1768. In the early 19th century, plans began to move the church, which had fallen into disrepair. Edward Day donated 2 acres of land in Kingsville for the new church and built the church at his own expense in 1817. The church remains on this spot today at the intersection of Belair, Jerusalem, and Bradshaw Roads.

Heathcote's Cottage

In 1678, Nathaniel Heathcoat was granted a tract of land by this name which ran from Sweathouse Road (now Mt Vista) to the Big Gunpowder Falls (on both sides of Belair Road). When he died, it passed to his nephew John Heathcote and then to John's son John and then to John, Jr's daughter Sarah. Sarah sold it to John Baldwin who sold in to Stephen Onion in 1747 (see left). Stephen Onion was constructing many iron mills at the time.

A descendent of Nathaniel Heathcoat, known as Heathcoat Pickett, was arrested during the Revolutionary War, along with John Paul, for selling flour to the British from Paul's mill on the Big Gunpowder River and delivering it to the British Brig "Nesbitt". Paul and Pickett were locked in the jail in Joppa awaiting execution, but John Paul managed to escape during the night, but Pickett was executed the next day.. See following item.


John Paul

After John Paul escaped from the Joppa jail and learned that his partner Heathcoat had indeed been hung, he hid out for some time in a cave along the Little Gunpowder River, but then went to North Carolina to sit out the war, as many British loyalists did. Before he left, he signed over his property, probably where the mill was located, to John Hammond Cromwell on Sept 5, 1780, even appearing before two Justices of the Peace of Baltimore County to do so. The land was held by Cromwell in trust to be returned to John Paul when he returned. His return was acknowledged on 30 June 1787. While John Paul was gone, the land was foreclosed in a bankruptcy, but, when he returned, he was able to buy it back on Aug 14, 1788. This included the tracts of "Wignall's Rest", "Wee Bit", "Vaux Hall", "Owner's Landing", and "Waterton's Neglect" for a total of 311 acres. These were located along the Big Gunpowder between where I-95 and Pulaski Highway are now (later Patterson's mill). John Paul later owned the inn in Kingsville, which Abraham King would later buy (see above).

Ishmael Day House and Harry Gilmor's Raid

Confederate Major Harry Gilmor of Baltimore County, under orders from General Johnson, lead 130 men of the First and Second Maryland Cavalry through the area in July of 1864, passing the farm of Ishmael Day on Sunshine Avenue. Day hung out an American flag and was ordered by one of the advanced guard, Ordinance Sergeant Eugene Fields, to take it down. As Fields dismounted to remove the flag himself, Day fatally wounded him with a shotgun and escaped into the woods. In retribution, Gilmor's men burned Day's house and barns. After staying overnight at the stage stop (still at the corner of Old Joppa Rd and Mountain Rd), they then raided Lee's store (the actual location is not certain, but it may have been on Mountain Road near the stage stop where Lee owned land). After that, they moved on to capture a train at Magnolia Station, removing the passengers and luggage, and, after learning that the engineer had disabled the engine, set fire to the train. An hour later they seized another train, using it to aid in destroying the bridge over the Gunpowder River, and then paroled five Union officers who had been taken as prisoners. Gilmor went on to raid the Union remount station on Gunpowder Neck (now part of Aberdeen Proving Ground) for horses before turning back.

Later, Harry Gilmor was Baltimore City Police Commissioner from 1874 to 1879. He died in 1883 and is buried in Loudon Park Cemetery. Ishmael died on December 27, 1873 and is buried at Fork United Methodist.

Newspaper account     |     The Ballad of Ishmael Day

A 1839 plat suggests that Ishmael's original house was the one at 7000 Sunshine Ave today, which shows in SDAT data as being built in 1827. Ishmael bought this 140 acre part of "Young's Escape" in 1824. The house burnt by Gilmor was apparently built later further from the road. In fact, it is more likely that Gilmor would have seen the American flag on this first house near to the road.

Historic Jerusalem Mill Village

This historic site, listed on the National Register, is centered around a grist mill built in 1772 for David Lee on a tract called "Bond's Water Mills". The mill was operated continuously until 1961 when the state purchased the site as part of the Gunpowder Falls State Park. Later purchases have added to the site, so that it now consists of an entire village of eight 19th century and earlier buildings, including one of the four covered bridges in Maryland. In the mid 1800's the post office established here was called Jerusalem for the nearby tract of that name patented in 1687 and then partly owned by the Lee family.

When "Jerusalem" was resurveyed in 1743 for Stephen Onion, it was found to contain "two 40 foot tobacco houses of little or no value; two 20 foot dwelling houses little worth" and some fence and "50 very scrubby apple trees". It is likely that the 2 dwellings mentioned formed the base for the 2 tenant houses now in the village.


This 1500 acre tract was patented in 1683 to Thomas Lightfoot. It stretched from Kingsville north to the Little Falls of the Gunpowder. The western corner can still be seen as a large, inscribed stone marker next to US Route 1 in front of Celebrie Vet Clinic. It is presumed to have been set by Edward Day about 1810 and it is referred to in an 1836 deed from Edward Day to David Gittings.

The stone reads:

    This stone is in place of a
    double poplar tree
    a boundary of expectation
    francis freedom alias youngs escape and the
    second boundary of onions prospect hill
    the latter now owned by
    cursed be he who removeth his neighbors landmark
    and all the people shall say amen.
    chap 27 verse 17

This "curse", taken from Deuteronomy, seems to have served its purpose of preventing the stone from being moved to this day.

Baltimore County's Second Court House

The Kingsville area has the distinction of being the location of the oldest court house in what is now Baltimore County. In 1674, when Baltimore County included what are now Harford and Carroll Counties, the city, and parts of Cecil, Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, the Provincial Council ordered that a Court House be built on the north side of the Gunpowder River. The first court house was established on the east side of Bush River in what is now Harford County (which, technically, was on the north side of the Gunpowder). When that location was abandoned about 1692, the second Court House, clerks' office, and jail were built up the hill from the Gunpowder River on the eastern third of "Simm's Choice" close to and northward from the "Wee Bit". Locating these tracts today indicates that this second Court House was located near US 40 and Jones Rd, probably 1/2 mile east of this intersection. When the Court House property was finally deeded to the County in 1701 by the builder, Michael Judd, it contained 2 acres and was bounded at the four corners by pear, peach, apple, and cherry trees. In 1707, a new court house was ordered to be built in Joppa and the county offices moved there in 1712.

The Cold War

Kingsville was the location of one of the Nike missile batteries set-up during the Cold War for the protection of the Washington-Baltimore area. There were 16 in Maryland. Known as BA-09, the launch site was located at the end of Stockdale Road off of Mt Vista Road and the fire control center was at the end of Hutschenreuter Lane. It was built in 1955 and manned by D Battery of the 4th Battalion of the 1st Artillery Brigade. Another site was located in Jacksonville.

Long Calm - Ridgely's Forge

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the main road from the Patapsco River to the Susquehanna generally followed the present path of Philadelphia Rd through our area. The road had to skirt the headwaters of most of the streams such as White Marsh Run and Winters Run so that fording the streams was possible. The Big Gunpowder presented a larger obstacle. Until the first bridge was built in the late 1700's, the crossing was at a place always known as "The Long Calm". Old Long Calm Rd off of Pfeffers Rd and Old Landings Rd off of Mt Vista are fragments of the original roads leading to this crossing, which was just above the present-day I-95 bridge. The map to the left is a portion of the 1821 survey of a road from Towson to the Long Calm where the Ridgely Forge was located (now Joppa Rd and Forge Rd). It shows some of the forge structures. Two shafts of wrought iron, each weighing 18,000 lbs and 22 feet 8 inches in length, were made here in about 1840 for a Russian steamer, Kamschatka, being built in New York, which was one of the first transatlantic steamers. (An English assessment of the steamer in 1841 panned the "antiquated bell-crank movement" as a "matter for merriment, rather than serious criticism".)

Indian mounds

In the early 20th century, William Mayre, who was born at Bellvue, was the premier historian in the Kingsville area, and perhaps the entire county. One of his writings documented the Indian mounds, which he said were still visible when he was young, located near what is now the intersection of Merrywood Pl and Ridgecliff Ct. All trace has now been lost.

Old Joppa Road/Rolling Road

Another of William Mayre's writings was a dissertation on the old Indian paths that crisscrossed the area, many of which became today's roads. One such prominent path became Sunshine Ave/Bradshaw Rd. In the mid-18th century, it was the main route from My Lady's Manor to the port at Joppa, used to haul "hogsheads" of tobacco for shipment to England. Numerous deeds into the 20th century referred to it as "The Old Joppa and Manor Road". In fact, one from 1989 still made this reference. It was also sometimes referred to as "The Rolling Road".

The spring (now a bump) in the road in front of my house probably explains why the Indian path took this route. Early 17th century patents in the area generally began at trees along this path.


The old Bradshaw was, primarily, a railroad stop, in the days when many people traveled to and from jobs in the city via the rails. Although the station has closed, the railroad remains today. Many of us also remember fondly the Bradshaw Post Office, surely one of the smallest in the county until is was closed several years ago. Baltimore County recognizes the Bradshaw area as an African American Historic Survey District.

The Kingsville area contains many other historic properties, including the Franklinville Historic District.

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Updated 6 June 2021 by MAP