Join us on March 8 when our speaker, George Lewis, Jr., will discuss the fascinating life of Union Brigadier General Frederick West Lander; will unravel the mystery of why the Lander Post Office was established at Catoctin, Maryland, in April 1862; and will explore the accomplishments of a man described as “The Bravest of the Brave.” Lander’s internationally famous spouse will also figure in the story.
Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., March 8, 2016
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia
Topic: Frederick W. Lander: Explorer, General, Poet
Frederick W. Lander was truly a man for all seasons. A tall and handsome workaholic who hailed from a patriotic New England family, Lander was an explorer, a railroad man, a poet, a soldier, a public speaker, and one of the most recognizable Western frontier and early Civil War military figures of his time—and all but forgotten by the end of the nineteenth century. However, his name lives on as a city, a wagon road, two streams, a mountain in Wyoming, and in Maryland as a small Frederick County village once known as Catoctin/Catoctin Station/Catoctin Switch. Six weeks after Brigadier General Lander’s death at Paw Paw, Virginia (on March 2, 1862), the Lander Post Office was established at Catoctin, Maryland. Over time, the name of the post office gradually replaced the name of the village and by the early nineteenth century, the little village at milepost 51 on the C&O Canal was known only as “Lander.”
In October 1860, then Colonel Lander married a long-time friend, the leading Elizabethan actress of her time, Jean Margaret Davenport, a wealthy and immensely popular socialite who had “no superior living in the truly womanly characters of drama.”
Lewis’s presentation will tie together such diverse places and players as the Overland Wagon Road to California, Ball’s Bluff, the Willard Hotel, Lander Mountain, Texas Governor Sam Houston, Blooming Gap, General George McClellan, the Northern Pacific Railroad, Stonewall Jackson, Camp Chase, President Abraham Lincoln, the C&O Canal, Secretary Salmon Chase, General Order No. 5, the Battle of Rich Mountain, a poet from Massachusetts, Edward’s Ferry, an early-day Shirley Temple, and Catoctin Switch.
George Lewis, Jr., is a veterinarian, retired army colonel, amateur historian, and medical research and development consultant. He has lived in Frederick County, Maryland, on and off for the past thirty-eight years, the last eighteen of which he has owned, built, and managed a grass fed cow/calf operation, Catoctin Station Farm, in Lander, Maryland.