Program for Grey Rock 2015-06 - Maryland Society Sons of the
Maryland Sons of the American Revolution
COL. JOHN EAGER
Organized November 21, 1972
COL. JOHN EAGER HOWARD CHAPTER
EXECUTIVE BOARD 2015-2016
President: Jean S. Fugett Jr.
1st VP: Daniel B. Fisher
2nd VP: Charles Z. Hoffman
Secretary: Christos Christou, Jr.
Asst. Secretary: Robert H. Cullen
Treasurer: Edward A. Foreman, Jr.
Asst. Treasurer: J. Spencer Leitzel
Registrar: John Barnhouser Jr.
Chaplain: J. Russell Fugett
Sgt at Arms: William F. Hoffman Jr.
Randall D. Grimsley 79-81
Lester A. Foster, Jr. 83-84
Douglas L. McWilliams 88-90
John B. Watkins 1990-2001
Christos Christou, Jr. 2001-04, 12-13
Ivan V. Dooley 2004-2005
Edward A. Foreman, Jr. 09/2006-2008
Robert E. Lyons 2008-2009
Jean S. Fugett Sr. 2009-2010
Christopher Cortright 2010-11, 13-15
J. Russell Fugett 2011-2012
BOARD OF MANAGERS
James M. Simpson
Benjamin A. Neil
Robert J. Graziosi
Robert H. Cullen
Patrick A. Mellott
Paul J. Crout
MDSSAR Color Guard
David Embrey, Bruce French,
David Hoover, Robert Lyons, and Bill Robertson
Col. John Eager Howard
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Grey Rock Mansion
Col. John Eager Howard
(June 4, 1752 – October 12, 1827)
After the military, John married Margaretta Oswald Chew, dau. of Justice Benjamin Chew
of Philadelphia, PA on May 18, 1787 at the Chew home called Cliveden in Philadelphia.
George Washington attended the wedding party and wrote of it in his diary.
The Baltimore City Chapter of the MDSSAR was chartered on Nov. 21, 1972 and named
for one of the city’s most famous Patriots – John Eager Howard – who served with
distinction in the American Revolution and had a distinguished life and career.
John was born to Cornelius Howard and Ruth Eager on June 4, 1752 at The Forrest in
Pikesville, MD (at present day Grey Rock Mansion site). He was the 6th of 11 children.
His father Cornelius had been born on the same farm and was a successful planter. They
had a comfortable life and he educated his children well. The Howards claimed descent
from the Howard, Duke of Norfolk family and the family coat of arms reflect this link.
John joined the military at the age of 24. In July 1776, he was offered a colonelcy in the
army but declined due to his lack of experience but accepted a captaincy instead in the
2nd MD Battalion of the Flying Camp. He was sent to White Plains, NY where he battled
the British (Oct. 1776). Because of his performance, he was promoted multiple times:
Major in the 4th Regiment on Dec. 10 1776
Lt. Col. of the 5th Regiment of the Maryland Line on March 11, 1779
Lt. Col. Commandant in the 5th Regiment on June 3, 1781
He distinguished himself with bravery at important battles of the Revolution including:
Germantown (Oct 1777),
Camden (Aug 1780),
Cowpens (Jan 1781),
Guilford Courthouse (Mar 1781),
Hobkirk’s Hill (Apr 1781),
Eutaw Springs (Sep 1781)
He was severely wounded in his shoulder at the Battle of Eutaw Springs. After a year in
recovery, he returned to military duty until the close of the war. He was probably
promoted to full Colonel between 1783-84 but the record has not been found in the
The U.S. Congress voted
Howard a Silver medal on
Mar. 9, 1781 for his
bravery and bayonet
charge at Cowpens. He
became known as the
“Hero of Cowpens”.
After their marriage, they built their new home
called Belvidere (“Beautiful view”) in Baltimore City
on a vast grant of land near the harbor that had
passed to John from his mother’s father John
Eager’s family. The huge mansion was the scene
of many wonderful parties including Lafayette’s
1824 historic visit back to America. They had 9
children born here all but one lived to adulthood
leaving over 20 grandchildren.
The Maryland Gov. John H. Stone offered him a Major General position in 1795 and
George Washington offered him a Brigadier General position in 1798 but he declined
both saying it was due to his health and family obligations. His son John Eager Howard
Jr. however did become a General. Although he declined the Generalships, the Colonel
was fully immersing himself in the political life of MD and his country.
At the conclusion of the war, Howard returned to Baltimore and served in the legislative,
executive and judicial branches of government. He served, among other roles, as:
Justice of the Orphan’s Court (1786)
Delegate to the Continental Congress (1787-88),
Governor of Maryland (1788-1790),
State Senator (1791-1795),
U.S. Senator (1797-1803)
He was an original member of the Society of Cincinnati and served as its President from
1804 until his death in 1827. In the War of 1812, he helped organize the defenses of
Baltimore City and is claimed to have said “I would see my sons in their graves and my
property in ashes than listen to any suggestion of capitulation”. In 1816, he was
candidate for Vice President of the United States. Col. Howard was generous in
contributing land for public use. He gave the site at Mt. Vernon Plaza for the Washington
Monument – the first in the nation. He supported the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in
its early foundation and laid the cornerstone for the University of Maryland.
He died at his home on Oct. 12, 1827 at
the age of 75 from a severe cold
contracted while out on horseback over a
week earlier. He is buried at Old St.
Paul’s Cem. next to his wife Peggy who
died in 1824 and his children. President
John Quincy Adams was in town and
attended his funeral. All the flags in
Baltimore flew at half-mast and the coffin
was led by numerous military brigades.