The above photograph depicts Mary Ann Jessup Clemens (1846-1930). Born in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Augustus Ducas Clemens (1817-1897) and Henrietta Matilda Bryden (1812-1900) who married in 1841. She served as Grand Deputy for Maryland of Ladies of the Golden Eagle, the female auxiliary of the Knights of the Golden Eagle of which her husband served as Supreme Chief. During 1889-1922 she conducted dozens of real estate transactions that were recorded in local newspapers.
Henrietta was the daughter of William Bryden (1767-1840), a ship captain who was born in Edinburgh, and Elizabeth Goodman (1769-1839) who was born in London. William’s brother, James Bryden (1761-1820), was a proprietor of the Fountain Inn which stood on Light Street between West Baltimore and Redwood Streets until 1871. Henrietta was born and grew up on the family place which was located south of East Biddle Street between North Kenwood Avenue and Edison Highway. The site was later St. Alphonsus’ Cemetery until that was abandoned and industry took over.
Augustus was known as Augustus, Sr. because the was the first of his line born in the U.S., but he is sometimes identified as the fourth. His father, also Augustus Ducas Clemens, was thought to be a captain in the French fleet during the American Revolution. According to an obituary (pdf) printed in The Baltimore Sun of 25 September 1897, Augustus “laid off” the villages of Friendship and Oxford in 1868 “on what was then known as the Quaker lots.” Oxford and Friendship are now part of of the Better Waverly neighborhood on the east side of Greenmount Avenue between 25th and 29th Streets, and what is now known as Lock Raven Road was then known as Quaker Road. There is a Friendship Street in the vicinity but no easy-to-find sign of Oxford. In 1845 Augustus was appointed “agent to the city of Baltimore . . . to collect DONATIONS to erect a NATIONAL EQUESTRIAN STATUE, of imperishable Bronze, at the U. S. Seat of Government, to the memory of Hero and Patriot, ANDREW JACKSON.” The statue of President Andrew Jackson was installed in Lafayette Park across from the White House in 1853.
Mary married Jacob Henry Aull (1847-1921) in 1883 and they had one child, Herbert Walter Aull (1872-1961). Their house, Eagle Nest, was on a large lot on the northwest corner of the intersection of 25th Street and Greenmount Avenue. Jacob was also a real estate man and he sold insurance. He was a member of Fellowship Lodge 138, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and at the time of his death was the oldest past president of the Knights of the Golden Eagle. Jacob was the son of German-born parents, shoemaker Jacob Aull (1804-1876) and his wife Christiana Gusema (1812-1880). Jacob published a fine little book titled Old Land Marks which I enjoyed seeing in the Maryland Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (call number F190.7 .W3 A8). The book contains 37 photographs and descriptions which are listed here (pdf). It would be great if someone decided to reprint the book.
Pictured above is Helen Mary “Augie” Bordley (1871-1953). I found no explanation for the nickname Augie. She was the daughter of William Clayton Bordley, Jr. (1831-1897) and Laura Fitzgerald (1843-1886). William was a teller at the National Mechanics’ Bank until he resigned because of ill health and was appointed to the Baltimore tax department. Laura was a niece of Richard B. Fitzgerald (1807-1869) who was a sea captain and owner, with his half brother Washington Booth (1814-1892), of the Fitzgerald, Booth & Company, an international mercantile and shipping house based in Baltimore.
Census records all list Helen’s occupation as “none” or leave the section blank, but newspapers accounts show she conducted more than a dozen real estate transactions between 1921 and 1941. From at least 1900 until her death Helen lived with the family of her father’s sister, Mary Bordley (1852-1928), who married Augustus Ducas Clemens, Jr. (1845-1909), brother of Mary Ann Jessup Clemens Aull who is the subject of the photograph at the top of this page. Most of that time was at, or in the vicinity of Evesham (pronunciation), a 23-room stone mansion on a 56-acre estate located on what is now Dartmouth Road in the Evesham Park neighborhood. Augustus, Jr. bought the estate 1895 for $40,000. Augustus, Jr. intended to develop the land from the beginning but the mansion survived until 1961. The mansion’s carriage house was converted to a residence and remains there on a small lot on Dartmouth Glen Way. Look here (pdf) for a story about the Clemens family and Evesham, and here (pdf) to learn how Augustus, Sr.’s grandson, Bryden Bordley Hyde (1914-2001) used parts of the mansion to construct a home on Gibson Island, MD
Above is Lydia McGee (1848-1928) who also was a boarder with Mary A. J. Clemens Aull and family from around 1898 until her death. A death notice (pdf) identified her father as Robert L. McGee, but I think this Robert was actually her brother. Her parents appear to have been James McGee, born in Scotland in 1812, and Ellen Wright, born in England in 1819. James’ profession is “Bleacher” in the 1850 Census of Baltimore County, MD, and his sons followed him into this industry. This, along with other tidbits of information, indicates that Ellen was the sister of three brothers who established the Rockland Bleach and Dye Mill in Rockland, MD in the 1830s. The enterprise remained in the family until the 1940s and survives today as Rockland Bleach and Dye Works, a division of Rockland Industries, now known as Roc-Ion.
Lydia was a teacher all her life. A January 1874 newspaper account places her at Waverly High School on York Road. The school opened the year with 125 students and had 230 students by mid year. By 1881 Lydia was at the English-German Annex School #12 which educated 333 pupils that year. In 1914 she was honored (pdf) by former pupils as one of six surviving teachers at “the old Baltimore County School No. 13, which was started as a parochial school of St. John’s German Lutheran Church, Catherine and Lombard Streets, in 1872.” Her uncle Thomas Wright (1811-1900) bequeathed her two bonds of the City and Suburban Railway Company of $1000 each ($2000 = about $60,000 in 2019 dollars). Lydia also bought and sold real estate.
The following are the backs of the above photographs.
I spent more time reading and learning, finding graves and documenting them, and driving around looking at stuff than I did writing this time. Usually I’m looking for a little interesting information on a subject, but this time the amount of information on these families was overwhelming. I collected more than 150 newspaper articles. If you are curious about something you read here, drop me a line–I probably know the answer to your question or can find it.
I am most indebted to Suzanne LNU, the author of the excellent website Descent By Sea which discusses the genealogies of the Clemens and Bordley families, among others.
I am also grateful for the help I received from Mimi at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore who helped me track down the location of Helen Mary Bordley’s grave, a critical bit of information that helped figure out who Helen was and where she came from.
4 thoughts on “Three Baltimore Ladies”
A whole lot of history woven into this one. Accomplished ladies, especially for their times. Fascinating post, ctw!
I am fascinated by the “eyeglasses” being worn by Helen Mary “Augie” Bordley in the photo. I wonder why she had her portrait done wearing the lenses.
I too was quite taken by those glasses. I should have commented on them in the blog as a way to narrow down the timeframe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pince-nez
Very impressive research! I love the portrait of Helen Mary “Augie” Bordley. She’s almost smiling.