Hagerstown Illustrated, 1887
Hagerstown: An Illustrated Description of the City of Hagerstown, showing its advantages as a place of residence and a location for manufactories &c., &c. by T. J. C. Williams is an industrial promotional piece for the city of Hagerstown. Written in 1887, it includes chapters on the general features of Hagerstown; its topography and growth; the buildings, churches and schools; the advantages of Hagerstown as a place for manufacturing. The longest chapter deals with the railways that “radiate from Hagerstown like the spokes from a wheel, in six different directions, affording easy and quick means for travelers or freight to reach any desired point.”
The book, dealing as it does with the economic conditions of the city and the county, its business enterprises, and railroads, would today probably have been produced by the Chamber of Commerce or the Economic Development Council. The printer was the Hagerstown Mail, a newspaper of which Williams was part owner. In 1876 Williams had written that “the financial condition of Washington County and the adjacent country was deplorable and in the spring many families emigrated to the West and settled on public land on the prairies.” But by 1887, Hagerstown, according to this pamphlet, was a bustling place, a perfect location for industry to be established.
Market House, Hagerstown
Thomas John Chew Williams was an accomplished man. He was admitted to the bar at age 19, and practiced law in Hagerstown with William Hamilton, then US Senator. When Edward Bell suggested he buy part share of the Hagerstown Mail he did so and became a journalist in Hagerstown for 18 years. In 1892 he moved to Baltimore, becoming an editorial writer for the Baltimore Sun, and was elected President of the Baltimore Press Club several times. In 1910 he was appointed as Judge of the Juvenile Court of Baltimore City, and in 1913 he resigned from the Sun to devote his full time to the Juvenile Court, where he presided until 1929.
In his memoir, a type-written copy of which is in the Western Maryland Room of the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, Williams makes no mention of the books he wrote. Hagerstown: An illustrated description… was published in 1887. A history of Washington County, Maryland : from the earliest settlements to the present time, including a history of Hagerstown was published in Hagerstown in 1906. History of Frederick County, Maryland, from the earliest settlements to the beginning of the war between the states was published in 1910 with Folger McKinsey. History of Allegany County, Maryland: including its aboriginal history, the colonial and revolutionary period, its settlement by the white race and subsequent growth ... etc with James W. Thomas was published in 1923.
Thomas J. C. Williams died in Baltimore on December 11, 1929, and was buried at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, Lappans, Washington County, near the farm at Breathedsville where he and his family spent summers.