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John Eager Howard Estate inventory

Identifier: MS 2450


Sales book, containing a record of private sales and sales at auction of property from the personal estate of Colonel John Eager Howard (1752-1827) of "Belvidere," Baltimore, Maryland. A room-by-room inventory describes objects sold from "Belvidere House" November 5-6, 1827, and lists both the purchaser and the price paid for each lot. Separate lists record private sales and sales from an auction held at Howard's "Lodge Farm" in Patapsco Neck, Maryland on December 22, 1828. Items sold include furniture, glassware, silver, wines, textiles, decorative objects, farm animals and implements, and enslaved persons.


  • 1827-1828


Conditions Governing Access

Public use restricted to a photocopy version. A microfilm copy is also available via Manuscripts Dept. microfilm Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations, reel 11.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 volume)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Chew Howard in November 1979.

Related Materials

MS 0469, John Eager Howard papers, 1662-1919

MS 0469.1, Howard record and account books, 1827-1870

Scope and Contents

The contents of John Eager Howard's real and personal estate were sold at auction beginning a scant three weeks after his death. The sale took place in accordance with Howard's wishes as expressed in his will, dated 9 October 1827, four days before his death. See Baltimore County Will Book (1827), Liber 12, ff. 408-409. Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis.

The will directed that "my personal estate and so much of my real estate as may be necessary should be sold by my public or private sale...for the payment of my debts." The will records Howard's intention to have made "a more particular distribution" of his estate, had he survived his last illness. Choosing, however, to make some will rather than die intestate, Howard named his sons George and Benjamin Chew Howard as executors and granted them full powers over the handling of the estate. Howard's six surviving children (George, Benjamin Chew, William, James, Sophia Howard Read, and Charles) and two grandchildren (John Eager Howard III, son of John Eager Howard, Jr. and James Howard McHenry, son of Juliana Howard McHenry) were granted specific bequests of real property, and many of their names turn up on the list of purchasers from the auctions. Howard's wife, the former Peggy Oswald Chew, had died earlier in the year.

The detailed "Day Book of the Executors of J. E. Howard" held in MS 0469.1, Howard Record and Account Books, gives evidence of the way in which George and Benjamin Chew Howard carried out their responsibilities as executors, and sheds additional light on the circumstances of the sale. Recorded in this daybook are receipts from advance and private sales (including the sale of the contents of Howard's library, to one H. W. Bool), as well as various payments out for services rendered. Three bailiffs were hired to watch over the property at "Belvidere" for eight days and nights preceding the sale. Also recorded are payments made for a commission to Harrison & Sterett for sales at Belvidere including advertising and for the printing of a catalog: Catalogue of the Furniture, Plate, &c. ... to be Belvidere-House. Charles Howard's annotated copy of the catalog is in the Library collections (MHF 5476.H81.F9) and Benjamin Chew Howard's annotated copy is in Box 19 of MS 0469, John Eager Howard Papers.

The sale itself, according to the catalog, was to take place at 9:00 a.m. in Belvidere House. Payments were to be made in cash. Articles from the house were described in numbered lots, in much the same fashion as they later appear in the sales book, but lacking the price and purchaser information. The sales book, therefore is the more complete and final record. It should, however, be used in conjunction with the materials in MS 0469, John Eager Howard Papers and MS 0469.1, Howard Record and Account Books if a complete picture of the circumstances of the sale is sought.

Guide to the John Eager Howard Estate inventory
Under Revision
Karen A. Stuart
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-02-13: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States