Myths & Legends: The Poplar Tree under which Major General Robert Ross breathed his last.

“Such was the veneration in which it was held that many individuals secured pieces as relics.”

This story is believed to have it’s origins in an article entitled “A Relic Gone” published in The Sun, (Baltimore) March 22, 1844. It was further retold in the “Battle of North Point in Legend and Tradition,” by Reverend Lewis B. Browne, of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Sparrow’s Point for The Sun, September 8, 1907.  Near the intersection of present day Weis Avenue and North Point Road, near the Gorsuch farm, once stood on a high roadside earthen bank a large poplar tree whose branches hung over the road, where earlier the British army had marched under.

After General Ross had been shot, the story is told he was placed “on a stretcher made of two fence rails from the spot where he was [mortally] wounded and taken to Poplar Heights about a mile and a half to the rear; but when the cart arrived he was already dead. The bearers laid their burden under a poplar tree by the wayside opposite Gorsuch’s farm.” From here they procured a cart from the nearby Stansbury farm and conveyed the body of General Ross to their North Point landing onboard HMS Royal Oak.

Thirty years later in 1844, the land owner Vincent Green, ordered his overseer to cut the tree down, it being a hazard to passersby.

 “We doubt whether there is to be found in the country, a tree, under which “confusion to the enemies of liberty,” has been quaffed in full bumpers, more frequently than under the “Ross’ Tree.” as it has always been familiarly called.”

Sources: The Sun, March 22, 1844; The Sun, September 8, 1907.

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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