Thomas Symington (b1793)
Thomas Alexander Symington
Birthdate: December 23, 1795 (it is 1793 - Typo on Geni ...)
Birthplace: Brandywine River, Delaware, United States
Death: March 12, 1875 (79)
Indian Spring, Bel Air, Harford, Maryland, United States
Son of James Symington and Margaret Leith DuffSellar Symington
Husband of Angeline Augusta Symington and Mary Archer Symington
Brother of James Symington; Hannah Symington; Colonel John Symington and Margaret Symington
According to family tradition, the original Symington in America, James [Symington], arrived from Scotland in 1785. 1 He landed in Philadelphia, where he worked as a stonecutter. Aboard ship he had met Margaret Ogilvie, a young Scotswoman traveling alone. Her marital status at the time remains unclear. Either she was the widow of a man named William Ogilvie, or she was running away from an unhappy marriage with him. Divorce was hard to come by in Scotland in the eighteenth century. Margaret had left behind two children, apparently with her mother, and was pregnant with a third, [but] she completely captivated young James Symington, who was making his way co America from Ayrshire.
How Margaret paid for her passage to America is unknown. [...]. At some point she became acquainted with another passenger, Robert Morris, the wealthy Philadelphia banker and signer of the Declaration of Independence who was famed as the "financier of the Revolution." Morris invited her to join his household as housekeeper or governess. Her child, a daughter initially named Deborah Morris, was born in the Morris home, and when in 1787 her shipboard acquaintance persuaded her to marry him, she was given away by Morris. About a year after their marriage, James and Margaret Symington moved to a house on Brandywine Creek, near Wilmington, where James operated a mill for grinding flint. In 1800 they moved to Baltimore and James resumed the stonecutting trade. Apparently he did rather well. When he died in 1827, he left an estate of seventy-five thousand dollars, a substantial sum in the early nineteenth century.
James adopted Deborah, and he and Margaret eventually had two more daughters and three sons, one of whom was Thomas [Symington], born December 23, 1793, on Brandywine Creek. Thomas served as an apprentice to his father in the stonecutting trade, and then as a young man went to work for William Stuart, who had a stonecutting and marble business. Stuart, whose father had fought in the War of the Revolution, became lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Infantry defending Baltimore during the War of 1812, being credited, according to family legend, with "saving" Fort McHenry during the British naval bombardment the night of September 13, 1814, when he took over from the commandant, alleged to have been drunk. In addition to being a war hero, William Stuart was a successful businessman who was active in politics. He served several terms on the Baltimore city council and as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He had a short term as mayor of Baltimore, after which he became president of the Maryland Institute of Arts. His daughter, Angeline, whom Thomas Symington married in 1825, was obviously quite a catch.
[Thomas Symington's wife Angele passed when he was at the age of seventy-one.] He [then] married Mary Wilson, thirty-seven, whom he had met at the Episcopal Church, where she was the church organist; she bore him two children before he died in 1875 at the age of eighty-two.
Thomas Symington did well financially, making substantial sums in real estate, marble quarries, and chemicals and fertilizer. He furnished much of the marble for the 1850 addition to the capitol building in Washington. He provided the cornerstone of the Washington Monument as a gift. Unlike many others, including his son, he seems to have survived the Civil War financially intact. In 1862 he retired to a farm outside Baltimore, which he named " Indian Spring," managing his various business enterprises in addition to farming. When he died, he left an estate of one hundred thousand dollars in cash and what apparently was a substantial unrecorded balance that he divided among his children.