On Easter Monday in 1817 a celebratory gathering of enslaved and free Blacks turned into a riot when the local constable tried to break up the party. A newspaper account describes the rioters as attacking the constable and then pursuing him home and ransacking his house. It also describes the rioters as attacking another house, from which a gun was fired at them. I am reminded of a prominent U.S. Senator's recent words: "I own an AR-15... my house will be the last one that the gang will come to, because I can defend myself."

For that matter, I can't help but see the whole incident as reminiscent of countless current instances where law enforcement intervenes, only to see the situation escalate into violence, rioting, and people getting killed.

The riot was judged to be a rebellion. Once the participants were rounded up, many were jailed, others flogged, and 5 were sentenced to death.

This uprising is said to have started at Thomas Bennett's store. The St. Mary's Historical Society did a search of contemporaneous maps and property records for me, revealing the store to have been located along a stretch of what is today Route 5, between Trapp Road and Beachville Road. That seems to be right where the St Indigoes General Store is located today.

Additional photographs to follow