[Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun.]

Port Tobacco, Charles co., Md.,

September, 1842


Piscataway is a gloomy and forlorn looking village of Prince George’s county, and is situated on Piscataway Creek, about eight miles above its mouth, and distant by water communication about twelve miles from Alexandria, and by land eight – it is distant from Nottingham about sixteen miles.  There is a Tobacco Inspection warehouse in the village, and about fourteen hundred hogheads of tobacco is annually inspected, the major part of which finds a market in Alexandria.   and there was formally a Methodist meetinghouse in Piscataway, but if not incorrectly informed, it is now only used to stow tobacco.  There is a very neat and commodious Catholic church, the construction of the pews of which are more comfortable and convenient than of any country church I have been so fortunate as to visit.  The only objection to be made to the building arises from the fact of the low pitch of the house, which gives it a somewhat awkward, and to use rather a slang word, a squatty appearance.  This church for some time past has been destitute of a minister, and during his stay of nearly a month in Piscataway, service was not once performed.  The inhabitants of this village are generally careless about the appearance or condition of their property, so much so in fact, that many of the houses, although still inhabited, are in quite a dilapidated condition. Space to this general rule, however, there are some exceptions, and to the credit of the people it must be said, that they are truly hospitable and kind.  The mail arise from Washington twice in each week, namely on Mondays and Thursdays, and on those days many of the adjoining planters visit the village to obtain their papers, letters,&c.

Piscataway has become proverbial for the many medical gentlemen who have located with in its vicinity, and so frequently was the appellation of Doctor So-and-so used before [a] stranger that happen to remain there a few days, that he facetiously observed that if a stone was thrown up into the air, it would come down a “Doctor.”  The inhabitants of this section of country are liable to severe attacks of bilious fever in the summer and fall months, and the attention of numerous physicians is necessary during what is termed the sickly season. The first heavy frost acts as a grand regulator, and eight the patients materially in getting rid of their medical advisors.

A somewhat ludicrous event occurred whilst in Piscataway; two worthless, drunken brawlers, living in the same house, got upon a most glorious spree, and eventually come to blows, which, by the way, I was informed was not at all unusual for them; each obtained a States warrant against the other, and when carried before the magistrate they were each unable to give security to keep the peace; they had by their brutal and disgusting conduct, becomes so much of a nuisance that the villagers were delighted at the idea of getting clear of them, and therefore no one would become bail for either of them; consequently they were both committed to jail, and becoming obstreperous, the deputy sheriff summoned his “posse comitatus,” tied the pair of them, tossed them into a cart, and carried them to Upper Marlboro’, (a distance of sixteen miles,) and lodged them in the jug; a greater part of the distance was performed in a heavy gust and fall of rain, and they finally, in the situation of a couple of half drowned rats, were deposited in the same apartment. In the morning cool reflection came to their assistance, and each was about is anxious to get out as he had previously been to get his neighbor in. They had, however, to remain there for a week before they could obtain bail, and that only on condition of their separating and living in different sections of the county. So that Piscataway has regained one of her citizens who, if not one of her brightest ornaments, can at any rate make a noise, drink as much rum, and swear as fast as the next man.


The Sun;  11-03-1842Baltimore, Maryland [4].