Pleasant Prospect, Mitchellville, Prince George’s County, MD

Prince George’s County, Maryland, has over 400 historic sites among which is Pleasant Prospect, home of two American heroes, father and son, both named John Contee. The father was a US Marine Lieutenant aboard the USS Constitution in its most famous fight with HMS Guerriere as well as its fight with the HMS Java.during the War of 1812.  The son was commended for valor for action during the Mexican War and served as an aide-de-camp to Commodore Perry and the American expedition to Japan in 1852.  Pleasent Propect was build in 1798 by Isaac Duckett and is located between present day Bowie to the north and Upper Marlboro to the south.

Below are the two resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Maryland recognizing their contributions to American history.


Appointed 2nd Lieut. Marine Corps, 17 April, 1812; 1st Lieut. 24 July, 1812; resigned, 15 Sept., 1813.

” Resolved unanimously, That the General Assembly of Maryland entertain a high sense of the gallantry of John Contee, a native of this state, formerly a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps of the United States, and who participated in two brilliant and well fought actions during the late war, both of which terminated in glorious victory, viz: the action between the Constitution and Guerriere, and the action between the Constitution and Java.

“Resolved unanimously; That the Governor be, and he is hereby authorized and required to procure and present to John Contee, Esq., a sword, in testimony of the high sense of approbation the Legislature entertains of his gallant conduct in the late war, and the Governor is hereby authorized to draw upon the Treasurer of the Western Shore for such sum as he may deem necessary to carry into effect this resolution.” [Resolution 10, Acts of 1829.]


Midshipman, 27 Oct., 1832; Lieutenant, 14 Feb., 1843; resigned,

9 Jan., 1854.[1]

” Whereas, Lieut. John Contee, of the United States Navy, a native of Prince George’s county, in this State, having distinguished himself by his gallantry and intrepidity at the attack on Alvarado and Tobasco, as well as in the naval operations up the Tobasco river, and in the occupation of Tampico, Laguna and Frontera—Therefore, ” Be it resolved by the General Assembly of Maryland, That the thanks and congratulations of the legislature of his native state, be and the same are hereby tendered to Lieutenant John Contee, United States Navy, for his gallant conduct during the present war with Mexico.

“Resolved, That His Excellency the Governor be requested to transmit a copy of this preamble and resolutions to Lieutenant Contee.” [Resolution No. 83, Acts of 1847.][2]



Image from HABS: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA


[1] Flag Lieutenant Contee, USN, served with Commodore Perry on the American expedition to Japan (1852-1855). Lt. Contee was the primary contact officer in the initial conversation with Nakajima Saburonosuke, an aide to the Vice-governor of Uraga. In 1860, Contee was elected Captain of the Planters’ Guard, the  Upper Marlboro militia company, the flag of which was created at his home, Pleasent Prospect. The home is still standing today and his a county hisotric site (PG74-6).


[2] Men of Maryland Specially Honored by the State or The United States. Compiled by Col. Charles Chaille-Long, and largely supplemented by the Editor. 1917. Maryland Historical Magazine. XII(3). [accessed May 2nd, 2015 at][/fusion_text]