Showing posts with label Art literature of the absurd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art literature of the absurd. Show all posts

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dayhoff: A brief review of the Westminster Navy, and its role in American history

Dayhoff: A brief review of the Westminster Navy, and its role in American history Published April 1, 2009 by Westminster Eagle

Folks have been asking where they may find my brief review of the Westminster Navy, and its role in American history… Here you go:

The Westminster Eagle column for Wednesday, April 1, 2009 by Kevin Dayhoff (649 words)

She was once a proud ship, a ruler of the waves and a queen of the sea. The “Patapsco Militia Ship Westminster” was her name.

The days of glory for the PMS Westminster are now gone as she sits askew on the ground with a list and sigh on the shores of the Patapsco River in back of the Westminster utilities work shop on Manchester Road.

The once proud ship is hardly noticed by passersby in their hustle and bustle traveling to and from Westminster. It's an inglorious plight for the once proud master of the seas.

No one knows, for example, that the PMS Westminster was the ship used by George Washington in his famous crossing of the Delaware River.

This event has become confused with the passage of time. Initially George Washington crossed the Patapsco River on his way to the Battle of Brandywine.

The event stirred such emotion and passion that the news media wanted it recreated for the 5 o'clock news. By then General Washington had travelled far from the Patapsco River so they used the Delaware River for the reenactment.

It's only fitting that the Patapsco River near Westminster should have such a rich and colorful nautical history.

This area of Carroll County was founded by the Carthaginians shortly after the 3rd Punic War which raged in the Mediterranean Sea from 149 to 146 BC.

After Carthage was destroyed by the Romans, a small band of seafaring Carthaginians set sail for a new home and settled in the valley by the natural port offered by the Patapsco River in what we now know as the Lucabaugh Mill Road and Manchester Road area near the new Westminster Cranberry water treatment plant.

The Carthaginians named the Patapsco River after Patroclus, the gentle and amiable friend of Achilles in Homer's “Iliad.” A rival group of natives at the time confused Patroclus to be "Petapsqui" – the Native American word for backwater or tide water covered with foam which was actually the froth formed by the discharge pipes of the large stills operated at the time by the Patapsipiss tribe of brewing Native Americans.

The well read Carthaginians were also aware that the site where Ulysses successfully sailed past the Sirens was actually on the Patapsco River.

The exact spot is the bridge over the railroad and the Patapsco River on Manchester Road just north of Westminster.

The Sirens, if you'll remember, were sort of a sea goddess who lured to destruction those who listened to their songs. When Ulysses sailed under the bridge towards Westminster to attend a public hearing, he stopped-up the ears of his companions with wax and had himself tied to the mast of his ship.

Ulysses thereupon passed safely, and the Sirens, disappointed at their loss, drowned themselves – which is exactly what many of us want to do after attending most public hearings in Westminster.

George Washington wrote in his “Maxims: Transcripts of Revolutionary Correspondence” that he felt that Westminster-on-the-Patapsco ought to have been the site of the nation's capital. The planners confused the name Patapsco with the name Potomac and well, the rest is history.

When President Abraham Lincoln began his trip to Gettysburg to deliver the Gettysburg Address; the plan was for him to travel up the Patapsco River on the PMS Westminster, disembark, and travel by land for the balance of the trip.

Upon reaching Westminster, Lincoln was thereupon informed that Carroll County's road system was a bad collage of stoplights, confusion, and overcrowded roads which go from nowhere to nowhere. So he took the train.

These are but a few of the legendary exploits of the PMS Westminster and the Westminster Navy. A proud heritage only a few Carroll Countians know. Now you know it too!

Well, maybe not. Happy April Fool’s Day.

That’s my two-cents. What’s yours?

I’ll look forward to your comments in the readers’ comment section below.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster.
Kevin Dayhoff Art: (
SDOSM 20090510

Kevin Dayhoff: Westminster Maryland Online