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A Laurel Founder's Life
Laurel        Civil War     Japan

June-December 2004


Early Years (1804-1834)

Laurel Years (1835-50)

A Life in Transition (1851-1859)

Civil War (1860-65)

Department of Agriculture (1866-1871)

Japan (1871-1875)

Final Years (1875-1885)

Credits & Acknowledgements



Early Years 1804-1834

Seth Capron. Photo courtesy Banfield Capron Eunice Capron. Photo courtesy Banfield Capron

Seth Capron (l) and Eunice Mann Capron (r). Photos courtesy Banfield Capron


Horace Capron was born August 31, 1804 in Attleboro, Massachusetts

He was the son of Revolutionary War veteran Seth Capron and Eunice Mann Capron

The family moved to New York state, where Seth became a prosperous wool and cotton manufacturer.



Marquis de Lafayette

As a young man Horace's family connections gave him a front row seat to major events in America during his youth.

He met the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824 at West Point.  Lafayette at the time was making a grand tour of the United States, and everyplace he stopped became a major social event.

"I...had the honor of shaking hands with the Hero" Horace Capron Autobiography

Erie Canal. University of Rochester

The Erie Canal

He was there at the opening of the Erie Canal.

"...the grand opening of the Erie Canal...I also witnessed." Horace Capron Autobiography p. 87

Family financial setbacks kept Horace from college.  He also failed to get a desired appointment to West Point (which one of his brothers had attended.) He decided to go into the family business, and went to work in a family mill.

Coming to Maryland 1829

Warren Maryland circa 1922.The site is now  under water and can no longer be seen.(Click to enlarge.) Savage Mill. Note that the Bollman Bridge was built after Horace Capron's time as manager. (Click to enlarge.)

He was soon hired to run a large mill in Warren, Maryland on the Gunpowder River. Unfortunately, the mill burned.

A new opportunity quickly arose.

"I accepted an offer from the Messrs Williams of Baltimore to take charge of their works on the little Patuxent river,...called the Savage factory, at a largely increased salary. Horace Capron Autobiography p. 40.

Capron was an employee at Savage Mill Savage Mill from approximately 1832-1834/35.


Riots between Fardowns (Ulsterman) and Corkians (Southern) Irish workers resulted in deaths, and property destruction in and around Laurel during the building of the B&O Railroad. (Image records a later, 1877 Riot)

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While there he helped quell labor riots during construction of the Washington Branch of the B&O railroad-- which ran through Laurel beginning in 1835.

"Under my command a March was commenced for the capture of the murderers of the poor fellow..the bugle sounded the charge, and we rode down upon them shouting and firing.." Horace Capron Autobiography p. 44.

As a result of these actions, Capron received a commission from Governor Thomas to the Maryland Militia, first as a Major, then Colonel.  These were his first military commissions.

His efforts also took him to Montpelier, the area's largest plantation, to consult with the prominent Snowden family about the situation.