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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

Japan (1871-1875)

Final Years (1875-1885)

Credits & Acknowledgements



The Laurel Years:1835-1850
An Orderly Village

The Laurel Years

The Laurel Years:
An Orderly Village

Agriculture:  Birth of a Lifelong Passion

A Presidential Visit and a Monumental Cornerstone

Leaving Laurel


Laurel Cotton Mill. Late 19th Century.

View of Laurel Cotton Mill. Probably mid-late 19th C. (click to enlarge.)
Horace Capron's House in late 19th Century view Horace Capron's when part of St. Mildred's Academy
2 views of the Mill Superintendent's House, which is where Horace and Louisa Capron lived in Laurel. The left view is from the late 19th century. The right view shows the house at a later date, while it was part of St. Mildred's Academy. The building was torn down to make room for Pallotti High School.(click to enlarge.)

Avondale Mill. Laurel Historical Society collection

Avondale Mill built circa 1848. The Mill burned in the early 1990s. Laurel Historical Society Collection. (Click to enlarge.)

St. Phillips Episcopal Church.

Drawing of original St. Mary of the Mills Church.
St. Phillips Episcopal Church (left) was built by Horace and Louisa Snowden Capron in 1848. Theodore Jenkins and Juliana Snowden Jenkins helped build St. Mary of the Mills church (right) in 1843, and Horace contributed land. Both churches remain important members of the Laurel community. (Click to enlarge)

The Laurel Museum. Originally built by Horace Capron.

One of the early Capron-built structures, circa 1840. Once the home to four families, it  now houses the Laurel Museum and the Laurel Historical Society (click to enlarge.)















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During Horace Capron’s time in Laurel as head of the Patuxent Manufacturing Company, Laurel experienced a period of major growth.  He expanded the cotton factory and employed up to 700 workers—many of them women. He was a partner in the creation of the Avondale Mill, just downstream from the Patuxent Factory, and the Laurel Machine Company on Main Street.  He also built homes for the workers.

 He and his wife Louisa helped build St. Philips Episcopal Church, and he contributed to the creation of St. Mary of the Mills, and the Methodist Church.

 He set the tone for the community. And, at a time when there was no public education in Maryland, and the few existing schools required fees, he provided a free education for his workers’ children.

 [Col. Capron] has erected 50 blocks of two story stone and brick houses ….To each there is attached a vegetable garden in the rear, with  a beautiful yard in front, tastefully laid out in parterres of choice flowers….Col. Capron has erected a school the children receive their education gratuitously.”  American Farmer, July 1848.

 His influence included settling all disputes, and having complete oversight over his tenants—including their ability to easily imbibe!

“As the whole population were tenants at will, for what tenements within a circuit of a mile or more did not belong to me individually belonged to the Corporation…there was not a grog shop or place for the sale of spirituous liquors permitted which may account for the generally orderly character of the village.”  HC Autobiography p. 68.


1845 ledger page from the Patuxent Manufacturing Company showing Horace Capron signature (near bottom.)  The ledger was found  in a wall cupboard in the 1970's during a repair in the building that is now the Laurel Museum


Page from 1845 Patuxent Factory ledger showing Horace Capron signature.  Laurel Historical Society Collection