How Maryland Got Its Names

By Shirley Grace (Maryland Life Magazine, 4/25/2012)

Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

“According to what I found in the glorious Maryland Room of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, George Washington gets the credit for Maryland being known as the Old Line State. But did you think, as I did, that it had something to do with the Mason-Dixon Line?

Wrong. Completely unrelated.

Rather, it’s directly linked to Maryland’s contribution to the Revolutionary War. General Washington appealed to the states at that time to send men to help the Continental Army fight off the British. These groups of men were called a “line”—thus, the Maryland Line…”

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“Maryland’s other popular nickname, the Free State, is steeped in Prohibition. The Maryland government at that time refused to pass a law explicitly outlawing alcohol. This cheesed off Georgia Congressman William D. Upshaw, who made a long speech in 1923, accusing Maryland of being reprobate for not supporting going dry…”

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“Anyway, those two nicknames are the biggies, but there are others, such as the Cockade State…”

Continue reading “How Maryland Got Its Names” at Maryland Life Magazine.

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