The 1860 Presidential vote in Washington County, Maryland

Posted on October 24, 2009 by


As you may recall from my post from the other day, there was discussion about “Black Republicanism” playing a factor in the sweeping display of Unionism in the Clear Spring District. I mentioned in the same post, however, that only two votes were casts in the Clear Spring District for Lincoln. With that in mind, I thought it might be of value to see the votes for every district in the county. Lincoln was able to gather 95 votes from all of the districts in the county, but Bell won the majority vote, winning rather narrowly (92 votes) over the Breckinridge supporters.

This vote isn’t at all that much different from what was seen in the Shenandoah Valley in 1860. Constitutional Unionist John Bell took the majority vote in Virginia and, among the counties of the Shenandoah Valley took Jefferson, Berkeley, and Augusta. Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, on the other hand, took the majority of the counties in the Valley, including Frederick, Warren, Clarke, Page, and Shenandoah. Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas was successful only in Rockingham County. I also showed in a post from quite some time ago that Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln even gathered a few votes in Shenandoah County. All of this comparison between Washington County, Maryland and the counties of the Shenandoah Valley has me thinking, but I’ll get around to that in time. I’ m not quite at any conclusions.

The following article is from the November 14, 1860 issue of the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light.

THE OFFICIAL VOTE OF WASHINGTON COUNTY. – From the subjoined official returns of the Presidential election in Washington County, it will be seen that Mr. BELL has a plurality of Ninety-two over Mr. BRECKINRIDGE – that Mr. DOUGLAS received Two Hundred and Eighty three votes, and Mr. LINCOLN Ninety-five, and that the whole vote cast is Fifty-four Hundred and Twenty-seven, which is Two Hundred and Eighty-five less than was polled one year ago. Allowing One Hundred for the yearly increase of the voting population in a county as large as ours, and we find that the vote at the recent election was nearly Four Hundred short of a full one. We may safely assume and assert, from reliable information received from the several districts, that fully two-thirds of this back vote was anti-Democratic, and that if it had been cast Mr. BELL’S plurality would have exceeded Two Hundred in the county. Adding the DOUGLAS and BRECKINRIDGE vote together, it exceeds the BELL and LINCOLN vote. Ninety-six, but adding the DOUGLAS to the BELL vote, on the great principle of the “Union, now and forever, one and inseparable,” and it exceeds the sectional vote of the other two candidates Two Hundred and Eighty, and shows the county to be sound upon that momentous issue, and indeed among the most reliable in the State whenever another battle may be fought upon it. How soon our people may be involved in such a context, no man can foretell, but if the feeling of Secession which is now so rampant in the South, should be persisted in to the last extremity, it will not be long before there are but two parties in the State, the one bearing the flag and marching to the music of the Union, and the other in favor of Southern Confederacy:  

District Bell Breckinridge Douglas Lincoln Whole No. Votes
Sharpsburg 248 174 13 1 438
Williamsport 164 253 5 15 436
Hagerstown 480 505 30 12 1027
Clear Spring 253 181 7 2 444
Hancock 135 112 52 2 302
Boonsboro 288 261 9 14 573
Cavetown 109 241 51 13 415
Pleasant Valley 132 67 11 2 212
Leitersburg 145 102 21 5 273
Funkstown 171 138 25 2 336
Sandy Hook 71 55 32 1 158
Tilghmanton 113 125 1 5 244
Conococheague 98 96 1 2 197
Ringold 36 88 2 18 144
Indian Spring 124 77 23 1 228
GRAND TOTAL 2567 2475 283 95 5427