Tom Randall And The Howard House

Tom Randall was the son of Julia Bacon, a slave who was the cook at Howard House.  The Howard House hotel, built in 1850 contained a bar and dining room in addition to the bedrooms.  Randall told his story in the WPA's Slave Narrative Project in 1936.
  
Tom Randall  (1856- after 1936)
"I was born in Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, in 1856, in a shack on a small street now known as New Cut Road - the name then, I do not know. My mother's name was Julia Bacon. Why my name was Randall I do not know, but possibly a man by the name of Randall was my father. I have never known nor seen my father. They never called me anything but Tony or Randy, other people told me that Thomas Randall, a merchant of Ellicott City, was my father

Mother was the cook at the Howard House; she was permitted to keep me with her. When I could remember things, I remember eating out of the skillets, pots and pans, after she had fried chicken, game or baked in them, always leaving something for me. When I grew larger and older I can recall how I used to carry wood in the kitchen, empty the rinds of potatoes, the leaves of cabbages and the leaves and tops of other plants.

Mother was owned by a man by the name of O'Brien, a saloon or tavern keeper of the town. He conducted a saloon in Ellicott City for a long time until he became manager, or operator, of the Howard House of Ellicott City, a larger hotel and tavern in the city. Mother was a fine cook, especially of fowl and game. The Howard House was the gathering place of the farmers, lawyers and business men of Howard and Frederick Counties and people of Baltimore who had business in the courts of Howard County and people of western Maryland on their way to Baltimore.

Federal Writers' Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 8, Maryland, Brooks-Williams.  project interviews 1936-7  Reference: Personal Interview with Tom Randall at his home, Oella, Md.

Howard House
O’Brien, who owned Julia Bacon (Randall’s mother) operated the Howard Hotel (for at least the Civil War) while the Andersons owned it.

In 1843 Thomas Anderson (1772-c1859) bought the property at auction, and his son Isaac Cord Anderson (1809-1870) (sheriff) who owned it during the Civil War and while Julia Bacon was the cook, sold the property in 1865 for $2500.  More on the Andersons in a past post HERE

Historical marker:  ca 1840  Built by J. Shipley then twice auctioned. In 1879 sold to the Eckert's who served such popular food that the hotel was later enlarged. The public was allowed to take a shortcut through the hotel which led them to the upper street and court house. Eckert knew they'd be enticed by the delicious aromas to dine there! Later converted to apartments.

"Howard House"  8202 Main Street, Ellicott City, more information at HO-68
 
©2018 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME