The early evening of April 12, 2018, my older sister and I met at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for our first outing of just the two of us, in almost 2 years. She was already in the security line, so I quickly slipped in line with her. Our tickets were on her phone, and as we approached the TSA to scan them, my sister got through and my ticket wouldn’t work. After standing there for what seemed like an eternity, downloading the Spirit Airlines app, and trying various things… I finally got through just in time to get “randomly selected” in a security search. We made it to our gate on time, and boarded our bright yellow airplane for our first experience on Spirit Airlines. We sat near the rear of the plane, and I was curious who was going to be lucky enough to sit next to us (we didn’t pay extra to sit together, we were fortunate enough to get seats together though).
After everyone was seated, we were off on our adventure. We chatted with the guy in our row the whole time. He was going to see friends, as he did yearly. We explained how we had never been to Baltimore, MD, and we were going for lunch and to explore the cities our ancestors came from. We landed with ease and had the most pleasant experiences in the Baltimore airport; seriously, everyone was very kind and helpful. We picked up our Nissan Altima, at Alamo Rent a Car, and headed for the Best Western Plus BWI Airport North Inn & Suites.
The check-in process at the hotel was long, with so many people checking in, but when I forgot my wallet at the front desk the woman working was quick to get it back to me. My sister and I settled in our room and opened some wine, Flying Solo; we had purchased wine before flying so we were prepared once we got to our destination. The next morning, we sat down for some mediocre breakfast and pretty bad coffee; we skipped the coffee, checked out of our room, and headed out on our adventure where we would find coffee on the way. We weren’t having much luck and didn’t want to spend our whole morning looking for coffee, so we settled with McDonald’s coffee. This amused me because my sister said to me, “I know it’s only coffee, but you can’t tell my daughter we went to McDonald’s. I never let her go to McDonald’s” With our caffeine we were ready to start our adventure.
First, we headed for Jericho Mill and Jerusalem Mill, in Kingsville, MD. This is where Elisha Tyson, our Abolitionist- 6th great-grandfather, first settled when he moved to Maryland from Pennsylvania. He moved to this area in 1772, and he built his flour mills there. We had the most relaxing time because nothing was open yet at Jerusalem Mill, so we were able to just walk around and take photos as we pleased. From there we walked to Jericho Mill, residential housing now, where Elisha’s house was and then back to Jerusalem Mill. After about an hour or so, we needed to head back to Baltimore to meet Julie, our 7th cousin 1x removed, who I had been messaging on Ancestry.com (the person who started my interest in looking more into my Tyson ancestors), for lunch.
As we were driving to meet cousin, Julie, at Holy Frejoles, following GPS directions, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Baltimore just seemed familiar. We were taking some back roads, winding around, and while paying attention to our surroundings, I explained to my sister, “based on where we are, I think we should be staying right there.” AND AS I POINTED OUT HER PASSENGER WINDOW, on the top of a hill, stood the house that was once my 6th great-grandfather’s summer home. I hadn’t seen the home before I said it; I just weirdly knew where we were.
Shortly, after seeing the house, we arrived at our restaurant location. I was a little hesitant to back into my parking spot, (I had never experienced having to back into a paid, street parking spot before – back in, not parallel park), so we drove around the block and found a different place to park. As we were walking to the restaurant, we passed a sign that said, Psychic. I had never paid anyone to do a psychic reading before, but after my weird encounter knowing where the house was a few minutes prior… I told my sister I may need to stop back in there later.
We met Julie and had a lovely lunch. She told us the Maryland Historical Society was a must and we needed to stop on Tyson Street. I thought to myself, “Cool, a whole street with my grandmother’s maiden name.” My sister and I decided we would head to the MDHS after lunch since it would close soon. Julie told us to go quickly so we had our time there. It was as if we had gotten our next clue; we dashed to the next location, like we were competing in the 1990s Nickelodeon game show Hidden Temple. We parked in a lot next to the Historical Society, and made our way to the front of the building. We paid our admissions, and headed to the library inside. We asked the librarians for information they may have on Elisha Tyson. They have a lot. But the man brought us what he thought would be the most interesting. My sister read, in one book, Elisha Tyson was compared to Hercules. She exclaimed, “people must’ve really liked this guy.” I made a photocopy of a book I was reading, so I could read it more in depth at home. I, also, noticed a plaque on the wall with the name A. Morris Tyson. Turns out that guy is my 2nd cousin 5x removed, and we both descended from Elisha Tyson.
My sister and I made sure to check out the rest of the Maryland Historical Society, very cool by the way. As we were in the gift shop, I asked the woman working if she knew where Tyson Street was. She told us directions, and mentioned she had a painting at home made by a Tyson. These Tyson’s are everywhere, I thought to myself. As we walked outside towards Tyson Street, I realized we had parked right by it, but had missed the sign on the way in. We walked the few blocks that Tyson Street went, and felt more like an alley than a street. The amazing thing, Tyson Street stretched from the Maryland Historical Society and ended at Read Street. My grandmother owned a bookstore, and in that moment, I felt her with us.
After leaving the Maryland Historical Society, my sister and I headed to our Airbnb. Amazingly, our Airbnb was the old servant quarters at the summer home of my 6th great-grandfather. Mark, the owner of the home, met us as we pulled up. He instructed us where to park, and helped us with our luggage. Mark gave us a tour of the Airbnb, including the History of it, and he offered to show us the main house after we were settled in. The Airbnb was 3 levels. My sister took the bedroom on the top level. I took the bedroom on the second level. We knocked on the door that connected the Airbnb with the main house, and were shown the original fireplace which helped Mark realize the house was older than the original records had listed, and how it was discovered it was originally owned by Elisha Tyson, our ancestor. In the study, there hung a big picture, an original photo, of our 6th great-grandfather which has been lent to the family who owns the home (I believe the Quakers lent it to them, if memory serves me correctly). Mark’s daughter, who had recently written a book report for her school about Elisha Tyson, gave us historical information and stories she had learned of Elisha Tyson, including how the Tysons, Ellicotts, and Hopkins (think Johns Hopkins) were the most prominent families and all married each other. We learned the house over looked the Flour-Mills, so they could watch for fires. So the area I had found familiar earlier in the day, was where the Flour-Mills once owned by my 6th great-grandfather.
We chatted a little more of which places my sister and I were trying to explore while we were in the area, and we parted ways. We were staying in the beautiful neighborhood of Hampden, Baltimore; there are a ton of restaurants and shops within walking distance to our Airbnb, and happened to be the area we were at earlier in the day to meet Julie for lunch. There was also the Psychic! I told my sister we needed to at least find out what prices were……
To be Continued….