In 1632, George Crawford was given a tract of land in the area by King Charles I of England. Crawford’s son, Cecelius, who was also known as the second Lord Baron of Baltimore, took possession of the land after his father’s death, and encouraged settlement upon it. Exactly who settled there at that time is uncertain, although the land on which Fort Lincoln Cemetery is situated was part of the original grant from Lord Baltimore to George Conn and remained in the Conn family for more than 200 years. A spring house was erected on the Conn property in 1683, making it one of the oldest structures in Maryland.
The Dueling Grounds, as the area came to be known, was the site of over 50 duels between 1808 and 1868. One of the most famous disputes was between Commodore Stephen Decatur and James Barron, that was settled there on March 22, 1820.
In 1912, the Maryland General Assembly passed an act to incorporate the Capitol Cemetery of Prince George’s County, Maryland. The cemetery later became known as the Fort Lincoln Cemetery. Although not within the corporate boundaries of Colmar Manor, the cemetery over the years has erected memorials and plaques around its grounds commemorating the Battle of Bladensburg, the Dueling Grounds Fort Lincoln, the Old Spring House, and a stately white oak tree near the spring house which dated back before the War of 1812.
Today, the town continues to garner its resources to provide for the needs of all of its residents. Public improvements, code enforcement, special projects for the handicapped and the elderly and public safety top the list of priorities set by municipal officials. In 2006, Colmar Manor re-established it’s own municipal police department.
The small stream that once bore witness to countless duels still meanders toward the Anacostia, but the bloodshed and violence that marked the town’s early history have disappeared. They have been replaced by the grit and determination of the residents of Colmar Manor to face the challenges and to meet the needs of the community as they arise.
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