Fun Fact: Which Maryland Town Is Known as the “US Capital for a Day”?

Established in 1794, Brookeville, located in Montgomery County, became the Capital of the United States for a day during the War of 1812.

Courtesy of MD State Archives: “Madison House,” the Thomas-Bentley House was constructed in approximately 1798

In August of 1814, President James Madison rode into the small town of Brookeville after British troops forced him, and other Washington refugees, out of the nation’s capital.

The President and his party sought refuge at the house of the town’s founder, Richard Thomas.

As noted in the Maryland State Archives, Town of Brookeville website:

There are numerous versions of this story: Richard Thomas refused because he was a Quaker and a pacifist so he wouldn’t take in a “war president;” Deborah Thomas refused, saying, “not with those muddy boots, you’re not coming in my house!” The truth is less colorful: the house was already full and Thomas didn’t know that the president was among the party.

The President ended up staying across the street at the house of Caleb and Henrietta Bentley, now known as the Madison House, for only one night, conducting business and sending dispatches. He returned to Washington the next day, giving Brookeville the nickname “United States Capital for a Day.”

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Allison Valliant to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.

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