Bealltown on the Eastern Branch

Before there was Hyattsville, there was Bealltown.

According to Kenny Hamill’s “The Place Names of Maryland,” the first town in the Hyattsville area was located along the Anacostia River.

Citing a March 29, 1878, item in the Washington Star, Hamill writes that Bealltown was the port town along what was then known as the Eastern Branch of the Potomac until the river became filled with silt.

Bealltown also appears to have encompassed parts of Bladensburg. It was named for John Beall (1688-1742), who owned the land.

On a related note, “Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State” by Earl Arnett, Robert J. Brugger and Edward C. Papenfuse says the Eastern Branch was renamed the Anacostia after an Indian tribe in 1927.

(Incidentally, Hamill is also the author of a book about West Virginia place names, another on Indian place names in Maryland and, awesomely, a report on place names on the moon.)

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One Response to Bealltown on the Eastern Branch

  1. John Essex says:

    And a lot of people don’t realize that Beall was/is usually pronounced “Bell.” Lots of Bealls in old Maryland.

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