- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

ST. JAMES, Md. (AP) - On the grounds where Samuel Ringgold Jr. and his younger brothers Cadwalader and George Hay used to live - before they grew up to “have distinguished military careers” - a monument was dedicated in their honor on Sunday.

George Anikis told about 40 people gathered by Claggett Hall on the grounds of Saint James School that, according to a July 1846 story in The Hagerstown Torch Light, the local militia met and decided to erect a monument to the late Maj. Samuel Ringgold Jr. Ringgold had died two months earlier after becoming fatally wounded by a cannonball during the Battle of Palo Alto in the Mexican-American War.

For some unknown reason, the monument wasn’t erected, said Anikis, who wrote a book about the Ringgold brothers.

Cadwalader Ringgold, who achieved the rank of rear admiral, and his crew saved 400 Marines from a sinking transport in a storm off the South Carolina coast in November 1861, according to Anikis.

Lt. Col. George Hay Ringgold “possibly prevented” California from seceding from the Union early on during the Civil War, Anikis said.

On Sunday, the commitment made by the militia group nearly 170 years ago was honored.

“I trust that those militiamen would not object to us honoring all three brothers on this monument,” said Anikis, 79, who lives in Tilghmanton with his wife, Anne. Anikis said his original farmhouse was on land once owned by the Ringgold family, prompting him to research the Ringgold family.

The monument was unveiled alongside the current Claggett Hall, which was built where the home of the Ringgold brothers once stood. The home, known as Fountain Rock on Conococheague Manor, was renovated into the first Claggett Hall before the school officially opened in 1842, but the structure was destroyed by fire in 1926, according to a Maryland Historical Trust document. The front steps remained and Claggett Hall was rebuilt.

The monument is a large rock with a plaque attached to it. The plaque, entitled “Ringgold Brothers Memorial,” briefly describes the heroics of each brother.

Anikis donated the proceeds of his book, “The Ringgold Legacy,” to help bring the monument to fruition.

The Rev. Stuart Dunnan, Saint James’ headmaster, used the headmaster’s discretionary fund to help pay for the project, but Dunnan declined after the ceremony to say how much was contributed from the fund.

Dunnan said he thought it was a “pious action” in honor of “remarkable heroes.”

The project cost less than $10,000, said Margaret McGuigan, the school’s director of development.

Anikis said Saint James’ support was terrific.

“If they hadn’t supported this … we wouldn’t be here today,” Anikis said. “It was really Father Dunnan taking a chance on an unknown first-time author that made this all happen.”

The monument was purchased from Sunny Meadows Garden Center, along Sharpsburg Pike, McGuigan said.

Sunny Meadows delivered the monument, which weighs about 2,000 pounds, said Ted Camp, chairman of Saint James’ history and religion department.

“These great stories will hopefully inspire us to go out and do great things ourselves,” Camp said.


Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., https://www.herald-mail.com

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