Shipbuilders and Sea captains on Fell Street
During the War of 1812, Fell Street ran down a narrow stretch of land, with valuable water on both sides. William Price, who owned a shipyard at the east end of Thames, lived on Fell Street at 912 (built by 1802) and owned 903 to 907 (built 1779 -1781). One of the city's largest slaveholders with 25 enslaved workers, Price also employed 100 men at his shipyard. He built a dozen letter of marque schooners (more than any other ship builder in Baltimore) and also invests in three cruises.
In 1814, Price's tenants at 903-907 Fell Street included Peter Weary, a wood measurer, and widow Sarah Day. Price’s son and partner, John, lives at 913 Fell (built ca.1790). In the spring of 1813, Price helped to move 56 heavy cannon from his warehouse to Fort McHenry and nearby batteries. Salvaged from a French warship, the 10,000-pound cannon are loaned to Baltimore by the French Consul—they later played a crucial role in the fort's defense.
Another Fell Street resident who played a role in the War of 1812 is George Stiles who became General Sam Smith’s most trusted aide. Stiles owned substantial property in Fell's Point, including 910 Fell (built ca. 1810). A skilled sea captain, Stiles was a risk taker who acquired four letter of marque schooners. His Nonesuch received the nation’s first commission in 1812. The much admired Stiles, whom Niles’ Weekly Register called the savior of Baltimore was later elected mayor in 1816.
Farther down, at 931 Fell (built ca.1790), was the home of Elizabeth Steele, widow of shipbuilder John Steele, a carefully restored example of the fine townhouses that once dominated this street.