The Cannon

The cannon today known as “the Goucher cannon” was probably cast between 1776 and 1780 at the Northampton Ironworks, just north of Epsom in the area of what is today the Loch Raven Reservoir.

Captain Charles Ridgley owned and operated the ironworks which supplied cannon, shot, and other military supplies for American forces during the Revolution. This cannon was typical of cannon used from the Revolution until the early nineteenth century. Because of errors in casting, the cannon was never used in warfare, but discarded so that it would not be used by American troops. On the lawn in front of the house, the Chews placed this discarded cannon which they had found on the grounds' deserted arsenal, left over from the war of 1812.

Twelve-Pound Iron Cannon

  • 1951
  • Black & White Photograph
  • 8.6cm x 7.2cm

When Goucher College purchased a portion of the old Epsom farm in 1921, the existence of the “old cannon” was noted on a topographical map of the grounds. Others knew of the presence of the cannon as well. During the Second World War, a representative of the Salvage Section of the War Production Board wrote to Goucher President David A. Robertson:

“In the efforts of this office to expedite the movement of scrap metals to the steel mills, it has been called to our attention that there is an old iron cannon about a half mile off the Dulaney Valley Road, near the entrance to your new property […] Should you decide to dispose of this article, I suggest that you contact a regular scrap dealer […] We shall be glad to supply you with the name of a dealer if you have not one in mind.” Jack S. Ewing to David Robertson, 17 June 1942, Robertson Correspondence, Goucher College Archives
President Robertson promptly replied:
“Of course Goucher College has been cooperating with the National Government in the effort to win this war and has been attentive to the salvage program as well as others. For the present, however, we desire to retain that cannon.” David Robertson to Jack Ewing, 25 June 1942, Robertson Correspondence, Goucher College Archives.

The cannon remained in the ground until the 1950s, when it was unearthed during the building of the Julia Rogers Library. It now sits outside of the Hoffberger Science Building.