Edwin Warfield (May 7, 1848 – March 31, 1920) was an American politician and a member of the United States Democratic Party, and the 45th Governor of Maryland in the United States from 1904 to 1908. From 1902 to 1903, he served as president general of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.[1][2][3]

Edwin Warfield
45th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 13, 1904 – January 8, 1908
Preceded byJohn Walter Smith
Succeeded byAustin Lane Crothers
Member of the Maryland Senate
In office
Preceded byArthur Pue Gorman
Succeeded byWilliam B. Peter
Personal details
Born(1848-05-07)May 7, 1848
Howard County, Maryland, U.S.
DiedMarch 31, 1920(1920-03-31) (aged 71)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseEmma Nicodemus
  • Politician
  • newspaperman
  • banker

Early life


Edwin Warfield was born to Albert G. Warfield and Margaret Gassaway Warfield at the "Oakdale" plantation in Howard County, Maryland. He received early education at the public schools of Howard County and at St. Timothy's Hall (formerly an Episcopal Church institution, now known as St. Timothy's School) in Catonsville, Maryland, a "streetcar suburb" southwest of Baltimore. In 1877, he became a professor at Maryland's Agricultural College.[4]

Although Maryland was a Union State, many families were southern sympathizers, and two of Warfield's brothers served in the Confederate States Army. Gassaway Watkins Warfield died at Camp Chase, while Albert G Warfield Jr. survived the conflict.[5] After the abolition of slavery in the United States, Warfield returned home frequently to help run his family's estate. He also spent time as a teacher in the county schools, and studied for admission to the bar in his spare time. In 1888, Warfield founded The Daily Record as a newspaper covering finance, commerce, business, and court matters or legal proceedings. The publication continued into the 21st century, along with a corresponding "Warfield's" magazine published from the 1980s through the 1990s.[citation needed]

Through his father's line, he was a third cousin to the Duchess of Windsor (originally named/née Bessie Wallis Warfield, later Wallis Warfield Simpson of Baltimore), wife of the abdicated king of the United Kingdom, King Edward VIII, later Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor.[6] Warfield's lineage also allowed him membership into the Sons of the American Revolution, where he served as 8th President General from 1902 until 1903.[7]

Political career


In 1874, Warfield was appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of Register of Wills for Howard County.[8] He was elected to a full six-year term the following year, and served until 1881.[8] He was appointed to the Maryland Senate following the resignation of Arthur Pue Gorman to accept a higher office, was re-elected in 1883, and served as President of the Maryland State Senate during the 1886 session.[8][9] While in the Senate, Warfield began his own law practice in Ellicott City, Maryland, and purchased the Ellicott City Times, where he served as editor from 1882 to 1886.[8]

During the 1884 Presidential election, Warfield made significant contributions to the campaign of the 22nd (and later also 24th) President Grover Cleveland in Maryland. Cleveland would become the first Democratic president to be elected since before the Civil War. Following the election, Cleveland appointed Warfield to serve as Surveyor of the Port of Baltimore beginning April 5, 1885. Warfield served in that position until May 1, 1890, after the Republicans returned to power. In 1890, Warfield married Emma Nicodemus, with whom he had three daughters and one son.[8]

In 1890, after his removal from the position of Surveyor, Warfield founded the Fidelity and Deposit Company, where he served as president until his death.[8] He was chosen as a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention, but otherwise remained out of politics for nearly a decade.[citation needed]

In September 1903, Warfield served as the main speaker and orator for the ceremonies dedicating the Lt. Col. William H. Watson (1808–1846) Monument.[citation needed]

Governor of Maryland

Gov. Warfield leading the 3rd Brigade of the Maryland National Guard in the inaugural parade of 26th President Theodore Roosevelt on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., photographed by William H. Rau on March 4, 1905

Warfield chose to run for Governor of Maryland in 1899, but lost the Democratic nomination after he was opposed by influential Maryland politicians, including Arthur Pue Gorman, a powerful U.S. Senator who was allied to the interests of "old pols" in Baltimore City. Though it was apparent that the party bosses did not hold him in favor, he again sought the nomination in 1903, openly discouraging African Americans' ability to vote.[10] He was successfully nominated by the party, and defeated his Republican opponent, Stevenson A. Williams, by over 12,600 votes. He was inaugurated as the 45th Governor of Maryland on January 13, 1904.

The most significant event of his tenure as Governor came when Arthur Pue Gorman, who had opposed Warfield's election, proposed the "Poe Amendment" to the Maryland State Constitution of 1867, which would have disenfranchised most black voters in the state.[citation needed] The bill easily passed the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, but Warfield refused to support the proposed amendment and delayed placing it before the voters. While Warfield was in favor of some of the amendment's provisions (such as denying the vote to the less-educated black voters of the state) he feared it would eventually lead to greater levels of disenfranchisement which could threaten all voters in the state.[citation needed] The proposed amendment was put before voters in a 1904 referendum and was defeated by 30,000 votes, a defeat to the crypto-segregationists in the party in which Warfield played a major role. Warfield's actions in this affair further alienated him from the Democratic machine in Maryland, which was openly hostile towards him by the time he left office.

As Governor, Warfield supported the establishment of direct voting by popular election for U.S. Senators, in contrast to that time's processes of election via each state's legislative body. He argued this before the General Assembly in 1906, and direct election of senators was eventually codified into national law with the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In his time as Governor, Warfield also authorized and approved of an official state Flag of Maryland, representing a reunited State of Maryland following the division of the Civil War. This was further supported by the Maryland National Guard flying the reinvigorated Maryland flag.

Another historical "final act" for Wakefield's term as Governor was the success of a long search and process by the United States' then-Ambassador to France to discover the whereabouts of an American naval hero's burial site in Paris, and to oversee the return of the body of American Revolutionary War Captain John Paul Jones to a specially-prepared marble crypt at the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.[citation needed] Warfield left office in January 1908.

Later life and legacy


After his tenure as governor, Warfield returned to his previous activities. He became president of the Fidelity Trust Company with Baltimore Sun Publisher Van Lear Black.[11] He served on the board of the Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company until his death.[12] In addition to retaining his presidency at the Fidelity and Deposit Company, he was a prominent member of the Maryland Club[13] and served as president of the Maryland Historical Society. Warfield was proud of his family's Confederate legacy, representing Maryland in reunions and events like the 1911 Southern Commercial Congress in Atlanta.[14][15]

Warfield's health began to deteriorate in late 1919, and he was confined to his home in Baltimore during the last few months of his life. He died there, and was interred in his family burial ground at "Cherry Grove" in Howard County.[citation needed]

Warfield was eulogized by The Baltimore Sun not as a man of definitive accomplishments, but one who stood up to the Democratic machine, supported the public interest, and transformed the office of the governor into a modern institution responsible to the public, rather than the political party.[citation needed]

On September 23, 1948, Edwin Warfield Jr. commemorated a memorial at the Howard County Courthouse to honor Confederate soldiers from Howard County.[16]

In Columbia, Maryland, Governor Warfield is remembered with a street named for him, Governor Warfield Parkway.[17] In 1914, a dredge named the Gov. Warfield helped to dig the Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Edwin Warfield (1848–1920) Biographical Series; Governor of Maryland, 1904–1908". Archives of Maryland, MSA SC 3520-1476. Maryland State Government. September 5, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  2. ^ White, Jr., Frank F. (1970). The Governors of Maryland 1777–1970. Annapolis: The Hall of Records Commission. pp. 233–236. ISBN 978-0-942370-01-0. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Nancy Capace. Encyclopedia of Maryland. p. 141.
  4. ^ "New Light on Educational Problems". The American Farmer: 388. November 1877.
  5. ^ Clayton Colman Hall; Ruthella Mory Bibbins; Matthew Page Andrews; S. Z. Ammen; John M. Powell. Baltimore: Its History and Its People, Vol. 1.
  6. ^ Luther W. Welsh. Ancestral Colonial Families, Independence, Missouri: Lambert Moon Print Company, 1928.
  7. ^ "Sons of the American Revolution". Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Collection: Warfield Family papers | Archival Collections". archives.lib.umd.edu. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "Historical List, Senate, Howard County (1852-1966)". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. February 13, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  10. ^ Antero Pietila. Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American city. p. 28.
  11. ^ William Worthington Goldsborough. The Maryland Line in the Confederate Army, 1861–1865. p. 377.
  12. ^ James A. Clark, Jr. Jim Clark : Soldier, Farmer, Legislator / A Memoir. p. 94.
  13. ^ Steiner, Bernard C. (1907). Men of Mark in Maryland: Biographies of Leading Men of the State (30 ed.). Washington, D.C.: Johnson-Wynne Company. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Confederate Veteran. 19: 208. 1911. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ United Daughters of the Confederacy (2002). The United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine. 65: 13. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Susan Cooke Soderberg. Lest We Forget: A Guide to Civil War Monuments in Maryland. p. 25.
  17. ^ "How streets were named and other interesting facts". ColumbiaMaryland.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by President of the Maryland State Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by