History: On July 31, 1861, 300 men from the 12th Pennsylvania Infantry under Capt. Daniel Leasure marched into Bel Air to arrest Southern sympathizers and confiscate weapons from local militia units. They blocked all of the roads leading to and from Bel Air and rounded up local citizens including Capt. Archer Jarrett of the Harford Light Dragoons, Henry Farandis, former state senator, and Thomas Hays, merchant. They arrested Jarrett when he refused to divulge the location of the militia's arms. Then the Federals inspected the homes of Farandis and Hays without success. After an unsuccessful day searching the town, the Pennsylvanians departed.
More to Explore: While in Bel Air, take a tour of the historic Hays House, Bel Air's oldest home, built in 1788 on Kenmore Avenue. Shop for treasures in fun boutiques, artisan craft shops and gift shops on Main Street. For a day of outdoor fun, be sure to visit the MA & PA Heritage Trail, a scenic hiking and biking trail that traces part of the former route of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. Rocks State Park is a not-to-be-missed destination with a scenic overlook on a rock outcrop, high above Deer Creek. If you are looking to tap into your creative side, check out a concert or art exhibit hosted by the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, a non-profit organization that offers music performances, ballet, theatre, and special exhibits in various Harford county venues throughout the year.
- “Bel Air Court House.” Courtesy of Historical Society of Harford County.