Macgill's Common in King's Contrivance, Columbia, MD

Macgill's Common in named after Reverend James Macgill, who was one of the first Episcopal priests appointed to the province of Maryland. He was given the 370-acre farm that is now King's Contrivance by one of the lords of Baltimore in the 1730s. the land remained in his family for the next 230 years. Macgill's Common is named after James Macgill, and the word "Common" is used in the context of a tract of land, usually in a centrally located spot, that belongs to or is used by a community as a whole.


General History of Macgill's Common

The land of Macgill's Common was originally farm land, and was turned residential when housing was needed in Columbia..As a reader of this wiki, you must understand that Columbia is pretty much planned out- which is why we seem to have trees everywhere. The city planners got together and organized the different villages and neighborhoods in a some-what organized way. When the owners of the Macgill land sold it to Columbia, it was put in as a piece of the plans, and was developed as such. The effort was very much a group one, and the building contractor is unknown. Macgill's Common was the first neighborhood established in king's contrivance, around the 1960s.

Geography and Borders

Macgill's Common extends to the northwest towards the center of Columbia.
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The Street Names

The Street names of Macgill's Common are from an assortment of folk songs, compiled in 1960 by Alan Lomax in his book Folk Songs of North America. There is no rhyme or reason to how these poems/songs relate to Reverend James Macgill, other than them all being from old literature.


A few of the street names in this neighborhood are

Quantrell (spelled wrong in Columbia, is actually Quantrill): A song by the late Joan O'Bryant. On August 21, 1863, guerrilla chief William Quantrill and 450 Missouri bushwhackers
invaded Lawrence, Kansas; after a four hour rampage much of the city was in ashes and 150 men lay dead. This was during the Civil War. The raid gave Quantrill a blood-stained reputation throughout the country that still persists in most accounts of him. Largely because of the Lawrence raid, writers such as William Connelley in the early years of this century labeled Quantrill a “depraved degenerate” and one of the most ruthless killers of the entire Civil War. The song this name was taken from looks at Quantrill as a Civil War "Robin Hood", and is obviously a pro-Quantrill work.

Cottonmill: Is a shortened name of the song "Cotton Mill Colic", written by Dave McCarn in 1926, and was popularly sung by striking mill workers in Piedmont.

"No use to colic, they're all that way,
Pecking at your door till they get your pay.
I'm a-gonna starve, and everybody will,
'Cause you can't make a living at a cotton mill."


Herding Row: Taken from The Herding Song, by Maggie McDonagh, which is an Irish Gaelic song. It's real name is Amhran(Song) Fosuiochta(of the Herder). "My love is - so nice I cannot give him up - as comely as a glass in a drinking house"

Rawhide: Another name taken from the Lomax collection, Attributed to many songs with western lyrics. An example from "The Railroad Corral":
"Come shake out your rawhide and snake it up fair;"

Cambric: From the old English song Scarborough Faire, written by MacColl (No first name is given). [Cambric is a closely woven fabric made from good cotton or flax]

"Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me to one who lives there,
He (she) once was a true love of mine.
Tell him (her) to make me a cambric shirt."

Special Features of Macgill's Common

As with most neighborhoods in Columbia, there is a neighborhood pool, along with the More Famous King's Contrivance Restaurant.


By Messiklose451