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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.38 (search)
The conversation had drifted in that delightful way characteristic of informal home dinings from one topic to another, when Mr. Semmes began to tell stories of his boyhood at Georgetown and his college days at Harvard. The Semmes family is of French and English descent, and was among the first settlers of Maryland. A member of the family, Middleton Semmes, when a judge of the Court of Appeals in Maryland, discovered among some old colonial papers the record showing that Joseph Semmes, of Normandy, France, was, by order of the council, naturalized, to enable him to hold land. The date of the paper was 1640, and was the first paper of naturalization ever granted in America. There is in connection with this a singular coincidence. On the Virginia side of the Potomac river, opposite the Semmes property, are some high cliffs, which are called to this day the Normandy Cliffs, and French Normandy, as every one knows is noted for its cliffs on the seashore. A peculiar fact, too, is t