Daniel Dulany’s children are an interesting study. Of course, I found the stories of the three boys very interesting at first. Daniel the younger was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps as an attorney as most of us know. Walter, the second son, was seemingly expected to take up his fathers business in merchandising and industrial interests due to his “practical” mindset. Dennis, however, is described in Aubrey C. Land’s book “The Dulaney’s of Maryland” as somewhat of a problem. He was high-spirited and sensitive. During this time period it was English tradition that he should have had a military career, been a farmer, or become a sailor. In all three of these young men, I can see the same traits as in many of the Dulaney men of today, especially in Dennis. High-spirited and emotional would be words I would use to describe most of the Dulaney men I know to include myself.
The three daughters of Daniel Dulany the elder, Rebecca, Rachel, and Margaret, were faced with few choices when looking to their future. Marriage and spinsterhood, (spinning thread or becoming an old maid) were the two most prominent choices. The girls spent time at home learning domestic virtues and the Dulany library was stocked with books well adapted to the correct upbringing of young ladies. Besides the weighty volumes of law and political philosophy, the family had acquired a representative collection of belles letters, the popular devotional literature, and courtesy books. Books like “Immortality of the Soul,” “Future Judgment,” “The Lady’s Calling,” and “The Government of the Tongue” were just a few of the books available to them.
This information and more was taken from Mr. Land’s book; however, in the few pages dedicated to the girls, one can detect a character in them that would seem to be contrary to what we would consider a “domestic” lady. It is stated that none of the girls were “bookish” and all three found delight in people and further possessed an infectious gaiety that charmed men and women of all ages. Simply put, it sounds as if the girls were as fiery and witty as the boys. And, as with the boys, I can see these traits in many of the Dulaney women I know today. I venture to say that if Rebecca, Rachel, and Margaret were alive in our society today, in addition to being well educated and a social force, we might well hear tales of their riding a whitewater rapid, conquering a skycoaster, touring Europe, or playing a challenging sport.
The Dulany girls are said to have taken part in the “exciting sport of surveying the eligible bachelors among the squires” in and around Annapolis Maryland. I can say firsthand that this is indeed a sport. As I have watched my own three daughters in recent months, I have come to believe that this must be a genetic trait passed down through the many generations of Dulaney women. My word, what would Daniel’s daughters have been able to do with a tool like Facebook or Myspace?