Maryland State and Municipal Bonds: Tax Exempt Status
In 2009 I prepared a research memorandum on the history of tax exempt bonds in Maryland, focusing on the estate of Betsy Patterson Bonaparte.
It related to an inquiry concerning the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) amicus brief and centered on the 1882 Supreme Court Decision involving the taxing of the bonds of Betsy Patterson. I was asked if we could document whether or not, during the time of the case, she and/or her heirs held any Maryland bonds that would have been exempt from Maryland taxes.
Our research established that Betsy Patterson held tax exempt State of Maryland Bonds at the time of the suit, but was taxed on other Maryland bonds that were not specifically exempted from State taxes by statute.
Betsy Patterson (former wife of Napoleon's brother and the daughter of a very wealthy Baltimore merchant), died in the midst of the court battle over whether the state of Maryland could tax her out of state bonds (the Supreme Court decided that Maryland could, by affirming the Maryland Court of Appeals decision in the case).
A copy of the brief on her behalf before the Maryland Court of Appeals is available on the MSA web site, the proper citation for which is:
Attached is a pdf of her inventory which on f. 7 lists the Maryland bonds she held at the time of her death. She had a considerable investment in Maryland State and Baltimore City municipal bonds. The proper citation for the attached image from her inventory is:
The Baltimore City bonds that the Pattersons and Bonapartes (Betsy Patterson's grandchildren) were taxed by Maryland, the proof of which comes from the records of the Comptroller that were kept in accord with the State tax law that was at the heart of her complaint in the 1882 Supreme Court decision (1881 term). Copies of the covers and the pages relating to the taxing of her municipal bonds are attached. There is a column indicating what taxes were levied for the City of Baltimore related bonds. The citations, and links to pdfs of these records, are as follows:
Maryland State Archives, COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY (Baltimore City Stockholders) MSA S632 -
There is no ledger account listing any taxes on the $63,000 Betsy Patterson held in State Bonds, because they were tax exempt by law (see the attached copy of the 1868 law from the authoritative Archives of Maryland On Line on our web site), the web citation for which is:
Unless the laws governing the issuance of bonds specifically indicated that they were exempt from State taxes, all bonds issued on behalf of the State and its subdivisions to 1914, subsequent to the 1876 law in question in the Patterson/Bonaparte Supreme Court Case were taxed (see: http://www.msa.md.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000199/html/am199--432.html).
In 1914 a law was passed exempting all such bonds from state taxes:
Copies of both the 1876 and the 1914 laws are available from the MSA web site by following the above hyperlinks.
'Charles Joseph Bonaparte' (1851-1921), Betsy's grandson, lived on Roland Avenue in a house now a part of Roland Park Country School. On November 15, 2000, ecp gave a talk at the school entitled: The Heritage of a House: Charles J. Bonaparte and Good Government, accompanied by an analysis of the probate and other records related to the Patterson/Bonaparte families that includes hyperlinks to the original records.
Charles Joseph Bonaparte
MSA SC 3520-13412
"Charles Joseph Bonaparte," from Dictionary of American Biography. ed. Allen Johnson, Vol. II (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), 427-8.
"Charles Joseph Bonaparte," from Winchester, Paul. Men of Maryland Since the Civil War. Vol. 1 (Baltimore: Maryland County Press Syndicate), 156-158.
"Charles Joseph Bonaparte," from Report of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Maryland State Bar Association. (Annapolis: Maryland State Bar Association, 1921), 43-45.
"Charles Joseph Bonaparte," from The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Vol. XIII (New York: James T. White & Company, 1906), 515-6.
"Charles Joseph Bonaparte," from The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Vol. XIV (New York: James T. White & Company, 1917), 22-3.
Smith, Gene. "The Last Bonaparte," American Heritage. (November 1997).
Program from the Memorial Services in Honor of the Late Charles J. Bonaparte meeting of the Bench and Bar of Baltimore City.
Bishop, Charles Bucklin. Charles Joseph Bonaparte His Life and Public Service. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922. Sources:
Charles Joseph Bonaparte:
BALTIMORE COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS (Estate Papers) 1921, MSA T 679, Charles J. Bonaparte, Box 1219 Estate No. 3792
Susan May Bonaparte (mother):
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Wills, Original) 1881, MSA T 628, Susan May Bonaparte, Box 50
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories, Original) 1881, MSA T 643, Susan May Bonaparte, Box 124
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Administration Accounts) MSA T 605, Susan May Bonaparte, Volume 109, pp. 548-551
Jerome Bonaparte (father):
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Sun Collection) MSA SC 2852, 18 June 1870
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Baltimore American & Commercial Advertiser Collection) MSA SC 4150, 18 June 1870
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Wills, Original) 1870, MSA T 628, Jerome Bonaparte, Box 6
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories) 1870, MSA T 603, Jerome Bonaparte, 1870, Volume 90 pp. 372-378
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories, Original) 1870, MSA T 643, Jerome Bonaparte, Box 40
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Administration Accounts) 1879, MSA T 605, Jerome Bonaparte, 1870, Volume 85 pp. 552-555
Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (grandmother):
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Sun Collection) MSA SC 2852, 5 April 1879
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Baltimore American & Commercial Advertiser Collection) MSA SC 4109, 5 April 1879
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Administration Accounts, Original) MSA T 627, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Box 92
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Inventories, Original) 1879, MSA T 643, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Box 52
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Wills, Original) 1877, MSA T 628, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Box 115
Colonel Jerome Bonaparte (brother):
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Baltimore American & Commercial Advertiser Collection) MSA SC 4109, 5 September 1893