Harford History

Wealthy iron master recalled as benefactor

December 23, 2007

William F. Pannell (ca. 1825-1881) was a wealthy Harford County iron manufacturer, landowner, and farmer whose residence was known as "The Retreat." Pannell owned the nearby Harford Furnace in the Creswell area from 1861 to 1867. He and his wife, Mary Slee, also of Harford County, had no children. Pannell died on Dec. 18, 1881, at the age of 56. Pannell's obituary stated that, "his heart and hand responded together for every appeal for charity. ... His charity was bestowed in an unostentious way, and no one outside his own family and recipients of his bounty knew of the many acts he was constantly performing." Parnell donated the land where St. Francis de Sales church still stands, though he was not Catholic. He and his wife are buried at St. Mary's Episcopal Church near Emmorton.

Harford Historical Bulletin, Number 104. Fall 2006.

Research by Harford County Public Library

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