James A Helman.

History of Emmitsburg, Maryland, with a prelude of historical facts of Frederick County, and a romance entitled Disappointed online

. (page 1 of 10)
Online LibraryJames A HelmanHistory of Emmitsburg, Maryland, with a prelude of historical facts of Frederick County, and a romance entitled Disappointed → online text (page 1 of 10)
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l'M{Kl)KI!I(K, MAKI LAN' 1)


THIS book makes no pretention to be classical.
It merely tells the time, circumstances and people
connected with this community, in which all are in-
terested. It starts with the earliest records regardless of
personality or religion, as far back as 1734 accurately, and
follows these people as they cut the forest and till the soil,
build towns, make laws, and pass away. No personal his-
tory is named save the Emmit family as a whole, this is
due the founder of the town. All the churches are histor-
ically spoken of, so far as the information could be ob-
tained. Let none feel slighted if their name is not in the
.book. The enterprises from 1785 to the present are in full.
Some of the olden tombstones are copied, to show the place
of burial of the early settlers. Receive the book for just
what it claims for itself, nothing more.

To wnte the histor>- of the world, we commence at
Adam. To wnte tlie histon- of the United States, we
begin at its di>cover>- by Columbus and the landiucr of
the Pilgnms at Plymouth. But to write a histon- of a
state, count>-, or communitA", we are perplexed with various
tradiDons that confront us, therefore we ask, who were the
early settlers, and where did they come from, what induced
them to settle where they did and the results ? \Mio were
the people? the pioneei? that settled in Frederick County
MaT>-land. They were Germans, the all-important factor
m the development of this count>-. Thev brought indu^-
tr>-, art, mteUigence, perseverance. Thev brought school
masters, who instilled into the children the principle^ of
chnstianm-; they turned the wilderness of Frederick
Count>- from 1735 to a productive land; that it still holds
the honor of being the most productive wheat cTowincr
county, not only in the State, but in the United^States*
This honor was awarded Frederick Countv in i -90 It still
holds it ' '

The first German settlers in Man-land were anionost the
Dutch and French Labodists, on Bohemia Manor "cecil
then Baltimore Count>-, in 1661. This settlement was
prior to the coming of William Penn's Gennan Onakei^,
1720. They scattered and mixed amongst the other settle-
ments in Mar>-land and Delaware. Daniel Partorious in
1684 founded Gennantown. For manv vears Genuantown
was the rendezvous of German refugees fleeing from perse-
cution, which devestated portions of Gennanv. From
Germantown, this centre of emigration, thev spread over
Southern Pennsylvania to Lancaster, Vork and Adams
County. Many of these finding their wav into MarN'land

and Virginia. In 17 14 twelve German families of fifty
persons settled on the Rappahanock river, Va., near Frede-
ricksburg. Others followed in 1730. Some had crossed
the mountains into Shenandoah and Rockingham counties.
These in turn were reinforced by Germans from the Penn-
sylvania settlements. By 1743 there were a number of
flourishing German settlements in the Valley of Virginia.
In 1748, when George Washington surveyed the lands of
Virginia, he met men, women and children who followed
him through the woods, who spoke German only.

These Virginia settlements were in regular communica-
tion with the settlements in Pennsylvania. We now have
grounds to base the people and their nationality upon.

The reports of good land naturally enthused the new
emigrants, and they were induced to follow on the trail
the early pioneers had taken. The route of travel from
Germantown to Lancaster on to the Virginia settlements
was over an old Indian trail, for pack horse travel and mis-
sionaries, extending through York and Adams county. Pa.,
into Maryland, stopping at a point on the Monocacy river,
where in 1734 they erected the first church in the county.
From here they pushed on to the Potomac, crossing the
Blue South Mountains through Crampton's Gap. On this
route in 1729 the first German families drifted into Mary-
land. One report says as early as 17 10 or 1712. They
settled near Monocacy, and between 1732 and 1734 built
the first German church in Maryland. It was situated on
west side of the river, ten miles above where Frederick-
town was laid out. Within fifty years, the recollections by a
few, of the spot, could still be pointed out and indications
of the burying place of these pioneers. Sad to relate, all
evidence has been destroyed by the hungry and heartless
seeker after gold, and that which would be as Plymouth
Rock to the Germans has passed into tradition more than
history. In 1739, by order of the Lancaster County Court,
a road was built from Wright's Ferry (Wrightsville) to the
Maryland line, a distance of thirty-five miles, and thence
by an act of the Maryland Assembly, it was continutd to

the Potomac river. This road followed substantially the
old Indian trail, and for many years was known as Monoc-
acy road. It was on this great highway from east to south
and southwest, over which in 1755, 150 wagons and 200
pack horses, secured in Pennsylvania by Benjamin Frank-
lin, the first Postmaster General, transported their goods to
Camp Frederick, where a part of the army was collected
preparatory to the campaign of Braddock. It is said at
this camp Washington and Franklin met for the first time.
This was the route the British prisoners, captured during the
Revolutionary war, were taken to the barracks at Frederick-
town and Winchester, Va.; also the route used by General
Wayne with his 900 patriots on the way to Yorktown.

In 1732 Lord Fairfax made an effort to direct German
emigration to Virginia. The Governor ceded a tract of
25,000 acres to John Hite, a German, and Jacob Van Meeter,
a Dutchman, on condition they would settle 200 German
families on these lands. Hite and Van Meeter traveled
through Pennsylvania and New Jersey in search of Ger-
mans, and directed them by the Monocacy road to Virginia.
Lord Baltimore, not to be outdone by the Governor of
Virginia, in 1732 offered 200 acres of land in fee, subject to
a rent of four shillings sterling per year, payable at the end
of three years, for every 100 acres, to any person having a
family, who would within three years actually settle on the
lands between the river Monocacy and the Susquehanna,
and to each single person between the ages of fifteen and
thirty years, one hundred acres. On same terms, with as-
surance, these shall be as well secured in their liberty and
property in Maryland as in any part of the British planta-
tions in America, without exception.


It was a short distance southeast of Creagerstown. The
river crossing was at Poe's fording, which has not been used
for over a century.

There are other and earlier references to this place. As
early as 1729 Charles Carroll, the elder, located a tract of

io,ooo acres of land on Pipe creek, Conawago and Cadorus
creeks, lying in York and Adams County, Pa., all claimed
by the Maryland authorities to be in this province. In
1732 Mr. Carroll in company with Mr. Ross visited these
lands to inform themselves how to finish a surve\'. He re-
fers in his complaint to a certain John Tradane, a Mary-
lander, and a resident of Monochasie.

In Kerchivol's history of the settlement in Virginia Val-
ley, it is stated that among the early settlers there was
Benjamin Allen, Riley Moore and William White, who
had come from Monocacy, in Maryland, in 1734. These
facts show that as early as 1732 and 1734 Monocacy was a
place of some prominence. Although it never reached the
dignity of a town, it would seem that as late as 1747 it pos-
sessed better accommodations for strangers than did Fred-
ericktown. On neither visits did Schlatter and Muhlcn-
burg to Frederick induce them to remain over night; they
returned to Monocacy. It was such a village as one sees
today in sparsely settled countries, containing perhaps a
public house, a store, a few dwellings and church nearby,
where the people for miles congregate.

The Conewaga settlement first mentioned was near Han-
over. A Lutheran church was organized May, 1743, by
Rev. David Chandler of York, who in the same year, 1743,
organized the Lutheran church at Monocacy, and served
till his death the following year, when Rev. Lars Nyburg
became the pastor of both congregations.

The site of the log meeting house at Conewago, where
Mr. Schlatter preached in May, 1747, is now covered by
Christ's German Reformed church, a short distance from
Littlestown, at the time Mr. Schley (the ancestor of Com-
modore Winfield Scott Schley) was schoolmaster at Fred-
erick and Monocacy to the Reforms. Mr. Otto Rudolph
Crecelius was acting in same capacity for the Lutheran at
the same places.

In 1781 an act of Congress directed that the British pris-
oners confined at the barracks in Frederick and Winchester
should be removed to York, Pa., from fear of rescue by

Cornwallis. Twenty acres of wood land was cleared and
cultivated by the prisoners. Huts, mostly of stone, were
erected and surmounted by a picket fence fifteen feet high.
Whilst there a plague broke out amongst them — a thousand
prisoners died.

The first settlement in York County was on Kratz creek
where Hanover now stands; before that Lancaster County.
In 1729 people resided on tract of land, on west side of Sus-
quehanna, within the bounds of York County. These per-
sons remained however but a short time on land, on which
they had squatted. They were known as Maryland squat-
ters, and were removed the latter part of 1728 by order of
Deputy Governor of Council, at the request of the Indians.

In 1722 warrants were issued for a survey of a manor to
Lord Baltimore. John Diggs, a resident of Prince George
County, Md., obtained a warrant for 10,000 acres, known
as Diggs' Chance, in the neighborhood of the present Han-
over. Maryland at this time claimed the land to the Sus-

1727 and 1729 are the earliest dates Maryland patents are
known. 1746 the earliest I can find for this immediate vi-
cinity to George Smith, Cattail Branch, west.

The earliest settlers under Maryland grants and leases,
along the Susquehanna, were Irish and Scotch, but these
were soon followed by large numbers of Germans, who for '
the most part settled on Kratz creek. In 1729 the Penn-
sylvania authorities issued warrants for land on the west
side of Susquehanna, and took measures to resist by force
the attempt of Marylanders to survey and grant warrants
for land in this section. This brought on a conflict. For
years great disorder prevailed, resulting in bloodshed at

By an act of 1748 creating Frederick County, the com-
missioners appointed were authorized to purchase three
acres of land in or near Fredericktown whereon to erect a
court house and prison, they purchased from Mr. Dulaney
in Frederick six lots, numbered 'jt^ to 78, 62 feet by 379
from Church street to Second. Price paid eighteen pounds.


Work was commenced at once. It was nearly completed
when the French and Indian war broke out, which caused
the work to cease; it was not completed till 1756. It was
one and a-half stories hig-h — wood. It stood until 1785
when a new one was erected, after the court house in Dub-
lin, Ireland. It stood until 1861 when it was destroyed by
fire. The first jail, a rude structure, stood near the resi-
dence of Mr. Ross, the whipping post on the southeast cor-
ner of lot opposite present Central National Bank. Before
the first court house was erected court was held in the log
church of the German Reformed congregation on Patrick
street; they were also held for a time at Mrs. Charlton's
tavern southwest corner Market and Patrick streets.

A memorial of the case of the German emigrants settled
in the British colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vir-
ginia, published in London, 1754.

"By the most authentic accounts, for many years last
past very large numbers of Germans have transported them-
selves into these British provinces of North America, the
greatest part of them from Switzerland and the Palatinate,
many from Wurtemburgand other places along the Rhine.
Some few lately from lower Saxony, above thirty thousand,
within the last ten years, and in 1750 more than ten

"The cause of their removal from their native countries
were various. Some of them fled from the severe persecu-
tion they were exposed to, at home, on account of their
religion, others from the oppressions of civil tyranny, and
attracted by the i)leasing hopes of liberty under the milder
influence of the British government, others were drawn by
the solicitations of their countrymen, who had settled there
before them. But for the greatest part, by the prospects
they had of retrieving themselves under their deep poverty,
and providing better for themselves and their fauiilies in
the provinces to which they respectively retired."

These men were mostly trained mechanics, masons, car-
penters, vine dressers, hatters, bakers, shoemakers, tailors,
butchers, blacksmiths, millers, tanners, weavers, coopers.


saddlers, potters, tinners, brick makers. With such a force
newly installed in the colonies, nothing but progress was
to be thought of; and adding the agricultural trend of these
people, the timbers fell, and houses were erected, the land
tilled, and plenty was the reward, with peace reigning in
every locality.

The Germans on their way from Pennsylvania to Vir-
ginia seeing the rich lands of Frederick County, Md., offered
them on such terms, a rental of one cent an acre per annum,
did not proceed further. In a few years the prosperity of
these people was an assured thing, and the Monocacy set-
tlement was the result. From then they spread out west
and south. The church at Monococy for years was their
meeting place. What a halo of German thought concen-
trated here. New comers were received with open arms.
News from the fatherland eagerly sought, then the social
life unfettered by officials.

They were Reformed and Lutheran, scattered for miles
in the county, including the settlement at Fredericktown,
all worshiping in this log church, until the congregation
determined to move to Fredericktown in 1745.

We can now with assurance state from where the early
settlers came.

The earliest patents on the records are 1746, although
many of these pioneers took possession of land and entered
it in the clerk's land office at Annapolis, they did not re-
ceive their patents for some time. Jonathan Hays and
Dulaney came from Philadelphia in 1730 and entered land.
Hays the farm now W. Moser's, there he died, and is buried
on the farm.

The Biggs land was entered at same time. Mr. Hays
found vacant land between him and Benjamin Biggs. He
made arrangements to ride to Annapolis on a certain day
and enter up this vacant strip. Biggs started a day ahead
and entered the vacant land, it has been called Benjamin's
Good Luck ever since. Johathan Hays is the ancestor of
the Hays family here. The first patent on record in this
vicinity is to George Smith, March 21st, 1746, for 500 acres,


now the land of Ohler, Eckard, Hockensmith and others.
He was born 1720, died 1793. The survey is called Cattail
Branch. He was the father of eleven children, four boys
and seven girls. His son John was sergeant in Capt. Wm.
Blair's Game Cock Company in the Revolutionary war.
He had two sons-in-law in the same company, John Crabbs,
corporal, and Jacob Hockensmith, ensign. George Sheets
settled where Sells' mill stands and built a mill. His son
Jacob joined Washington when he passed through Taney-
town; he returned safe. Conducting a mill till his death,
he is buried in Lutheran cemetery in Taneytown. All the
Sheets families east of town are his descendants. David
Banner settled at Bridgeport, where Correll lived. He is
the head of the Banner family. His tomb is the oldest in
the community, 1768. George Hockensmith settled on the
Albert Maxell farm, embracing the lands of B. S. Gillelan,
Row and Samuel Ohler, a large tract; he is the ancestor of
that name here. George Row settled on the land now
Zimmerman's; he left a large family; all the Row connec-
tions descend from him. His son Arthur was a corporal in
Blair's Game Cock Company. Arthur lived and died on
the farm now owned by John Allison.

vSluss settled on the farm now Hawk's. The foregoing
as well as the Crabbs, Ohlers, Nickumcs and others in that
locality are supposed to have come together in 1746. In
the year 1757 another company arrived. Amongst this
Zacharias, who took out a patent in 1757; Christian Keefer;
also Biggs' survey. Samuel Emmit took out a patent for
2,250 acres May 17th, 1757. William Shields came at same
time. Emmit's lands extended from Middle creek, follow-
ing Tom's creek to Friend's creek, then north into Penn-
sylvania and east, making near four miles square, including
Carroll's tract. The McBivitt mill derived its name, Car-
roll mill, this way.

William Shields, Samuel Carrack and Lilly had taken
up a large tract. In the division Carrack got west of
Tom's creek, including the Knob thereby getting its name
Carrack's Knob. Shields in the division got land further


west; he is buried on part of his land back of G. Grinder's
house. Lilly elsewhere.

On May 27th, 1777, Christian Keefer sold to Peter
Troxell of LeHigh County, Pennsylvania, 479 acres for
2,500 pounds, in cash sterling (his father coming to the
colonies in 1773), the present lands of Charles Keilholtz,
J. W. Troxell and others; Mathias Martin, son-in-law of
Peter Troxell, bought at the same time, 1777, the farm now
Samuel Troxell' s. James Martin, N. C. Stanbury, John
Troxell, son of Peter, at same time, 1777, the lands of
Charles McCarren and Welty. He built a mill in 1777 or

In Pennsylvania the early settlers were Cochrans, Over-
holtzers, Bakers, Zimmermans, Bollingers, Clarks, Patter-
sons, Eikers, Bighams, Weikends, Browns, Stevensons.
These pioneers were influenced by the inducement offered
by Virginia and Maryland. In 1746 Rev. M. Schlatter
was sent by the Reformed church of Holland as a mission-
ary to the Duch Reformed church of Frederick County,

In 1746 a number of Moravians settled at Graceham,
where they have sustained a church ever since, the only
one in the State. These settlers came in colonies, fre-
quently from the .same provinces in Germany. Would
locate near a stream, or build near a spring; their accom-
modations were limited to overhanging trees, a covered
wagon, or tent, until a log house could be erected. Some
of the early residences in this locality are still remembered
by the older persons living. The hardships of the eastern
emigrants along the rock-bound coast was not greater than
in this county. The winters were long and cold, the com-
forts few; Indians roamed these hills and valleys, the many
streams in this locality were a fascination for them, and
hard to part with as the incomers encroached upon them.
The tribe was the Susquehannahs, a warlike tribe. The
last camp fire, tradition tells us, was on the Gilson farm,
where they had a burial place. When the tribe departed
they had an old blind and sick chief, too sick to go with


the tribe. A young buck was instructed to remain with
him until he died, bury him, then follow after. After they
had gone one day he killed the old man, buried him, and
followed on after the tribe. Few families bearing the
names of the early settlers remain. In the lists attached
to each cemetery will be given the earlier interments, save
those whose graves are not marked.

The earliest authentic is that of William Elder and wife
who came from St. Mary's County in 1739, settling where / V-i S?'
Zentz now lives. His wife died the same y ear j;;^-,' Having
no lumber to construct a coffin, they hollowed out a log,
which was used instead. Some years after he removed to
the farm known as Clairvoux, taking his wife's remains
with him, burying her on the farm, where her tombstone
can be seen today, although Bishop Elder erected a new
one lately.

Krise first settled where Baltimore street now is in Bal-
timore; he did not like a sand farm and left, going to
Rocky Ridge; settling on the farm now owned by Barrick.
His son, who married Elizabeth Troxell, took up the land
owned by E. F. Krise. The land called Brotherly Love
was patented by Jonothan Hays in 1757, now owned by W.
Moser. The land owned by C. T. Zacharias, called Mon-
dolar and Single Delight, Peter Troxell's as Diggs' Lot,
and Benjamin's Good Liick; the Shields' tract as Caroline,
Sugar Camp, Walnut Bottom; George Row's tract, French

The land north of town called Dothan's Chance, east as
Silver Fancy, south as Buck's Forrest.

The survey of Mason and Dixon's line commenced De-
cember 7th, 1763, finished January 9th. 1768.

The following is the line from Monocacy to Friend's
creek 1765, August 26, at Monocacy, ']■}) miles 58:chains;
cross IMarsh creek, McKinley's house, 80 miles 21 chains;
77 stone falling in Marsh creek 125 yards of true place, 82
miles 66 chains, Mathew Elder's house 52 chains south;
August 29, 84 miles 41 chains, cross Flat)run; 85|miles,
James Stevenson's house; 86 miles, William Bowers's house;


86 miles cross Tom's creek at foot of South Mountain; 86
miles, 76 chains, Phineas Davidson's house; 87 miles 76
chains cross Friends' creek, South Mountain; 88 miles,
John Cohorn's house.

Whilst the French and Indian war was in progress, re-
cruitinj( officers went into the harvest field, took two men
from alono- Monocacy, and both men were killed in Brad-
dock's defeat. During one of the Indian raids through this
section Alexander McKeseay, near Enimitsburg, was stand-
ing in his door, was shot and killed. A Mr. William
House in this county was attacked and twelve of his family
were killed.

After the defeat of Braddock many bands of Indians
roamed over the western part of Maryland, penetrating
quiet settlements and alarming the people, they fleeing by
night, some to Frederick others to Fort Cumberland. In
1756 Washington said but two families in the whole settle-
ment of Conecocheague, Md., remained. This year Wash-
ington advised the people between Conecocheague and
Fredericktown to assemble, which the}^ did. With Col.
Cresup at the head of one hundred men of courage, known
as the Red Caps, they overthrew the Indians and killed
some of them. All along the Monocacy the people fled,
fearing the red skins. Armed citizens drove the Indians
out. The trials of that age can only be imagined, the re-
alities were shocking, any catastrophe could be expected;
the people lived in hourly dread, not knowing when they
would be murdered or carried away as captives. The fore-
going and the following is told to impress the perilous and
uncertain crisis through which the colonies were passing,
for it was in the beginning of the formative period.

At this time the Stamp Act was causing the people to
rebel. It was as much hated as were the Indians. The
same brave men who punished the Indians now assembled
to resist the Stamp Act.

At Annapolis, Md., a merchant of that town, Zacharias
Hood, brought with him from England a cargo of goods,
together with the obnoxious stamps. When he arrived at


Annapolis the ferment reached its height. The people gath-
ered in crowds at the dock and an outbreak ensued, in
which one of the number had his leg broken. Hood was
compelled to draw off from the shore and land elsewhere.

The effigy of a stamp distributor was mounted on a one-
horse cart, with sheet of paper in his hands, and paraded
through the streets amid execrations of the crowd, while
bells tolled a solemn knell, the procession marching to the
hill, tied the effigy to the whipping post, and bestowed
upon it thirty-nine lashes, which the crowd humorously
called giving the Mosaic law to the Stamp Act. It was
then hung upon a gibbet erected for the purpose, a tar
barrel placed under it, and set on fire. It ignited and fell
into the blaze and was consumed. Similar was the exhi-
bition at Baltimore and Fredericktown. Hood's punish-
ment did not stop with his degredation. No one would
buy his goods. The populace threatened to tear down his
house. At last they threatened him with personal ven-
geance; he fled from the province. Did not stop until he

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Online LibraryJames A HelmanHistory of Emmitsburg, Maryland, with a prelude of historical facts of Frederick County, and a romance entitled Disappointed → online text (page 1 of 10)