Maryland’s earliest explorations and settlements were near water — the Chesapeake Bay north of Virginia and the Atlantic Ocean. It was 100 years before the inland areas opened for European settlement. Early explorations were made by Franz Louis Michel in 1707 and Christopher von Graffenried in 1712. Only a few explorers, Indian traders and squatters were in the interior.
The first survey within Frederick County was made in 1721, of land in the southern part of the county, followed by others in the northern part.
Lord Baltimore gained permission in 1732 to allow the land north and west to be rented or sold to settlers. This was welcome news, as much of the good land in Virginia, where the English had settled, and in Pennsylvania, where there were mostly Germans, had been taken. Well-to-do Englishmen saw opportunities to re-sell land and move into the new areas, bringing their slaves with them. Frugal Germans were able to afford smaller lots.
Eastern Frederick County can be defined as the area bounded by the Monocacy River on the west and Carroll County on the east, from Rocky Ridge Road south to the Montgomery County line.
East of the Monocacy River among the first parcels patented were Dulany’s Lot and Monocacy Manor, both in May 1724. Benjamin Tasker and Daniel Dulany held many land patents. Dulany is known as the person who laid out Frederick city. Monocacy Manor was held by the “Lord Proprietary, absolute Lord and owner of the soil.” Land that had been occupied by Loyalists and British subjects was confiscated by Maryland in 1781. This land had been “tenanted” but not owned.
South on Green Valley Road
Roads in the county were slowly developed, many being widened Indian trails. One early north-to-south road was today’s Md. 75/Green Valley Road. Johnsville is the most northern Frederick County town along this road.
Few towns are found on Md. 75, but several roads cross it. Renner Road ends at Johnsville; Md. 26/Liberty Road crosses in the center of Libertytown. Coppermine Road and Old Annapolis Road are crossroads both to the south of the town.
Old Annapolis Road dates back to 1733 when residents west of the Monocacy River and near the mountains petitioned the state to build a road to the state capital in Annapolis. The legislature accepted the petition in 1739, and the road provided easier access to Annapolis as well as for transporting grain and provisions to market. Today the road begins near Mount Pleasant and goes east as far as Mount Airy.
Linganore High School, just east of Md. 75 on Old Annapolis Road, serves a wide area of students. The original school, which had its first graduating class in 1962, was demolished and a new building was built and opened in 2010.
The first settler in the area was John Williams whose survey of “Breeches” was made in September 1729. The first house in Johnsville was built in 1741 and many houses followed. Most settlers were Germans from Pennsylvania.
Some of the land they settled was claimed by both Maryland and Pennsylvania. To solve the problem a line was surveyed from Delaware to the western border of Maryland by Mason and Dixon. Five milestone markers were engraved with the Maryland seal on one side and the Pennsylvania seal on the other. This work took from 1763 to 1768. Seventeen square miles of Maryland was given to Pennsylvania.
The first houses were log cabins but soon brick homes were built. Johnsville probably grew as a stopover for travelers on the Green Valley Road. The town at one time had businesses catering to travelers, such as blacksmiths, general stores and a hotel in 1858, plus a school and churches. One house was a toll house — there were three toll houses between Johnsville and Frederick. They lasted until the hard surface road was built by 1920. Many of the houses built by 1860 are still standing. Why was the town named Johnsville? It was said that many “Johns” lived in the town.
By 1886 Johnsville was a thriving community. Today most of the businesses are gone. One modern feature is the bull-riding rodeo at the J Bar W Ranch which is operated by John Williams and his son and daughter during the summer.
Near the intersection of Gas House Pike and Md. 75 is New London. Settled in the early 1800s, it had one of the three copper mines in the county. There was a post office there from 1833 until 1836 and two grocery stores.
New London was home to many slaves who were freed after the Civil War. It was one in the half-ring of towns around Frederick where these freed men and women settled.
Central Chapel (or church) is a short distance south of Old Annapolis Road. It was probably built in the mid-1800s and today many local residents worship there. It gives its name to the road which passes by. A school once stood nearby.
Less than a mile south of New Market is Monrovia. The area had been wooded and was the home of Shawnee and Susquehanna American Indians. Chief Linganore was there — he died in 1735.
The founder of Monrovia was Samuel Plummer who had four plots of land surveyed on June 28, 1743, of which “pleasant Meddo” became Monrovia. The town was named for James Monroe, our fifth president.
Monrovia is surrounded by fertile farmland. At one time it was a thriving business area with a grist mill (1790-1870), saw mill, woolen mill and a bank. The B&O Railroad had a station as well as a post office. People going to or from New Market who wanted to use the railroad needed to take a carriage from town to town.
The area thrived around Monrovia. There was also a cannery and a general store and an early glass factory along Bush Creek. Bush Creek Church of the Brethren was begun on June 28, 1743. A school operated for a time before it closed and was sold in 1927. Students today attend New Market schools and Linganore High School.
Plans are now being made to build Monrovia Town Center. The proposed development would consist of more than 1,000 homes of various sizes, a commercial area and space designated for a high school. Many residents oppose the projects and have attended informational meetings to express their opinions.
Kemptown is near the end of Md. 75 on Md. 80/Fingerboard Road and near the Montgomery County line.
In 1798, Solomon Kemp purchased land where Kemptown is today. He cleared the land and farmed it successfully. The first house was built on his property by his son Joseph.
The town grew slowly but eventually had the necessary shops and businesses. Well water was made available for the residents. There were two schools in the town — Kemptown Elementary School and Day’s School — which closed in 1929-1930.
Providence Methodist Protestant Church was founded in 1836 in a log meeting house. At first the church was served by circuit riders traveling by horseback. In 1872 a parcel of land near the log church was purchased, and a new plain building was erected with no steeple. This is the church in use today. Changes were made inside and outside the building, including electric lights, a refurbished chancel, a central heating system and new flooring. Stained glass windows were installed in 1962. The steeple was built in 2013. The church is very active today with many activities such as apple butter boiling, dinners, Christian education for all ages and a Ladies Aid Society. A fellowship hall and kitchen were built by 1960.
During the Civil War it is reported that President Lincoln spent a night at the home of Mr. and Mr. John T. Lewis when it had been rumored that Rebel troops would raid Washington. The rumor proved to be false and danger was over the next day.
There also was a raid on the town by Rebel troops who raided the only store. Townspeople hid cows, horses and wagons in a thick grove of pine trees.
Today descendants of earlier residents are still in the area — a few being Moxley, Browning, Lawson, Burdette and Mullinix.
From toll roads to Interstate 70
Transportation was very primitive in all sections of Frederick County for many years after settlement began.
A change began in 1804 when a charter was granted to build a road to the west. Settlers had been arriving in areas west of Frederick and a road was completed from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling, West Virginia.
It was soon apparent that a road was needed from Frederick to Baltimore. It was begun at the Baltimore Court House — after three years of building by hand the road had progressed 10 miles toward the west. Milestones were set every mile — milestone 45 is found today at the northeast corner of Patrick Street and Maxwell Avenue in Frederick.
Maryland banks had financed the project. After the road reached Cumberland it was often referred to as the “Bank Road.”
One complicating feature was the Monocacy River. In 1804 Leonard Harbaugh was contracted to build a 60-foot bridge across the river at Rue’s Ford. He also constructed a large stone jug. It was rumored that a jug of whiskey had been built into the jug, but it was never found.
The bridge carried the Baltimore-Frederick Road over the river for many years. In March 1942, one of the arches collapsed. A new bridge was built downstream with a portion of new road for access. This is said to have been the only major civilian construction in Maryland during World War II.
The jug has been moved from its original location and rests in a small park on East Patrick Street. A plaque was placed on the bridge in 1926 by the Sons of the American Revolution.
A famous visitor who crossed the bridge in December 1824 was the French general, Marquis de Lafayette, on a goodwill trip to the new United States. He visited Maryland and stopped overnight at the home of William McPherson on Council Street in Frederick. Lafayette had taken part in the French Revolution and was interested in the American Revolution as well as fighting England, which was an enemy of France. He became a general with the American Army and was wounded in the Battle of Brandywine.
To the east of the old bridge site are two large houses, on either side of the road. On the south side resided Dr. James Long, who specialized in eye, nose, ear and throat medicine, with his wife and daughter. In the late 1940s development of houses was begun. One of the first houses was built for Dr. Long’s daughter. This was the beginning of the Pinecliff development.
On the north side of (then) U.S. 40 was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Rosenstock and family. Mr. Rosenstock was a well-known lawyer in Frederick. An archeological dig recently took place on the property, and important Indian artifacts were discovered.
Not far away, Bartonsville Road leads to the small town of Bartonsville, named for Greensbury Barton, one of the founders in 1864. Barton, a freed slave, built the first house just before the Civil War. The town became settled by freed slaves.
During the Civil War and at the time of the Battle of Monocacy, there was access to the battlefield from the National Pike. General Lew Wallace and his troops had been stationed in Baltimore prior to the battle. They were commanded to move to the battle site. They were able to cut through this access and form a battle line along the Monocacy River.
Bartonsville grew and two schools were located there. Older houses were originally log cabins now concealed behind modern siding. In 1878 a deed was granted for land on which to build a house of worship, which was dedicated in 1879. Today it is called Jackson United Methodist Church. In 1883 there was a rift in the congregation and Saint James AME Church was founded.
At one time the town was almost self-sufficient. A Working Man’s Association was active and a dance hall was built which was popular with people from all around the area. A local music group was the Bartonsville Cornet Band.
Residents often shopped at Pearl Bargain House, a short hike to U.S. 40. Pearl, a small community, no longer exists. Pearl was a family name — Mr. Pearl was postmaster from 1871-1876.
The Pearl Bargain House was started by Mr. William Bopst and was said to be the largest store of its kind in the county. It carried almost anything a family could need, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, canned goods, clothing for the family, household necessities, gasoline and oil. Store hours were 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. except Saturday when it closed at midnight.
Typical special prices in 1920 were four packages of spaghetti or noodles, 25 cents; canned tomatoes, 11 cents; coffee, 39 cents per pound (store brand, 17 cents per pound); hominy two cans, 25 cents; men’s buckskin jackets on sale, $4.50; 9 by 12 foot rugs $5.99; women’s hose (all colors), 19 cents; yard goods, one yard 21 cents; mop handles, 19 cents; heavy water pails, 59 cents; and blankets (all wool) “at the right price.”
At one time the store was threatened with bankruptcy. The owner, Murray Stauffer, sent his daughters to collect debts in Bartonsville. They were told to accept almost anything in payment, from money to fruits and vegetables.
At one time the store was rented to Harry Hamilton who later owned a seafood store on East Patrick Street. Pearl Bargain House was torn down in 1954 to make way for improvements to U.S 40, which were never made.
Today’s U.S. 40 received this route number when the United States assigned numbers to federal roads. It was the first road to go from coast to coast. When interstate roads were built, they received a new numbering system. Interstate 70 parallels the Old National Pike which is now Md. 144.
Not far from the former Pearl is Ijamsville Road, leading to the town named in 1821 for early landowner Plummer Ijams. He gave right-of-way for the B&O Railroad in 1830 to cross his property and had a railroad station named Ijamsville, complete with a post office.
There was much excitement in the town on March 13, 1832 when the first train out of Baltimore arrived at the station en route to Frederick. It was drawn by horses (engines came later) and there were many passengers from Baltimore. The railroad was very important during the Civil War, carrying troops and supplies and forwarding telegraph messages.
Businesses in the town included a grist mill run by John Ijams, and later a slate quarry from 1870 until 1937. Welsh miners worked the quarry and helped to create a British atmosphere, especially in the town’s architecture.
In early days children attended a school on nearby Mussetter Road. A later school, which had two classrooms in 1925, was closed in 1932. The building was sold in 1936 to the Methodist Episcopal Church formed in 1877.
A special place in Ijamsville was the Riggs Sanitarium. Dr. Henry Riggs (1870-1957) began the sanitarium on his family’s property in 1896 to treat people with nervous and mental disorders. Many of his innovations are in use by today’s doctors.
On the south side of Md. 144 and I-70 near New Market is Holly Hills Golf Club where President George H.W. Bush began a tradition of presidential golf outings. A bit to the west is Adventure Park, a fun place for children and their parents. To the north of Md. 144 are housing developments in the area — Spring Valley and Lake Linganore at Eaglehead. Boyers Mill Road leads to Lake Linganore and passes Fairview Chapel, restored in the 1980s by Ted Delaplaine.
The town of New Market was laid out in 1793 by Nicholas Hall on land recorded to William Plummer in 1743. The town is on an Indian trail, which became the National Pike — U.S. Route 40 — now Md. 144. Today the road is Main Street in New Market. The town plan was laid out with six streets, with two lots reserved for a market house and a church. Nineteen lots had been sold in 1793 and the first house was built around that time.
George Smith had the first tavern on Main Street — it is now more than 200 years old. An archaeological dig took place in 2013 around the Smith Tavern and Schell’s Tavern, also on Main Street.
The town grew slowly at first. Success came with the opening in 1806 of the National Pike to Baltimore and the west. At first the roads were muddy in the rain and dusty in dry weather. The first houses were made of logs or stone and many survive today; the log ones were incorporated into larger homes.
Traffic on the National Road provided many opportunities for business. Hotels and taverns were opened, services were made available for drivers and salesmen (called drummers), carriages and horses, and animals on their way to the city markets. There were several mills in the area and also retail stores. The town had a dozen inns in 1830.
The National Hotel was built in stages beginning late in the 18th century and was used as a hotel, stagecoach office, library, general store and post office.
A post office was opened in 1806 with John Hall, brother of town founder Nicholas Hall, as postmaster. There were 33 postmasters from the 1800s to 1981. The mail was carried by men on horseback in the early days, and the post office was located in the postmaster’s home for many years. The post office was in the town hall in 1984 and has been in a new post office since 1993.
At one time there were five churches in New Market, and three remain today. Methodists came to the town in 1802, meeting in a log cabin on North Avenue until 1821 when a two-story building was built. In 1857 renovations were made — two separate seatings were provided for males and females. There also was a slave gallery. The town had two Methodist churches at one time — Methodist Protestant and Methodist Episcopal, which was on the east end of town. The two united in 1939 and today the church is known as United Methodist Church. In 1918 the Methodist Episcopal Church was destroyed by fire. The Independent Hose Company was summoned; the fire was fought with a bucket brigade and was all but out by the time the Independents arrived from Frederick.
Today the three churches in New Market are the United Methodist Church, the Simpson Christian Community and Grace Episcopal Church.
Grace Church was formed in 1870 as a mission, along with St. James Church in Mount Airy and St. Paul’s in Poplar Springs. The congregation at Grace built their building in 1872 and rectory in 1879. During a serious fire in 1902, parishioners were seen carrying out pews and other church property. The church was rebuilt in 1903 and gradually added a pump organ, stained glass windows and electricity to replace kerosene lamps.
New property was acquired on Md. 75 north of town and a new building was built. The congregation marched from the old church to the new one on March 1, 2008, each person carrying furnishings from the old to the new. The old building was sold in 2012 to be used as a music venue.
Schools in New Market were segregated in the 1800s, with one for the black children in a log cabin on the east side of town. Another was built on the west side in 1868 of more substantial stone. Separate but equal was decreed in 1872; local educator Claude Delauter, a prominent Frederick city resident, taught for several years in a segregated school in New Market in the 1930s. He helped to desegregate county schools and served as a Frederick alderman. In 1925 two- or three-room schools were used. Today’s elementary school was built in the west end of town in 1932 and added to in 1962. Next to it is the middle school, built in 1979. Linganore High School serves the town’s students.
During the Civil War, New Market was affected by Confederate troops in the area, and small skirmishes took place. The town is within 40 miles of six major battlefields, and of course the freeing of slaves was a major event.
The town grew slowly and modernized as time passed. Businesses included the Lawson garage, opened in the late 1920s; the family later changed to repairing and selling lawn equipment. The first gasoline pump came in 1931. A canning factory operated in the 1930s. A country store managed by Andrew Zimmerman was open for 25 years and closed in the 1940s. The Hahn Transportation Company began doing milk delivery and has expanded over three generations. The fire station was built in 1959; it was recently enlarged and renovated.
Four generations of doctors in the Howard Hanford Hopkins family practiced during the 1800s and 1900s. They were pioneers in medicine.
The Utz Mercantile Store was next door to the National Hotel. Samuel Utz, brother of the store owner, bought the hotel in January 1899. Carl Mealey and his wife Nettie bought the hotel in 1918 and ran it for 22 years.
The Mealeys’ son Dick and his wife, Frances, inherited the building. They ceased renting rooms in 1940 and concentrated on the restaurant. A new dining room was added in the 1960s. Prior to that a rear patio with a water pump had been installed. After Dick died, his wife continued the business with the help of James Jeffries and later Pat and Joe Salaverri. The restaurant became one of the best in the area. It closed in 2009; since then several unsuccessful attempts have been made to reopen.
The town has come alive in the last 60 years. In 1954 Mayor Franklin Smith promoted “A day in New Market” to show off the town. In 1960 “New Market Days” was first held in the early fall. Shops are open and there are activities for all, many of which recall life in the past. It is a time full of open shops, homes, and demonstrations, such as making Maryland beaten biscuits, weaving and art work plus horse-drawn buggy rides through town.
Much of the revitalization and interest in the past is due to Stoll Kemp (born 1904). About 1930 he and his wife became interested in early American antiques. He specialized in items from the 1700s and 1800s, and began to sell antiques from his home in 1936. Some of his sales have ended up in museums and at historic sites. Interest in buying and selling antiques grew to the point of Stoll Kemp naming New Market as “The Antique Capital of America.”
The charms of New Market have not worn out. Many homes and businesses on Main Street are marked with plaques awarded by the local Landmarks Foundation to buildings which can prove to be 100 years old or older.
A resident who became famous for his invention was John Vincent Antanasoff (1903-1995). He moved to New Market with his family in 1956. He had made the first rudimentary computer in 1937. Others took credit for being first, but after a patent suit was heard in court he was acknowledged to be the inventor. He won an award for his work in 1986.
Traveling on Md. 144 or I-70 east of New Market, one sees the seven sister hills. Nearby is an area known as Plane Number Four. This is one of four “planes” built in the 1830s for the B&O Railroad to cross steep hills. There were two up and two down. Passengers were required to leave the train when using the planes. A tunnel was built later and the name of Plane Number 4 remains. By 1839 more powerful locomotives were available.
The easternmost town in Frederick County is Mount Airy. It was established in 1830; its name is credit to an Irish workman on the railroad who had experienced cold weather — “fresh air.” It is on Parr’s Ridge north of what was once Ridgeville on U.S. 40.
John Parr had two tracts surveyed east of New Market on March 22, 1739. His name is found on Parr Spring, Parr Ridge and a Parr town. In 1744 he and his family moved to near Parr Spring, near where four counties now meet — Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery, and Howard — south of Mount Airy.
Frederick County was originally next to Baltimore County. In 1832 it was felt in both counties that they were too large to be efficient. The area was a big part of Maryland. The legislature in Annapolis approved the creation of a new county in 1837 named Carroll after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who had recently died. The county line is the center of Mount Airy’s Main Street, which caused complications in county services and facilities. For example, children residing west of Main Street attend Linganore High School in Frederick County, while those east of Main Street attend South Carroll High School in Carroll County. The last graduation from Mount Airy High School was in 1967.
The railroad originally passed through Ridgeville, adjacent to Mount Airy. In 1839 the railroad built a spur line through Mount Airy which promoted growth of the town. Ridgeville was annexed into Mount Airy in 1964.
Mount Airy was built on many hills, including Parr’s Ridge, elevation 830 feet above sea level. It is the highest peak between the Atlantic Ocean and the Catoctin Mountains.
Main Street is a busy area of commerce in the center of town, with many businesses, town offices including Town Hall and the fire department.
Three disastrous fires in the town center destroyed many buildings in 1903, 1914 and 1925. The fire department was organized in 1926 and the first engine arrived by train. In addition to the town fires, there were several school fires, one in the high school in 1920. After one of these blazes, classes had to be set up in offices and anywhere there were empty rooms.
Schools were opened in the early days of the town, with few students at first. As the town grew, so grew the schools. Early on, Mount Airy had only elementary schools. A high school was later opened with a few grades. No certificates for graduates could be issued because insufficient courses and only 10 grades were offered. In 1913 the high school added the necessary classes and more faculty. There was no graduating class in 1914.
Churches are always established in new towns. Mount Airy had three denominations in the 1890s. The oldest was Pine Grove Chapel, a Presbyterian church, begun in 1846. It had a private school in its basement.
During the Civil War, Union solders were stationed in the chapel. They needed to protect the B&O Railroad, which was essential to transport soldiers and supplies. The school closed during the war and re-opened as a public school after the war. Confederate troops were in the area and minor skirmishes occurred now and then. A cemetery was begun in 1894 on the church property. The Presbyterians sold the building to cemetery trustees. Today non-sectarian religious ceremonies are held at the church building. It is believed that the building is the oldest in Mount Airy; the first house built there was torn down for a parking lot.
The Methodist Church came to Maryland in 1814. Calvary Methodist Church was begun in Mount Airy in 1888; the congregation built its church building in 1916 and installed an organ in 1921.
St. James Episcopal Church was formed in 1887 and built its building on Main Street in 1889. It was part of the circuit with New Market and Poplar Springs. The church has been active in teaching children and today conducts a nursery school. St. James recently moved to a new location.
Many businesses have been located in Mount Airy, including a 1912 ice factory, 1915 electricity generation plant and 1923 electric plant sold to F&H Railway (today’s Potomac Edison). By 1930 automobiles had become common and in 1932 a movie theater was opened. The first new housing development was built in 1946 by Asa Watkins. Parking meters were installed along Main Street in 1947. The B&O passenger train was discontinued in 1950 after 110 years.
An ambulance was purchased in 1952, and in 1959 First National Bank of Mount Airy was sold to Farmers and Mechanics Bank, now PNC Bank. A shopping center was opened in 1974 and a new library followed in 1976. Needless to say, many other business and civic enterprises have come to Mount Airy.
Several newspapers have served the community. In 1898 the Mount Airy Messenger began. It was followed in 1916 by another paper, and in 1929 Carlton Rhoderick of Middletown published a Mount Airy edition. It ceased publication in 1980. More recently the Mount Airy Shopper became the Community Reporter.
Life in Mount Airy has also included sports, band concerts, school and church social activities. Around 1900 popular Wildwood Park was located near Parr’s Spring and the four-county marker. Many socials were held there and there were amusements for children. It ceased to exist when a group of city officials decided in the 1990s to build a home for elderly residents on the site, which also is called Wildwood Park.
In recent years housing developments have sprung up, encircling the downtown area and covering the hills. Mount Airy is well-located for commuting workers who travel daily to Baltimore or Washington and the population has grown. In 1909 a national survey rated Mount Airy as 53rd in 1,800 towns who took part in “Best Places to Live.”
Liberty Road/Md. 26
The earliest state road stretching east from the Monocacy River area in Frederick County is Md. 26, also known as Liberty Road. It branches off U.S. 15 at the north end of Frederick city.
Many short roads were laid out as settlers arrived in the county. By 1749 a petition was signed by residents of Monocacy Manor asking that a suitable road be constructed from there to Baltimore. They wanted a suitable route to transport farm products to the port.
On the south side of Md. 26 west of the Monocacy river, the development of Dearbought was built in an area originally developed by Sebastian Derr (1727-1802), who had immigrated from Germany in 1749 and became a naturalized citizen in 1761. The property he bought in 1755 from Stephen Ramsburg was a part of Tasker’s Chance. Derr was a farmer and cooper. He had a wife (Elizabeth Loy) and four children.
The original home on the property was built in three major phases between 1750 and 1820 by three generations of owners. It was demolished in 1998 for new houses. Still standing on the property is a structure known as the “Stone House.” Located on Md. 26 near the Monocacy River Bridge, it was built in 1795 as a wedding gift to a son.
A descendant of Sebastian Derr, Alice Derr, was the last family member to live on the Dearbought property. She died in 1926 and left some of the property to a nephew, Edward Derr Shriner. A mill known today as the Kelly Mill, had been erected in 1812 by Captain George Williams, on Israel’s Creek. The mill ceased operation by 1999. It had been operated by the Shriner family who probably built the Ceresville Mansion nearby. The area is known as Ceresville, and Md. 194 to the northeast begins there. The name Ceresville may refer to Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture.
The property northeast of Ceresville was part of the 100 acres purchased by Susanna Beatty in 1732. It was part of Dulany’s Lot which had been surveyed in 1724.
Susanna Asford was born in Ulster County, New York and married John Beatty in 1691. They had 10 children. John died in 1720.
In 1732 Susanna and her adult children moved to Maryland. She purchased property from Daniel Dulany, and later purchased an additional 900 acres.
Her house may have been built before she arrived. It is the only house in the county still standing that was built before Frederick County was created. This archeological gem has architectural features not common in other local houses. Susanna was one of the first women in Maryland to own property.
The house was sold in 1855 to Jeremiah Cramer, who added a kitchen wing and made other changes. More changes were made by other residents through the years, but many colonial features remain. The house was purchased by Landmarks, Inc. in 1996 when it was threatened with demolition. Recognized by the Maryland Historical Trust to be “one of the most important restorations in the state,” it is open occasionally for historians and tourists.
The Beatty sons were active in the early life of Frederick. One was a signer of the Repudiation of the Stamp Act in 1765 and another served with distinction in the Revolutionary War.
Two miles east of Ceresville on Md. 26 is Mount Pleasant.
It was settled in the early 1720s as a string town — meaning it originally had no side streets. Situated on the crest of a hill, the community has a pleasant view of nearby valleys and distant mountains. It was part of “Middle Plantation” survey.
The town grew slowly. Several churches were founded, including a Methodist Episcopal Church prior to 1865 with a brick building dedicated in 1870 and improved in 1938, and a Reformed church in 1869 followed by its building in 1870. There was also an African American Methodist Church. There was a school from 1898 to 1939.
In 1865 the state demanded that schools be opened for children of freed slaves. Along with the one in Mount Pleasant, separate but equal schools were opened in Libertytown, New London, Walkersville, Bartonsville and New Market in the east county area, as well as in other county locations. Mount Pleasant had a post office from 1830 until 1907.
Several side roads now lead away from the town. Old Annapolis Road heads southeast; Kelly Road connects to McKaig Road in the south, Water Street Road goes to the north as does Crum Road.
Dance Hall Road, which heads south, received its name because Gary Fisher opened a remodeled barn where dances were held from 1929 until 1934. It was a popular spot for young people to gather.
East of Mount Pleasant on Md. 26 is Libertytown on a tract that was mapped, platted and named Duke’s Woods in 1739 by John Young. Early settlers who were attracted to the area were from England and Wales — it was known as “Little Britain.”
The name Libertytown may have come from settlers who built where they could enjoy liberty, or was it from a group of Revolutionary War patriots named “Sons of Liberty”? Or it might have honored the 12 immortal judges who repudiated the British Stamp Act in Frederick in November 1765.
The town grew slowly. Many of the homes there today were built in the 1800s. When Mr. Young died, he left much of the property to Richard Coale, who had three sons. He was responsible for much of the early planning in the town.
Libertytown is a crossroads town. Both Md. 75 and Md. 26 cross in its center; Md. 31 (which goes to New Windsor in Carroll County), Md. 550 (to Woodsboro) and Daysville Road lead to towns in the east and northwest.
Libertytown became a busy stopover for farmers delivering produce to distant markets. It had taverns, hotels and facilities for caring for animals overnight. John Wagner’s tavern was the first in town. Small businesses catered to residents. One was Simpson’s general store, which has been in business for 200 years; it opened in 1795 and is an antique shop today.
Settlers brought their religions with them. The population includes a majority of Roman Catholics. St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church has a history dating back to the 1700s; services were held at one time in a house built in 1783. A church building was erected in 1871. A disastrous fire destroyed the church in 2004; it was rebuilt in 2008.
Three other denominations were present. The Methodist Episcopal Church built its church in 1804, and the Methodist Protestant Church was built in 1828; these two churches merged in 1939 and joined with the United Brethren Church in 1960 forming Liberty-Central United Methodist Church.
Much of the town looks very much as it did 100 years ago, but one feature has disappeared; as late as the 1940s the town’s nickname was Spouttown for the many drain pipes carrying rain water from roofs over the sidewalk to empty into the street.
A little known business that was very active in the 1800s to early 1900s was a copper mine near Libertytown; another, near Woodsboro, gave its name to Coppermine Road, but closed after a short time. In the early 1900s there were three mines: one near Libertytown, another at New London, and a third south of town called Dollyhyde. They were active during the Civil War and World War I. The Liberty Mine, which had opened before 1760, closed in 1918.
The mines were deep and water seepage caused a problem, costing too much to continue operations. It is said that copper from the Liberty Mine was used in the building of the United States Capitol in Washington. Many miners from Wales came to work there when the mines were active.
Today Libertytown is experiencing growth like many other county locales. There are active community organizations, an elementary school and an active fire department.
Two and a half miles east of Libertytown is the small town of Unionville. In the 1750s there was much activity with land surveys in that area. There is evidence of Methodist worship in the area in 1749, before Strawbridge founded the Methodist Church in the U.S. nearby in 1759 to 1766.
Unionville was founded as a mining town. However it received the nickname of “Idletown” because many workers spent their time off there. A post office dating from at least 1791 was closed in 1926. A general store was opened in 1888 and closed 100 years later. It sold almost everything for farmers.
The store was bought by George VonEiff in 1924. He is credited with bringing electricity to the area. His son, Plitt, expanded their business; at one time the store housed the post office, the bus line ticket office, a weather station, a gas station and heating oil trucks. The VonEiff delivery trucks could be seen as far away as Frederick city and Carroll County.
The VonEiffs were remembered as members of All Saints Church in Frederick and were active in several service clubs.
Walkersville and Md. 194
The town of Walkersville is just northeast of Frederick city.
Woodsboro Pike/Md. 194 begins at Ceresville on Md. 26 and continues through Walkersville and Woodsboro northeast to Pennsylvania.
This road was laid out in 1740 by Joseph Wood and others and was part of the route taken by George Washington to go to Philadelphia from Virginia. He used this route because roads through Baltimore and near the Chesapeake Bay were often marshy and muddy and further west roads made for easier travel. The southern part of Md. 194 follows an Indian trail as far as Woodsboro, and the northeast stretch was used by German immigrants who came through Maryland to go to Virginia. Many liked the land in Maryland and stayed in the area.
The first town along the road, Walkersville, is situated in Glade Valley, a green farming district. It was part of several land grants — Monocacy Manor, Spring Garden and Dulany’s Lot — from Lord Baltimore.
Two separate towns were founded near each other — Georgetown and Walkersville.
Georgetown was begun after 1808. It was named for George Cramer (1819-1890), an early settler. There was no post office in the town, which was situated in the Woodsboro election district. It had a church and a store in the early days.
Walkersville is named for John Walker (1768-1841) who bought property in 1814. He farmed the land and later sold off lots for the town. By 1880 both Georgetown and Walkersville had grown, and were very close together. It made sense to join the two towns. Election districts were changed and the new designation was Walkersville.
The Frederick-Pennsylvania railroad had come in 1873, and the station was called Walkersville to avoid confusion with Georgetown station in Washington, D.C. The railroad ran from Frederick to York, Pa. until 1972 when hurricane Agnes destroyed the railroad bridge over the Monocacy River.
Walkersville was incorporated in 1892. It has had steady growth since that time.
Many businesses were started in Walkersville. There was a weekly newspaper, The Walkersville Enterprise in 1886, and a milling company in 1904. The Monocacy Valley Canning Company was founded in 1905, the Walkersville Ice Company in 1911, the Walkersville Savings Bank in 1904 and the Glade Valley Bakery in 1917. The bakery closed in 1968. Farmers Supply got its start in 1920, Aunt Lucy Hams in 1929 and Microbiological Association in 1968. Many smaller businesses have come and gone.
“Aunt Lucy” was Lucy Scott, who was born to slave parents in 1834. She was brought to Walkersville when she was four years old. She was an excellent cook as an adult and specialized in curing hams. The hams made with her recipe were sold in Walkersville for many years.
Robert Nicodemus started a sewing factory in 1924 in an old school building. In 1929 it was producing pajamas, and in 1944 it began making men’s sport shirts, which were sold by several national companies. The building was leased in 1951 to the Sagner firm which also was in Frederick. It is now headquarters for the Frederick Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Settlers and early residents brought their religions, and many of today’s churches traces their history to early times. They include United Church of Christ, Lutheran, Roman Catholic and United Methodist, formerly United Brethren and Methodist Protestants (who originally worshipped in the woods).
In 1962 the Baptist Church bought property in Walkersville and began a college. A chapel was built, but the project was unsuccessful by 1972, and the church sold the property. Glade Town development was built there, and the chapel is still used today.
Housing developments came quickly. The early ones were Glade Village in 1957, Spring Garden in 1960, Glade Gardens in 1962, Discovery in 1967 and Glade Town in 1977. Others have followed.
More residents require more schools and the first schools in Walkersville were private. The first public school was opened in 1877 with three teachers in two classrooms. It was replaced at the same location in 1897 with a two-story, four-room building. A high school was begun in a house on Maple Avenue and discontinued in 1912, when pupils began to ride the train into Frederick.
Another school building was built in 1922 and housed seven elementary grades and one high school class of 20 students. Grades nine, 10 and 11 were added from 1925 to 1934 for a completely accredited high school. Expansion of the school curriculum was introduced in 1927 with home economics and agriculture classes offered. Walkersville today has elementary, middle and high schools. The present high school is one of three in the county with a swimming pool.
The town has the usual public services. The telephone came to Walkersville in 1884 and was operated from a private home. There has been a town hall since 1907, and a new one was built in 1990. The fire company was organized in 1939-1940 and built its first building in 1950. The water system was begun in 1909. Stauffer Funeral Home is located in Walkersville and a county library branch has served local readers since 1988.
The Walkersville Savings Bank opened in 1904 and merged in 1930 with Frederick’s Central Trust Company, which failed in 1931. Walkersville Bank was incorporated in 1934 and merged with Farmers and Mechanics Bank in 1963.
The post office has been in operation since the 1850s. Mail was brought to the office by horseback.
Noteworthy happenings have made news in Walkersville, including two large bank robberies — one in 1919 and another in 1940. Bank employees were unhurt and had hidden in both, once in the cellar and the others were locked in the bank vault.
Walkersville occasionally made national headlines. W.L. Brann owned a horse farm just outside the town limits. His racehorse Challedon won many national races and was named “Horse of the Year” in 1939. His property was sold in 1956 for a housing development.
On May 6, 1981, a converted Air Force 707 airplane exploded in the air, 2,000 feet above Walkersville, killing all 21 crew members aboard. The cockpit slammed into farmland and the nose of the plane landed across the field on the train tracks. Local fire and rescue crews found a number of the bodies. It was a hard time for the town.
A happy event was the town’s centennial celebration in 1994. Among attractions was a big parade in which many organizations and people took part.
Walkersville offers many opportunities for socializing and volunteering. Sports, especially high school teams, are popular. Service clubs are available for both men and women, and young people have scout troops and 4-H along with extracurricular school and church-sponsored activities.
High on the list of places to visit are five parks in the area: Walkersville Town Park, Creamery Park, Trout Park, Fountain Rock Park and Heritage Farm Park.
Fountain Rock Park, on Fountain Rock Road, is a county park at a former rock quarry that was in use from 1872 until 1955. The park has a nature center and hiking trails, in addition to the open former quarry.
Heritage Farm Park, on Devilbiss Bridge Road outside of town, has been developed with ball fields and picnic areas. Many intact farm buildings remain. The farmhouse, built in 1855, is predominately of Greek Revival style and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1994.
Two bridges over the Monocacy River near Walkersville are on Biggs Ford and Devilbiss Bridge roads. Both are named for early settlers in the area. John Biggs (1682-1761) was of English descent, a second-generation American born in Ulster County, New York colony. George Devilbiss (1715-1785) was a son of Casper Devilbiss who also owned property in the area.
A controversy arose in 2011 over the proposed sale of the Walker Farm Estate on Woodsboro Pike to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which wanted to rezone the land for a worship and convention center. The town resolved to retain the property as farmland and as a buffer for the town.
Modern technology is being used to record the rich history of Walkersville and make it available to everyone. Charles Nicodemus and his wife Kathryn are both lifelong residents of Walkersville. After more than 40 years of historic research, they have produced a DVD showing old and new pictures of the town with Kathryn providing narration for each snapshot.
Woodsboro was laid out long before its larger neighbor Walkersville. The town was founded in 1786 by Joseph Wood (1743-1800) on an Indian trail used by Pennsylvania migrants on their way to recently opened lands in Virginia. Many liked the Maryland land and were able to rent property in Monocacy Manor. Some English settlers moved from New York state and New Jersey. Woodsboro has had several names: Woodstown, Woodsberry, Woodsborough, and now Woodsboro.
President George Washington passed through as he traveled the road that became Md. 194 from Virginia to Lancaster and Philadelphia. Yes, “Washington slept here” at least twice, once in Slagle’s Inn at the Sign of White Charger where Md. 194 now meets Md. 550. A monument was erected in 1932 by the Frederick Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution as a part of the Washington Bicentennial celebration. More recently, war monuments from the American Revolution through today have been added. Washington also stayed at Cookerly’s Tavern on Md. 194 near New Midway.
After Md. 194 became an official road, it was made a toll road. James Madison Smith (born 1841) became director of the Woodsboro and Detour Turnpike Company. Three turnpike locations existed between Woodsboro and Frederick.
Many new residents arrived from Pennsylvania, including the family of John Delaplaine (1740-1804). His father was Joshua Delaplaine, who moved his family from Philadelphia to Berks County, Pa., and later to Oley, Pa. in 1768. John moved to Woodsboro before the Revolutionary War and served in the Committee of Observation in 1775. He purchased land from Joseph Wood in 1779 and 1789. He voted in the election of 1796.
John died in 1804 and was buried in the Rocky Hill Church Cemetery. Rocky Hill Church was founded in 1768 by several Lutheran families. A group of Reformed Church members worshipped there also from 1768 but split in 1887. Today the church, located on Coppermine Road east of Woodsboro, is called Grace Rocky Hill Lutheran Church.
St. John’s Reformed Church was formed in 1768 and built a new building in 1802. Woodsboro Lutheran Church was organized in 1805. The Rev. David Franklin Shaeffer came to the church and was claimed as the father of Lutheranism in Frederick County. The Church of God had its first services in the Methodist Protestant church in 1908. It disbanded in 1944.
The area around Woodsboro has been primarily agricultural. The town grew during the past centuries with many businesses serving not only residents but a wide area. A grist mill erected by Joseph Wood Jr. was said to be the first mill in Frederick County. In the 1800s the town had two hotels — the Smith Hotel and Anderson’s Hotel, which was a saloon, not an overnight facility. The Glade Valley Milling Company was founded in 1909 and ceased operation in 1957. The building was sold in 2014 for a new business.
Copper was discovered in 1760 and the Fountain Mine was opened on Coppermine Road. It was not profitable and soon closed. Copper was expensive to produce and transporting it to the east and Europe was difficult and costly.
The Rosebud Perfume Company is a long-standing business still active in Woodsboro. Dr. George F. Smith, born in 1865, taught school for five years and later became a pharmacist. He started the perfume company in 1895 and began manufacturing Rosebud Salve. The company flourished and is still in business today. The salve is sold in many places all over the world.
Dr. Smith had other interests as well. He served on the board of Woodsboro Bank, was mayor of the town and owned a drug store (one of the first stores to sell Coca-Cola). Upon Dr. Smith’s death in 1952, his son Allen Smith (1899-1971) inherited the business. When Allen died, the business was left in trust to his heirs, who remain in charge today.
The town grew and more businesses were established in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Frederick-Pennsylvania Railroad made it easier for businesses to ship their products, as well as providing transportation for travelers. At one time, railroad business and growth in the town caused the post office to expand its services.
In 1899 Woodsboro Savings Bank was organized. A three-story building was built in 1901 and has since been modernized. The upper stories of this landmark building were used for other activities. The bank now has eight branches serving patrons in Frederick County.
Limestone is found in the area and two large quarries were established near Woodsboro — the LeGore Lime Company founded by John LeGore in 1861 and S.W. Barrick and Sons, Inc. founded in 1874. The LeGore company consolidated with several other companies in 1970 and produces stone for road building.
Another business opened in the early 1900s — goldfish ponds operated by the Powell brothers. The fish were sent all over the world. The business closed about the time of World War I.
John Dorsey opened his “Dorsey Pork Products” in 1890. The company is now a wholesale meat business, supplying many stores and other businesses.
More than 50 years ago, Nelson Trout opened a food market. In 1963 a new building was built on Main Street (with a parking lot). Today “Trout’s Seafood and Deli Mart” sells a full line of groceries.
Bowers Lumber Company formed in Frederick in 1868, and moved to Woodsboro in 1964.
In the early years of Woodsboro and the surrounding area, children were taught in homes or churches. Very few children were able to attend school.
One-room schools were built in the early 1800s in and near Woodsboro, offering education through the seventh grade. No records exist of when the first school was built, but the second one was built in 1870. By 1891 parents were keeping their children at home because they feared the brick walls in the school were unsafe. The building was demolished in 1892 and a new one was erected. An annex was built in 1952. A bell in a tower called the children to school.
A new open-space school was erected in 1973 on and around the older building.
In the 1930s at least some students attended Frederick High School. Later they began attending Walkersville High School.
Woodsboro Elementary School now has kindergarten through third grades, and fourth grade and above are at New Midway School. New Midway children have the same arrangement.
Life was not all work for early residents. Winter brought snow with hills available for sledding and nearby ponds for skating. There were the usual parties and church socials. In 1917 a roller skating rink opened; it closed in 1934.
An opera house existed on the second floor of the bank building the site of all kinds of music, drama, movies and community activities. These activities ceased in 1953 when the second floor was considered to be a fire hazard.
Woodsboro Regional Park now supplies space for many outdoor activities. A recreation commission was formed in 1970.
High on the list of popular activities is a train ride on the Walkersville Southern Railroad, which runs from Walkersville to Woodsboro on the original tracks of the Frederick and Pennsylvania Railroad. The recreation commission and the Woodsboro Historical Society began restoration in 1999 of the town’s station built in 1883. Rides are offered on weekends during the summer and on special dates.
Beyond Woodsboro on Md. 194, the communities of New Midway and Ladiesburg support farms and gardens offering “pick your own” seasonal fruits and berries. The road continues to the towns of Detour and Taneytown in Carroll County.