We were more then happy to scan in and provide our
users Helman's History of Emmitsburg. However, we must warn you,
the book is full of errors. Helman's History of Emmitsburg is not
so much a history book, as it is a simple collection of unsubstantiated
bits and pieces of information Mr. Helman pieced together without any
apparent attempt to validate its contents. So while it is enjoyable
reading, under no circumstances should a diligent researcher use it as a
bases for real historical research.
To write the history of the world, we
commence at Adam. To write the history of the United States, We begin at
its discovery by Columbus and the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
But to write a history of a state, county, or community, we are
perplexed with various traditions 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? Who were the people? the
pioneers that settled in Frederick County, Maryland. They were Germans,
the all important factor in the development of this county. They brought
industry, art, intelligence, perseverance. They brought school masters,,
who instilled into the children the principles of Christianity: they
turned the wilderness of Frederick County from 1735 to a productive
land; that it still holds the honor of being the most productive wheat
growing county, not only in the State, but in the United States. This
honor was awarded Frederick County in 1790. It still holds it.
The first German settlers in Maryland
were amongst the Dutch and French Labodists, on Bohemia Manor, Cecil,
then Baltimore County, in 1661. This settlement was prior to the coming
of William Penn's German Quakers, 1720. They scattered and mixed amongst
the other settlements in Maryland and Delaware. Daniel Partorious in
1684 founded Germantown. For many years Germantown was the rendezvous of
German refugees fleeing from persecution, which devastated portions of
Germany. From Germantown, this center of emigration, they spread over
Southern Pennsylvania to Lancaster, York and Adams County. Many of these
finding their way into Maryland and Virginia. In 1714 twelve German
families of fifty persons settled on the Rappahannock river, Va., near
Fredericksburg. Others followed in 1730- Some had crossed the mountains
into Shenandoah and Rockingham counties. These in turn were reinforced
by Germans from the Pennsylvania 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
These Virginia settlements were in
regular communication 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 missionaries, 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 Maryland. One report says as early as 1710 Or 1712.
settled Hear 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 continued to the Potomac river.
This road followed substantially the
old Indian trail. and for many years was known as Monocacy 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 Franklin, 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 Fredericktown and Winchester, Va.; also the route used
by General Wayne with his good 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 Meeterf a Dutchman,
on condition they would settle 2oo 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
Susq4ehanna, and to each single person between the ages of fifteen and
thirty years, one hundred acres. On same terms, with assurance, these
shall be as well secured in their liberty and property in Maryland as in
any part of the British plantations in America, without exception.
Late Information of
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 10,000 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
survey. He refers. in his complaint to a certain John Tradane, a
Marylander, and a resident of Monochasie.
In Kerchivol's history of the
settlement in Virginia Valley, 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 Possessed better accommodations for strangers than did
Fredericktown. On neither visits did Schlatter and Mublenburg 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 Hanover. 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
Commodore Winfield Scott Schley) was schoolmaster at Frederick 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 prisoners 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 and 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 Susquehanna,
within the bounds of York County. These persons remained however but a
short time on land, on which they had squatted. They were known as
Maryland squatters, 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 Susquehanna.
1727 and 1729 are the earliest dates
Maryland patents are known. 1746 the earliest I can find for this
immediate vicinity 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
Pennsylvania 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 times.
By an act Of 1748 creating Frederick
County, the commissioners 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 73 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 way broke out, which caused
the work to cease; it was not completed till 1756. It was one and a-half
stories high-wood. It stood until 1785 when a new one was erected, after
the court house in Dublin, Ireland. It stood until 1861 when it was
destroyed by fire. The first jail, a rude structure stood near the
residence of Mr. Ross, the whipping post on the southeast corner 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 nine 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
Virginia, published in London, 1754.
"By the most authentic accounts,
for many years last past very large numbers of Germans have transported
themselves into these British provinces of North America, the greatest
part of them from Switzerland and the Palatinate, many from Wurteinburg
and other places along the Rhine. Some few lately from lower Saxony,
above thirty thousand, within the last ten years, and in 1750 more than
"The cause of their removal from
their native countries were various. Some of them fled from the severe
persecution they were exposed to, at home, on account of their religion,
others from the oppressions of civil tyranny, and attracted by the
pleasing hopes of liberty under the milder influence of the British
government, others were drawn by the solicitations of their countrymen,
who bad 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 families in the provinces
to which they respectively retired."
These men were mostly trained
mechanics, masons, carpenters, 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.
Helmans' History Of Emmitsburg