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James A. Helman's ~ 1906

History of Emmitsburg, Md.

Pages 101 - End

They occupied their first building February 20th,1810. The property up till 1816 had been held by the Rev. Samuel Cooper, its generous benefactor. He deemed it the proper thing to incorporate it, and had an act passed of incorporation of the Sisterhood by the Legislature of Maryland, January, 1817. The farm then in their possession was transferred to them in their own right, by those who previously held it. Around this institution cluster memories of many from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Silently their progressive work has/gone on, until the perfection arrived at was consummated. Many are, the hearts made glad by a returning visit to this valley. The alumnae organization gives proof of the early impressions made here. They join in chorus, swelling the volume of praise to their alma mater each year. The excellent condition of the grounds give evidence of the aesthetic culture so lavishly displayed; how tame and ordinary the condition usually around the farm houses, not so on the farm attached to St. Joseph's.

How inviting, how expansive the improved landscape, how fragrant the air as it is wafted from luxurious beds of flowers; then the outlying scene as they stretch west to old Carrick's Knob, climb it, and see that valley of verdure as it spreads before us; the silver stream, Toms creek, running like a silver thread from the mountain to the farthest extent of this extensive tract of land. Greater expectation than Mother Seton's have been accomplished, through the efficient women who have controlled the affairs of this institution ever since; progress has only been initiated here, the full fruitage will be gathered later on. When in its fullest development the word will be excelsior.

The official head of the institution from the beginning. Mother E. A. Seton, 1808 to 1821; Mother Rose White, 1821 to 1827; Mother Augustine DeCount, 1827 to1832; Mother Rose White, 1833 to 1839; Mother Xavier Clark, 1839 to 1845; Mother Mary Etienne Hall, 1845 to 1855; Mother Regina Smith, 1855 to 1860; Mother Ann Simeon, 1860 to --, Mother Euphemia, Mother Mariana, Mother Margaret.

In the cemetery adjoining the Convent, enclosed by a brick wall, in the center of a wood, are interred the bodies of the sisters dying at the mother institution. There, singular as it may read, lie the bodies of five of the Seton family. The first buried in this cemetery was Miss Harriet Seton, December 22, 1809; Miss Cecelia Seton, April 30, 1810; Miss Annina Seton, March 12, 1812; Miss Rebecca Seton, 1816; Mother Seton, January 4, 1821. Is it not strange, the first five interments should be the members of one family? There also rests the body of Archbishop Bailey, Rev. Burlando, Rev. Gandolfo, Rev. Mandine, Rev. Justiniana. Three young ladies, whose untimely death, rest here; the time, the seasons, the distance, prevented carrying their bodies to the Southern climes. One, Ella Riggs, of Milliken Bend, Miss., unable to return home on account of the Civil War; Miss Ida Keene and Miss Wagaman.

Here amid the quiet of the scene, with the overhanging branches of the forest, sleep in security those whose bodies were borne from the citadel home whilst the feathered songsters repeated the requiem, they rest in peace, secure from bands of the vandal, watched by those who hereafter will repose, side by side, and receive like attention from an unborn community. This gives zest to life to know our graves will not be neglected; it puts a halo of friendship around the spot and contemplates the rising morn, when the graves shall give up their dead at the voice of the Arch Angel, who shall declare time shall be no more. In 1892 by an act of the Maryland Legislature this institution can confer upon its graduates such degrees as are granted to other institutions of learning.

Collections in Churches

Among the customs of early times, was the collections taken in churches; a pole 10 feet long, with a velvet bag having a hoop at top, fastened to the pole, was carried around and presented to each in turn for their contributions. Later came the baskets; next the plates. A common custom Was for some men to nod their heads instead of dropping in a penny, as they called this their penny contribution.


Butchering was carried on at the tan yards in early times; one beef a week or in two weeks; later, one killed on Monday and Friday. Where J. H. Row lives a retail beef market was carried on for a long time; where Hoke's millinery store stands, as far back as 1850, it was a meat store; twice a week only, could beef be bought; bacon was the meat used, each family curing it in the fall; the town was full of pig stys; now mark the advantages; beef all the time; cold storage to keep it; canvassed bacon, &c.


The Zacharias family have a jug given the family by a Hessian soldier taken prisoner at Yorktown. Joseph T. Gelwicks has saber, rifle, revolver, spurs and canteen; Geo. Gelwicks has sabre, rifle, shells, bullets; the Miss Helmans have a solid twelve pound ball picked up on the Gettysburg battlefield; David T. Hoff has a grape shot and rifle ball his grandfather brought from the War of 1812; S. D. Helman has a small bible he picked up when on the march to the sea with General Sherman; also a Tennessee marble bible, carved by one of the soldiers, with square and compass cut on one side.


About 1858 the corporate authorities concluded to erect a jail. The spot selected was that point of land at the intersection of the Gettysburg road and the alley bordering the priest's lot, where in the long ago the public school house stood. Here they built a stone house about sixteen feet square; a few persons were confined in it at different times over night. One night part of the wall was opened near the roof; eventually the house was taken down. If a place was wanted for a drunken man he was confined in the rear of the engine house.

Along in the eighties the present iron cage was made in Waynesboro for the town; when it arrived the boys intended to run it back to Toms creek and throw it off the bridge into the creek; a car of lime standing on the track prevented this game. The commissioners had a difficulty in getting someone to haul it to the place assigned. It was taken there on an open wagon in the evening; the next day it was to be set on the foundation. During the night someone run the wagon down into the field and upset this iron jail off the wagon. After great labor it was placed in position; give the men the credit due them. Whilst it is not the best jail, it has served the purpose of preventing crime and drunkenness for all fear being put into this horrible thing. The county jail has always been the place men were committed, and always will be to serve a sentence; this iron jail is simply to scare evil doers or for a night of safe keeping.

Mt. St. Mary's College

This institution has a history justly entitled to be told. Whilst it does not date back as far in the past as some others, it can justly be proud of its work and speak in excellent terms of some of its pupils. Rev. John Dubois bought the first land for the seminary April, 28th, 1807, of Arnold Elder; also the plantation of same August, 1808, possession 1809. The seminary of Pigeon Hills begun by Mr. Nugent in 1806 was transferred to Mt. St. Mary's after Easter, 1809. Seventeen young men were sent to the care of Mr. Dubois, and lodged first at the home of Mr. Arnold Elder.

From the beginning of this enterprise until he was made bishop of New York, Rev. John Dubois was president. Rev. Simon Gabriel Brutea who in 1834 was made bishop of Vincennes, Ind., assisted Fr. Dubois in his labors, as did Revs. Duhamel and Hickey. From the establishment of Mt. St. Mary's College until the fall Of 1894, the president of the College was acting pastor of the mountain church. The parish priests were Rev. Michael Egan, Rev. John McGerry and Rev. John Purcell until 1832, between which time and 1838 Rev. Francis B. Jamison and Thomas R. Butler presided.

In this year Rev. John McCaffery, a native of Emmitsburg and a pupil of Rev. Dubois, succeed to the presidency, an office which he held with great success until 1871 when he was succeeded by Rev. John McClosky, who in 1877 gave place to Rev. John A. Watersan; after him again in 1880 Rev. John McClosky until his death in December 24th, 1880. Rev. Wm. Hill was called to the presidency, who for a short time looked after the interests of the College, until Rev. Wm. Byrne, D. D., vicar_general of Boston, took charge. This office was later placed in the hands of Rev. Allen, who served as president until made bishop of Mobile, when Rev. Wm. O'Hara was elected president; the present president is Rev. D. J. Flynn. Many of the strong men in the Roman Catholic church are among the graduates of this institution. Amongst them we name Bishops Hughs, Benton Purcell and Bishop Rider.

The following was kindly furnished by Rev. McSweeney, for which accept thanks:

Mt. St. Mary's College is about fifty miles from Baltimore and is reached by the Western Maryland Railroad and the Emmitsburg branch that leaves the main line at Rocky Ridge; the College is situated at the foot of the eastern spur of Catoctin, the Blue Ridge Mountains, which separate the valley of Hagerstown from the plain through which flows the Monocacy river. The spires of Gettysburg and the hills of the famous battlefield are visible from Indian Lookout and Carrick's Knob, the highest points of the mountain that shelters the College in the winter and overshadows it so gracefully on summer evenings.

The celebrated mother house of the Sisters of Charity, founded by Madame Seton, is in the vicinity. The macadamized road running from Emmitsburg about two miles away to Frederick, passes by the College. The quiet seclusion of the College, its freedom from distractions of cities and the reputation it enjoys from the great number of its distinguished graduates have turned towards it the attention of parents who are more than usually solicitous for the moral welfare and intellectual development of their children.

The College was founded in 1808 by Rev. John Dubois as a preparatory school for St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, lay students being afterward admitted, and the teaching partly done by the seminarians. Father Dubois enlarged the scope of the institution and established classes of philosophy and theology, so as to retain his assistant teachers as long as possible; this finally led to the organization of the College and Seminary on a basis of entire independence, to be conducted by an association of priests under the jurisdiction and protection of the Archbishop of Baltimore; Cardinal Gibbons is one of the most zealous promoters of the welfare of the College, and has proved himself on more than one critical occasion its most prudent counselor and practical friend.

The College has a charter from the State of Maryland, dating back to A. D. 1830, so that, after Georgetown, it is the oldest Catholic college in the United States. The College buildings were burned clown on June 6th, 1824, but were immediately rebuilt; not, however, without incurring a very heavy debt, which was carried with comparative ease till the disastrous period of the Civil War, when the patrons of the College in the Southern States, were forced to discontinue their aid. This soon brought on a crisis which was successfully met by the timely donations of the alumni, so that today its financial standing is second to that of no similar institution in the country. Many improvements have been made during the last quarter of a century; the old buildings enlarged and brought up to date, a splendid gymnasium with swimming pool, and what is perhaps the most beautiful athletic field in the Union. At present a new and vast edifice is rising, which is intended for theological students. The roll for 1905 and 1906 is the largest known in the history of the College, there having been 250 lay students and 45 seminarians, while the graduates of 1906 were 15 in number.

Early Settlers

Early settlers on Monocacy Church Book, 1747: John George Lay, John Krietzman, John M. Roemer, Peter Axtel, Henry Secks, Jacob Hoft, Martin Wetzel, George Schley, John Schmidt, John Verdnes, Michael Reisner, Dr. Schley, John Stolmyer, John Secks, John G. Seldus John C. Schmidt, John Vogler, John Davis, Frederick Overdries, Martin Wehel, Nicholas Wehel, Peter Apfal, Ludwig Wettner, Fredk. Unsalt, Jacob Hoen, Hans Frederick Geyer. Later date, Applebies, Boyers, Hardts, Fishers, Debruers, Hallers, Homes, Couradts, Ebberts, Jenkins, Howmans, Levys, Englebrights, Mayheffus, Mayers, Myers, Hoffmans, Bechtels, Cullers. At Graccham, George Ninke, Lorentz Nyburg, Harbaughs, Bollens, Hens, Ebenhards, Kreigers, Reineckes, Lydricks, Seiss, Schmidt, Utleys, Williards, Zohns, Herzers, Rossens, Renzands, Schaafs; along Monocacy river, Zimmermans, Kobbs, Hoffmans, Breckenbaughs, Bickels, Tradanes, Devilbiss, Wetzells, Eckmans, Cramers, Brickners, Crise (Krise), Gushons, Doblnians, Bluenenshines, Protsmans, Shrumps, Stulls, Cutlers, Creigers, Poes, Eichelbrgers, Shriners, Winebrenners, Shryocks,.Wilhides, Campbells, Hammets, Hoods, Dulaneys, Snyders, Snooks, Albaughs.

Wrapper Factory

Spangler, the hotel man, and Albert Maxell were the two men who solicited subscriptions for stock to start a factory. The object was to rent a room and buy a gasoline engine and offer this inducement to get an enterprise started. The business men subscribed and the project was started over Zimmerman's warehouse, Albert Maxell putting in 50 machines; he continued successfully from 1900 till 1904, when be sold out and moved to Charlestown, W. Va.

Samuel Rowe put in machines and removed the engine to Gelwicks Hall, where he continued_ the manufacture of wrappers to date.

Pop Factory

In the spring of 1906 A. Stonesifer, of Harney, Md., opened a pop bottling establishment in the brick house on a alley in Shields' Addition, supplying his goods to the town and hauling his pop to other places; an enterprise of profit to the town.

Broom Factory

Carried on by Winegardner, west of town, buying broom corn by the car load in the West, has made a success of that; in former days, was conducted by a few men, on very small scale. The early broom makers usually making up the stock for the farmers for personal use, whilst the brooms sold in the stores were purchased in the cities from dealers.

Soldiers Buried in Cemeteries

Revolutionary _ Capt. Benjamin Ogle, Capt. Henry Williams, Capt. William Blair, 1st Lieut. John Farris, Presbyterian; 2nd Lieut. Michael Hockensmith, 2nd Lieut. George Hockensmith, Ensign Jacob Hockensmith, Sergeant John Smith, Corporal John Crabbs, Corporal Arthur Row, Toms Creek; Corporal William Elder of Guy, College.

War 1812 _ Michael C. Adelsberger, James Storm, Catholic; Felix B. Taney, Jesse Nusseur, College; Capt. Michael Sluss, Toms Creek; Capt. Jacob Row, John Wetzel, Lutheran; Peter Remby, Methodist; ? Paxton, Presbyterian.

Mexican War - H. Jefferson Favourite.

Rebellion, 1861 - Major 0. A. Horner, Lieut. John M. Annan, Enos McDannells, Presbyterian; Isaac Heagey, Noah Koontz, Thadeus Maxell, Benjamin Gehrhart, Joseph Wills, John Shields, James Peoples, James Mclihenny, Jeremiah Stranesbaugh, Lutheran; G. W. McPherson, Jacob Settlemyer, James Arnold, Peter Cool, Augustus Little, John Murphy, Theodore Cook, Jacob I. Topper, Nicholas Seltzer, Catholic; John Constant, Nathaniel Millsbury, John Rosensteel, Joseph Shorb, Henry Taylor, George Seiss, College; Jacob Reeves, John Spence, Philip Long, Mountain View; John Kipe, George Kipe, Sabillasville; Frederick Nindle. Fairfield; John Hunter, Gettysburg; Joseph Davidson, Rocky Ridge; Peter Glasser, Mt. Joy; Joseph Zech, Henry Gelwicks, Joseph Coombs, Andersonville; Emory Gilson, died in prison; Newton Gilson, killed in battle.

In the year 1810 or 1812 Mr. Prances Gillmyer, a German importer, purchased Cedar Grove farm (the Gilson farm), bringing with him a family of three boys and two girls. One son studied for the church, but ere he took the vows he concluded to spend his days as a recluse; he purchased Huckle's fields in the twenties and built a rustic cabin on it, planting cherry trees as an acquisition he thought to the chestnut grove that surrounded the field; here he dwelt for sometime, carrying his meals from the College or walking there to eat them as best suited him. Whether he died there or was taken in at the College before that solemn moment came I am not prepared to say; he is buried in the cemetery on the hill, and no man at this day knows the place of his burial.

There scattered around the foundation lie the stones upon which rested the structure that sheltered Rev. Gillmyer; a chimney stood as a monument to his strange ways; for fifty years after his death the cherry trees had grown to immense proportions, and the people gathered the fruit. Fifty years after the planter changed his habitation from the mortal to the immortal; the land was inherited by Mr. James Storm's wife who was a sister of the hermit priest. Later it passed into other hands, yet never changing its name, like his neighbor, Samuel Carrick, after whom the knob was called. Huckle's fields will remain as the name for this spot until realities shall fade away, and there will be neither objects nor time to speak of or reckon. Is there nothing in a name? How about Carrick's Knob and Huckle's fields. Yes, and Emmitsburg.


Erected by the Army Association on east and west side of Fountain, an iron tablet marked Army of Potomac, July 1st, 1863: First Corps marched from Marsh creek run, Eleventh corps from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg, Second Corps from Uniontown via Taneytown to near Gettysburg, third Corps from Bridgeport via Emmitsburg to the field at Gettysburg, Fifth Corps from Union Mills to Gettysburg, Twelfth Corps via Hanover and McSherrystown to Bonoughton, Sixth Corps from Manchester en route to Gettysburg, Twelfth Corps from Littlestown via Two Taverns to field at Gettysburg, Second Cavalry Division marched from Washington to Hanover Junction, from whence the First and Third Brigade proceeded to Hanover Junction, while the Second Brigade returned to Manchester; Third Cavalry Division moved from Hanover via Abbotstown to Berlin, and the artillery reserve, First Regulars and Fourth Volunteer Brigades from Taneytown to near Gettysburg, the Vermont Brigade from the defense of Washington, joined the First Corps on the field at Gettysburg. Battle of Gettysburg, first day, and skirmishes at Carlisle, Pa.

Army of Potomac, July 4, 1863

First and Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, marched from Westminster, and the Reserve Brigade, First Cavalry Division, from Gettysburg en route to Frederick 7 Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division from Washington, from Emmitsburg to Monterey; the Third Brigade, Second Cavalry, from Gettysburg to Hunterstown, and Third Cavalry Division from Emmitsburg to Monterey Gap, Pa., and skirmish at Fairfield, Pa., and near Emmitsburg.

Correction: The troop of horsemen was commanded by Capt. D Andrew Annan; 1st lieutenant, Dr. Win. Patterson; 2nd lieutenant, John Picking. J. W. Baugher made an effort to organize a second company and be its captain, in which he failed.

The End

Helmans' History Of Emmitsburg

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