Home | Mission & Goals | Meeting Schedule | Search | Contact Us | Submit A Story | Links

James A. Helman's ~ 1906

History of Emmitsburg, Md.

Pages 11 - 20

The Germans on their way from Pennsylvania to Virginia 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 settlement 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 concentrated here. New comers we-re 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 receive 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. Jonathan Hays is the ancestor of the Hays family here. The first patent on record in this vicinity is to George Smith, March 2 1st, 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 Taneytown; 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 Danner settled at Bridgeport, where Correll lived. He is the head of the Danner family. His tomb is the oldest in the community, 1768. 

George Hockensmith settled on the Albert Maxell farm, embracing the lands of D. 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 connections 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.

Sluss settled on the farm now Hawk's. The foregoing as well as the Crabbs, Ohlers, Nickumes 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 Diggs' 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, following Tom's creek to Friend's creek, then north into Pennsylvania and east, making near four miles square, including Carroll's tract. The McDivitt mill derived its name, Carroll 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 1779.

In Pennsylvania the early settlers were Cochrans, Overholtzers, Bakers, Zimmermans, Bollingers, Clarks, Pattersons, Fikers, 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 missionary to the Dutch Reformed church of Frederick County, Maryland. 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, frequently from the same provinces in Germany. Would locate near a stream, or build near a spring; their accommodations were limited to overhanging trees, a covered wagon, or tent, until a log house could be erected. Sonic 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 bard to part with as the in comers encroached upon them. The tribe was the Susquehanna's, 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 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 Zentz now lives. His wife died the same year. 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 Baltimore; 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 Jonathan Hays in 1757, now owned by W. Moser. The land owned by C. T. Zacharias, called Single Delight, Peter Troxell's as Diggs' Lot, and Benjamin's Good Luck; the Shields' tract as Caroline, Sugar Camp, Walnut Bottom; George Row's tract, French Purchase.

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 December 7th, 1763, finished January 9th. 1768. The following is the line from Monocacy to Friend's creek 1765, August 26, at Monocacy, 73 miles 58 chains; cross Marsh creek, McKinley's house, 8o miles 2i chains; 77 stone falling in Marsh creek 125 yards of true place, 82 miles 66 chains, Matthew 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; with 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, recruiting officers went into the harvest field, took two men from along Monocacy, and both men were killed in Braddock's defeat. During one of the Indian raids through this section Alexander McKeseay, near Emmitsburg, was standing 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 settlement of Conecocheague, Md., remained. This year Washington advised the people between Conecocheague and Fredericktown to assemble, which they 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 realities 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 foregoing 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 bated 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 gathered 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 exhibition at Baltimore and Fredericktown. Hood's punishment did not stop with his degradation. No one would buy his goods. The populace threatened to tear down his house. At last they threatened him with personal vengeance; he fled from the province. Did not stop until he reached New York; the people determined no stamp officer should escape; he was seized and given the alternative of resigning his office or being conducted back to Maryland; he yielded and was set at liberty.

While the two Houses at Annapolis were disputing whether they would pay the claims of all equally deserving, whose demands had been included in the bill, the lower House agreed to all but the clerks of the council, and re- fused to separate the journal. In the meantime all claims were postponed. The people in the western part of the State were interested, and there the deepest feeling was aroused. At Fredericktown they gathered in force, 400 men armed, with rifles and tomahawks, proceeded to declare their intention to march to Annapolis and settle the dispute between them. It was an exciting time in the colonies. The spirit Of 1776 was in the people, although that time had not arrived.

The Frederick County court had the high honor of first deciding in a legal manner the unconstitutionality of the Stamp Act. This decision was received with joy, and the people hastened to celebrate so important an event. A festival took place in Fredericktown on November 30tb, 1765. The Sons of Liberty in funeral procession, in honor of the death of the Stamp Act, marched through the streets bearing a coffin, on which was inscribed, "The Stamp Act expired of a mortal stab from the genius of liberty in Frederick County Court November, 1765, aged 22 days. " The late Zacharias Hood was chief mourner in effigy; the whole affair ended merrily in a ball.

The foregoing has been related to show the time our ancestors passed through; the excitement, the deprivation, the anxiety that awaited them at every turning point of Frederick County history. In the adjoining county of Adams, Pa., the early settlers were Irish and Scotch-Irish, with a small minority of Germans.

A meeting convened at the old school house, not far from the mill built by John Troxell in 1778 on Toms' creek, Sunday, August 28th, 1770. The meeting was largely attended by the old inhabitants, who were deeply impressed by the situation. There were present on that occasion William Blair (old Scotch descent), James Shields, Sr., William Shields, Charles Robinson, Patrick Haney, Robert Brown, Henry Hockensmith, Rudolf Need, Thomas Hughs, Thos. Martin, William Elder (son of Guy), Samuel Westfall, Moses Kenedy, Alexander Stewart, William Curren, Jr., Charles Carroll, Octavius S. Taney, Philip Weller, Daniel Morrison, Wm. Koontz, Christian Hoover, John Smith, Daniel McLean, John Parris, John Long, Arthur Row, John Crabbs, George Ovelman, Jacob Valentine, Wm. Munroe, Moses Ambrose, George Kelly, Walter Dulaney, Homer J. Bowie, James Park, Robert Agnew, John Carrick, Frederick Troxell, Dominick Bradley, William Brawner, Henry Brooks and others. It was agreed by a show of hands that Wm. Blair should be called to the chair, and John Farris appointed secretary of the meeting. The meeting was then addressed by Walter Dulaney and W. Elder (of Guy), who concluded by offering the following resolutions:

Resolved by the inhabitants of Toms' creek, Frederick County, in the province of Maryland, loyal to their king and country, That we reaffirm the great Magna Charter of our civic and religious rights, as granted by Charles of England to Lord Baltimore and the inhabitants of this colony, as reaffirmed on the first landing of the pilgrim fathers of Maryland. That there shall be a perfect freedom of conscience, and every person be allowed to enjoy his religious political privileges and immunities unmolested.

The resolution was read and re-read and adopted by a showing of hands. It was further Resolved, that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Annapolis Gazette and Bradford paper at Philadelphia.

There were four military companies raised in Frederick County, Md., in 1775, as follows:

  • First at Emmitsburg (called the Game Cock Company) - Captain W. Blair; 1st Lieutenant, George Hockensmith; 2nd Lieutenant, Henry Williams; Ensign, Jacob Hockensmith; Sergeants, W. Curren, Jr., Christian Crabbs, John Smith, George Kelly; Corporals, John Crabbs, George Mathews, Arthur Row, James Parks; Drum, Daniel McLean; 54 privates.
  • Second at Emmitsburg, Md: Capt. W. Shields; 1st Lieutenant, John Faire; 2nd Lieutenant, Michael Hockensmith; Ensign, John Shields; Sergeants, Charles Robinson, James Shields, Patrick Haney, Robert Brown; Corporals, Moses Kennedy, John Hank, John Long, Thomas Baird; 52 privates.
  • Third Company: Capt. Jacob Ambrose; 1st Lieutenant, Peter Shover; 2nd Lieutenant, Henry Bitzel; Ensign, John Weller; Sergeants, Martin Bantz, Frederick Schultz, John Gump, Casper Young; Corporals, John Protzman, George Kuhn, Dominick Bradley, Lawrence Creager; Drummer, John Shaw; Fifer, Philip Weller; 50 privates.
  • Fourth Company: Capt. Benjamin Ogle; 1st Lieutenant, Henry Matthews; 2nd Lieutenant, George Nead; Ensign, James Ogle; Sergeants, John Syphus, Lawrence Protzman

Peter Leonard; Corporals, Jacob Valentine, Adam Knauff, Daniel Protzman, William Elder of Guy, Fifer, Daniel Linebaugh; Drummer, John Roche; 52 privates.

It was in reference to these troops that General Washington made the following remarks at the house of Key, near Middleburg, Md.

"My Citizens-(Deeply affected) I am about to leave your good land, your beautiful valley, your refreshing streams, and the blue hills of Maryland, which stretch before me. I cannot leave you, fellow citizens, without thanking you, again and again, for your kind greeting, for the true and devoted friendship you have shown me. When the darkest hours of the revolution, of doubt and gloom, the succor and support I received from the people of Frederick County, Maryland, always cheers me, it always awakes a responsive echo in my breast. I feel the emotion of gratitude beating in my breast, my heart is too full to say more. God bless you all."

In this connection I copy the following to show the rate of taxes charged in 1780 and a receipt for substitute to serve in militia company during the Revolutionary war.

Sept. 12th, 1780. Then received of Mr. Richard Brawner the sum of seventy-nine pounds, twelve shillings and nine pence, for the purpose of hiring a substitute for my company of militia to enlist during the war.

Rec’d in full, JOHN SHIELDS.

Rec'd Sept. 9th, 1772, of Mr. Richard Brawner the sum of nine shillings and ten pence sterling on two hundred and forty acres of land, which appears by G. Dickens, rest to be no more due till the next Michaelmas, for George Scott, likewise by G. Dickens next for Michaelmas, 172I, Dated July 2 1st. PAUL HAGERTY

Richard Brawner, Dr.

To: Elders kindness, 150 acres, 06'-41/2
"Resurvey by Black, 40" 01'-71/2
"The B. Goodwill, 45" 01'-10
"Elders kindness, 99" 03'-111/2
"Back rent 03'-111/2

I herewith give a copy of Father Brutea's letter dated 1823, giving the town as he was informed it was in 1786:

 "Emmitsburg was a wood in 1786 when the Hughes came. The house of Mr. Tennings was the first built, not the present brick house, but a small log, house, now a back building. The church was built in 1793, the land belonged originally to Mr. Carroll of Annapolis and was called Carrollsburg, it being in two parts, one lower in Maryland, one upper in Pennsylvania. The meeting for giving a name to the town was held at Hockensmith's farm. Some were for Carrolltown, some for Emmitsburg, which prevailed; it was about '1786. The line of Pennsylvania about three-fourths of a mile straight north of cast on Gettysburg road, but northwest much nearer. It passes the free George Snivally house, Chroniker still in Maryland and Mr. Little; but Patterson in Pennsylvania.

"The Roman Catholic congregation is composed of Irish, Germans and American, besides colored persons, both slave and free. Half of the town is Catholic the rest is chiefly Presbyterian and Lutheran. The latter have a resident minister in the town who preaches alternatively in English and German. The Presbyterians have their meeting about a-half mile north, their minister, Mr. Grier, does not live in town: there are some Episcopalians. Dr. Moore is a Quaker, they follow principally the Presbyterian. One of the trustees is an Irish apostate. Sometimes other preachers pass through, they preach in these churches or in Protestant school houses. 

There is a Methodist preacher near about two miles (he holds meetings, classes, &c., at his house on Sunday and Wednesday), near Tom's creek, where there is a little village named after him, Morantown. I believe there are very few Methodists in town. The meetings and preaching of Presbyterians are held in the fields. Catholics sometimes attend them. The town numbers about 700 inhabitants. There, are four principal taverns, and perhaps seven or eight tipling shops, under the sign liquors and fruits; besides these the principal groceries and dry goods stores, of which there are six, quite considerable, sell drams and whiskey to anyone coming, particularly to their customers; there are four doctors, Hannan and his young brother-in-law, Dr. Moore, Dr. Shorb. We have neither library nor printing press. The various stores have an assortment of prayer books, and. some elementary books for schools, of which there are principally two, one Catholic, the other Protestant, with their brick school house, one or two school mistresses for the smaller children."

Pages 21 - 30

Helmans' History Of Emmitsburg

Back to Previous Page >