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James A. Helman's ~ 1906

History of Emmitsburg, Md.

Pages 51 - 60

From the Hughes' Family Record

John Hughes, son of James, was a hatter in Emmitsburg. Capt. William Jennings came here a single man and married Lucy Brawner, daughter of Richard Brawner; James Hughs was the first captain of the militia of Emmitsburg in 1793, and had to march with his company against the whisky boys in 1794; he was one of the four trustees who built the Roman Catholic Church-James Hughs, Richard Jennings, Henry Arnold and Joseph Hughs; James Hughs was the principal conductor of the building and planned the same in 1793; James Hughs also built the church at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary, two miles from town, in 1809. Christian Flautt, a tanner, who had the first tanyard in Emmitsburg, which he sold to Lewis Motter in 1798; he married Hannah, daughter of Patrick Hughs; C. Flautt died in December, 1815. In 1783 Dr. Wrench, of Emmitsburg, and Dr. Coats, of Taneytown, held a consultation; in 1783 Joseph Hughs says be attended school, the teachers, old master Lawrence and William Hutchinson, very good teachers; Joseph and Daniel Hughs kept store in a house on the land of Richard Elder in March, 1786; in August we moved to Emmitsburg to a house my father had built between Adam Hoffman, batter, and a large frame then raised and under roof belonging to Samuel and William Shields; James Hughs purchased half of the lot and afterwards the other half, then joined the frame of his house together in which we kept store, until 1807, when I took out tavern license and we kept tavern and store together; times were hard, and we paid 20 per cent per annum for money; Richard Jennings had settled in Emmitsburg in the fall or winter Of 1785 or 1786, had purchased a small house, one story high from Samuel Shields on the corner of the Diamond, the center of Emmitsburg, where he sold some store goods and sold rum and whisky by the small, until lie purchased the next lot adjoining, where he began his brick house where brother James lives and his present wife, Lucy, formerly Mrs. Jennings; at the time we came to Emmitsburg there was only a few families that lived in it, viz., Richard Jennings, bachelor; John Rogers, who kept a tavern in the house where old John Troxell now lives, and Adam Hoffman, hatter, to trade adjoining us. In the house now owned by Peter Honiker and Michael Smith, a blacksmith, who built the house owned by George Winter, and Frederick Beard, who had the small house now built on Reed's lot; then built on the lot where Patrick Reed now lives, William Shields lived in the house where Jenny Burket now lives, and this composed Emmitsburg in 1786. We had very rough beginning in this town, everything was in the most plain and common way; the country people met almost every Saturday; John Ripley was all the Justice of Peace for this place, Taneytown and Pipe Creek; card playing began and the game of 100, which was practiced very much, though in a small way at first; long bullets and fines were our general exercise and a little dance, and when the town becomes thicker inhabited, then comes dancing masters amongst us, also in the country, which improved us that practice; there was always three Sundays we had no church and many holidays, but poorly.

Joseph Hughs, the writer, married Polly Buchanan April 30th, 1792, daughter of Dr. John Buchanan; he had removed from Taneytown in 1791. I sold to Henry Arnold and Christian Flautt in the year 1791 my house and lot where Agnew's tavern now stands, and six lots where Motter’s Tan Yard now stands for 250 pounds, and then I purchased the corner house where Quin now lives from brother James Hughs for 425 pounds. I had purchased the house and lot from Daniel Gorden, that Jacob Troxell now owns, for 26 pounds, just under roof, then sold the house and lot to John Troxell, father of Jacob Troxell, hatter, for 55 pounds. My brother Henry Hughs paid me fifty dollars yearly rent for the tavern part of the house, and I furnished him in all the articles for his tavern and all his liquors until my sister Hannah and Christian Flautt got married; then brother Henry quit the tavern and Henry Arnold took it on rent until I got tired of having a tavern so near me, and in 1793 I sold my house to George Hockensmith for 360 pounds and I purchased a farm house from Emmit for 200 dollars where James Storm now lives. I built a chimney in same and finished in 1794; had my store in lower part, I raised a kitchen and built a stable; dug a draw well; sold it in spring of 1795 to Joseph Flautt of Littlestown for $1,200. Sometime before I had purchased from Richard Jennings on the Diamond a lot 3o feet square for 8o dollars, and built a frame house on it, where Bartholomew McCaffery now lives, and I lived and kept store until 1804.

Character of Early Settlers

In localities settled by the early emigrants a great deal of superstition prevailed, spooks, tokens, hobgoblins, &c. The different nationalities settling here appear to be free from this humbug, as no reference is made by the oldest citizen. It has its origin amongst the ignorant. The class of persons settling here give evidence of being men of more than ordinary culture for that age. Hence, the lack of superstition, take the first named person and his occupation, Capt. Richard Jennings, merchant.

The merchants of that day and long after were all trained men, having served an apprenticeship; not so now. I would put a wager, if we could decide it. Capt. Jennings was an educated man, and a trained merchant; Adam Hoffman, hatter, a trained mechanic; John Rogers, tavern keeper. That did not mean the keeper of a grogery. Oh, no. It meant a fine gentleman. Such as engaged in that occupation at that time.

Michael Smith, blacksmith, an expert at the anvil, an intelligent mechanic; Frederick Baird, carpenter, he has left evidence of his handiwork in the house he built; James and Joseph Hughs, merchants and architects. Could we suppose for one moment they, practical men, could harbor such deception. Never ! Samuel Emmit, a far-seeing man, a man of intelligence, Wm. Shields, a surveyor, always true to the compass; John Hughs, who built a two story brick house; Christian Flautt, who built the first tan yard; John Ropley, a justice of the peace for Emmitsburg, Taneytown and Pipe creek; Martin and Margaret Cocoran, who taught the school in 1800.

If the settlers unknown to its were of this class, which no doubt they were, we are assured superstition was below par. Later, the men who came, as settlers, evinced they were men of strong character. Whether in church, professions, merchants, mechanics, or what not, they gave a moral and religious tone to. this entire community that it feels today, and is demonstrated by their decedents. The foundations laid by these first men, have never been dug out, nor will the structure they built upon them; their names are unknown; none of their posterity in many cases live here but scattered through the West can be found, those whose ancestry were born here, and Emmitsburg is remembered.

Tan Yards

The first tan yard in the town was built by Christian Flautt. He sold it to Lewis Motter in 1798, who successfully carried it on until his death in 1837. Opening a store in part of his house, also acting as magistrate. It passed into the hands of his son Lewis, who continued the enterprise until 1880, when he closed the vats and abandoned the business. Michael Sponseller carried on a tan yard at the same time at the lower end of town. This yard was not operated later than 1850. Jacob Oyster conducted a yard on lot east of foundry at an early date. Jacob Troxell married his daughter, continuing the business until his death in 1833, after which his sons, Samuel and William, continued the yard until Samuel's death, 1850, when the yard was closed, William moving to Kentucky. Jacob Rickenbaugh conducted a yard at the west end, afterward he moved to Waynesboro. Jacob Motter continued at same yard. In the county Arnold Livers below the college; Gorley up in the mountain; Robert Annan on Toms creek. This yard was burned, rebuilt, and continued for a time. Taylor Brothers purchased the farm connected with the yard, tearing down the buildings in 1876; today all are in ruins, thus an enterprise of great value to the community has passed away. We observe when one enterprise ceases there is no other to take its place, and industries that once proved so profitable here, the same products have to be sought for elsewhere. Why is it?

Grist Mills

The oldest mill was the brick mill built by John Troxell, recently torn down by the Sisters, on Toms creek. It was built in 1778 or '79. In this mill meetings were held to recruit and arrange matters for soldiers during Revolutionary war.

Philip Nunemaker built a brick mill on Toms creek in Pennsylvania.

Crabbs built the mill known as Maxell's, now Martin's. Crabbs had a mill on Toms creek, below the pike. The Sisters had it later, then tore it down and built the present mill.

Johnatban Hazelet built the Carroll mill about 1800, sold to James and Henry McDivit. James and Henry McDivit built the present mill Covers prior to 1825. About 1860 they rebuilt.

Rhodes mill has been running perhaps a century; built by Kephart, 1800; Shultz owned, then Rhodes.

The Hartman mill was built by Dr. Robert Annan for a clover mill, afterwards converted into a grist.

The Grable mill is an old stand, perhaps a century old. The Sheets, Sell, Myers mill is an old mill, as George Sheets was one of the earliest men to settle in that section, 1746 or earlier. At these mills meetings were arranged for whatever the community was interested in, as they were centers for the people to gather, many waiting for their grist. Young men met here to play cards, dominos, and pitch quoits. The trouble connected with the large water wheels in the winter time was overcome later by the turbine wheel. Now the. picking of the burrs has been displaced by the improved roller process.

The millers in this locality today are David Rhodes, George Ginglo, Cover, Cump, Howard Martin, Daniel Hartman. The present improved mills make superior flour to the old process, giving whiter bread, but some one says not so sweet.

[Read the history of the Gingrell/Shank's Mill]

Post Office

[Historical Society Note: Recent detailed research conducted in support of a new book on the history of the Emmitsburg area does not Mr. Helman  assertion that the post office was ever called poplar Fields ... for the correct history, please read:  Setting the record straight, the real history of Emmitsburg's founding.]

Poplar Fields was the name of first post office. William Greenemyer the first post master; he died in 1802, in his 30th year, a son-in-law of John Troxell. The second post master was Patrick Reid, landlord of the Eagle hotel. The third was Louff, a German; the fourth, Joseph Hughs; fifth, Joachim Elder; sixth, Dr. A. Taney; seventh, Joachim Elder; eighth, Robert Crooks. After his death Jacob Crooks, his son; James Knauff, Maj. 0. A. Horner, S. N. McLain, James A. Elder, S. N. McNair, James B. Elder, John A, Horner, Ezra R. Zimmerman; after his death his wife, Emma Zimmerman, present incumbent.

Stage Coaches and Mail

Everybody has heard of the stage coach. It is within the memory of many in Emmitsburg. When the stage left here in the morning, very early, for Baltimore, the passengers having a whole day's jogging along. Weary and worn out when they reached the city, no uncommon thing to have from ten to twelve passengers, besides the boot back and front filled with baggage, carrying the mail and stopping at Taneytown and Westminster to change the horses as well as the mail. An omnibus left Baltimore, headquarters Western hotel, Howard and Saratoga streets. If you wished to come west you went to this hotel and engaged passage. Early in the morning the driver in Emmitsburg would go along the street blowing a born to awaken the passengers.

This was continued until 1856, when the rail- road was made from Hanover to Littlestown, the stage running daily there, carrying the mail. When the railroad was made to Gettysburg, 1858, Gettysburg was the point. Again the passengers and mail was transferred to the Western Maryland R. R. When completed to Westminster the coaches made the daily trips there. As the road advanced to Linwood, to Union Bridge, to New Windsor. York road Double Pipe creek, R. Ridge and Thurmont. The stage continued running to Thurmont until the Emmitsburg railroad was made. In 1872 the road was graded; the tracks laid 1875; the first train November 22d, 1875 free excursion all day; the first mail on railroad December 6th, 1875; the first excursion to Baltimore November 27th, 1875- 400 passengers on the train to Baltimore. John Donohue, the contractor; Taylor Brothers built the bridges.

The mail at one time was carried on a horse from Frederick to Gettysburg. Later, 1860, an omnibus was run be Between Emmitsburg and Frederick; each former was abandoned as the railroad facilities increased; an incident in connection with staging as follows: The commencement at St. Joseph's was over Thursday; wagons loaded with trunks started early for Gettysburg; when they arrived there they could not deliver the baggage as the cars did not come further than New Oxford; the teams loaded with over a hundred and fifty trunks drove the ten miles, when the stages loaded with a hundred young ladies, from the school, followed on to New Oxford. That was the last train run west of Hanover until after the battle at Gettysburg. The wagons and stages returned via Littlestown. Lt-e bad crossed into Maryland; the next week the fight was on. One day later and those scholars would have been left.

Still Houses

These were dotted over the country on farm, at mills, seldom in towns. Amongst the earliest in this locality were John Grabill, Jonathan Hazelet, one on the John Eckard farm before 1800, George L. Shriner on Marsh creek, McDivit's on Toms creek, Rhodes on Middle creek, Eichelberger's on Turkey run, Wagerman's, Cretins, besides re- port says many on cooking stoves, called illicit distilleries. This whiskey was not all drunk in the community. It was shipped to the city, whilst other liquors were brought from the city to the town.

In connection with the manufacture or sale of this article there has always been a suspicion that the parties thus engaged feel they are tinder ban, and the business is not right. Again the saying is common, "Liquor money will not stick. " Without seeking information elsewhere, what has been the sequel to its sale and manufacture in this community, at your leisure, count up the men from the days when Emmitsburg became a town, at Hockensmith's tavern, to this date, and count the number of men engaged in this calling during the interim, and make out a balance sheet.


The first record of a landlord is John Rogers, 1786, tavern keeper. At this time few taverns were needed, the people staid at home, they had work, hard work, regular work, to build and till the soil. The travelers were on foot or on horse; the accommodations were limited, and beds of feathers or straw, covered with the old coverlet, flowered in gay colors, the chimney place the only fire in the house. The candle the only light.

James Hughes built the Eagle Hotel, known as Mrs. Agnew's and conducted it. Mrs. Agnew was the successful landlady, her house was filled with boarders, principally from the South. She died in 1853, when Hager refitted the house, continuing as proprietor for a few years, when Daniel Wile purchased his interest. A few days after the sale was consummated Hager and Wile were standing face to face examining a revolver, Hager having it in his hands. It discharged accidentally, the ball passing through Wile's neck. A bed was made on the parlor floor, where he remained until sufficiently recovered to be moved. This was about 1856 Or 1857, directly after, the old hotel was torn down. The four-story hotel was built by Wile, it was burned in the fire of June 15th, 1863.

Taylor Brothers built the present hotel. It was first conducted by Raphael Jarboe, afterward by Busby and Adelsberger, William Crouse, Harnish, Bowers, Eyster, Spangler, J. B. Elder.

Black's Tavern was one of the old stands. After the death of Mrs. Black came Jerry Black, her son, then Gunther, Riddlemoser, Hoffman, Hoke, Hoffman.

In 1879 Samuel Smith bought the property and built the Emmit House. After him Sutton, Hoke, Wilson, Hoke, Smith, Munsselman, Hemler.

Getter's Hotel was increased by the addition of all the property to the square. Devit of Philadelphia was the landlord. Burned in the fire 1863.

Lowhead's Hotel, where the Joshua Motter property stands, other small taverns stood where the bank stands, Mrs. E. R. Zimmerman's house, and others.

Slagle house first kept by William Spalding, then Slagle. No boarding houses in the town at any period, as the residents keep house, strangers the hotel patrons.


Dr. Brown settled on the banks of Toms creek. He is the earliest tradition tells of Dr. Rench came whilst Brown was living, dying prior to1800, buried at Toms creek. Dr. Robert Annan is next, born 1765, died 1827 His brother, Dr. Samuel Annan, was associated with him. He left Emmitsburg. Drs. Daniel and Robert Moore practiced for a time; they removed to Baltimore. Dr. Buchanan is spoken of. Dr. James Shorb, Dr. W. Patterson, Jefferson Shields, Dr. Wells. Andrew Annan born 1805, died 1896. J. W. Fichelberger, 1804, died 1895; Augustus Taney, 1804-1853; Felix McNeal, John Grover, C. D. Richelberger, J. W. Hichelberger, John B. Brawner, Robert L. Annan, J. K. Wrigley, Timothy Sweeney, Dr. Swartz, Dr. Troxell. in country. E. D. Stone and I. B. Jamison. Dr. J. W. Reigle, horse farrier.

The doctors of the long past carried a large pocket-book filled with the various drugs to compound the doses. No drug stores nor the handy prepared tablets and pills of the present day.

Drug Store

William McBride opened a drug store in Dr. Patterson's one-story building, east of his dwelling, on the Square. About 1850 J. A. Ellder purchased McBride's stock and continued in this building till 1854, removing it to the old building, standing where he afterward erected the present one, continuing until his death in 1898, when T. F. Zimmerman bought the stock. He is the proprietor now.

Dr. Charles D. Richelberger opened a drug store in the present post office room in 1878. A few years after purchased his present building on opposite side, where he has continued to supply the trade.

The general stores keep a limited stock of the coarser drug, a custom dating back to the time when the stores were the only vendors of drugs, etc.


In 1786 Capt. Richard Jennings built the first store room, where E. E. Zimmerman has his store, a one-story log house, born 1759-795. His widow, Lucy Jennings, married James Hughs, a merchant, who built a store where the bank stands. He was born 1735-1839. Patrick Lowe, 1781-1827; Patrick Quin, George Grover, 1779-1850; Lewis Motter, 1779-1837; George Smith, 1780-1837; Isaac Baugher, 1787-1847; Joshua Motter, 1801-1875; J. W. Baugher, Adam Epley, James Kerrigan, Joseph Danner, Motter & Row, Fusting & McBride, McBride & Taney, James Storm, Storm & Smith, Smith & Clutz, J. C. Shorb, Troxell & Morrison, Moritz & Smith, Row & Annan, Fred A. Row, Henry Gelwicks, Mrs. J. P. Bussey, Smith & Shorb, Smith & Cash, Smith & McIntire, Isaac Hyder, Hyder & Krise, J. Taylor Motter, D. Zeck, Horner & Co., G. W. Row, J. A. Heiman, I. S. Annan & Bro., Robert Getwicks, D. S. Gillelan, J. & C. Row, J. C. Williams, Peter Burket, P. Hoke, Heiman & Row, J. A. Heiman, Wm. G. Blair, J. Thomas Gelwicks, Chas. Rotering, J. l. Caldwell, Hoke & Sebold, J. E. Hoke, W. D. Colliflower.


Dentistry was an itinerancy for a long time in Emmitsburg. Dr. Lechler, of Waynesboro, Pa., made his monthly visits, making the old time gold plates. Dr. Geo. Fouke, of Westminster, came here monthly about 1854, and after, for many years, his son, still paying the town an occasional visit. Dr. Conner for a short time. Dr. J. W. Berry, of Virginia, came 1861, boarding at Wile's hotel, the first resident dentist. After spending two years here he moved to Hagerstown. Later, Dr. Keedy came. Then Dr. J. P. Bussey, for some years. Dr. Wright a few years. Dr. Anders made his monthly visits. Dr. Gall a short time. The present resident, Dr. Forman, since 1897.

Pages 61-70

Helmans' History Of Emmitsburg

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