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James A. Helman's ~ 1906

History of Emmitsburg, Md.

Pages 71 - 80


In 1847 James Storm opened a store; he had one journey- man cigar maker to manufacture fine cigars; the cheap cigars called tobies sold for 16 cents a hundred, the half Spanish for 37 1/2 cents or two for one' cent, tobies four for a penny. Mr. Storm carried on for about a year. In 1850 Michael Helman had two, sometimes three men making cigars, in connection with his other business; he discontinued in a few years. Not until 1868, when Frank Scheek made cigars, was the manufacture of cigars carried on again. In 1885 James A. Hicky worked a number of hands for a few years; he discontinued when Charles Miller, of Frederick, carried on for about two years, returning to Frederick. Mahlon Whitmore came from Thurmont, opening a factory, which he continues to the present time.


This was an occupation second to none in each community, as every head required a hat, and all the hats were made by the local hatters. Major John Horrit carried on where the Slagle Hotel stands; he was born 1779, and died in Baltimore 1856; is buried in Roman Catholic cemetery. Jacob Troxell carried on the business where J. Harry Row lives; he was born in 1767, died 1852, is buried in Lutheran cemetery. Abraham Weltv carried on where Payne lives; he was born in 1774, died 1876, buried in Roman Catholic cemetery. John Hitechew was an old man when working journey work for Henry Winter where the Misses Winter's live. The manufacturing of hats closed up all the local enterprises. Hats like all others. Saltzgiver made hats where Hopp, the baker, lives; with him the industry ceased in Emmitsburg.


A milliner was a lady that understood the art of trimming hats; she did-riot sell bonnets, hats, ribbons, flowers, silks for lining, &c.; these articles were kept in stock by the merchants. The ladies selected their bonnets and trimmings, taking them to the mil-liner. She did the work, charging a nominal price for it, usually employing a number of young girls, who intended to follow the trade. Miss Kate Curren and Mrs. Blair are remembered as the old time Milliners. Miss Kate Cash was the first to carry a stock of material in millinery. She had her store in the east end of Mrs. F. R. Zimmerman's house. It revolutionized the trade. The merchants closed out their stock, and the milliner made a success of the business. Mrs. D. G. Adelsberger, Jacob Hoke, Misses Susan and Lunnie Winter and Miss Helen Hoke to date.


The places for children to spend money were few sixty to seventy-five years ago; whilst they had little to spend, places to spend that were, Mrs. Boyles, a few jars stick candy and a few ginger cakes, and Mrs. Hitechew, ginger cakes and small beer. Mrs. Hitechew was noted for her ginger cakes; the young men and maidens were frequenters at both places for refreshments. In 1847 James Storn built the office of Dr. Stone for a store; he opened out the first stock of candy; it was an up-to-date assortment; the people appreciated. the opportunity and be profited by their patronage. A year later F. X. Deckelmyer, a candy manufacturer and practical cake baker, opened where the store of Rotering stands, where he kept candy, cakes and toys; he made the first ice cream for sale in the town. He built the brick house of E. E. Zimmerman in 1832, where he carried on until about 1868, when he sold out to Mrs. Seabrooks; now ten stores carry in their stock confectionery; prior to 1850 bananas were not seen in this market; oranges never sold for less than five cents; too high for the children of that age, as money was not so plentiful as now.


The first newspaper published in Emmitsburg was edited and printed by F. S. Riley, called The Banner, 1841, After publishing it three months he sold out to Troxell, Duphom & McTale. We hear of it no more. In 1844 Mr. C. Grate published the Emmitsburg Star in a shop on the lot where Bennet Tyson lives; he continued for several years, and it is heard of no more. In 1879 Samuel Motter established the Emmitsburg, Chronicle, carrying it on successfully through its infancy; making it an assured fact that a paper can be edited and sustained here; he died in 1889, after which time his son Paul conducted the paper. Later William Troxell purchased the plant, continuing it until June, 1906, when Sterling Galt, of Washington, bought it. Since the first it has been publisher in the room over J. A. Row's shoe shop. 

In July, 1906, Mr. Galt purchased the brick store building of G. W. Row's heirs, and moved the plant into it. The old hand press has been laid by, a new outfit installed, with all the modern improvements. We seldom think of the deprivation of the past. The weekly papers from Baltimore came late Friday night; the only papers-received were the weeklies-Sun and Cloher, until 1851. Albert Potterfield opened a store where S. N. McNair's house stands; be arranged to have the daily Sun sent him each day; lie bad a few subscribers. J. A. Helman sold the papers on the street, one cent each. The paper was four pages. His store burned in 18S2. Mr. Andrew Eyster took the agency and the papers have been a daily visitor ever since. The American, Sun and Chronicle are served regularly at this time.

Street Pump

In the Square, displaced by the fountain, is a well dug no doubt by the first settlers in 1780 or earlier, or at least 1786, when the town was laid out. This was a custom, to dig a well in the square when a town was laid out. There the people of all classes and colors slaked their thirst; from this well some of the families around the Square obtained their water, not having wells on their properties; here the boys drank from the spout just like a boy can drink; passing teams were watered here daily; cows were watered also. It has been said any boy that has drunk from this well will never lose his desire to return to his old home. What if be comes now, and cannot get a drink? Does not certain objects, familiar scenes make life what it is to us all; the removal of a tree changes the aspect. The thirsty need water, can this be had in Emmitsburg today at any public place? only at a private house, hotel or saloon. When the pump stood on the Square all could drink, man and beast, day or night, summer or winter.


This feast of bivalves the people of today enjoy is something in olden time was a luxury indeed. Time was when the only oysters the people of Emmitsburg enjoyed was when some huckster or team had no return load from the city brought oysters, selling them at 25 cents a bushel along the streets. Many were the family shuckings as they roasted them in the tin-plate stove. Young men and maidens often partook of them in company. Later John Burket arranged to sell oysters; shipped to him he carried them along the street, his melodious voice singing:

My oysters is fresh, and just from de shell,
I don't know de reason my oysters don't sell.


The present lighted streets and flood of light in the houses, from the improved burners, give a striking contrast to the olden times when the light of other ages, the pine knot or tallow dip, gave a satisfied people pleasure. in what they possessed.

It was the universal light; the well-to-do had no advantage over the poor; there was no other alternative, use the dip or sit in darkness. Some of the heirlooms in candlesticks if they could tell, oh, what would it be? Courtships, marriages, sick-beds, death scenes, the only light the tallow dip. The tailors sat around the candle working on the cloth; the shoemaker at his shoes; the wife at her sewing; the merchant in almost darkness. 

This continued until the lard lamp was invented; there was more appreciation of this change than at present over this change from an oil lamp to electric light Late in the fifties kerosene oil was refined and lamps made to burn it; one wick No. 1 satisfied the people; the size was increased, Argand burners invented, then duplex, latest Rochester, now we are at the Apex; houses lighted beyond its use. It does not stop; acetylene in the churches, in the houses, on the streets, electric light in prospect. View the changes compared with the dip; are we satisfied?

Item: The warehouse of Zimmerman & Co. was built for a machine shop by Joshua Shorb, Charles Miles and D. G. Adelsberger; they carried on a machine shop, foundry and blacksmith shop. The machine shop and contents were moved to Westminster, when Mr. Shorb left, 1868, Zimmerman and Maxell bought the property and moved their warehouse business from the station. It is now used by Zimmerman & Shriner for a warehouse.

Read more about the Street Lights of Emmitsburg and the men who lit them.


Samuel Baumgardner manufactured clay pots in the house known as Peter Brown's, between 1830 and 1840.


Jones & Hardman erected the building and started the present foundry; Fraley built the present brick shop; the log shop replaced by the brick was Hardman's smith shop, standing where the brick shop stands of Mrs. F. Hardman. It was rolled from up street down to the foundry; Jones sold his interest to Frederick Troxell, moving west. Troxell died in 1852; Hardman continued the plant; later sold it to Joseph Hays & Bro., who sold it to Fraley Brothers.


John Armstrong was early in the town, as his name is on the plat of 1808 as owner of No. I and 2 lots; his reputation as a gunsmith wag good; he made rifles and shot guns; dying, the business was continued by his former apprentice, Nathaniel Row, who retained Armstrong's reputation; his brother Samuel worked with him until he went west. David T. Hoff is the only repairer of guns between Frederick and Gettysburg and Waynesboro and Westminster; he is a dandy as well as a No. 1 mechanic; very fond of artistic pictures.

Brick Yards

Very early a brick yard was conducted by George Houck where John Bell lives; David Gamble made brick along Toms creek before 1840; he supplied all the brick for a long time; Hopkins Skile made some on the Byers farm; Thomas Clabaugh, and T. M. Stouter, afterward J. M. Stouter was the manufacturer; be added tile making; after his death his son continued.


Frederick Gelwicks manufactured beer at the old stand very early, 1800, continuing it till his death, when his son Mathias continued it until other beers made it unprofitable. John Elour, a German, came here 1860, a basket maker; later he started a beer cave, conducting it with profit; be retired and built a double brick house with the nickels the boys spent with him.


The town had tailor shops, good mechanics, where work could compare with tailors any where. We do not know who the early tailors were, save John Devoy, 1811-12. Away back in the history of the tailors McMasters, who carried on where the bank now stands was a noted tailor. Jeremiah Pittinger carried on in the house now J. Henry Row's; John Zimmerman was one of the old tailors, living on the lot where Mrs. Blair lives; he had a shop below the house; his sons were tailors, John and Alven. Jeremiah Cridler, James Hosplehorn, Patrick Kelly, who did a large business, doing the work for the College, carrying the stock in the storeroom of J. A. Helman. France P. Blair, J. H. T. Webb, C. Danner, Jefferson Favourite. Today we are without a tailor.


The barber had a poor field to operate in prior to 1860; an occasional stranger dropped in. Abraham Welty, after hat making failed him, took to barbering, between playing his fiddle and his few customers he eked out a livelihood.

Upon one occasion Colonel Harney was stopping at Mrs. Agnew's hotel, he called upon Mr. Welty for a shave, he gave the old man a $2.50 gold piece. Welty never ceased to speak of Col. Harney. We have had barbers white and barbers black. Not until Charles Kretzer furnished his shop complete did we have a barber shop up to date; located in his own house, between the Slagle House and Richel Berger's drug store. Brinkner, who has recently opened a barber shop opposite the foundry is complete in his shop also. Few towns can boast of such good accommodations in this line.

Kidnapping Ned

Ned, or Ned Crummel, a colored barber, held forth near 184-4 in the Barry room. Soloinon Day, a stone cutter, was in the chair, when Tom Finigan and Mulhorti entered his shop; they seized Crummel and overpowered him, tying his hands (Day seared badly), succeeded in getting him to the Square, where they had a vehicle to carry him off. At this juncture the people excited to a lynching point were stopped by Dr. Andrew Annan, who came riding up street, jumped off his horse, inquired the cause, using his knife to cut the rope, and freed Ned. These men persisted in a claim due on his service term, their pretext for the seizure. Richard Gilson was sent for, who had some knowledge of the dispute; when he came it was proven beyond a doubt a fraud and Ned was free. They left speedily or summary punishment would have been inflicted on them.

Negro woman hung

Jacob Troxel the tanner, son of John, owned a black girl Kitty; for her disobedience he sent her to Peter Troxell's farm; she became dissatisfied with farm work and returned to her master; she was told she could remain at home so long as she obeyed, her first disobedience would send her back to the farm. A few nights after she stole away and set fire to Peter Troxell's barn; barn and house were burned. She taking this plan to remain in town. She was tried for the crime, found guilty, and hanged in Frederick May 20th, 1820.

California Fever

The California fever of 1849 induced some in this place to seek the golden treasure-George Grabill, George Hockensmith, Dr. James Shorb, John Davis, Francis Hoover, Richard Gilson, Jeremiah Martin. They all found graves in California but Gilson, Shorb and Martin.

State Militia

The military formed tinder the State law were compelled to minister at stated times; these days were known as muster days. Review days in 1848 when war with Mexico was in progress, the State militia was regularly drilled at stated times. The following companies in Emmitsburg, a troop of horsemen, Capt. J. W. Baugher; they presented an inspiring sight; the long white horse tail floating in the breeze from their hats; a finely uniformed body of men. One company of infantry, Capt. Manning, afterward Capt. Anthony Mc- Bride; this company was equipped with guns; one company, Capt. Alfred Jones, Lieut. Henry Winter; one company, Capt. John Taylor, called the corn stalk company; these companies were not called into active service; Furney, the old fifer, played for them. H. J. Favourite was with Gen. Scott at city of Mexico; James Bowers enlisted, but got no further than New York.

Military at Mt. St. Mary's

Mt. St. Mary's college boys had two companies prior to 1860. One the large boys, uniformed and equipped with guns, the other bows and arrows; regularly on Washington’s birthday they came to town to parade. It was a gala day for all; the band was a fine one, led by Dr. Henry Diehlman, James D. Hickey and other professors and young men; when the bow and arrow boys shot the arrow in the air, the town boys had a scramble for possession of them; the day was one of merry making for militia and town; the president of the college and other officials accompanied them in a carriage; after this day the town boys usually formed one or more companies to drill; boy-like it lasted until something else presented itself, a show or foot race, to divert them; the boys engaged in foot races on the Frederick road.

Shoe Makers

This army of mechanics can only be named as heads of the trade. Radford in his day was a leading man; Noah Walker, who achieved so great success as a clothing merchant in Baltimore, learned the shoemaking trade with Radford; amongst the later is Joseph Hoover, his son John Hoover, John Barry, Lawrence Owen, Isaac Wright, Arthur McGinnis, Joseph Row, his sons Joshua, Eli and James, Stephen Adams, John Hopp, Jacob Lantzer, Philip Lawrence, M. F. Row; at one time as many as twenty-five men worked at the bench. It was difficult to get shoes; today but two are engaged in the trade; the manufacture of shoes has destroyed this enterprise in the towns.

Wagon Makers

This was a business employing many hands; the work of a farming community like this required their wagon making and repairing; first, Henry Dishour was here in 1787; George Winter was the prominent worker; they built the large road wagons as well as all other kinds; G. Winter was here as early as 1796; John Nickum carried on where the Reformed church stands, 1840; his son John carried on where Mrs. Lambert lives. Asa Webb was one of the early wagon makers; had his shop where Mrs. John Neck lives; Benjamin, his son, carried on where John Glass lives; James Wise carried on on the lot John Jackson built; Nicholas Baker, Hess & Weaver, Dukehart & Crisomer carried on coach making.


In 1786 Michael Smith was the blacksmith of the town; Ben Smith, called Ben the Ranger, 1830; later Wilson carried on where John Mentzer lives; Thomas Reed in the Frizzel property; George Mentzer where Henry Stokes lives; Wm. Smith at same place; Philip Hardman in town; Wm. Webb, Detrick Zeek, Chas. Zeck, J. Welty, W. B. Ashbaugh, Fraley Brothers; this business, like all other trades, has been injured by the store keeping the manufactured article heretofore made by band.


The saddlers of early times are not known, except Wm. Long in 1808, prior to 1830. David Gamble and his brother William are the first we have account of after 1830- Samuel Morrison carried on this enterprise where Harrier's saloon stands; McCarty where M. Hoke lives. This man was a great temperance man; he had a life-size of a man stuffed in his shop, King Alcohol; he built and lived where the Sisters live on Green street. Henry Stokes came here from Mechaniestown in 1845; Edward Zepp carried on in 1858 and later in Zacharias store room. William Ulrich for a short time, J. Henry Stokes now. 80


Joseph Beachey was amongst the early tinners, as he bought the property now J. A. Helman's store of Jacob C. Winter in 1804; there he carried on the tin and coppersmith trade; continuing till 1847, moving opposite, where his son David carried on for short time, selling out to James F. Adelsberger, the house occupied by Zacharias' store. In 1860 James & D. G. Adelsberger moved their shop to where Rotering's store stands; it was burned in the conflagration of 1863, rebuilt, and occupied until his death 1878; afterward his son, P. A., removed to the present location, where his widow carries on the trade.

In 1833 Michael Helman came to Emmitsburg, carrying on the trade where S. N. McNair's house stands until his death in 1865. James T. Hays started a tin and stove shop in 1865; has continued to this day, now J. T. Hays & Son, adding plumbing; he is the inventor of the acetylene apparatus now used in lighting the Presbyterian Church, the Reformed, the Roman Catholic; also inventor of a creamer of note. The manufacture of tinware has destroyed that part of the trade, as this article is now sold by all the stores. Stoves in the early days were sold only by the manufacturer, now the tin shops are the distributors.

Pages 81- 90

Helmans' History Of Emmitsburg

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