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Remembering my Days on Kelbaugh Road

Kathy Martin Conley

My father, Thomas J. Martins, used to tell me all kinds of stories of his life visiting his grandparents at Deer Dale, Kelbaugh Rd. Thurmont, Md. The mailing address was Thurmont, but they considered their place, Emmitsburg.

My great, great, grandparents Francis and Elizabeth Krietz came to America from Germany and they settled in a log home on Kelbaugh Rd. Francis was a cobbler and visited homes and stayed there until the families shoes were finished. He didn't always get paid in cash. Sometimes he came home with extra chickens, and food stuff.

My fatherís Grandmother Margaret (Maggie) Krietz-Bailey married a orphan from Civil War who lived in Gettysburg named Abraham Bailey. They also lived on Kelbaugh Rd. The log house had already been bricked over by tend. They had 6 children, one Rose, was my grandmother and of course my Dad's mother.

Rose met a gentleman while working near Baltimore. His name was Thomas H. Martins and they had 4 children, one was my father, Thomas J. Martins.

My father said that he spent some time living with his Mother at Deer Dale and remembered going to school at the one room school house near St. Anthony's Church on the road to the Grotto. He also spoke of coming to Thurmont by train and my Grandmother Rose driving a horse and buggy to pick him up.

Anyone who knew Rose Martins, saw a very tiny lady, not even 5 foot. We just could not imagine her driving a horse and buggy. After she married they had stayed in Baltimore Md. until Mr. Martins retired from The Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. They then settled on Kelbaugh Road in the 1950's. They restored the house and stuccoed the outside, enlarged the porch and replaced the original room that once was the cobble shop and kitchen on the end of the house. I remember the big old wood stove in there before they remolded.

I remember having to go down into the cellar to get potatoes and onions. We were scared of the spiders & possible snake. There used to be a barn with horses, a pig pen, chicken coop and a 2 seater out house, which was a real trek to get to, but that was all gone after they remodeled it. It sure was great when the bathroom was put in! After awhile they changed the name to Shady Brook. (Which is exactly what I named our place when we moved to PA in 1974) We also have a small brook shaded by small trees.

We went to visit my grandparents just about every other weekend until they passed away. Weather and health permitting, the suitcases were packed and we got to sleep under quilts and our heads rested on pillows and bolsters. It wasn't always a great ride, because our car didn't have a heater, and in the winter we had covers all wrapped around us and still had cold feet. We lived in Baltimore and I guess it took us over a hour to get there.

My cousin, Patricia, also lived up there and as a child I met all the different children who she played with on Kelbaugh Rd: The Ridenours, Knotts, Seltzer, Krietz, Miller, and more. It was great fun to play in the mountains. We would cut through the woods and the quarry to visit the little chapel behind Mt. St. Mary's College. Some of our family is buried in that little graveyard. My grandparents are buried in Emmitsburg.

Hardly anyone went up to the Grotto back then and the little Church always looked lonely. We used to pick wildflowers and put them on the altar.

Both myself and my cousins will never forget all the good times walking through the woods to go to one of the stores, Jordan's or Seitz's. My grandmother always found a coin for us to get something good to eat or drink when we walked down.

We had good innocent fun and I will never forget my days going to town (Emmitsburg) to get groceries or go to the corner drug store or up to the Bowling Alley and get a real good sundae.

I remember my Dad being upset when they took the center statue out of the center of the square in Emmitsburg. I can't remember it. I am 57 years old now and I sure wish I was young again and back with my friends sitting on the bridge singing songs on Kelbaugh Road.

The bridge is long gone, but we used to rock it back and forth all the time. It had wood slats and we could hear it rattle all through the night as cars would pass over it.

I sure miss my grandparents, my Mom and Dad too, but I know they are looking down from time to time and remembering the good times spent on Kelbaugh Rd.

Thanks for listening, Kathy Martins Conley.

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