West Main Street
Lot #91, with its original log house in
modem dress, is located at 216 West on Emmitsburg's award-winning Main
Street. "Over the years, residents have seen many changes along this
street," said Fran Bittle, "but no man, woman, or child remembers
them all. There are no living witnesses. Only a few old houses stand
silent witness of generational changes.
"These old houses have been survivors
of time, fire, neglect, ill-advised changes, and much tender-loving
care. They remain today archivists of the joys and struggles of the
families they have sheltered over the years," said Bittle.
The facts connected to the original
town plot create an intriguing trail through time. They reveal glimpses
of the town's early days.
William Emmitt became the owner of Lot #91 when he received it
as part of a 35-acre parcel from his father Samuel Emmitt, in 1785. In
1789 the lot was sold to Jacob Hoover, who two years later sold it to
Thomas Maxwell (Maxwell later donated half an acre for the
Elias Lutheran Church
site). The lot changed hands several times during the next twenty years,
one of the exchanges resulting from a judgment in an 1819 lawsuit.
In 1822, Alexander Dobbin (whose home
in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is now the well-known tavern and
restaurant) bought the lot and house at a sheriffs sale for $83. Three
years later James Dobbin inherited it from his brother. He sold it in
1825 to David Gamble, whose family resided in the house for the next
fifteen years. FrOm 1840 to 1925, ten families owned the lot before
Louis H. and Anna B. Stoner purchased the lot on March 9, 1925.
"We are fortunate indeed to have the
history of ownership of this house, "Bittle remarked. "Documented by
Louis Stoner, it is a treasure in and of itself Much effort was needed
to research the property records of Frederick County to detail the
transactions. The record is factual and precise, but there are
fascinating nuances: the generosity of Thomas Maxwell, the mystery of
the lawsuit which resulted in the loss of the house in October of 1819,
and the short tenure of the new owner which ended with a sheriff 's
sale. So many stories remain hidden," said Bittle.
Louis Stoner's original research on Lot
#91, dating from 1785 to the present, was given to Fran Bittle for
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