When Mr. and Mrs.
Robert-Elliot Nielsen moved into an old house near the
Carroll-Frederick county border and discovered that the
house had been the mansion of Benjamin Biggs, a wealthy
landowner, before the revolution. The Nielsens set to
work restoring the house to its original state including
the massive fireplace, second in size only to the one in
the Governor's Mansion in Williamsburg, Va.
One point of doubt rose
in the Nielsens' search through records of the house and
land and Biggs family and that was the naming of nearby
Sixes Bridge which crosses the Monocacy River. The site
is presently a controversial issue because of a proposed
dam in the area which would supply water needed in the
future, but would literally put the Nielsen house, and
many others, underwater.
Mrs. Dorothy Albaugh,
ancestors, the Six family, dwelt in the Biggs Mansion in
the late l800s. According to Mrs. Albgtigh her family
owned two farms across the Monocacy, including the
well-known Castle Farm.
"The bridge and
road were named for my family who helped build the
bridge," Mrs. Albaugh said. She added that the
family had only rented the Biggs house and though she
has many memories of the other houses nearby, she didn't
visit the Biggs house to any extent. She has visited it
since it was purchased by the Nielsens and is pleased
that it is being restored.
"I was given this
copy of a picture of the house taken in 1891," she
said, "which is even before my father was married
in 1893 and moved away." She remarks that her
parents (her mother was the former Minnie Christian
Hockensmith) were married Nov. 29, 1893 in Union Bridge
by a Rev. Brown.
The Six family was
quite musical, according to Mrs. Albaugh, and all played
in the Detour Band. Her father, William, played the
fiddle, uncle John the Bass fiddle, Newton the trumpet,
Ersa the bass horn, Roy the drums and Marlin the slide
trombone. Uncle Clayarchus also participated. The
director of the band was Charles Hawk.
Though most of her
memories are of her family's homes in Creagerstown and
her grandmother's house across the Monocacy, Mrs.
Albaugh readily talks of the way of life at the turn of
the century. "There was a stream of water, diverted
through the cellar of the house where my grandmother
kept her cream pots to cool," she said. "We
also used to make fly bushes (a sort of man-made horse
tail) from sticks and strips of old newspaper and used
old papers to make lamplighters. We didn't just throw
everything away like today."
Mrs. Albaugh talked of
her father making $1.50 per day firing a boiler at Penn
Mar Park for Western Maryland Railroad. She adds, with a
laugh, that she is a "cheap baby" having been
She has delivered by a Dr. Kefauver for $5.
also had a bake oven outdoors and an unusual wooden
washing machine. I've only seen one like it since at an
area antique sale," Mrs. Albaugh said.
She remembers the 1914
fire which almost destroyed the village of Creagerstown,
sending the town's two hotels, store and creamery, and
many houses, up in flames.
Mrs. Albaugh also
relates the humorous tale of a horse named Bob her
father sold to a gentleman in Braddock Heights. A few
days later the horse appeared at the Six home, having
trotted clear across the county to his original home.
prices Mrs. Albaugh remarks that a loaf of bread sold
for four cents and that the family had cows, sheep and a
garden thus didn't need to buy much food. They also sold
many items to a Baltimore huckster who readily bought
any products for sale to the city folks.
"There was also an
herb garden where my grandmother made medicines and
teas," she adds. Mrs. Albaugh concluded that her
main interest was to clear up the theory that the bridge
had been named for the six members of the Biggs family
as the land was divided into six sections, but was in
reality named for the family of William Six Sr., who
resided in the picturesque home at the time of the