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The History Of Stony Branch Valley
(Part 5)

Long Field

Michael Hillman

The boundaries of Long Field, encompassing 271 acres of prime land straddling both forks of Stony Branch, was first laid out in a 1754 grant to Lucas and Barbara Flack, 42 years before the founding of Emmitsburg. Lucas logic in naming his grant 'Long Field' become obvious when one stand upon the land and grazes across it as Lucas must have. 

The Flack's neighbors at the time included, to the west, Danual Danelly and his 1680 acre grant called 'Buck Forest', to the North West lay Albert Jamison and his Samuel's Grievance, To the North was John Shroyer and his 692 acres grant called William's Pleasure, to the North East was Henry Betwell and his Johnís Delight, to the East lay John Digg's 1510 acres 'Digg's Lot', and to the South, Mathias Zacharias' 310 acre 'Single Delight.'

[For those not 100% familiar with the Stony Branch - Emmitsburg Area - The road cutting across the southern tip of Long Field is called Four Points Road.  At the 'Y', Four Points turns to the north and running thru what once was Digg's Lot, continues 1/2 mile to Tom's Creek Bridge.  The right hand fork of the 'Y' is Sixes Bridge road, which led to the Sixes Bridge over the Monocacy. The North West most tip of Long Field touches what is Now Old Frederick Road, 2 1/4 mile South of that roads intersection with Rt. 15, just south of Emmitsburg.  The road at the South East tip of Long Field is Bollinger Road. The Blue line in the map is Stony Branch Creek, which empties into the Monocacy 1 mile below this map.]

In 1784, a year after the treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution, Lucas received permission from the young state of Maryland to resurvey his property and incorporate with its boundaries 40 acres on un-owned land. A subsequent resurvey in 1786 finally fixed the farms acreage at 287.

The history of owners of Long Field is filled with long list of who-who's in Emmitsburg area history, some well remembered, some long forgotten, as result, the history of Lucas and Barbara Flack's Long Field is a microcosms of the history of the Emmitsburg area.

Little if know of Lucas other then he served as a Sergeant under Henry Williamís Game Cock Companyís during the Revolutionary war. Barbara and Lucas had 5 children, Adam, George, Frederick, John and Mary.

In one of the more interesting foot notes in history, in 1805, Adam and George received a grant for a long narrow strip of land, comprising 2 acres in total, adjacent to their fathers farm, which they fortuitously named 'Hard Planting', a name which any farmer who has tried to farm it, will concur with. (Today, Hard Planting forms the southern boundary of Sixes Bridge Road, from its intersection at Four Points Road, to Bollinger School road.)

Following the death of the father in 1808, Adam and George bought out their siblingís share of the farm. Soon after, George married Catharine Groff, daughter of Henry Groff, who owned a sizable farm just to the south of Long Field, which he aptly called Groff s Content. Henry, who had several daughters, included among his son-in-laws, ____ Ott, who's family name now graces one of the finer restaurants in Emmitsburg.

In 1823, 15 years their parents legacy, Adam and George split Long Fields between themselves. To accomplish the actual split, the brothers first sold the whole farm to their neighbor, John Zacharias, who immediately sold Adam 146 acres on the western side of Stony Ridge. George meanwhile took the 134 acres that lay to east of Stony Ridge.

The division line between the two farms would eventually matured into a road which terminated at the site of the first Tom's Creek Bridge. While the road has been out of use for well over 100 years, its track is still visible even today. 

[The discovery of the road has served to explain the odd positioning of the fine old stone house occupied by Gary Kabala. At the time of its building, the house faced the old road. Today, its fine front, which now faces an open pasture, goes unseen and unappreciated.]

West Long Field 'The Morrison Farm'

In 1826, Adam and his wife Elizabeth, sold their portion of Long Field to David and Harriet Morrison for $1,905 and disappeared into history. One can only assume that following selling his portion of Long field, Adam joined others, like Benjamin Biggs, in the western migration to more fertile, open land in the interior of the content.

David Morrison, an ťmigrť from Armorgh, Ireland, was a prominent land holder and as such, played major role in the areas history during the mid 1800's. In addition to the recently purchased Long Field's, David also owned several other farms, all adjacent to Tom's Creek Methodist church, along both sides of Four Points Road.

Following David's death in 1846, Long Field passed into the hands of his son David. A prominent slave holder. For those with keen eyes, the trappings of slavery are still evident in the valley. On many farms, including Long Field, the old slave quarters still stand. One only has to peer into these dark and dingy hovels to get a sense of how horrible the conditions were for slaves, even in this beautiful, enlightened valley. 

Being a boarder state, Maryland slaves were not freed by Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, as the proclamation only applied to slaves in states then under rebellion, which Maryland was not. It would not be until the passing of the __ amendment that the blight of slavery in the Stony branch area was end once and for all.

Upon his death in 1866, David freed his slaves. In his will, David left 'his colored women Mary, and left her a 60 acre farm adjoining the Methodist Meeting House. Unfortunately, Mary never took title to this land. David divided his remaining holdings among his many sons. Samuel, the second oldest, inherited Long Field, and farmed it for the rest of his life.

Upon his death in 1876, Samuel passed the farm on to his oldest son Oliver and his wife Francanna. Oliver's 15 minutes of fame are forever tied to the notorious Moushour-Wetzel murder.

Following the murder of his cousin James Wetzel, Felix Munshour, crossed Oliver's farm on his way to Motter Station, where he intended to set up his alibi. While on Oliver's farm, Felix stopped and examined the contents of Wetzelís purse, which amounted to a poultry $46 and some useless papers.

Felix pocked the money and hid the papers under a old rotting oak tree. Unfortunately, his actions were observed by one of Oliver's employees, who, after hearing of the murder, reported what he had seen to Oliver. Oliver followed the employee to the tree and retrieved the purse and its remaining contents. It was the discovery of papers and the eyewitness identification that Felix had placed it there, that directly lead to Felix's conviction and eventual execution.

In 1890 Oliver Morrison sold the farm to the Annan bothers, Isaac and James. Five years later, following the death of James Annan, Isaac sold his share of the farm to James son, Stewart, who was married to Oliver Morrisonís Daughter. Stewart Annan was an absentee landlord, As co-owner of the Horner-Annan Bank, his time was spent managing the banks affairs and entertaining in his prestigious Fort Henry Mansion House.

Unfortunately for many of hard-working residents on the Emmitsburg area, both the Horner and Annan families liked to live well, and for many years they got away with drawing down on the banks capital, replacing it with self-back promissory notes whose value they determined based on projected future earnings.

While times where good, they Annanís and Hornerís got away with it, but in 1992, a three-year long drought began, which pressed hard upon the local farming community. Like a house of cards, as farmers cut back on expenses, business in town began to feel the pinch. Eventually, many found it necessary to tap into savings to keep their lives going. As the withdraws for the bank began, the expected profit growths diminished and soon evaporated, leaving the Annanís and Hornerís with no other option then to call in loans.

Many, farmers, like the Annan neighbors, the Zacharias family, already strapped by the burden of the drought, where unable to meet the demands of the bank, and found themselves in foreclosures.

The forcing of foreclosure on many long time resident farmers only accentuated the growing demand on the bank, and soon it became a run. With nothing to give to their depositor but worthless promissory notes, the Annanís and Hornerís were forced to close the bank in 1925.  Within a few months, both families had left the town, moving to the Midwest where relatives help them rebuild their lives. But for those who had lost their life savings, the story was different. Many returned to old family farms and began a meager struggle for existence.

In order to raise cash for his bank, in 1924 Stewart Annan sold the western half of Long Field to Edward and Lula Long. In 1929, after splitting off 30 acres for their own use, Edward and Lula sold the remainder of the farm to Charles and Opal Stambauch. [The 30 acre farm that was broken off by the Long's is now the property of James Wivel]

In 1946, Roy and Helen Wivell purchased West Long Field from the Stambauchs. In 197, Roy passed the farm onto his son James, in who's gentle hands it currently resides.

East Long Field -'The Grushon Farm'

In 1825, George Flack sold to his neighbor, Mathias Zacharias 2nd, a tenth of an acre on the South-East corner of the Bollinger Road and Sixes Bridge Road intersection. Upon this lot was built the first School House in the Stony Branch Valley. Called the Franklin School, the monument marking the exact spent of this historic single room was carelessly destroyed by a local farmer desiring who saw more importance in a few extra stalks of corn then in preserving history.

In 1827, George sold his portion of Long field to James Griffin, and headed west and into history. James, for whom even less is known, owned the farm until his death until 1869, at which time it bought by his neighbor Abia Martin, who descended for the Martin and Troxel families, the original homesteader in the valley.

Abia joined the Eastern half of Long Field, with his existing 112 acre farm 'Alta Vista', upon which 6 years prior, at the height of the civil war, he had built a beautiful brick house, which many in the community still can recall. With these two farms, Abia owned every open field one can now see if one stood at the intersection of Four Points and Sixes Bridge roads.

In 1884, Abia passed away, and his farms passed into the hands of his brother James. In 1888, James Sold the Eastern half of Long Field, Richard Offutt, a neighbor from across Tom's Creek. In 1907, Richard sold the farm to Ellen and Thomas Grushon, in whose family it would remain for the next 93 years.

Read next article in this series

Index to the History Stony Branch Valley

Read other articles by Michael Hillman

Long Field Deed List

In preparing this article, we first conducted extensive land research to ascertain the trail of ownership for Long Field.  Once ownership was confirmed, we sought  the stories of the former landholder from their decedents all over the country via the internet.  We also drew heavily when possible from family histories complied in the autobiographical William's History of Frederick County, as well as oral interviews of present day senior citizens.  

Like all our stories, we consider this story 'work in progress,' so if you have anything to add to it, or have other stories about families that once called Emmitsburg home, please send them to us at History@emmitsburg.net