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Dominance from Start to Finish

Blair Garrett

Catoctin High Football clinched its second state championship Saturday, December 7, defeating the Poets of Dunbar High School (Baltimore) 31-8 in a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 1A matchup.

The Cougars stormed through the playoffs, yielding opponents just 41 points over the team’s five playoff victories while posting a monstrous 213 points on offense.

It was a clash of the best of the best, with both teams flattening semifinal opponents by more than 40 points. An unstoppable force versus an immovable object scenario set a collision course for the 1A State Championship game, with only one possible victor.

The teams’ last matchup against each other came back in Catoctin’s historic 2009 run, where they edged Dunbar 13-12 en route to the team’s first-ever state championship. The parallels to this season were apparent, and the Cougars had the confidence to replicate that result once again.

“The coolest thing about it is there were only three of us [coaches] when we won our first championship,” head coach Doug Williams said. “Getting to be there with my assistant coaches and players who haven’t done that is special.”

With everything on the line, the only thing left to do was execute, and Catoctin did that in a near-flawless manner from start to finish.

As the Cougars took the turf at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, the boys came ready to play, exposing Dunbar mistakes to shock the Poets over the first quarter.

On the first play of the game, Dunbar fumbled to the benefit of Catoctin, laying the groundwork for a theme that would plague the Poets all night long. Turnovers repeatedly cut possessions short for the perennial 1A playoff powerhouse, and the Catoctin defense was ready at every turn to send its offense back onto the field.

“Our defensive coaches had Dunbar very well scouted,” Williams said. “The staff and players all bought into the program, and it made us successful.”

The Cougars had too much firepower to put the ball in their hands with excellent field position, and quarterback Ryan Orr made quick work of the defense in the first half, connecting passes across the middle to put the boys in blue within striking distance. As it has all season, the running game continued to chew up yardage with each play.

Dunbar had successful drives down the field, but a mental mistake led to a red-zone interception for Catoctin, effectively thwarting any momentum for the Poets and preserving the shutout.

A series of mistakes kept the Catoctin offense on the field, but the Cougar defense managed to punish the Poets with a pick-six to continue frustrating the opposing quarterback.

Despite the lopsided turnover ratio, the Dunbar offense had its moments where possessions were threatening. After 24 unanswered points by Catoctin, Dunbar made its first significant impact of the game with a beautiful ball over the middle to Deairus Carr, who slipped between the defense, shook off a tackle, and cruised into the end zone to get his team on the board.

Dunbar’s message was loud and clear, the team needed to stop the bleeding, and shutting down Catoctin’s run game was necessary if the Poets were going to turn the game around. The Cougars’ bread and butter all season was its slashing runs with running back Carson Sickeri, but Dunbar had keyed in and cut his drives repeatedly short throughout the second quarter.

Fortunately for Catoctin, Sickeri did what he does best and found a running lane to break through the Poets’ defense for a huge chunk of yardage. Sickeri’s run eventually set up another ball over the top to Travis Fields, for his second touchdown of the game.

With a 31-8 lead at halftime, the Cougars just needed to play solid defense and maintain long possessions to close out the game and capture the team’s second championship of the decade.

Coach Williams and company continued to pour on the pressure, bottling up Dunbar’s offense and preventing the Poets from stringing together a successful drive.

As Catoctin continued burning the clock, the Gatorade bath watch was on, and the Cougars successfully doused several coaches in the only ice bath a person would ever be excited about.

The final buzzer sounded, the crowd went wild, and players stormed the field in what was undoubtedly the most exciting game of their lives.

Through the biting cold temperatures, the fans stood in unison as their hometown friends and family celebrated a near once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

“The community we live in is amazing,” Williams said. “We were the smallest school of the championship winners, and we were the loudest. That’s awesome.” The 2019 Catoctin football team’s legacy of dominance has been solidified, with the team’s 13-1 season ending with the MPSSAA 1A Championship trophy in hand. A big congrats to the players, coaches, and families that made this season so great. Go Cougars! 

blair Garrett

From small-town journalist to big-time sports director, Dave Ammenheuser, a native of Thurmont, has done it all.

Ammenheuser, 57, is now the sports director for a major news network, USA Today, but his journey began like many of us, humbly, in a small town, shadowed by the Catoctin Mountains.

Developing into a great sportswriter requires time, attention to detail, and intimate knowledge of your sport of choice. Athletes can make great sportswriters, knowing the ins and outs of their particular area of expertise, but a devotion to writing has to be there.

For Ammenheuser, that passion for writing was always there; yet, his entry into the sports world is as unique as his rise to success. “I was the worst athlete ever,” Ammenheuser said. “I always liked the competitiveness of it, and liked to write, so I kind of put the two together. It’s kind of ironic I ended up making my career in sports.”

As a student at Catoctin High School, Ammenheuser cultivated his love for sports as the high school newspaper sports editor and the statistician for the historic ’79-80 basketball team.

The ’79-80 and ’80-81 teams were the two most-successful Catoctin basketball teams at the time, and Ammenheuser’s most-recent visit to the area is to organize a reunion for the players who garnered so much success some 40 years ago.

Although Ammenheuser now lives near the USA Today headquarters in McClean, Virginia, friend and family ties bring him back to where it all began from time to time.

Ammenheuser’s professional writing career took its first steps at the Catoctin Enterprise, a small paper located in Thurmont. He then graduated to the Frederick News-Post, where he wrote and developed while attending Hood College. As a communications major, with a minor in gerontology, Ammenheuser continued to craft sports stories throughout college, gaining valuable experience and laying the groundwork for his future.

In the early 1980s, as a rising young sports editor, Ammenheuser stumbled upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies were set to face off head-to-head, in a series that will forever remain special to Ammenheuser.

“I got to cover the 1983 World Series when the Orioles won, and that was my childhood favorite team,” Ammenheuser said. As a lifelong Orioles fan, he had the chance to see his team up close and personal as they won the greatest title in baseball, a feat that they have yet to replicate.

From the Frederick News-Post, Ammenheuser was ready for greater challenges. He later became the sports editor for the Carroll County Times, taking on new stories and responsibilities.

Breaking new ground is nothing new for Ammenheuser. Over his career, he has had many highlights, but one sticks out even to this day.

“When I was the sports editor in Carroll County, Maryland, I covered the first college football game ever played in the former Soviet Union,” Ammenheuser said. “Western Maryland College, now known as McDaniel, played there, and I went with the team. That was a cool experience.”

Sports journalists often have to adjust and adapt to each assignment, especially with drastically changing environments, and that is something Ammenheuser has become accustomed to over his 40-year career.

Traveling across the world has proven to be a theme for Ammenheuser, and his ventures have shaped his writing and guided him to where he is today.

After his local positions at the Carroll County Times and Frederick News-Post, he eventually moved on to Charlotte, Connecticut, California, Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville.

Many challenges come with adjusting to a new job in a new city, and Ammenheuser has established himself in many new assignments and cities. This skill, combined with a unique attention to detail, has contributed to his career development tenfold. “People write differently across the country,” he said. “A writer in Connecticut and how you would manage him or her is quite different from how you would manage a writer in Southern California or Nashville.”

Writing styles, tones, and content differs from place to place. Ammenheuser has become an expert at navigating that balance, and it has had an impact inside and outside the office. “Every person I’ve met throughout the way has helped me grow professionally and personally,” Ammenheuser said.

Throughout his career, Ammenheuser has written, developed, and managed content for various publications. He hit his final stop in February of 2019, after decades of hard work.

“Earlier this year [2019], I was named the sports director for USA Today Network, so I’m the sports editor of USA Today, but also our company owned 109 companies across the country, where more than 500 sports journalists report up to me.”

With such great responsibility in managing so many writers and editors, Ammenheuser does not get to write as much as he would like to these days. Instead, he focuses more on big-picture management.

“I was in Tokyo for a week, where we’re coordinating what we are going to do for the Olympics next year,” he said. “We’re taking 65 sports editors across the country to cover the Olympics.”

Part of covering such a massive global event is conceptualizing and eventually executing all of the moving parts that go with it. Ammenheuser plans to get everything set and organized to provide the best coverage possible, and that sometimes includes things one might not expect.

“I was looking at the venues, trying to figure out where our office will temporarily be, hotels for where we’ll put people, and more,” Ammenheuser said. “It’s big-picture stuff and strategizing how all of those people are going to work together.”

While NBC has exclusive broadcast rights over the production of television for Olympic Games through 2032, Ammenheuser and his team of sports journalists have big plans for Olympic coverage in 2020.

“No one covers the Olympics bigger than USA Today other than NBC,” he said.

Ammenheuser’s career trajectory has taken him to a place he may not have expected, but it was certainly a goal for the long-time sports editor. “It’s a dream come true, really,” he said. “This is it until I retire.”

Call it a stroke of circumstantial luck or even fate, but a seemingly innocuous event may have foreshadowed Ammenheuser’s move to USA Today.

“I remember back in 1982, when USA Today started, walking into the 7/11, and grabbing a USA Today,” Ammenheuser said. “It was the very first issue, and today, ironically, that issue is hanging in my office. It’s yellowed in its frame now.”

When all is said and done, Ammenheuser can look back on his career and near endless list of accomplishments fondly. From Olympic coverage to watching his childhood team capture its last World Series, this former local has clearly made a global impact.

Hit the Slopes this Winter

Blair Garrett

Winter is here, the snow is falling, and the ski slopes have never looked better.
Snow may not currently be falling on your driveway, but you don’t have to travel too far to find your nearest winter oasis. With four ski resorts nearby and dozens of trails to hit, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. 

Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular winter sports around, and ski resorts provide different and challenging trails, perfect for first-timers and the most seasoned skiers.
Let’s check out a few excellent local options for you and your friends to take a day off and hit the slopes.

Ski Liberty

Just across the Pennsylvania line in Fairfield is Ski Liberty, a mountaintop known for its elaborate trails and challenging parks. The resort offers skiers and snowboarders 22 different trails for hours of rides and exploration. If skiing and snowboarding are not your cups of tea, tubing is also available. A mountainside plunge on an inflatable tube might be more your speed.
For locals, access to the slopes is nothing more than a short drive away. For the out-of-town crowd, the Liberty Hotel’s Alpine Lodge provides the perfect getaway for a cozy stay, just at the foot of the mountain. 

Liberty offers packages for the casual rider and for patrons who can’t get enough of the mountain. With various learning programs, there is availability for everyone to pick up a new sport at their own pace.

Keep your eyes open for sweet deals, too, particularly if you’re just picking up skiing and snowboarding. January is “Learn to Ski/Snowboard Month,” so every Thursday in January offers a discounted package for beginners, fully equipped with rental gear and programs to improve your abilities almost overnight. 

Personalized learning is vital for kids to develop the skills necessary to carve down the mountain safely. With full-size classes and one-on-one instruction, there are many learning opportunities for everyone.

With dozens of musical guests, taproom takeovers, and multiple mountaintop events, Liberty has everything you could want in a weekend trip and more.

Ski Liberty is located at 78 Country Club Trail in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.


Whitetail Resort

Whitetail is a great spot to find a mix of balanced trails and more difficult ones, with 23 different routes to ride and numerous trails that lead into others. The shift from trail to trail can add a bit of a challenge, as some of the popular, easier trails may peel off into higher-skilled black diamond runs.

Like Liberty, Whitetail provides instruction for learning the basics, along with rails, boxes, and ramps for riders who like to add a dash of excitement to the slopes.

If you get hungry after a few hours tearing up the snow, don’t fret, there are plenty of options for even the pickiest of eaters. The resort has a pizzeria, café, and a marketplace with a multitude of culinary options.

Whitetail has plenty of great slopes to check out, but you can’t forget their “Ski in the New Year Celebration” event just on the horizon. On New Year’s Eve, riders can ski and snowboard from 2019 into 2020, with lifts staying open until 1:00 a.m. New Year’s Day. The marketplace will also have a DJ and dancing, so there is no shortage of ways to celebrate a brand-new decade.

Whitetail Resort is located at 13805 Blairs Valley Road in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.



Ski Roundtop

Ski Roundtop is the oldest of the three local mountains, celebrating its 55th year in business. Roundtop rounds out the trio, with 20 slopes and parks and multiple excellent amenities available—the makings for a great night are on your horizon.

If you’re new to the mountain life, Roundtop’s sports shop has a variety of services available, including ski and snowboard tuning and expert advice on equipment and brand-name apparel.           

Having programs designed to teach young kids valuable skills to stay safe while riding is a valuable option for any parent leery of their child’s well-being on the mountain.

Roundtop’s Mountain Explorer’s Program is a multi-week course, offered several times throughout the season, designed to get your child from just strapping on the skis to being well on their way to autonomously exploring the mountain. Children get to learn from the same instructor each week and make a few friends along the way, so it’s a great way to get kids into a learning environment that provides them with constructive technique proficiency and a whole lot of fun.

Roundtop Mountain Resort is located at 925 Roundtop Road in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania.

wisp resort

The farthest of the four slopes, Wisp Resort lies just inside the Maryland/West Virginia border, but it still draws quite the crowd.

With events offered almost daily, there is always something new and exciting to experience at the resort. Wisp offers a nice balance of trails, with about 33 percent of the runs falling into the beginner category, and a near equivalent number in intermediate and advanced.

Even if skiing and snowboarding is not your style, Wisp also has tubing, ice skating, and a mountain coaster to get your blood pumping on a cool winter day.

Wisp is the only resort in Maryland opened year-round, and typically keeps the slopes running for 120 days per year. 

Wisp Resort is located at 296 Marsh Hill Road in McHenry, Maryland.

For new skiers and snowboarders, one of the biggest deterrents to getting out and enjoying the mountain is the struggle to learn the mechanics of how to ride effectively. All four resort options offer instructional courses with experienced riders to give newbies—young and old—a chance to dive into a fun, new winter sport.

Regardless of which mountain you choose, there are challenging courses tailored to your skill level, ranging from bunny slopes for kids to double black diamonds reserved for pros and the overly ambitious. And don’t forget, tubing is available at all three resorts, with options for a solo ride or a linked tube with you and a handful of friends.

So, if you’re in the market for some winter adventures, zip up the jackets, strap into your ski boots, and hit the slopes for a day packed with snow-filled fun.  

James Rada, Jr. and Blair Garrett

Catoctin Banner Journalists, Jim and Blair, Face-off!

Does 2020 mark the beginning of a new decade, or is it actually the end of a decade? What do you think?

Let us know at www.thecatoctinbanner.com (Subject line: Decade Debate)

Jim’s Stance

In the debate over whether the decade is ending or still has another year, it’s a simple matter of counting to 10. Let’s count. We all learn to count early in life: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Now apply that to years. Year 1, 2, 3, etc. We don’t say there is a Year 0. There wasn’t.

When whoever started counting years, the first year was Year 1. That means at the end of Year 100, 100 years had passed, and thus ended the first century. At the end of Year 1000, the first millennium ended. At the end of 2020, the second decade of the second millennium ended.

If you want a simpler way to look at it, count out 10 pennies. Do you start by saying 0? No, you start with 1.

Part of the problem is that 0 is a unique number. While every other number represents something, 0 represents nothing. It is the point where nothing happens to something happening.

Yes, I know a big deal was made about the millennium ending on December 31, 1999, but think about it. The date tells you that only 1,999 years had passed under the way we keep time. Not 2,000 years. It may have looked aesthetically pleasing to say that when the 1 in 1999 changed to the 2 in 2000, a new decade started, but the numbers literally do not add up (in this case, to 2,000).

Stance: December 31, 2020, is actually the end of the decade.

Blair’s Stance

Well, Jim, let’s take another look at the numbers. Over the course of history, decades have always been chunked into groups of 10, as we can both agree, but you never hear people refer to the roaring 20s as 1921-1931, do you? We break them into the simplest and most accurate representation of what we’re referencing.

The problem in determining who is right and who is wrong and where the decade begins and ends is more of a philosophical one than a physical one. Yes, if we count from the very beginning of the Common Era, the 10-year cycle restarts on year 11, and all the way until modern times at 2021.

It’s true, there was no year 0. So, at some point, we needed to decide where to begin the FIRST decade. That decision was made long ago, likely in the very first decade of the new era.

Years 1-9 represent the very first decade, if for no other reason, because it makes everything fall on an easy, readable, flat number. Technicalities bog everyone down with what ifs and unnecessary questions. 

The start from this New Year 2020 (January 1, 2020) will be our baseline number for this experiment. Each year has 365 days in it. If we multiply that by 10, the number of years in a decade, we get an even 3,650 days in a full 10 years. Do you know where we end up with that? On a nice, flat and new decade. 

We have to ask ourselves this: Do we want to complicate the decades by including 364 full days from a new set of tens, or should we keep ringing in the new decades the same way we have for the last 2,000 years?

The answer is simple. For simplicity, and common sense really, there’s no need to shift the decade to include 2020 and 364 full days. 

Therefore, when the clock strikes midnight and transitions to the New Year, it must be the start of a brand new decade.

Let’s just agree to continue with January 1, 2020, for everyone’s sanity, shall we?

Stance: January 1, 2020, is actually the start of the decade.

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 5th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 26, 2019.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “During the past 50 years, the staff at Catoctin High School has always strived to foster learning, character, innovation, compassion, perseverance, and service. Today is a great opportunity for us to celebrate that with some special graduates, and hopefully, it’s an opportunity for us to challenge our current students to aspire to do great things.”

The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

This year’s alumni were honored for achievements in academics, public service, and arts and humanities.

According to Senior Isabel Rozo, the honorees “have made a difference in the state or nation.”

“Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, names from the class of 2020 and 2023 will join this honor group,” Rozo said.

The ceremony also recognizes former Catoctin High staff who have had a significant impact on students.

Besides the honorees and their guests, the Catoctin freshman and senior classes were in attendance.

Former teacher Carol Forman taught mathematics classes at Catoctin for 30 years, from remedial to A.P. She gave the students some tips for getting through life successfully: (1) Don’t be afraid to change your goals; (2) When opportunities present themselves, don’t be afraid to try new things; (3) When the unexpected happens, do what you can in the situation and pray; (4) When things get overwhelming, consider prayer or at least find someone with whom to share your concerns; (5) It is never too late to do something you like to do in a different way; (6) Be bold, energetic, and stay true to yourself; and (7) Don’t ever give up.

Former teacher and coach George Kuhn was also recognized. He worked as a physical education teacher and athletic director at Catoctin, beginning in 1969. He also had tips for the students about how to live their lives. He also challenged the students to go home that evening, hug their parents, and tell them they loved them. “You’ll be surprised what that will do for your relationship with your mom and dad,” Kuhn said.

Dr. John Chatlos, Class of 1970, was the academics inductee. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His expertise is dealing with mental disorders and addiction in teens. He is the director of a community outpatient substance abuse treatment program at the university and the medical director for the Wei Ji Point outpatient detoxification program, Human Faith Project.

“I never would have had the confidence to tackle what I did if not for Catoctin High School,” Chatlos said.

Susan Favorite, Class of 1982, was the public service inductee. She has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations over the years and was named a 2011 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism. She has also received a number of Lions Club awards for her volunteer service.

Favorite encouraged the students to count their blessings every day. “Not only will this put you in a more positive frame of mind and make you happier with your life, but, as importantly, when you take a little time each day to count your blessings, you realize how much you truly have,” she said.

Kelly Quesinberry, Class of 2000, was the arts and humanities inductee. She is a journalist, currently working with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her reporting and stories has won her many awards, including two regional Emmy Awards.

Quesinberry thanked her family for encouraging and supporting her. “Learn the importance of asking questions and advocating for yourself,” she said. “Don’t wait on somebody to give you what you want in life. Go after it.”

Pictured arefrom left are Carol Forman, George Kuhn, Dr. John Chatlos, Susan Favorite, and Kelly Quesinberry.

James Rada, Jr.

With the announcement that a Thurmont landmark, the Shamrock Restuarant, will end its 56-year-run on December 30, 2019, The Catoctin Banner thought it would share some of its reader’s memories of the Irish-themed restaurant.

The late Mike Fitzgerald opened the Shamrock in 1963. He said in a 2014 interview that the restaurant had a rough start, “There were days and nights in a row that I wouldn’t go home. I would be working here doing whatever needed to be done, and then I would sleep here.”

The Shamrock Restaurant building has been around since the 1950s. It was originally a dance hall that didn’t have the best reputation, resulting in Fitzgerald being able to purchase it at an affordable price.

It also helped that the Shamrock Restaurant was a family business. Fitzgerald, his wife, his mother, and his nine children (as they grew old enough) all worked in the restaurant. Two of the Fitzgerald children, Dawn Knox and Donna Demmon, took over the business in 2016, but they are ready to retire.

The Shamrock was known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and it won a national award for having the best St. Patrick’s Day party in the nation years ago. It was also the first restaurant in Frederick County to get a liquor license in 1965.

The website announcement of the closing reads in part: “We have worked with hundreds of employees, many of whom have been as close as family. It will be very hard to part with some who have worked with us five to thirty years; others who worked here many years ago and came back as the seasons of their lives have changed. And more recent, workmates who already fit into our operation just like the old-timers. What a wonderful gang!! We have met and become friends with thousands of patrons. The warmth and affection that permeates this business is the root cause of our longevity. We cherish the kindheartedness and loyalty we’ve been blessed to know from our staff and customers.”

Shown below are postings on the Shamrock Facebook page of what some had to say about the restaurant closing, sharing their memories and speaking their own personal “goodbye.”

I have been coming to the Shamrock since President Nixon stayed at Camp David as a member of the White House Press. Mike and I became friends, camped, and rode horse back in the mountains. My family and children enjoyed Mike’s cabin and wonderful food at the Shamrock, watching Mike’s family grow up. I have known Donna since she was a little girl and their dogs chased me on top a table.

                          –Ron Bennett

I was so happy to have the opportunity to eat there last month…and am so glad I bought my t-shirt as a remembrance. The first time I ate there was at our EMI class graduation dinner back in 2009. Living in Texas, it took a decade to get back again. My husband and I were traveling in the area, and I couldn’t wait to introduce him to a place that held such a special place in my heart.

                          –Deb Doyle

I read this with mixed emotions. Sorry to lose an icon in Frederick County but am happy for you, Donna and Dawn. You have worked hard. Your parents would be so proud of you both.

                          –Nancy Ferrell Piper

So sad to hear this, but it is time for you to get to relax and enjoy quality time together. Will miss being able to talk with you, Donna, about Ireland and Irish relatives. And the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant. Also the delicious food.”

                          –Kathleen Cogan

What a wonderful place! We always stop by there and eat on our way up to PA. Will be missed! Always had great fresh food and wonderful service! Bought several baubles over the years in the front part of the restaurant.”

                          –Gail Glassmoyer

Great place! I will always remember the good times at the Shamrock when I lived in Thurmont during the 1970s. Happy retirements!! Who gets the crab cake recipe?

                          –Marty Madden

May you all enjoy your new lease on life! My husband and I discovered the Shamrock a few years ago as we drove to Herndon, VA; it was the best discovery we ever made. Whenever we made that trip, we would plan our time so we were at the Shamrock by afternoon or mid-day. We certainly agree that you all have done wonderful work and we do appreciate your hospitality!

                          –Judith Hansen

James Rada, Jr.

Twenty-five years ago, John Kinnaird of Thurmont, thought he would give his kids a Christmas surprise. He dressed as Santa Claus and climbed onto the roof of his house, so he could pretend to climb down the chimney when his kids could see him.

Someone else saw him on the roof.

“Some neighbors saw me and asked if I would play Santa for their kids at their house,” Kinnaird said.

And with that, a new Santa’s helper was born.

Nowadays, Kinnaird dons his Santa outfit 25 to 30 times a year to help the jolly old elf in Frederick and its neighboring counties. His events generally start the first week in November and run through Christmas.

Another Santa’s helper, Frank Schmersahl of Emmitsburg, has been playing Santa even longer than Kinnaird, with 31 years of service. “In those [early] days, I had to wear padding,” Schmersahl said with a Santa-like laugh.

Schmersahl plays Santa a handful of times each season, including playing the chief of the North Pole Fire Department at the Frederick County Fire Museum during the Museums by Candlelight event in December.

His favorite event is acting as Santa’s stand-in during Emmitsburg’s Evening of Christmas Spirit. He’s been the event’s Santa since it began. He was a member of the Emmitsburg Business Professionals Association (EBPA) back then and volunteered for the job, which he hasn’t regretted. He is now seeing the children of children for whom he once played Santa.

“When Santa greets you by name, you better straighten up,” Schmersahl said.

Kinnaird’s favorite event of the season is Christmas in Thurmont. “That’s when you get to see all of the local kids and a lot of the adults and talk to them,” Kinnaird said.

That’s important for Kinnaird. He wants to be there for the community. He even asks for contributions to the Thurmont Food Bank in lieu of payment.

Schmersahl said he has to be careful not to promise anything when he’s sitting in for Santa. “You tell them: ‘We’ll see what we can do,’” Schmersahl said. He must also remain cool if he happens to have a “leaker” on his lap.

Despite all of the good cheer and laughing children, both men said the hardest part of playing Santa is speaking with a child who has a sad story. A relative has died. A parent has lost a job or been in an accident.

“Those are the ones that really drive home the problem some families have,” Kinnaird said. “You tell them you can’t make people better or find jobs for them. What you can do is bring some joy into their lives.”

Both men said their ideal Santa from television and the movies is Edmund Gwenn, who played Santa in the original version of Miracle on 34th Street. Many people must agree with them since Gwenn won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.

“To me, he is Santa Claus,” Kinnaird said.

Joan Bittner Fry

The following rendition of the story of the Newey murders that occurred in Sabillasville on New Year’s Eve in 1830 is one that I don’t recall seeing before.  This account is detailed and sometimes gruesome. The location of the action is about a half mile from where I was born. The internet states a Newey cemetery is located in the Harbaugh Valley, just south of the Washington County line on Fort Ritchie Road in Frederick County.

In the late Virginia Kuhn Draper’s book, Dandelions, Mushrooms and Moss-Covered Stones, she tells of being fortunate enough to be taken to the Newey graves in the woods up on the mountain. Paul Wade and Thad Calimer raked the leaves off the fieldstones that marked the graves. They found more stones than the three or four that her mother-in-law, Ona Draper, had seen in 1959.

Later, she and her sister, Jeannette, with Thad Calimer as a guide, found the moss-covered stones marking the foundations of the Newey cabin and barn.

The Newey Family

John Newey, his wife Lydia Tressler Newey, their children, Ruth and Ann Newey, and an unborn child were murdered around midnight, between New Year’s Eve in the year 1830, and January 1st, 1831 in Frederick County, Maryland.  Also present were Lydia’s father, Jacob Tressler, who was visiting in the log home, and John Coombs, an indentured servant.  Lydia’s husband, John Newey, was having problems with a nephew, John Markley, who had been accused of taking property from his home in December 1825. John Markley was arrested and sent to prison for five years. John Markley threatened his uncle, saying that when he got out he would burn their home to the ground.  John Markley broke down their door with an axe around midnight the last day of 1830.  He killed everyone in the home then burned it to the ground.  John Markley was the first person in Frederick County, Maryland to be tried, convicted, and sentenced to death based on circumstantial evidence. He was sentenced to be hanged.

The story as written: In our frantic age, one can scarcely imagine a more sequestered spot than the site of the George Flautt home on the top of South Mountain. Except for the arrivals of the wagons and their boisterous drivers seeking food and rest or an organized hunt for the predatory fox or wildcat, the spot, practically surrounded by forests must then have been as quiet as the grave; however, on Wednesday night, December 31, 1830 a tragic event broke the silence, stirred the mountain community to its very foundations, and is, even now, 137 years later, heatedly discussed when mountain folk get together.

On land adjoining Buck Range, at a point about one quarter of a mile from the Flautt home in the depression between the top of the mountain and the entrance to Harbaugh Valley, John Newey had built a cabin for his family which consisted of himself, his pregnant wife, Lydia, two small children, his father-in-law, and an apprentice boy.  On the night of December 31, 1830 all were murdered and the cabin set on fire.

For very valid reasons, the finger of suspicion was immediately pointed to one John Markley as the perpetrator of this dastardly crime. Five years before, at the time of the marriage of John Newey and Lydia Tressler, Markley and a cousin were accused of stealing a wedding suit, a watch, and $250 from the bridegroom, their uncle. On testimony of the bride, both were found guilty and sentenced to terms in the penitentiary, Markley receiving the longer sentence.  Markley never forgave Mrs. Newey’s damaging testimony and vowed that when free, he intended to kill the whole family. When the cousin was released from custody he warned the Neweys that Markley intended to carry out his numerous threats.

Markley was released from the penitentiary on November 25, 1830 and soon appeared in the vicinity of the Newey home. After the murder, Markley was apprehended in Baltimore and during his examination there, these facts of the case emerged (as reported in the Frederick Herald January 22, 1831, as copied from the Baltimore Patriot).

“That Markley was thought to have an accomplice described as a stout, good looking fellow, fair complexion, sandy hair and whiskers, and about 5 feet, 10 or 11 inches high, and is supposed to have accompanied Markley to Baltimore after the murder. This man was later identified as Christian Frydinger and was tried and found innocent of any part in the Newey murder.  That when arrested, Markley had in his possession a pair of velvet pantaloons, identified by their singular appearance as having belonged to John Newey.

That Markley was seen the day before the murder and arson was committed within two miles of Newey’s dwelling, and made inquiry whether Newey still resided in the same place, threatening that he would destroy the whole family and then give himself up to be hung.  On the night after Markley and his companion stayed in Smithstown (Smithsburg), distant by six miles from Newey’s house.  They sat up all night and departed by daybreak the next morning.

After this testimony, Markley was remanded to jail to await a later trial in Frederick, Maryland.  Newspapers of that time from the Gettysburg Star to the Washington, DC Spectator gave wide coverage to the story of the murder on South Mountain, some claiming that Markley had made a full confession but which was completely untrue. Reporters, then as now, tried to color the news, condemn the prisoner before the trial began, and sway public opinion to their own wills. One reporter described Markley as a man of the most athletic and vigorous frame, and, quoting Shakespeare, painted him as “a fellow by the hand of nature marked, to do a deed of shame.” Another reporter described Markley’s features as indicating mildness and ignorance, rather than the diabolical passions.

The trial began in Frederick, Maryland on May 18, 1831 before Chief Justice Buchanan. Markley was arraigned on two indictments, one for the murder of John Newey and the other for the murder of Lydia Newey. James Dixon was the State’s Attorney and William Ross and Joseph Palmer were appointed to represent the defense which could not produce a single witness for Markey’s behalf.

George Flautt, Newey’s nearest neighbor, was the first witness for the state.  His testimony follows in part as reported in the Fredericktowne Herald May 21, 1831.

Witness:  In the morning I called up my boys early, a few hours before day – when my wife arose from bed she looked out the window and remarked that there was a great smoke over toward Newey’s – one of my boys ran down and returned with one of Mr. Newey’s horses and told us the house was all on fire and he saw no one about. I went down – the house was on fire. We had a good view of all the inside of the house and saw Newey lying on the floor with his feet towards the bed and his head towards the door – the hair was burned off his head and the skull and skin appeared quite white. And on the right side of his head there was a hole – it appeared to have been done with an axe. The skull was broken in – there were small cracks from the main wound like the cracks of an egg shell. I examined it particularly, as I expected I would have to testify on the subject.

Question:  Did you examine the skull clearly?

Witness:  I did not as the house was burning. I sent my son to collect the neighbors. I also blew a horn but it did not bring them together directly. By the time the neighbors came up, the head of Newey was entirely burnt to ashes.

Question:  Did you see Mrs. Newey while the house was burning?

Answer:  I did see her after the neighbors came up – she lay in the bed downstairs – her head was burned off – she was otherwise much burned – old Mr. Tressler was burnt up entirely – the infants were less burnt – the bound boy was nearly consumed. I saw the linens of Mrs. Newey’s which had three holes in it as if made by a knife. (The counsel for the prisoner objected to the validity of this testimony.) After some discussion among counsel the witness was permitted to proceed.

Witness:  I did examine the linen, the linen was bloody – I examined the stab wounds on the body, particularly one about the abdomen – the rent (hole) in the linen was crosswise and seemed to have been cut – we applied the linen to the body and the holes in the lines corresponded with the wound in the body.  Later, Mrs. Newey’s body was exhumed and this testimony was proved to be correct.

Question:  Was there any report in the neighborhood about Markley when you went to the Newey house?

Witness:  There was.  I heard that Mr. Newey was warned to be on his guard for his house to be burnt down.  When the witness testified that though the floor of the cabin was burning he could clearly see the bodies, this question was put to him:

Question:  Could it be possible if the floor was burning all around him that there was no smoke near the body to obscure it?

Witness:  The smoke was in the heavens – there was none about the body – when we burn trash, there is smoke enough in the clouds, but none about the flame.

George Flautt further testified that when he saw Newey’s body, the clothing had been removed.

The second witness was John Flautt, George’s son, who corroborated his father’s testimony.  Having reached the fire first, he said that it appeared to him that the house had been set on fire at both the top and the ground floors.  Jonas and John Manahan and Daniel Benchoff all gave similar testimony concerning the wounds on Mrs. Newey’s body.

The third witness, John King, a son of Mr. Newey’s sister, Sarah King, testified that at Markley’s first conviction he said he would have revenge.  John Williams was at the jail on the day of Markley’s former sentence and testified that the prisoner had said “The states attorney and the judges were no better than Newey and the witnesses or they would not have believed them” and swearing very hard to it: “If ever I get out I will have the satisfaction if I have to kill and burn up the whole of them.”

Another witness, John Black, who lived on the road leading from Emmitsburg to Waynesboro, stated that Markley had come to his place on the evening of December 21 seeking supper and lodging for the night.  He gave his name as John Markley and said he lived in the Middletown Valley and had taken sheep and hogs to Baltimore.  He wore a yellow ‘warmuss’ and left the next morning without paying his bill.  Black identified both Markley and his warmuss at the trial.

Barnard W. Wright of Smithstown (Smithsburg), Washington County, testified as follows:  The first Friday after Newey’s murder about sunset Markley came to my house, 7 miles from Newey’s. Another man was with him. Markley had a knapsack, roughly sewed and well filled with clothing.  He gave it to me to keep. They took supper and both seemed very hungry – told me they came from Huntington County, Pennsylvania. Newey’s murder was known.  After these men went to bed and myself also, I reflected that they might be the murderers. I became alarmed, got up, and set up all night – they arose before day.  Markley pulled out his purse containing perhaps seven or eight dollars in silver.  I noticed Markley’s purse particularly and thought it the very purse that I saw Mr. Newey have at my house about two weeks before.  When they left my house, they said they were going down the New Cut Road towards Frederick – spoke of stopping at Jacob’s Tavern on that road – has no doubt that this is the man at his (Wright’s) house.  Testimony proved that Markley proceeded to Baltimore and stopped at the tavern of one Joshua Kelly, paying in advance for a week’s board and lodging which amounted to $2.50 – gave his name as John Markley and opened in the bar a bundle of clothes from which he selected a blue coat which he took out with him to be scoured.  While at the tavern he read and discussed with other patrons the story of the Newey murder. 

The next day, Sunday, January 10, Markley was arrested and given a hearing before James Blair, magistrate, who held him for a jury trial.  Before this magistrate, he said that he had been born near Hagerstown, Maryland – that he had never been arrested before nor had he been in the penitentiary and that he had been in Chambersburg on the night of the murder.  However, he testified before Judge Shriver that he was in the neighborhood of Chambersburg on Monday previous to the murder, and at Westminster on Friday after the event.  When pressed as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder, he answered – If I must tell the truth, I was on a spree from the Tuesday previous to the murder until the Friday after and can’t tell where I was.

When he was then asked why many articles of clothing in his pack were too small for him, Markley could give no satisfactory answer.  The bundle of clothes which Markley carried with him to Smithsburg and to Baltimore proved to be his undoing.  Mr. King, son of Newey’s sister, Sarah, identified the pantaloons found in Markley’s pack as belonging to his uncle, John Newey, and said that on the day of his uncle’s wedding he had borrowed them to wear to the ceremony and that his mother, finding a tear in the side, had mended it with white thread, The stitches of which King identified.  Mr. Manahan also identified the pantaloons as having been the property of Newey.  Sally Manahan stated that the handkerchief found in the bundle and bearing a yellow patch had belonged in the Newey home where she had washed it during her service there.

A Mr. Nichols testified that two vests taken from the bundle had belonged to Newey and Mrs. Newey’s brother stated that another vest had belonged to the apprentice who was killed with the family.

From a mark on the handle, Mr. Oyster identified a razor in Markley’s possession, also a shaving box and razor strop.  He testified that while Newey was a stout man, he was not as large as Markley.

Other witnesses gave testimony similar to that given above, all detrimental to the prisoner after which the jury retired to return after a deliberation of half an hour with a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree.

After an impassioned castigation of Markley for his heinous act, Chief Justice Buchanan sentenced him to pay with his life for the murder of the Newey family – to be hanged by the neck until you are dead.

While waiting at the barracks in Frederick for execution, Markley admitted to his court-appointed confessor, the Rev. Mr. Shaeffer, the commission of every conceivable sin except that of murder.  On the scaffold on June 24, 1831 he was twice given the opportunity to admit his guilt but each time he protested that he did not know who killed the Newey family.  And so John Markley went to his death never admitting the murder.

Several members of the Flautt family have had the entire account of this murder and trial sent to them by Dr. Bowman.  A copy will also be filed with the Flautt papers in the Maryland Historical Society.

Out of compassion for the Newey Family and an intent to preserve local history, Dorothy Buhrman, owner of the old Newey property, designed and funded the marker shown above that marks the Newey burial site that is several miles away from the home site.

blair garrett

Each year, our phones add new ways to communicate and entertain, and each year, they become a bigger part of our lives.

Cell phones are almost an extension of yourself, with unlimited knowledge at your fingertips, hours of addicting games, and mass communication outlets just the push of a button away. In the world of mobile applications, there is no limit to what you can learn and do. So, let’s take a look at a few useful, practical, and flat out fun apps.

Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart has been one of the most beloved competitive arcade racing games, as well as a staple of the Nintendo world, for nearly three decades.

Initially launching in 1992, Mario Kart has transcending game systems like the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), the N64, Gameboy Advanced, Gamecube, DS, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, Switch, 3DS, and now straight to your mobile phone.

Mario Kart Tour is now the 10th iteration of the series, and the first you can play on Android and IOS systems, competing instantaneously with players from around the world in the same fast-paced, arcade-style game we have come to know and love.

Whether you are waiting to catch a train, killing some time on your break, or just looking for a bit of mindless fun, running a couple of laps on the track with friends or foes is always good fun.

C25K   

Fitness apps have exploded in popularity in 2019. Knowledge and awareness of proper nutrition and exercise, as well as the dangers of obesity, are at an all-time high. This app, in particular, allows beginners to experience the world of consistent running and fitness at a modest pace. Easing into something that would otherwise be difficult to dive straight into is a great way to build manageable, healthy habits.

C25K or “Couch to 5k,” gives users the fundamentals to train themselves mentally and physically to live healthier lives. This app introduces first-time and experienced runners to regimented workouts, where you can track calories, distance, and map your runs. It also offers audio coaching to provide that bit of extra motivation to push through the home stretch.

Finding in-app playlists has never been easier, and the built-in coach gives audio/visual cues to know when to take it up a notch and when to start your cooldown. The app does the motivational legwork, while you do the physical legwork, and that combination is key to forming healthy and continuous good habits.

Venmo

When it comes to convenience and practicality, there is nothing easier to use than Venmo for sending money wirelessly to friends and family.

Need to split a dinner bill with coworkers? Want to send a cousin some birthday money? At the push of a button, you can immediately deposit money into your account, or send to a friend, with no added fees whatsoever.

Venmo has been around for a couple years now, but with over 40 million active users, it has never been more popular than it is today.

It’s particularly useful for paying monthly bills like rent or for just keeping payments in order throughout everyday life.

Each year, new apps come around and revolutionize the way we think, feel, and live. Keeping up with the latest and greatest things can be difficult to manage and stressful, but don’t fret. Soon, there will be an app for that, too. 

The Season of Christmas

Blair Garrett

There may not be a more beautiful time of year than that first December snow.

With snowflakes lightly trickling down, breaths of warm air greeting the cold, and layers of fresh powder coating the pavement to create the illusion of uncharted territory, there’s nothing quite like the first glimpse of true winter.

With winter comes holiday shopping, quality family time, and the usual hustle and bustle of Christmas-time traffic. The December rush often finds us scrambling to get everything in order—from holiday meals to travel plans—but we can’t forget to take a minute to stop and enjoy the beauty of wintertime amidst the swirling chaos around us.     

Picture this: Driving down the road with close friends or family, safely bundled up and ready to brave the cold, stepping out of your vehicle to see the soft glow of candlelight dancing across the needles of trees, splashing light in the world around you. To your left, Christmas lights illuminate every fine detail in the stained glass of your local church. To your right, groups of people are laughing and taking pictures, soaking in the season with the people they care about most.

Holiday tours to view the splendor of Christmas have been an important pillar of winter in communities across the world for hundreds of years, and Frederick County is no different. Big cities like New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia all offer tons to see each day leading up to Christmas. Fortunately for us, we have a few great options to explore right at home.

Rocky Ridge Holiday House Tour

Walk through true home-town Christmas splendor in seven homes, ranging from historical to new, during the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department’s (RRVFD) Holiday House Tour. A fundraiser for the RRVFD, people are really enthusiastic about being a part of the event. A craft and food fair in the Rocky Ridge VFD activities building will take place at the same time the house tour is taking place.

Candlelight Tours Christmas Past

The Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg puts together 1,000 luminaries, sure to light up the night in a way you may not have seen before. This guided tour allows visitors to see where Elizabeth Ann Seton lived and worked, along with stories of her efforts, kindness, and her life, all through the glow of candlelight under the night sky.

Mother Seton’s work in Emmitsburg and in the Catholic church was instrumental in providing avenues for sisters of the church to practice religion in the United States, and the candlelight tour is sure to shed more light on her legacy.

Emmitsburg Christmas Church Tour

Visit eight churches in Emmitsburg to see them decked out for the holidays. This guided tour will start at St. Anthony’s Church and move to another church every half hour, where a presentation is planned. Visit all or visit one or two, but don’t miss the last church visited, Trinity United Methodist Church, where a supper will be held for everyone. 

Frederick Candlelight House Tour

The city of Frederick has run candlelight tours through private homes over 30 years, and there is a tremendous amount of rich history to gather on just about every block. These self-guided tours give locals a chance to see and appreciate the lights, decorations, and a holiday spirit that makes this time of year so special.

A candlelight tour is a perfect weekend activity, sure to put a smile on the face of every person participating. You can get your holiday fill the first weekend in December, with tours kicking off December 7.

Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination—Sharpsburg

Over 157 years ago, the Battle of Antietam claimed the lives of nearly 23,000 men in one of the deadliest battles in the Civil War, and the bloodiest one-day battle in U.S. history. Since, we have recognized and honored those who gave their lives in various ways, including Sharpsburg’s lighting of 23,000 luminaries across the battlefield to symbolize the casualties.

This driving tour is a five-mile trek through monuments and rolling hills, with each light guiding the way, offering a sobering look at what is a near-inconceivable amount of lives lost. This once-a-year event is set for December 7 and is sure to be not only a gorgeous journey, but also a true dose of historic perspective.

Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship

Frederick hosts its 33rd annual church tour the day after Christmas, giving guests 11 stops to witness the beautifully historic architecture, and to hear the bells, choirs, and holiday music to close out 2019 with a bang. Several stops serve refreshments, so if you enjoy a cup of cider to go with your Christmas songs, this candlelight tour might just be for you.

Museums by Candlelight

Arts, entertainment, and a whole lot of candlelight highlight the itinerary for Frederick’s Museums by Candlelight. Many of these tours provide refreshments and activities for kids, while still providing the opportunity to focus on the history embedded in Frederick County.

Of course, with any proper holiday gathering, music is a big part of what makes these tours so great. Make plans soon, though, as this event is held just once a year. This December’s Museums by Candlelight is held December 14.   

There are countless ways to liven up your holiday season, and no right or wrong way to go about it. A cup of cider by the fire is a good start, but a trip through time learning about what history your local community has to offer by candlelight is an even better way to kick off the Christmas countdown.

These tours and gatherings bring people together, and in the spirit of the holidays, joining your neighbors and friends for a night out can help to build lifelong relationships. So, if you are struggling to find something fun and unique to do this December, consider spending a night by the candlelight, and take in all that your local area has to offer.

One of the beautiful homes featured in the Rocky Ridge Holiday House Tour.

Blair Garrett

With nothing but an engraved Secretary of the Navy coin and a lot of questions, one man’s sit-down meal turned into a two-year mystery.

The decorative coin, which reads, “Gordon R. England, 72nd & 73rd Secretary of the Navy,” was the only piece of evidence to go off of, and Robert Cage, 88, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was left wondering how it ended up in his possession.

Cage, a Navy Veteran who served on the USS Chevalier DD-805 from 1952-56 during the Korean War, is proud of his service, and sought to find the mystery man behind the coin.

The date was May 7, 2017, at the McDonald’s in Thurmont. Cage had stopped in for lunch, as he frequently does when he passes through, but this visit had a unique and unexpected surprise.  

“I was just eating a hamburger, and the next thing I knew, somebody had come by and gave me a coin,” Cage said. “By the time I realized what it was and turned around, he was gone.”

The opportunity to meet in person with England may have passed, but it would not be the last time Cage heard from him. “I wanted to take a picture with him but he had left,” Cage said.

Cage frequently wears his U.S. Navy hat when he goes out, so it is not uncommon for other Veterans and the general public to recognize him for his service. He caught the eye of one Veteran in particular, though, and reeling for answers, Cage took to the internet to find out who may have left him this keepsake.  

They don’t make decorative Secretary of the Navy coins for just anyone, so Cage knew this person in particular must have been important.

After doing some homework, Cage learned more about England, who served as both the Secretary of the Navy and the Deputy Secretary of Defense over the course of his career.

England, a Baltimore native, graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in electrical engineering and received his MBA from Texas Christian University shortly after. He also worked as an engineer for the Project Gemini Space Program and as a program manager on the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft for the Navy.

England worked several roles in government preceding his appointment under President George W. Bush as Secretary of the Navy in 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he served in that role and, once again, served as the 73rd Secretary of the Navy after a brief stint as First Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

Cage, with the help of his nephew, Rob Dowling, was able to make contact with England via email to confirm that it was England who left him the coin that day.

“I do recall giving coins during some of my stopovers in Thurmont,” England said in an email with Dowling. “Your uncle was apparently one of the recipients.”

Outside of his career endeavors, England is an avid fisherman, who often takes fishing trips in Pennsylvania. On his way, he would sometimes make a pit stop in Thurmont for lunch.

“I would sometimes fly fish in Pennsylvania and stop by the Thurmont McDonald’s on the way,” England said. “After a few visits, I became acquainted with four or five Veterans who regularly congregated at the restaurant.”

Meeting with Veterans and acknowledging their dedication and sacrifices made for their country was not out of the ordinary for England. “As per my usual practice, whenever I had Secretary of Navy coins, I would introduce myself to a Navy Veteran and thank them for their service to the nation.”

England sent a personal letter to Cage in October, officially thanking him for his service. To this day, Cage still has the Secretary of the Navy coin kept safe at his home in Hyattsville. And, to this day, Cage is still proud of his military service, and proud to have connected with England once again.

Laura Bush

On a small rise above the east side of Old Frederick Road in the community of Utica sits St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 1769, a log cabin was built on this site that was used as a schoolhouse and also as a church by four worshipping congregations:  Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, and Dunkards.

In 1838, a new church building was started and completed in 1840. Deterioration led to the construction of a new building in 1889.

St. Paul’s is proud to be celebrating its 250th Anniversary in 2019.

Each month, we have held a different celebration that has been planned by various groups in the congregation. In July, the church’s plan was to open the time capsules from the 1839 and 1889 buildings. 

As the saying goes, the best-laid plans do not always go well. 

We first thought the time capsules would be behind the cornerstones. After a few hours of work and going back nearly eight inches into the church wall, it became apparent that there was no time capsule to be found.

Not wanting to give up, we regrouped and did a bit of research. We found that it was common at that time to carve out an opening on top of the cornerstone. Sure enough, after removing a few courses of brick above the cornerstone, we located the 1889 time capsule! 

Among the items we found were copies of the newspapers, Reformed Church Messenger (dated April 10, 1889), The Christian World (dated August 29, 1889), The Lutheran Observer (dated August 16, 1889), copies of the Newly Arranged Heidelberg Catechism, Smaller Catechism, hymn books from both the Lutheran and Reformed churches, a list of church members and officers, and a few silver coins. 

The metal box we found the items in was not sealed, so 130 years did take a bit of a toll and some of the items are pretty fragile.  However, it has been very exciting to see these pieces of history and to think of the people that realized it was important to preserve these items for future generations to discover. These items, along with memorabilia from our celebration year, will be placed into a new time capsule that will be buried on the church grounds at the end of December. I hope that the next person that wants to open our time capsule will be grateful that they won’t have to break into a wall to find it!

An opening was carved out in the top of the 1889 cornerstone at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, where the time capsule was eventually located.

Wayne Powell

On October 18, 2019, a wonderful man, much loved by an extensive range of people, left us. His passing will have a profound impact on the greater Emmitsburg community for decades to come. His name was John S. Hollinger and his life’s journey touched many—in fact, many who likely never knew his name. Like his father, he managed the former Sperry Ford dealership in town, which at one time was the third oldest Ford dealership in America.

His family, including his late wife, Theresa, were fixtures in and around all of Northern Frederick County and southern Adams and Franklin Counties in Pennsylvania, too. And, just like his dad, John J. Hollinger served as Fire Chief of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC), Emmitsburg’s local volunteer fire department. Both John and his dad later went on to also serve as presidents at VHC.

John owned residential rental properties that, for decades, provided affordable housing for hundreds of families and individuals. In fact, if not for his generosity, some of those folks could have been among the homeless that we hear so much about these days. No matter what one’s station in life, John treated everyone with respect and dignity. He was always willing to listen and to help whenever he could.

He collected anything and everything about the history of Emmitsburg and its inhabitants; plus, he once had one of the most amazing collections of old Ford parts that existed anywhere in America. Amazingly, a great many of those parts were brand new because rather than turning them back in for credit yearly, he, like his dad, simply kept them in an old building on South Seton Avenue. That building is as distinguishable as any in town due to the wording still visible, “Emmitsburg Motor Car Company.”

Some years ago, many of those vintage parts were sold at auction. When he sold off those parts, some 30 years ago now, people from all across the country came, hoping to find a new or slightly used part, unlikely to be found anywhere else.

John faithfully spent his mornings at the VHC fire station—the “fire hall” as many old-timers called it. His recall of area history was nothing short of amazing. John, often affectionately referred to as the “real” mayor of Emmitsburg, made it a daily practice to drive the streets and alleys of town, looking for things that needed repair. His efforts helped town officials, as well as area business owners and organizational entities, by alerting them to things needing attention of great importance, many of whom were unaware of the unsafe conditions or infrastructure issues that needed to be looked into. He read all area newspapers daily, cover to cover, including the Frederick News-Post, Gettysburg Times, The Catoctin Banner, Emmitsburg News-Journal, Record Herald, and others, to stay on top of the news that helped his beloved VHC fire company stay abreast of changing times and keep in step with timely events.

For over 70 years, John’s fingerprints were on nearly everything the VHC did, as he served on its board of directors for decades, as well as on nearly every major committee in the organization, while also staying close to evolving technologies in the field of emergency vehicles.

But, it’s his impact on people for which he will be most remembered. Several of his sons carried on the family tradition of community service with the VHC. One son, Steve, has faithfully served as company treasurer for some 35 years.

Back in the 1980s, John bought VHC’s ‘Old Engine 63’ (a 1945 Ford American pumper, which had served the community for nearly four decades) and set about restoring it.  Old 63 has been on display for years now at the Frederick County Fire Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Visitors from far and wide have treasured seeing it. For a great many years, that old engine proudly carried Santa Claus to the town’s annual holiday celebrations, arriving with lights and sirens ablaze to the amazement of youngsters and even their parents who once saw the identical spectacle back when they were kids.

In his last days with us, he graciously donated Old Engine 63 back to the VHC, where it will be lovingly cared for. A little-known fact is that John’s great-grandfather, also John S. Hollinger, a respected orchardist in this region, once ran a business in Chicago that was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (each October, National Fire Prevention Week commemorates that event from American history).

The VHC has always had a commitment to “it’s most important service”: Fire Prevention. So, it can be said that knowing the dangers of unwanted fire has long been in the DNA of the Hollinger family. The men and women of the VHC humbly and proudly salute our friend, Chief John S. Hollinger, and all that he did for our community. He is greatly missed.

Photo shows John J. Hollinger in the driver’s seat of the 1930 Engine, which was Emmitsburg’s first motorized Engine and which is now owned by the Rocky Ridge VFC.

Anita DiGregory

“Anyone who knows a firefighter understands that few of us in the fire service are comfortable with that word, hero. But whether we like it or not, firefighters are viewed as heroes by the public. I think that is because firefighters embody a unique blend of courage and compassion. When firefighters are called, it is often because someone else is having the worst day imaginable. Firefighters arrive ready to take control of the situation and provide service and comfort to complete strangers, expecting nothing in return.”

Chief Dennis Compton, Immediate Past Chairman, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

On October 3-6, 2019, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) held its 38th Annual Memorial Weekend to honor the nation’s firefighters who died in the line of duty. The national tribute, which included a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, family activities, a vigil, and a candlelight service, culminated with the public Memorial Service on Sunday at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg. 

During the memorial weekend, the U.S. Fire Service honored the lives of 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters who died in the line of duty in previous years. Honoring 119 from 38 states and 1 territory, Sunday’s Memorial Service was estimated to draw nearly 5,000 people, including family members, fellow firefighters, friends, officials, and the public who gathered to honor the life, service, and ultimate sacrifice of these heroes. Other honorable guests presented included Kevin K. McAleenan, Acting Secretary, Department of Homeland Security; Peter T. Gaynor, Acting Administrator, FEMA; Chief G. Keith Bryant, U.S. Fire Administrator; the Honorable Don Briggs, Mayor of Emmitsburg; and Chief Dennis Compton, Immediate Past Chairman, NFFF.  Congressman Steny Hoyer, NFFF Chairman Troy Markel, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, FEMA Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor, and the U.S. Fire Administrator Chief Keith Bryant placed the Presidential Wreath at the Memorial at the ceremony on Sunday.

McAleenan addressed the crowd of families, friends, and fellow firefighters, stating, “There’s no more honorable vocation in life than to serve to protect your neighbor, to step forward into harm’s way so that others may live. But that selfless service often comes at a great price, and we mourn those fallen firefighters, our heroes, who have given their all to protect their fellow Americans.”

Gaynor added, “It is our sacred duty that we honor our nation’s frontline first responders and their families for the sacrifices and their full measure of devotion. Seeing so many firefighters gather here for a powerful memorial, I am reminded how these very same firefighters assist our communities, states, and FEMA in responding to the nation’s worst disasters…It is therefore right and fitting to come together as a nation this weekend, embrace the families of these fallen firefighters, and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to their communities. So, on this most significant day of remembrance for these firefighters and the families they leave behind, I join together with you to honor their dedication and sacrifice to community. I urge you to continue to wish all firefighters a safe return to their firehouses and their families at the end of each day.”

The tribute included several time-honored traditions important to firefighters and their families. For the eighth year, the memorial weekend incorporated Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters. Numerous fire departments and places of worship across the nation joined the NFFF in this ceremony, ringing their bells in honor of those firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. 

Additionally, Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters was also incorporated into the memorial weekend, as landmarks and fire service organizations nationwide were illuminated in red light in honor of all these brave men and women. 

The public ceremony also included a traditional honor guard and bagpiper procession. The Pipes and Drums consisted of firefighters from across the country. 

During Sunday’s ceremony, the names of the 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and the 27 firefighters who died in the line of duty in previous years were read. The fallen firefighters’ families were presented with an American flag. These 119 flags previously flew over the U.S. Capitol and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial before being meticulously folded and presented to the families. 

A highlight of the weekend included the unveiling of the memorial plaques listing the names of the 2018 fallen heroes and those who died in previous years. McAleenan stated, “It is here that the names of more than 4,000 fallen firefighters are memorialized, etched into our nation’s history, and the lessons learned here from those sacrifices serve as the basis for the training to prevent another tragedy from happening.”

During Sunday’s ceremony, McAleenan shared a message from President Donald Trump. In his statement, the president shared, “I send my sincerest greetings to those gathered at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Across the United States, firefighters put their lives at risk each day to serve their fellow Americans. Melania and I join you in honoring these courageous men and women who face daily uncertainty and peril…My administration proudly stands by our nation’s firefighters, and we thank them for all they do to shelter our citizens from harm. May God bless them, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.”

Speaking on the significance of the weekend and the importance of the nation’s firefighters, McAleenan stated, “Our firefighters are critical to our homeland security, standing between us and danger, taking action when many others are frozen in fear.”

The Memorial Weekend concluded with the singing of “The Fallen and the Brave” by award-winning singer-songwriter Dave Carroll.

The Annual National Firefighters Memorial Weekend is intended to pay tribute to those lost in the line of duty, while also helping survivors in healing. Serving as the official national tribute to America’s fallen firefighters, this ceremony has become extremely important to families and their communities in acknowledging and honoring the lives of these heroes. 

Troy Markel, chairman of the NFFF Board of Directors added, “As we gather together to honor and to pay tribute to our fallen firefighters’ selfless devotion to service, Memorial Weekend is a time for us as a nation and a fire service to pause and reflect on their sacrifice and to honor and grieve for the loss their families, friends, and fellow firefighters continue to endure.”

The NFFF was established by Congress in 1992. It remains the only national organization designated to honor all fallen firefighters and to offer support to their families. In his message, President Trump stated, “I commend the NFFF for its efforts to ensure that the loved ones of our fallen heroes receive the support they deserve. Today’s ceremony is a fitting tribute to the brave first responders who laid down their lives in the line of duty, fulfilling their oath to place service to others above self. Their heroic legacy will forever be preserved in the hearts of the communities they helped safeguard.”

The NFFF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies on funding through private donations from caring individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations.

If you’d like to donate to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, you can do so online or by mail. To find out how, visit www.firehero.org.

Candles are lit in remembrance of firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Theresa Pryor

The mountain may not have been showing her bountiful fall petticoats October 12 and 13, but Thurmont’s annual Catoctin Colorfest event was an artist’s palette of colors and hues.

I was born here in this beautiful part of the country and recently moved back home to Thurmont, so this was my first Colorfest. I had been warned by some that it was “crazy busy.” Well, I just had to see what it was all about, so with camera and notebook in hand, I set off to see for myself.

I was fortunate enough to be able to walk everywhere from my home, so no traffic problems got in my way, though the stream of never-ending vehicles on U.S. Route 15 was astounding. Walking downtown on Friday, I felt the expectancy and excitement in the air. Shopkeepers seemed ready, though some were more jaded than others in what they were ready for, but for the most part, anticipation was in the air.

Down at Thurmont’s Community Park, vendors were putting up their tents and tables, readying them with a plethora of wares that, come Saturday, would hopefully be purchased. I could only get a peek at some so I enjoyed greeting other walkers out nosing around. At the park’s entrance, I stopped and chatted with Betty Burdock and Diana Lewis who were efficiently directing vendors to their assigned spaces. They seemed old hands at this and we chatted about how great the weather looked for the weekend. When I left the park later in the afternoon, closed white tents filled with yet to be discovered goodies, sat like friendly ghosts in waiting.

Saturday proved to be the reason that Colorfest is often called an experience rather than an event. Hitting Main street, I was immediately caught up in the flow of foot traffic and while one might feel a bit out of control in this sea of humanity situation, countless strollers, dogs, and wagons, I felt part of something exciting transforming Thurmont’s everyday life. It was an energetic synthesis! And there was definitely a mission mentality emanating from those who know just how to shop.

Established in 1963, Colorfest has come a long way. What started as a nature walk has evolved into a juried arts and crafts festival featuring well-known and respected artisans from across the United States. It is one of the largest outdoor craft show events on the East Coast.

As I traversed the park, more colors blossomed as handmade candles, silk flower arrangements, Christmas ornaments, jewelry glittering in the sunlight, prism fan pulls and even a small field of Blue Heron yard art that swayed and bobbed in the breeze; there were amazingly innovative crafts, beautiful art and clothing, not to mention the delicious food options whose smells beckoned half way across the park before you even saw the booth. Everything you could ever ask for on a beautiful fall day was all there in one, compact slice of retail heaven. Crazy busy? Yes. Crazy beautiful, too!

One must be quick when interviewing someone working. Their focus is on their customers and that is as it should be, so finding a vendor freed up for a few minutes was a challenge. I lucked out when I ventured into a booth that displayed countless USB Port Lamps. Looking like little r2d2’s ready to do your bidding, this was one of the most innovative items I had seen that day. Owners, Kate and Steve Imes, were happy to answer my questions, the most pressing being, “What in the world made you think to create this?”

Why, necessity being the mother of invention, of course! Their son had gone off to college a number of years ago and called home to complain that the dorm room he shared had one outlet per side. Plugging in a lamp and one other item was less than efficient, so Steve went to work inventing his USB Port Lamp, which was selling like proverbial hotcakes in this, their 5th year at Colorfest. Kate makes the shades and they come in a variety of colors and themes. As I thanked them and left, another group entered the tent and I overheard someone ask…. “What in the world made you think to create this?”

I spoke with other vendors that day and the two overriding themes about this year’s Colorfest was the weather (perfect!) and that it was the busiest year, ever (perfect!). “It doesn’t get any better than this”, one vendor commented.

Over on the back side of the park I was intrigued to see an American Flag made from shotgun shells positioned front and center in a booth. A lovely, smiling young woman greeted me as I entered. In asking Janelle James where the idea came from, she explained that she was a military wife who loved to craft. She and her husband, Zach, create designs from shells and use their Etsy Shop to promote pride and patriotism. This was their 6th Colorfest and they love coming here.

I wrapped up my day with an order of French fries with vinegar and salt and sat on a bale of hay watching people, dogs and kids. My overall opinion of Colorfest? It was fabulous and I am going to do it again next year.

What does a military wife do when her husband is serving the country? Ready, Aim, Craft! And that is just what Janelle and Zach James named their company, a craft shop comprised of products celebrating American pride and patriotism. Their sixth year at Colorfest was a huge success!

This year, Carol and Steve Newmann, of Chapel Crafts, celebrated their 47th year at Colorfest. The Newmann’s craft leather belts continue to please new as well as repeat customers.

Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. provides three scholarships each year in the amount of $1,000 and one scholarship in the amount of $1,500, to be awarded to Catoctin area high school graduates who are continuing their education.

The namesake of our local ‘Cunningham’ Falls has been a mystery for years. Before the reference to the falls as ‘Cunningham’ Falls, around the 1920s, the falls were known as McAfee Falls, Harman Falls, the Cascades, and Hunting Creek Falls.

Recently, a potential answer to the ‘Cunningham’ mystery has been uncovered via the release of a transcript of interviews conducted in 1969 by representatives from the National Park Service with some of the McAfee descendants who were alive during the name transition. These transcripts have been made available by Robert McAfee of Foxville, a descendant of the interviewees.

The interviewees named Mr. and Mrs. Charles McAfee explained that there were several McAfee ‘home places’ around the falls. They acknowledge having births ‘at the falls’ and getting married there. Charles said, “I lived there four years. In 1907, 8 and 9 and10. Then I went up to Foxville.”

Charles explained that he worked in construction ‘under’ Goldsborough and Williams who were constructing youth camps. He said, “They’re the ones – Williams is the one – that named it Cunningham Falls…Williams named it that. Never nobody known like that around here.” When asked why Williams called it Cunningham Falls, Charles said, “I don’t know. No real reason for it. He just picked that and called it that.”

Charles went on to say, “…afterwards [Dr.] Bowman and a bunch of us got together to get rid of that Cunningham business…So, that’s when we tried to get it named McAfee Falls.” Conversation continued about names of the falls, referencing Hunting Creek, the Cascades, and, “when we went to school, it was called the Falls.” They estimated Charles’ reference to attending school to be around 1901.

According to Rose McAfee in a separate interview, it was, “…after they sold the timber long before the government purchased the land, the name was changed to Cunningham Falls. People from away called it Cunningham Falls all of a sudden and people around here called it McAfee Falls.”

To date, these interviews point to the most plausible explanation for the naming of ‘Cunningham’ since the timeline and printed references align.

A May 23, 2018, Frederick News-Post’s “Yesterday” post from “50 Years Ago” referenced that, “A mistake of more than 30 years standing (as of May 23, 1968) was righted recently when Maryland’s Commission on Forests and Parks renamed the falls in Cunningham Falls State Park. The official name is now McAfee Falls, honoring an old Frederick County family which settled in the area in 1790. As a logical follow-up the Forests and Parks Commission is now considering renaming the park Hunting Creek State Park.”

When looking back at the corrective actions taken to remedy this ‘mistake,’ not much was done. At one point, signage was posted “McAfee Falls” at the Falls hiking trail inside Cunningham Falls State Park. Otherwise, correcting the ‘mistake’ referenced in Frederick News Post’s “Yesterday” post has been forgotten.

With this newest discovery of information, we’ll call the ‘Cunningham’ mystery solved. It’s been an interesting path to the ‘facts,’ and we thank all who gave insight.

Regardless of its name, thousands of visitors enjoy the falls every year, which is the State of Maryland’s largest cascading waterfall, standing at 78 feet.

The Battle that Changed the Tide of the Civil War

James Rada, Jr.

While the first week in July is the busiest time on the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield because of the anniversary of the battle, the second busiest time is in November when Dedication Day is celebrated.

Dedication Day

Dedication Day is held in honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s reading of the Gettysburg Address during the dedication of Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where nearly 6,000 soldiers from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I are buried. It was dedicated on November 19, 1863, four and a half months after the historic Civil War battle. This year’s Dedication Day activities will be on November 18, 19, and 23.

Some of the events happening are an open house at the David Wills House and Gettysburg railroad station on November 18, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Lincoln arrived and left Gettysburg at the railroad station and stayed at the David Wills house while in town. Both locations will hold special programs that evening.

The actual Dedication Day ceremony will be held at Soldiers’ National Cemetery at 10:15 a.m. on November 19. It will feature a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers’ National Monument, and Presidential Scholar Michael Beschloss will be the keynote speaker.

The following weekend, the annual parade of Civil War living history groups will march through Gettysburg at 1:00 p.m. on November 23. That evening, from 5:30-9:00 p.m., a luminary candle will be lit on the grave of each of the 3,512 Civil War soldiers buried at Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and the names of the dead will be read throughout the evening.

Visitor Center

Even if you can’t make it to Gettysburg for one of the special events, you can always find something happening around the battlefield. Start at the Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike. From this point, you can watch an orientation film, tour the museum, see the cyclorama, book a tour, ride to the Eisenhower Farm, eat lunch, and more. The building is free to enter, but there are fees for different activities.

The 20-minute orientation film, A New Birth of Freedom, narrated by Morgan Freeman, will give you a good overview of the Battle of Gettysburg and its historical significance.

The cyclorama is the largest painting in America. It is 42 feet tall and 377 feet around. “Longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure, the Gettysburg Cyclorama oil painting, along with light and sound effects, immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg,” according to the National Park Service website. It is painted so that it encircles you as it depicts Pickett’s Charge. French artist Paul Philippoteaux researched the battlefield for months before beginning the oil painting that took him and his assistants more than a year to complete.

The Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War features artifacts from one of the largest collections of Civil War relics in the world. It also has interactive exhibits and multi-media presentations throughout.

If you want to tour the battlefield itself, you can purchase tickets for a bus tour or make arrangements for a licensed battlefield guide to take you around the park. You can also take your own tour. Pick up a driving map at the ticketing desk to help you get around the park.

While in the Visitor Center, you can make arrangements to visit the farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The cattle farm was used as Eisenhower’s home after WWII. He hosted world leaders at the farm during his presidency and ran the country from his den while he was recovering from a heart attack.

You can tour the house, which still appears as it did during the 1960s. Also, on site are the Secret Service office, farm building, and grounds.

The Visitor Center will also have a listing of the various ranger programs going on throughout the day.

The November programs are: Gettysburg History Hike – Three Days in 90 Minutes (90 min.); Four Score and Seven Years Ago – Lincoln and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (45 min.); Hold to the Last! – The Battle for Little Round Top (60 min.); The 3rd Day and Beyond – Stay and Fight it Out! (45 min.).

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center winter hours (November 1 through March 31) are 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. It also closes at 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

For more information about the events and park sites in Gettysburg, visit: Gettysburg National Military Park www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm; Eisenhower Farm: www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm; David Wills House: www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/david-wills-house.htm.

Two re-enactors talk during the annual WWII weekend, held at the Eisenhower Farm.

Farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The house still appears as it did during the 1960s.

Andrea Myers Mannix

During the Opening Ceremonies of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show in September at Catoctin High School, Veterans representing the Thurmont American Legion and the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post No. 121 in Emmitsburg were honored in recognition of the American Legion’s 100th Anniversary in 2019.

The American Legion organization was founded in 1919 by Veterans returning from Europe after World War I. It was later chartered as an official American patriotic society and carries on the tradition to support Veterans, families, and their community. The Legion continues to volunteer in patriotic service of mutual help to our country’s Veterans and has touched virtually every facet of American life. Even to this day, American Legion members carry on their objective to serve their community, state, and nation.

Veterans honorees of the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post No. 121 of Emmitsburg were:

Kevin Cogan

Kevin entered the U.S. Navy Seabees in 1979 and was assigned to Construction Battalion Unit 416 and then Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, proudly serving until his honorable discharge in 1986.

Kevin now serves as the commander of the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post No. 121 in Emmitsburg.

Thomas E. Hoke

Thomas served as a Combat Medic during World War II in the European Theater, and his Division was part of Patton’s Third Army.  He fought in the Hurchin Forest, Siegfried Line, and the Battle of the Bulge.

On April 11, 1945, the Division which Thomas was part of, liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, and then were the first Division home after the War. His Division was to get a furlough and then be the first wave to hit the Japanese Mainland.

Thomas was home on August 6, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was dropped. After that, Thomas was sent to the 95th Division at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and was discharged on January 9, 1946, as a staff sergeant.

Edward E. “Gene” Lingg

Gene served as a Gunner with the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam from July 1966 through August 1967, as a corporal. He was stationed in northern South Vietnam near the DMZ – The De-Militarized Zone.

Gene was re-assigned about halfway through his 13-month tour to Headquarters Battalion S-3, Intelligence, which planned and carried out field operations. 

Sanford “Mac” McGuire

Mac joined the U.S. Air Force in January 1959 and served our country until his honorable discharge in November 1962 as Airman First Class. He then entered into Federal service—as a civilian—for 43 years.

Mac has continued his service and support through memberships in different Veteran organizations and appointments that he has held in these organizations. He is currently the finance officer of the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post No. 121 in Emmitsburg.

Paul J. Sutton

Paul served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years as an aviation mechanic and has been a life-long resident of the Emmitsburg/Thurmont area.

Legion leadership positions include Past Post Commander and the Western Maryland District Adjuvant.

Martin R. Williams

 Martin served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1969 through 1971 and was part of the 5/2 Artillery 2nd Field Force, 25th Infantry. Martin is also a life member of American Legion Post 121, and an active member of AMVETS Post No. 7. He is presently serving in his eighth year as commander of VFW Post 6658, where he is also a life member.

TheEdwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion Post No. 168 of Thurmont honorees were:

The Late Kenneth Allen

Kenneth served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel and was a personnel service clerk from 1970 through 1973 and—in both active and reserve duty—was a Judge Advocate from 1976 through 2002. He was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; the Judge Advocate General School in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Court of Military Review in Northern Virginia; and various reserve units in both Pennsylvania and Germany.

Kenneth was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, and came to the Thurmont area after being hired as a contract lawyer at Fort Ritchie.   His leadership position at the Legion was as judge advocate.

Kenneth passed away in May of this year. His contributions to the American Legion, the members, and the families it serves are too numerous to list. He was a man of integrity, honor, and service, and is greatly missed.

Robert H. Brennan

Bob served in the Army from 1960 through 1964. For 50 years, he has lived in Thurmont with his wife, Marie, and been a member of Post 168.

Bob’s leadership positions have included being adjutant for 30 years.   He is also adjutant of Frederick County and at the department level.

Lee Fisher was a great teacher and mentor for Bob, and between them, they know so much about Post 168. Bob is a very dedicated Legion member and loves helping all Veterans.

Edward Gravatt

Edward served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 through 1969 in Vietnam, working in the Air Police with Base Gym-Photographic Systems Repair. He is originally from Wilmington, Delaware, and his wife’s family is from Thurmont.

Edward has been a member for 12 years. His leadership positions have included post commander, second and first vice commander, and the post executive committee.

His Legion memorable moments were renovating the kitchen, Legion College at the Convention, Wounded Warrior Fishing, the Community Show, and the Catoctin Colorfest.

Rick L. Hall

Rick served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam from 1970 through 1973 as a gunner aboard the USS San Bernardino, USS Alamo, and Patrol Boat Riverine. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he came to Frederick County in 1965, when his father was transferred with State Farm Insurance Company. Rick enlisted on July 15, 1970—just 24 days after his 17th birthday. Rick joined the American Legion in Clear Spring, Maryland, and then transferred to Thurmont. He was also involved with the Sons of the American Legion at the Woodsboro American Legion under his father, E. J. Hall.

Rick has been a Legion member for 23 years, and his leadership positions have included first vice commander, commander, and the post executive committee. His Legion memorable moments are the Ocean City Department meetings.

Rick stays as a member for all the important things the Legion does for our Veterans, families, scouts, scholarships for high school students, baseball teams, and the great friends he has made. The American Legion is a place for healing for some and a place of remembrance for others.

Alvin L. Hatcher

Alvin served in the U.S. Navy from 1984-1996 as hospital corpsman and was involved in Grenada and Desert Storm.

Alvin is from Mansfield, Ohio, and his wife is from Thurmont. His wife’s grandfather, Charles Downs, Sr. was a founding member of Post 168.

His leadership positions have included sergeant at arms, first vice commander, second vice commander, commander, post commander, county commander, and district commander.

Memorable moments at the Legion include becoming commander at Post 168 and his First Legion Convention in Ocean City. Alvin has enjoyed meeting many great memorable Legionnaires over the years.

Raymond A. Long

Raymond served in the Army from 1954 through 1956 and was a Morse Code interceptor during the Korean Conflict. He is a lifetime Thurmont resident, and joined the Legion so he could volunteer for his community.

Leadership positions in the Legion have included post commander, county commander, and district commander. While a member of the Veterans Affairs Department, Raymond was able to get funding for the Martinsburg, West Virginia, Veterans Affairs Center. 

His most memorable moments were being installed as commander of Post 168 and going to play bingo with Veterans at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Center.

James “Buzz” Mackley

Buzz served as a sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard from 1962 through 1968, with Light Weapons Infantry and Heavy Weapon Infantry. He was stateside for Vietnam and involved in riot duties while being stationed in Baltimore in 1968. He was also stationed twice in Cambridge, Maryland.

James is originally from Thurmont and has been a Legion member for over 50 years. His grandfather, Lloyd Mackley, was a previous commander. Leadership positions have included commander, vice-commander, and board chairman of the post executive committee. 

Cooking for the Wounded Warrior Fishing Day at Camp Airy Ponds, sponsored by the Brotherhood of the Junglecock, was one of his best Legion memories.

Sidney A. Wolf

Sidney served in the U.S. Marines, and also served as the Legion’s Post Commander.

He also served on the House Corporation and Colorfest committee and helps to play bingo at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Center.

Pictured from left are: (front row) Paige Riley; Emmitsburg’s Francis X. Elder American Legion Post #121 Honorees: Martin Williams, Sanford “Mac” McGuire, Paul Sutton, Thomas Hoke, Edward “Gene” Lingg, Kevin Cogan; (back row) Andrea Mannix; Amy Poffenberger; Daniel Myers; C. Rodman Myers; Cathy Little; Jennifer Martin; Frederick County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban; Jennifer Clements; Barry Burch; Dave Harman; and Cheryl Lenhart.

Pictured from left are: (front row) Paige Riley; Thurmont’s Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion Post #168 Honorees: Alvin L. Hatcher, Raymond A. Long, Robert L. Brennan, Edward Gravatt, James “Buzz” Mackley, Rick L. Hall, and (not pictured) Sidney A. Wolf. Also honored was deceased member Kenneth Allen; (back row) Andrea Mannix; Amy Poffenberger; Daniel Myers; C. Rodman Myers; Cathy Little; Jennifer Martin; Frederick County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban; Jennifer Clements; Barry Burch; Dave Harman; and Cheryl Lenhart.

Anita DiGregory

On Sunday, October 6, 2019, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, together with the Archdiocese of Military Services, USA (AMS), welcomed more than 400 visitors to the Annual Pilgrimage for the Sea Services.  Active-duty and retired members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and Public Health Service, along with the public, were in attendance to honor all who serve or have served at sea.

The pilgrimage began with Mass in the Basilica, which was celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland, California. Having served for many years as a chaplain in the Naval Reserve, Bishop Barber prayed for Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s intercession for all those serving at sea. Having had two of her sons, Richard and William, serve at sea, Mother Seton was officially designated the Patroness of the Sea Services in 1977. 

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York, participated in the pilgrimage, and Plebe Anna Hercules served as lector. The U.S. Naval Academy Catholic Choir, led by director Monte Maxwell, provided the music.

In his homily, Bishop Barber talked of his experiences as chaplain and recalled the advice he gave. “All our lives are in God’s hands. If today is not your day to die, no bullet will find you. If today is your day, the only thing keeping you from Heaven is mortal sin. We have a remedy for sin, the sacrament of confession which wipes sin away.” Promising the Marines he would not leave until everyone desiring the sacrament was afforded the opportunity, he recalled how each of the men, even the non-Catholics, accepted the opportunity.

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral William J. Fallon, chairman of the Pilgrimage Sponsoring Committee, spoke of the importance of the time-honored event. Reflecting on the pilgrimage and the solidarity it fostered, he added, “We are here to pray for our people in uniform and for their families, to ask St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for them.”

Although the day was rainy and chilly, the Basilica was filled with members of the community there to pray for the country and members of the Sea Services, and to honor those who have sacrificed and those that continue to sacrifice through their service. Many also reflected on how Mother Seton had touched their lives in personal ways.

Bishop Barber was struck by how beautifully Mother Seton “balanced her vocation of mother and sister…with an eye always on her sons and family, simultaneously living out both vocations.”

Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., Vocations Director, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, also spoke of Mother Seton’s influence. “My mother was involved in the effort for her beatification. She had a relic she would take to the bedside of anyone we knew who was sick. I felt like I knew her. Her conversion story and discovery of the Catholic Faith was very influential in my life. When I was at the Naval Academy, I made sure I invoked her…Today, she is very much in the minds of the midshipmen.”

Deacon Daniel Koehl, a student of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, was grateful to be able to both attend and take part in the pilgrimage. “This is a Mass that I have gone to every year at the Mount. I have grown in devotion to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton over the years, especially this year.” Koehl, whose home parish is St. Vincent de Paul in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, joked of Mother Seton seemingly chasing him down, as, over the year, he had been located to different Mother Seton parishes and assignments. He was happy to volunteer to take part in the Mass and added, “As soon as the call came through, I said, ‘I will be there!’”

“We’re grateful for all of the servicemen and women who’ve taken part in the pilgrimage over the years,” said Rob Judge, executive director of the Seton Shrine. “It’s a prayerful and moving time for them to join with their family members and others in thanking Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton for her protection, and to ask for her continued intercession on their behalf as they serve our country.”

Garrett Troxell (age four) is shown participating in the Pedal Tractor Pull competition at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on Sunday, September 8, 2019. As you can see from Garrett’s attire, he is a true farm boy. His grandmother, Helen Troxell, said, “Most kids’ first word is mom or dad. Garrett’s was ‘bale’ like a hay bale.”

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been held for the past 63 years. This event is multi-faceted, with a variety of activities taking place over the course of the weekend, beginning on Friday evening with the opening ceremony (see details on page 30), when local citizens and organizations are honored and the Catoctin High School FFA ambassador is selected. The opening ceremony is followed by the baked goods auction, where the baked goods that won Champion and Reserve Champion ribbons in the exhibits competition are sold. This is a big fundraiser for the event and an opportunity for local businesses to show their community support.

On Saturday, livestock are shown in the ag area and Champion and Reserve Champion farm animals are auctioned at the end of the evening. Meanwhile, entertainment, a pet show, exhibit displays, business displays, and dinner and food vendors attract a variety of visitors over the course of the day. (See exhibit and contest winners on page 31.)

On Sunday, log sawing and pedal tractor competitions are held in the ag area, a horseshoe competition is held on the grounds behind the school, and entertainment and a lunch continue to attract visitors until the show slows to a close in the afternoon.

This year, Community Show President Rodman Myers (pictured right) was given special recognition for his tenured contribution to the event, agricultural support, and community. Congratulations, Rodman!

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival

Blair Garrett

The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and the sweet scent of pumpkin spice is filling the air.

Fall is upon us, and there is no better way to kick off the new season than by having a blast with friends and family exploring local fall activities.

In Thurmont, a seven-week fall festival filled with good times and good fun beckons the local adventurer. Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival kicked off on September 21 and runs through November 3, giving the community ample time to get into the fall spirit and experience country adventure at its finest.

No matter what you like, there is surely something available for everyone to enjoy. Taylor Huffman has been managing the activities that go on for the Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival for the past eight years. She was happy to shed some insight on what makes this festival so great.

“We have over 20 activities,” Huffman said. “We have the pumpkin jumping pillow, apple cannons, mountain slides, a huge farm animal area, and ziplines. The big hit is actually the round bale rollers; you get in them and roll around like a hamster, and the kids seem to like that.”

The farm does not have any actual hamsters, but it does have a variety of playful and personable animals that aren’t afraid to come right up and say “Hi.” There are long-haired highland cattle, horses, and pigs and baby goats available to feed and spend time with.

One of the most coveted attractions for festival-goers is the tractor rides through the pumpkin patches. Nothing rings in the fall season quite like changing leaves, cooler weather, and pumpkins galore.  

The farm features a wide-open space to accommodate guests, with fun things to do scattered throughout the lot. One of the farm’s classic activities is the corn maze, which has become a staple of fall fun for kids and adults alike, and the Winterbrook Farms maze is unique in its own way.

“We have Maryland’s largest corn maze,” Huffman said. “This year, it’s 5.2 miles of trails.” It isn’t the beginning of fall until the corn mazes are up and running, and what better way to spend time with the family than journeying through a maze together to achieve a common goal. 

Since the event’s inception in 2000, the expansion has been steady and constant each season. “Year after year, we see growth as we add more activities and grow and change with the times,” Huffman said. “We did a big renovation in 2017, and we added about five acres of grass. On a busy October day, we’ll have about 2,000 people here, so it’s good to have the extra space.”

The farm does bring in people from around the Catoctin area, but the majority of patrons come from well outside Thurmont. “Most of our customers come from Baltimore and northern Virginia, but we’d love to have more locals.”

Bringing in the community to take part in fall festivities is what allows the corn maze, farm animals, and pumpkin patches to flourish year after year. And with continued community support, the events and activities can keep growing and developing as they have over the past two decades.

Though the festival season for Huffman and the crew only lasts a few short months, much more work goes into making Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival operate smoothly than meets the eye.

“This takes us months to prepare for,” Huffman said. “For a solid two months before we open, we’re out here every day, preparing and prepping new things.”

Months of prep work, paired with weeks of maintenance, brings together a product of which Huffman and the crew can be proud. With thousands of people visiting the farms each fall, it seems like all the effort and dedication is well worth putting smiles on the faces of families passing through. It’s not uncommon to hear the laughter of kids rolling around in the bale rollers, or the joy of families bouncing around on the pumpkin pillow. Everywhere you look is something completely different in its own fun way. 

In addition to the work put into running the festival each year, big plans are in the works for the end of the season. “This year is the first year we’re hosting the Great Pumpkin Run,” Huffman said. “It’s something they’ve held in Maryland before, but it was at another local farm. It’s November 2, and it’s a 5K that runs all over our farms.”

Pumpkin Runs are held all over the United States, but your local fall festival farm gets to add yet another open-to-the-public activity in which anyone can participate. There is also an added bonus to completing the 5K. “You even get a cup of apple cider and a small pumpkin at the end of the race,” Huffman said.

If distance running isn’t your style, and if pumpkin isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps picking strawberries or visiting markets is. Next summer, plans are in the works to let the public come and pick strawberries to take home.

“We’re going to be doing you-pick strawberries, so we’re hoping to expand our business and hopefully have a farm market here, too,” Huffman said. “So, we’re pretty excited.”

The 327-acre farm is only open for business a few more weeks, so if you, or a friend, are in the market to kick-off the fall season in a fun way, take a day trip on down to check out what Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival is all about. You can head down Saturdays from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

There’s no better way to spend a Saturday this fall, so don’t be afraid to get out of the house and do something a little different.

Colton (front) and Daniel (back) Smith launch a few apples with the farm’s apple cannons.

Two boys test out Winterbrook Farms brand new bouncy pumpkin pillow.

Thelma (right) and Louise (left) poke their heads through the fence with a big smile to greet guests.

The Town of Thurmont held a Nominating Convention on Tuesday, October 24, 2019, for the upcoming municipal election in which two commissioner seats are up for election.

Five candidates were nominated (pictured right); incumbent Wes Hamrick, new candidates Elliot Jones, Sabrina Massett, and Kenneth Oland, and incumbent Bill Buehrer.

The Thurmont Lions Club will sponsor a Candidate Forum to be held at the town office, the date and time will be announced. Mayor John Kinnaird encourages all registered voters to participate in the election and predicted a 50 percent voter turnout for this election. Let’s prove him right, Thurmont residents!

Dates to remember:

October 1 is the last day to register to vote; you can register at the town office.

October 22 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot.

October 29 elections will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

Why are you running for commissioner?

Bill Buehrer

I was first elected in 2011, vying to preserve our past and save the future of Thurmont. This board has demonstrated such through infrastructure improvement. We have vigorously looked for and received state grants, thus bringing our tax dollars back to Thurmont. I want to continue those efforts.

Wes Hamrick

I am privileged to have served the Town of Thurmont as a member of this board for six years and the fulfillment it affords to being able to make a positive difference for this town. The current board and Thurmont staff have made many inroads to improve the quality of life in Thurmont with our parks, trails, amenities and services, and I want to be a part of the exciting future for our town. This past term has literally flown past and much remains in the works that I certainly want to be a part of in seeing to fruition. It is an honor and privilege to serve and represent this community as one of its commissioners.

Elliot Jones

We, in Thurmont, have the good fortune to have a local government that works hard for its residents, with elected officials that truly care about the town. I want that experience to continue, not only for our current residents, but our future residents as well. While volunteering for events like “Halloween in the Park” and “Christmas in Thurmont” and writing articles for the Gateway publication, I’ve learned just how much of an impact our local government makes on our community. As a commissioner, I would bring my own insights and experiences to serve the community with new ideas.

Sabrina Massett

I care about making sure that the concerns and needs of my friends and neighbors are heard and responded to. I’m running to ensure we maintain our “small town” identity, even as we grow and change. I have a vision of a town that continues to welcome and embrace diversity among our residents; provides affordable rental options and homes to purchase; provides a safe environment for families to raise children, free of the disease of addiction, and supports the services necessary to retire and age in place; a town that prioritizes attracting and supporting small businesses, light, green industry, and sustainable practices. I firmly believe we as citizens can choose what’s best for Thurmont.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I spent 40 years in public service; 25 years in law enforcement (7 years with Frederick Police, 18 years with Maryland State Police, attaining the rank of Corporal before retiring on a disability from injuries suffered in a traffic collision), 4 years with the federal government, 4 additional years with the Maryland State Police, and 7 years with the Town of Thurmont. I had my own crash consulting business for 8 years. I want to, once again, serve the citizens of the town and community that I grew up in and moved back to over 16 years ago with my family, in a leadership position.

What are your goals as a commissioner?

Bill Buehrer

My goal is to continue improving our infrastructure to bring more businesses to Thurmont and to improve housing development in a conservative manner.

Wes Hamrick

One of the pressing issues facing us, as well as other municipalities, is the continued increase in the cost of doing business and the pressure it places on the annual budget. I want to continue to work as a board with our town staff and administrative heads to continue finding ways to save money and continuously make every effort to acquire all the monies we can obtain through grants and other revenue resources. As a commissioner, I make monetary decisions and vote through the eyes of the taxpayer as though it’s coming from my own checkbook.

Elliot Jones

Not only do I want to sustain the strong sense of community in Thurmont, but I have three key initiatives that I pledge to support. First, Thurmont can and should establish a municipally owned fiber internet utility in order to provide faster, cheaper, and more efficient internet to our residents and businesses. Secondly, Thurmont should pursue long-term sustainable development, maximizing our use of our developed areas and preserving our green areas. Thirdly, Thurmont should continue to support Community Policing, which strengthens the trust between our police and our residents and prevents crimes, rather than just respond to them.

Sabrina Massett

To attract visitors to our town by capitalizing on our proximity to State and National Parks, rural vistas, and historic sites. We need to continue to grow our town center by attracting and supporting unique, small businesses for residents and visitors to enjoy. It’s my dream that adolescents and young teenagers will once again ask their parents “can I walk uptown” because there are spots to visit for an ice cream cone, a small purchase, or to “hang out.”  To ensure that Thurmont grows in the manner that we, as citizens choose, rather than allow a “cookie-cutter” approach. Growth that provides housing and services for citizens to live out their lives here if they choose.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I would like to determine if there is a way to lower our electric bills, continue to work to improve the town’s infrastructure, streets, electric grid, parks, and water/sewer systems. Ask the youth of our community if there is anything we could do to provide them with activities. Continue to support the seniors. Determine why the police department has a high turnover rate and what we can do to attract and retain quality officers, as well as maintain the allotted number of officers. Look into the retirement benefits of our employees. Responsible growth that will bring more tax monies, which will help spread the tax burden over a larger population. Businesses: attract more business to the town, which could/will offer more employment to our community. Continue to work with the county and state governments to bring monies into the town.

Why should people vote for you? 

Bill Buehrer

I have demonstrated impeccable integrity for eight years. I’ve been a passionate spokesman for our community and have been fiscally responsible and conservative with our tax payers’ money.

Wes Hamrick

During my almost six years on the board, I have always made myself available to the public. I firmly believe, as a public servant, that it is necessary to listen to the needs, concerns, and issues of our residents and to be a voice for them as an elected official. Thurmont has been my home for a total of 40 years, a town where I spent my youth and young adult years, and a town I returned to, after being away for ten years, to raise my family. I have a vested interest for the betterment and beauty of this town and will continue to be an advocate to maintaining the small-town charm and atmosphere, whilst being inviting and welcoming for newcomers. Foremost, I am actively engaged within the community and am proudly part of its pulse and heartbeat in many facets.  Above all, ethics, integrity, respect and transparency are not a cliché in my book, but traits that I live by and will not compromise.

Elliot Jones

I just want to do right by people in the best way I know how. I want our residents and newcomers to feel safe and welcomed in our town. I want for our businesses to thrive and for their employees to be happy they’re working in our community. I want even our most remote families to be able to access their job opportunities, telehealth, homework, and other online necessities at an affordable price with reliable service. People should vote for me if they want someone to take what they like about Thurmont and polish it to a greater shine.

Sabrina Massett

I recognize that Thurmont is unique, and that we as citizens can decide to maintain what’s good; to demonstrate what we value and shape our town around these values. I have been involved in shaping our town through a lifetime of community service. Additionally, 30-plus years of human services employment gave me the opportunity to learn about many things: poverty, homelessness and housing instability, severe mental illness, the disease of addiction. My experiences taught me how to talk with people, not to them, to learn to ask the right questions, and most importantly, to listen for the answer. As commissioner, I promise to listen and learn from you. Let’s Talk.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I will be a full-time commissioner, being retired, willing to listen to and address your concerns. I offer the citizens a person that will work with and for them and the employees of the town. I will listen to those that have a question, an opinion, or a concern. Research their concerns and then address them the best I can with the Board of Commissioners and the employees at the Town Office. I will approach all situations with an open mind then work to find a resolution to their concerns, while working for the betterment of our community as a whole. My desire is to serve the entire community, all ages, and our employees, who deserve to have quality equipment, competitive pay, and benefits that this town can afford and provide. You will have a voice while I’m serving as your commissioner of the Town of Thurmont.

Joan Bittner Fry

This is interesting information published in 1878 as a Frederick County, Maryland, resource. It makes one realize just how much things have changed in more than 100 years.

Frederick County ranks with the largest Maryland counties, having an area of 642 square miles, and is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania, on the east by Carroll, south-easterly by Montgomery, south by the Potomac River and Virginia, and on the west by the Blue Ridge, or South Mountains, separating it from Washington County.

This is one of the richest and most beautiful counties in the state. The soil is mostly limestone, with some slate and considerable “red lands.” The surface is undulating, partly mountainous — the Catoctin Mountains dividing the county into two broad valleys that to the westward being known as the Middletown Valley, which is drained by the Catoctin River and its branches; and that east of the Catoctin range is the valley of the Monocacy. Both rivers flow southward into the Potomac.

emmitsburg

Emmitsburg is situated at the terminus of the railroad of that name, and 7 miles from Rocky Ridge on the W. M. R. R. The location is in a fertile and diversified country, the surroundings of which are rich in mountain and valley scenery. To the west, Jack’s Mountain and Carrick’s Knob may be seen towering hundreds of feet in the skies and then sloping in graceful lines to the productive and beautiful valley below. The magnificent scenery, purity of the atmosphere, good mountain water, cordiality and refinement of the people make it a great place of summer resort; it is also enriched by educational institutions of great merit and celebrity. St Joseph’s Academy, conducted by the Sisters of Charity, and Mount St. Mary’s College, an institution of high endowment and character, are both near the town. There are also two public schools for whites, one for colored, and a Catholic Parochial School. The land adjacent is composed of red sandstone, quartz, and limestone; varies in price from $20 to $60 per acre, according to location and improvements; yields 15 to 30 bushel wheat, 20 to 40 oats, 50 to 150 potatoes, 20 to 50 corn; and 2 tons hay. Massasoit Tribe 41, I. O. R. M.; Junior Building Association. Population 900. Samuel N. McNair, Postmaster.

Pastors: M. E., Rev. H.P. West; Presbyterian, Rev. Lutheran, Rev. E. S. Johnston; Reformed, Rev. A. R. Kramer; Roman Catholic, Rev. Father Daniel McCarthy.

Town Officers: Burgess – John Hopp. Commissioners – Wm. Lansinger, J. H. T. Webb, Daniel Sheets, Isaac Hyder, Thomas Fraley and R. H. Gelwicks. Bailiff – Wm. Ashbaugh.

Agent R. R. and Express: Zimmerman, E R.

Barber: Parker, S A.

Basket Maker: Ellower, John.

Bakers and Confectioners: Hoke, Peter, Seabrook, J A, Tawney, JAS.

Blacksmiths: Adams & Zeck.

Brick Makers: Bell & Keilholtz.

Brick Masons: Lingg & Myers, Seabrook, Samuel.

Boot and Shoemakers: Bishop, George, Gelwicks, Theopholis, Hopp, J. F., Hoover, John, Lantzer, Jacob, Rowe, Jas. A.

Broker: Horner, WG.

Cabinetmakers: Bushman, Thomas, Sweeney, Martin.

Carpenters and Builders: Snouffer, Joseph, Tyson & Lansinger.

Carriage and Wagonmakers: Baker, L A F, Baker, Nicholas, Harley, Wm, Hess & Weaver, Houck, Wm H.

Cigars and Tobacco: McNair, SN, Scheek, Francis.

Clothing, Hats, & C: Rowe, J & CF.

Constable: Gillelan, Geo L.

Dentists: Bussey, JT.

Druggists: Eichelberger, CD, Elder, James A.

General Merchandise: Annan, IS & Bro, Bussey, Mrs. JP, Helman, JA, Rowe, GW & Sons.

Groceries and Produce: Hays, JT, Hoke, Peter, Waddle, JS, Zeck, Dietrick.

Hotels: Emmett, CS Smith.

Western Md: DG Adelsberger.

Justices of the Peace: Adelsberger, MC, Knauff, James, Stokes, Henry.

Livery and Sale Stables: Guthrie & Beam.

Lumber, Coal: Motter, Maxell & Co.

Marble Worker: Lough, N A.

Machinists: Praley, Thos & Son, Rowe, Nathaniel.

Millinery and Fancy Goods: Hoke, JL, Offutt, Miss H, Winter, Miss SA.

Millers: Bell, John M, Grimes, Charles, Hovise, Francis, Maxwell, Samuel, Motter, L M, Myers, Jacob, Sell, Peter, Septer, James.

Photographers: Rowe, J & CF.

Physicians: Annan, Andrew, Annan, RL, Brawner, John B, Eichelberger, CD, Eichelberger, James W, Eichelberger, James W Jr.

Restaurant: Lawrence, Daniel.

Saddles and Harness: McGuigan, James S, Stokes, Henry.

Stoves and Tinware: Adelsberger, Jas F, Hays, JT.

Tailors: Favorite, H J, Webb, J H T

Tanner: Motter, Lewis M

Watches and Jewelry: Eyster, G T & Bro.

foxville

Foxville is situated near the Washington County Line, 4 miles from Smithsburg on the W. M. R. R. Land ordinary, one-half cleared; sells at from $10 to $30 per acre, produces 14 bushel wheat, and 40 corn. M. E. and Lutheran Churches. Two public schools Population 250. Harvey Buhrman, Postmaster.

Attorney at Law: Harbaugh, John C.

Blacksmiths: Krise, E, Weller, Jacob.

Carpenters: Wolf, Henry, Wolf, Upton.

Constable: Hayes, H Clay.

General Merchandise: Brown, H , Fox, Thomas C, Ridenoner, Jacob.

Justice of the Peace: Fox, George H.

Physician: Buhrman, Harvey.

Shoemakers: Prior, Emanuel, Renner, Elias.

Timber Merchants: Brown, WB, Bussard, Samuel, Fox, George L. Moser, Ezra, Wyant, Yost.

lewistown

Lewistown is situated on the Emmittsburg Road, 10 miles from Frederick and 5 from Harmony Grove. Land, red clay, and limestone sells at from $10 to $100 per acre; produces 12 to 30 bushel wheat, 50 corn, 40 oats, 100 potatoes and 2 tons hay. Crops are generally good. M.P. Church and two public schools. Population 175. A.N. Cramer, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths: Layman, Jacob, Weller, J P.

General Merchandise: Cramer, AN, Zimmerman, GT.

Justice of the Peace: Cator, Henry.

Physician: Leatherman, ME.

Boots & Shoes: Bishop, Jacob, Shaeffer, Jno FD.

Hotel: Clemm, Geo. H.

Millers: Gonso, George, Leatherman, Daniel, Taylor, CW.

Saddles & Harness: Maine, HM.

mechanicstown

Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) is on the W.M.R.R., 56 miles from Baltimore, 15 by pike from Frederick and 27 by rail, and three-fourths of a mile from the Catoctin Mountains. The nearest streams are the Hunting and Owing’s Creeks; it is located in a pleasing and thriving country. The climate and health are good, business fair. Soil is of red shale, yellow slate, alluvial, and some limestone. The land is principally cleared, ranges in prices from $30 to $60 per acre, and yields 8 to 20 bushel wheat, 10 to 40 oats, 80 to 50 corn and 1 to 2 tons hay. The Catoctin Furnace is within 2 miles and in operation. The timber now remaining consists of oak, hickory, walnut, chestnut, poplar and beech. Population 700. John Root, Postmaster.

Agent-R. R. & Express: Horn, WA.

Barber: Lucas, Amos.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights: Firer, Benj F, Hess, Wm, Horn, Wm Loy, Wm, Webb, Wm.

Bricklayers: Eigenbrode, Dan’l, Moser, Cyrus.

Brick Manufacturer: Fleagle, John A.

Butcher: Damuth, Wm.

Carpenters & Undertakers: Creager, James, Dorsey, Geo B, Shaw, Thomas, Smith, E M, Weddle, Joseph A, Weller & Creager, Weller, Simon A.

Cigar Manufacturers: Orndorff, AF, Whitmore, KS.

Confectionery: Martin, JE, Constables, Peddicord, Caleb, Renner, John A.

Dentist: Radcliffe, Dr. HG.

Druggists: Gilds & Co.

Flour, Feed & Fertilizers: Cassell, Chas E, Stocksdale, Geo W, Witherow, SH.

General Merchandise: Gilds, NE, Johnson, Geo H, Root & Groff.

Harnessmakers: Freese, Joseph, Martin, DC.

Hotels: Central, Jacob Sprow, Gilbert, John B Gilbert.

Huckster: Damuth.C A

Justice of the Peace: White, Frederick.

Marbleworker: Hammaker, BF.

Millers: Jones, John, Martin, J & DC.

Milliners & Dressmakers: Gernand, Miss Jennie, Hesson, Miss Kate, Lony, Miss Mary, Stokes, Miss Susan.

Millwrights: Biggs & Carmack.

Painters: Adelsberger, Jas, Mackley Bros.

Photographer: Boblitz, BL.

Physicians: Marsh, Wm H, White, Wm, Zimmerman, AK.

Shoemakers: Cover, BN, Cover, JH, Picking, Leonard, Stull Bros.

Stock Dealers: Anders, Thomas, Barton, Isaac N

Stoves and Tinware: Osler, VP.

Surveyors: Landers, John, Picking, Leonard.

Tailor: Sleek, AB.

Tanner: Rouner, John.

Telegraph Operator: Horn, WA.

Wagonmaker: Stokes, Joshua.

Watches & Jewelry: Hoff, David T.

rocky ridge

Rocky Ridge is on the W. M. R. R., at the junction of the Emmittsburg Road, 51 miles from Baltimore and 7 from Emmittsburg and 16 from Frederick City. The soil is red slate and is valued at from $20 to $50 per acre; produces 8 to 25 bushel wheat, 15 to 30 oats, 80 to 40 corn and 2 tons hay. Lutheran, Reformed and Baptist Churches and public school. Population 60. H. D. Fuss, Postmaster.

Agent Express & R.R.: Eichelberger, MJ.

Blacksmith & Wheelwrights: Appold, George, Campbell, JE, Wood, Basil.

Carpenter & Builder: Engler, OA.

Commission Merchants: Biggs & Eichelberger.

General Merchandise: Fuss, HD, Lickle Bros.

Hotel: Ecker, Hanson.

Justice of the Peace: Norris, AL.

Millers: Biggs, Joshua, Martin, Jeremiah.

Shoemaker: Troxell, Frederick.

sabillasville

Sabillasville is on the W. M. R. R., 66 miles from Baltimore. Land is mostly cleared, can be purchased at from $15 to $40 per acre, and produces 12 to 25 bushel wheat, 20 to 50 oats, 100 to 200 potatoes, 20 to 40 corn, and 1 to 2 tons hay. German Reformed Church, Rev. H. Wissler; United Brethren, Rev. Mr. Freed; and a public school. Population 50. H. S. Duphorne, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights:  Arnsparger, Dallas, Freshour, Nelson.

Broom Manufacturer: Stein, Henry.

Carpenter: Willard, Joel.

Constable: Stotelinger, JC.

Dressmaker: Homerick, Susan, Manahan, Jane.

General Merchandise: Crawford & Bro, Hiteshew, Charles.

Hotel: Stern (Stem), John.

Justice of the Peace: Luckett, WF.

Miller: Kenna, Simpson.

Physicians: Luckett, WF Watson, J.G.

Shoemaker: Duphorne, RS.

The men and women of Emmitsburg’s community fire, rescue, and emergency medical services proudly announce their annual Fire and Life Safety Open House on Thursday evening, October 10, 2019, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. This will be the 64th year that Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) personnel have sponsored this always-popular event. Fire and injury prevention in Emmitsburg is a year-round effort done in concert with area residents, businesses, schools, institutions, and governmental agencies, but it’s during Fire Prevention Month that department personnel seek to especially underscore the importance of prevention and preparedness.

Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12, 2019. The theme for National Fire Prevention Month 2019 (October) is: “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice your Escape.”

As part of the VHC’s continuing efforts to educate everyone in our community about essential elements of smoke alarm safety, this year’s Fire Prevention Open House will include: information and demonstrations to help families and individuals prevent unwanted fire; Emergency Medical Services providers will be on hand to showcase their life-saving skills; VHC personnel will be showcasing smoke detectors; “STOP THE BLEED” (courtesy of the Junior Fire Company of Frederick), with insights on the national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives; information regarding opportunities for residents and business alike to help their First Responders; information regarding the countywide “Gear-Up” Campaign; Frederick County Resident Deputy Sheriffs will offer crime prevention materials and a range of important safety insights; fire truck rides; free refreshments; door prizes; and more! For more information, visit www.vhc6.com.

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum is pleased to invite you to the the dedication of the William Cochran etching “volunteers” on October 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum in Emmitsburg.

Thurmont & Emmitsburg Celebrate National Night Out

James Rada, Jr.

Excited children mounted police motorcycles, climbed into the driver’s seats of fire engines, and poked their heads out of the top hatch of an armored SWAT vehicle, as they met local police and emergency services personnel during National Night Out on August 6, 2019.

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler is a big supporter of National Night Out. “You can build more trust between the community and police,” he said. “We can build a partnership with the community for community policing.”

Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities saw hundreds of people turn out to learn more about the people who protect their communities, to have fun with hands-on activities, and to enjoy great food.

The goal of National Night Out is to “heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for participation in anti-crime, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, send a message to criminals letting them know that neighbors are organized and fighting back.”

National Night Out has been around since 1984. Initially, National Night Out involved citizens sitting out on their front porches to show they were united in the fight against crime. The event has grown to include block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and safety demonstrations in more than 16,000 communities. Thurmont has hosted an event since 2005, and Emmitsburg has participated since 2017.

Thurmont held its event in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department. Children enjoyed pony rides, jumping in a bounce house, and meeting Thurmont’s K-9 officer. Various community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, Thurmont Addiction Commission, and Thurmont Regional Library, had booths where visitors could learn more about what the organizations do. Thurmont Police also offered tours of their police station.

Sarah Campbell, the public information officer with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, said, “National Night Out allows the community, especially adolescents and youth, to do hands-on activities, to meet people, and to be educated.”

In Emmitsburg, National Night Out filled Community Park. It not only featured local emergency services personnel and their equipment, but also the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Kenyon Beeman attended National Night Out for the first time, accompanied by his girlfriend and her children. “It’s a nice event to bring people out,” he said. “I think it definitely helps the police seem more human.”

Emmitsburg’s National Night Out featured K-9 demonstrations, SWAT demonstrations, music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Emmitsburg Commission President Cliff Sweeney pointed out that all of the free food and activities were donated to the activity.

Cover Photo (by James Rada, Jr.): Hayden McKenney, 12, of Emmitsburg, tries on SWAT gear used by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office during Emmitsburg National Night Out.

Hundreds turn out for Thurmont National Night Out, held in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department on August 6.

At the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration, kids are excited to see the inside of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office armored SWAT vehicle, a Lenco Bearcat that seats up to 10 people who are protected inside from firearms rounds.

Katelyn Klink, 7, of Thurmont, enjoys a pony ride at the Thurmont National Night Out celebration.

(from left) Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Emmitsburg Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman, Emmitsburg Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, and Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs enjoy the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration in Community Park.