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Madison and Jordyn Ohler at the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. Jordyn was the 2023 Reserve Champion, Market Beef.

The following were the Champion and Reserve Champion winners at the 67th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show held September 8-10, 2023 at Catoctin High School in Thurmont.  Each Champion and Reserve Champion winner will receive additional premium money which will be mailed by November 15, 2023. Thurmont’s Bollinger’s Restaurant will provide a $10.00 gift certificate to each Department Champion and Emmitsburg’s Carleo Pizza will provide a $5.00 gift certificate to each Reserve Department Champion.

Champion & Reserve Champion Winners

The following were the Champion and Reserve Champion winners at the 67th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show held September 8-10, 2023 at Catoctin High School in Thurmont.  Each Champion and Reserve Champion winner will receive additional premium money which will be mailed by November 15, 2023. Thurmont’s Bollinger’s Restaurant will provide a $10.00 gift certificate to each Department Champion and Emmitsburg’s Carleo Pizza will provide a $5.00 gift certificate to each Reserve Department Champion.

Fresh Fruits: Champion—Kylie Robertson (Concord Grapes); Reserve Champion—Kylie Robertson (Sugar Giant Peaches); Fresh Vegetables: Champion—Kara Wolf (Green Cabbage); Reserve Champion—Edward Hahn (Onions); Home Products Display: Champion—Charlotte Dutton; Reserve Champion—Angie Matthews; Canned Fruit: Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Applesauce); Reserve Champion—Donald Stanley (Other – Golden Nectar); Canned Vegetables: Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Carrots); Reserve Champion—Carrie Bankard (BBQ Sauce); Jellies & Preserves: Champion—Melissa Kinna (Peach Peel Jelly); Reserve Champion—Angie Mathews (Apple Butter); Pickles: Champion—Pam Long (Pepper Relish); Reserve Champion—Bridgette Kinna (Catsup); Meat (Canned): Champion—Pam Kaas (Venison); Reserve Champion—Pam Kaas (Canned Beef); Home Cured Meats: Champion—Catoctin FFA Alumni (Country Ham); Reserve Champion—Catoctin FFA Alumni (Country Ham).

Baked Products – Adult Division: Cake: Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Other Cake – Yellow Cake with Raspberry Filling/White Icing); Reserve Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Coconut Cake); Honorable Mention Cake—Burall Brothers Scholarship—Maxine Troxell (Devil’s Food Cake); Bread: Champion—Deborah Howd (Bread – Other); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Bread, Other – Rye/Pumpernickel Swirl); Pie: Champion—Maxine Troxell (Raspberry Pie); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Pecan Pie); Sugar Free Baked Products: Champion—Joyce Kline (Sugar Free Cake); Reserve Champion—Shirley Greene (Bread, Other (Cinnamon); Gluten Free Baked Products: Champion—Deborah Howd (Gluten Free Bread – Babka); Reserve Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Chocolate Chip Cookies); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Cheryl Lenhart (Chocolate Cupcakes); Reserve Champion—Linda Seiss (Peanut Butter Fudge).

Baked Products – Youth Division (Ages 11-18): Cake: Champion (In Honor and Memory of Mearl McCleaf)—Abby Harrington (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion—Masyn Sanders (Pumpkin Cake with Buttercream Icing); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Caroline Clark (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion—Masyn Sanders (Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread).

Baked Products – Junior Division (Ages 10 & Under): Cake: Champion—Lexie Cox (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion—Ryleigh Ensor (Carrot Pineapple Cake); Misc. Baked Product: Champion—Jeremiah Matthews (Candy Mocha Truffles); Reserve Champion—Jeremiah Matthews (Other, Hard Candy).

Fabric and Fiber Arts Department: Overall Dept. Champion—Heather Wivell (Child Patchwork Quilt – Hungry Catapiller);

Overall Dept. Reserve Champion—Preston Clark (Sewn Item – Men’s Coats – Vest); Crocheting: Champion—Shirley Greene (Child’s Afghan); Reserve Champion—Penni Wiltrout (Misc. Crocheted Animal/Doll); Cross Stitch: Champion—Connie Miller (Cross Stitch); Reserve Champion—Leah Souris (Cross stitch picture); Crewel, Embroidery & Needlepoint: Champion—Shirley Greene (Embroidered Pillows); Reserve Champion—Carolyn Hahn (Christmas Decorations – Plastic); Knitting: Champion—Elizabeth Hoover (Decoration – Patty Pan Squash); Reserve Champion—Phyliss Ecker (Adult Sweater); Quilts & Quilted Items: Champion—Heather Wivell (Child Patchwork Quilt); Reserve Champion—Deb Long (Quilt Sampler); Sewn Items: Champion—Preston Clark (Vest); Reserve Champion—Caroline Clark (Jacket); Misc. Fiber Items: Champion—Charlotte Dutton (Fiber item – Bunny Doll); Reserve Champion—Tracy Lewis (Hand Woven Twill Wool Scarf).

Flowers & Plants: Champion—Linda Seiss (Holiday Silk Arrangement); Reserve Champion—Cathy Ligsay (Cut Herbs).

Fine Arts: Champion—Bryne Lee (Pastel Painting); Reserve Champion—Don Brooks (Acrylic Painting); Arts & Crafts: Champion—Bill Stottlemyer (Wood Craft); Reserve Champion—Charlotte Dutton (Rock Painting).

Color Photography: Champion—Mike Miller (People-Posed); Reserve Champion—Debbie Wiles (Landscape – Sanibel Island); Black & White Photography: Champion—Mike Miller (People-Posed); Reserve Champion—Deborah Howd (Animals/Birds/Reptiles).

Corn: Champion—Mary Ellen Clark (Best Stalk of Corn); Reserve Champion—Jim Kaas (Hybrid Corn); Small Grain & Seeds: Champion—Preston Clark (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion—Mattee Lambert (Triticale); Eggs: Champion—Ashley Atkins (Brown Eggs); Reserve Champion—Ashley Atkins (Blue Eggs); Nuts: Champion—Edward Hahn (English Walnuts); Reserve Champion—Kevin Long (Black Walnuts);

Rabbits: Champion—Bailey Wolf (Breeding Female); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Breeding Rabbit & offspring, 1 female); Poultry:

Champion—Laura Dutton (Farm Exhibit – 1 rooster and 1 hen); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Poultry Exhibit – 1 rooster); Dairy Cattle: Champion—Gavin Valentine (Ayrshire Winter Calf); Reserve Champion—Kiley Little (Holstein Calf); Dairy Goats: Champion—Laura Dutton (3 year old & under 5); Reserve Champion—Tyrone VanEcho (2 year old); Hay: Champion – Mary Ellen Clark (Alfalfa Hay); Reserve Champion—Rodman Myers (Orchard Grass Hay); Straw: Champion—Rodman Myers (Barley Straw); Reserve Champion—Caroline Clark – (Wheat Straw);

Junior Department (Ages 10 & Under): Champion—Jack Campbell (Eggs, 1 dozen); Reserve Champion—Emma Santos (Misc. Craft – Sock Craft); Youth Department (Ages 11-18): Champion—Makayla Comer (Patriotic Photo – Color); Reserve Champion—Grace Mannix (Misc. Craft. – Reese Peanut Butter Cup); Beef: Champion—Kadence Offutt; Reserve Champion—Jordyn Ohler; Beef Heifers: Champion—Makayla Comer, Reserve Champion—James Hewitt II; Sheep: Champion—Peyton Davis; Reserve Champion—Chloe Keilholtz; Ridenour Lamb—Caroline Clark; Swine: Champion—Joshua Wivell; Reserve Champion—Peighton Rhinehart; Market Goat: Champion—Chloe Glass; Reserve Champion —Alyssa Costa; Decorated Animal: Champion—Brayden Whetzel; Reserve Champion—Kiley Little.

Dave Harman (at podium) hosts the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s opening ceremonies held on Friday night, September 8, at Catoctin High School. Also shown are Community Organizations Flag Ceremony participants John Hoke (left) of Thurmont’s Acacia Lodge #155 and Tim Bentz (center) of Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Fire Company.

Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs (left) announces the 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, Caroline Clark.

Maxine Troxell, Champion Pie Baker, holds her Raspberry Pie, standing with Caroline Clark (2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador) and buyer Josh Ruby of Forever After All Farms, who had the winning $350 bid which benefits the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. Josh Ruby was also the auctioneer for the annual Baked Goods Auction.

Photo by John Kempisty

Pet Show Winners

The 2023 Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show Pet Show was held on Saturday, September 9 at Catoctin High School. There were 17 exhibitors who exhibited 46 pets at the Community Show. Judges were Mary Ann Harbaugh and Dr. Ray Ediger who both did an excellent job judging all of the pets.  Many thanks to the Pet Show Committee of Dave Harman, Dave Johnston, and Kristen Myers, who all helped with the event. The Grand Champion winner received a $25.00 gift card donated by Tractor Supply Company, and the Reserve Grand Champion received a $15.00 gift card, donated by The Dirty Dawg. Each participant received treats for their animals and free ice cream cone wooden coins that were donated by Roy Rogers. 

Winners were: Cat with Prettiest Eyes: 1st— Heather Rice, 2nd—Matt Rice; Cat with Longest Whiskers: 1st—Matt Rice (1½ inches); Cutest Cat: 1st— Matt Rice, 2nd—Heather Rice; Smallest Pet: 1st—Jada Morgan, 2nd—Deborah Boisvert, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter; Dog with Waggiest Tail: 1st—Morgan Kolb, 2nd—Kelly Slaughter, 3rd—Deborah Boisvert; Prettiest Dog (25 lbs. & under): 1st—Will Valentine, 2nd—Kelly Slaughter, 3rd—Vanessa Wilhide; Prettiest Dog (26 lbs. and over): 1st—Kara Wolf, 2nd—Jan Tyler, 3rd—Janelle James; Best Costumed Pet: 1st—Will Valentine, 2nd—Savannah Cregger,  2nd—Morgan Kolb, 3rd—Brielle Green; Pet with Most Spots: 1st—Nikolai Poffenberger, 2nd—Matt Rice, 3rd—Brielle Green; Largest Pet (by height): 1st—Jan Tyler, 2nd—Brielle Green, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter, Honorable Mention—Nikolai Poffenberger; Most Unusual Pet: 1st—Nikolai Poffenberger, 2nd—Jada Morgan, 3rd—Heather Rice; Best Trained Pet: 1st—Janelle James, 2nd—Denise Mosher, 3rd—Kelly Slaughter; Grand Champion—Will Valentine with his dog; Reserve Grand Champion—Deborah Boisvert with her dog.

Abby Harrington (second from left), Youth Grand Champion Cake Baker holds her Chocolate Cake standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and buyers Caleb McCleaf and Craig McCleaf of Mountain Gate Family Restaurant who had the winning $1,200 bid. The Youth Division (Ages 11-18) Grand Champion Cake is In Honor & Memory of Mearl McCleaf and benefits three youth-related funds: Thurmont Grange Scholarship, Catoctin FFA’s National FFA Convention Trip, and Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters Scholarship.

Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, stands with Lexie Cox (middle), Junior Grand Champion Cake Baker, holding her Chocolate Cake with buyer Former Delegate Daniel Cox. The Junior Division (Ages 10 & Under) Champion Cake, which sold for $350, benefits the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks.

Cheryl Lenhart (second from left), Grand Champion Cake Baker, holds her Yellow Cake with Raspberry Filling & White Icing, standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and Mountain Gate Family Restaurant buyers, Craig McCleaf and Caleb McCleaf. The $1,050 winning bid for the Champion Cake benefits the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Catoctin Mtn. Log Sawing Contest Winners

The 38th Annual Catoctin Mtn. Log Sawing Contest was held on Sunday, September 10, with the winners as follows: Women’s Team: 1st—Caroline Clark and Peyton Davis (5.31.80); 2nd—Analese Abruzzese and Ella Burrier (12.59.72); 3rd—McKayla Comer and Alyssa Costa (17.54.43); Men’s Team: 1st—Cadin Valentine and Gavin Valentine (6.07.03); 2nd—Brayden Whetzel and Gavin Valentine (6.22.17); 3rd—Cadin Valentine and Dylan Ridinger (6.28.93); Men and Women’s Team: 1st—Mark Valentine and Jessica Valentine (1.42.82); 2nd—Elizabeth Schubel and Quamari Willard (3.28.21); 3rd—Quamari Willard and Analese Abruzzese (4.20.96); Children’s Team: 1st—Garrett Troxell and Myles Kuhn (9.06.33); 2nd—Trenon Latham and Preston Clark (10.14.31); 3rd—Elizabeth Schubel and Jason Green (15.10.25).

Cheryl Lenhart (second from left), Reserve Champion Coconut Cake Baker, holds her winning cake, standing with Caroline Clark (left), 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, and buyers, John and Maggie Doll, with a $750 bid, along with their granddaughters, Eva and Lyla Doll. The proceeds from this cake benefit the Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters.

Brayden Whetzel’s sow & seven five-week-old Crossbred piglets were enjoyed by all ages at the Community Show. Brayden is pictured on the right, showing one of the piglets to one of the many visitors in the Agriculture Center area.

The Grand Champion Swine was a 250-pound Crossbred hog, owned by Joshua Wivell, and purchased for $2,500 by Wolfe Auctions. Joshua’s parents are Justin and Brittney Wivell, and sister, Addie. Joshua’s grandparents are Phil and Shelly Wivell and Andy and Trish Hahn.

Winners of the 42nd Annual Robert Kaas Memorial Horseshoe Pitching Contest on Sunday, September 10 (from left): (back row) 2nd place team of Richard Brown and Donald Kaas, Sr.; (middle row) 1st place team of Johnny Buhrman and Carl Willard; (kneeling) one of the 3rd place winning team members of Gary Hoffmaster and David Miller.

Reserve Champion Bread (from left):  Caroline Clark, 2023-24 Catoctin FFA Ambassador; Maxine Troxell, Reserve Champion Bread Baker (Rye/Pumpernickel Swirl Bread); and buyers, Chris and Susan Windsor of Windsor Customs LLC, who had the winning $75 bid, which benefits the Thurmont Grange.

In Memory of Patricia Ann (Myers) Johnston, Community Show Historian, who passed away in May 2023, one of her sister Cheryl’s 1st place cakes—a Black Walnut Cake—was auctioned to benefit the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s Improvement Fund. A grand total of $7,000 was raised from many community citizens and businesses! Patty’s family members (from left): brother Bobby and his wife, Karen; husband, David Johnston, holding the Black Walnut Cake; dad Rodman Myers, and sisters Cheryl and Andrea.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is the largest in the State of Maryland. The strength of the show and the strength of agriculture in Northern Frederick County stands on the shoulders of the volunteers who proudly teach and carry that heritage forward from generation to generation. The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. This annual Community Show comes together each year through the efforts of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and has been bringing the Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities together since 1957!

The Untold Story

by Richard D. L. Fulton

There have been countless stories of ghosts on the Gettysburg Battlefield, within and beyond the national park boundaries, and there has been a seemingly endless array of books and documentaries based on the myriad number of ghostly encounters. 

But not all of the stories have been told, and not all of them relate to the Civil War Battle of 1863. 

Below are a few of these “untold stories.”

Did spirits from the past inspire the establishment of a historic wayside in Gettysburg?

In the mid-2000s, Eileen Catherine (Cathe) Curtis, star of America’s Most Haunted Town and America’s Most Haunted Inns—and subsequently guest medium at the Jennie Wade Museum for a number of  years—was strolling down Baltimore Street with a friend when they encountered two young men attired in what appeared to be vintage Marine uniforms.

Cathe and her friend caught up with the two Marines and asked them if they were there for a reenactment or reunion event. She said they both “boasted big smiles and replied that they were ‘simply visiting the town, which was dear to them’.” 

Cathe and her friend walked along with them, briefly. They told them their names (George and George), and gave them their mailing address. 

At some point, Cathe and her friend realized that they were not talking to the living, but had been interacting with two spirits, and the two spirits soon vanished before their eyes.

Cathe decided to do some research online and soon found the two Georges, who had perished in the crash of a Marine dive-bomber near the present intersection of Culp Street and Johns Avenue during the 1922 Marine maneuvers at Gettysburg.  Their names were George Wallis Hamilton and George Russell Martin. She even found their photographs and recognized them.

Conveying what she had found to the author of this article uncovered enough information about Hamilton and Martin and the 1922 Marine maneuvers that the writer approached Jim Rada and the two co-authored The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg, which included a good deal of information about Hamilton and Martin and the crash of the airplane.

The coverage of the Hamilton and Martin deaths in the book inspired local residents and Marines to raise money to erect the Captain George Hamilton and Gunnery Sergeant George Martin Memorial Wayside, which was completed and dedicated in 2018, and stands near the crash site on land set aside by the Heritage Center.

A couple of stories have come out of Colt Park, a housing development constructed beginning in the late 1950s on the battlefield, specifically on what was a Confederate position on the left flank of Pickett’s Charge. 

Not only was there a heated exchange between Confederate and Union troops on the farm fields there that would eventually become the Colt Park development, but there was also a significant Confederate mass grave located along the perimeter of the site. Even isolated burials of deceased soldiers from the conflict had been recovered in the decades following the war.

But two notable paranormal occurrences that occurred among the modern-day residents of the park appeared to not have been Civil War-related.

The names of the residents and the locations of the incidences must be kept out of print, but below are the encounters.

One involved the movement of planks in the attic of one of the homes, which had commenced one night at exactly 11:45 p.m., and continued for five or ten minutes. This inexplicable activity continued for days, each night at exactly 11:45 p.m.

After the first day or two, a contractor was called to determine if something was structurally amiss in the home’s attic, but nothing was found to indicate what was causing the persistent disturbances. 

After another day or two, an exterminator was called to ascertain if the activity was the result of a “home invasion” by one or more of the neighborhood’s squirrels or raccoons. 

After an extensive investigation, the pest control expert declared that he had found nothing out of the ordinary and no signs of where an animal could have entered, nor any evidence of any animal activity.

On the way out of the door, he commented to the homeowners, “I think you know what it is…” Two days later, the disturbance ended and never occurred again. 

A second Colt Park incident was non-Civil War related. A resident was watching television, and admittedly getting a little dozy while waiting for his wife to return from an outing with a friend. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, and as the husband was jolted out of a semi-sleep, a young girl jumped up off the couch and exuberantly proclaimed, “I’ll get it,” and ran to the backdoor in the kitchen.

Then the husband realized there was no little girl in the house, so he got up and went into the kitchen to let his wife in.

It would be easy to write this off as the husband having dozed off and was suddenly awakened and thought he saw the little girl, whom he described as wearing shorts and a non-descript blouse, with a decidedly late-1950s-style hairdo (the husband grew up with two sisters and believed he had recognized the hair style).

However, a few days later, the husband went into the basement where he had his office and found a complete child’s tea set, comprised of four teacups and saucers and a tea pot, arranged nicely in a circle on the floor of the basement. But the residents did not have any young children, and none belonging to any friends or relatives had visited them recently.

Further, later in that week, the wife was moving some boxes around in the basement, and found lying on one of them was a late 1950s Christmas catalog, of the type that hardware stores used to mail out in that timeframe. Looking through it, she found a photograph of nearly the very same tea set that had been found arranged on the basement floor a few days earlier.

They still have the tea set and catalog, but nothing further of the little girl has been experienced since.

Back to the battlefield “proper,” generally, it is held that park rangers do not share any of their paranormal experiences with the public, but one did so a number of years ago.

It appears he had been dispatched to an area of the park (which was closed at that hour to the public) to investigate reports of Civil War reenactors having been seen on the field.

Responding to the reported location, the ranger parked and exited the car and, grabbing a flashlight, began to look around. He finally did spot a number of figures that appeared to be…in the dark as best as he could determine…walking across the field among some trees and heading in his direction, so he proceeded to approach them.

As he and the ‘soldiers’ approached each other closer, he said the central figure actually passed through the tree in front of him.

On that note, the ranger retreated to his patrol car and immediately departed the scene, and merely reported that he had “not encountered any reenactors in the area” and left it at that.

Bloody hand projects from medium Eileen Catherine (Cathe) Curtis while in the Orphanage, Gettysburg.

Trails for the Kids

Richard D. L. Fulton

Fall is a season of change, as the heat of summer begins to diminish and weather, overall, begins to moderate. 

But fall is also a season during which life begins to prepare for the harshest of Earth’s seasons, the winter, with its plunging, freezing temperatures, along with ice, freezing rain, and snowstorms.

With all that is going on with nature as the fall season gets underway, it also provides a great opportunity for the children to get outside with their families and explore the various nature trails to see for themselves the transition of life that takes place in the wake of the culmination of summer.

A great outdoor trail concept for children is the storybook trails, which feature placards, or waysides, that, in compilation, tell a story. As the children advance along the trail, the storyline advances as well.

Even the storybook trails offer a chance for the children to also get a glimpse into the dynamic changes associated with the advent of fall.

Emmitsburg has recently completed its storybook trail in the 59.14 acres of the E. Eugene Myers Community Park. The park is located along Willow Drive, at 201 W. Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg,

In addition to the storybook trail, the park features a pool, a dog park, a walking trail, tennis and basketball courts, ball fields, and pavilions.

The storybook trail is located behind the playground, where one will see a small walking path that has large-sized story books for children to read. Each month features a different book. For more information on the storybook trail, contact the Town of Emmitsburg at 301-600-6302.

Thurmont has a Library Nature Trail (also known as the Library Loop Nature Trail), which was established by the Thurmont Regional Library on library-owned land and made available to the public when the trail system was officially opened in 2018.

The trail, which runs from the library grounds to the Thurmont Trolley Trail, features educational mini-wayside markers, each containing nature-themed information, photographs, and illustrations.

Creation of the trail system was a collaborative effort, including financial assistance donated towards the completion of the trail by the Eagle Scouts and Class of 1961, as well as further assistance provided by Frederick County Public School SUCCESS students.

For more information on the Library Loop Nature Trail, contact the Thurmont Regional Library at 301-600-7200.

If the children just want to take a comfortable, leisurely walk among nature, with a little historical add-on, they might like the Thurmont Trolley Trail, a .8-mile trail installed over the former trolley tracks that serviced Thurmont in the early 1900s.

The existing trail begins at the historical trolley car and promotes a glimpse at Thurmont’s historical transportation services. For more information on the Thurmont Trolley Trail, contact the Town of Thurmont at 301-271-7313.

Cunningham Falls State Park offers a number of different types of trails, one of which is a storybook trail (otherwise known as the Children’s Storybook Hike). The story presented along the trail teaches the hikers about making maple syrup. The park’s website states, “Follow the storybook path along the lake and cross the bridge to the North Beach. Stop at each interpretive sign and read the book to learn another step in the process of making maple syrup.”

If the children are interested in history, the Cunningham Falls State Park also offers a quarter-mile, self-guided tour of the Catoctin Furnace site. 

The trail, which leads to the Catoctin Furnace Historical Village, entails crossing U.S. 15 via an elevated foot path (46 steps up the stairway).

Another hiking trail is the African American Cemetery Trail, which leads to the heart of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Village. The placards not only instruct the hiker on the iron-making process, but the trail also features the names and stories of those enslaved to work in the village. This ADA-style unpaved path has two viewing platforms and three wooden benches.

For more information on the Cunningham Falls State Park trails, contact the Cunningham Falls State Park at 301-271-7574.

Cunningham Falls State Park storybook trail placard.

As Told to Joan Bittner Fry by Doug Laumann, owner of the Thrift Store at Blue Ridge Summit

In 2022, a fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia, ended in a great time, catching lots of fish. However, when my son and I left Assateague for home late in the evening, we stopped at a convenience store to fill up with gas and get something to drink for the trip home.

We were on the road 35-40 minutes when a car came toward us on the wrong side of the road. We swerved to miss the car. Our truck went up on two wheels and the camper jackknifed. The camper became unhooked from the truck and rolled, tearing the undercarriage from the back of the truck.

The camper slammed the Jersey wall and veered across the highway, slamming into the side of the truck. Thank God, we made it okay, but we lost everything in the camper and all our fishing gear. But all can be replaced. Fortunately, my wife and grandchildren had left earlier, so they were not involved. The rescue unit and a lot of medics showed up. There was lots of glass and noise.

Out of nowhere, a gentleman showed up with tears in his eyes and asked if we were okay. We assured him that we were all right, but when we asked why he was crying, he said he had lost his grandmother that day and didn’t want to see another death. We said we were sorry about his grandmother’s death. He thanked us for asking.

The state trooper said we needed to pay the crane driver $600 to clean the highway and get the camper off the road. I told the officer I’d have to pay by credit card or check. He replied that they could only take cash.

Again, the gentleman who showed up with tears in his eyes told us not to worry, that everything would be taken care of. He asked for our address. I told him AAA wouldn’t tow the camper home because they were limited to 100 miles. He said he would pay whatever it cost, taking out his wallet. He paid the crane driver the $600 cash and asked for a receipt. The next day, our camper was at our house, thanks to this kind man who just showed up at the accident. The trooper said we could drive the truck since we had lights and a tag, which we attached to the tailgate.

Believe it, there are angels, and this man and his family will always be our angels. We finally got things straightened out from the accident and, this year (2023), made it back to Assateague to fish. We had a really good time and saw the gentleman again and met his family. We will stay friends forever.

The biggest fish story from this year’s trip was that every morning at the campsite, we saw an eagle, but the morning we left, we didn’t see it. When we were crossing the Assateague Bridge, we saw an eagle there. I believe the gentleman was looking over us through eagle’s wings. Hopefully, everything goes well, and we can make it back next year to continue our wonderful friendship.

Doug Laumann and his son, Ryan Laumann, hold up their catches during this year’s fishing trip to Assateague, Virginia.

by James Rada, Jr.


Colorfest Services Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved bids for services that are needed for Colorfest to run smoothly.

    Mays Security in Frederick will provide security with 26 guards, 2 supervisors, and 2 relief guards for $21,600.

    Rill’s Bus Service in Westminster will provide bus service with 9 buses and 2 wheelchair-accessible buses on Saturday and 7 buses and 2 wheelchair-accessible buses on Sunday for $24,000.

    Key Sanitation in Dickerson will provide toilets and trash removal with 114 portable toilets and 16 handicap-accessible toilets for $23,650.

The total of $69,250 represents an 8.7-percent increase of last year’s services.

Electric Substation Fence Replacement Approved

The high-wind event the region experienced in the summer caused damage to the fence screening around the electric substation in town. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to approve a bid from Frederick Fence Company to replace the fence and posts and reuse the screening. The cost of the bid is $24,615.

Electric Department Bond Issue Discussed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently discussed the possibility of issuing a $4 million bond for electric department capital improvements that include substation improvements, a new bucket truck, and the final phase of Catoctin Heights. If the approval for the bond can be received by the end of the year, Thurmont Electric Department customers could start seeing an increase on the bill beginning next summer. The projected increase would be about $7.45 per 1,000 kwh.

Eyler Road Park Playground Replacement Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners used a grant from Community Parks and Playgrounds and restricted park impact fee funds to replace the 25-year-old lower playground at Eyler Road Park. Playground Specialists in Thurmont will install the new playground for $323,435. The Community Parks and Playground grant will cover $291,091.50, and the park impact fees will cover the difference.


Town Thanks Ritz for His Service

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation to Commissioner Joseph Ritz III for his service to the town as a commissioner and planning commission liaison. Ritz chose not to run for re-election during September’s town election.

Seton Shrine Museum Deed of Easement Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a storm water deed of easement for Seton Shrine Museum entrance.

No Parking on Streets During Snow Emergencies

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to follow the county’s declaration of the snow emergency plan which requires vehicles to be removed from town streets during snow events. This allows the roads to be plowed without impediments.

Minimum Bid Set for Tax Sale

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners will offer the property at 509 East Main Street at a tax sale. The accumulated charges and fines total $22,817, but the commissioners chose to set the minimum bid price at $11,222 “plus the cost of the sale and all other fees to which the town would be entitled to under state law.” This covers the amount the town has spent on dealing with the problems involved with the property. The reason the commissioners chose to set the price lower than they could have was that they wanted to generate interest in the property and have it sell.

New Streetlights Approved The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a bid price of $266,140 from Catoctin Lighting Services in Thurmont to install 103 streetlights on Main Street and South Seton Avenue. The current streetlights date back to the 1980s and have chipping paint and rusting bases and bolts. Although Catoctin Lighting Services did not have the lowest bid, it was pointed out that the difference will most likely be made up because of savings between


Mayor Don Briggs

In early September, I had the honor of announcing the FFA Sweetheart winner at the opening ceremony of the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show at Catoctin High School. The winner was Caroline Clark. Caroline, who was raised and lives on her family farm in Rocky Ridge, among other things, is quite an accomplished tractor driver. Earlier this year, she won the Maryland State Fair tractor competition. She is the first female to do so. It does not stop there. She also competed in the New England Expo tractor event and placed sixth. The New England Expo is a five-state fair event. Congratulations, Caroline!

Before opening the envelope with the winner’s name, I looked across the stage at the seated contestants for the award. I was in awe after listening to what they love, what they have accomplished, giving us a glimpse of the trajectory of their lives going forward. It was something. These contestants are a sampling of the generations who will take care of our country. So often, younger generations are bundled into convenient characterizations as “Millennials,” “Generation X,” and so on. Every day we wake up, we are blessed by their presence and accomplishments. We often look back and say the greatest generation lived 80 some years ago. No, it is the younger generations and the generations to come that are the greatest generations. We must start there. They will have challenges and need to amass support now to be able to address those challenges. As one writer quipped, “The past is a different country, they do things differently there.”

To this topic, last summer I read an article in the weekend review section of the Wall Street Journal, “The New Rules of Success in the Post-Career World.” The present generations of a younger workforce, and seemingly those to come, are signaling new guardrails for career paths they are going to follow. The beacon for staying with one company has long been dimmed. Now, what the younger are looking for is more, “fulfillment over traditional priorities like income and status.” They will not live to work but work to live in a more balanced way.

As I leave office after four terms, 12 years, I would again like to say thank you to the residents of Emmitsburg for the honor of serving as your mayor of a top-10 small town in Maryland. I leave you, thanks to terrific staff and an understanding wife, with a sidewalk-connected town from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens; lots of new homes; a renovated square (whereas I write, a new exciting business is gobbling up the only vacant commercial space); an award-winning green town with an emphasis on reducing waste; and the Mount moving classes and administration in to the town.

From Lib and me, thank you.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Fall has finally arrived and hopefully, we will get a month or more of decent temperatures and some regular rain. Central Maryland is currently under a drought watch, and residents are encouraged to conserve water wherever possible. Rains during the last week of September were helpful, but we still need more.

Colorfest is coming up and will be here before you know it. Permits are still available, and there are spaces still available around town. Colorfest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15. As usual, Thurmont will be a hotbed for yard sales almost the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Be careful while driving around town that week, and be sure to get out and support all of our local non-profits, churches, civic organizations, and first responders. I hope everyone has a very enjoyable Colorfest weekend!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we will be raising money in support of the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Health. Our community has an amazing record of support for this annual event, and we need to keep supporting this wonderful organization. We just had our Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Classic, with over 100 individual golfers registered for a fun day at Maple Run Golf Course. The Gateway to Cure 5K Covered Bridge Run will be held at Eyler Road Park on Saturday, October 21. There is still time to register for this popular run through our beautiful countryside and across the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. The Gateway to Cure Zumbathon will be held at the American Legion on Sunday, October 22, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pinwheels, and other items are available at locations around town or at the municipal offices.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election for two commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31, at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street. Voting opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 8:00 p.m. Those in line at 8:00 p.m. will be able to vote. October 3 is the last day to register to vote. Absentee Ballots will be available on October 18, and the last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is close of business on October 24.

Be watchful of the water and waste water improvements starting on North Church Street in late October. Traffic will be restricted to one lane during work hours with flaggers on hand to provide direction. Accommodations will be made for bus traffic and for heavy trucks. I encourage everyone to take alternative routes during this six-month project. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have been informed of the plans and will be updated regularly as the project proceeds.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable October! As always, I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy Fall! Before we know it, the leaves will start changing and the temperature will begin to drop. The smell of pumpkin will be in the air, and the pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, and fall festivals will be in full swing. Enjoy time with family and friends at these fall happenings.

Our water meter update in town had a few hiccups, but I can happily say that all but about 5 percent has been completed, and the town will be working with these residents to get theirs completed ASAP. With the delay in getting these all completed, water bills will be going out a few weeks later than normal this quarter but should have the option to pay electronically beginning with this quarter’s bill. This is something that many residents have asked for, and we listened. Please do not be concerned if the bill comes to your home a few weeks later this quarter.

Electricity to the stage has been completed, and we will not have to use a generator for the bands this year at the Woodsboro Days Festival. Please see the advertisement on page 23 for details. Come out for all the fun on October 21-22!

The latest town hall update is that the permits have all been approved by the county. Our architect has listed for the contractors to bid, and we must keep bids open by law for 30 days. Once the 30 days have expired, the council will select a contractor. We have called for a tentative special meeting with the council for October 23, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the bids and decide, instead of waiting until the regular November meeting, so that we can get the building started as quickly as possible.

The construction of the new skate park has begun and should be completed by the end of October. The excitement around it is very high. It is being built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see this project happening.

Halloween trick-or-treating will be on October 31 between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. in town. Please be sure to watch out for children in the streets that night and leave your light on if you wish to participate.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

James Rada, Jr.

Frank Davis and Valerie Turnquist were elected during the Emmitsburg municipal elections on September 26. Despite the rainy day, 367 people turned out to vote.

Two incumbent commissioners, Davis and Timothy O’Donnell, ran to replace Mayor Don Briggs. Davis won with 82 percent (301 votes) of votes, while O’Donnell received only 17 percent (62 votes). Four people did not vote mayor.

Davis said last month, “I am excited about the opportunity to lead the town and will commit to listening to the citizens. I want to be sure Emmitsburg remains a viable town that attracts businesses and can provide a great place to live.”

The priorities he saw for the town are planning for the future, becoming fiscally responsible, improving downtown parking, controlling the water rates, and making childcare affordable and available.

Joe Ritz, III’s, commissioner seat was also open. Ritz chose not to run for re-election. Three candidates ran for the seat, including former commissioner Glenn Blanchard.

Valerie Turnquist won the majority of the votes, with 58 percent or 212 votes. Blanchard received 112 votes or 31 percent, and Dale Sharrer received 27 votes or 7 percent. Sixteen people or 4 percent did not vote for a commissioner candidate.

Turnquist spoke about her candidacy during the September town meeting. She mentioned three issues that led to her run. She said the large increase in the town’s water rates to pay for needed infrastructure improvements was not sustainable. She believed the town should become a Main Street Maryland town to encourage businesses to open in Emmitsburg. She also said the town needs affordable housing and that it has none now.

However, her priority will be what residents want. “What’s on their mind is what will be on my agenda,” she said.

The new town officials will be sworn in during the October town meeting on October 2.

Frank Davis elected to replace Mayor Don Briggs in Emmitsburg election on September 26.

James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have at least one new face after the town election at the end of this month.

Thurmont held its nominating convention on September 26. Six people were nominated to fill the seats currently held by Bill Buehrer and Wes Hamrick. Buehrer chose to run for re-election, but Hamrick did not.

Among the candidates running for commissioner seats are a former mayor and commissioner. The nominated candidates are Robert Lookingbill, Grant Johnson, Marty Burns, Ed Schildt, Christopher Stouter, and Bill Buehrer.

The town office was full for the convention, as people showed up to nominate and/or support their candidates.

After the nominations were closed, each candidate was given the opportunity to speak. Every candidate but Johnson did so.

Perhaps the most recognizable name in this year’s race is former mayor and commissioner, Marty Burns, who retired from politics two years ago.

“I did not imagine just two years ago that I would ever seek political office again; however, over the last year or so, I have been very disappointed with the decisions the current board has made and believe those decisions have been detrimental to our town,” he said in a statement.

He said the Simmers property annexation and development, which failed in a referendum vote, showed him the current board was out of touch with what residents want.

He also noted that the town is spending its revenues “on things I didn’t think were appropriate” and “spending money like nobody’s business.”

He and Lookingbill are running as a ticket for this election.

Lookingbill said in a statement that he wanted controlled growth in the town, but that is not what he is seeing.

“Our town officials have made decisions in which they are choosing the big bucks from developers over prioritizing the quality of life for Thurmont’s citizens,” Lookingbill noted.

Ed Schildt told the audience that he wanted to maintain the town’s beauty with sustainable growth.

He also said that even as commissioner, he intended to stay active with various community organizations in town because they allowed him to interact with residents and hear what their concerns are. He called the position of commissioner “a position of service, not a position of power.”

Stouter said he was running to help the community. He also feels his work experience will make him particularly helpful with improvements to the town’s electric department that need to be made.

Buehrer took issue with how Lookingbill and Burns portrayed the board. Buehrer praised what the town staff and board of commissioners had done for the town. He said many projects were funded not through tax dollars but grants the town received, saving residents money. He said the town had wonderful parks, no crime, and no dilapidated homes.

“Where’s everybody else,” he said referring to how few people come to town meetings to express their concerns, “if everybody’s so unhappy?”

The town election will be held on October 31 at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact the town office at 301-271-7313.

The last day to register to vote is the close of business on October 3. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is the close of business on October 24.

For more information about the candidates and their positions, the Thurmont Lions Club will host a candidates’ forum on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Town Office. All candidates will be invited to attend. The forum will also be broadcast on Channel 99 and available on the town’s website.

Christopher Stouter

Grant Johnson – No Photo Available

James Rada, Jr.

Tim O’Donnell

Running for Mayor

Why are you running for the office you chose?

Hello, my name is Tim O’Donnell, and I am running for mayor. I value community service. I know my 14 years as a commissioner have brought positive results for our town.

How does having you in that position benefit the town?

When I ran for Commissioner 14 years ago, my goals included enhancing town relations with local businesses, Mount Saint Mary’s University, the Daughters of Charity, and FEMA; getting our neighborhood sidewalks connected to Main Street; and seeing the pool rebuilt, not closed. I wanted our parks to be updated and to build a network of recreational trails on the mountain. I have been successful with these goals. These and other successes are due to hard work and collaboration with many individuals and groups.

What do you see as the town’s strengths? 

Our community is evolving and improving. I feel very fortunate to live here with my family. With appropriate planning and measured growth, we can maintain the quality of life that makes our community unique and attractive to new businesses and new residents. Emmitsburg’s greatest strength is our sense of community. We know our neighbors. We support one another. We value one another and our town.

What are the biggest challenges facing the town?

Emmitsburg’s biggest challenge today is funding the replacement of our ancient water system. The town has been involved in a systematic process to accomplish this goal. It is important we re-evaluate our efforts here to complete this in a timely and affordable manner.

Accessible local daycare is lacking in our community. After-school programs must be expanded. More elder care is needed, offering independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Downtown parking needs to be expanded. Emmitsburg must expand its participation with Main Street Maryland. Solutions exist that involve an active town government. These represent many of my priorities to further improve our whole community.

Why should residents vote for you?

We have an awesome community, and my hope is to lead it forward. To do this, I hope to maintain your trust and earn your vote. Thank you.

Frank Davis

Running for Mayor

Why are you running for the office you chose?

After serving four years as town commissioner, I feel I have gained the experience necessary to lead Emmitsburg. I have the time to commit to being a “hands-on” mayor.

How does having you in that position benefit the town?

Born and raised in Emmitsburg, I have seen the ups and downs of the town over the years, and with that experience, I will do my best to not repeat bad decisions and practices.

What do you see as the town’s strengths? 

The town has many strengths, but the most valuable is its citizens. We have residents that have knowledge and expertise that we need to take advantage of to help make good sound decisions.

What are the biggest challenges facing the town?

Planning for the future, becoming fiscally responsible, downtown parking, water rates, and child care are a few of the top priorities that need to be addressed.

Why should residents vote for you?

I am excited about the opportunity to lead the town and will commit to listening to the citizens. I want to be sure Emmitsburg remains a viable town that attracts businesses and can provide a great place to live.

Glenn Blanchard

Running for Commissioner

Why are you running for the office you chose?

I am running for office because I want to serve the citizens of Emmitsburg. I feel that I bring experience to the job, having served 14 years previously as a town commissioner. The town, country, and the whole world are recovering from the Pandemic. I want to help bring our community back together.

How does having you in that position benefit the town?

With my previous experience as an elected official, I understand the job and the duties that it entails. I have proven myself to be a patient and understanding elected official. I have lived in Emmitsburg for 32 years, and I understand the town and its strengths and weaknesses. I have shown that I have the ability to listen to the citizens and carry their issues to the town meetings.

What do you see as the town’s strengths? 

The people are the backbone of Emmitsburg. They are what keep the town moving through good and bad times. The people of Emmitsburg care about each other, and they help those who need a helping hand.

What are the biggest challenges facing the town?

Sustainable growth, with appropriate upgrades to the existing infrastructure. Providing services to a growing population that needs a municipal government that responds to their needs.

Why should residents vote for you?

The residents of Emmitsburg will be gaining an elected official who cares about them and the town they live in. The residents will be gaining an elected official who has experience in office and has dealt with many of the same issues that the town is facing today.

The Johns Farmhouse Story

Richard D. L. Fulton

Among the mass of paranormal photographs taken over the decades, one occasionally encounters a photograph that includes a house or structure that no longer exists, or a plantation-like stairway with Victorian inhabitants apparently standing upon it that never existed.

But how about a farmhouse that appears in a Civil War picture 16 years before the farmhouse was built? As strange as that may sound, there is actually a rational explanation for the strange “apparitions.”

On July 1 through July 3. 1863, a ‘terrible storm’ swept through Gettysburg as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac collided on the fields and hills in and surrounding the quiet country borough of Adams County.

The battle that raged for three days ultimately climaxed with the so-called “Pickett’s Charge,” which failed in the final attempt of Confederate General Robert E, Lee to break through the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge under the command of Union General George A. Meade.

The cataclysmic charge and the defense of the Union line was commemorated in a painting known as the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama, which has been on display at the various incarnations of the Gettysburg Battlefield Park’s Cyclorama for decades (including initially at a building at the entrance to the national cemetery).

In the 1880s, French artist Paul Philippoteaux painted four versions of his “Pickett’s Charge” cycloramas, including one which went on display in Boston in 1884. In 1913, the Boston version was purchased and displayed in Gettysburg for the 50th Anniversary of the battle and was displayed in a building near the entrance of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Philippoteau’s painting was ultimately purchased by the National Park Service in 1942 and was moved to its first NPS home, a building within the park. In 1963, the painting was moved into a new visitor center, and again in 2005, the painting was moved to the current visitor center.

While the painting had to be restored (it had actually been cut into pieces before it was purchased in 1913), no one caught onto, or covered-over the farmhouse that didn’t exist.

The farmhouse in question appears at the left flank of Pickett’s Charge, essentially in the background. As it turns out, the farmhouse was constructed in 1879 by Samuel Bushman (now commonly referred to as being the William Johns farmhouse).

So how did it end up in a Civil War painting? According to Mike Tallent and Ron Frenette, who purchased the old farmhouse in 2014, Philippoteau never left France to view the battlefield, but instead, he had hired photographers to take photographs of the areas to be painted. The photographs were taken in the very early 1880s (before the paintings were executed), after the farmhouse had been built.

Thus, unaware of the unintended anachronism, Philippoteau included the 1879 Bushman home in his “Pickett’s Charge” painting.

Well, at least the land the farmhouse sits upon—which stands on the corner of Johns Avenue and Culp Street—did see plenty of fire and fury on July 4, 1863, as can be testified to by the voluminous number of bullets, shells fragments—even unexploded artillery rounds—that have been collected on the farmhouse property, and those of the neighboring properties that now comprise the Colt Park development.

The property and those surrounding the farmhouse turned up more than just relics. The front of the Johns farmhouse all the way from Culp’s Street to King Street was a temporary Confederate mass grave (the bodies were subsequently removed). In 1882, a trench was dug 300 yards from the farmhouse wherein 15 Confederate bodies were found. Again, in 1914, two more bodies were recovered near the barn, next to the farmhouse.

 Civil War history aside, in 1913, Gettysburg served as the host to the Civil War Veterans’ Reunion, and the sprawling encampment all but encircled the farmhouse property. In 1918, Camp Colt (where the War Department trained the U.S. Army’s first tank unit) was established and basically encompassed the same ground as did the 1913 veterans’ reunion. More than 150 troops encamped in Camp Colt died from the Spanish Flu in 1918.

The Johns farmhouse and the land it was built upon didn’t get much of a break when it came to being witness to tragic events.

In 1922, during the Marine maneuvers at Gettysburg, death came precariously close to landing in the front yard of the old farmhouse when a warplane fell from the sky, killing the pilot and his passenger.

Highly-decorated World War I Marine infantryman Captain George Wallis Hamilton—turned Marine aviator in the aftermath of the war—was piloting a de Havilland DH-4B dive-bomber on June 26, along with passenger, Gunnery Sergeant George Russell Martin, at the head of the Marine column as the column approached the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The more than 5,000 Marines had marched from Quantico to hold their Civil War-theme summer maneuvers and battle reenactment in Gettysburg, and squadrons of bi-wing airplanes flew overhead, as if patrolling the skies during the Marines’ advance.

Hamilton was in command of the lead squadron as it approached the battlefield. The squadron was in the process of preparing to land at an impromptu airfield the Marines had constructed on the Culp Farm near the intersection of Old Emmitsburg Road and Long Lane.

As Hamilton’s squadron circled to position themselves to land, the other pilots, as well as other witnesses on the ground, stated that the captain’s “DH-4B airplane #6157 went into a tailspin from a left turn from which it did not recover, and crashed to the ground,” according to the crash investigatory Record of Proceedings.

The crash occurred in the area of Johns Avenue and Culp Street, just missing a carnival that had been set up along Steinwehr Avenue, precariously close to the front yard of the Johns farmhouse.

Hamilton was found deceased in the wreckage, but Martin was still alive. He was transported to the Warren Hospital (Gettysburg Hospital), where he expired a short time later. Because both were engaged in Marine activities at the time of the crash, they then both became the last line-of-duty deaths to have taken place on the old Civil War battlefield since 1863.

Today, the site of the crash is marked by a memorial wayside dedicated to the two aviators who had perished on June 26, 1922. The memorial was created by a consortium of area residents, members of the Gettysburg and Emmitsburg Marine Corps Leagues, and the Gettysburg Heritage Center.

A photograph of the Johns farmhouse was included in the wayside, as it was the only nearby structure that had existed in that area at the time of the crash. Johns farmhouse owners Mike Tallent and Ron Frenette played instrumental roles in not only raising the funds to erect the memorial and designing it, but also in helping to create the subsequent dedication ceremony when the memorial wayside was unveiled.

The memorial wayside dedication was held on June 26, 2018. Members of the US Marine Corps Historical Company, Marines from Fort Meade, and a Marine bugler from Marine Base Quantico participated in the dedication ceremony.

Frenette stated at the ceremony that the book, The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr., had inspired the effort to create the memorial to the two aviators.

Nancy Gearhart Rice, Thurmont

A way to take one’s mind off the troubled times we now live in is to relive the past with memories. I have called Thurmont my home since the 1950s, so there’s no doubt I’ve seen many changes. 

I went to Thurmont High School and learned along with students in grades 1-12, all in the same building. No bad memories stand out from my school years. I took schoolwork seriously and always aimed for good grades.

After high school, in 1962, I was hired by the town clerk, Mr. Guy Frushour, for the position of secretary in the Thurmont Town Office.  Although my job title was “secretary,” I wore many hats.

The town’s office building was fairly new, about five years old at that time and became my workplace for the next 25 years. I joined Pauline Firor and Annabelle Taylor in the front office. The public works department was headed by Bill Rice, superintendent, and the following workers: Joe Fraley, Dalton Perry, Harry Sharer, Paul Sweeney, Charles Willhide, Raymond Knott, Manuel Willard, Charles Yingling, Paul Shaffer, Johnny Robinson, Ellsworth Poole, and Kermit Riffle.

Mr. Frushour was a very frugal person, but he was easy to get along with and delighted in telling us stories of his life. He loved talking about his college years at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg. He walked from Graceham to the college every day. Sometimes, he was fortunate enough to get a ride. He proudly told us how many footsteps it took to get there. He didn’t have a driver’s license or a car and walked to and from work each day. I would sometimes offer to drive him home, but he usually worked past quitting time.

The electricity and water bills were all computed and written by hand, without the use of adding machines. We had a good supply of scrap paper on which to do the computations. Annabelle would take cards that she had prepared ahead with the customer’s name, account number, and the previous month’s meter reading, and she would transfer the present reading from the meter books to get the month’s kilowatt hour (kWh) usage. Pauline and I would check her subtraction and prepare the customer’s bill. We used pre-calculated rate cards to get the kWh cost, then we computed the sales tax and wrote in the amount due using ink pens. We had to make two copies of the bill (not carbon copies): one for the office and one for the customer. I would then take Pauline’s stack of bills and check all her figures; likewise, she would check mine. 

When a customer’s electric or water bills were past due, one could expect a knock on his/her door by Mr. Frushour. He would walk to their home or catch a ride on a town vehicle and attempt to collect the payment or set up a payment plan. The delinquency rate was very low. The town office hours were 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. 

Each week, usually Wednesday, the parking meter money was collected by someone on the police force. After a meter maid was hired, she did that job.  The coins would be dumped on a large table in our office, and two of us would separate the coins and wrap them by hand, except for the pennies.  These were wrapped using a hand-crank coin-wrapping machine. 

The office was a very comfortable place to work. No freebies were offered. We paid ten cents for a cup of coffee, and a soda machine provided nickel cokes. On Christmas Eve, the employees would be treated to a Christmas lunch. It was held in the stock room on a makeshift table of plywood, and we would get to go home a couple hours early. The office had one adding machine (hand-crank, not electric) that was shared by the three of us. We had manual typewriters, and the office functioned well with one telephone. I was responsible for accounts payable and payroll. Every check was hand written.

I was also secretary to Thurmont Police Chief Clarence Hagelin. On occasion, he would call me in at night to type the statement of persons detained or to type emergency paperwork. There was no copy machine; carbon paper was used. We did whatever it took to get things done.

I was the recording secretary for the board of commissioners for about 20 years. No tape recorder was used. I took notes in shorthand at all meetings and then typed the minutes, which were put into binders having pre-numbered pages.   

In 1964, I was part of the very first committee formed to initiate planning and zoning in Thurmont. Public hearings were held in the auditorium of the Thurmont High School. A few meetings became a rather noisy scene. The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission was then formed, and I was appointed executive secretary. I processed the very first zoning permits for the citizens of Thurmont. I believe the charge was $3.00.

Mr. Frushour became ill in 1966, and his position was filled by Glenn Nikirk. Mr. Nikirk was also zoning administrator. During his time, the office became more modernized. He was instrumental in getting the first grants for the town. In 1978, Mr. Nikirk resigned to take a position with the City of Frederick. Mayor C. Ray Weddle asked me to accept the position of zoning administrator, which I did and served in that capacity for nearly 10 years.

During these years, I also became the unofficial town office historian and answered inquiries from many seeking information about their ancestors.  Here’s one such letter, sent from Putnam, CT. in 1964.

Addressed To: “Either Town Manager, Selectman, Mayor or whoever is in charge of Thurmont, Maryland.”

“To whom it may concern; In 1928 I was shown by a person, a little white cottage at a corner in Thurmont, Md. on the road to Baltimore. Now, I am told there never was a house there. I never took a drop in my life. I’m 84, so there is something or someone cockeyed. Enclosed is a stamped, self-addressed envelope for an answer. My defunct wife was born there in 1897, April 2nd.”

After exchanging a couple letters with the sender to gather more information, we determined the location of the house in question.

Thurmont was a small town back then and much less populated. We knew every resident and most everything about them. The majority of the residents came in person to pay utility bills, usually by cash. 

I am proud to have known and worked under Mayors Donald L. Lewis, Roy W. Lookingbill, C. Ray Weddle, and James F. Black, and I feel fortunate to have watched our town grow over the past 70-plus years.

I can still remember:

The Zimmerman ladies, wearing long dresses and standing on their side porch (later removed) at the stone house on the corner of West Main Street and Altamont Avenue.

Buck Lewis walking from his gas station to direct traffic at the square when the fire alarm sounded.

Ice cream sundaes from Domingue’s and Donald Lewis’ soda fountains.

Buying clothing and shoes at Shappy’s on the Square.

The canning factory in operation.

The State Theatre.

Donald and Freida Lewis’ card and gift shop and Toy Land.

The Thurmont train station in operation.

Both the Dixie Diner and Davy’s Diner on Water Street.

And that is how some things used to be. I am hoping this stirs the minds of the few residents of Thurmont who can remember these times.

The Western Maryland Train Station, taken looking west from Boundary Avenue across the main line. At the left can be seen one of the water towers used to water the engines as they stopped in Thurmont.

Photo of the Dixie Diner, taken in 1939. The Dixie Diner was built in the late 1930s using an old H&FRR car by Mary and Leonard Fogle. After several years, the Dixie was enlarged by adding a second trolley car to the far end. It was operated by several individuals over the years, including Mary Fogle, Bill Houck, Audie and Audrey Moore, and Myrtle and Jim Steele.  The restaurant sat on Water Street at the Frederick Road intersection between the Fogle’s house and garage. The Center of Life Chiropractic Center sits in this general vicinity today.

This photograph (above) of Christmas lights at the Square in Thurmont dates from the early 1960s. All the businesses were all lit up, with the most prominent being Donald and Freda Lewis’s Corner Store.

The Lewis’s purchased this business in 1952 from the Wisotzkey Brothers. The store featured an amazing soda fountain bar along the far wall, a great selection of candies, cards, gifts, magazines, and of course, Toy Land upstairs. Lewis’s was located on the Square at the intersection of East Main Street and Water Street.

The next storefront down East Main Street also belonged to the Lewis’s and housed the Lewis Sporting Good Store. Donald was an avid fisherman and was always willing to offer advice about equipment or the best spots to fish. One of the most interesting features of the building was the corner door seen here; the Thurmont Bank building across the street also featured a corner door. Donald and Freda were very involved in the town (Donald was a Thurmont Mayor and Frederick County Commissioner) and loved by everyone. Freda died in 2004 and Donald in 2018.

On the second floor of the Wisotzkey store on the square was Toy Land! This was the place to go to see toys of all kinds, including bikes, doll houses, games, sleds, drums, baby buggies, swing sets, child-sized chairs, dart boards, and lots of other wonderful toys. Donald Lewis kept Toy Land open for many years as well. Pictured (from left): Unknown lady, Mary Mae Wisotzkey, Donnie Marshall, Roy Wisotzkey, Elizabeth Wisotzkey, and Doris Fitzgerald.

Buck Lewis at his Sinclair Gas and Service Station. After Buck closed the station, the building served as an ice cream parlor and a seafood/sandwich shop.

Thurmont Mayor James Black signing a document in the meeting room at the old town offices, located at 10 Frederick Road.

Lisa C. Cantwell

Seven female combat Veterans enjoyed a four-day getaway recently at Heroes Ridge, a 275-acre retreat complex located atop Raven Rock Mountain near Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Activities included ATV riding on the wooded trails, horseback riding, roping, swimming, painting, yoga, karaoke, dancing around the firepit and a carriage ride tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.  The ladies also enjoyed getting their nails groomed during a special “Spa Day” themed luncheon.

“Females are often the forgotten Veterans,” said Cindy McGrew, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Operation Second Chance (OSC) that manages the gated retreat camp.  Leah, one of the attendees from Kansas City and a Navy veteran agreed, “We, as a society, have to begin thinking that Veterans might be women, too.” She relayed the license plate frame on her car reads “U.S. Navy Retired” and that people often remark, “Please thank your husband for his service.” “I told them, ‘It’s ME’! That people who serve are both men AND women.” 

According to the VA website, more than two million women Veterans reside in the U.S. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense recorded that women made up 17 percent of the active-duty force and 21 percent comprised the National Guard/Reserve population. The VA states that women are the fastest growing group in the Veteran population. 

The gathering at Heroes Ridge offered these minority service members a safe and fun environment in which to share their experiences with one another, thereby supporting each one’s journey of healing and recovery. Leah shared, “Being here has been so important to my recovery, I just don’t feel like I fit in unless I’m with other female vets.”  Accompanied by her service dog, “Garet,” she also shared that she was celebrating her 46th birthday, “My injuries had me in a coma for four weeks. I was told I’d never live past 40 and that I’d never walk again. Well, here I am!” All of the women at the retreat presented her with a round of happy birthday wishes and personal tributes. She shared that her favorite experience during the weekend was around the campfire, as the ladies sang and danced in train formation when they found out it was her birthday.  She also loved swimming in the pool with her dog. Leah has known Cindy McGrew for six years and noted, “Everything Cindy does in her life is for veterans, and that’s what Heroes Ridge is all about.” 

Theresa, an Army Veteran from Southern Maryland, said this was her second trip to Heroes Ridge. McGrew met her at Walter Reed Hospital over 12 years ago. “She couldn’t walk or talk. She’s come such a long way! Her road to recovery has been a difficult one,” McGrew said.

At dinner, Theresa shared her story of overcoming serious injuries with her comrades. She gave Cindy McGrew much praise saying, “She saved my life!” McGrew quickly responded, “Oh no! I didn’t do that. God did!” Theresa has recently been hired by McGrew as an intern with OSC.

“What I love about this particular retreat is that it caters to women exclusively. We can just enjoy some fun in a non-competitive atmosphere,” Theresa observed. “To be able to connect with other women vets and experience new things, share stories, learn what works and what doesn’t is invaluable. It’s reassuring just knowing there are others that understand.” Recognizing the need for female Veterans to connect, she began a group for this underserved population that meets monthly in her community. Her favorite activity at the retreat was horseback riding, noting that experience was much better the second time around.

She said, “It was so calming, and I felt empowered. Riding gave me a sense of accomplishment.”  She recently completed a research course at Harvard and hopes to apply her knowledge toward a future study on women in military service. 

In addition to fully funded retreats at Heroes Ridge, the highly rated non-profit has other getaway locations for Veterans nationwide in Texas, Florida, Colorado, Montana, and South Dakota, to name a few. To date, OSC has provided over $16 million to assist our nation’s heroes and their families in the form of mortgage and rent payments, airline and Amtrack tickets, lodging, essential living expense items, and recreation and entertainment fees.

For more information on retreats for Veterans and their families at Heroes Ridge at Raven Rock and about Operation Second Chance (OSC), please visit the website at

Cover Photo Lead-In: Leah gives “Cactus” a pat during riding and roping activities at Heroes Ridge.

Note: All Veterans requested that their first name only be used.

Sara and Kimberly enjoy the thrills of ATV riding during Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Pool playtime with the service dogs at Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Chris, a combat Veteran, mounted on “Pepsi” at Heroes Ridge. She’s being led by CEO and founder, Cindy McGrew.

How the Breakup of a Continent Helped Prevent the Breakup of a Country

Richard D. L. Fulton

The Battle of Gettysburg, which resulted in an important stalemate between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac on July 1 through July 3, 1863, prevented the advance of the Confederate Army through Pennsylvania.

Had the Army of Northern Virginia defeated the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the Confederates could have advanced onto a number of  Pennsylvania and Maryland cities, and even Washington, D.C.

Essentially, much of the outcome of the battle was settled some 175 million years ago, and further forged by tens of millions of years of weathering, which further sculpted the primordial Gettysburg landscape into the killing fields of 1863.

The real battle, as such, began during the Jurassic Period, as the North American continent was ripped apart—in geologic slow motion—of its African counterpart during a geologic phenomenon known as continental drift.  It was during this cataclysmic event that also gave birth to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Jurassic Period was the central period of time some refer to as being the Age of the Dinosaurs, but the Jurassic Period was also marked as having been a period of cataclysmic geological events—massive earthquakes and the building up of massive magma chambers, comprised of molten rock and minerals—beneath the earth. 

As the North American plate and the African plate drifted further apart, the fire and fury of geological rage was tempered as the distance between the two departed continents drifted further apart. Massive earthquakes petered out, and magma chambers that remained concealed beneath the surface hardened into a rock type known as diabase.

Much of the region at the time that the magma chambers had formed was covered with thick beds of red shale and sandstone that had been laid down as mud during the previous period (Late Triassic). The magma chambers penetrated the lower shale and sandstone layers of the Late Triassic but did not pierce completely through them to reach the surface. If the magma had broken through, they would have developed into surficial volcanoes. 

Thus trapped, the magma slowly hardened into diabase, a rock type more weathering resistant than either the overlying shale or sandstone. As a result, over millions of years, the beds of shale and sandstone were weathered down, exposing the more resistant diabase.

The end result was that the hills and ridges of Gettysburg were formed by the tough diabase, and the ground level and lower elevations remained in the hands of the Late Triassic rocks (dubbed the Triassic basins).

So how did this impact the Battle of Gettysburg?

In the 19th Century (and before), most battles were fought for the main purpose of seizing the high ground (in the case of Gettysburg, the diabase hills and ridges). Not only did the high ground offer an advantage of observing enemy troop movements, but also afforded more defensive positions than if the armies had tried to defend themselves on lower ground (the shale valleys and flatter areas of Gettysburg).

During the Battle of Gettysburg, typical “high ground” features that were composed of diabase included the Devil’s Den, Big and Little Round Tops, Cemetery Ridge (which included the “High Water Mark” of Pickett’s Charge), Cemetery Hill, Seminary Ridge, Culps Hill, etcetera.

Much of the three-day battle pivoted on the effort to retain or capture these key positions. In fact, the epic climax of the battle was when the Confederate Army tried to drive the Union defenders off the Cemetery Ridge by marching three-quarters of a mile across a Triassic basin to assault the diabase ridge defended by the Union forces.

The Confederate forces had attempted the previous day to strike at the flanks of Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill, and Little Round Top—both diabase and both attacked from Triassic basin formations—and both failed.

The 175-million-year-old magma chambers—created by the break up of a continent—proved resistant to time, and resistant to capture in 1863, and prevented that battle from being the one that might have assured the breakup of the country.

Courtesy of the Gettysburg NPS

View of the Triassic basin from the diabase hill known as Little Round Top.

“The Angle,” the farthermost point at which the Confederates penetrated the diabase ridge called Cemetery.

by James Rada, Jr.


Approved Bids

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved a bid for a new water department truck to replace a 2007 utility bed truck. Three bids were received, and the mayor and commissioners accepted the $72,504 bid from Crouse Ford in Taneytown for a new truck.

The mayor and commissioners also approved a bid for sludge line valve replacements and a water line installation at the wastewater treatment plant for $87,855. Mid-Atlantic Utilities of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, will do the work.

Annual Donations Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently made their annual donations to local organizations in town that provide much-needed services to residents. Guardian Hose Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Company received $30,000. The Thurmont Food Bank received $6,000, and the Thurmont Ministerium received $3,000.

Ordinance Changes Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance to restrict the type of animals that are allowed within the town limits. The changes made to the “Animals” chapter will allow the code enforcement officer the ability to issue citations and take other actions to correct a problem in town of people having what many people would consider livestock in their backyards. In recent months, some people with an abundance of animals in their yards have caused problems for their neighbors that include smells, mosquitos, noise, and rats. The changes made to the “Parks” chapter will prohibit horses and ponies from town parks and trails unless they have a permit issued by the town.


Upcoming Election

The 2023 Emmitsburg Town Election will be held on Tuesday, September 26, at 22 East Main Street. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The office of mayor and one commissioner seat are open for this election. Currently, commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Frank Davis have filed to run for mayor. Former commissioner Glenn Blanchard has filed to run for commissioner.

New Zoning Designation Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to add an Economic Development Flex District (Floating Zone) for sites that are larger than 25 acres in the B-2, ORI, I-P, and C-R districts.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners re-appointed Wayne and Sandy Slaughter to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Wayne’s term runs from September 8, 2023, to September 8, 2025. Sandy’s term runs from September 7, 2023, to September 7, 2025.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed election judges for the town election in September. Sharon Hane will serve as chief judge. Tammy May and Lynn Orndorff will serve as judges. Charlotte Mazaleski will serve as the greeter/alternate judge.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

The school year has started, and we all need to be extra careful while driving on our local and county roads and state highways. First and foremost, we must be aware of the kids crossing our streets. There are crosswalks at all intersections in Thurmont, although they may not be marked. State law requires you to stop at any marked street crossing if people are in the crosswalk or stepping into the crosswalk. This rule should also apply to every intersection if children are crossing or entering the crossing area. As often as kids are told to look both ways before crossing, we all know they sometimes do not. Please keep in mind that kids will also cross streets at any point and can walk out from between parked cars. Be aware of speed zones near schools and slow down to the speed limit posted for traffic during school hours. We also need to be aware of kids getting on and off school buses. You are required to stop for all school buses headed in either direction when the red lights are flashing. School buses will flash their yellow lights as a warning that they are preparing to stop. Be sure to stop with plenty of room between you and the bus. The only exception is if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway with the lanes separated by a barrier, grass, or paved median. Please keep an eye out for our children and make sure they get to and from school safely.

The 67th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show is being held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 8, 9, and 10. Be sure to come up and enjoy a weekend of great entertainment, agricultural displays, delicious food, amazing displays of art, photography, baking, canning, sewing, knitting, flower arranging, and other crafts. The show starts Friday evening, with the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. followed by the baked goods auction at 7:30 p.m. All three days will feature agriculture displays of livestock and equipment. Saturday starts with the Beef, Sheep, and Swine Show and the Market Goat Fitting and Show. Come and see how much effort the young ladies and gentlemen of the FFA invest in their Ag displays. 

The Town of Thurmont will be holding an election to fill two Board of Commissioner seats on Tuesday, October 31. There are some important dates to keep in mind leading up to the election. The Nominating Convention will be held on September 26; this is when candidates will be nominated and begin their campaign. The last day you can register to vote is on October 3. If you are already registered for state and national elections, you are registered locally as well. You can register to vote at the Thurmont Town Office during regular business hours. Absentee Ballots will be available starting on October 18. Contact the Thurmont Town Office for Absentee Ballots. The last day to apply for an Absentee Ballot is October 24.

Colorfest is fast approaching and now is the time to get permits and secure a spot if you are setting up to sell items that weekend. This year, Colorfest will be held on Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15.  As usual, there will be lots of activity going on the entire week leading up to Colorfest. Preparations will be getting underway for security, sanitation, and transportation, and vendors will be setting up. Thurmont is widely known for all of the yard sales that pop up Wednesday through Friday. So, be aware of cars stopping to visit yard sales throughout the week. There will be no parking signs posted on select roadways, and we ask that you honor those signs during the times noted.

The town is working to organize the upcoming construction project on North Church Street. This will entail the replacement of water and wastewater mains on North Church from the railway bridge to out past Sheetz. Residents and businesses on North Church Street have received notification about the project and what they should expect as the work progresses. During the majority of the construction, one lane of North Church will be open, with flaggers guiding traffic through the work area. The contractors will be notified regarding the times when school buses and vehicles will be coming from CHS, and they will attempt to accommodate the traffic patterns whenever possible. I encourage you to find alternate routes to your destinations during this construction. All businesses will be open during the construction of the North Church Street improvements. Once the infrastructure work is completed, the entire roadway will be repaved. This project will get underway in late October and should continue for six months.

As always, I can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 301-606-9458 for any comments, questions, or concerns.


Mayor Don Briggs

As I write this, one of my last two monthly mayor articles in The Catoctin Banner, I want to thank the residents, businesses, and the town staff for the honor to work with you over my four terms—12 years—it has been my humble honor. The two-fold measure of the office is to serve and govern. Sometimes, we were at odds with the governing piece, but at the foundation of every discussion was always our town charter and town code.

Together, we have done a lot. We did “take back” the square, re-did it, as it is the “foyer” of all our homes. We filled the sidewalk gaps, so now the town is connected from Tract Road to Emmit Gardens, Northgate, FEMA, and Silo Hill. We now have basically a new pool and changing rooms, a dog park, a redone bandstand, all-accessible children’s playground, and paved gaps to the walking path in Community Park. Through begging and cajoling, we got Ryan Homes back to finish the remainder of Brookfield after they swore they’d never come back here after being rudely dismissed some 15 years ago. Being recognized by the state as a Sustainable Community, the initial step to becoming a Main Street town and the thousands of dollars in grants to downtown building owners that equates to over $1 million in improvements. The three corners of the downtown square buildings benefit from that program. Finally, the Mount is coming downtown with programs and classes. Our solar field provides 94 percent of the town’s energy accounts. Adding energy saving LED street lighting, electric charging stations, and a town electric car. The thousands of trees we planted. To wit: we have the town recognized as one of the top 10 most beautiful small towns in Maryland. We did all of this together.

August started out with still trying to assist in any way the sponsors of a new Catholic High School to find a home in Emmitsburg. They have the students, Maryland Educational approved time-tested G.K. Chesterton-shaped curriculum, and the teachers. Miraculously, it has been accomplished. Fall classes will first be held at St. Anthony’s and then come into Emmitsburg around the first of the year. Congratulations to the sponsors, the Crook family.

August for me started out with attending a presentation by members of the Frederick County Economic Development Office to a group of town businesspeople over a light breakfast at the Carriage House Inn. The topic was Emmitsburg progressing on being a Maryland Main Street affiliate to full participation in the program and many additional opportunities. It was an excellent presentation, adding to the groundwork that has been done to improve the setting of our wonderful town.

That same night, Lib and I attended the Emmitsburg’s Annual National Night Out tribute held in the Community Park; we had the honor of serving, along with the town staff, pizza donated by Tuscany’s Pizzeria, along with hamburgers and cheeseburgers donated by McDonald’s, water, popsicles, school bags, and more. The weather cooperated with a cooler, less humid evening to befittingly honor our guests, the Sheriff’s deputies, and members of the Vigilant Hose Company. An ice cream truck, local churches, vendors, and children amusements, all lent to a wonderful evening.

 On August 8, the County Historic Preservation Commission approved the expansion of the Emmitsburg National Register Historic District to include West Lincoln Avenue, Emmitsburg’s historic black neighborhood. Ever since writing 20 years ago a thesis paper on black education opportunities in Northern Frederick County, I have pursued including West Lincoln Avenue in the Emmitsburg National Registry of Historic Places. West Lincoln Avenue is a history-rich African American homestead area that was not included in the original district. Thank you to Joy Shaffer with the County Executive Office and Elizabeth Comer of the Catoctin Furnace Society for pushing and pulling through.

 In honor of our sister City Lutsk in Ukraine, a Ukrainian needlework exhibit was held in the Emmitsburg Library in August, honoring the Ukrainian Day of Independence. On August 19, the second annual jointly-sponsored town and Mount event welcomed the new freshmen class at the Mount with an array of music, swimming, food, and vendors. August 22 featured a ribbon-cutting for the Mount Seminary Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation in a wing of the Basilica building. All of this in a quiet town. September 22 will be the Blessing and Dedication of the Seton Shrine Visitors Center and Museum. Don’t forget the 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on September 8-10 at Catoctin High School.

 Best wishes from Lib and me for a Happy Labor Day holiday! Don’t forget to vote in the town mayoral and commissioner election on Tuesday, September 22, at the deputy station on East Main Street. They are all really good people who love Emmitsburg.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings and welcome back to school to all the students, teachers, and staff. My wish is that this is a safe and productive school year for you all.

As all residents should have seen on their last water bills, we are in the process of changing out the water meters. This will allow us to begin taking electronic payments; however, we cannot move forward until all meters are updated. It does require the tech to enter your home, as stated on the water bills. Please be sure to set up your appointment with them. The sooner we get them all changed out in town, the sooner we can move forward with the system that many of you have asked for regarding electronic payments for your water bills.

I am happy to announce that groundbreaking for the new bathrooms on the east side of the park will begin to take place soon. Electricity to the east side of the park has begun as well and will hopefully be completed and run to the stage before the Woodsboro Days festival that is scheduled for October 22. If you are a vendor and would like to participate, please reach out to me.

The latest town hall update is that I signed several documents for the county permits, and we should have the process to start the bidding to build the town hall out by mid-September. This is very exciting, as a groundbreaking will take place shortly after that. With a mild winter, we should be able to be in the building by mid-spring.

The construction of the new skate park should begin in early September. The excitement around it is very high. It will be built between the concession stand and tennis courts. I am very excited to see these projects happening.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

German POW Falls for Orrtanna Girl

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based on ‘Nazis’ in Gettysburg: World War II Comes to a Civil War Battlefield by Richard D. L. Fulton, pending publication

Over the course of World War II, three POW camps (they were called PW camps then) were constructed on the Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, one initially on Emmitsburg Road (which held some 400 prisoners) and then two on West Confederate Avenue (with a combined population of 800 prisoners).

The reason the German prisoners were here was to compensate for the loss of young men who had been involved in the local agricultural and canning enterprises and who were drafted or enlisted in the military to help fight the war.

As for escaping, under international law, POW escape cannot be regarded as a crime. When caught they were simply returned to their compound. If it involved a group, they would be split up and sent to different compounds. Escapees could be charged if they committed a crime or crimes during their escape (for example, stealing a vehicle).

German POW Hans Herman Harloff, age 20, a member of German General Rommel’s Afrika Corps, had fallen in love with Pearl Crease of Orrtanna, who worked at the cannery where he was employed. While the cannery was not specified in ensuing reports, Crease’s 2007 obituary stated she “had worked for many years at Krouse Foods in Orrtanna.” Prisoners were not permitted to communicate with civilian co-workers, but Harloff and Crease managed to stay in touch through smuggling letters to one another.

Harloff, along with fellow prisoner Bernard Wagner, 24, a probable prisoner taken during the Normandy invasion, escaped January 4, 1946, from the POW compound that had been located on West Confederate Avenue at the site of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The escapees had found an unguarded corner of the camp and slipped out from between strands of barbed wire.

When recaptured on January 7 near Zora, a little community outside of Carroll County Township, by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Pennsylvania State Police, and military personnel, the duo reportedly told authorities they had escaped because they just wanted to see America, but Crease’s letters discovered among Harloff’s personal effects told a different story.

Much of the rest of the story comes from the subsequent March 4 testimony of FBI Agent Maurice Carroll that had been given on March 4, leading to arrest warrants being issued, and FBI Agent H.B. Fletcher on the March 11 hearing (before the federal grand jury in Scranton).

As the story unfolded, it was a much bigger case than an otherwise perfectly legal POW escape attempt. The Crease family was implicated in aiding and abetting the escape. 

According to the FBI agents’ testimonies, Harloff and Wagner made their way to the Crease’s home, arriving there around 2:00 a.m., where the family provided the escapees with food, water, and rendered other assistance, directing the escaped prisoners to a vacant house where they could hide.

The family continued to provide the escapees with food and subsequently transported them to an unused barn on the property of Clayton Philips of Emmitsburg, where they were discovered after authorities received a “tip.” The duo was discovered hiding in a straw stack.

The agents testified that letters from Crease to Harloff found among his belongings led investigators to the Crease household and the subsequent arrest of Pearl Crease and her parents, Byron J. and Lovell Herring, with each member being released on $1,000 bail each, pending a trial.

On May 7, the three pled guilty to harboring a German prisoner of war. The parents were each given probationary sentences of a year and a day, and Pearl was given a probationary sentence of two years.

Normally, the charges would have been very severe. But note the date of the offense: January 1946. The war was already over. The Germans were technically no longer prisoners of war and were merely biding their time awaiting repatriation (being returned to their homelands).

The judge stated that, given that the war was over and the “good reputation borne by the Crease family” that “imprisonment would serve no good purpose.”

West Confederate Avenue (McMillan Woods) CCC camp before being converted to a POW camp.

Photo Courtesy of Gettysburg National Park Service

The Day the South Won

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based on The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr.

We have all been taught that the South “lost” the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, fought when the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee, collided with the Union Army of the Potomac, under General George Meade.

While one could argue ad infinitum the validity of declaring the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg a Confederate defeat, Confederate forces did, in fact, defeat the Union forces and win the Battle of Gettysburg on that hallowed ground—only 59 years too late.

The year was 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, when more than 5,000 Marines—including the entire Fifth and Sixth Corps—along with their artillery, antiaircraft guns, M1919 tanks, dive and torpedo bombers, scout planes, and observation balloons descended upon Gettysburg—following their week-long, more than 80-mile trek from Quantico, Virginia, to the historic Civil War battlefield of 1863—for their annual summer maneuvers.

The troops left Quantico on June 19, arriving in Gettysburg on June 26. Some of the supplies and equipage were flown in or sent by railroad. It was said that it took the column more than a half hour to pass any given point along the line of the march.

The planned activities were two-fold: to train the troops and to hold public reenactments to promote the Marine Corps in the eyes of the public. The Marines held their public reenactments (specifically reenacting Pickett’s Charge, the game-changer that, on July 3, 1863, concluded the Battle of Gettysburg) on July 1, 3, and 4. The July 1 and July 3 reenactments were held in Civil War fashion, in conformity with the actual charge that occurred.

But the July 4 reenactment was another thing, altogether, because that day’s version of Picket’s Charge would be fought with all of the fire and fury and equipage of a World War I battle. 

“On July 4, the Marines will fight the Battle of Gettysburg as they think it ought to have been fought… with tanks, airplanes, observation balloons and machine guns. They don’t need any rehearsal for this. They learned a good deal about it in France.” The (Baltimore) Sun, June 28, 1922.

Prior to the July 4 battle, the Marines announced that Colonel Frederick L. Bradman would be portraying Confederate General Robert E. Lee, while Major H.B. Pratt would portray Confederate General James Longstreet, and Confederate General George Picket was portrayed by Colonel James K. Tracey.  Apparently, no one was assigned to represent the Union command.

Among the multitude of civilians that had arrived to see the battle was Colonel E.B. Cope, superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, who had actually been attached to Union General Meade’s headquarters at Gettysburg during the July 3, 1863, charge. A number of Veterans of the war were also present to view the reenactment.

The Marines divided up their numbers to create the Union and Confederate forces needed to fight that battle. 

Preparing for battle, the Confederate Marines were able to use their current uniforms by modifying how such was worn, including refiguring the slouch and floppy hats to the appropriate style. Beets were boiled to be used as blood during the battle.

The battle opened on July 4, with an artillery fire and the lofting of a Confederate observation balloon, which immediately triggered a dogfight between Union and Confederate bi-wing aircraft, the highlight of which was the shooting down of the observation balloon, which fell, burning the ground. The pilot threw out a dummy and, shortly after, parachuted himself out of the burning assemblage. The burning balloon landed somewhere on the west side of Seminary Ridge.

Around 10:30 a.m., smoke candles were lit ahead of the massed Confederate infantry to simulate the fog of war that would have been generated by all the mystery and artillery fire of July 3, 1863. Then came the Confederate advance, but unlike the deployment of Southern troops during the actual charge, in which the troops would have advanced in long shoulder-to-shoulder lines, they advanced in Squads and platoons as they would have done in battle in 1922.

The Marines advanced onto Emmitsburg Road, where they deployed machine gun crews and their weapons units, supported by squads of infantry. The (Baltimore) Sun wrote on July 5, “The audience heard only the thunder of artillery and the tat-tat-tat of machine gun and the crack of rifles… while the visible infantry appeared and disappeared within the voluminous amount of smoke.”

As the Marines prepared to advance on what today is referred to as the High Water Mark (which marks the furthest Confederate troops advanced on the July 3, 1863, charge), Confederate dive bombers strafed the Union troops posted behind the stone wall that further denotes the High Water Mark.

Then came the tanks, which The (Baltimore) Sun described as seeming, “Like lazy animals, already gorged with battle and bored with the slaughter, they wobbled through the oat fields, converging on the Codori House, and at a few hundred yards began spitting flame and smoke from their one-pounders.”

Union troops were offering serious resistance in the Codori House and outbuildings, so the Marines ordered up two tanks to take them out. Another two tanks were deployed on the left flank of the Confederate advance. One of the tanks rolled up to the Codori House and fired a smoke round into the house through a window and the Union resistance ceased.

The rifles used in the battle fired blanks, but blanks had not been developed at the time for machine guns, so the machine guns were firing live rounds. Berms had been created a short distance around the Codori Farm, into which the machine gunners directed their fire. The tank more than likely only fired smoke rounds, as well as their machine guns. Every so many Confederate Marines carried shotguns with smoke shells that they would fire into the ground as they progressed to simulate artillery shell impacts.

The Union troops had also created several mock pillboxes between Emmitsburg Road and the High Water Mark, in which they placed their machine guns—probably firing also into the temporary berms—and these were soon silenced by the tanks.

The battle was also monitored by judges, delegating points for gains made or losses taken. When the Confederate Marines cleared all of the Union resistance from Emmitsburg up to the High Water Mark, the battle was called off, and the Confederate Marines were judged to have been the victors. The South had just effectively won the Battle of Gettysburg.

The (Baltimore) Sun wrote, July 5, 1922, “Cemetery Ridge fell today, the blazing hills and knolls that hurled back the Confederate Army’s massed attacks in 1863 were silenced this morning by the United States Marines. Attacking like Indians among the wheat shocks and through the stubble and oat fields, while big guns pounded to pulp and machine guns peppered to death the fortresses that had held the old Union Army safe 59 years ago.”

The Marines left Gettysburg on July 6 and marched back to Quantico. They would not engage a Civil War enemy again until their summer maneuvers in 1923, when they advanced on the New Market Battlefield in Virginia, only this time as Union troops!

  Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

Three of four “Confederate” tanks await the battle.

Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

“Confederate” Marine setting up machine guns on Emmitsburg Road.

Source: Last to Fall, Fulton/Rada

“Confederate” Marine platoons assault the Codori House.

by Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

The title says it all: Is celebrating birthdays becoming less popular?

I was particularly curious about this topic this month because it’s my birthday month! I’m far from alone—did you know that August is the most common birthday month? On the flip side, February is the month with the least births in the United States. If you do the math, you’ll find that nine months back from August lands you around December—a very festive time of the year, indeed.

Ironically, holidays are some of the least common birthdays, including December 25, January 1, October 31, and July 4. Can you guess what the most common birthday is in the United States? It’s an obscure trivia question, so I’ll give you a hint: It’s in September… It’s September 9!

I feel that birthdays become increasingly less relevant as time goes on. When I was younger, I’d receive presents and celebrate with numbered candles. Now, other than having an excuse to eat an entire cake, my birthday is like any other typical day. It’s a little sad, but it’s true. However, is that the case with the general population?

After looking into it a bit, I’ve discovered that how I feel isn’t out of the ordinary. According to YouGov, around 47 percent of Americans feel neutral about their special day, and only 48 percent of people feel happy on their birthdays. Fortunately, 48 percent of people like or love their birthdays, and only 11 percent of people dislike or hate them. Other than happiness, leading sentiments were excitement, indifference, and calmness.

It seems that the attitude toward birthdays is more positive than negative, overall, though there is a very strong group that is simply unconcerned about turning a year older.

Don’t let me deter you from loving birthdays, though! Nine in ten Americans say it’s important to celebrate birthdays, and about 85 perecent of them feel special when their loved ones put a lot of energy into celebrating their day. With that being said, you may be wondering: How exactly do people choose to celebrate their birthdays?

From the same YouGov poll referenced earlier, the organization concluded that the most common American tradition is thanking God for being alive; specifically, 54 percent of the respondents did this nearly every year. Following this is spending time with family, opening presents and cards, and having a special meal or eating cake.

Speaking of cake, can you guess Americans’ least and most favorite birthday cakes? There’s one winner for most favorite, and it’s not a close call: It’s chocolate cake. This is followed by ice cream cake and cheesecake, which is a statistic I didn’t expect. On the other hand, the most disliked cakes are funfetti and carrot cake. I didn’t expect that, either.

There’s still a question I haven’t answered: Why? Why do people like or dislike birthdays? I thought this would be an interesting interview question, so I asked people—both teenagers and adults—to get some insight into this query. What exactly does a birthday stand for to people?

Most of the teenagers I received responses from didn’t feel passionate about their birthdays. “Nothing,” a teenager replied, “usually, it’s just cake.” Similarly, another said, “It’s boring, honestly. I don’t think much about it until it comes up.”

Among the neutral statements were a few saddening ones. “I feel nothing, to be honest,” a teenager commented. “I don’t like celebrating my birthday. It’s just one day closer to death, and it’s [one] day closer to losing the people you love.”

Moving on to the adults: The trend of neutrality continued in the replies from them, as well. “It’s nothing special,” a young adult explained, “It’s just another day.” Another shrugged, “Nothing, I don’t celebrate ‘cause I don’t care. It’s [not] important.”

Thankfully, I did receive some positive remarks this time!

“I feel like birthdays are a happy celebration meant to show appreciation toward the person being celebrated,” an adult elaborated. “Maybe it’s a bit morbid, but [I feel] glad this person was able to live another year with me. I really love celebrating birthdays and keeping notes on things I know people like, so I can get them something related.”

Another answered, “[I] can’t wait [for my birthday.] I like it; it’s exciting! [I] just went out with my friends for a few drinks.”

On that note of birthday tradition, somebody added, “I don’t really celebrate my birthdays, but I chill with my friends.”

The final respondent gave a thoughtful message to everyone: “[Birthdays give] another chance to grow and mature, explore, and learn from mistakes, and you only get so many of those chances in life.”

All of the responses considered, it’s evident that this “special” day isn’t special for everyone, which is understandable. While I struggle sometimes to feel happy about getting a year older, I do think it’s ultimately a day to feel grateful and proud of yourself for making it this far. It wasn’t easy to do so, I’m sure!

In a few weeks, I’ll be seventeen. Regardless of how old I feel, one fact is settling in now: I have a long road ahead of me. I’m almost a legal adult now, which is crazy!

Does anybody have advice on how to handle adulthood? I’m going to need it.

“My birthday cake for my sixteenth birthday! It was a sweet sixteen, indeed.”

Photo by Helen Xia

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School, 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 8, 9 and 10, 2023.

The entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 7, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and on Friday, September 8, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area.

Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 8, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

The show will open to the public on Friday, September 8, at 5:30 p.m., and the opening program will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the 45th Annual Community Organization Flag Ceremony. Patriotic music will be performed by the Catoctin High School Band, and the 2023-2024 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. Admission is free, and a silver offering will be received to benefit the Sabillasville Environmental School. Parking is free, provided courtesy of the Thurmont Scout Troop 270. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for door prizes, which will be drawn over the weekend. No animals are allowed inside the school (except service animals).

The Baked Goods Auction will begin immediately following the program (at approximately 7:30 p.m., and the grand champion and reserve champion cake, pie, and bread and junior and youth department champions will be sold at 8:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 9, the show will be held from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Show, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Ag Center at the school. The Thurmont Guardian Hose Company No. 10 and the Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company 6 will be conducting fire safety demonstrations, 9:30-10:30 a.m. in front of the school, before the Pet Show.

The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, sow and litter of piglets, pony rides, and face painting will also be held on Saturday and Sunday near the Ag Center area. The Elower-Sicilia Productions dance show will be held in the auditorium at 1:00 p.m., and the Thurmont Academy of Self Defense will provide a martial arts demonstration in the auxiliary gym at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Mountain Gate Restaurant will cater and serve a roast turkey and baked ham buffet in the school cafeteria, from 3:00-6:30 p.m. on Saturday night, benefitting the Thurmont Grange No. 409. The Gospel Ridge Bluegrass Band will perform in the school auditorium at 6:30 p.m. There will be no admission charge for the entertainment.

The 49th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters Beef, Sheep & Swine and Market Goat Sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night, with approximately 50 animals being sold. Buyers are welcome to support the local FFA and 4-H youth with their animal projects.

Activities begin on Sunday, September 10, at 9:00 a.m. with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show.

In the Ag Center area, there will be a petting zoo, sow and litter of piglets, pony rides, and face painting. The Decorated Animal Contest will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Ag Center area, and prize money will be awarded.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., Mountain Gate Restaurant will cater and serve a fried chicken and pulled pork BBQ buffet dinner in the school cafeteria, which will benefit the Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters.

A pedal tractor contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at noon in the Ag Center, and the Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. under the show tent in the Ag Center area, with categories consisting of women’s team, men’s team, men and women’s team, and a children’s division. Prize money will be awarded to winners in each division.

The 42nd Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. on the softball field, and prize money will be awarded.

Elvis Tribute Artist Taylor Brown will perform in the school auditorium on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 10, between 3:00-5:30 p.m. Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

Other food vendors at the Community Show throughout the weekend include Creager’s Country Catering, which will be located in the Ag Center area; Glamour View Creamery, which will be located in front of the school; and the Catoctin FFA Chapter.

The community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland.

Exhibit departments include: Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department.

There is no entry fee. Please visit the website for updated information at

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni & Supporters, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board.

Pomme Agaçante

So, it’s August. Already. And how do I know? Simple: store displays of school supplies. Now, before I continue, I’d like to alert kiddos in middle school and younger not to read this. Why? I don’t want to stress you out about school! Try to enjoy your summer! Okay, cool. Read on and enjoy, teens and adults.

Thanks to big office supply and grocery stores, kids across the nation are forced to face the cold hard reality that another summer of blissful freedom and fun shall soon draw to an end. Though to be fair, these kiddos are exposed to this idea in July. It’s hard for kids to be innocent and happy when the weight of school “drawing near” is dragging down those little sandaled feet.

But, have no fear! These stores are here to prepare one physically—not mentally because how else would they market so much if they didn’t pry on the fear and insecurity a child and parent feel—with a barrage of folders, binders, endless sheets of looseleaf paper that may never see use, pencils that invariably get lost, and emotional support plushies.

It’s true one must research the market to find the best place to find these goods. And with online shopping and many other suppliers, it’s hard to choose. There are selections of office supply stores and grocery superstores, as well as local stores.

So, which one to go to? Well, as a hardened veteran of school shopping, I can give you the inside scoop.

In terms of a multitude of school supplies to choose from, office supply stores have you covered with top-of-the-line backpacks, folders/notebooks with slick designs, endless pens and pencils for that pesky teacher who wants ridiculously specific writing utensils, and an amazing selection of art supplies. If you want peace of mind as you shop, this is the place for you. Office supply stores emanate a purposeful professional vibe with plenty of space, except for the long line for one cashier open. Yet, if you’re looking to save money…good luck with that one.

The grocery superstores are a tried-and-true supplier of many school products, but these stores have some downfalls.

Good luck with the selection. Scarcity and surplus aren’t just terms kids will learn in biology. Nope, it’s a concept they can learn early, often at the risk of a temper tantrum.

Sure there are four sections of supplies, but they’re close together. Parents have to not only navigate a crowd only armed with a big shopping cart, a reluctant but picky child or two, a wallet that may cry, a scavenger (school supply) list, and waning patience, but must do so amongst kindred spirits with the same objective. Sure, that could result in looks of understanding and helpful collaboration. But we all know the grocery superstore ideology: find something and get out because life’s too short.

What does a grocery superstore have over an office supply store?

Price. Yeah, I said a parent’s wallet may cry, but it’s like a few tears versus the sobbing a wallet would do at a fancy office supply store.

Bribes for wailing kids to quiet down and come to grips with the fact that, no, they can’t have that folder and it won’t make them popular and happy.

Items for adults to get through the entire ordeal? Tylenol, candy bars, and a coffee. In-store Auntie Anne’s and Subway. Need I say more?

As for anyone free of the burden of school shopping, displays are impactful as well. Students feel dread and anxiety, parents feel a headache coming on, and others feel nostalgia with a pang of sadness and jealousy. Ah, to be young again and worry about notebook color over nearsightedness or expiration dates. Creativity has drained from office supplies. Maybe it’s time for a change. Picture this: a new line of briefcases, ranging from glittery cats to robots to rainbows to dinosaurs, coupled with functionality. Pens with emotive faces, pastel memo pads, and bright pink or blue mouses/keyboards gracing drab offices everywhere. Maybe it would make the Monday grind better, especially if the coffee machine had a smiling kitty saying “You can do it!”

There are some positives that come from school shopping. Seeing the innovations of supply makers (baby shark backpack, anyone?) and a bit of excitement or memories, comes to mind. But best of all? Lunchbox snacks are front and center in the food section. Admit it, we all love Lil’ Debbie for their never-changing oatmeal pies and cosmic brownies. The chip multipacks make the commitment to one chip bag less of a conundrum! Fruit Roll up, anyone? And there’s nothing wrong with everyone getting these tasty foods. Everyone needs a boost of glucose and endorphins at lunch. Kids to power those sponges of brains; adults to move and shake the world. Pump your fist to the sky—I don’t care what age you are—and chant “I deserve this!” if you’re in doubt about buying it. There’s no law against having it. Everyone deserves happiness.

That’s all for my monologue. Thanks for reading! Kids, best of luck, and believe in yourself this school year. Parents, do the same and treat yourself. Others? Well, have that nostalgic snack food. Don’t give me excuses. Just enjoy it, because you are deserving of joy.

by James Rada, Jr.


Thurmont Volunteer of the Year Named

The Thurmont Lions Club recently announced at a Thurmont town meeting that Bernie and Joanne Ricketts had been named recipients of the annual Thurmont Volunteer of the Year Award. They are volunteers at the Thurmont Food Bank and help with a variety of jobs that need to be done to have food ready for area families in need.

They received a certificate of appreciation, a gift card to a restaurant, and a $400 donation to a charity of their choice, which, not surprisingly, was the Thurmont Food Bank.

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Named

Thurmont Police Det. Gerald Bowen was recently named as the Thurmont Police Officer of the Year. He has served with the department since 2013, and his investigations were called “thorough and meticulous.”

Bowen received a certificate of appreciation, a gift card to a restaurant, and a $400 donation to a charity of his choice, which was St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

Town Restricts the Types of Animals in the Town

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners amended the town ordinance to restrict the type of animals that are allowed within the town limits. The changes allow the code enforcement officer the ability to issue citations and take other actions to correct a problem in town of people having what many people would consider livestock in their backyards. In recent months, some people with an abundance of animals in their yards have caused problems for their neighbors that include smells, mosquitos, noise, and rats.

Contract Awarded for Frederick Road Repaving

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners awarded Pleasant’s Construction, Inc. to repave Frederick Road, from Tippin Drive to the Hunting Creek Bridge. There are also sections of curb and gutter that will be removed and replaced. The contract was for $191,470 and will be paid for with Highway User Revenues.  


Sweeney’s Town Service Recognized

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Commissioner Cliff Sweeney’s service to the Emmitsburg Lions Club. He has been a member for 15 years and served as president of the club since 2010. During much of the time, he also served as an Emmitsburg town commissioner. The proclamation recognized not only his service but the fact that he is a resource to the community.

Discussion on Enterprise Fund Allocations Continue

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners continue to discuss how staff salaries and other expenses are allocated to the town’s enterprise funds for water and sewer. Commissioner Amy Boehman – Pollitt has been the driving force behind an effort to find out how much of employee salaries are allocated to the enterprise funds and to determine whether this could be instead allocated to the general fund.

While such a change would make the enterprise fund smaller, it would increase the general fund, so that overall, the taxpayer would see no difference in what they pay. In fact, it could actually increase town residents’ total tax bills from the town.

During the July meeting of the commissioners, it was pointed out that some of the largest users on the town water system are not within the town limits. These large users also pay the highest rates. Because of this, anything charged to the water enterprise fund is spread over more users who pay greater water rates. This actually reduces the impact on town residents’ overall tax burden because non-residents are paying part of the water fund.

Anything the commissioners move from the water fund to the general fund will be paid for by residents alone.

Public Works Agreements Signed for Development Projects

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved and authorized the mayor to sign public works agreements between the town and Federal Stone and the town and Silo Hill Plaza.

Newly Awarded Grant

The Town of Emmitsburg recently received $2,255,552 in loans and grants from the MWIFA for water projects. North Seton Avenue waterline replacement will receive $1,145,552 ($859,164 from a loan and a $286,388 grant). DePaul Street waterline replacement will receive $1,110,000 ($832,500 from a loan and a $277,500 grant).

Board of Commissioners to Look Different in the Fall

With Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs’ announcement that he won’t seek a fifth term as mayor, the make-up of the board of commissioners and mayor will look different after this fall’s election to elect a mayor and town commissioner.

There will be a new mayor, and the two announced candidates are commissioners Frank Davis and Tim O’Donnell. If one of them wins the mayor election, a new commissioner will need to be appointed to fill the unexpired term.

In addition, Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III will not be seeking re-election. This means another commissioner seat will be filled with a new face.

The Emmitsburg town election will be held on Tuesday, September 26, at 22 East Main Street. Any potential candidates must file an application with the Emmitsburg town clerk by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 25. Financial disclosures are also due for each candidate at that time.


Mayor Don Briggs



 Mayor John Kinnaird

It’s hard to believe we are already more than halfway through 2023! Summer has been great so far, but it looks like the temps are going to be hitting the mid-90s for the beginning of August. When the temperatures rise, be sure to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, limit your time outdoors, wear a hat, and do not overexert yourselves. Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke can come on quickly and is life-threatening, with symptoms that can include a throbbing headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; body temps over 103F; red, hot, dry, or damp skin; rapid pulse; fainting; and loss of consciousness. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke symptoms, call 911 and get medical assistance immediately.

The Frederick Road upgrades are completed, and the roadway is much improved. We appreciated everyone’s patience. Frederick Road was one of several paving projects we have in our pipeline. Improvements will be made to other roadways as funds become available. 

The new softball field is under construction at East End Park. The mass grading is complete, and the conduit has been installed for the lighting system. The field should be ready for play by summer 2024. We are also installing a new loudspeaker system in Community Park, and the new tennis courts will be installed next spring. Planning has started on the pedestrian bridge over Hunting Creek that will provide a connection between Community Park and West Main Street. This bridge will provide an access point to Community Park for residents along West Main Street. It is also an integral part of the Gateway Trail and will allow hikers and bikers easier access to the State and Federal Park trails and will bring additional pedestrian and bike users to our downtown and Community Trail system.

We will soon be getting started on our Annual Gateway to the Cure events. The Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, September 22, at the Maple Run Golf Course, and the Covered Bridge 5K Run-Walk will be held on Saturday, October 21, at Eyler Road Park. This will be the Fifth Annual Golf Classic and the Ninth Annual Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K! Pink light bulbs, pinwheels, T-shirts, and other items will be available at the Town Office and other locations. The residents of Thurmont have been very generous in their support of this worthwhile cause. Thurmont is the only community in Frederick County to whole-heartedly support the ongoing breast cancer research, breast cancer treatment, and patient support provided to local patients through the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health Hospital. These local efforts have resulted in donations of over $137,000 from the Thurmont Community over the past eight years! Cancer is a disease that touches everyone, either personally or through family and friends. Please support us this year as we join the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund in the fight against cancer.

The North Church Street project will be getting underway in late September. This project will include the replacement or upgrading of the water lines and wastewater mains that serve all the homes and businesses on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to past Sheetz, and will require one lane of traffic to be closed, with flaggers directing traffic. Consideration will be given to school traffic during the length of the project. You will be encouraged to find alternate routes to bypass the construction, if possible. This month-long project will bring improved dependability to the critical water and wastewater systems to a large part of our community. Once this infrastructure work has been completed, the Maryland Department of Transportation – State Highway Administration will be repaving North Church Street.

The 67th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is September 8-10. This show offers everyone an opportunity to see how our agricultural heritage continues to play a large part in the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding communities. The Catoctin High School FFA program is featured heavily and includes the livestock displays, livestock show, and auction. The Grange Livestock Auction helps students with the costs of higher education. The show also serves to display local talent in canning, baking, photography, fruit and vegetable growing, handcrafts, sewing & knitting, and other areas. There will be plenty of displays. The Annual Cake Auction is one of the highlights of the show and raises money to help the Grange support our Ag students. Farming is alive and doing well in Frederick County. Join us for the best community show in Maryland!

Colorfest this year is October 14 and 15. Colorfest is the single biggest fundraising opportunity for many of our churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. I look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each day.

Questions, comments, or concerns? I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at [email protected].


Burgess Heath Barnes

Greetings! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. I cannot believe that at the end of this month, schools will be back in session for our students and teachers. I know in Woodsboro, we are currently having issues with people speeding down the streets. I highly encourage everyone to watch their speed, even more as our children begin returning to school. I did mention to the counsel that I will be gathering information on what it will take to install some speed cameras in town, as the problem has become much worse lately.

At the July 18th meeting, we had a very short meeting. I informed the council that I had met with the electric company to start the process of running the electricity into the eastern side of the park, where the stage is and where the new restroom is to be built. Based on different options, it’s possible we may have the electricity run before the music festival at Woodsboro Days in October. This will be nice for the bands, as for the last few years we have run the electricity off a generator. I also met with Ben Marshall and the contractor to build the skate park. I let them know that we had received a pending grant of $137,000 to build the park. Once we receive the official grant letter from the state, we will sign the contract and construction will begin shortly. The resurfacing of the tennis court and the pickleball lines has been tentatively scheduled and will begin any day now.

The latest town hall update is that I had a call with the engineer. He is optimistic that we will have it out for build within the next 60 days as the process is moving through the county at a good pace without hiccups right now. I remain optimistic that we will have a building started by late fall.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning and Zoning (P&Z) meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. John’s United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Chloe Ricasa

Emmitsburg recently marked a significant milestone with the 40th anniversary of its beloved Community Heritage Day, held on June 24 at the E. Eugene Myers Memorial Park. This event, which has become a cherished tradition for the community, took place on a beautiful, sunny day that defied the gloomy weather predictions. The Heritage Day celebrations brought the community closer together with an array of activities, delicious food, and live entertainment, highlighting the town’s rich history and vibrant spirit.

This celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and talent of the Heritage Day Committee, headed by the Emmitsburg Lions Club.

“Community Heritage Day is a wonderful opportunity for the groups in our little town to work together to conduct an event that has some things for everyone in the community,” said Dianne Walbrecker, a member of the Heritage Day Committee.

The festivity began with the Vigilant Hose Company’s annual breakfast, serving as a delightful kickstart to energize attendees for a day filled with activities. From playing in kickball matches, cooling off at the pool, participating in bingo, embarking on historical hayrides with Jim Rada, watching the Big Parade, and so much more, the event offered non-stop fun and excitement.

“It’s always a great experience with the Emmitsburg Lions Club Heritage Day event. This is the 40-year anniversary, and I have enjoyed volunteering for the last couple of years. As a new member, it’s been an eye-opening, fulfilling experience getting to know this awesome group of people in the club and in the community,” says Amelia (Mia) Kovach, a Lions Club volunteer.

As the sun began to set, the day ended with a grand fireworks display that painted the sky, serving as a fitting conclusion to a day filled with shared memories and new connections.

Reflecting on the resounding success of Heritage Day, another Heritage Day Committee member, Jennifer Joy, stated, “This 40th Community Heritage Day was another spectacular event. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! The activities and organizations that make it a unique and hometown event came together again to create a great day of fun for our area families.”

With the combined efforts of the Heritage Day Committee, the Emmitsburg Lions Club, and everyone else involved in the festival fundraising and event activities, the 40th Community Heritage Day left a lasting impression on attendees and showcased the community’s commitment to promoting unity, enjoyment, and support for one another.

Winners of the contests from this year are as follows: Greased Pig Chase: (1-6 years)—Paisley Iaea, (7-11 years)—Keirstin Reed, (12-16 years)—Austin Welch, (17 & up)—Jack McCarthy. Sack Races Singles: (1-4 years) 1st—Aaria Ridenhour, 2nd—Mylah Iaea; (5-8 years) 1st—Robbie Dewees, 2nd—Ryan Krom; (9-12 years) 1st—Cayla Thomas, 2nd—Dustin Brooks; (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch, 2nd—Addison Welch; (17 & up) 1st—Daniel McCarthy, 2nd—Christian Garcia. Sack Races Doubles: (5-8 years) 1st—Bobbie Dewes and Chase Coal, 2nd—Jackson Clockie and Fred Hahn; (9-12 years) 1st—Bernadette Hahn and Lacey Hahn, 2nd—Briar Brooks and Dustin Brooks, (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch and Addison Welch; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy and McKayla Heims, 2nd—Brandon Allison and Christian Garcia. Egg Toss: 1st—Patton Myers and Matt Myers, 2nd—McKayla Heims and Savanah Phebus. Water Balloon Toss: 1st—Patton Myers and Matt Myers (TIE), 2nd—Symeon Turner and Ambrose Turner. Tug of War: (Up to 8 years) 1st—Brantlee Young and Chase Cool, 2nd—Vivian Satterlee and Grant Satterlee; (9-16 years) 1st—Savanah Phebus, Cayla Thomas, Elenor Satterlee, Bernadette Hahn, Lacey Hahn, Katherine Love, Kyalee Comp, Keirstin Reed, Bailey Cope; (17 & up) 1st— 30+ people. Pie Eating Contest: (Up to 4 years) 1st—Mylah Iaea, 2nd—Cole Stone; (5-8 years) 1st—Ryan Krom, 2nd—Brent Hahn; (9-12 years) 1st—Savanah Phebus, 2nd—James; (13-16 years) 1st—Kristein Mills, 2nd—Thomas Ness; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy, 2nd—Brandon Rivera. Watermelon Eating Contest: (Up to 4 years) 1st—Cole Stone, 2nd—Brantlee Young/ Mylah Iaea; (5-8 years) 1st—Ryan Krom, 2nd—Leah Krom; (9-12 years) 1st—Mason Rivera/ Savanah Phebus, 2nd—Sophie Myers; (13-16 years) 1st—Austin Welch, 2nd—Patton Myers; (17 & up) 1st—Jack McCarthy, 2nd—Brandon Rivera. Horseshoe Tournament: 1st—Rob Dewees and John Smith, 2nd—Paul Eyler and Phil Kuhn, 3rd—Harold Stafford and Richard Brown.

Photos by Chloe Ricasa Rob Dewees and John Smith earned first place in the Horseshoe Tournament during Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day on June 24, 2023.

Lions Club volunteer, Bryant, helps in the pavilion to serve food and drinks with a smile.

Attendees enjoy rides on the horses.

Winners McKayla Heims (left) and Jack McCarthy cross the finish line during the doubles sack race.

Kids enjoy a ride on the barrel train.

Ben Seidl and Heather Seidl of Rise and Shine Farm, LLC, showcase their microgreens.

Participants go all in during the watermelon eating contest.

(from left) Keirstin Reed, Paisley Iaea, Jack McCarthy, and Austin Welch with their first-place ribbons from the greased pig chase.

Knights of Columbus volunteers swirl up the cotton candy.

The Fatal Crash of #6157

Richard D. L. Fulton

Based in part on The Last to Fall: The 1922 March, Battles, & Deaths of U.S. Marines at Gettysburg by Richard D. L. Fulton and James Rada, Jr.

The year was 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, when more than 5,000 Marines—along with all the equipage of war (tanks, machine guns, artillery, etc.)—descended upon Gettysburg, following their week-long trek from Quantico, Virginia, to the historic Civil War battlefield of 1863 for their annual summer maneuvers, combined with their public reenactments of Pickett’s Charge.

The column left Quantico on June 19 and arrived on the Gettysburg Battlefield on June 26, having camped along their march in the several communities, the last of which was in Thurmont. On June 26, the column marched out of Thurmont, proceeded through Emmitsburg, and pushed forward for Gettysburg.

Along their route on the “the long march,” squadrons of post-World War I bi-wing dive-bombers and scout-planes circled overhead to “protect” the column and their supplies (the march itself was conducted as if being in enemy country from Quantico to Thurmont).

One of those five-plane aerial squadrons had been captained by a highly decorated WWI hero, Captain George Wallis Hamilton, who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France by his fighting in the Marine infantry. Riding along as passenger in Hamilton’s two-seater de Havilland DH-4B (#6157) was Gunnery Sergeant George Russell Martin.

Hamilton’s squadron was scheduled to have the honor of leading the Marines onto the Gettysburg Battlefield. On June 26, Hamilton’s squadron left at 12:30 p.m. and headed-out to rendezvous with, and escort, the Marine column as it left Thurmont, his squadron flying overhead as they marched through Emmitsburg on their trek to Gettysburg.

Nothing unusual was noticed about Hamilton’s plane as he escorted the Marine column toward the battlefield, but as the squad circled the field preparing to land on an impromptu airfield that the Marines had created on the Codori farm (the main encampment site for their maneuvers and reenactments), his plane appeared to be developing problems.

According to the Record of Proceedings of the (Marine) Board of Investigations (held on July 2), “That (Hamilton’s) DH-4B was under perfect control from Quantico, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania).”

But as the captain’s squadron broke formation to begin landing, the “DH-4B airplane #6157 went into a tailspin from a left turn from which it did not recover and crashed to the ground,” according to Record of Proceedings. 

The crash occurred in the area of Johns Avenue and Culp Street, just missing a carnival that had been set up along Steinwehr Avenue, and was located very closely to the front yard of the John’s Farmhouse.

Hamilton was found deceased in the wreckage, but Martin was still alive. He was transported to the Warren Hospital (Gettysburg Hospital) where he expired a short time later.  Because both were engaged in Marine activities at the time of the crash, they then both became the last line-of-duty deaths to have taken place on the old Civil War battlefield since 1863.

The (Marine) Board of Investigations was never able to determine the cause of the crash, stating, “The board is unable to determine the responsibility for the crash of (Hamilton’s) airplane… and is not able to attach any blame of culpability to any person or persons in the Naval service.”

The motor of Hamilton’s plane was salvaged, and the wood and canvas burned. The remaining metal was sold as scrap and, after having been loaded onto a truck, was halted at the Town Square to allow locals to take pieces for souvenirs. Hamilton was subsequently interred in the Arlington Cemetery, while Marin’s body was sent back to his home in Buffalo and buried there.

Today, the site of the crash is marked by a memorial wayside dedicated to the two aviators who perished on June 26. The memorial was created by a consortium of area residents, members of the Gettysburg and Emmitsburg Marine Corps Leagues, and the Gettysburg Heritage Center.

The memorial wayside dedication was held on June 26, 2018. Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company, Marines from Fort Meade, and a Marine bugler from Marine Base Quantico participated in the dedication ceremony.

(Top, left) Captain George Wallis Hamilton and Gunnery Sergeant George Russell Martin (top, right); (Bottom) Removal of the DH-4B wreckage (note carnival tents in background). 

Source (Hamilton and Martin pictures): Buffalo Evening News, June 27, 1922

Source (wreckage): Leatherneck, April 1, 2014

From the June 26, 2018, Hamilton-Martin Memorial Wayside dedication: Participating Marine units and Naval officer pose in front of the John’s Farm House.

Richard D. L. Fulton

There was a time in history when the country was laced with short-line railroads. In fact, almost all of the early railroads were short-line railroads, until many were absorbed through consolidation with larger railroads, years later.

Most short-line railroads were created to serve limited purposes, as dictated by local economies. Many also dabbled in providing passenger service, but overall, that effort was never really all that successful.

While it may seem that “short-line railroads” would take the name from the length of the railroads, the truth is that size varied widely. Their main distinguishing characteristic is that they served principally to deliver local goods to a connection with a larger railroad system/company.

The Emmitsburg Railroad serves as a prime example of a short-line railroad in all respects, in its length, and in its purpose.

The Rise of the Road

The Emmitsburg Railroad was granted its incorporation by an act of the Maryland Assembly on March 28, 1868, according to Emmitsburg Railroad, by W. R. Hicks (published by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society).

According to Hicks, the incorporators were Daniel George Adelsberger, Joseph Brawner, Joshua Walter, E. S. Taney, Joseph Byers, Dr. Andrew Annan, Isaac Hyder, George W. Rowe, Dr. James W. Bichelberger, Sr., Christian Zacharies, and Michael Adelsberger.

However, it would be three years before the actual work commenced for bringing the proposed railroad into existence, and without the aid of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s College, the railroad might never have actually been constructed.

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s College became involved in making the much sought-after railroad a reality with loans (the Sisters of Charity contributed more than half the capital needed to build the railroad, thereby, deeming them the majority bondholders) and rights-of-way (across Saint Joseph’s land). 

The (Hagerstown) Daily Mail reported on February 20, 1940, when the Western Maryland Railroad constructed its line in the wake of the Civil War, it bypassed Emmitsburg by seven miles. The Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s “decided to do something about that.”

Groundbreaking for the Emmitsburg Railroad was held on the morning of March 25,1871, at Rocky Ridge (sometimes referred to as Emmitsburg Junction)—the proposed final destination of the railroad (where it would connect with the Western Maryland Railroad).

The groundbreaking was attended by Emmitsburg Railroad President Joseph Motter and directors, representatives of the Western Maryland Railroad, and representatives of Saint Joseph’s College, as well as other guests.

The Catoctin Clarion concluded its April 1, 1871, report of the festivities, that when the first pick struck up the dirt at the commencement of the groundbreaking, “there came forth rocks and sand and reddish earth—and the birth of the Emmitsburg Railroad was announced,” and concluded with, “so the railroad (the peremptory work) passes into history. So, lookout for the locomotive!”

A second celebration took place on November 22, 1875, when the railroad was officially opened for business. 

The Baltimore Sun reported on November 23 that exactly when the railroad would be officially running was not released to the public until Saturday, November 20, that the decision to commence operations on the 22nd was made public.

Further, it was noted that the Emmitsburg Railroad would be offering free rides to the public on that day. The Sun reported that “the news spread through the town like wildfire, and nearly everybody, old and young, took advantage of this opportunity.”  As a result, hundreds of riders were transported back and forth from Emmitsburg to Rocky Ridge that day, according to the Sun.

The town adults, the newspaper noted, tended to regard the completion of the railroad as “the beginning of a new era for Emmitsburg.”

Assorted Misadventures

November 28, 1908, didn’t start off with a bang, but it could have very nearly ended in one. 

The Catoctin Clarion reported in their January 28, 1909, issue, “The Emmitsburg Railroad pleaded guilty in the United States District Court, in Baltimore, Tuesday, of transporting dynamite on a passenger train.” The Catoctin Clarion attributed their story to The Baltimore Sun.

The plea was entered after the United States Grand Jury had indicted the company the same morning. The guilty plea was submitted by the company attorney.

District Attorney John C. Rose told the newspaper that the Emmitsburg Railroad’s rolling stock “is very limited. It has no freight cars,” and all the freight is loaded into a combine.  He said the train during the incident consisted of the engine, a tender, a combination baggage and smoking car, and a passenger car. 

The district attorney reported that six packages of dynamite were loaded into the baggage and smoking car at Rocky Ridge for delivery to Emmitsburg, and this was done by the baggage master without the knowledge of the other railroad officials.

The railroad was fined $100 (the equivalent of $3,611.46 in today’s money).

Then, there was the Great Emmitsburg Locomotive Chase, in which one of the steam engines bound for Rocky Ridge lost it brakes and was slow crawling its way towards the junction. Apparently, the journey was slow enough to allow one of the train crew to jump and run to a home or business and call Emmitsburg to report the problem.

A second train was dispatched from Emmitsburg to try and intercept the runaway steam engine, and couple onto it to break it, before it reached the end-of-the-line… literally.

The effort paid off, and the crippled engine was hauled back to the Emmitsburg shop for brakes.

The End of the Line

Only 26 years after the groundbreaking, the little railroad was in financial trouble. 

The Gettysburg Times reported on February 10, 1940, that on January 15, the directors of the Emmitsburg Railroad called for a vote among the existing stockholders to dissolve and abandon the Emmitsburg Railroad.  Out of some 1,000 votes, the motion was defeated by a mere 29 “no” votes.

The short-line was then sold into receivership “to a syndicate” and reorganized, according to the (Hagerstown) Daily Mail. Even then, by the mid-1930s, so little passenger traffic utilized the line that the State Public Service Commission restricted the railroad to handling freight only.

The Gettysburg Times reported on November 4, 1940, “The locomotive of the now-defunct Emmitsburg Railroad steamed out of town last Saturday morning, probably never to return.” The engine was sold to the Salzberg Company, New York.  This was probably Engine No. 8, which the (Hagerstown) Daily Mail was referring to when it stated on February 20, 1940, “But old (Emmitsburg) No. 8, the company’s last engine, hasn’t even turned a wheel since the motor truck took over in July (1939).”

*Author’s note:  This story is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of the Emmitsburg Railroad. Highly recommended, in spite of a few errors, a good starting place would be to read Emmitsburg Railroad, by W. R. Hicks, published by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

Emmitsburg Railroad Company steam engine No. 6; From the collection of Eileen Catherine Curtis; Used with permission.

Documents of the Emmitsburg Railroad Company, 1886, 1892, 1896, 1898; From the collection of Eileen Catherine Curtis; Used with permission.