Currently viewing the tag: "Sabillasville"

The Catoctin Banner is distributed via direct mail to approximately 8,500 households in Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Sabillasville, Cascade, Lewistown, and Rocky Ridge, Maryland. It is placed for free pick-up in surrounding towns in high-traffic areas. Those towns include Woodsboro, Taneytown, Detour, and Smithsburg in Maryland and Blue Ridge Summit, Waynesboro, and Fairfield in Pennsylvania.

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Sabillasville

by Theresa Dardanell

“Small but mighty” was the way that the parishioners described St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville, when I met with them after a recent Sunday service.

Their Facebook page gives this description: “We are a small church. But, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Small churches can provide a level of intimacy of family that might be missing in a larger setting. That is, by far, what we do best at St. Mark’s. We are diverse, and yet, close as sister and brother.” 

Interim Pastor Ray Shriver said that the warm and caring members are very open and welcoming to new people.

Their small congregation is very involved with community outreach. They provide financial support to the HELP Hotline, an organization which serves people in Sabillasville, Cascade, Blue Ridge Summit, and the surrounding areas, with a food and clothing bank, as well as limited financial assistance with electric, heat and rent bills. They provide financial assistance to the Community of St. Dysmas, a Lutheran congregation in the Maryland Correctional System; they also visit the prisoners and participate in the after-care program for released prisoners. Monetary donations are provided to the Emmitsburg Council of Churches to benefit medical mission trips to Kenya.   

Young people of the parish participate in service to the community and have fun at the same time. The Mountain Top Youth Group is sponsored by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sabillasville, and Living Word Ministries in Blue Ridge Summit. The young people cook food for shelter residents, help with outdoor and indoor chores for elderly neighbors, and donate Christmas gifts to the HELP Hotline. They enjoy camping trips, paint events, parties, and an annual “lock in,” where they can stay up all night (with the help of adult chaperones) doing crafts, playing games, watching movies, and just hanging out with friends. Children are not the only ones who enjoy activities at the church. On the third Thursday of every month, retirees are invited for food, fellowship, and Bingo during the Senior Lunch.

Fundraising events support the church and the community outreach projects. The popular Strawberry Festival and yard sale held in May each year features soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, and, of course, strawberry pies and shortcake. The members keep very busy baking at other times during the year. Look for their bake tables at the Sabillasville Elementary School MountainFest in October and at the Ft. Ritchie Community Center Holiday Bazaar in December. 

St. Mark’s history began with services held in the home of Levi Lichtenberger in 1892. The church was built the following year; many of the original parishioners helped to build the church. The membership eventually grew to 100 active members, but gradually declined. The current membership is between 20 and 30, and their numbers include lifelong members and young families with children.

Sunday morning worship services are held at 9:15 a.m. The regular Sunday services, with traditional hymns and organ accompaniment, are held in the church. 

Once a month, Muffins with Ministers, a more informal service, is held in the social hall; it begins with a delicious breakfast of casseroles, fruit, pastries, and beverages, and continues with contemporary music, the scripture readings, prayers, and the Gospel.  

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is located at 17015 Sabillasville Road in Sabillasville. 

Visit their website at for directions to the church and for contact information.

To see lots of photos and get information about previous and upcoming events, please visit the Facebook pages @stmarkssabillasville and @mountaintopyouthgroup.

Members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, along with Interim Pastor Ray Shriver (front row on left) and visiting Pastor Carl Fulmor (front row on right).

Tristan Rice, of Sabillasville, is a sixteen-year-old junior at Catoctin High School and an HVACR/Plumbing student at the Frederick County Career and Technology Center. This busy student is also a dedicated athlete who throws the shot put during the school year for the Track and Field Team at Catoctin, and works out several times a week at Anytime Fitness in Thurmont, honing his powerlifting skills and increasing his strength.

Tristan recently set two national powerlifting records and an unofficial world record. His national records include a 502.6 lb. squat and a 510.4 lb. deadlift recorded in the USPA 16-17 Year Old 275 LB Weight Class and his world record was in the IPL 15-19 Year Old 275 LB Weight Class. The Records were set August 18, 2018, at CrossFit Frederick during the Maryland Drug Tested State Championship meet.

Tristan is traveling to Las Vegas for the IPF Drug Tested World Championship where he will officially compete for two world records in the squat and deadlift.

Tristan explained that, “Powerlifting is something that I’ve done in football and shot put and I decided to pursue this summer while working as a full-time plumber.”

“After seeing what the records were, I decided to start powerlifting and see what limits I could push myself to. I work very hard in this and want to go to the world championship and do my very best.”

Tristan’s parents, Penny and Russell Rice are very proud of him. They indicated that this is something Tristan has done on his own and he is very passionate about it. “It was great watching him train for this and watching his numbers climb week by week,” Penny said, “Sometimes he’d go to the gym at 11 o’clock at night just to get his workout in.”

Deerfield United Methodist Church


Once a year, a little country church with a small congregation hosts an event that is standing room only. Joined by members of several churches and the community, Deerfield United Methodist Church brings a 2000-year-old event to life. “The Journey to the Cross”, a live passion play, is performed on Palm Sunday and Good Friday every year. The production covers miracles and other events in the life of Christ through his last days and resurrection.

During the rest of the year, members of the congregation worship together at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Along with readings, prayers, hymns, and a message by Pastor Ray Dudley, everyone enthusiastically participates in “passing the peace of Christ” with handshakes and hugs. A communion service, held on the first Sunday of the month, is followed by refreshments.

Community service is an important part of their ministry. Pastor Ray said, “If there is a need that arises in the community, we go ahead and help as much as we can with it. There was a need for a chair lift and we gave funds to help buy that chair lift.” Several families in need are provided with food for a meal at Thanksgiving and gifts for children and the elderly at Christmas. Teachers at Sabillasville Elementary school, which is located less than a mile from the church, are treated to a “back to school” luncheon each year. Kate Krietz, Sabillasville Elementary School Principal, said that the staff is very grateful for the annual home-cooked luncheon and they appreciate the generosity of the church. Deerfield United Methodist also supports families doing mission work. Colorfest gives the church members the opportunity to raise funds to support these outreach programs. With the help of friends, they not only have a food stand, they also park cars and rent spaces to vendors.

The tight-knit group enjoys social activities throughout the year. The Mother’s Day Tea is a family event. Appetizers, soup, scones, sandwiches, tea and desserts are served to the ladies by husbands and children. Of course, there is a Father’s Day breakfast for the dads. The annual summer picnic is held in the Thurmont Community Park. In the fall, everyone enjoys a hayride and bonfire complete with hot dogs and marshmallows. During the Christmas season, they go Christmas caroling at nursing homes and at the homes of shut-ins. During the cold winter months, there are movie nights in the church hall.

The history of the church began in 1878 with revival services held in a log school house in Smithfield (which later became Deerfield). In 1879, the Smithfield United Brethren Church was built on land purchased for the sum of $25. The church became the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1946. The final name change occurred in 1968 when they joined with the Methodist Church. The Deerfield United Methodist Church is located at 16405 Foxville Deerfield Road near Sabillasville. Join them for the 10:15 a.m. Sunday service. You will feel very welcomed.

Pastor Ray Dudley (back row on the left) with members of the Deerfield United Methodist Church.

Joan Bittner Fry

The railroad through Sabillasville has always been a part of my life.  In the ‘40s and ‘50s, we would pick up Uncle Ned at the state sanatorium station, where he would visit our family from Baltimore. I recall a time when the train was stopped at Manahan’s Store. We were on our way home from school. The engineer said we could get on and see inside.  I was the only kid who wouldn’t get on. It was so big!

The Western Maryland Railroad had been transforming Western Maryland since the 1830s. The Baltimore and Ohio connected Frederick City and points west to Baltimore, creating tremendous economic opportunity; but the area north of Frederick City had to wait over forty years to connect with the railroad. The challenges of building in mountainous areas slowed progress.

On May 17, 1862, the builders of the Western Maryland Railroad caused “quite a stir” in Graceham by laying track near the outskirts of town, but the Civil War slowed all progress. It was not until later in the decade that the railroad pushed into Graceham. Not until 1871 did the railroad finally arrive in Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) and press through the rest of Frederick County. Its arrival brought monumental changes to Mechanicstown, according to the local newspaper:

“The sound of steam whistle twice a day in the suburbs of our hitherto quiet little town has awakened everything up to newness of life and a spirit of ‘go-aheadativeness’ which is quite refreshing.  We begin to put on city airs and learn city fashions; Baltimore is brought close to our doors and oysters and cav-back (canvasback) ducks and fresh fish can be produced and eaten daily as at one of the largest restaurants in the Monumental City (Baltimore).”

After its expansion to Mechanicstown, railroad workers began laying tracks westward to Sabillasville. The brand new Mechanicstown newspaper, The Catoctin Clarion, predicted that the new railroad would “whistle the inhabitants of Sabillasville from the Rip Van Winkle sleep into a new and creative existence.” Once completed, the railroad took a leisurely semi-circular route around Sabillasville, a ride that quickly became known as “Horseshoe Curve.”

The entire Horseshoe Curve could be seen from many vantage points around Sabillasville, especially the State Sanatorium TB Hospital. My siblings and neighbors crossed the tracks of Horseshoe Curve every day to and from the former Sabillasville Elementary School. The road is now the treacherous Fort Ritchie Road from Sabillasville to Route 491.  My biggest fear in those days was a train being parked on the track getting water from the tank. I can still remember those huge wheels as we crawled beneath or between the cars to get to the other side. A first grader’s legs are pretty short. I guess my brother Jim’s legs were even shorter than mine.

The Western Maryland main line pushed west across South Mountain from Union Bridge, and by August 28, 1871, it had reached Sabillasville. At Blue Ridge Summit, engineers encountered very hard rock and found it necessary to run the line into Pennsylvania. Rather than go through the time-consuming process of getting the Pennsylvania Legislature to grant a charter, the company purchased the land and laid the tracks on its own property. This amounted to several hundred yards of line at the station at Blue Ridge Summit and again at Pen Mar at the highway bridge.

In the spring of 1871, a strike by workers, demanding $1.75 per day and a ten-hour day, temporarily halted plans to extend the railroad to Smithsburg; but, soon, labor and management settled the strike and the new railroad was pressing onward toward Hagerstown. It reached Hagerstown in August of 1872.

On March 24, 1874, John Mifflin Hood became president of Western Maryland Railroad, a position he held until he resigned on February 27, 1902. When Hood became president, the railroad had but 90 miles of track, a basically muddy roadbed, worn-out rusting rail, and 12 mechanically exhausted locomotives that were inadequate for freight and passenger trade. During Hood’s presidency, the Western Maryland track grew to 270 miles of steel track. From Baltimore, the Pen Mar Express train left Hillen Station at 9:15 a.m. and reached Pen Mar Park before noon, with the trip returning at 9:15 p.m. It was said that the passengers would cheer when they reached the curve. After circling Sabillasville, the railroad briefly went into Pennsylvania at the top of the grade at Blue Ridge Summit.

Passenger stations along the line were also telegraph offices that provided communication over wires owned and maintained by the railroad. My late neighbor, Charles E. Shields, was a telegraph operator at Blue Ridge Summit.

The first Blue Ridge Station was built in 1871. From 1872 to 1957, passenger service was provided to Blue Ridge Summit. The second station was built in 1891. Later, a train shed was constructed at Blue Ridge Summit, along the station side of the track, to protect boarding and alighting passengers from the weather. Pen Mar Station had a similar shed.

In 1958, the railroad presented the deed to this station and one and one-half acres of land to Mrs. Robert Hearne, president of the board of directors of the library at that time, with the following statement:

“In the tradition of the good neighbor, the Western Maryland family deeds to all the families of Blue Ridge Summit this familiar community meeting place to be used as a free public library, thus continuing in a cultural sense, the close relationship between the railroad and the people.” This quaint library serves two states: Maryland and Pennsylvania; and four counties: Frederick and Washington in Maryland and Adams and Franklin in Pennsylvania.

Water service for steam locomotives was a very important requirement, particularly on a mountain railroad. There were water tanks at Thurmont, one on the Horseshoe Curve above Sabillasville, and two at Highfield. Most small stations had local boarding houses available at the time.


Boarding Houses at Sabillasville

Horse Shoe Bend — Mrs. W. Frank Birely (25 guests); Williar House — Mrs. Charles Williar (15 guests); Curve House — Mrs. S. W. Harbaugh (15 guests); Meadow Brook — Mrs. Linnie Crist (20 guests); Silver Springs Farm — Mrs. Wm. H. Naylor   (35 guests); Fair View Farm — Mrs. Samuel West             (30 guests); Mountain View Cottage — R. A. Harbaugh (not given); *Harbaugh Cottage —       Thos. H. Harbaugh (not given); Anders House — Mrs. Maud Anders (not given); The Eyler Cottage — Mrs. Bertha Eyler (not given). *The author now owns this house.

Boarding house rates were from $1.00 to $2.00 per day and $5.00 to $6.00 or $10.00 per week. The charge for children and servants was $3.00 to $5.00.

Throughout the country, as was the case on Catoctin Mountain, the railroad reached and transformed formerly remote areas. In northern Frederick and Washington Counties, the railroad opened tourism to the mountain area and revived agriculture and industry in the region. During the summer on Sundays and holidays, crowds jammed Hillen Station in Baltimore and spilled into the street, with lines sometimes stretching several blocks. City people were headed for vacation resorts at Braddock Heights, Pen Mar, Blue Ridge Summit, and other locations, which were built and prospered because of rail transportation.

Unfortunately, all of this cost money, and by May 1902, the railroad owed over $9,000,000 to the City of Baltimore. After Hood resigned, the city sold its interest in the Western Maryland Railroad to the Fuller Syndicate.


The WMRR Now

Since 2007, the Maryland Midland (MMID) Railroad in Union Bridge, Maryland, has been owned by Genesee & Wyoming Industries, a U.S.-based corporation that owns multiple railroad shortlines in the United States and Australia. The railroad is shaped like a giant cross, with the east-west lines longer than the north-south lines. The western end of the cross, the former Western Maryland main line, goes to the CSX interchange at Highfield. The train sometimes runs twenty to thirty cars, with as many as four locomotives often leading.

This view of Horseshoe Curve at Sabillasville is from a period image (c. late 1800s), according to WMRR Historical Society in Union Bridge. It is not a postcard but an early sketch issued in a small booklet entitled “Western Maryland R. R. Scenery,” measuring 3 x 5 inches.

Rev. Bob Kells

The last day of school is always filled with excitement for the students of Sabillasville Elementary School, as they prepare to head out for their summer break. For the past four years, several local churches have made this an extra special time by bringing the children books to read over the summer.

It started in 2015 when I joined the school’s volunteer program, along with several members from Weller UMC in Thurmont where I am the pastor. Volunteers at Sabillasville work with the children for an hour or more each week. We help them with reading and math, and whatever other tasks the teachers have for them. The work is personally fulfilling for the volunteers and is fun for the children, who look forward to working with the adults.

In the spring of 2015, I was volunteering with the kindergarten class. Summer was approaching and, as their teacher shared with me, summer is a time when the children are at risk of losing ground in many of the skills they developed during the year. Reading is one of those skills. I also learned some of the children do not have many books to read at home. That last piece of information got me thinking that this was something the church could help with.

After talking it over with Sabillasville Elementary School Principal Kate Kreitz, I asked our Missions Team to organize a book drive for the kindergarten class. The Thurmont Lions Club, which I joined the year before, has as one of its missions to promote literacy.  The Lions Club pitched in and donated book bags. The response was tremendous. We collected enough books that first year that each kindergartner got to take home seven books.

After the first year, the book drive grew to cover the entire school. We got some additional support from Deerfield UMC in Sabillasville, who agreed to cover the kindergarten books, while two other churches from nearby Rocky Ridge joined in to collect books for the other grades. Once again, the results were impressive. On the last day of school, each of the 120 children received a Lions Club book bag and three books of their choice.

The school book drive is fast becoming an annual tradition for these churches and the school they support.  This year, all of the children received three or four books; pencils and stickers; a book bag; and a card from the churches, wishing them a good summer and “Happy Reading!”

Not only is the book drive helping with the school, but Deerfield UMC has begun hosting a luncheon for the teachers and staff at Sabillasville at the start of the school year. “It’s a great time for the teachers to relax, to unwind, and to just socialize before classes start,” said Deerfield’s pastor, Ray Dudley.

The teachers help to shape the lives of the children to make the world a better place. By serving a luncheon, Deerfield shares the love of Jesus in the community.

The book drive and the teachers’ luncheon are just two ways local churches can give to the community. Both keep the churches engaged with their communities, and both contribute to the education of the children.

The children are the focus of these efforts. My hope and prayer is that they receive more than just the books. My hope and prayer is they’ll remember that in addition to their teachers and administrators, they have local churches that love them with the love of Jesus and want to see them to succeed—in school and in life.

Pictured from left: (standing) Pastor Ray Dudley (Deerfield UMC), Pastor Bob Kells (Weller UMC), Par Alexander, Henry Alexander, Joan Staub, Jim Monroe; (kneeling at table) SES Principal Kate Krietz; and four Sabillasville Elementary students.


Area churches and organizations in Emmitsburg, Lewistown, Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville and Thurmont are working to provide students in need with school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year.  This program is to assist students attending the Catoctin Feeder Schools. These schools include Emmitsburg Elementary, Lewistown Elementary & Pyramid Program, Sabillasville Elementary, Thurmont Primary, Thurmont Elementary, Thurmont Middle and Catoctin High.

The Annual Catoctin Community School Supply Drive is going to be held on Tuesday, August 21st  from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Graceham Moravian Church located at 8231 Rocky Ridge Road in Thurmont.

If you would like to donate to this program, please drop off school supplies, cash donations or gift cards (Walmart) to the church on August 15th from 9:00 a.m. until Noon.

Any questions or concerns, please contact coordinator, Jennifer Harbaugh at 301-639-9970 or

Jim Bittner of Sabillasville is proud of his grandson, Calvin Bittner, son of Aaron Bittner and wife, Linda, of North Carolina.

Calvin is currently dancing and choreographing with a company called Vivid Ballet, in Hartford, Connecticut. He danced at the White House in December. “It was a very last minute, out-of-the-blue opportunity. I was quite nervous, but also very excited to have the opportunity. We had a few moments in the space to rehearse before the event, and the flow of the event was taken from the First Lady’s movements. She was very pleased with the event, clapping and laughing for us at the end.”

Calvin Bittner lifts a ballerina during a dance in the White House. Melania Trump looks on.

James Rada, Jr.

Rifle use has been known to cause hearing damage, but Thomas Worthington’s Armstrong rifle once helped restore Worthington’s son’s hearing.

Worthington, who lives in Sabillasville, was born and raised in Annapolis. His family lived with his grandparents, because a month after Worthington was born, in September 1929, the stock market crashed, heralding the start of The Great Depression.

“We were in bad shape financially, so we all lived together,” Worthington said.

As his family struggled to make ends meet, Worthington’s world was the streets of Annapolis.

His father enjoyed reading outdoor magazines. Once, when Worthington was looking for something to do, he found one of the magazines. The cover showed a man fishing in a beautiful mountain stream.

“I’d never seen anything like it before,” Worthington said. “It was just gorgeous. I’d never seen a mountain before then because I had never been out of Annapolis.”

Worthington decided that he wanted to learn to fly fish like the man in the picture. He asked his father to help him. His father didn’t know how, but he did find a man who was a customer of his insurance business. The man agreed to have the eight-year-old Worthington come to his house twice a month on a Saturday morning. Worthington began to learn to tie flies, cast, and fish.

Once Worthington had learned the skills, the man took him fishing in Frederick County.

“We rode in a Model A,” recalled Worthington. “It took us about four hours. There were no superhighways or anything like that. We rattled along at 35 miles per hour, and usually, there’d be a flat somewhere along the line.”

They went to a spot on Big Hunting Creek at the base of McAfee Falls. They waded into the water, and Worthington started trying to cast where his instructor told him to. The problem was that he kept pulling the fly back before it hit the water. The instructor told him to let the fly land.

“No sooner did the fly hit the water, then the brook trout hit the fly,” said Worthington.

He remembers that his first fish was so red that he thought it was bleeding, but he learned that it meant the trout was a spawning male.

The trip to Frederick County began an annual trip that Worthington would make with the man.

Back in Annapolis, he soon discovered another passion.

Often, he would run errands for people to make a little extra money. Two of the men who he ran errands for were Confederate Civil War Veterans. He would do chores for them and listen to their stories.

At some point, said Worthington, the Veterans “decided to teach me to shoot a musket, in case they had trouble with the Yankees again.”

So they pulled out their old weapons and began instructing the young boy on how to care for them, load them, and fire them. Not that they could fire the weapons in the city, though. For that part of the instruction, the Veterans and Worthington traveled to a farm owned by Worthington’s uncle.

“I was too small to shoot, really,” said Worthington. “I had to stand on a kitchen chair to load the musket.”

Using a reduced charge, the young boy was allowed to fire at a target. He discovered that not only was he good at shooting, but he also loved it. On his fishing trip, he told his instructor about the thrill of shooting a rifle.

Instead of going to Hunting Creek that year, they went to visit the instructor’s friend, who lived in Emmitsburg. They fished on the man’s property. When the man learned of Worthington’s interest in shooting, he told the boy that he thought he had an old muzzleloader in his attic that he would be willing to sell him.

Worthington agreed, and he returned to Annapolis on a mission. He spent the next year running more errands and saving his nickels and dimes. By the time the next year rolled around, he had saved $24.00.

After fishing up in Emmitsburg, the man brought out not one, but two old rifles. One was a flintlock, and the other used a percussion cap. They were covered with soot and years of coal dust. The man offered to sell the percussion cap rifle for $10.00 and the flintlock for $8.00. Worthington agreed and had purchased his first rifles at ten years old.

“They were so long, we couldn’t fit them in the Model A,” Worthington said. “We had to put some sacking on them and put them in the rumble seat.”

When they got back to Annapolis, Worthington and his fishing instructor began cleaning the rifles, exposing the wood curves and metal inlays. They also discovered that the barrels had been filled with beef tallow to keep them from rusting. They held the rifles with the barrels pointed down over a hot stove so that the tallow melted and drained out, leaving the barrels clean and rust free.

In examining the rifles, they determined that Emmitsburg gunsmith John Armstrong made the flintlock. Melchior Fordney, a Lancaster gunsmith, had made the percussion cap rifle.

Worthington held onto his treasures. He never hunted with them, but he did shoot them in competitions. When he was in his late twenties and married with two children, one of his sons had a traumatic hearing loss. He was told that it could be treated, but it would cost $18,000, which was a huge sum in the mid-1950s. He wasn’t sure what he would do until the doctor’s medical partner, heard about Worthington’s rifles.

Worthington showed him the rifles and told him their story. The doctor offered him $4,500 for each one, on the condition that he never tell anyone who the doctor was or the farmer that sold him the rifles. Apparently, there was some bad blood between the families.

Worthington accepted the offer, and he never saw the rifles again. However, with half of the money for the operation raised, the bank was willing to loan the family the rest. The operation was a success, and Worthington’s son’s hearing was restored.

“I’ve always missed that Armstrong rifle, though,” expressed Worthington. “It was such a beauty.”

In fact, he missed it so much that he commissioned a copy to be made that he has hanging in his living room.


Thomas Worthington and his Armstrong rifle replica.


Catoctin Banner Resolution 2017 Spotlight #1

Being a new contest, identifying our resolution contestants has been an adventure. We’re introducing our first contestant in this issue, and we will introduce another in our next issue. Then, we’ll give progress reports through the year to measure progress and capture their story.

Rachel Mohler is a thirty-nine-year-old artist and mother of three small children (four-and-a-half years, three years, and seven months). She moved to Sabillasville last November and has resolved to paint one tiny painting a day that is inspired by the view out the window of her new home. Each painting is created on a 2 1/2” x 3 1/2” piece of watercolor paper.

She has defined her objectives as: (1) to try and stay creative in the wake of small children, sleep deprivation, and all the chaos that comes with being a mom, wife, and business owner (she and her husband own a land surveying business); (2) to remind her to pause each day and take in the wonder that is nature and to be grateful for such a lovely place to live; (3) to watch the colors of the seasons change and to learn nature’s palette; and (4) to be open to the lessons this resolution has to teach and to have a record to share with her children when they get older.

Rachel has already begun her daily paintings as of January 1 (see samples below) and is looking forward to sharing her progress with the readers of The Catoctin Banner.

Theresa Dardanell

Hundreds of colorful school supplies filled the basement of Graceham Moravian Church on Monday, August 8, 2016. The Catoctin Community School Supply Drive, coordinated by Jen and Laura Harbaugh, collected donations from churches, organizations, and individuals from Emmitsburg, Thurmont, Lewistown, Sabillasville, and Rocky Ridge.

Volunteers from Harriet Chapel and Graceham Moravian Church, along with members of the Harbaugh family, sorted and counted the supplies and purchased additional items with money and gift cards that were also donated. On distribution day, 271 students from ninety-nine families in the Catoctin feeder area chose supplies from tables stacked with backpacks, notebooks, crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, and more.

According to Jen Harbaugh, students were very excited to pick out their own supplies. “I just like to see the kids get what they need to go to school and their smiles when they get it,” said Laura Harbaugh.
Pictured are volunteers Jen Harbaugh, Don Clabaugh, Pat Plum, Timothy Bentz, Fran Hennessy, and Paige Sweeney.

by James Rada, Jr.
20160808_143927When Raymond Sanders (pictured right) first came to Sabillasville, it was because he needed a bigger house. His family was growing, and the Sanders needed space to expand. They found a two-story home at the end of a dead-end road and set down roots.

“It’s a nice place to live,” Sanders said. “The dead-end road was good for the children, and my wife’s father and stepmother lived nearby.”

His children started attending Sabillasville School when it was still in the building that is now the Walkersville Christian Fellowship Church. At that time, local students up to grade eight all fit into a three-room school. For high school, the students were bussed down the mountain to Thurmont High.

“I didn’t worry about them going down to Thurmont,” Sanders said. “People were careful on the road, and there were no accidents.”

Sanders was born in Iron Springs, Pennsylvania in 1922, but his family moved to Fountaindale, Pennsylvania, when he was six. From there, they would eventually move to Charmain and Highfield.

Although his work would take him far from Catoctin Mountain, to travel to all of his homes is no more than a ten-mile round trip.

“I’ve been working since the time I was twelve,” Sanders said.

His early work was hauling vegetables for a farmer, but he has also been a fruit picker, worked at the pipe and nipple factory, Landis Machine, and a brick factory.
His longest-lasting job was as a truck driver for Fort Ritchie. He worked there for twenty-two years, retiring in 1975 because of a back injury.

“They wouldn’t give me another job, and I couldn’t work anymore because I couldn’t pull rigs.”

Instead, he wound up retiring at age fifty-two. He was also a member of the Maryland National Guard. He was able to continue his service for five more years, before he needed to retire from that as well. Between his service in the National Guard and in the Army, Sanders served thirty-three years in the military.

Sanders is also a Veteran of World War II. He enlisted in the Army on March 18, 1943, and trained with the 8th Armored Division. However, when he shipped out to Europe, he was sent as part of the green troops, being sent to replace the soldiers who were dying in the war.

Once in Europe, though, he never saw combat.

“I was close to being called up a couple times, but it never happened,” said Sanders.

He mustered out after three years and returned home, which at the time, was Highfield. The following year, he “really met” Betty Jane Fox. He had first met her when she was ten and he was fifteen, but that was just in passing because he was friends with the boys in her family.

Sanders was in Waynesboro one time with Betty Jane’s uncle, when her uncle tried to convince Sanders to come to Frederick with him to a dance. Sanders wanted to go, but said he didn’t have a date. Betty Jane’s uncle then fixed her up with Sanders and the two hit it off. They were married on September 13, 1947.

Together, they raised seven children (Debbie, Becky, Rita, Larry, Mary, David, and James), and one grandson (Jeffrey). They also have twelve grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren.

“When we had family picnics, we would have forty-five to eighty people show up,” Sanders said.

He has always enjoyed living in Sabillasville and says that he has pretty much anything he might need nearby. He attends church at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Blue Ridge Summit. He belongs to the Cascade American Legion, Waynesboro VFW, and Knights of Columbus.

“I think we have the nicest people that any community could have up here,” expressed Sanders. “They make great neighbors.”
Betty Jane passed away last year, and while Sanders lives alone now, he still has plenty of family looking out for him and plenty of memories.

by Jim Houck, Jr.
Warren Deardorf Grove Jr.
3rd Class Petty Officer U.S. Navy
Warren (Buddy) Grove Jr. was born in Emmitsburg on August 17, 1926, on Crystal Fountain Road. When he was two years old, he and his family moved to Eyler’s Valley on the Seiss farm.

Warren had two sisters by the time he was ready to start school, and a brother by the time he was ten years old. Warren’s dad didn’t like the school bus that picked up the kids for Emmitsburg School, and their house happened to be on the line (in fact the line was marked by a spring that was piped through the house), between the Emmitsburg school district and the Sabillasville school district. So, his father chose to send him to the Sabillasville school district. They had just built the two-room school house in Sabillasville right before he started there. They could use the two rooms as one if they wanted, because in between the two rooms was a collapsible wall. Later, the W.P.A built a furnace room and bathroom in the school.

Buddy went to the Sabillasville School through the seventh grade, after spending two years in the third grade because the winter was so bad in his third grade year that he missed six weeks of school, thus not passing and having to repeat the year. Warren said that he graduated Sabillasville School with unsatisfactory marks.

When Warren was twelve, the home his family lived in burned down. He remembers that the .22 caliber rifle his dad had given him was one of the few things that survived the fire. His mother was home alone when the fire started, and the fire took the home quickly. His dad had just bought all of the material to put a new metal roof on the house. Warren said that had the roof been put on, the house probably wouldn’t have had as much damage from the fire.

With help, his family ended up building a new house, but not on the same foundation. The old house was built along what was once the main road. It had an outdoor bake oven and a black smith shop. Warren said it was actually used as a stagecoach stop at one time.

The new house was built on what was, at the time, the main road where they raised hogs and goats. The reason they raised goats was that Warren’s brother was allergic to cow’s milk. An old farmer who lived on Flint Road told his father to give him goat’s milk instead, and it would straighten him out. Warren said that, sure enough, the old farmer was right.

They bought the goat’s milk from Mrs. Walters at Emmitsburg. At first, she didn’t want to sell it to him, but when she found out it was a matter of life and death, she did.

One day, Warren’s father saw an advertisement for someone selling a milk goat, so he went to see it. The goat had really long ears that stood straight up. It was a genuine Toggenburg milk goat. The goat gave over a gallon of milk each milking when they first got it, so his brother had plenty of milk. From then on, his mom and dad never used any milk other than goat milk. Warren recalled that the goat not only provided the milk they needed, but, also kept the weeds down.

The family went into goat farming and used the goats to cultivate the fields and to pull carts filled with vegetables. Warren had one of the goats as a pet. It followed him everywhere. The goat never needed a harness, except when in the corn field.

Warren said the goat could never be trusted in the corn field without the harness even though it was well trained by him and understood the commands Warren gave to him. One year, Warren and his goat won the first prize in the fireman’s parade in Emmitsburg. He had the goat pulling a wagon they made to look like a tanker truck.

After Warren graduated from Sabillasville School, he went to high school in Thurmont. The only drawback to that was that when school let out in the afternoon, not all the buses went all the way to Sabillasville. So, he had to ride three different buses to get home. When he got off the last bus, he had a little over three miles to walk to get home—Warren got very used to walking.

While in high school, he took vocational agriculture and went to all the different county meets. He also belonged to the Future Farmers of America and figured he could put it to good use after he graduated, but there were no jobs available after he graduated.

Businesses didn’t seem to want to train anyone for the jobs. Young men just graduating from high school were probably going to be drafted into the military. Warren was seventeen when he graduated high school, so he went down to enlist in the Navy, having his dad sign for him.

Warren went to boot camp for about sixteen weeks, and then completed sixteen more weeks of electrical school. Out of the four hundred and twenty-some that started in his class, only two hundred and twenty-six graduated. The course was very tough. Warren hadn’t had any high math—only general math—so he and six others had to take a special math course after class hours. Sometimes the extra course ended at one or two o’clock in the morning. They learned their entire higher math on a slide rule: algebra, geometry, and the works. Warren came out twenty-ninth out of two hundred twenty-six graduates. Warren said if it wasn’t for that slide rule, he would never have made it.

He was third class petty officer (electrician) in the amphibious outfit after he left electrical school. He went overseas to an island called Mauritius, then to Sonora Island, and then Borneo, and as an amphibian, they landed the Australian troops. Warren was then transferred to the SEABEES. They put up Quonset Huts. Warren wired the huts and refers to generators. When the war ended in August of 1945, they stayed until January of 1946. At Christmas, they made snow with ice flake machines. They got the freezers as cold as they could and made snow for twenty-four hours a day and spread snow all around the base—where it was 120 degrees outside. While there, Warren found a guilder piece (which was the currency in use there at the time), and he still has it today. He also brought back a Samurai sword and recently gave it to his son. Warren’s brother, who was ten years younger than him, was the recipient of a Japanese rifle that Warren brought back with him.

The firing pin had to be removed to bring it home, but Warren drilled a hole in the stock and inserted it and put carboline over it. When he got home, he put the original firing pin back in, and everything was original on the rifle.

Warren was on a small carrier vessel that ended up in China for a while. He stayed aboard the ship that was tied up in dry dock. Soon, they left there and headed to Japan. Warren stayed in Japan just about a year as an occupation troop at the Tsukiji Japanese Officers Training School (Japan’s version of an officer’s training school similar to our Naval Academy in the United States). His unit was there to build a radio station in Tokyo Bay. He told his Lieutenant that it was nothing but a sandbar and that it didn’t seem solid enough to use. It turned out that he was right since a bulldozer they were using to level things off sunk into the sand until there was only about four inches of its exhaust pipe sticking above the sand and water. It was stuck. They didn’t even try to get it out because they didn’t have the necessary equipment to remove it.

Warren was still doing generator work when he left there. With a ninety-day leave, he went home. When he went back, they sent him down to Port Hueneme at Oxnard, California. Warren was to teach others about motors and generators.

He thought they were sending him to school for diesel engines, but that wasn’t what it was about. It was about water power, steam power, gasoline engines, diesel engines, and experimenting with new turbine engines. Warren said they could really speed up like jet engines on airplanes. He was only there for a short time when they shipped him down to San Diego, California, where he was discharged.

They told him he had to muster out now or reenlist. The only problem with reenlisting at the time was that they wanted him in the seventh fleet, and promised that he could never get out of it as long as he lived. Warren could have returned home and enlisted, but he would have been shipped right back out.

Having enlisted in 1944, he was discharged then, in 1947, just a couple weeks short of a three year enlistment.

When Warren returned home, he put in for refrigeration school because everywhere he went for an electrical job, they wanted someone with experience in refrigeration. He worked for the State of Maryland and helped open the Western Maryland Hospital at Fort Ritchie, before they eventually moved the hospital to Hagerstown. Warren did everything: he helped whenever a person didn’t show up to work, whether they worked in the ward, the kitchen, or fired the boiler.

During this time, he went to Baltimore and secured his engineer’s license. He worked and waited for a year and a half until he was admitted into the Dunwoody Industrial Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Dunwoody for three years and then he came back to the state job, to get the minimum required time for coming back, by putting in two months there, and that completed his one tour. Warren then got a job at the Letterkenny Army base in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He wasn’t in the labor pool to start with, but they knew that some of the guys really wanted to work and knew that Warren was one of them. So they sent him up to the box factory, where he soon received a promotion.

He was then sent to Warehouse Six—general supply—where they were shipping things overseas. Here, he received a bit of a better promotion. He was supposed to serve six months in training, but in three months school let out and they hired kids out of school. One of the big bosses’ nephews graduated high school and they gave him a job immediately. This was a job that Warren was supposed to get in six months.

Warren told his boss that he would like to go up to personnel that afternoon, but his boss told him he couldn’t. This is where the boss made his mistake. If his boss had told him he would make an appointment for Warren to speak to someone in personnel, there would have been no problem. But, the bosses were eating lunch with several people around, so Warren said, “Here are my witnesses, so you may as well get on the phone now and make me an appointment.” The boss said, “I guess I really goofed, didn’t I?” Warren said, “Yes, you did.”

Each division had their own personnel department, and when Warren explained the situation and got no satisfaction, the personnel person told him he would have to stay there. Warren explained that he did not have to stay and asked to see the chief of personnel. The first thing the chief told him was that they didn’t have a job he was qualified for. Warren called him a liar. The chief told him he could be fired. Warren said, “Go ahead, the sooner the better.”

The chief told Warren that there seemed to be something wrong, and asked him where he was hired. Warren informed him that he took seven exams on the Philadelphia Register and knew of the openings they had that Warren qualified for, according to the register. Warren told the chief that he couldn’t fire him. He would have to be fired out of Philadelphia. He told the chief that they recently had seven guard openings and had hired two, and that it was too early that day and he hadn’t officially hired anyone yet. The chief told Warren to relax. He got on the phone and told a person over the phone, “I have a man I’m sending up. I don’t know what he does or what he knows or anything, but you are going to have to take him.”

Warren told the people upstairs that he knew he was qualified for the job because he used to pull shore patrol duty and that was the same as MP’s. Warren got the job and stayed there for two and a half years.

Here, Warren was the first one his boss selected to go to the police training. He went through part of the training, and when a job came open, he thought it was Fort Richie, but learned that the job was at Site R (The Tunnel, Harry’s Hole, Under Ground Pentagon). Warren thought he might be there a couple of years, but he ended up working there for twenty-nine years.

He went in just to be an operator and got promoted to diesel mechanic with a pay increase, because when they needed help, he helped them. Then they decided to put foremen in the power plant since they were running fulltime. Warren was one of five who were selected as foremen because he knew refrigeration, diesel, and electrical. Those were the three basic shops that ran things. He was a diesel mechanic for twelve years at Site R, then he was promoted to diesel and machine shop foreman.

In all, Warren served thirty-five years with the government. He was asked what he wanted to do, and, at the time, Warren said he wanted to live equal time to what he worked. During our interview, he said, “Well, it’s happened!” He retired in 1981, thirty five years ago—the official date: August 21. On August 16, 2016, Warren will be ninety years young and has traveled all over the world, been in every state of the United States, and has lived life to the fullest. He has a tremendous amount of knowledge and is a pleasure to be around. I could listen to him tell his life stories for hours. I wish everyone could meet and talk with this man, who is so dedicated to his family and his country. I found out that I graduated high school with Warren’s wife’s brother. What a small world we live in after all.

God Bless Our Country, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.
Warren Deardorf Grove Jr., 3rd Class Petty Officer U.S. Navy

Nicholas DiGregory

Few topics are more shunned by today’s society than the concept of death. In a world where modern science and medicine have prolonged life to considerable lengths, the idea of death has become merely an afterthought, albeit one that inspires a rather vicious response or fear and loathing.

And yet, death is an inevitable part of life. And while it should not be feared, death can bring immense sadness and vulnerability when it strikes a loved one. When a family member or close friend passes away, it can be hard enough to move on; the last thing many people want to think about at such a tragic time is making funeral arrangements.

Few individuals understand this fact better than . The twenty-seven-year-old Sabillasville resident and licensed mortician knows how hard coping with death can be, and with that in mind, he started Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services.

Based out of Westminster in Maryland, Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services provides a uniquely personal and heartfelt approach to the funeral process. As the owner and supervising mortician, Black focuses on providing affordable and unobtrusive care to those grieving the loss of a loved one.

“A casket is a casket, and a funeral is a funeral,” said Black. “It shouldn’t matter who’s providing the service as long as you like what was done and it made you feel good. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day. It’s not about buying the most or least expensive; it’s about what you can afford to make you feel good. And that’s really my goal, to make people feel good because it’s what they deserve.”

While Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services is based out of a brick-and-mortar funeral home in Westminster, Black does not restrict himself or his company to any single location. Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services offers viewings and funerals at places of worship and community venues as well, allowing for funeral arrangements that are less expensive but more personalized.

“We’ve adopted a business model that’s unique to this area,” said Black. “Our business model works off of the principle that we work out of another funeral director’s funeral home, and that contributes to us being able to provide a lower-cost service, since we do not have to deal with the overhead of building a brand-new funeral home.”

Another unique quality Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services offer is in-home consultation. Black stressed that when a person is in mourning, there is no reason for them to have to travel from home to make funeral arrangements.

“We try to meet with people in the home,” said Black. “A lot of funeral directors make you travel all over God’s creation to come in to them, but we don’t think that’s appropriate when someone has lost a loved one. We bring the funeral home to you.”

In their special way, Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services provides all of the traditional funeral services, and then some. In addition to the typical funeral, cremation, and burial options, Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services also provides services for anatomical donation, mortuary shipping, cryonic suspension, and grave relocation. Most services are also available for cases of miscarriage or still birth, even as early as the first trimester.

Blacks Mortuary and Cremation Services is located at 254 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. For immediate contact or to make funeral arrangements, call 443-292-5662 or 301-723-7180. General questions can also be addressed via email to