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BY Dan Neuland

The 79th Annual Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock (BOJC) Campfire Weekend was held at Camp Airy in Thurmont on May 17-19, 2019. The camp hosted a total of 365 attendees, which included 179 boys and their adult sponsors from 16 different states. A total of 44 boys were new to the program this year. The camp is located near several excellent local trout streams and has two spring-fed stocked ponds on site that are stocked with trout for the annual event.

Briefly, the BOJC is an organization that was founded in 1940 in the Catoctin Mountains of Frederick County by a group of conservation-minded fly fishermen. The annual campfire weekend is designed to pass on the knowledge, the skills, and the love of the sport of angling and, particularly, fly fishing, to young men. As stated in the BOJC Creed, adult members pledge to “annually take at least one boy a-fishing, instructing him, as best we know, in the responsibilities that are soon to be wholly his.”

The BOJC is an organization that is steeped in tradition. The name chosen to represent the group comes from the waxed neck feather of the male Indian jungle fowl, a chicken-like bird, prized for its beautiful plumage. Feathers from the cape of the jungle cock have been used for salmon flies since the 19th century. A jungle cock cape feather is prominently featured in the BOJC logo worn by its members.

Bob Abraham, Sr. of Thurmont has been a member of BOJC for 61 years. It all began on a rainy spring day in 1958, when Abraham was driving through Catoctin National Park.  He saw a fly fisherman walking along the road and stopped to offer the angler a ride to his vehicle that was parked at the Camp Peniel parking lot.

Abraham was working for the Department of Natural resources as a game warden. The angler accepted the ride and introduced himself as Gurney Godfrey from Baltimore. He informed the warden that he was in the area that weekend for the Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock Campfire being held nearby at Camp Airy in Thurmont. “Gurney held his fly rod out of the vehicle window as we traveled down the road and we exchanged conversation,” said Abraham. Godfrey thanked Abraham for the ride and invited him to supper that evening at the camp.

Abraham accepted his invitation and he attended the dinner wearing his uniform. He joined BOJC that same evening sponsored by Godfrey. That chance encounter was the start of a great friendship between the two fly fisherman and the beginning of a close connection between Abraham and the BOJC program.

After joining the BOJC organization in 1958, Abraham became very active in it. He was elected to the board of directors and eventually held the position of president from 1976-77. Abraham has become the friendly and welcoming face of the organization.

Currently, at 86 years  young, he is still very active. He attends the annual BOJC weekend and he can be found stationed under a canopy between the two ponds at Camp Airy with hundreds of hand-tied flies displayed on a table for the young anglers to use. At the 2019 BOJC program, Abraham handed-out a total of 21 dozen flies! Young anglers seek out Abraham for his trusted advice on fly selection and Abraham offers his encouragement. When they are successful, they eagerly run to him to show off their prize catch and share their fish story.

Thomas Burrill, an 11-year old who lives in West Virginia, has a fish story that is worth retelling. Thomas was attending the camp for the first time with his uncle, Ron Burrill of Foxville. Using a green streamer fly tied by Abraham, the young angler hooked and landed a rainbow trout that taped out at just under 25 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds!

BOJC volunteers also sponsor an annual Wounded Veteran Fishing Event in partnership with Project Healing Waters. The Thurmont American Legion Post 168, the Taneytown Country Kitchen Restaurant, Roy Rogers, as well as the many BOJC and Project Healing Waters volunteers contributed to the success of this year’s event on May 25, 2019.

These programs at Camp Airy are high-quality experiences, thanks to volunteers who give so much of their time to share their knowledge of fishing.

The seven-year BOJC instructional program is designed for boys eight-years old or older, starting with the basics of beginning angling and taking them toward the opportunity to fish with “the masters.” It is above all, a hands-on, outdoor educational program for young men. Classes are taught by experienced adults and include conservation, fly casting, entomology, equipment maintenance, fishing knots, fly tying, rod building, and net making to name a few.

Thomas Burrill is shown with his 25-inch rainbow trout with Bob Abraham.

2019 Wounded Veteran fisherman and event volunteers are shown on May 25, 2019 at Camp Airy in Thurmont.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Elmer “Lee” Black was born January 31, 1923, to Willis G. and Maude Baker Black. Lee was only 14 when his father died unexpectedly. He and his siblings, older brother Harry and younger sister Betty, all learned to work hard to help their mother during the 1930s when times were tough.

Many days were spent picking green beans at the Zentz Farm (now Rodman Myers’ farm pictured in “Focus On Catoctin” on page 44). Lee and Harry built a small chicken coop to raise and sell chickens and eggs. They took care of several beehives to get honey for themselves and sold or bartered it. They cut, split, and sold cords of wood during the winter months for some income. The boys would trap and skin small wildlife to get money for the pelts.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Thurmont had two fruit orchards. Hooker Lewis had one south of Thurmont and Johnny Kelbaugh had one north of Thurmont. Both were just off Route 15. Lee said that before he was born, most farmers and homesteaders had a small orchard of their own.

After graduating from Thurmont High School in 1940, Lee went on to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Discharged in 1945 after earning the rank of staff sergeant, Lee returned home and started a photography business serving Thurmont and Emmitsburg.

He met his wife Frances, at the Monterey Tea House on New Year’s Eve. She was born and raised in Baltimore City. They married in 1949.

Wanting to spend more time outdoors, Lee and Frances bought Hooker Lewis’ Strawberry Field in 1950 and started Blacks Hilltop Orchard. Hooker Lewis had several little orchards around Thurmont. Lee said, “During World War II and right after – nearly everyone who had an apple tree could make money from it. But after the war, you had to be good at making an orchard to stay in business.”

Lewis’ Orchard, Pryor’s Orchard, and the original Kelbaugh Orchard were the main orchards in the area. Over the years, different people bought parts of Kelbaugh’s Orchard. Russel Flanagan, who had been a mason, quit and went into the orchard business. Right after the war, Hooker Lewis’ son-in-law opened an orchard now known as Pryor’s Orchard. Galen Pryor of Pryor’s Orchard is Hooker Lewis’ great-grandson.

Lee enjoyed the independence of owning an orchard. All of his and Frances’ six children worked the orchard by picking and thinning fruit. 

Ira Kelbaugh, son of Johnny Kelbaugh, planted an orchard along Kelbaugh Road. Lee’s brother, Harry, worked for Ira during the war. When Ira semi-retired, he told Harry he would sell him the orchard. For years, Harry took care of the orchard for half the profit and eventually bought it. 

This purchase included the roadside market that was very small at the time. Lee said, “When Kelbaugh first started, he didn’t sell fruit along the road. It wasn’t until the highway came through that the market was built around 1948.”

Harry and Lee now owned orchards. Harry said to Lee, “You take care of the picking, and I’ll take care of the selling.” Lee reminisced,  “We added pick-your-own black raspberries that he (Harry) raised and strawberries that we raised. There were a lot of problems along the way, I’m sure he disagreed with me and I disagreed with him, but we never had an argument.”

A regional University Of Maryland Extension man named Charlie Dunbar told Harry to build a retail market and to pack baskets with “good fruit!” Most fruit stands or “hucksters” at the time would place seconds (bruised or spotty fruit) in the bottom of a basket and top it off with good fruit! Lee and Harry used good fruit throughout and Lee claimed that was the foundation for both of their farms to become successful businesses.   

There wasn’t any place that sold good peaches and apples between Thurmont and Washington, D.C., so, when they first opened, they had more business than they could handle. People canned at the time and would load up bushels at a time. The biggest apple growers were in Adams County, Pa., but, Lee said, “That fruit was all bruised up — the workers didn’t care.”

Business was up and down because of the economy and the weather. Lee said that at one point the orchard business was so bad that they started to raise broiler chickens. 

The former Blacks Hilltop Orchard was, and Catoctin Mountain Orchard still is, known as “conservation showcase” orchards. Harry’s family and Lee and Frances’ family worked closely with the State of Maryland to implement smart ideas. In doing so, things changed with orchard procedures and standards.

They started to grow smaller trees to save on costs of picking and spraying. While they always used pesticides of some sort, the pesticides became more effective and, over time, made fruit stronger and more vibrant in color. Lee did some budding on trees, but didn’t do any genetics like the Catoctin Mountain Orchard Black family (Harry’s son Robert’s family, and Harry’s daughter, Pat) does today.

The sale of wholesale fruit was big business for the Black families’ orchards in the 1960s and 1970s. They were the first ones in the area to have Cortland Apples. 

“When we first started to sell Cortland apples, we had one heck of a time getting rid of them,” recalled Lee.  Then they started to promote Cortland apples. He indicated that many Washington, D.C. workers were from New England states, so they advertised that Cortland apples were an “offspring” of the McIntosh variety they ate up north. That started a trend here in northern Maryland. 

Lee planted black raspberries between his young apple trees for some early season spending money. He also grew strawberries in the late 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, when pick-your-own caught on, Lee’s farm was known as Strawberry Hill with a “Million Dollar View!”

     Up on the hill at the Strawberry Fields, Lee had three small ponds that irrigated all of his strawberry fields, peaches, and apples. He said that the strawberries would have burnt up without the water sources.

“The hills are great, but if you don’t have water, the trees won’t perform,” said Robert. 

Ironically, Harry built the first pond for swimming, but it had to be used to irrigate the peaches. Lee had watered most of his orchard on Black Road and told Harry he could borrow his irrigation pump and pipe in 1961 since it was really dry at the time. The pond was fed by a good well and spring combination. When they thought the spring had started to go dry, they put in a submergible pump to pump water from the well into the pond. Even though they could still irrigate the peaches, the Blacks feared that they would lose the source of water for the peaches, so they built a second pond that year, pumped both of them dry, built a third, pumped all three dry, then a fourth pond the year after that. Since then, they have had enough water to keep the trees producing a good crop. Building the ponds helped the business and provided a great resource for generations to come.

Today, Robert and his family use trickle irrigation to water the fruit trees, berries, and vegetables. This process uses less water and energy to water only the tree row, thus saving gallons of water by not over-watering. The water source is still coming off of those ponds. The irrigation system is now all piped underground to minimize loss from evaporation.

To battle a frost, Catoctin Mountain Orchard is strategically placed down a slope from the mountain. Since cold sinks to the lowest level, it will keep moving through open fields and then over Route 15.

In the last years that he ran the orchard, Lee had strawberries; however, a hail storm hit that ruined all the fruit. He said they were “devastated.” “Hail is the enemy. The heavy rain can be managed,” stated Lee. They usually advertised pick-your-own strawberries, but did not have any that season.

Insurance allowed for the catastrophic damage; they then had a total freeze-out for peaches in the 1980s. The insurance paid to maintain the farm to stay in business for the following year. However… “An orchard owner doesn’t want claims. They want a crop to stay in business,” said Robert.

Orchard processes are as close to perfect now as they can be in an uncontrolled environment. There’s more technology available. In the earlier years, a soil test was performed occasionally. “Now, we want to know what is in the soil—pH, Calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc. We want to keep the nutrients balanced, so the fruit grows best. We take leaf samples to determine if we’re short in zinc, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and so on. If we’re short, we add it to the soil or apply it foliarly to the leaves. It’s like taking a vitamin pill,” stated Robert.

With Integrate Pest Management (IPM), the Blacks monitor bad insects with traps. Good insects eat bad ones. During the time stink bugs were penetrating the orchard, the Blacks went into defensive mode at the orchard. “I almost lived in the tractor spraying,” Robert said, “We didn’t know what to do. When a stink bug bit or penetrated an apple, it wouldn’t be detected for two to three weeks.”

That bug changed the orchard’s whole spray program, since the old spray wasn’t killing the stink bugs. The Blacks had 90-percent damaged fruit in some areas of the farm that was unsalable in 2010. That damaged fruit was used to feed hogs at a neighboring farm.

The USDA runs weekly testing at Catoctin Orchard. In partnership with the Blacks, they are doing an experiment on an acre plot where they are only spraying six targeted trees that have a pheromone (attractant) placed on the outer edge for the stink bugs to draw them to that area.

“We could lose six trees and save a crop. There were 3,000 stink bugs killed on one tree, so we may eventually have sacrificial trees,” Robert said. 

About fifteen years ago, Catoctin Mountain Orchard started contracting with the school lunch program, where their apples are used for lunches in Frederick County schools. “It’s wonderful that kids are eating nearly all varieties of our apples. We’re providing them with great eating apples. Prior to that, they were getting Washington State Red Delicious that really aren’t fit to eat,” expressed Robert.

Today, you’ll find all family members— second, third, and fourth generations of the extended Black family—working the orchard and market. It’s a big operation, where everyone plays an important part. 

Uncle Elmer Lee passed away November 9, 2015, and was laid to rest in the Eyler’s Valley Chapel cemetery. We hope he’s enjoying a well-deserved rest after his full and well-lived life.

The first annual Maryland Iron Festival was held the weekend of May 18 and 19, 2019 in historic Catoctin Furnace, in Thurmont, Maryland, to celebrate the state as a center for the craft of ironmaking. Activities were held within the historic village, as well as Catoctin Mountain Park, and Cunningham Falls State Park. The festival featured traditional blacksmithing, casting and molding demonstrations in partnership with Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, live music and performances, artists and craftspeople, spring plant and flower sales, children’s activities, a “feats of strength” tournament, tours of historic buildings and the iron furnace, delicious historic food, plein air artists, and local wine and craft beer.

Historic structures, such as the Collier’s Log House (ca. 1810) (pictured in background of our cover photo), the Stone Cottage (ca. 1820), and the Catoctin Iron Furnace were open to the public both days.

The newly constructed trail that was constructed and crafted by Catoctin Furnace volunteers with grant monies now links the furnace to the historic village. Visitors and locals enjoyed all facets of the festival. In our cover photo, Barry Riddle, Liam Deveney, Megan Deveney, Abbey Deveney (seated left to right) and Seamus Riddle and Matt Deveney (standing left to right) enjoyed the fresh streamside Catoctin Furnace Trail on Sunday, May 19.

The Catoctin Furnace was built by four brothers in order to produce iron from the rich deposits of hematite found in the nearby mountains. It played a pivotal role during the industrial revolution in the young United States. The furnace industry supported a thriving community, and company houses were established alongside the furnace stack. Throughout the 19th century, the furnace produced iron for household and industrial products. After more than 100 years of operation, the Catoctin Furnace ceased production in 1903.

In 1973, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., was formed by G. Eugene Anderson, Clement E. Gardiner, J. Franklin Mentzer, and Earl M. Shankle to “foster and promote the restoration of the Catoctin Furnace Historic District…and to maintain the same exclusively for educational and scientific purposes…to exhibit to coming generations our heritage of the past.”

Today, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. is undertaking groundbreaking research, including bioarchaeological research on human remains from the African American cemetery in Catoctin Furnace. In partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the Reich Laboratory for Medical and Population Genetics at Harvard University, this project is analyzing ancient DNA and the human genome of several revolutionary-era African American workers at Catoctin Furnace. Such research, in conjunction with other technologies, such as stable isotope analysis, could tell us where these workers were born, where they lived throughout their lives, and what constituted their diet. We believe that every life mattered, and every past matters now. By studying and disseminating the results of this research, we hope that people everywhere will get to meet some of these early workers and understand the critical roles they played in the development of our young nation, as well as appreciate the rich, varied trajectories of their lives.

For more information, please call 443-463-6437 or visit

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.

Deb Abraham Spalding


Incidents of Lyme disease in people are on the rise in our area, while the incidents of Lyme disease in our dogs are on the decline. Our Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is the culprit. Other local tick species like the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick are not known to transfer Lyme but can transfer other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to pets and people.

Pets: Trish Hahn, a veterinary technician with the Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont, explains that there’s a 99 percent effective Lyme vaccine available for your dogs, which substantially decreases the incidents of Lyme. There are also various flea and tick treatments, topical and oral, that are effective as well. These reliable flea and tick products kill the tick before there is a blood exchange, thus preventing disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in a dog are lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney damage if left too long without treatment. From the point of the bite, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. Trish explained that we don’t see Lyme disease in cats.

People: Jenice Palachick, CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) in Dr. Cooper’s office in Thurmont, formerly worked with Dr. Timothy Stonesifer at the Cumberland Valley Parochial Medical Clinic in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Stonesifer runs his clinic as a family practice, with a specialty in Lyme. Having prior experience with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is a useful resource for Jenice while working in general practice at Dr. Cooper’s office, but she often consults with Dr. Stonesifer if she suspects Lyme.

Typical symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to diagnose because they mimic so many other ailments. They include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and, about 30 percent of the time, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Every case of Lyme disease is unique. Thus, treatment for each case is a journey of trial and error. Jenise said, “I’ve been fooled before. It’s not that simple.” The symptoms are so broad, especially in the chronic phase where symptoms have gone on for years.

Jenice suggests that the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is in place when preventing Lyme. When outside in the tick’s natural habitat, wear long pants tucked into your socks. Buy clothes that are infused with pyrethrum, which is a natural repellent to ticks. Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing. Do a tick check after being outside. Ticks love the scalp, behind the ears, and the groin area. Ticks can be as small as a pin head.


There are three kinds of venomous snakes in our local woods and waterways; rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. The easiest way to determine how to treat a snake bite is to look at the eyes of the culprit. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils while non-venomous have round pupils. Venomous snakes have hollow retractable fangs while nonvenomous snakes lack fangs. Venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head while nonvenomous snakes have a rounded head. Please don’t assume that all snakes are venomous, but please do assume that all snakes can bite.

Pets: Though not all snakes have a deadly venom, a snake bite will still cause discomfort and stress for your pet, so please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet was bitten by a venomous snake, it will need antivenom.

People: On May 19, 2019, while hiking with her wife Sarah, two dogs and friends, Lindsay Klampe was bitten by a rattlesnake (actual snake shown in photo).  She was wearing shorts and sneakers while hiking from Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park to Cunningham Falls in Cunningham Falls State Park.

Lindsay said, upon feeling the bite, “Adrenaline took over. I jumped and started running.” She ran about a quarter mile from where the bite occurred to the falls parking lot along Route 77. Meanwhile Sarah called 911.

Ambulance personnel transported Lindsay to Frederick Memorial Hospital where, within 1 hour and 15 minutes from when the bite occurred, she was injected with antivenom.

Lyndsay said she plans to get back to hiking, but will wear hiking boots and pants in the future since she feels that ankle-covering boots could have served as a barrier of protection and prevented the bite from penetrating her skin.

UpToDate clinical first aid for a venomous snake bite suggests to keep the victim warm, at rest, and calm while initially elevating the injured part of the body to the level of the heart. Remove any rings, watches, or constrictive clothing from the affected extremity. Rush to the nearest medical facility using emergency medical services.

For Pets and People: In case of a non-venomous bite, clean the wound, apply a clean dressing, and go about your day while monitoring for any changes in condition like swelling, dizziness or clamminess, or changes in breathing. If any of these changes occur, seek medical attention.

In the case of a venomous bite, take emergency action to get to an emergency room where an antivenom can be injected.


The National Park Service has posted bear safety tips on its website. The biggest prevention tip is: Make a lot of noise. The bears in our local parks are black bears. They are not normally aggressive or threatening, and mostly just want to be left alone. So, being a loud hiker or camper will deter their interest. But, if you encounter one, keep in mind that they are more curious than anything. That’s not to say they won’t be aggressive or threatening if they are protecting their young or hungry in pursuit of food, and you get in the way.

People: If confronted with a black bear, stand tall with arms stretched above your head so you appear bigger than you are. Talk in a normal tone to the bear, so it determines that you are a human and not a meal. Stay calm. Do not run away or climb a tree; a bear can do those things better than you.

Bear pepper spray is available for purchase and can be a part of your safety regimen while in the wild. Most importantly, if any bear attacks you in your tent, or stalks you and then attacks, do NOT play dead—fight back!

Pets: If you encounter a Black Bear while with your dog, keep your dog on a leash, calmly control your pet, talk in a normal tone and make yourself big as explained above. Give a Black Bear enough room to retreat since Black Bears usually avoid confrontation.

You are invited to a free showing of Before The Flood, a special film documenting extreme weather changes and how they are affecting all of us, especially the poorest people and innocent creatures worldwide. From rising sea levels to destruction of rainforests, Leonardo DiCaprio, as the Messenger of Peace on behalf of the of the United Nations, takes us on a tour around the world as he investigates with us the consequences of human activity and the spiritual necessity for us to protect “our only home,” as Pope Francis puts it.

The free showing will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. at Weller Methodist Church, located at 101 N. Altamont Avenue in Thurmont.  A second showing will be at Mystic Meadows Nature Preserve on Friday, June 21, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. (please RSVP for this second showing at 240-469-7899, or for any questions related to either showing).

The Emmitsburg Lions Club is once again sponsoring a Heritage Art Contest. The contest is open to school-aged children from the Emmitsburg School area in first through eighth grades. Homeschoolers are encouraged to participate as well.

All artwork should reflect the theme: “What Does My Community Look Like to Me?” Prizes are awarded to winners in each division.

For registration, visit or email

Poem by Francis Smith

Come to me

     in the greening

     of the springtime

when all the world is born

     fresh and new.

          Come to me

              when flowers and trees,

              veggies and fruits,

              and seedlings of all sorts

              poke their heads

              and twine their roots —

              their colors burst anew.

So, come, watch with me,

     enjoy the scenes, and

     smile your biggest smile!

Come, rest your soul;

     it is so worth the while!

Last month, I wrote about how a local Emmitsburg collector owned two Armstrong rifles, which had been crafted in town. The same collector owns an Eyster clock, and the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick owns a Hoover clock.

John Hoover is believed to be Emmitsburg’s first clockmaker. He lived from 1771-1832, so his working years would make him a contemporary of riflemaker John Armstrong and Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The John Hoover clock in the C. Burr Artz Library is a tall clock in a wooden case. Hoover signed the face: John Hoover, Emmitsburgh, 20.

The numeral indicates that it was Hoover’s 20th clock.

“The case is very well constructed, and it is interesting to note that both this clock and the Eyster tall clock show a similar Pennsylvania Dutch influence in the design on the base,” Mary B. Nakhleh wrote in Emmitsburg: History and Society.

Little else is known about Hoover, regarding his clocks. Luckily, much more is known of Andrew Eyster (1800-1872). According to Nakhleh, a local story is that a clockmaker named Bachman, who came from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, trained Andrew in clockmaker and silversmithing. However, she also theorizes that, given their ages, it is possible Andrew Eyster learned his trade from John Hoover. Besides clockmaking and silversmithing, Andrew also earned a living as a jeweler. The Eyster shop was on the south side of West Main Street. He was also active in local government, serving as a town commissioner, burgess, and magistrate.

When Andrew died in 1872, his sons, George Edgar Taylor Eyster (1847-1914) and Hall Webster Eyster (1851-1927), took over the business, having been apprenticed to his father. At least one clock still exists that is labelled “G.T. Eyster & Bro., Emmittsburg.” According to Nahkleh, it has a double dial and a calendar dial that indicates day and month.

George was a Civil War Veteran. He had enlisted in the Army in 1864, and then signed up for Cole’s Cavalry in 1864, according to his obituary in the Emmitsburg Chronicle. “

Mr. Eyster was one of the few men who could boast of having heard Abraham Lincoln deliver that immortal address at Gettysburg at the dedication of the National Cemetery,” the Chronicle reported.

Like his father, George was active in civic affairs, although in his case, it was serving with the Vigilant Hose Company for 20 years as its captain.

George advertised his business in a way left little doubt as to what he did. “George T. Eyster has hung out, at his store, a large gilt watch, that indicates the time at 8:20 or 5:40 o’clock as you please to read it. It goes by swinging.” “This sign is still in the possession of the Eyster family,” the Emmitsburg Chronicle reported in 1883.               

Although George was the Eyster name on the business, Hall seems to have had the talent. Andrew may have recognized this because he left all of his watch and clock making tools to Hall. Hall also held a patent for creating an improved clock movement frame. “The frame was designed so that the mainspring arbors could be removed without tilting or damaging the movement. The lower portions of the clock frame, both front and back plates, were constructed in three parts which were screwed together in such a way that the entire lower frame could be dismantled sectionally,” Nakhleh wrote.

A third son of Andrew Eyster was also a clockmaker. George’s older brother, John Thomas Eyster (1833-1921), is listed in Maryland Clockmakers as Andrew’s son and apprentice who worked as a silversmith, jeweler, and watchmaker.

Given the rich tradition of clockmaking in Emmitsburg, it’s a shame that more Eyster and Hoover timepieces haven’t survived.

(left, below) Hoover Clock in the Maryland Room at C. Burr Artz Library.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Straffy Lawyer retired from his life-long career as a mechanic, having worked with his brother, Dave, and father, Strafford, since he was a youngster in the various service garages owned by the family. Straffy, and his wife, Patti, operated Lawyer’s Automotive on Jimtown Road in Thurmont since the 1980s. In 2016, ownership was purchased by Straffy’s son, Chad, until this past October when a new owner, Mark Breeden (pictured right), purchased the shop. Breeden said, “Straffy and Patti still stop in to say ‘Hi.’” Breeden is originally from Loudon County, Virginia, but moved to Thurmont to be with his love interest, Tanzy Logue. The couple have a son together, Brody Breedon. Upon moving, Breeden started working for Straffy at Lawyer’s Automotive.

He stayed on through the transition of ownership from Straffy to Chad, then he officially purchased the business on October 5, 2018. Since then, he said, “Things have been going great!”

He prides himself on integrity while running the business. In the past, he’s flat out quit working at other garages when he didn’t agree with the under-handed treatment of customers to make a buck. Breeden’s high standard of business is drawing customers, not only locally, but from as far as Olney, Mt. Airy, and Frederick. If a vehicle needs costly repairs, he will flesh out a plan for repair over time so the customer doesn’t have to shell out several thousand dollars all at once. In cases where he finds a more serious safety problem while performing a standard repair, he’ll make sure it is repaired before leaving the shop.

Breeden gathered his career experience beginning as an apprentice at Koon’s Ford in Sterling, Virginia. There, he became a mechanic and diesel tech, he was Ford Certified and ASE Certified. Next, he worked at a tire and auto center in Leesburg, Virginia. After about six years, he became a heavy equipment mechanic for a construction company. Finally, he worked at a transmission shop where he became ATRA certified in Purcellville, Virginia, until meeting Tanzy and moving to Thurmont.

He loves owning his own shop. “Right now,” Breeden said, “I am doing all the paperwork, all the billing, all the selling, and half the work. Did I mention we are hiring?”

Lawyer’s Automotive performs vehicle repair and maintenance from oil changes and tires to transmissions and exhaust. If Breeden can’t fix it, he recommends trusted local professionals who can.

Stop by to give the new Lawyer’s a try. Lawyer’s Automotive is open Mondays through Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The shop is located at 13910-B Jimtown Road in Thurmont. Call 301-271-2736 for more information.

Deb Abraham Spalding

In 1980, Bruce Davies, Thurmont’s local jeweler at the time, approached John Brown and his wife, Betty, about buying Davies Jewelry Store. Since then, the couple’s business, Browns’ Jewelry Store & Gifts on Water Street in Thurmont, has been the go-to jewelry store for special occasion gems, holiday gifts, and trusted watch and jewelry repairs.

Even after Betty’s passing in December 2009, John and his trusted employee of 27 years, Barb Barbe, along with the help of Corrinne McBreen, his part-time employee, have continued to provide confident, steady service.It is with firm decision that John announced his retirement sale for June 2019. He’s selling everything.

“Everything is for sale, the buildings (7 and 9 Water Street in Thurmont), all the displays, all the jewelry, watches, gift items… everything!” John said.

In June, everything is 30 percent off. Non-priced items are negotiable with John.

While reminiscing, John said, “My customers are the greatest customers in the world. That’s what they are! They’re not customers. They’re family!”

John has served three generations of customers.

About the jewelry business, he said, “Everyone has a special need, and everyone wants something special.”

It was John’s pleasure to meet these needs. While every transaction was important, his most memorable and emotionally rewarding creation was a memorial jewelry item for a mother who lost her daughters in an auto accident.

Stop by Browns’ Jewelry & Gift Store in Thurmont for its Retirement Sale. Everything must go! Find gifts for all occasions, anniversary items, beautiful jewelry,  jewelry boxes, watches, pewter, crystal, minerals, mantle and wall clocks, and much more. See their advertisement on page 47 for more information.

Pictured from left are John Brown, Barb Barbe, and Corrinne McBreen, inside Browns’ Jewelry & Gifts Store in Thurmont.

The Thurmont Business Network held its monthly gathering on May 2, 2019, at the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen on Water Street.

Each business representative in attendance was given two minutes to talk about their business. At each meetings, one business is randomly selected as the ‘feature’ business who is given more time to go more in depth about their business. Sharon Edmondson, with Milestone Hypnosis, was the featured business at this meeting.

Thurmont’s Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder was the first to present. She reviewed that the second annual Restaurant Month in April was reported by restaurant owners as a success. She talked about the The Gateway publication that is produced by The Frederick News Post with content supplied by the Town. It has a 100,000 copy distribution and advertising costs are low. It is published twice a year in April and September.

Thurmont CAO Jim Humerick talked about some residential and commercial growth anticipated in the Town of Thurmont in the next two or three years. He suggested that if you feel strongly about the growth or lack of growth in the Town that you express that.

To become more involved with the Thurmont Business Networking group, please contact Vickie Grinder at 240-626-9980.

Mayor Don Briggs and members of the Emmitsburg Business and Professionals Association hosted the quarterly Emmitsburg Business Professionals Breakfast Meeting at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg on May 23, 2019.

County Executive Jan Gardner was the featured speaker. She spoke about the importance of small businesses and the Frederick County Office of Economic Development indicating that over 100 small businesses operate in Emmitsburg. She was proud to announce that the FY 2020 Frederick County Budget passed with a 7-0 vote. She also gave an update on county-wide topics that impact our small towns including recycling, agriculture, green initiatives, economic development, professional development, etc.

Mayor Briggs and Zach Gulden, Emmitsburg’s Town Planner gave an update on several projects around town including the sidewalks, bridge, and sign ordinance. Sister Martha with the Seton Center indicated that many good things are under way at the center with a dental program, career education, and other programs in the planning stages.

Various members gave updates about business and invitations for activities and events. Wayne Slaughter, Michael Cantori, and Allen Knott, officers of the EBPA, updated members about plans and social events like happy hour at the Ott House on Tuesday evenings. For more information, please visit EBPA’s new website

James Rada, Jr.

Brooks Behavioral Health has started taking appointments for individual, group, and family therapy sessions to address addiction problems. The office is located at 31B Water Street in Thurmont, and is one of two offices that Clinical Director David Brooks maintains in the county.

Brooks has worked as a Criminal Justice Program Manager for the Frederick County Health Department. This involved him working as the treatment coordinator of both Frederick County Drug and Veteran’s Treatment Court, while supervising the Frederick County Detention Center Substance Abuse Program. He opened the Frederick office of Brooks Behavioral Health Services in October 2017.

While working in his Frederick office, David Brooks realized that many of his patients were coming from the north end of Frederick County.

“Because of the type of treatment I provide, I was overwhelmed by the need in the north end of the county,” Brooks said. “I also saw that many of them had transportation issues with coming to see me.”

He also realized that part of the need for treatment in this area is because U.S. 15 is becoming more popular as a route used to transport drugs.

After speaking with the Thurmont Addiction Commission, Brooks decided that the need in the region was great enough that he should open an office to make it easier for people in the Thurmont and Emmitsburg area to get treatment.

Brooks is a criminogenics specialist, which looks at the behaviors of addiction rather than look at it as a disease.

“It is a disease, but we’re not treating it that way as a model,” explained Brooks.

The goal is to look at the ways that addictions manifest, such as lying, not trusting anyone, and being oppositional. Those things are identified and then addressed.

“Once that changes, and they understand where the behaviors come from, they start not wanting to do all of those negative behaviors,” said Brooks.

Brooks stated that the program has been working “phenomenally.” He has seen more than 500 people since he opened his Frederick office. In that time, he has only experienced three deaths among his clients and two of those were within the first week of treatment before much could be done.