Currently viewing the tag: "Wolfsville"

The Year is…1899

A Spurned Love Affair Turns Deadly

by James Rada, Jr.

On April 22, 1899, 16-year-old Orpha Harshman of Wolfsville started off on a two-mile walk to her sister’s house. She took a shortcut across a field that would cut the journey in half.

Her stepbrother, Edward Morgan, 25, watched and followed. He caught up to her on a mountain ridge out of sight of any houses.

Although there were no witnesses to what happened next, the Emmitsburg Chronicle presented this version of events:

“As she arrived at the rocks, Morgan sprang out and called upon her to offer up her last prayer, as her time had come. He, at the same time, thrust a revolver in her face. She begged him to spare her life, but to no purpose. It is said that, finding her pleadings were fruitless, she summoned all her courage and attempted to strike the weapon from his hand, when he quickly placed it to her temple and fired, the bullet entering the right side of the head and passing out on the left. In attempting to ward off the weapon, the sleeve of her dress took fire from the powder and was burned off, as well as a portion of the dress over her bosom, under which her arm lay where she fell. Her arm was badly burned, and her bosom seared from the fire.

“Feeling satisfied he had killed her, Morgan then placed the revolver to his own head and attempted to send a bullet into his brain, but the leaden missile struck the right cheekbone, and glancing came out of his eye. He then fired a bullet into his left leg. Finding these two ineffectual, he placed the barrel of the revolver against his abdomen and emptied the two remaining chambers into his bowels and fell over by the side of his innocent victim.”

Peter Baer lived nearby. He heard the pistol shots and a scream. More shots, in quick succession, followed a few minutes later, but Baer paid them no mind, according to the Catoctin Clarion.

Charles Kline was driving his mother home in a buggy when he heard the shots. He drove toward the shots and found Morgan’s and Harshman’s bodies lying in pools of blood. The sight upset Kline so much that he didn’t recognize the bodies. He thought they were tramps.

Kline drove his buggy to Scott Martin’s house and told Martin to get a doctor. Kline then drove back to the bodies with some other people who were at Martin’s house.

They examined the bodies, and surprisingly, found them both alive. However, Harshman died a short time later. Morgan’s body was loaded onto a wagon and taken to his home. The doctor could do nothing, and Morgan died five hours later.

The story soon came out that Morgan had been obsessed with his stepsister (Morgan’s father married Harshman’s mother).

“The family had been living happily and contented until about six months ago, when Mrs. Morgan observed her husband’s son was paying what she considered too much attention to her daughter,” the Emmitsburg Chronicle reported. “The more she resisted, the stronger became his attachment for her.”

Morgan became so desperate that he asked Harshman to elope with him. She refused him and said if he didn’t leave her alone, she would leave home.

“Seeing she was determined in her purpose, he told her that unless she married him, she would never live to be the bride of another,” according to the Chronicle.

Instead, Morgan’s father told him he needed to move out. Morgan did, but he stayed in a building near his family home. He also spent a lot of time in Hagerstown getting drunk, and a week before the murder-suicide, he purchased the pistol he would use to kill Harshman and himself.

Both Harshman and Morgan were buried in separate cemeteries. Harshman was buried in the Grossnickle Dunkard Church cemetery and Morgan in the Wolfsville Reformed Church cemetery.

Even in death, Morgan still could not be near Harshman.

A fire above Thurmont between Route 550 and Kelbaugh Road consumed seven acres on Sunday, November 21, 2016. The fire started around 2:00 p.m., was contained by 5:00 p.m., and fully extinguished by 8:00 p.m. It was started by downed power lines.

Ironically a new fire broke out around 1:00 a.m. the following morning near the same area. It is believed that the second fire started when a spark from the first fire was carried by the wind to the new location.

Initially, Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Company responded to the second fire, and by 7:30 a.m. fifty to seventy-five fire fighters were involved. Responders from Thurmont, Graceham, Emmitsburg, Rocky Ridge, Wolfsville, Smithsburg, Leitersburg, Frederick City, Camp David, Lewistown, Greenmount, Middletown, Blue Ridge Summit, Raven Rock, and more reported to help. Route 550 was closed to traffic during these fires.

Graceham Fire Company’s Assistant Chief, Louie Powell, was in command at the base of the mountain on Route 550 where water, gas, food, and holding tanks were set up. A canteen truck was brought in from Independence Fire Company to feed the responders.

Powell explained that to pump water up the mountain to fight the fire, a fire truck from Rocky Ridge had a 5” supply line pumping from the holding tanks to an engine from Vigilant Hose Company, and then that engine pumped through to another engine, and so on, to reach the fire higher up the mountain. He said, “It’s a neat operation.”

Neither of these fires resulted in a threat to human life, nor was there damage to homes or buildings. The second fire consumed approximately ten more acres of forest before being fully extinguished sometime in the afternoon on Monday.

Thanks to the many residents who provided assistance to the firefighters by opening access routes, allowing access to your property, and allowing the use of your private ponds for water. Good job to everyone who pulled together to successfully beat these fires!


Photo of fire by Donna Sweeney,


photo of basecamp by Deb Spalding

Barbara Abraham

When we, or people visiting the area, think about the names of certain communities, thoughts jump to animals for being the origin. Why not think animals had an influence on the long-ago names? After all, back then, there were more animals than people populating the woods and meadows. But are these thoughts always right?

Wolfsville: It was a Wolf (Wolfe) by the name of Jacob who built the first house on the site of Wolfsville in Catoctin District, Frederick County, Maryland. It was Jacob for whom the place was named. He owned $3,100 worth of real estate and was a farmer (1850 Census). He married Catherine Main, and they had children. Jacob died in 1892 at the age of eighty-six, and lies buried in the old Reformed Cemetery (the church is no longer there) in Wolfsville.

One son of Jacob and Catherine Wolf, Samuel, was also a farmer. He rented until 1835, when he purchased 100 acres of farm and timber land from his father. He was one of the first to own and operate a saw mill in Frederick County, Maryland. In 1857, he disposed of his land and saw mill, bought seventy-five acres in Frederick City, Maryland, and moved there.

From route 77, at the intersection of Foxville Deerfield and Stottlemyer Roads, Wolfsville is located six miles south on Stottlemyer Road.

Thos. C. Fox - goes with article by Barb AbrahamFoxville: It was a Fox (Fuchs).          George Fuchs moved to Frederick County, Maryland, when he was a young man. He bought a tract of timber land, located in what is now known as Hauver’s District, named it “Foxes Ranges,” and afterward, Foxville. He cleared part of his land and erected buildings. Then, he opened a store. He purchased more large tracts of land, on which he farmed and felled timber. He attended Apples Church in Mechanicstown (Thurmont), where records show some of his children were baptized. He donated land for the first Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church in Foxville in 1830, the congregation having been formed in 1829.

George Phillip Fox (son of George Fox) was born in 1795. He purchased part of his father’s land, built various buildings, and spent the rest of his life farming and felling timber. He was magistrate of Hauver’s District, and was one of the first judges of the district.

Thomas Cline Fox (son of George Phillip Fox), remained at home in Hauver’s District until he married Ruth Ann Buhrman. After marriage, in 1863, he bought a small farm and store from his father-in-law and became a successful farmer and merchant. Some years later, he purchased the historical Plantation in Foxville, together with the old Colonial Tavern where George Oats (later changed his name to George Hauver) put up his first tavern sign, on April 3, 1803. After George Oats (Hauver), the next proprietor of the tavern was a Mr. Need, followed by David Wolf. It was here that many celebrated, people were entertained, and political meetings were held and addressed by prominent speakers from distant towns. It was here, also, that farmers rested while on their way to and from Baltimore via Manahan Road with their season’s yield of wheat.

Thomas C. remodeled the old tavern by replacing the plaster on the outside with wood siding, making changes on the inside, and erecting a new barn and store. He then moved into the tavern and lived there until his death. This old tavern was, and is, located on the right side, before entering Manahan Road at Foxville. (The old tavern’s interior has been modernized in the past few years, and the barn torn down.)

Thomas C. was one of the directors of Citizen’s Savings Bank (since demolished) of Thurmont, and a generous contributor to the second and third Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church buildings. Thomas C. and Ruth Ann Fox had six children, four of which reached adulthood. After the death of Ruth Ann, he remarried Clara Marker. They had no children. Thomas C. died at the age of eighty-six.

In 1882, Foxville was a busy community with two stores, two schools, two churches, a doctor, a post office, a blacksmith, two carpenters, two shoemakers, and a constable. Foxville is located on Foxville Deerfield Road north from Route 77. The intersection is west of Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. Mail is now delivered from Sabillasville, Maryland.

Beartown: It was a Bear (Baer, Bare, Barr, Bair, Bayer). This Bear family was of Swiss origin. Jacob T. Bear was born in 1783 in Pennsylvania. He owned land and lived in what was called “The Mansion House” (no longer there) at Beartown, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He served in the War of 1812, married Elizabeth Grimm, and they had eleven children. He died in 1863 and was buried in Union Cemetery, Fountaindale, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Jacob Daniel Baer (son of Jacob T. Bear) was born in 1844 in Beartown, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, the second son and seventh child in order of birth. He served in the Civil War. He enlisted in Company E, 126th Pennsylvania Infantry and was attached to the Third Division, Fifth Army Corps under Fitz John Porter. His first hard fought battle was at Fredericksburg, Virginia, where his corps lost half its force. He also participated in the battle of Chancellorsville. His term of enlistment had expired before the battle, but he prolonged the time to nine months and twelve days to cover this engagement.

Being discharged from the regular service, he for a time occupied positions in the Quartermaster’s department and in the commissary department, but desiring more active service he re-enlisted, this time in Company G, 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was mustered in on August 24, 1864. He was then in the first Division, Cavalry Corps, under General Sheridan, and was one of the company who escorted Sheridan to the fort at Cedar Creek on his heroic ride from Winchester, Virginia. From here, he followed up Cumberland Valley, and at Gordonsville, he had a horse shot under him. His command reached Waynesboro, Virginia, too late to effect Early’s capture. From here, the cavalry was sent to join Grant at Petersburg. Jacob D. Baer was mustered out of service at Washington, D.C. and he returned to his home in Pennsylvania in June 1865. In December 1867, he married Anna Maria Miller, of Washington County, Maryland. Five children were born before they removed to near Bellwood, Butler County, Nebraska where Jacob D. filed a homestead claim in 1876. Six more children were born in Nebraska. (From a Butler County, Nebraska, newspaper.)

In July 1913, Jacob D. Baer returned to Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, for the semi-centennial observance of the battle of Gettysburg. A Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, newspaper, Blue Ridge Zephyr, published an article regarding his visit and comments he made. He said he was an orderly for General Sheridan at times, and once or twice he was the only soldier with the great cavalry leader.

An excerpt from the newspaper, mentioned that Jacob D. Baer was with General Kilpatrick.

“Mr. Baer, after the battle of Gettysburg, was on his way to Beartown, to help protect his people from the retreating confederates. A dozen confederates in blue uniforms captured him near Monterey and he and David Miller, of Clermont House, sent Miss Susan Lookabaugh to tell the late Chas. H. Buhrman of their capture…

Miss Lookabaugh walked past the confederate pickets about 3:30 o’clock. At dusk Kilpatrick’s men came hurrying along.

The confederates had a piece of artillery in the middle of the road in front of the Clermont house.

When the union cavalry appeared they loaded this with grape and canister and discharged it. The union troopers, however, rode on the side of the road and the shot went whizzing between them.

The confederates left without their gun…

Soon General Kilpatrick rode up and dismounted at the Clermont house. He spent time on the porch, in conversation with Mr. Baer, getting from him information as to the roads.

While thus engaged, a messenger from General Custer rode up and presented the latter’s request for more men. “Tell General Custer he has enough men. Tell him to lick h— out of them!” was Kilpatrick’s reply.

Fifteen minutes later General Custer appeared with three stands of colors.

“I’ve got them, General,” was his salutation. He had cut to pieces a long line of Lee’s wagon train.

Beartown is located on Mentzer Gap Road, off of Route 16, west from Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. It has no post office. Mail is delivered from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.


Deb Spalding

Yes, the Kuhns and the Wolfes were out for the Foxville School Reunion on May 17, 2015, at the school house. So were the Brandenburgs, Buhrmans, Hurleys, Willards, Delauters, Klines, and Clines, in addition to members of other homestead mountain families as students of the former Foxville School reminisced while enjoying a lunch of homemade fare. “The reunion has been held since 1986, and since that first gathering, 86 people who were present at the first reunion have passed away,” said reunion coordinator, Don Hurley.

Students shared stories about arriving early to fire up the wood stove; cutting firewood at the school to use when coal rations ran out; sneaky boys putting pencils in a girl’s braids; playing on a big log in the woods behind the school house; and shimmying out a window and running home to avoid staying after school (there was no mention of the escape the next day).

Before the Foxville School was built in 1924, North Franklin School and East Franklin School served smaller groups of school children in the Foxville area. The current Foxville School building was used until June 1961. It was planned that the school would close earlier but there was much organized resistance to the idea. When it finally closed, the entire student body consisting of about 60 students was transferred to Wolfsville.  At that time, Mr. Marshall Leatherman retired from the principalship and Mr. Kenneth Frushour was assigned as principal. Mrs. Virginia K. Draper was assigned as a sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Judith (King) Raun was assigned as a new first grade teacher, and Miss Joan Lawyer (now Spalding) was assigned as a new third grade teacher.

The students from Foxville continued to attend the Wolfsville School until the new Sabillasville Elementary School was built and occupied in September, 1965. Sabillasville Elementary School will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with special activities this fall. The anniversary will also be honored at the opening ceremonies of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show in September.

For more information about the Foxville School Reunion, please call 301-416-0798 or 301-416-0185.


This photo was taken in the “Little” room of the school where grades 1, 2, and 3 were taught. Pictured left to right front row are Beverley (Hurley) Kolb, Margaret (Buhrman) Sigler, Ethel (Hurley) Fitzgerald, Betty Willard (former teacher at the school), Elva (Weagley) Schultz, Jane (Hayes) Draper, Janet (Wolfe) Monn, Jean (Wolfe) Cline; 2nd row, Diane (Hessong) Vaughn, Carolyn (Brandenburg) Fishack, Ruth “Pat” Willard, Nancy (Hurley) Glass, Evangeline (Willard) Brown, Judy (Kline) Willard, Patty (Jacobs) Willard, Genevieve Delauter, Paul Delauter; 3rd row, Dot McAfee, Henry Buhrman, Sara (Testerman) Hurley, Clarence Lee Willard, Rob McAfee, Don Hurley, Harold “Bill” Brandenburg, Eugene Brandenburg, Karl E. Brandenburg, Rayetta (Willard) Brown, Austin  “Ott” Wolfe, Richard Willard, Jim Kuhn, Ken Cline, and Walter Lantz, Jr.

Photo by Deb Spalding

Foxville School — 1948 or 1949

The photo was taken on the front steps of the Foxville School.

Foxville School Reunion - 1948 or 1949

First row: Cyrus Brown, Gary Kendall, Unknown, Merle Toms, Dick Abraham, Clifton Pryor, Bonnie Kuhn, Joan Fox (?); 2nd row: Kenny or Paul Smith (brothers), Charles Linton, Richard Toms, John Stottlemyer, Leah Willard (also known as Leah (Wolfe), Kay Swope; 3rd row: Bob Testerman, Robert Duncan, Ralph Hurley, Arthur Brandenburg, Frankie Linton; 4th row: Joan Draper, Beverley Hurley, Harold Willard, Leon DeLauter, Josephine Buhrman, Dorothy Stottlemyer, Betty Pryor, Margaret Kuhn; 5th row: Ronald Swope, Julia Brandenburg, Roberta Hauver, Imogene Brown, and Gary Swope.