DID YOU KNOW?
Deep Creek Lake History-How was McHenry Maryland named?
Dr. James McHenry, Secretary of War during the administrations
of Presidents Washington and Adams, purchased
almost 1,000 acres in the Buffalo Marsh area
which is today known as Marsh Run Cove or McHenry
Cove. After James and his son William died, a nephew,
John McHenry, moved to the Buffalo Marsh property.
After the death of John and his wife, the land passed
through many hands but today we know the area as
The Short History of the War of 1812 in Maryland
Maryland in the War of 1812-A Living Historical Event.The most forgotten war in America’s history is the War of 1812. Overshadowed by the Napoleon’s War in Europe, the War of 1812 today is a forgotten war. Although the major campaigns were fought in the Great Lakes and Canadian region, a campaign was launched by the British that focused on our nations newly formed capital city of Washington during the late summer of 1814.
On June 18, 1812 the United States declared war on Great Britain. The reasons for a war was because the Royal Navy was boarding US ships and taking back English escaped sailors. William Cobbet an Englishman said “They seemed to be wanting just such a war as this to complete the separation of England from America; and make the latter feel that she had no safety against the former but in the arms of her free citizens.” During the beginning of the War of 1812, the American territory was penetrated at three different points, by way of Lake Champlain, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Mississippi.
The British began an offensive campaign of capturing Washington in the summer of 1814. With much speculation of invasion, the Americans began construction of earth works on Fort McHenry by winter of 1813 to initiated preparations for a defensive campaign. The final year of the War of 1812 was distinguished by a greater invasive vigorous British force than what had earlier distinguished them.
As preparations on the Chesapeake were carried out, Captains Michael Sluss, Jacob Row, and Privates Michael C. Adelsberger, James Storm, Felix B. Taney, Jesse Nusseur, John Wetzel, and Peter Remby were all men from the Emmitsburg area, who joined the Maryland Militia to help defend Baltimore and Washington from the threat of a possible British infringement. Although Emmitsburg was a forgotten footnote in American history, the Toms Creek area became famous due to one individual, named Francis Scott Key.
Francis Scott Key (son of General John Ross Key) was born on August 1, 1779, in western Maryland on the family estate outside of Tom’s Creek called Terra Ruba. He was the son of an established Maryland family, and attended grammar school at Annapolis when he was 10 years old. At the age of 17, he graduated from St. Johns College in Annapolis and moved to Frederick, Maryland. He became a lawyer in Frederick until he moved to Georgetown. By 1805 he had established in law practice in Georgetown, Maryland and became one of the best lawyers in Washington. Francis Scott Key was a religious man and was involved in the Episcopal Church. Although opposed to the war, he served for a brief period with the Georgetown Light Field Artillery.
During the Battle of Bladensburg, Key was assigned of giving out field positions to the American troops. As the British began preparations to attack Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key was taken into captivity while arranging Dr. Beans’ release and witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor. He often wrote poems and the sight of the American flag still flying over the fort at daybreak inspired him to write the poem entitled “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which he set to the tune of an old English drinking song called, “To Anacreon in Heaven.
President James Madison warned his cabinet that he expected the British to attack Washington. The president then selected General William Winder to command a newly created Tenth Military District that covered Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia.. With much debate with the number of troops he had in his command, he could not order the defenses of Washington to be reinforced by additional troops until there was imminent danger.
August 24, was a day that America would rather forget. It was this day that Bladensburg was fought and is when Washington was taken by the British. During the morning, the British had marched for seven miles to Bladensburg. The British army still felt the swaying of the sea in their knees and the hot weather forced some of the soldiers dropped dead in their tracks. As British approached Bladensburg, the danger became more than threatening, as they clashed for three hours with a much stronger American force. The tired soldiers of the British came onto the field without their Sharpshooters. The Americans thought how strange for the British to engage without support of their Sharpshooters. The Americans had thought a quick victory was at hand.
The defenses on the American right flank consisted of the Baltimore Artillery, who was entrenched on a knoll over looking the bridge that the British had to use. The Secretary of State James Monroe had arrived on the field and helped changed General Tobias Stansbury’s deployments giving the Americans a chance for victory. General Stansbury’s command fired a massive volley at the on coming British allies under Duke Wellington, as they began to scatter.
Seeing the British approach and the deployment of their artillery the Baltimore artillery held off the British. As the British began to charge the bridge, Colonel Thornton gave the order to his command to charge. The Baltimore artillery had no chance to fire the oncoming British as Colonel Thornton’s early charge did not allow them time to weaken the army. The British seeing the American advance, the red coats hurried as they placed their three cannon and began to fire at the defenses of the Americans. As the British engaged Colonel Thornton’s small army, they began to break through.
The British soon advanced on Colonel Wadsworth’s Baltimore Artillery, seeing the British charge, Wadsworth gave the command “load” as the Americans mistakenly placed the wadding in the barrel of the cannon, before placing the charge of powder, and this left the Americans fleeing, leaving both cannon behind. The 5th regiment was ordered to support the Baltimore Artillery; soon they were repulsed as rockets flew in the air. The British with three cannon and the Congreve Rocket petrified the militia as they broke and fled after a few volleys were fired. The right of the American army began to splinter, as General Winder pleaded with these men not to retreat and advance the British. The whole right flank of the American army started to retreat. Out of 1350 men the Americans had only fifty stayed and fought before they to retreated. The Americans were breaking giving the National Turnpike to the British, as the militia was in full flight as they were insufficiently trained to withdraw in good order. At this point private Henry Fulford quoted “Our main objective was to flee from the British and head to a near by swamp.”
The Americans received reinforcements from Commodore Joshua Barney and 400 sailors and marines who arrived at Bladensburg and formed the third line of battle. The sailors and the marines held as long as they could while the Americans retreated. The only defense of the Americans had to slow the British advance on Washington, was a battery of five naval cannon. Only the sailors and marines held firm, but the British eventually maneuvered around them. Commodore Joshua Barney and his battalion were the only Americans to gain credit for the day. President Madison was tracking down the Secretary of War to find out what steps were in the works to meet the final British assault, he was shocked and disheartened to find out there was no plan. By 4:00 P.M. the Battle of Bladensburg was over, it had lasted three hours.
The position of American troops at Bladensburg was improperly coordinated. General Winder himself contributed to the defeat by ordering the militiamen to retire before they were properly deployed. The battle of Blandensburg became known as “The Bladenburg Races.” After a few hours rest the British formed up and continued on toward Washington.
By dusk, the British approached the heart of Washington bearing a flag of truce and demanded surrender. Suddenly from a house window the flag of truce is fired upon. The British troops rushed into the house where the shots had been fired from, and put all who were found in the house to the sword and then reduced the house to ashes. They went onto burn and destroy every building connected to the government. This was a major embarrassment to our nation, which resulted disastrously to the Americans as important historical landmarks and official government documents were destroyed. The British stayed in Washington for two nights as the city laid in agony. The weather had turned for the worst, as a storm made landfall. Not knowing when the broken American army would try and retake Washington, the British to abandon Washington the next night.
Early September, after their success in Washington, the British decided to follow up with an attack on Baltimore. This city was an attractive target not only because it was a large commercial center and an important base for privateers but also because it was such a hotbed of algophobia. On the afternoon of September 11, General John Stricker of the American army marches out of Baltimore toward North Point with 3,200 men. That evening he encamped seven miles from the city near the Methodist-meeting house. The next morning a British force of 5,000 landed at North Point under the command of General Robert Ross and Admiral George Cockburn.
At 7 A.M. on September 12, General Stricker receives word of the British landing and orders all baggage to the rear, while he arranges his brigade into three defense lines at the narrowest point between the Patapsco and Back Rivers. At noon the two forces met and a brief skirmish erupts. During the skirmish, British General Ross was killed. The command was then given to Colonel Arthur Brooke. Colonel Brooke brings up the Light Infantry and Rocket Batteries and encounters General Stricker’s 3rd Brigade. Unable to hold his left flank against a British flanking assault, he orders an orderly fallback to the defenses of Baltimore City on Hampstead Hill. By 4 p.m. General Sticker the burning of a large ropewalk (a long, low building used for manufacturing rope for ships), creating “a very brilliant light” that temporarily causes panic in Baltimore. British warships began to sail up the river to take position two miles from Fort McHenry.
By 5:30 A.M. on September 13, the British warships commence the bombardment of Fort McHenry, their artillery quickly replied. British warships then move and anchor out of range from the fort’s cannon. While on land at north Point, the British push forward and try to out flank the American right, but is countered. As the British return to their former position east of Hampstead Hill, Colonel Brooke considers a frontal assault at midnight upon the American left flank. If he would pursue this plan, he would need the British navy to distract the Americans. As the British continued to attack Fort McHenry, a British mortar shell make a direct hit on Bastion Number 3 dismounting a 24-pound cannon and killing Lt. Levi Claggett and Sergeant John Clemm of the Baltimore Fencibles.
The British, believing they had executed severe damage, moved nearer to the fort. With the British ships now within range of the fort’s guns, the American defenders respond with all available guns, scoring several hits. As the land battle of North Point was underway, Colonel Brooke receives a message from the Vice Admiral that the ships cannot lend support to his assault because sunken vessels and the extensive American shore batteries block the channel. The British intend to engage the western shore batteries and create a diversion in hopes of pulling the Americans from Hampstead Hill to support the threat on Fort McHenry and the backdoor of their defenses, favoring an assault by Brook’s forces on Hampstead Hill.
The British continued their march to Baltimore. After getting within sight of the cities defenses, the British decided to turn back because they could not lure the Americans out from their defensive works. Meanwhile Cohchrane had brought up his bomb and rocket ships to attack Fort McHenry. Major George Armistead stood with 1000 men to defend the fort. Cohcrane wanted to silence the guns of the fort so that he could bring in the smaller ships and then weaken the American lines.
As midnight approached the British flotilla proceeds with its diversionary plan up the Ferry Branch, Colonel Brooke has already decided to withdraw the Army and return to their shipping at North Point. Brooke’s decision would not reach the Navy in time to cancel the Ferry Branch offensive. The American defenders at Forts Covington and Babcock discover the British flotilla offshore and open crossfire on the barges. Two barges are sunk. After the bombardment, Fort McHenry ceases its fire against the British ships. By 7 a.m. the next morning, the British cease-fire and begin to withdraw. As the last British ship sails down river, Fort McHenry raises the Star-Spangled Banner over the ramparts. That evening, a small cartel vessel passes Fort McHenry and docks at Fells Point and on board is Francis Scott Key.
The British bombardment of Fort McHenry began at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of September 13, as a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key watched the red glare of the British rockets, the bombs bursting in air over the Fort and wrote a poem about the flag that was still flying over the fort after a siege of three days and nights. The British gave up the siege and retreated, the Americans had held out, it was a heartening victory and a version of Key’s poem would become our National Anthem.
After the War of 1812 Francis Scott Key continued practicing law. He was the district attorney in Washington, D.C. until his death on January 11, 1843. He is buried at Mount Olive Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which Francis Scott Key wrote became our country’s national anthem in 1931.
Today, Tera Ruba (Latin for Red Earth) stands as a monument in honor of Francis Scott Key outside of Toms Creek in the small town of Keysville. The only monuments for their brave acts during the War of 1812 are the tombstones in which these soldiers of Emmitsburg sleep. In James Helman’s 1906 book A History of Emmitsburg history he lists those who are buried in the Cemeteries around the Toms Creek area and they are as follows:
A personal note: While researching this article, I ran into two of my ancestors who fought in the War of 1812. Private Miller Junkins, died December 1, 1814 and Private John Durst who served in the First Rifle Battalion Maryland Militia. My mother has always told me Francis Scott Key is a relation in my family heritage.
STORY -JOHN MILLER
Morchella Mushrooms (MORELS)
Morchella Mushrooms (MORELS). Have you any idea what a Morel Mushroom is? It took me some time before I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of these honeycomb-looking species of cup fungi that send people all over the country into a hunting rage during the spring. Ramps are more common than morels although still semi-elusive to most. When cooked up, the flavors explode in your mouth sending you scurrying to find your boots to get out and hunt for another “mess” of these golden jewels.
So where do you find these caps you ask? Depending on who you ask it could range from under cherry trees, under elm trees, south exposed spots, north exposed spots, behind the barn, or in the next state. The secret is hidden deeply in the mind of the locals and the actual spots are guarded by families for generations and generations. There is no easy road to the promise land of mushrooms. The one way to get them is to get off your tail and get steppin’ into the woods looking for anything that is a couple inches tall and has a honeycomb cap to them. I had a friend of mine and Betsy’s give me some morels a couple years back, but this year it’s up to me! I am heading out after work to get a start on finding that needle in a haystack shroom that will certainly turn into a new springtime ritual for me if I am lucky to stumble on a few.
Aurora Borealis Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. “Aurora Borealis the icy skies at night, Paddles cut the water, in a long and hurried flight”. Neil Young sang these lyrics many years ago speaking of a time long ago when the country was simple and undeveloped. What a special place this must have been before things were so defined. Natural wonders like the Northern Lights, space, and the stars must have fueled some interesting talk around the campfire. Funny thing is that in Garrett County you can still get that feeling as the sun starts descending and the cool night penetrates the collar of your jacket.
You could feel something special in the air last night with all the talk of the Aurora Borealis which is more commonly known as the Northern Lights. This phenomenon is very uncommon for this area which increases the excitement for locals and visitors alike. I found a nice quiet spot on Wisp Mountain facing the North with my camera in hand and a nice cup of Joe. You could hear the birds faintly over a calming silence that we commonly experience here at the lake at dusk. The glow of sunset illuminated the mountain ranges miles in the distant as I waited patiently for the light show to begin. What a wonderful and clear night we all experienced as the night settled into darkness. I sat patiently relaxing and enjoy this crisp and cool night but unfortunately never saw a sign of the much anticipated light show spectacle that was forecasted. Some say that the forecast called for it to happen much earlier than it actually did. Although I was a bit disappointed that I missed and opportunity to photograph and experience this legendary event, I felt a deep love for a county rich in the old world feel of living. Leave your traffic jams, busy work schedules, and travel sports for a long weekend and throw up a tent and gather around the campfire to experience life, and true living.
Hurricane Sandy first caught my attention barreling up from Florida towards our second home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The original plan was to travel the 7 ½ hours southeast and ride out the storm protecting our beloved beach home. It wasn’t long before predictions were hailing it as a super storm that could possibly devour the entire east coast with wind and storm surges and threaten the mountains of western Maryland with a heck of a lot of snow. As Garrett Countyis our primary residence we chose to stay here and weather the storm and take care of our dogs, family and friends. I prepared over the weekend as the storm was supposed to hit early in the week. Although we are on public water, I filled all the tubs with water in case something was to go awry and we called our gas supplier to make sure we had a full tank. We also bought 6- one gallon containers of water to put in our main freezer to help keep it cold when the power went out. There was no doubt in our minds that we would lose power for days, maybe even weeks as the forecast got bleaker with every new report on the news channels.
On Monday afternoon, the snow started light and beautiful in our peripheral vision as we kept up the pace in preparation for the worst storm of the century. The days seemed short as we ran around the county collecting supplies to make sure there was nothing we would leave out in our preparations. As night cooled down the air, we sat in front of the TV waiting for the inevitable. The trees already weighted heavy from the wet snow that seemed to continue to stretch the limbs toward the ground inch by inch as the sky dumped at a steady pace. Without notice, the lights pulsed off, then back on which dropped our spirits and picked them up in an instinct. It was only a few seconds later that the lights went off and the last light of the TV constricted smaller and smaller until it was gone like a candle being extinguished by a winter wind.
The candles and flashlights were already in place to be lit and the gas fireplace’s steady hiss took over the ambience of the room replacing the lively TV. Our two dogs walked around for the next few hours confused as to what was really going on and we unwillingly hunkered down for a long, cool night.
There is something always very magical about the first snow of the season and this one lived up to every first snow from the past with beauty extending across all of GarrettCounty. First thoughts are…can we drive up to the top of the driveway to get out and about? I worked my way digging about half way up the 100+ foot driveway when I realized that the main road had not been plowed yet, which made my attempts to dig us out useless. It was then when I noticed the very heavy, clingy snow pulling down some trees and limbs with a fair, variable gusty breeze swirling across the mountain. I started to focus in on the damage around us caused by the heavy snow that had still not let up, and that were continuing to weight heavier on the trees as time clicked forward.
Word was out through Facebook that power would not be restored for over a week or more. The photos started to surface of huge trees falling over by the thousands, draping over power lines all around the county. It became very apparent that this ordeal had not peaked and that we still had more destruction possible to come. There was still no official word as to how this was going to be handled and who was going to do the work. County officials and volunteers were manned with chainsaws trying to open basic roadways with hopes of professional tree workers and power workers to take over soon. Betsy’s brother came over on Tuesday afternoon with his tractor to open up our driveway and with perfect timing the county plow truck followed suit and opened up the main roads. Another cool night with steady snowfall took us into Wednesday morning where the snowfall total was getting close to 30”. I decided I would venture out to see what was actually going on and started down the mountain on Shingle Camp Road. As I passed the Lodestone Golf Course I realized that I had probably made a mistake getting out and about so soon. The problem…I could not turn around and the road was only plowed as wide as my car. I had no choice but to continue down the road weaving through small openings that the plow was lucky enough to punch through, many times going under trees pulled over the road like mini caves. As I turned up Oakland Sang Run, I started to fear a bit for my personal safety as power lines were everywhere as the result of tree after tree falling. I turned up Mayhew Inn Road hoping to get back to the main highway quickly and out of harm’s way. I caught a county front end loader immediately and spend a good 45minutes following it watching as the heavy trees were pushed out of the way. I felt like I was going through a war zone, an apocalypse at times, and the power lines/downed trees were littered everywhere.
Maryland’s Governor came on Thursday to assess the damage, and it seemed like a switch was turned on with relief efforts. The main highway, Route 219, coming into McHenry was filled with tractor trailers, National Guard vehicles, tree cutting specialists, and power workers. By around 4pm we had our power back up and running. We were the fortunate ones because 65% of the county was still without. The County had a lot of shining moments with the help of many people – strangers to the area, neighbors, family and friends. The crews spent the next 5 days busting their tails to helpGarrettCountyresidents re-gain power and some normalcy throughout this disaster.
As of today we still have a lot of people powerless, but we seem to be getting closer to getting all of this resolved. The strength of our community, volunteers, friends and neighbors have taken a tragic situation and injected it with good ‘ole American perseverance to bring us all together as one to tackle unfamiliar obstacles confidently and compassionately. God Bless America and Garrett County!
Deep Creek Lake-Sweet Corn-Fratz Farm. ext time when you are coming into Deep Creek Lake, presumably from Interstate 68 via Route 219, you will find the sweetest of the sweet corn at Fratz Farm in-between Accident and McHenry. There are some things that are hyped up for flavor, like a bottle of wine or a restaurant recommendation, but they rarely live up to the immense words that are used to describe them. This small-town farm has no problem backing all the wonderful things that patrons say about them summer after summer regarding this delicious summertime vegetable. On your way into the lake you will notice the corn fields off to the right with many different signs with numbers on them. I am sure this is the different hybrids they grow each year propagating their sweet corn species. This cross-hybrid process normally works in producing a plant breed that maximizes size, drought and insect resistance as well as increased flowering times. Okay, I ramble. Bottom line…when you’re coming into town, you will pass the farm anyway, and the corn is out of this world delicious! Get two times more than you think you will eat because it will be a bigger hit than your main course!
Deep Creek Lake, Maryland-Fast Facts
Total Shoreline: 65 miles
The Length the Lake:11.6 miles
Lake Elevation: 2,462
Area of Lake: 3,900
Summer Bottom H20 Temperature: 49F
Summer Surface H20 Temperature: 73F
Average Depth: 26.5 feet
The Maximum Depth: 72 feet
Approximate Depth of Ice in Winter: 18”
The American Chestnut Tree
I had a fantastic morning before work snowboarding & skiing with local folk hero/historian, Ed King, who has 77 years of life lessons and life long memories & experiences that provide much more insight than a Google search! Ed is a colleague of mine here at Long and Foster who is respected immensely by the people of Garrett County. While on the chairlift the other morning, he shared his memories of the blight that destroyed the queen of timber in the Appalachians, The Chestnut Tree. Our fascinating and unique history here in the United States always revolved around perseverance and ingenuity when faced with disaster, and the chestnut tree has engrained itself in the fables. The chestnut tree has run a full circle of life going from a huge part of the economy, then being wiped out, reclaimed, recycled, reused, and eventually re-established for the future.
The lightweight American chestnut tree was of huge economic importance to the people of Garrett County for many reasons. It was an extremely important component because it could grow to 100’ tall with huge diameters around the base, equating to a large amount of lumber. The tree has a reddish-brown color characteristic that was lightweight, soft, easy to split, very resistant to decay and did not shrink or warp, which made it a goldmine for a developing country.
Unfortunately, a very deadly blight/fungus was introduced in 1904 from the Orient and after 40 years of contamination the Chestnut stands were completely demised throughout Garrett County and the Appalachians. Because of their natural resistance to rot, these dead trees stood for many years as ghosts in the vast forest. The fact that they were very dry was a serious concern for the National Parks, as they were considered fire hazards. Mr. King told me that back then you could go the National Forest and ask for a certain amount of trees and they would give you a paint color to use so you could paint the trees you wanted to cut at a later date. You can imagine that this cheap valuable resource became the go-to wood for locals here at the lake.
When looking for real estate here at the lake, you will often hear of homes where they have reclaimed wormy chestnut and used them in construction details. You probably wonder how the tree got their famous wormy characteristics. After the tree stood year-after-year, the worms started to bore through the lifeless trees so that after harvesting them it would give them the patented black wormy trails through the beautiful red-brown chestnut grain.
The next time you run into a home decked out in wormy chestnut while looking for real estate here at Deep Creek Lake, remember the interesting history associated to this special tree.
1884 Oakland Train Station
History Buffs, have I got something to share with you that is a mere 15 minutes up the road from Deep Creek Lake. Next time you are here at the lake get on 219 south and head to Oakland; you will be rewarded for your efforts once you get to the 1884 Oakland Train Station! This beautifully architected building is actually the 3rd building to occupy this location through the years. The first was a small two-story wooden building that was constructed after the railroad arrival in 1851. Unfortunately, a fire from the nearby Glades Hotel consumed the railway structure in 1874. During the interim, a one-story building was erected to serve as the train station until the current masterpiece was built in 1884. Original architect E. Francis Baldwin described his creation by using the term “Queen Anne Style”, which is highlighted by the rounded telegraph tower and roof that really gives the building its signature personality
The town of Oakland purchased the entire train station property in 1998. It has since become the center piece of Oakland’s “revitalization work” that was finished in 2000. There was a time in history when steam locomotives were the norm, and a 250,000 gallon water tank that stood 50’ tall occupied the East side of the station. It remained in tact until the 1920’s when it was de-constructed.
Oakland was once a very busy hub for transportation greeting 8 long distance express passenger trains a day in the 1940’s and 1950’s. During this time you could hail a train in St. Louisand be in Washingtonin in almost 24 hours. What a remarkable trip that must have been winding and carving through this amazing land at a wonderful time in history. Take your own trip back in time and try to put yourself back where the roar of the train whistle echoed through the foothills of beautiful Garrett Countyand the roots of train travel were paving the way to the industrial revolution.