Allegany County, Maryland
The following speech was written and presented to the Homemakers Club by Mary (Miller) Bowen, wife of William Anthony Bowen of Mt. Savage, Allegany County, Maryland in 1953. Joyce Reiss ( firstname.lastname@example.org) located this treasure and transcribed it for your enjoyment.
Theophilus Morgan's Saloon. He married Mary Hammers and raised his family in Mt. Savage.
Photo contributed by Theresa, his Great-Granddaughter
|The history of Mt Savage
was compiled from county and church records, deeds, and
history books. Mrs. Mary Deffenbaugh was historian and
director of the Panorama. Mrs. Margaret Haas directed the
chorus. The Homemakers club wishes to thank the many
people of Mt. Savage who contributed anecdotes about the
town's growth and helped to make the Panorama a success.
April 29, 1953
"So come with me and help to turn the pages of history of these hills in which we live, when it was not called Mt. Savage nor was there a Frostburg or Cumberland either. The people living here did not look like you or I for they were not our ancestors. They were the original owners of these lands, the Shawaneeses or Shawnee of the great Algonquin Indian Family. This land was called co-lik-hanna; the land of sweet-waters.
Indian family life was simple, where food was within the reach of the nearest stream, where farming was primitive and squash, corn, and beans gave them a healthful diet. The rain and snow and wind was kept at bay by slabs of birchbark tied to the bent elm brough and lined with the skin of deer. Indeed we should be proud that on these lands once lived members of the Indian family that met the Pilgrims at Plymouth, that produced the great Indian Chief Pontiac and the beautiful princess Pocohantas.
The Shawaneeses were a peaceful people, but they often feuded with other members of the Algonquin family such as the Iroquois or Cherokee, but woe to the Indian nation that dared attack the great Algonquin family for the one hundred tribes rose up and banded together and fought fiercely and bravely.
The Shawneeses' religion was very simple, worshipping the great Thunderbird for they knew when the thunder roared, rain fell soon afterwards on their parched ground and made the crops abundant. Their religious ceremony was a simple prayer of thanksgiving and all the forest was their church.
|It was nearly a hundred
years after the landing of the Pilgrims before the white
man came to the foot of the Alleganies to permanently
settle here. The pioneers lived in caves and it was
trying at times fighting off the Indians while clearing
the land to farm and build homes. Indeed only the brave
and strong could survive. No wonder that they were called
"THE HARDY PIONEER".
The first relationship the white men had with the Indians was friendly. Much trade in furs was carried on between them. Unscrupulous white men often took advantage of the Indian's ignorance trading knives of inferior quality and sometimes not living up to their agreement which naturally led to resentments and killings. However, men like Colonel Cresap earned the respect of the Indians with his high code of honor and dealings. The Indians called him their white brother and when many of the tribe went west, some remained here. Chief Nemocolin was one of Colonel Cresap's friends who refused to leave this territory. When he died Colonel Cresap looked after his son, Georges. A fine honor was paid both father and son. Lonaconing was named after Chief Nemocoli and Georges Creek after his son Georges.
Many of us do not realize the names of the hills, streams, and mountains came down from these early settlers and Indians. Dan's Mountain was named after Colonel Cresap's son. Even though Colonel Cresap had the love and respect of the Indian Chiefs, the young Indians resented the intrusion of the white men. One day young Dan Cresap and a young Indian met at the top of the mountain where they shot it out. Neither was the victor for they killed each other. Wills Mountain also was named after an Indian called "Will". He and his family, too, refused to go to the west with his tribe, but remained and lived in a cave up in the mountains. A creek was named after him and called "Wills Creek". Even though the Indian has long passed away, every creek, valley, and mountain reminds us that we are the intruders and a great race has been lost in advancing civilization.
|As time went by the Indian
was making his final stand in the Allegany Mountains.
Their fierce resistance gave two of the ranges their
names, Big Savage and Little Savage. However, by 1759
there were a few Indians left who refused to go west with
their tribe and stayed and remained on friendly terms
with the white settlers. Many people had already moved
into these beautiful hills and valleys. The Arnolds,
Frosts, Mattinglys, Porters, Workmans, Logadons,
McKenseys and Deans were among the first to clear off
large sections and become our first citizens. A little
hamlet grew up at the foot of Little Savage and was
called Arnolds Settlement and in 1763 when Charles Mason
and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed the dividing line between
Pennsylvania and Maryland it definitely placed the Arnold
Settlement of the Free State of Maryland in Southern
Territory. Many who owned lands added to their acreage by
fighting in the Revolutionary War.
Other Revolutionary Soldiers came after the war taking up their allotted fifty acres the Government gave them. The Trimbles, Brailers, Coombs and many others came here at that time. All new settlers were welcomed and neighborly feeling prevailed. Each helped the other clear lands, build log and stone houses and stables, and in general helped to get settled. The children of these early settlers intermarried and took their place in a growing community. They are proud of their heritage and justly so.
An interesting story is told of the old Coombs Farm, now occupied by Mrs. Ethel Conks (sp?). It is called the "Curse of the Old Coombs Farm". Witchcraft and ghost stories are legend but this curse is of particular interest. It happened before the Civil War. Mr. Ceese lived on the farm at that time and he was a butcher. A little girl came to the farm to buy meat. It is said a slave sicked a dog on her for picking up an apple in the orchard and tore her to pieces. The girl's mother put a "curse" on the heads of the owners for "a hundred years" that they would die a violent death. Seven of the occupants did die very suddenly and five of them violently. The one hundred years are over now. Let us hope the curse passed with them.
|Women, the homemaker,
always down in their hearts wanting to beautify their
homes for their families to live in comfortably and to be
pround of. These are the real mothers and wives. How a
small piece of wool was cherished after cutting out
father's suit and the boys pants from the homespun
material. Small patches were hoarded for the hooked rugs.
In the same manner pieces of linsy-woolsey were used for
cushion covers, quilts and rugs. Pieces of gingham and
calico made beautiful quilts and many of these fine hand
woven coverlets are cherished heirlooms today. The
"Crazy Patch" silk quilts often furnished
conversation for years after its making and became a
"I remember" quilt. "I remember Aunt Suzy
had a dress made of this silk" - "I remember
Mary's best dress was made of this" and "here
is a piece of Mother's wedding dress". The "Log
Cabin" was another favorite, "The
Workbasket" and "9 Patch". Indeed a whole
story could be written on early quilts alone.
There are many beautiful quilts and handwoven coverlets in some of the homes in Mt. Savage that are over one hundred years old.
|"1824 saw the birth
of the first regular incorporated coal company in the
Georges Creek region. "The Maryland Mining
Company". The excellence of the coal in this area
had been established at an early age. Transportation, of
course, was the handicap so the first coal was packed in
"hogsheads" and hauled to Cumberland where it
was dumped onto coal barges on the Chesapeake and Ohio
Canal. George Washington was greatly interested in
developing a water way connecting Southern Maryland and
Virginia with the Ohio River. The building of railroads,
however, soon solved the transportation problem and the
book of the Georges Creek Region was now on. Round
hoppers on flat cars and dumped from the sides replaced
the wooden barrels.
The coal mines, however, could only work when the canal was free from ice. If the winter was long, the miners and their families often went hungry. Children tramped the hills hunting for the spring poke plant to push its way through the earth to help out with food at home. The welcome word soon passed around "The Canal is free from ice" and miners sharpened their picks, inserted new handles, for they knew that every day of work in the summer meant food for the winter. A miner was fortunate if he made $3.00 a month during the winter. However, when the railroad took over the coal mining, work became plentiful the year around.
The life of the coal miner was hard. He worked 14 to 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, to make a living, only seeing his children on Sunday. Men walked from 2 to 7 miles to the mines. The C & P Railroad then put on a car for the miners convenience and since only miners rode it, it was dubbed "The Miners Car". The work was hard and dirty. It required much skill to mine coal and keep a safe roof of timber over head. One mistake could be fatal. A sharp crack of the timber gave the panic-stricken miners a warning of trouble. Water and gas were other threats to their lives. But coal mining was a challenge and miners would not trade their profession. It offered freedom from supervision. As soon as a miner "broke off" a "heading" it was his "room", his job. He could work as long a day as he wished and load as many cars as he wanted to. Being American, he liked this freedom and bit of independence.
Coal probably more than anything else helped keep the railroad prosperous. Before the motor bus the railroad did a brisk business with passengers too. Sometimes there were too many passengers for the coaches so the officials would add on a flat car with benches across. Of course, passengers were exposed to the smoke and dust from the coal burning engine, but people were not so particular in those days. Many of us can still remember the thrill of the big Sunday Event meeting the 4 o'clock train. Of course, no one actually meant to meet anyone in particular, but it was nice to watch who did get off the train.
Yes, coal mining affected everyone's lives in this area and even if the big vein coal is gone, one cannot imagine a Georges Creek Region without coal or coal miner even if the city people who had never been near a coal mine thought a coal miner was an animal or a worm.
One beloved notable miner in the Georges Creek Region was Davy J. Lewis, Congressman for the Sixth Congressional District for many years and father of Parcel Post, who received his higher education from Rev. Knott, Episcopal Minister here. Another notable person from the Georges Creek Region was His Eminence Edward, Cardinal Mooney, son of a coal miner.
|Although Mt. Savage
eventually became noted for its bricks, the first bricks
used were imported from England for the blast furnaces.
Clay was found when geologists were exploring for ores.
Although the iron ore was of inferior quality, the clay
was of the finest and about the year 1839 a small
building was built for making brick. The first plant was
back of the present railroad depot but, after the blast
furnaces and rolling mills were abandoned, the clay
company moved into quarters on Calla Hill extending on
down to the present locations and Mt. Savage really
became a brick manufacturing town.
Coal was used from the local mines which gave rise to a long period of prosperity in manufacturing bricks, mining coal and building engines and cars at the railroad shops. Clay was shipped to other manufacturing towns that made cement, lime pottery and enamel ware. When the brick building beside the railroad tracks was built in 1881 the lumber came from the dismantled Philadelphia Exposition.
Many Irish, Welsh and English came here to work in the rolling mills but after the ores proved a failure and mills shut down, they went to work in the brickyard and coal mines.
The brickyard was lucky to get one John Davis, a Welsh former rolling mill worker. He was of tremendous height and strength. His job was to straighten the crooked rails with a 100 pound mall. He was the only man who could lift and swing it. The mall is still at the brick yard and it is referred to as "The John Davis".
The Mt. Savage Brick Yard over a period of years has seen some good and some bad times. We hope to see it return to its former prosperity and again take its rightful place in this community.
In the early deeds and records this community was called Lulworth because the Lulworth Iron Company once owned the clay and manufacturing rights. But much later the name Mt. Savage appeared when it was sold again, taking its name from the one the people living around here preferred. As a matter of record, however, the community that was slowly growing up around the brisk yard, blast furnaces and railroads, was called "Savage Mountain Hamlet", but as the town grew larger, the Hamlet was dropped and "Savage Mount" continued in use for many years. Whether the "Mt. Savage" had a more lyrical sound than "Savage Mount" we do not know, but it became reversed and ever after was called Mt. Savage.
|"The Civil War had
been over for sometime and men returned to family life
again. Henry Nicodemus, Josh Leasure, Col. Aldridge, Pete
Conway and Tom Broadwick were among the men who fought to
preserve the Union. Probably the greatest glory should go
to Mr. Broadwick who fought in thirty-two (32)
engagements. Among them were Antietam, Gettysburg and
Bull Run and as Mr. Broadwick often remarked "Those
who didn't run are still there". But in Mt. Savage,
the threat "The Rebels are coming" would send
the people into a panic. In case of an invasion of
Cumberland, arrangements had been made with officials of
the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad Company to warn
the people in this area. All engines would be dispatched
from Cumberland with whistles _______ and bells ringing
furiously. Many people living today heard their parents
relate stories of this warning.
So the Union was preserved and people became more interested in more cultured things than war. A band was organized sometime between 1870 and 1880 that lasted for many years. Some of the directors were Mr. Booth, Mr. Mothersole, Mr. Geotz and Mr. Lemmert. The band was named after the Union Mining Company and was called "The Union Cornet Band". Ed and Charley Geotz, Geo. Lutz, Lou and Walt Witte, Chris Lemmert, Harry Best, Mose Lowery, Doc Sheetz, Howard Aldridge, Geo Biddington, Herb and Harry Porter, Clarence, Bill and Norman Riedler, Tom Evers, Harry Rizer and many others were members.
In spite of the transportation difficulties they managed to play in the surrounding towns at conventions and celebrations. They always held a little celebration of their own after the parades and when "round up time" came at the end of the evening a few always "turned up missing" and were left behind. Once the band played at Bedford for the Odd Fellows Convention and Johnny Lemmert didn't return for four days. They often received odd requests. At the Ancient Order of Hibernians Reunion in Westernport they were so fond of one band selection "Coon Band Contest" that the Irish refused to allow them to play anything else.
The band really branched out though when a political party from West Virginia called the "Flying Squadron" toured Allegany County in behalf of the "Dry" Political Party and hired the Union Cornet Band to play. They made a rather unusual appearance too with their gold spiked helmets and split tail coats. Of course, the uniforms were of medium size and the extra large man had his hat perched on top of his head. Hands and feet extended far beyond the cuffs. On the other hand the extra small man had his hat slid down over his ears. Rolled cuffs kept slipping down and tripping him often to his embarrassment. But the old folks will tell you these moments are precious and they REALLY were the days.
|The Fire Department of Mt.
Savage has always been a purely voluntary affair.
Detailed men connected with the railroad shop responded
in case of a fire in the town. George Barth was the shop
chief. However, there were few fire plugs in town, mostly
near the shops and railroad. The early equipment was hose
wrapped around a two wheeled jig pulled by four men. The
Fire Department was officially organized in 1893 and
incorporated in 1894 and has been an organization ever
since. It became Fire Department No. 1. The first fire
truck was gasoline driven and bought in 1925. The Company
has purchased over a period of years about four trucks.
Shop whistles warned the people of a fire. The first fire
house was over near the Roundhouse. It is now occupied by
the Ross Lumber Company. Just recently it was demolished.
In 1925 the Fire Company became a member of the Maryland
Mt. Savage has many things to be proud of - The Bruce House on a farm near Mt. Savage was the summer home of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he was a boy. Just as any other boy he liked to play games, particularly tennis, and, like any neighbor's child, would run over to Mrs. Miller, who lived on the Coombs' Farm, and eat her good German Kooken Roll. So Mt. Savage is proud to be the home of President, Congressman, Cardinal and Bishop. So too the Fire Department made Fireman History by winning prizes in competition with fire departments of other towns. Its colorful uniforms, its marching ability makes the people of Mt. Savage proud of its Fire Department.
|We think that the first
post office was in a commissary, a store owned and
operated by the Maryland Coal and Iron Company on Calla
Hill. Mail was just a side line. Certain hours of the day
the manager would call out the names on all the letters
and if you were there to get your mail, all well and
good, if not, you waited until it was time to call out
again. Of course, if you bought anything the manager was
more agreeable and would run through the mail for you.
However, he never allowed the mail to interfere with
business. If a prospective customer walked in while he
was calling out - John Smith, Joe Brailer, Mary Ann
Richards - why the mail stopped until he waited on the
customer. He might sell a barrel of flour, 50 fls. sugar,
5 gallons of whisky, some rye coffee and crackers, but
not until the customer was waited on before he returned
to the business of the Government.
True to custom the post office moved to wherever the center of the greatest population was. For several years it was down on Railroad Street, and then to the C & P Depot, where Mr. Fred Cline was postmaster. Even that was not close enough to the center of town. It was moved to its present site over fifty years ago. Over the years, the service has improved and the post office now gives fine service to the community.
|THE VARNUM HOUSE|
|The Varnum House was the
first hotel, first boarding house, and so many other
firsts. A large red building named after the man who
built it for the Maryland and New York Coal and Iron
Company, it contained fifty-five rooms and a large ball
room. Heated with pot-bellied stoves, lit with candles
and later with coal oil lamps. Every bedroom had a wash
bowl and pitcher and slop jar instead of a bathroom. A
beautiful spiral staircase wound from the first floor to
the fourth. A large sign across the front, painted black
and white, read VARNUM HOUSE. The hotel that housed many
an aristocrat, blacksmith, boilermaker and machinist when
the C & P Railroad Shops built their engines. Where
Old Doc Hawkins, Doc Quarrels and Doc Brown all had their
offices on the first floor. Where the plant Supt. Henry
Shrines stayed. Where merchants plied their trade in
large store rooms on the first floor. Where McMullen
Brothers' store gave bags of candy, cigars, enough
gingham or calico to make an apron for paying one's store
bill in full. Where traveling salesmen could stay over
night for $.50 for a bed, $.25 for breadkast, and food
and shelter for their horse in the stable for $.25
extra.. Where Mrs. Ryland, Mrs. Hergott and Mrs. Cook
dispensed hospitality as the hostesses. Where its
reputation as a summer resort was known all along the
Eastern Seaboard. Where all the men about town came to
meet the guests and hear their praises of the beautiful
hills and valleys.
No doubt the admiration of these guests inspired one of our own citizens, Mr. Charley Geatz (sp?) to write and have published a beautiful song about these hills. It was called "Mid the Rugged Hills of Maryland".
The Varnum House was torn down in 1924, and a Mt. Savage landmark passed into history.
|The first two barbers in
Mt. Savage were Mr. Jack Williams and Mr. Jim Chisley. It
was unusual for these two gentlemen to have lived in Mt.
Savage, because they were colored and not many colored
people ever lived here. Jack's shop was located where the
C & P Railroad office now stands. Jim Chisley's shop
was on Railroad Street. In about 1895 John, better known
by his nickname "Gary Farrell" opened a barber
shop on Main Street. It was under Mr. Farrell the the
Noonan brothers learned their trade, and one brother,
Shad, is still in business.
The barber shop quartet grew out of a love of companionship and musical harmony, and it did not take long to find out whose voices harmonized together and a quartet was born. This is a truly American development, and many towns have contests by "The Barber Shop Quartet" to develop music in the community. This is one American custom that should be preserved.
|Mt. Savage began to take
on a metropolitan look with its shops, churches, stores
and railroads, but it was not until 1870 that the town
could boast of having a doctor. Cumberland doctors
responded to an emergency. Before this Granny was the
chief functionary, being most handy with castor oil,
sulphur and molasses and the herb pot. Mrs. Smith helped
her neighbor Mrs. Brown through her confinements, looking
after the mother, new baby, Mr. Brown, and all the Brown
brood, along with her own family. A few months later Mrs.
Brown returned the compliment. A good neighborly feeling
existed, depending of course upon necessity. What the
doctor lacked in medical knowledge, he made up in loyalty
The "clippity clop" of his horse's hooves could be heard above the teeming rain or howling wind. Indeed the doctor with his magic pills could turn a sorrowful household to one of joy. Dr. Thompson with his familiar black case and his more familiar black beard was the town's first doctor. Then came Dr. Hawkins and within the memory of the oldsters of this community, Dr. Quarrels, Dr. Murray and many others.
Mt. Savage often used a doctor of another profession, Dr. Fechtig, who was a combination dentist and farmer. Stories are told how Dr. Fechtig would stop in the middle of milking a cow, pull an aching tooth and return to his milking chore, all without the benefit of hand washing or changing clothes. Sanitation didn't enter into the picture so much in those days. Competition sprang up when Dr. Sheetz came to town and people still point proudly to their fillings and say "You know Old Doc Sheetz did that". Doc Sheetz was a combination dentist and carpenter too. But Dr. Thompson was family doctor, family counsellor and friend.
|After the turn of the
century from 1810 to 1845 a great change was seen in Mt.
Savage. Industrial growing pains resulting from the
discovery of coal, clay and minerals. A small creek,
Jennings Run, flowing through our town got its name from
a geologist exploring for ores. Between 1810 and 1850
many changes took place. Rolling mills, blast furnaces,
manufacturing of bricks, mining of coal, all added to the
town's growth. In 1844 Mt. Savage went down in history
for producing the first solid track rail in the United
States. Fortunes were lost, however, when a better grade
of ore was found near Pittsburgh and Mt. Savage's dream
of an Industrial Iron City was doomed.
When the rolling mills were built, many English people came to work in them. Due to the discovery and development of iron, clay and coal, it was only natural a need for a railroad would follow. Building railroads was a hard and laborous task and much work was done by strong backs and willing hands. Much credit should go to the Irish and Germans for their contribution of labor. When the railroad from Cumberland to Mt. Savage was built, a massive man (6ft. 4in) weighing 240 pounds was hired for foreman. His name was Eckhart. Fights broke out frequently between the fighting Irish and stubborn Germans, but then the hugh Mr. Eckhart waded in with bare fists, and if the fighting resembled a small battle, he resorted to a heavy club. Lumpy heads and bruised backs gave evidence of a brisk hour of fighting.
In 1846 when the first train with its large wide funnel belching black smoke, its big wheels attached to the driving rods that went high in the air to make a wheel revolution which made the engine look like a leaping grasshopper, people came from far and near and stood along the tracks to watch this monstrous work horse, rattling and panting by . Filled with enthusiasm and wanting to show their approval they shouted "Hurrah for Polk and Dallas" who at that time were President and Vice President of the United States. Just 100 years ago this month, after many changes of names, this railroad was re-named and we now know it as the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad Company.
|A note of dissent crept
into the good times, when the Spanish American War broke
out and Mt. Savage had its full quota of volunteers. John
Nickodemus, Robert Andrews, Harry Holtzman and Harry
Rizer went off under the command of the late Phil Roman.
However, none were killed, and they were glad to return
to their families. Mt. Savage resumed its gay pleasures,
which led to many courtships. There was nothing better to
further this cause than a long bicycle ride. The Sunday
afternoon ride up to Allegany, pushing up Moss Cottage
Hill; stopping at Paul's Store to buy peppermints and
licorice candy; resting in the shade of the big oak trees
along the straight; sometimes watching the gypsies in
their bright costumes camped there; sometimes having
their fortunes told; speeding homeward before supper. The
swift wind carrying a marriage proposal over his
shoulder, but her keen ears caught it despite the noise.
Enjoyable days in the enjoyable era. From the "Gay Nineties" to the early days of the Twentieth Century.
|Mt. Savage had another
side to its life besides industry, religion and
education. It was its ability to have fun. Winter time
with its ice skating and bob sledding. Summertime with
its bicycling, buggy riding and its enjoyable Saturday
night dancing, church picnics and the wonderful 4th of
July Family Picnic, $1.00 a family. How we looked forward
to that wonderful day. Everyone wondering what the
weather would be. A cloud could send us into despair, and
the sun into joy. How could that old rain come on a day
like this? The grand memories of those picnics. The band
parading up to the "Blackberry" or
"Welshes Meadow" or Moss Cottage". Two
ball games, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
We knew the game had started when "kill the
umpire" and "you old cheats go on home"
rang out from the grand stands. Well, we won and we admit
the other team was pretty good but we knew they couldn't
beat our boys. Then came the contests. How we would groan
and swear that "that feller from Corrigansville that
beat our best runner cheated. The judge was a relative of
his anyway". How we laughed at the sack race and the
three legged race. Then came the ball-throwing -
"Yes Sir, that young laddie buck of mine could make
the big-leagues, --look how easy he threw the ball the
farthest". And a proud father threw out his chest.
Then the ladies tried and each demonstrated how perfectly
helpless she was by tossing the ball a few yards. The one
mother who embarrassed her whole family by heaving off
and in a very unladylike manner threw it over the tree
tops. How they watched the lucky ones at the grab bag
stands and the paddle wheels. Then came the children's
treat; bags of candy and peanuts. All the ice-cold
lemonade one could drink. Men - 3 deep around the beer
stand - it was free too. Mother hunting around for a good
level site to spread the cloth for dinner. How Mother
proudly removed the table cloth from the chip basket or
clothes basket, depending upon the size of the family,
and lifted the bowls of potato salad, slaw, pickled
beets, baked ham, rolls, and then to her utter confusion
and embarrassment, the banana cake covered with ants.
Mothers vying with each other to get the visiting
baseball players to eat with them. The scornful look
Mother gave Father when he came back to eat without one
of the visiting heroes.
When we were so filled up we couldn't move and we wondered why every day couldn't be the 4th of July. But we soon were on our feet to watch the balloon, large as a room go upward and veer eastward out of sight, thrilling us through and through. How tired everyone was at the end of the day and how glad we were that we didn't have to walk but could ride in Patty Welsh's horse drawn bus back to town. Bed looked so good to tired little bodies. But the nights belonged to youth. The day's events were only to warm up for the square dance at night. How we helped big sister pull the corset strings tighter and tighter. One would die if one's waist was over 18 inches. Mother helping to button up the blouse in the back and sister fluffing out the ruffled front and all the girl friends collecting at our house and admiring each others clothes. This evening of fun was only equalled by the Saturday night dance at Locust Grove. The open air pavilion is gone now but the memories will still linger on. The fiddlers tuning up and the figure caller strutting around and announcing "the first dance is free Ladies and Gentlemen". How disgusted the young ladies and men were to see all those kids crowding on the floor taking advantage of the free dance. The daring young man who swings his girl completely off her feet and she didn't mind too much because she had on her new ruffled petticoat. The Saturday night fights over the best looking girl. The insects danced just as merrily around the torches stuck on polls and nailed to the Locust Trees. And the music! Has there ever been anything written to better dance to than "Oh Dem Golden Slippers" or "Climbing Up De Golden Stairs"? Priceless memories to be lived over and over again.
|Courtship changes with the
changing times and the gay blades of the gay nineties
looked forward to the snow packed roads for evening
sleigh riding parties. Mr. Jim Jenkins drove his prancing
horses hooked to a low long straw filled sled and hot
bricks to keep warm, bundled up to avoid the biting cold.
But the young men with their best girl friends did not
worry about cold for they were all snugly tucked down on
blanket covered straw with quilts over their laps and one
protecting arm around his lady fair.
It was a long drive in those days down to Barrellsville up a winding road to Wellersburg and the horses were whipped up to a brisk trot to pull up before the Moses Inn with a flourish. Out piled the squealing gang to warm up with a cup of rye coffee and a brisk square dance, while the driver warmed himself over a hot toddy.
The story is told about a rather unattractive young lady who always went stag, but this particular sleigh ride she appeared with a young man in tow. There was no room left inside the sled and she decided this was her lucky night and they would ride the tail end of the sled. It was a bitterly cold night and by the time they arrived at the Wellersburg Inn her feet and hands were nearly frozen. Doses of hot toddy and brisk rubbing of her hands and feet restored some of the circulation. Her girl friend, provoked with the near casualty said "Why didn't you swing your legs and clap your hands to keep yourself warm"? "Oh", she said, "I couldn't. I was afraid to move. I was afraid he would take his arm away".
Can't you see on the return trip the horses trotting a little faster making the bells jingle more merrily and side lanterns keeping time, swinging to and fro, to get home to a warm stall. Can't you just hear the boys shouting "Don't go so fast Mr. Jenkins, we don't want to get home before 10:00". Can't you hear the girls giggling and complaining they have no room and to stop taking all the blankets. Yes, sleigh riding was one of the good times in the Gay Nineties.
|FIRST WORLD WAR|
|Wars have left their mark on every town, but none more than Mt. Savage. Many marched off to war and sailed the ocean and fought to preserve democracy and to keep Europe free from dictatorships. Twice within a period of thirty years was war to take its toll. As we show the next and final scene from World War l, we invite you to stand and sing with us "America the Beautiful" in honor of all the soldiers of Mt. Savage who have fought in America's wars from the Revolution down to the Korean War.|
Return to Allegany County Towns