The Cumberland Road
from History of Allegany County Maryland, Vol.1, Thomas & Williams

ON March 29, 1806, President Jefferson signed a bill appropriating $30,000 for a preliminary survey of a road from Cumberland, through the Narrows and across the mountains, to the Ohio River at Wheeling; construction followed as soon as practicable thereafter, but was nearly stopped by the war of 1812. Work was resumed in 1816, and the road was opened to Wheeling in 1818, having been built that far during the administrations of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.

The Commission for laying out and constructing the road appointed by Mr. Jefferson, was composed of Eli Williams and Thomas Moore of Maryland and Joseph Kerr of Ohio.

'"WORDING OF THE FIRST PUBLIC DOCUMENT AUTHORIZING THE BEGINNING OF WORK ON THE NATIONAL ROAD

Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America.

To all who shall see these presents, GREETING. Know Ye, That in pursuance of the Act of Congress passed on the 29th of March, 1806, entitled "An Act to regulate the laying out and making a road from Cumberland in the State of Maryland to the State of Ohio" and reposing special Trust and Confidence in the Integrity, Diligence and Discretion of Eli Williams of Maryland, I have nominated and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate do appoint him a Commissioner in connection with Thomas Moore of Maryland, and Joseph Kerr of Ohio, for the purposes expressed in the said Act; and to Have and to Hold the said office, with all the powers, privileges and Emoluments to the same of right appertaining, during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being.

In Testimony Whereof, I have caused the Letters to be made patent and the Seal of the United States to be herewith affixed.

Given under my hand, at the City of Washington the Sixteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and seven; and of the Independence of the United States of America, the Thirty-first. (Recorded.)

TH. JEFFERSON,

By the President.

JAMES MADISON,

Secretary of State.

This Commission dated 16th July 1806, was issued in the recess of the Senate who have since ratified the appointment and this Commission issued in consequence of that ratification.

Eli Williams, the President of the Commission, was father-in-law to Chief Justice John Buchanan and brother of General Otho Holland Williams. He was the first Clerk of the Circuit Court for Washington County.

While the federal government assumed authority to construct this road under the clause of the constitution empowering it to establish post roads, the principal motive of its construction was political. It was a continuation of Washington's policy to unite the settlements west of the Allegany Mountains with the Atlantic seaboard by the strong bands of commerce. This purpose was expressed by the congressional committee to which the bill to establish the Cumberland Road was referred, which, in reporting the bill in 1805, said: "To enlarge upon the highway, important considerations of cementing the Union of our citizens located of the western waters with those of the Atlantic States, would be an indelicacy offered to the understandings of the body to whom this report is addressed, as it might seem to distrust them; but from the interesting nature of the subject the committee is induced to ask the indulgence of a single observation: Politicians have generally agreed that rivers unite the interests and promote the friendship of those who inhabit their banks; while mountains, on the contrary, tend to disunion and estrangement of those who are separated by their intervention. In the present case, to make the crooked way, straight, and the rough ways smooth will in effect, remove the intervening mountains, and by facilitating the intercourse of our western brethren with those of the Atlantic, substantially unite them in interest, which, the committee believe, is the most effectual cement of union applicable to the human race."

A distinguished speaker, in showing how well the road subserved the purpose for which it was constructed, said: “It carried thousands of population and millions of wealth into the West; and more than any other material structure in the land, served to harmonize and strengthen if not to save the Union." Albert Gallatin in his report to the Senate, said: “No other single operation within the power of the Government can more effectually tend to strengthen and perpetuate the Union."

Albert Gallatin has been called the father of the road. John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay were both earnest supporters of the enterprize. Perhaps no single man is entitled to the entire credit of the policy.

"The foundation of this road," declares Hon. Andrew Stewart, of Pennsylvania in a speech in Congress in 1829, "was laid by a report made by Mr. Giles, the present governor of Virginia, in 1802, and was sanctioned at the next session by a similar report, made by another distinguished Virginian (Mr. Randolph) now a member of this House--it was the offspring of Virginia, and we hope she will not now abandon it as illegitimate. Commenced under the administration of Mr. Jefferson, it had been sanctioned and prosecuted by every President, and by almost every Congress for more than a quarter of a century. Possessing the power, how, he asked, could any representative of the interior or western portions of this Union vote against a policy so essential to the prosperity of the people who sent him here to guard their rights and advance their interests? The right of this Government to construct such roads and canal as are necessary to carry into effect its mail, military and commercial power, was as clear and undoubted as the right to build the postoffice, construct the fort, or erect a lighthouse. In every point of view the cases were precisely similar and were sustained and justified by the same power. (From a speech delivered at Zanesville, O., by Judge Lowe of that state)

In the act admitting Ohio in 1802, five per cent of the net revenues derived, by, the general Government from the sale of public lands within that State was reserved and declared to be a separate fund for the building of roads, two per cent of which should be appropriated to roads leading to Ohio, and three per cent to roads within the State.

The appropriation for opening the road was taken from this reserve fund arising from the sale of lands in Ohio. And this policy of creating a reserve fund of five per cent or more for road purposes was afterwards applied to seven of the so called. "public land" States. Illinois asked that each alternate section be reserved for building roads, and this was endorsed by Mr. Lincoln in a speech in Congress.

This Ohio fund was continually use for the building of this road from Cumberland to Wheeling, Virginia, for thirteen years, up to March 3, 1819, at which time the appropriation was made from the reserve fund created upon the admission of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

On May 15, 1820, Congress passed a act extending the road from Wheeling, Virginia, through the States of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to a point on the left bank of the Mississippi east of St. Louis, and established it at fifty feet in width, the road from Cumberland to Wheeling having been establish at sixty feet in width. The appropriation to carry this act into effect was to be taken out of the general revenues.

In 1831 the question was agitated as to whether the general Government had power under the constitution to establish toll gates along the line of the road in the several states through which it ran. This question was finally turned over to the State legislatures.

Pennsylvania and Maryland passed acts agreeing to build gates and toll houses and collect the tolls provided, "that Congress would appropriate money and put the road in good repair, and also furnish the money necessary to build the houses and toll gates. These acts were passed in 1831 and 1832, and Ohio and Virginia passed similar acts, except that they did not require Congress to repair the road.

July 3, 1832, Congress declared its assent to the above-mentioned laws of Pennsylvania and Maryland in these words, "to which acts the assent of the United States is hereby given, to remain in force during the pleasure of Congress," and on March 2, 1833, assented to the acts of the Legislatures of Virginia and Ohio with a similar limitation.

June 24, 1834, Congress passed an act to repair the road as requested by Maryland and Pennsylvania, and placed army engineers in control of the work, and in charge of the appropriation, taken from the reserve fund created by the admission of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

The death knell of the Cumberland road extension and of internal improvements by the Federal Government was sounded when President Jackson vetoed the Maysville road bill. This road was the northern end of the old Wilderness Road leading from Lexington, Kentucky, to Maysville, a distance of about sixty miles.

In his message to the Congress vetoing the bill, the President quoted the language of President Monroe as sustaining his own veto to wit: "that Congress could rightly appropriate the national revenues to roads of general, not local, national, not State, benefit," whereas the part of the road sought to be improved by Mr. Clay's bill, was purely local, and not of any general, or national benefit. President Jackson said further, in speaking of Mr. Clay's road: "It has not connection with any established system of improvements; it is exclusively within the limits of a State, starting at a point on the Ohio River and running out sixty miles to an interior town, and even as far as the State, is interested conferring partial instead of general advantages,"

This veto was also the end of Federal aid to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which, it had been thought would be cut through the mountains by the United States Government, to the Ohio River. In 1832 President Jackson also vetoed a bill appropriating money for a national road from Rockville to connect with the Great Western Road at Frederick the design being to give Washington the benefit of access to that highway.

The Federal Government began the national road at Cumberland rather than farther east so as not to interfere with the road building between Baltimore and Cumberland by companies incorporated by the State of Maryland. The Cumberland road was completed to Wheeling long before a continuous stone road from Cumberland to Baltimore was completed. This left a very bad gap in the line, which at times was almost impassable. After the continuous road from the Ohio River to Baltimore had been made there was complaint of the toll gates east of Cumberland. That part of the Western Road leading from Baltimore to Boonsborough was planned before the construction of the Cumberland Road was undertaken. The Baltimore and Fredericktown Turnpike Company was chartered by the General Assembly at the session of 1804-5, and the road was speedily made, extending as far west as Boonsborough. The Boonsborough and Hagerstown Company was chartered in 1819 and the stone road to Hagerstown was completed in 1823. The road west from Hagerstown as far as the Conococheague Creek had already been made by a separate company. The important road of about fifty-seven miles, to connect the Hagerstown and Conococheague road at the creek with the National Road at Cumberland. was laid out in 1819, and its completion in 1822 was assured. The money for this road. like the Conococheague the Boonsborough and the Baltimore roads, came principally from the banks and subscriptions to the stocks of these companies, to the aggregate amount of $486,170.71, and were exacted from them as a condition to the renewal of their charters in 1816. The proportion of the Hagerstown Bank was $16,772.72, and of the Conococheague Bank at Williamsport $10,566.81. In December, 1820, there was a movement upon the Legislature to have the State buy and complete the road from Baltimore to Cumberland and make it free of tolls, as was the road beyond the latter city.

The completion of the various links which coupled the Cumberland Road with Baltimore gave a splendid macadam pike of 268 miles from Baltimore to the Ohio River at Wheeling.

By 1832 the old road had gotten into bad condition through neglect. That year the Congress made an appropriation for its repair. It was considered so important that there was a public celebration of the event in Cumberland. This took place on the 21st of May, 1832. Samuel Slicer illuminated his large and handsome hotel and James Black illuminated his place. Mr. Bunting, agent of L. W. Stockton's stage line, ordered out a coach drawn by four large gray horses driven by George Shuck. On the top of the stage musicians played upon their instruments, and the stage was driven through the streets. The tunes they played were "Hail Columbia," "Freemason's March," "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine," "Washington's March," and a tune composed for the occasion by Mr. Mobley of Cumberland, which he called "The Lady We Love Best."

It was the general impression that the Act of Congress ceding the Cumberland Road to Maryland and the Acts of the Maryland Legislature accepting the road, constituted a contract by the State to keep the highway in repair. Years of neglect had reduced the-fine old road to a condition almost impassable for vehicles. The people of Allegany were anxious to have it put in repair, and, as the State owned it, the opinion was that the State should undertake to do the work. This the State did do. many years later. At the session of the Legislature of 1870 a bill was introduced appropriating $27,000 for restoring the road. Before the bill came up for action, Mr. Spates, the senator from Allegany, offered a resolution asking the Attorney General, Mr. Isaac D. Jones, for his opinion as to the obligation of the State to keep the Cumberland road in repair. In his opinion, dated February 7, 1870, Mr. Jones said: --

"I find that Pennsylvania, in March, 1831, and Maryland, in January, 1832, passed similar acts relating to the preservation and repair of that part of ‘the Cumberland,' or ‘United States Road' within the limits of the said States, respectively. The preamble to the act of each State, recites that the road was, in many parts, in bad condition for want of repairs; and the preamble to the Pennsylvania act, assigns as one of the reasons of the act: that ‘doubts have been entertained whether the United States have authority to erect toll-gates on said road, and collect toll.' Both recite that a large proportion of the people of the State are interested in the road and its preservation. The provisions of the two acts are in most particulars similar, and in many identical. The Maryland act provided that as soon as Congress should assent, the road ‘shall be taken under the care of the State of Maryland,' and that the State should appoint a ‘superintendent of that part of the United States Road within the limits of the State of Maryland;' authorized the erection of toll-gates and toll-houses; the appointment of toll-gathers; prescribed rates of toll, and provided that the amount of toll, after deducting expenses of collection, &c., should be applied to the repairs and preservation of the road.

"It further provided that if there should be any surplus money arising from tolls after paying repairs and all expenses, it should be paid into the treasury of Maryland, to be denominated on the Treasury books, 'The United States Road Fund,' which fund should be applied solely to the repair and preservation of the road.

"It was further provided that the act should have no force until Congress should assent to it, and until the road in Maryland should be put in complete repair by an appropriation by Congress to repair the same and to erect toll-gates and toll-houses. The State reserved the right to change, alter or amend the act so as to regulate the amount of tolls not below or above a sum necessary to pay expenses incident to the preservation and repair of the road, and to compensate agents, &c.

"Congress, by the Act of July, 1832, made an appropriation for repairs and improvements on the road east of the Ohio River and to carry into effect the provisions of the aforesaid acts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, to which said acts the assent of the United States was thereby given, 'to remain in force during the pleasure of Congress.' The acts were directed to be printed and appended to the laws of that session of Congress. "Further appropriations, by Congress, for repairs, were made in 1834 and 1835, conditioned that the States through which the road passed should accept the surrender of the road within their respective limits, and that the United States 'should not thereafter be subject to any expense in relation to the said road,' &c.

"By the first mentioned acts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, it was stipulated that no tax should be received or collected for the passage of any wagon or carriage laden with, the property of the United States, or any military stores belonging to the United States, or to any of the several States of the Union. A similar provision was contained in the Ohio law of 1831, upon the same subject. In several cases the construction of the compact thus entered into between the United States and the said several States in relation to this road was drawn in question, and adjudicated by the Supreme Court of the United States. (Searight vs. Stokes et al, 3 Howard, 151; Neil, Moore & Co. vs. the State of Ohio, 3 Howard, 720; Achison vs. Huddleson, 12 Howard, 293.)

"The result of the decisions was, first That the United States, by the compact, was exempt from any expense, directly or indirectly, in maintaining the road.

"Secondly. That the States accepting the surrender of the road within their respective limits, proposed to take the road 'and keep it in repair from the tolls collected upon it,' exempting the United States mail coaches and other property of the Government from any toll.

"Thirdly. That by the terms of the compact the States were to regulate the tolls, from time to time, solely with reference to raising a revenue sufficient to pay expenses and keep the road in repair.

"In Searight vs. Stokes, the Supreme Court says: 'But in interpreting these contracts, the character of the parties, the relation in which they stand to one another, and the objects they evidently had in view, must all be considered. The Cumberland Road had been constructed by the Federal Government, with the assent and authority of the States through which it passed, as ‘the great line of connection between the Seat of Government and the western States and territories, of fording a convenient and safe channel for the conveyance of the mails, &c.' It was at that time a great national thorough fare, and the tolls authorized were deemed ample to keep it in repair. Of course the contract must be construed in reference to the circumstances under which it was made, and not with reference to the changes which nearly forty years have wrought. '

"I am therefore of opinion, that in accepting a surrender of the road within the limits of this State; no obligation was incurred by the State to expend any money in keeping the road in repair, except what could be realized from the tolls collected upon it. The assent of the United States to the acts of the States, in 1832, was not unconditional and irrevocable, but by its terms, was only 'to remain in force during the pleasure of Congress.' And in the act of 1835, Congress stipulated only for the condition that, in accepting the surrender, the United States should not be subject to any expense in keeping it in repair; thus leaving the States to keep it in repair, as best they might, by the collection of tolls."

Partly as a result of this opinion, the effort to have the State appropriate money to restore the Cumberland Road, failed and the bill was defeated.

In 1837, at the beginning of Van Buren's administration, a fast mail service was put on the Cumberland Road. It was regarded as an experiment, and was continued only about a year. Nothing was carried but government mail matter, and only in small quantities in a small pair of saddle bags or pockets. Once in 24 hours it started from Washington, D. C., and was sped westward by way of Frederick and Hagerstown over the Baltimore Turnpike, then from Cumberland over the National Road to Wheeling; and thence by the same road or route through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis, about 850 miles.

The fleetest horses were purchased by the contractors for the rapid service, with 15 to 17 year old boys for riders. The horses were put upon a gallop and not less than 10 miles per hour had to be made. A fresh horse was in waiting at the end of every 6 miles, and the route, about 25 miles to be made, forth and back each day. This would be 50 miles per day for each rider. The first stage west from Cumberland reached to Red Ridge, and the next to a few miles beyond Smithfield, Pa. There was not an instant of delay in changing the weary horse for a fresh one, which would be saddled and bridled, ready for the postilion, who would slide over from one horse to the other. The pike at that time was in its very best condition.

Of these postilions, Elijah Fuller was living in Cumberland in 1897, at the age of 75 years. Tom Wihy, once a conductor on the B. & O. railroad, was also in the service. The young postilions received $6 a month in silver for their wage.

In the middle and latter eighteen-forties, a daily fast express wagon was run upon the National Road from Cumberland to. the Ohio River. It was drawn by four powerful horses upon a strong wagon, at about the stage rate of speed. Its freight was of a light line of goods--canned oysters being a large item to be distributed along the road. The box upon four wheels was an immense concern about 12 feet long, 6 to 7 feet high and about 5 feet wide, dangerous, and very liable to topple.

This concern frequently carried a passenger or two by the side of the driver, or upon deck.

George W. Cass was the chief manager of this line. He was a nephew of Gen. Lewis Cass, a very intelligent gentleman, many years later, president of the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad. But this mode of carrying merchandise vanished upon the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Wheeling.

We have, in the Cumberland Civilian of May 5, 1878, an account by a correspondent of a trip he made from Cumberland to Baltimore in the 30's. "There stood before the door of the old Columbian Inn in South Mechanic Street, one bright morning in October," the writer said, "the fast mail coach ‘General Marion' carrying the great United States mails. As this was my first trip to Baltimore, with a light heart and lighter step, I bounded on the box and took my seat beside that famous whip, C. H., who, gathering up his reins and touching his leaders lightly with his silken cord, in an instant we were turning round the little square, and soon the village of Cumberland, containing less than 1000 inhabitants, was lost to view by the intervening hills. Charley gave me the gratifying information that he would make the road level to Capt. Mann's, 33 miles, the length of his route; that is, his team would go up hill as fast as down and make all things lively in the hollows.

"His famous four gray horses appeared to enter into the spirit of their master, for, taking their bits in their mouths, they carried us over hill and dale with such swiftness that we arrived in Flintstone 12 miles, in one hour and 20 minutes.

"The U. S. mail was carried at that time from Baltimore to Wheeling, in the unprecedented time of 54 hours or at the rate of 5 miles per hour. The coach carried but three passengers, two in a small box fastened to the rear of the stage and one beside the driver, whose law like the sea captain's, was supreme. What a peculiar class of people these old whips were'. They were liberal to a fault, full of fun and mischief, never fearing danger and always ready to sacrifice their lives for the safety of their passengers or mails; would give a ride to a poor sore foot or take a ‘divvy.' This word. ‘divvy' is a corruptive of dividend, a perquisite they claimed and pocketed from such passengers as they would pick upon the road and carry for half price. Sometimes the stage owners would send a detective, who would travel from Wheeling to Baltimore as a 'divvy' and the description of the incidents of his trip and the judicious efforts of the driver to conceal him from the eyes of the agents in the different towns as they passed, would make an owl laugh. They were; all masters of the whip, could turn a coach and four, as if on a pivot, and going down some of the rugged mountains, it was not unusual for the tongue of the coach to drop from its fastening and drag on the road; then the coolness and courage of the drivers would be displayed. They would put the horses in a full run, use their hands and feet to keep them in the road, and with loud yells and not a few adjectives bring the passengers in safety to the foot of the mountain.

"Oh! old boys, what tales you could tell of exciting races with the opposition lines, horses urged to the speed of madness, up hills. and down, coaches side by side through toll gates, of upsets with runaway teams, of mail robbers, of noted politicians and scenes of love, hatred and despair, all acted within your mountain ships, which you so gallantly piloted to your journeys end.

"We have reached the top of Sideling Hill, and for a moment enjoy the exquisite view spread beneath us, then dashing downward with tightened traces, Charley suddenly turned his horses to the right, hauled up in front of Capt. Mann's, one of the celebrated mountain taverns of that day. Here we stop but a few minutes, and Dandy J. now mounts the box, and, catching excitement, makes the ride very interesting, and I soon was rolling through the streets of Hagerstown, looking at the beautiful ladies who were attracted to the doors and windows by the yells of Dandy J. and the tooting of the tin horn, as we bring up in front of the old Globe Tavern. Here Tom C. handles the ribbons, and, following the example of the other drivers, makes the road very level indeed, and before I could realize the fact, I found myself dashing through the streets of Frederick, with much horn blowing and loud cheers, three hours ahead of time, which was something so unusual that the agent, Mr. R., and the loungers about the hotel, imagined that some great event had occurred or the Postmaster General was on board, but when they saw the condition of the driver and learned the name of the passenger, it was all explained.

"Here we spent the three hours we had gained in viewing the town and its beautiful surroundings. Right royally did many of the old families in and out of Frederick live in that day, and dispense their hospitality with a lavish hand. I am warned that the cars will leave in a few minutes, and now all the romantic and poetical tales about the railroad will be realized. But when I arrived at the depot, to my astonishment I found a car in the shape of a large coach, capable of carrying 20 passengers, with only two horses attached to it instead of steam. The mails were placed under the feet of the driver, Billy Ferguson, and taking a seat beside him, he gave a blast with his horn and off we started, and if in luck would reach Baltimore in 7 hours. The road was macadamized between the rails and had certain places to turn out to let the coming trains pass. The horses were changed every 10 miles, and Ferguson improved the hours by relating to me the wonders of the railroad and the steam engine, and appeared to dwell with great satisfaction on the fact that several persons had had their heads taken off by putting them out of the car windows and coming in contact with the projecting rocks. He also said that the rails, which were half-an-inch thick, would bend up, and breaking through the bottom of the car, run the unfortunate passenger through the body and spit him like a pig; that the burden cars ascending Parr's Ridge were apt to break their couplings, and, running back upon the next train would dash it into atoms, and that only a few days since, a car, ascending loaded with flour, broke loose and started down with fearful velocity, but fortunately jumped the track and went crashing down the mountain side just before it reached a car filled with passengers, and looking me full in the eye he said ‘you could not find flour enough to bake a cracker.' This only served to stimulate my already excited curiosity, and in the midst of this excitement suddenly a strange and singular sound, different from anything I had ever heard, greeted my ear, and directly I saw what appeared to be a huge serpent approaching round a curve and flashing by was soon out of sight. Attached to it were two passenger cars, double deckers, the upper deck without a covering, which most of the passengers seemed to prefer. The boiler of this engine was long and slim, only a small platform without covering for the engineer and fireman. This engine I believe was a failure, and was succeeded by others better adapted to the numerous curves of the road. They were called grasshoppers from the fact that they looked like a grasshopper running backwards with a june bug standing on his back. Parr's Ridge roused me from my surprise, and our coach commenced the ascent, when to my horror, halfway up, I caught sight of a train loaded with flour. Immediately every pore was opened and I felt as if I had passed through a May shower. I immediately suggested getting down and walking, but Billy said he could not stop, so as a compromise I crept back and hung on the hind part of the coach with my hands and my feet dangling down, while I watched with trembling eagerness the train ascending before us, and expecting every moment to see it break loose, come down upon us and crash us to atoms. At last the summit was reached, the burden train turned out to let the great U. S. mail pass, and I scrambled back to my seat beside Billy, who had enjoyed my discomfiture and tried to make me believe that he was rather surprised that he had not another tale of horror to add to his budget. Billy, putting the whip to the horses, we soon reached the bottom of the ridge. Here we saw the engine that had brought the passengers from Baltimore to the bottom of the ridge, and waited there for the arrival of those coming from the West. Parr's Ridge was an inclined plane over which the cars had to be hauled by horses, as it was thought impossible in those days to construct an engine that would be capable of making an ascent of any magnitude. Hitching fresh horses, we soon struck the granite sleepers. They were four or five feet long and the half inch rails fastened on with spikes driven in holes drilled in the slabs. This was a new sensation, and it is impossible to describe the rattling noise and jolting. Imagine thousands of hogsheads tied up to the sky filled with pebbles emptying themselves on a tin roof 40 miles square and you might have a faint idea of the noise.

"I had travelled and unraveled the mystery of the railroad, and after viewing the cathedral, visiting Peal's Museum and the Front Street Theatre, Baltimore was finished and turning face homeward, I mounted on the box of the great U. S. mail standing on rails on Pratt Street. The bob tail horse engineer gave a flourish with his whip, his horses fell in their collars and we moved out of the city at the rate of 10 miles an hour. A few miles west of Ellicott's mills the driver stopped his double action engine to give us a view of a dead monster lying on the roadside. This proved to be the mysterious engine which a few days ago, preferring straight lines to curves, jumped the track and stuck its head in a sand bank. We stood in silent wonder looking at this curious piece of mechanism, when the driver observed ‘Gents, it's a failure. For safety and speed on a railroad give me a pair of good Conestoga horses'."

In his autobiographical sketch, President Buchanan says: "At this session (1822) a bill passed the House of Representatives for the erection of toll gate and collection of toll, under the authority of Congress, upon the Cumberland Road by a vote of 87 to 68. I voted in the affirmative. The bill having passed both houses, was returned by President Monroe with his objections on the 4th of May 1822. On the 6th of May these objections were considered by the House and on the reconsideration of the bill required by the constitution, it was rejected by a vote of 68 aye to 72 noes. I had voted for this bill without ever having seriously considered the constitutional objections to its passage. It was just in itself that this road should be kept in repair “by tolls collected from the individuals who used it and it was the policy of Pennsylvania that a rival road to her eastern and western turnpike should not be travelled toll free. After seriously considering the constitutional objections urged by the President against the passage of this bill, I became convinced that Congress did not posses the power to enact it into a law. I confessed and as far as I could repaired my error at the next session of Congress on the 19 February, 1823, the bill from the Senate appropriating money to repair the Cumberland Road being under consideration, I moved an amendment to it, ceding this road to the three States, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, respectively through which it passed, on condition that they would accept it and keep it in repair, collecting no more toll upon it that might be necessary for this purpose. supported this amendment with as much ability as I could. On the 21 Feb. this amendment was negatived by a vote of 65 to 85 noes. I never abandoned this amendment until I had the pleasure finally seeing it adopted in substance. On the March, 1831, Congress assented to the Act of the Legislature of Ohio, taking this road under the jurisdiction of that State, so far as it passed within its limits; on the 3 July, 1832,. a similar assent was given to similar acts of the Legislatures of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and on the 2 March, 1833 the like assent was given to the act of the Legislature of Virginia. By these proceedings this important question has been placed at rest."

As the Baltimore and Ohio railroad pushed its construction westward, it tool: the place of the national highway for through traffic. First Fredericktown was the place of transfer of freight and passengers when the railroad reached that town, and enormous quantities of flour and other produce from the West were unloaded from wagons there and carried forward to Baltimore on the railroad, as being quicker and cheaper.

On the first day of November, 1842, the first locomotive drawing a train of cars from Baltimore arrived in Cumberland, and from that time on for some ten years, or until January 10, 1853, when the railroad was opened from Cumberland to Wheeling, Cumberland became the transfer point for freight and passengers from the wagons and coaches to the railroad cars. This was a time of prosperity and business activity in Cumberland. The great number of passengers arriving and departing demanded more hotel accommodations than the town then afforded and more hotels were erected. Warehouses for the vast amount of freight, which was taken from the great Conestoga wagons to be placed on the cars, or was unloaded from the cars to be carried westward to the Ohio by the wagons, were built along the railroad. Frequently there was a great accumulation of this freight awaiting transportation, and it often had to remain for a considerable time in the warehouses before it could be moved. The novelty of the railroad through the romantic scenery of the Potomac and the mountains attracted many passengers in addition to those whose business required them to take the trip. And so it was that there was so great an increase in the tide of travel westward over the pike from Cumberland when the railroad reached there, and so great a falling off in the traffic east of Cumberland, that the friends of the road were bitter in their opposition to the railroad. But in the meantime Cumberland was reaping a harvest of prosperity from both railroad and the Cumberland Road. A correspondent of the Boston Advertiser, writing to that paper in November, 1845, said that in eighteen months the population of the town had doubled and was then estimated at seven thousand. Many brick buildings had been erected and five miles of the streets had been paved. Many visitors, he continued, came to the town and found fine accommodations at the hotels, the leading hotel being Barnum’s. As many as a hundred and fifty passengers would arrive on a single train from Baltimore. The fine Court House was considered worthy of especial mention.

The following article was contributed to the Cumberland Alleganian by Jacob Brown in 1909. He describes in detail the several bridges on the Cumberland road :

I will commence with the double arch stone bridge across Will's creek, at the head of Mechanic street, in Cumberland. It is a very suitable structure, in good preservation, built in 1833 under the supervision of an army engineer. The State of Maryland had by an act of the Legislature, 1832, chapter 55, authorized the general government to change the route of the road along the river to the Will's creek route, by far more preferable than the old river Sandy Gap way.

The next structure of the kind is at the old Samuel Eckles place, across Braddock's run, a small stream. This bridge is as safe and sound as when built in the eighteen thirties, and is in constant use.

The next in due course is the Clarysville bridge across a small stream of water in the same condition. Clarysville takes its name from Jerrard Clary, who for many years kept the brick hotel or inn at that place; quite a noted one in its time. The landlord, such was the style in those days, was a real type of the innkeepers in olden times.

There are no more bridges till the foot of the Great Savage mountain is reached. Just beyond Frostburg, a small structure exists, and in use. The next is a bridge over Savage river or creek, quite a noted stream of pure mountain water, heading on the Pennsylvania side of Mason and Dixon's line. It ought to have been made the division line between the two kindred counties.

The Shade Mills, a small stream, the first to send its waters to the West. At this place was the historic "Shades of death" in old times, but the shades and their horrors are no more there, although their are natural deaths, of course.

At the east base of Meadow Mountain, is still another over a small stream called Red run, famous for its speckled trout in past times. This stream heads in the famous Wolf Swamp, which send one stream (this one) west, another to the east through the Savage river. Then comes the small bridge over the Meadow run, at the Western base of the beautiful Meadow mountain, named by Washington himself. The little mountain glade there he named the Little Meadows. This place has a historic record, and is still known as the Little Meadows, and the valuable estate is now owned by Mr. D. F. Kuy Kendall and wife. It once had the air of a village in the star days of the old National road.

We now approach the famous-I might say historic - bridge across the Little Crossing (erroneously called Castelman river) about one mile east of Grantsville. It is a wonderful structure of stone work, built about the year 1816, under the supervision of a government engineer, with a single span or arch of great height, just about a semi-circle, thus creating an unnecessary rise in the approaches to the bridge at each end. It is a wonder in itself, an object for sight-seeing. Much has been written and published about it. It has been even criticized, and photographed. The main work is still perfectly sound and safe for traffic. The guard walls have at different times been despoiled by evil-doing persons. But these damages have been repaired by the county authorities. Similar damages have been done to other bridges.

About one mile west of Grantsville, a bridge across a small stream called Shade Run is reached. The structure is like the rest in form and structure but of small dimensions. Next will be the one over Pursley Run, flowing westward between the historic Negro Mountain and Keyser's Ridge, the very highest range of Allegany mountain. This structure and the stream were never of much note, but the bridge is still intact and in use. The next and last will be one across a small stream at the Winding Ridge, which forms the division line between Garrett County and Somerset County, Pa. This closes the subject so far as our two counties are concerned, but precisely the same style of bridges are to be found in Pennsylvania, along the Cumberland Road.

"It is proposed to give some facts, not generally known, in a convenient and intelligible form, which can be clearly understood, showing the number and amounts of the Congressional appropriations from 1806 to 1838, the last of the appropriations, also the amount of money appropriated for the road east of the Ohio River, and west of it, through three States to east St. Louis. The following is a reliable list or statement of the different appropriations, with amounts, dates and where applied. This statement has been made with care and considerable research and labor.

"It will thus be seen that the large amount of $4,284,086.43 were from 1806 to 1838 appropriated by Congress and applied to the building and maintaining the Cumberland Road, which passed through and touched six different States of the Union, with a length of about 750 miles in all-only 35 miles in Maryland; about 86 in Pennsylvania, and 10 in the Panhandle of Virginia and about 600 miles in the three western states; $1,889,170.59 of the whole sum was spent on the road from Cumberland to Wheeling; 131 miles, as marked by that many markers, some of them yet standing, about 75 years old. Upon the road west of the Ohio River with a straight line through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, the sum of $2,394,915.85 was used. How much to each State does not appear. This latter amount came from the sale of government lands then lying in these three States.

"The part of the money thus applied that went to Maryland cannot be ascertained correctly, but a full share no doubt, as the Maryland part was the most mountainous of the whole line. The most imposing and expensive stone bridge is to be found spanning the Little Crossings River, one mile east of Grantsville. Its half moon arch is a wonder to many. The structure is in a sound condition, except the top guard walls, which are dilapidated. The dedication of this wonderful bridge was witnessed by the late Joseph Shriver in his boyhood days, about the year 1816. In late years this bridge has become to sight seekers an object of interest nearly equal to that of the Natural Bridge of Virginia."

The friends of the Cumberland Road who bitterly opposed the extension of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad westward from Cumberland, were in Congress as well as out. Among the congressmen who opposed the railroad was General Henry W. Beeson, of Uniontown, Pa., who represented the Fayette and Greene district of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives in the 40's. In one of his speeches made in the House upon the subject of the Cumberland road he urged its importance to the welfare of an army of people who lived upon the traffic that passed over it. He showed how many horseshoes and horseshoes nails the roadside blacksmiths made each year, the amount of grain and hay the farmers supplied to the wayside taverns, and the number of chickens, turkeys, eggs and butter that the travellers consumed, all of which industries would be destroyed, he contended, if the old road were superseded by the modern steam railway.

For thirty-four years, that is to say from 1818, when the Cumberland Road was opened to travel, until 1852, when the Baltimore & Ohio reached the Ohio River, the Cumberland Road was the great national highway, the principal avenue front the Atlantic slope to the Valley of the Mississippi. The Erie Canal was bringing traffic from the great lakes to New York, but between the Canal and the Cumberland Road, or south of the road there was no highway of equal importance to the National Road. It was the "Appian Way" of America. The people who lived along it and those in the towns and villages through which it passed, witnessed a great procession of stages, line wagons, conestogas, horsemen, droves of cattle, sheep and swine. Many of the men whose names appear in the histories of the United States were familiar figures on this road. Over it rode many times old Andrew Jackson, going from the Hermitage to Washington when he was senator and when he was president. The venerable William Henry Harrison passed along to his inauguration and to his death in 1841, accompanied by cavalcades who came to escort him and do him honor. Henry Clay, the beloved "Harry of the West," was often accompanied by his splendid wife, who never failed to stop at her old home in Hagerstown. In the procession might have been seen two other presidents, General Zachary Taylor and James K. Polk-one whom helped to bring on the war with Mexico and the one who helped to win it; old Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, frontiersmen who admirably represented their people in the Congress; the old hero, Isaac Shelby, born on North Mountain, Washington County, near where the road crossed. Along this road came on one occasion Santa Ana, the foe of the United States, riding in a stage named The Texas. Many times parties of Indians came through, going to visit the "Great Father" at Washington. Among them the celebrated Chief Black Hawk more than once.

In 1849, when Zachary Taylor went through going to his inauguration, a party of Cumberland men under the leadership of Thomas Shriver went all the way to the Ohio River to meet him and the party. The road was covered with smooth ice and the trees incrusted with sleet, making a scene of rare beauty in the mountains. General Taylor had never seen anything like it, and he was enchanted by the spectacle. The descent of the mountain grades was extremely perilous. The stages slipped from side to side of the road, and Mr. Shriver was most anxious for the safety of the president. But that gentlemen was not thinking of his safety. His head was out of the stage window and. he was gazing with admiration at the winter scene. When he reached the Narrows he ordered the stage to stop that he might get a better view of the grand scenery at that place.

At this time travel had been going through the Narrows for about five years. The first location of the road had been out Green Street and across Will's Mountain through Sandy Gap. A better route was found through the Narrows and along Will's Creek and Braddock's Run. The relocation was for six miles, and was made by General Gratiol the chief engineer. He estimated the cost of the relocation and various repairs at $645,000. Travel through the Narrows route began in November, 1834, and on the 11th of that month Cumberland celebrated the opening. A long procession marched up the new road to Percy's tavern, where it was met by a procession from Frostburg. The two united, and forming a line of stages and all kinds of vehicles, horsemen and footmen a mile long, went back to Cumberland. The marshals were John J. Hoffman, Alpheus Beall, James P. Carlton and Richard Lamar of R. In the public square of Cumberland the procession ended to listen to speeches by Thomas J. McKaig and Lieutenant John Pickell, of the U. S. engineers.

As many as twenty stages, each drawn by four horses, were sometimes counted in a single line on the road, and from March 1 to March 20, 1849, 2,586 passengers were carried on the stages. Merchandise was carried in large broad wheel wagons, protected by canvas stretched over bows, drawn by six horses, and each horse as a rule carrying a jingling array of bells bowed over its collar. On the mountain division of the road every mile almost had its wayside inn, each with its sign board conspicuously prominent, and almost all of them with an overflowing trough where the wagoners watered their teams. One class of taverns was for the stage coaches and their passengers, while another catered to the wagon teams and drivers. But from the majority of the wagoners the tavern keeper got but a small amount. Many of them carried provender for their horses along with them, and a blanket in which the driver slept perhaps on the floor of the barroom. About all of them drank whiskey, but the price at the wagon stands was only 3 cents a drink and at the stage coach taverns 5 cents. The prices of lodgings, meals and horse feed at all taverns were fixed by law, and the profits were not large. But people then were satisfied with smaller profits than the people of today demand. If the prices that the tavern keepers received were small, those he had to pay for what he bought and for the help and servants he employed, were upon the same moderate scale. The average load upon the wagons that spent a night or part of a night at these wagon stands was 6,000 pounds, or three short tons. Some carried as much as 10,000 pounds of freight, but that was unusual, for pulling such a load up the steep mountain grades was too much for as 10,000 pounds of freight, but that was unusual, for pulling such a load up the steep mountain grades was too much for six horses. The so-called "line wagons'' had very high wheels-the hind wheels being no less than 10 feet in height. The bed bent upward in front and rear. The covering was white canvas stretched over broad wooden bows. Many experiments in different types of wagons were tried, but the standard conastoga was the one that best stood the test.

In a speech made in the House of Representatives June 6, 1832, Mr. T. M. T. McKennan gave an estimate of the traffic which passed over the Cumberland Road. "In the year 1822, shortly after the completion of the road," he said, "a single house in the town of Wheeling unloaded 1,081 wagons averaging 3,500 pounds, and paid for the carriage of the goods $90,000. At that time there were five other commission houses in the same place, and estimating that each of them received two thirds of the amount of goods consigned to the other, there must have been nearly 5,000 wagons unloaded and nearly $400,000 paid as the cost of transportation. But further it is estimated that every tenth wagon passed through that place into the interior of Ohio, Indiana, etc., which would considerably swell the amount. These wagons take their return loads and carry to the eastern markets all their various articles of production and manufacture of the West-their flour, whiskey, hemp, tobacco, bacon and wool. Before the completion of this road, from four to six weeks were usually occupied in the transportation of goods from Baltimore to the Ohio River, and the price paid from $6 to $10 per hundred pounds. Now they can be carried in less than half of the time and at one-half the cost. Equally important are the benefits derived by the government and the people from the rapid, regular and safe transportation of mail over the road. Before its completion eight or more days were occupied in transporting the mail from Baltimore to Wheeling. It was then carried on horseback, and did not reach the western country by this route more than once a week. Now it is carried in comfortable stages, protected from the inclemency of the weather in 48 hours and no less than 28 mails. weekly, and regularly pass and repass, each other on this road. The facilities afforded by such a road in time of war for the transportation of the munitions of war and the means of defense from one point of the country to another need scarcely be noticed."

Mr. Thomas B. Searight in his account of "The National Road" mentions various taverns and wagon stands in Cumberland and westward along the road. In 1835 the leading tavern and stage house in Cumberland 'was kept by James Black. In 1836, it was taken by John and Emory Edwards, of Boonsboro, who kept it for many years. George Mattingly and Thomas Plumer kept wagon stands. The later also had teams on the road. Before 1840 a tavern "The American," stood on Baltimore Street near the first station of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Down to 1840, it was kept by Frederick Shipley and afterwards by George W. Gump, and in 1857, by David Mahaney. "The Mountain City House," a large brick tavern; stood on the present site of the rolling mill. In 1844, it was owned by Mrs. Adams and managed for her by George Elliott. On Mechanic Street, before the relocation of the road carried travel through Green Street, there were many taverns and wagon stands. The Blue Springs House was kept by Lewes Smith, and was a favorite resort of wagoners. Frederick Shipley also had a tavern on this street after he left the American House. John Kelso, a wagoner, had a wagon stand, and Otho Barcus, also a wagoner, kept the "Pennsylvania House" in 1843, and George Evans had a tavern near the eastern end of the old location of the road. Five miles west of Cumberland Joseph Everstine had a well con ducted house. A mile further west stood "The Six Mile House," where the new location ran into the old road. It was owned by the Bruce family and was destroyed by fire and rebuilt, later passing into the possession of Aden Clary. Near: this house is the stone bridge over Braddock's Run. In the bridge is a stone inscribed "1835-Built by Thomas Fealy Lieutenant John Pickell, U. S. engineer H. M. Petitt, assistant superintendent.' Two miles west of the Six Mile House Clary had a tavern known as the Eight Mile House. It was a large brick structure and one of the most popular houses on the road. Next came Frostburg. The leading taverns here in the great days of the road were The Franklin House, kept by Thomas Beall, the stopping place of the Good Intent Stage Line, and the Highland Hall House, where the Stock ton coaches stopped, kept at different times by George W. Clabaugh, George Evans, Samuel Cessna and Thomas Porter.

At the foot of Great Savage Mountain a mile west of Frostburg, at a place called Sand Springs, Mrs. Ward, a widow kept the tavern in 1836. Subsequently it was kept by John Welsh, Hiram Sutton and Jacob Conrad. Here in those times stood one of the many blacksmith shops of the roadside. The smith was Philip Spiker who, it was said, could shoe more horses in a day than any other smith on the road A short distance from Sand Springs, on the side of Big Savage Mountain, was a wagon stand kept first by a man named Chaney and afterwards by Jacob Conrad. Thomas Beall kept a tavern at the foot of Little Savage Mountain in 1830. He was, succeeded by Thomas Johnson who entertained his guests by playing a fiddle, and he had a negro man who danced to the music for their further delectation. Three miles further west the "Shades of Death" begins, and near the beginning stood, in 1830, John Recknor's wagon stand, famous for the hot biscuits made by his wife. At Piney Grove, two miles from John Recknor's tavern, the westbound travelers came to another tavern and wagon stand, kept at different times by Truman Fairall, Mortimer Cade, Lemuel Cross, John Wrench and David Mahaney. This was a stopping place for all the stage lines. According to Mr. Searight, Joshua Johnson of Frederick County, brother of Governor Thomas Johnson, owned 15,000 acres of land in this vicinity, which included The Shades of Death and Piney Grove. On the tract Wm. Frost, of Frostburg, erected a saw mill and cut down the .forest. The next tavern was not more than a quarter of a mile from Piney Grove. Its keeper in the early days was named Wagoner, who was followed by Isaac Bell and Mortimer Cade. The widow of Cade continued to keep the place after his death. Next, two miles further along was the Tomlinson tavern at Little Meadows. This was one of the oldest hostelries on the road. It stands where the Cumberland Road and the old Braddock Road come together. Jesse Tomlinson kept a tavern here before the National Road was made. When it was opened he built a new and finer house of stone, and kept it for a long time. After him the hosts were Thomas Endsley, Thomas Thistle, James Stoddard, Jesse Huddleston, Truman Fairall, Lemuel Cross, David Mahaney and George Layman. When Layman kept it the railroad had been opened and the busy days of the pike had ended. A mile further on Mrs. Wooding kept a tavern in 1842. She was succeeded by her son-in-law, Peter Yeast, who was succeeded by John Wright. This was a popular wagon stand. Alexander Carlisle, in 1836, opened a tavern at Little Crossing, where the road crosses Castleman River. It was later kept by John and Samuel McCurdy, David Johnson, William Dawson, Elisha Brown, Jacob Conrad and David Mahaney.

The next tavern, going westward, was at the eastern end of Grantsville, kept, in 1833, by Samuel Gillis and later by John Slicer. John Lehman also kept a tavern in Grantsville in 1836, and later by Henry Fuller and George Smouse. In 1843, Henry Fuller razed this house and rebuilt it. Adam Shultz had a tavern in Grantsville between 1840 and 1850, his son Perry succeeded him and kept it until 1852. He was one time Sheriff of Allegany County. Other tavern keepers in Grantsville in the pike days were David Mahaney, Jesse King, Solomon Steiner, Archibald Steiner, John D. Wrench, Basil Garletts, Barney Brown, Wm. Beffler, John Millinger, Christian M. Livengood, William Shaw and Jonas E. Canagy. Two miles west of Grantsville, at. the foot of Negro Mountain, stood a tavern, kept in 1836 by Thomas Thistle. The host in 1844 was William Dehaven and later Levi Dean. On the eastern slope of Negro Mountain, a mile and a half from Thistle's house, there was another tavern kept in 1844 by Mrs. Haldeman who married Daniel Smouse and surrendered the management of the house to him. This was a popular wagon stand and the yard was ordinarily filled with big, six horse wagons. It was said that the taverns kept by widow's along the road were usually the most popular. This was probably because they were better kept than the others. On the summit of Negro Mountain, 2,825 feet altitude, there was a tavern where wagoners rested and refreshed themselves after their long pull up the mountain. In 1836, Dennis Hoblitzell kept it, and then by William Sheets and Thomas Beall. Next came a tavern at Keyser's Ridge, 2,843 feet above sea level, the highest point on the road. Francis McCambridge kept this house as early as 1820, then Robert Hunter and James Stoddard and several others in succession. A half mile further west John Woods built and kept a tavern in 1850. The next tavern was only a mile and a half away. It was a wagon stand kept by Daniel Fear. Harvey Bane, Wm. Carlisle and David Johnson in succession. The next tavern, only three quarters of a mile further on, was a house kept from 1818 to 1843 by James Reynolds, James Fear succeeding him. Four years later Daniel Fear moved about 300 yards further westward and kept the Augustine House for two years, and was succeeded by John Woods.

Close to these houses Henry Walters built a house in 1845 and kept tavern for a short time. This was the last of the taverns upon the Maryland part of the road. Near the eastern side or foot of Winding Ridge the road crossed Mason and Dixon's line into Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The line was marked by a metal slab, inscribed on the near side, "State Line, Md. 96¾ to Wheeling, To Petersburg 2¾ ." On the other side the inscription was, "State Line Penna. 34¼ to Cumberland, To Frostburg 23¼ ."

Eastward from Cumberland, all the way to Baltimore, the wayside taverns and wagon stands were almost as close together as towards the West. On the western slope of Sideling Hill, Thomas Norris kept a tavern in a large, stone building which was also kept at one time by Samuel Cessna. One mile west of Sideling Hill Creek there was a wagon stand kept by a widow with the singular name of Ashkettle. Two miles further, at a place known as Snib Hollow, the next tavern was situated. It was kept as early as 1825, by another widow, Mrs. Turnbull. Later John Alder had a wagon stand at this strangely named place. The next tavern was that of Dennis Hoblitzell in 1830, at Town Hill, half a mile from Snib Hollow. This place was kept at one time by Samuel Cessna, and it was a favorite stopping place for . both stages and wagons. It was at this tavern that Governor Thomas Corwin, of Ohio, then a member of Congress, was taken for a negro by Cessna. Corwin was in company with Mr. Clay, and both of them entered into the frolic. After a good dinner, which Corwin ate at a side table, and some burnt brandy, Mr. Clay astonished the landlord by introducing the supposed negro to him in his right name and title. Corwin was very dark and this led to the mistake. Samuel Luman's tavern was at the foot of Town Hill. He kept it in 1839, and Harry Bevans kept it before him. Two miles westward comes Green Ridge, and here there was a tavern kept by Elisha Collins. The next hostelry was at Pratt's Hollow, two miles from Green Ridge, kept by Samuel Hamilton, and then by Levi Magruder. Two miles further west John S. Miller had a tavern as early as 1836. One mile away, on the summit of Polish Mountain, was another stand kept by Philip Fletcher. The next tavern was four miles from Fletcher, an unusual interval between drinks, and this was at Flintstone. In this village there were several wagon stands and taverns, and all the stages stopped there. At one time the leading place was kept by Thomas Robinson {correct spelling Thomas Robosson}. One was kept by Jonathan Huddleson, another by John Piper and one by Harry B. Elbon. Two miles west from Flintstone stood, at Martins Mountain, Thomas Street's tavern. The next house, two miles distant, was kept by Mrs. Osford, assisted by her son Joseph. It was a log house on the south side of the road, and being kept by a widow, and well kept, it was popular. Peter Hager succeeded her. The next tavern, still two miles on, was that of Henry Miller. Two miles further on, one Slifer kept a tavern.

In the old taverns the barroom was the social hall. The climate in the mountains in the winter season was severe, and the travelers on the road were very cold when they reached at nightfall the tavern where. they would spend the night. They were sure to find a big fire, burning bright in an enormous grate. Coal was cheap and plentiful, and the only cost to many of the landlords was in hauling it from a nearby mine, which was probably an outcrop. Some of the grates were as much as seven feet in length, requiring an enormous chimney place to contain one, and capable of holding a wagon load of coal. The poker used to stir the fire was about six feet long and was commonly wielded by the landlord himself. At the. bar the only drink for the ordinary customer was corn whiskey, pure, unadulterated and very strong, and those who drank it pronounced it wholesome. It is likely that but little of it was more than a year or two old. In the wagon stands it was sold at three cents a drink, and in the taverns, where the stages stopped, the price was five cents, and the amount consumed was not inconsiderable. For distinguished and aristocratic guests there was brandy and Madeira wine at the best of the taverns. Whiskey was considered the drink of the plain people. In the barrooms of the wagon stands the great fire was kept blazing all night, and the wagoners, who brought their own blankets, wrapped themselves in them and slept on the floor with their feet to the fire. There is a tradition that the fare in many of these wayside inns was good. Game was abundant and as cheap as pork. In the mountains there were many trout streams from which the tavern tables were frequently supplied. Mountain mutton was the best, and the buckwheat cakes, made from buckwheat grown in the neighborhood and ground at the neighboring water mill, had a great reputation. The wife of the host did not think herself above giving personal superintendence in the kitchen or even in doing the cooking herself. The prices charged for bed and board were as moderate as the prices for drinks. Writing to Mr. Searight, author of "The Old Pike," Mr. James G. Blaine, who frequently traveled over the road, said, "We did not use, the high sounding hotel, but the good old Anglo-Saxon tavern, with its wide open fire in the cheerful barroom, and the bountiful spread in the dining room, and the long porch for summer loafers and the immense stabling with its wealth of horse flesh, and the great open yard for the road wagons. How real and vivid it all seems to me this moment." This was written about 1890.

In 1910, under the administration of Governor Austin Crothers, the State of Maryland undertook to construct and maintain the principal highways, and now the great Western Road from Baltimore to Mason and Dixon's line, in Garrett County, where it passes into Pennsylvania, is one of the most splendid highways in America.