Distinguished Citizens of
Excerpts from History of Allegany County
by Williams and Thomas (1923)
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Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of the Sixth Congressional District, Maryland. New York:
Chapman Publishing Co., 1898. (Md. XF184.P6)
Portrait and Biographical Record Charles F. McAleer, postmaster of Western Port, Allegany County, is one of the prominent local leaders in the Republican Party. This party, of which he has been a member since early manhood and with which he is thoroughly in accord, in recognition of his fidelity to its principles and his fitness for office has frequently chosen him to serve in official capacities of trust and honor. At different times he has been a member of the city council, his last term expiring in 1897. In 1882 he was elected to represent his district in the State Legislature and as member of that body took a part in measures for the benefit of the people, devoting himself especially to the advancement of the interest of his constituents. His present appointment as postmaster was tendered him in October, 1897 under the administration of President McKinley.
The son of John and Sarah McAleer, the subject of this sketch, is the sole survivor of the family, originally consisting of two sons and two daughters. He was born in Westchester County, New York, September 14, 1830 [Research shows Charles was born in 1834]. His father, who was born near Frederick, Maryland, removed to the state of New York, where he maintained until his death, following in early life the occupation of a farmer, but later engaging as a contractor and builder. While our subject was still small, his parents died, and he was taken into the home of a half sister. At the age of eleven he began in life for himself, and from that time onward was self-supporting. For five years he worked on a farm in Westchester County, after which he went to New York, amd made his home with an uncle, Michael McAleer, a Catholic priest. After a few years he went to Baltimore, were he found a home with a relative, John McAleer, who was engaged in the hardware business and utilized the services of the young man as an assistant.
After three years Mr. McAleer went to Mont Clare, where he followed the locksmith's trade a short time. Returning to Baltimore he resumed work as a locksmith until an accident disabled him and forced him to abandon the occupation. He then went back to Mont Clare, but soon moved to Piedmont, West Virginia, where he became general superintendent of repairs in the turning department of the B & O shops. The position he held continuously, with the exception of a six month furlough, until June 1897, a period of forty five years.
September 14, 1861, Mr McAleer enlisted as a private in Company C, Third Maryland Infantry, and served until the close of the war, being honorably discharged in May, 1865. From the ranks he was promoted to be corporal and at the time of his discharge held a commision as first lieutenant. He was present at the capture of Harper's Ferry, where he was captured, remaining a prisoner of war from September, 1862 until the spring of 1863, when he was paroled. In June he was exchanged, and immediately entered the service again. He took part in the battle of Winchester and many other engagements memorable in the history of the war. He is past commander of B.B. Shaw Post, G.A.R. department of West Virginia, at Piedmont, and for ten years has served as quartermaster.
In religious connections Mr. McAleer is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Piedmont. November 17, 1858 [Research shows Charles was married in 1859], he married Louisa Barker, daughter of Enoch and Lucy Barker and a native of Hampshire County, West Virginia. They are the parents of five children, namely: Etta; Lucy I., wife of William Parsons, of West Port: Charles A., who is in the employ of the West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railroad Company; Henry H.; and Leonidas, who is engaged in the drug business at Caddo, I.T.
Contributed by Bob Gay, who adds the following notes:
Charles and Louisa are buried at Philo's
Cemetery in Westernport, MD
Father Michael McAleer may by buried in Frederick, MD.
1890 photograph of the B&O R.R. workers, many from Westernport, MD, at the R.R. yard in Piedmont W.V.
Charles McAleer is third from the left in the first row.
[For larger versions of the photo, click on this image in the area you wish enlarged.]
While Allegany county, old, settled and wonderfully favored by nature, offers in its citizenship many examples of inherited wealth and the advantages accrued by fortunate early environment, this section of the grand old State of Maryland, like many others, has its quota of self-made men, and owes much to their solid character. They may be found among the leading business, professional and public men, dependable and, experienced, who have won their own way to material independence, to public esteem and even to honorable and responsible public position. An example readily called to mind is found in Frank B. McDermitt, well known in mining circles in Allegany county, who has served most acceptably as postmaster of Mount Savage, this county, for the past eight years, 'till May 13th, 1922.
Mr. McDermitt is a native of Allegany county, and was born at Lonaconing, June 22, 1876, and is a son of Frank B. and Catherine (O'Brien) McDermitt, both of whom survive and reside at Mount Savage, where the father, now seventy three years old, is still employed by the C. & P. Railroad company. He is a veteran of the Civil War, enlisted when seventeen years of age, having served in a West Virginia cavalry regiment, Union army, throughout the whole conflict. He was born in Pennsylvania and in childhood accompanied his father, Augustine McDermitt, to Preston county, now West Virginia, where the latter died. Postmaster McDermitt was the third born in a family of nine children, two of whom died in infancy, and the eldest, Augustine, died at the age of twenty-eight years. The others are as follows: Veronica, who is assistant postmaster, under her brother, at Mount Savage; Catherine, who is the wife of F. G. Copleston, of Asheville, North Carolina; John L., who is in business at Rattoon, New Mexico; John L., although past draft age, enlisted at the beginning of the World War, serving eighteen months overseas in 21st Engineers, Company C., and was discharged July 6, 1919; Rose V., who is the wife of P. F. O'Rourke, of Midland, Maryland; and Thomas J., who is general foreman of Chesapeake & Ohio shops at Raleigh, West Virginia.
The family home remained at Lonaconing until Frank B. McDermitt was fifteen years of age, and there he attended the public schools and made himself generally useful, for the family income was not large enough to more than provide necessities. In 1891 his parents moved to Mount Savage, where permanent employment awaited his father, and as soon afterward as possible he became self-supporting, and afterward as a clerk for the Union Mining Company of this place, proved so reliable and efficient that he was retained in the employ of the company for the next five years, when he retired to look after other interests with which he is yet, to some degree connected.
In every community there are some individuals who are so entirely engrossed with their own private affairs and personal problems that public matters seldom get much of their selfish attention, and they sometimes even have to be reminded of their duty to vote, or of the necessity of paying their just taxes. This has never been the case with Mr. McDermitt. On the other hand, although he found many obstacles and handicaps as he reached manhood, that required close attention and firm resolution to satisfactorily adjust, they did not take from him the interest in politics and public affairs that has remained with him ever since. Mr. McDermitt, like many other thoughtful, sensible American citizens, regards an interest in politics a very desirable feature of national progress. He has kept thoroughly informed on every great question of the day, and for some years has been one of the accepted leaders of the Democratic party in Allegany county. On October 13, 1913, McDermitt was appointed postmaster at Mt. Savage, Maryland, by former President Wilson, an appointment that gratified his wide circle of both political and personal friends, many of whom felt that he was exceptionally well qualified, and that his party loyalty was deserving of marked recognition. Mount Savage is an important point, and the postoffice business has greatly increased within the past few years, but Postmaster McDermitt had things well in hand and the service he gave the city was satisfactory in every particular.
Mr. McDermitt and his sister, Miss Veronica, who is his very capable and faithful office assistant, with other members of the family belong to St. Patrick's Catholic Church at Mount Savage. He belongs also to the Knights of Columbus and to the Temperance Union, and like other liberal-handed public men, serves often on charitable committees and benevolent boards. As an upright citizen, vigorous in advancing the best interests of his home and section, and as an honorable and hard-working public official, his name belongs on the list of Allegany county's representative men. Frank B. McDermitt, Sr. died April 16, 1919, and was buried April 18, Good Friday, at 3 P. M., same day and same hour that John L. sailed from France for home on the President Grant.
Within the past year or so special attention has been directed to the paramount importance of the coal industry, for upon this basic business rests the welfare of every individual. Without its proper conduce the wheels of the factory are stopped, commerce ceases, banks go down with a crash, schools and public institutions are closed, and a general panic ensues. Therefore the responsibility of the mine owners, as well as of the miners, is great, and one who can well understand the problems of both classes, for he has been a miner, and is now one of the leading coal operators of the Georges Creek region, is John James McDonald, of Barton.
The birth of John James McDonald, Jr., occurred at Barton, Maryland, June 18,
1873, and he is a son of John J. and Sarah Ann (Davis) McDonald, the former of
whom is still living at Barton, but the latter died when in middle life. The
elder John J. McDonald was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, of Scotch parentage. He
and his wife had the following children: John J., Jr., who was the first born;
Henry, who is a miner of Barton; Allen, who is a mine foreman of Barton; Annie
Bell, who is the widow of John Johnson of Barton; and George, who is also a
miner of Barton. Coming to Barton in young manhood, John J. McDonald, Sr.,
engaged in mining in the Georges Creek district, and continued a miner for fifty
years, but is now retired.
Like the majority of the miner's sons of his generation, John J. McDonald ceased his school attendance at the age of twelve years to go into the mines at Barton, and with the exception of a couple of years when he was engaged in farming, he has spent his life in the coal industry. In 1916 he formed a partnership with Thomas D. Campbell and Arthur P. Hoffa, and these gentlemen leased the Old Hampshire Mines of Barton. This partnership was dissolved several years later, when Messrs. McDonald and Campbell bought the interest of Mr. Hoffa, and formed the Hampshire Big Basin Coal Company of Barton, with mines 1, 2, and 3 at Barton and Franklin. These are very productive properties, and the output is large.
On April 22, 1896, Mr. McDonald was married to Miss Mary Jane Miller, a daughter of the late William H. and Dorcas (Duckworth) Miller, who were among the early settlers of Barton. William H. Miller served Allegany as county commissioner for a number of years, and was one of Barton's leading citizens. Uriah Duck worth, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. McDonald, located at Barton when there was only one other house beside his own on the present site of the now flourishing community. Mr. and Mrs. John J. McDonald, Jr., have three sons Harry M., who is a graduate from the University of Maryland, and an M. A. of Columbia University, is a teacher by profession; William H., who was also graduated from the University of Maryland, is principal of the Grantsville High School; and Charles Kinsley, who is a student of the University of Maryland.
Mr. McDonald is a Republican, but, although he has always given a hearty support to his party's candidates, has never sought to enter the public arena. He is one of the leading members of the Barton Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is equally zealous as a Mason, belonging to Barton Lodge, A. F. & A. M. Strictly a self-made man, Mr. McDonald has worked his way, up from the very bottom of the ladder through his own unaided efforts. Beginning work at an early age, he was not content to remain a worker for others, but invested his savings wisely, and is now reaping the benefit of his foresightedness and good management. It would be difficult to find a man more thoroughly representative of the best element in Allegany county than he.
THOMAS B. McDONALD, M. D., is a prominent member of the medical profession in Cumberland, where he has been established in practice since the year 1897. He is also the representative of a name highly honored in Maryland, where his father's services as a soldier and public official won him a permanent place as one of the makers of history in the State which he chose for a home more than half a century ago.
Capt. John McDonald, the Doctor's father, was born in Ireland May 24, 1837, of good old Protestant stock, being a son of Thomas and Katherine (Hoar) McDonald. He spent his early life in his native land, coming to this country when about eighteen years old, a year after his father's death. He made the voyage in company with a schoolmate, and was variously employed for about a year after his arrival, enlisting August 18, 1857, in the regular army as a member of Company K, First Regiment of Dragoons, which he joined at Fort Buchanan, Arizona. After participating in several campaigns against the Indians in that State and California, he was ordered with his troop to the seat of war in November, 1861, being assigned to the Army of the Potomac. He was first sergeant during the Peninsular campaign, and for brave and judicious conduct at the engagement of Williamsburg, Va., May 4 and 5, 1862, was honored in presence of his command by his superior, Capt. B. F. Davis. On July 17th following he was appointed a second lieutenant of the First Cavalry and sent to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to recruit his command to its full complement of one hundred. He rejoined his regiment in February and on March 17th, at Kelley's Ford, was severely injured by his horse, which was wounded and fell with him. He was then ordered to Washington for medical treatment. Thence he was sent to Carlisle and to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was assigned to recruiting duty until once more fit for active service. He had been complimented by General Averill for his part in the action at Kelly's Ford, and he was equally effective in the Gettysburg campaign. On December 29, 1863, he was promoted to first lieutenant; in November, 1864, he joined his regiment at Winchester, Virginia; the next month went on a cavalry raid to Gordonville, Virginia; and from February to May 15, 1865, was in the general hospital for officers at Annapolis, Maryland. From there he was assigned to mustering duty at Baltimore, at the completion of his work in that city rejoining his regiment at New Orleans in June and accompanying it to California the following January. From there they were ordered to Arizona, Lieutenant McDonald being placed in charge of Troop G in March. While on sick leave in July, 1867, he was ordered to report to the army medical board of the Department of California, which recommended a change of station, and during his location at Fort McDermott he was assigned to the command at Fort Halleck, Nevada, whence he was eventually returned to Fort McDermott to act as quartermaster and commissary. In November, 1867, he appeared before the retiring board at San Francisco, and was commanding Drum barracks when ordered to his home in Maryland January 15, 1868. On July 1, 1868, he was retired from active service with the rank of captain of cavalry, though later, from November, 1868, to March, 1869, he was on court martial duty in Texas.
As intimated, Captain McDonald had established his home in Maryland, having
purchased a fine farm in Potomac district, Montgomery county, to whose
improvement and development he devoted the rest of his active business life,
converting it into a model rural home. He took a leading part in agricultural
advancement in his section, having been prominently connected with the County
Grange for thirteen years, and an official of the Montgomery County Agricultural
Society six years, during two years of which he was president. He died at
Rockville, Montgomery county, February 20, 1917.
For years Captain McDonald held an influential place in the direction of public affairs. Though a Republican, he was elected to the State Legislature in 1882, when the Democratic majority in his county ranged from six hundred to one thousand votes. In 1891 he was a candidate for State Comptroller and received flattering support, though not elected. In 1896 he was the successful candidate for Congress from the Sixth district by a majority of four thousand, and served as a member of the Fifty-fifth Congress, where he was chosen to various important committees, being member of the committee on Military Affairs and chairman of one of its sub-committees and member of the committee on Expenditure for Public Buildings. Personally Captain McDonald always commanded the respect of his political opponents as well as of his friends. Fraternally he was a Mason, affiliated with Montgomery Lodge, No. 195, A. F. & A. M., of Rockville; a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and prominent in G. A. R. circles, having been commander of Independence Post at Gaithersburg, and senior vice commander of the Department of Maryland. His religious connection was with Rockville Protestant Episcopal Church, which he served as vestryman over twenty years.
On May 7, 1863, Captain McDonald was married to Mary J. Benton, daughter of
Horace Benton, of Montgomery county, and they have had a family of six children:
Mary J., Charles G., who was his father's private secretary during his
Congressional term and is now a practicing attorney at Rockville; Thomas B.,
Catherine F., wife of George Bradley, of Montgomery county, retired; Jessie M.,
wife of John G. Childress, of Montgomery county, and John, who died in
Thomas B. McDonald was born February 6, 1871, in Montgomery county, Maryland, where he was reared and acquired the beginnings of his education in the public schools. Later he attended the Agricultural College of Maryland and also spent two years at West Point and was compelled to give up on account of his eyes, and took a course in the medical department of Georgetown (D. C.) University, from which institution he was graduated in the year 1895. He advanced his preparation for practice by two years as interne in hospitals at Washington, D. C., starting on his own account in 1897 at Cumberland, where he made a permanent location. His offices are at No. 33 South Center street. In addition to attending to the multifarious duties of his private practice, he serves as surgeon of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, and his standing in every professional connection is of the highest, gained in skillful service to a wide circle of patrons. He is a member in good standing of the Cumberland Academy of Medicine, Allegany County Medical Society, Medico-Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and American Medical Association, was county physician for Allegany county two years, and is thoroughly representative of the most creditable element in the fraternity, in all of whose activities he has borne a prominent part. Fraternally Dr. McDonald affiliates with Cumberland Lodge, No. 63, B. P. O. Elks.
On March 4, 1905, Dr. McDonald married Miss Nona Millholland, of Cumberland, daughter of the late James A. Millholland, of that city, and they have three children-Thomas B., Nancy Day, who died October 27, 1916, and Anna Randolph.
During recent years on of the lines of business which has been developed in a most remarkable manner is that which has charge of the handling of real estate. In fact, so thoroughly has this business been revolutionized, and so high is the character of the men connected with it, that it has really been raised to the dignity of a profession, and the term realtor now ranks with other callings for which a man has to prepare himself through long and practical experience. Not only must he have this, but, if he is to really succeed, he must also possess natural qualifications. He must know land values as well as the market prices; be able to interest outside capital, as well as local prospects; must be strictly honorable, and uniformly courteous. Back of every transaction there must be good faith, and an actual interest in the purchaser as well as the one who is selling. Through all of his work must run a kindly hope for the future, and a strong loyalty to his home city, for of such traits of character are the real boosters made, and it is they who bring a locality into prominence, and create a demand for its, properties and productions. Cumberland would not be the city it is today, a great center of constructive effort, were it not for the intelligent work of the realtors, and one of them worthy of much more than passing mention is William Evan McDonald, one of the most experienced, resourceful and representative men of his calling in Allegany county.
William Evan McDonald was born at Forks of Capon, Hampshire county, West Virginia, April 10, 1878, a son of George Washington and Mollie S. (Carder) McDonald. They had the following children Bertie May, who is the wife of David N. Day, a farmer in the vicinity of Paw Paw, Morgan county, West Virginia; William Evan, whose name heads this review; and Deskin Furr, who is engaged in farming on his own farm near Paw Paw.
During his boyhood and youth William Evan McDonald attended the little public school at Forks of Capon during four or five months a year, and spent the remaining months working on his father's farm. As he grew older he decided to strike out for himself, and so, leaving home, first worked for the farmers and orchardists in the neighborhood. As he gained confidence in himself, he went further afield, and for a time was in the railroad shops of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Cumberland. Returning later to Hampshire county, West Virginia, for two years he taught a country school, and then for two years clerked in the general store at Oldtown, Allegany county, Maryland, owned by John W. Carder.
During all of this time he was learning men and how to meet them, and trying out his own capabilities, and he felt, by 1904 that he was able to handle bigger propositions than had yet fallen to his lot. So, in November of that year, he returned to Cumberland, and for a year was with David P. Miller, helping him in his real-estate business. He then accepted an offer from the Real Estate and Securities Company, and maintained his connection with that organization until 1909, and then entered the Cumberland Savings Bank as bookkeeper, which position he held until December 31, 1918. During all of this time he had kept up his interest in real estate, and upon resigning from the bank, went into business for himself as a realtor, and has achieved in it a most gratifying success.
For a number of years Mr. McDonald has been active in, local Democratic
politics, and was elected treasurer of Allegany county, and served as such,
while still with his bank. His record in that office was so excellent a one that
when he came before the people of Cumberland as the candidate of his party for
election to the office of commissioner, he received a large vote, and by his
colleagues was made commissioner of streets and public property. So efficient
did he prove in this capacity that he was returned to the office of commissioner
in 1922, at which time he was made commissioner of finance and he is now acting
as such with the same energy and constructive effectiveness that has
characterized his every action.
Mr. McDonald is a man well endowed by nature, for in addition to other attributes he possesses those essentials which win him the warm friendship of his associates, and he carries these friendships along with him through life. Full of energy and overflowing with good nature, kindly, affable, courteous, indefatigably industrious, he is always chasing his work, it never drives him. He is a man who gives attention to every detail, and is temperamentally fitted for large business and public matters. He is just as genial and accommodating as he is dynamic and hustling, and it is his hobby to be of service to those about him, and he indulges himself in it to the fullest extent.
While he was at Oldtown, in Mr. Carder's store, Mr. McDonald married Miss French Pearl Hiett, a former schoolmate, a daughter of George 'Washington and Elizabeth (McCoole) Hiett, of Forks of Capon, West Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald are members, in active standing, of the Central Methodist Episcopal Church of Cumberland, of which he is a steward, and he also is the teacher of the young men's bible class. In this connection he is performing a very useful service, and his class shows the effects of his influence upon the young men under his charge. Air. Mc Donald's home life is ideal, just as would be expected of a man of his high character, and he and his wife dispense a delightful hospitality to their many friends who are always welcome whenever they choose to visit their pleasant home in Cumberland.
Patrick T. McGann.---A general review of the careers of the men who have been honored by the Federal Government by appointment to the highly responsible office of postmaster, shows that by far the majority of them have already proven their fitness for such preferment by years of varied experience and unqualified success in different lines of business. No man can hope to make good as the head of a post office, especially where the office is an important one, if he has not acquired a working and practical knowledge of business forms and customs, and therefore it is that a man so trained is the one who fills the office of postmaster capably and efficiently, and gives eminent satisfaction in his management of the affairs placed in his hands. Patrick T. McGann is not only postmaster of Frostburg, but he is also a business man who has been connected with different enterprises of Allegany county in which connections he won and held the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens.
The birth of Patrick T. McGann took place at Eckhart Mines, Allegany county, Maryland, August 8, 1865. He is a son of Richard and Ann (Moore) McGann, both of whom are now deceased. Richard McGann was born in Ireland in 1815 and when he was only fifteen years old he made the long trip to the United States, arriving in this country in 1830. While still a boy he was employed on the construction work of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and after he had left the canal he went to Mount Savage, Allegany county, and went into the mines. For a number of years he continued to be interested in the mining industry, and his connection with it brought him to Eckhart Mines, and he remained in that village until his death which occurred February 13, 1878, and for the greater portion of that time he was a miner.
As his first wife Richard McGann married Marcella Caine, a sister of Peter Caine, the first mine inspector of Maryland. Four children were born of this marriage, namely: Jane, who is deceased. was the wife of Jacob Nain; Ellen, who died unmarried; Bridget, who married Joseph Brittian; and Marcella, who died unmarried. Richard McGann was married second to Miss Ann Moore, a native of Ireland, who came to the United States in her girlhood. They became the parents of five children as follows: Mary A., who is unmarried, lives with her brother, Patrick T.; Thomas, who died in childhood; Margaret C., who also lives with her brother; Patrick T., who is unmarried; James F., who married Miss Mary A. Durkin of Midland, Maryland, and they have thirteen children. The children of James F. McGann and his wife are as follows: Richard, who married Miss Elizabeth Nolan, has four children. James, Daniel, Elizabeth and Patrick T.; Frank, who married Miss Elizabeth Rupert of Cumberland, Maryland, has a daughter, Angela; Joseph, twin brother of Frank, who married Miss Marie Rupert, has a son, Philip; Thomas, who is unmarried, is a veteran of the World War; Annie M., who lives with her uncle, Patrick T. McGann, was educated in the parochial schools and the Frostburg State Normal School, and is now a teacher in the Maryland-Avenue public school of Cumberland, Maryland; John, who is a resident of Frostburg; Laura, who is a telephone operator of Frostburg; and James H., George, LeRoy, Margaret and Josephine, all of whom are residents of Frostburg. Richard McGann, the founder of the family in this country, was a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church, and all of his children and grandchildren also belong to this faith. Like him they are also strong supporters of the Democratic party.
Growing up at Eckhart Mines, Patrick T. McGann was early taught to make himself useful, beginning to work in the mines when only twelve years of age, as his father died at that time. Consequently his educational training was a limited one, but he has added to his store of knowledge by keen observation. His first employment was secured at the Hoffman mine, and his wages went to help support the family left without a head when the good father was taken away. From 1881 to 1898 he was engaged in digging coal at Mine No. 3, when, having managed by thrift to save a little money, he formed a partnership with Thomas A. Sullivan and opened a hat and shoe store in Frostburg. They were very successful in this enterprise, and Mr. McGann retained his interest in the establishment until 1898 when the partnership was desolved and Mr. McGann closed the business and embarked in the wholesale and retail liquor business, continuing it until he was appointed postmaster of Frostburg by President Wilson in February, 1915. He had already come before the public, and in 1900 acted as census enumerator for Frostburg District No. 12. Since assuming the duties of his office, Mr. McGann has handled the post office business systematically, endeavoring to render prompt and efficient service, and his efforts have met with a high appreciation from the people of Frostburg. By his close application to all his undertakings, Mr. McGann has achieved a substantial success, and at the same time gained and held the respect of his fellow citizens, who have witnessed the steady progress and the industry by which it has been accomplished. He has never married, his two sisters, Mary A. and Margaret C., making a pleasant home atmosphere for him.
During the past quarter of a century Mr. McCann has been regarded as one of the reliable workers in the Democratic party of Allegany county, his effective labors having been a factor in every campaign. He is a member of St. Michael's Catholic Church of Frostburg, and fraternally he holds membership with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Loyal Order of Moose. While Mr. McGann was a miner he was a member of the Miners' Union, and was one of the first to join the United Mine Workers of America. He was also for many years a member of the Knights of Labor, joining that organization at the age of nineteen years, and for at number of years was one of the most active forces laboring for the betterment of the condition of mine workers, and he is still interested in these organizations, although now only as an outsider. He has a strong following in the county, especially among his former co-laborers, and takes a pride in the fact that they come to him for advice and generally act upon it, for they recognize his sound, practical common sense and knowledge of men.
WILLIAM OLIVER McLANE, M. D., an experienced physician and skilled surgeon of Allegany county, who has been engaged in the practice of his profession at Frostburg for almost thirty years, enjoys the distinction of being one of the oldest practitioners in the city in length of service. He is known professionally all over the county, and at Frostburg there are few citizens who command more universal confidence and respect.
Dr. McLane was born at Baltimore. Maryland. September 21, 1868. a son of Charles M. and Annie (Thompson) McLane. His paternal grandfather, Samuel McLane, was a native of Scotland as to parentage, but his birth took place on the sea. As far back as Dr. McLane can remember, the family belonged to Baltimore. There he attended the public schools, and before completing his high school course had determined what should be his life work, hence, as soon as. circumstances would permit, he entered the University of Maryland Medical College, from which notable institution he was graduated in the spring of 1892, and shortly afterward located at Frostburg.
The Frostburg of thirty years ago was not quite the modern city of today, but the young physician soon made friends, and ere long recognized that a wide field of usefulness was open to a physician who entered, as did he, with a full sense of his professional responsibility as taught by the Fathers of Medicine. During his many years of successful practice he has come very near to the people of his city, and they have had opportunity to see him not only as the wise, able, cheerful physician, but as the just man and good citizen. He has witnessed and welcomed the marvelous scientific advances made by his profession in this long period, and in practice has kept pace with the times as his experience and judgment have deemed beneficial.
Dr. McLane was married December 26, 1893, to Miss Estella C. Lee, daughter of John W. Lee, of Baltimore. The death of Mrs. McLane in September 20, 1916, removed from the community a greatly beloved lady, one who had endeared herself to a wide circle in many ways. She is survived by five children: William Lee, Anna B., William Oliver, Jr., studying medicine Maryland University; Charles b9 -. and Eleanor C., all residents of Frostburg except the eldest, Charles M., of Johns Hopkins University, who has interests at Akron, Ohio.
In political sentiment, Dr McLane is a Democrat, but no urging of friends has ever been able to induce him to accept a political office. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for the past twenty-five years has been on the church board. Fraternally he belongs to Frostburg Lodge, No. 470., B. P. O. E., and is connected with numerous professional bodies including the Allegany County Medical Society, the Medi-Chirurgical Society of Maryland, and the George's Creek Medical Society.
Francis McNamee, general forman in the shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Mount Savage, Allegany county, Maryland, has the rather remarkable record of having been continuously employed in those shops from the time of their removal to the present stone building in 1866. He is said to have lost less time from his work in the last fifty years than any other man in the county, and in the light of both these statements, the fact that he is one of the most respected citizens of Mount Savage needs no explanation.
Mr. McNamee was born May 1, 1843, at Lilly, Cambria county, Pennsylvania, son of Patrick and Hannah (Murphy) McNamee, both of whom are now deceased. They came to this country from Ireland nearly one hundred years ago, and lived many years in Allegany county, Maryland, Patrick McNamee being a long-time employee of the Union Mining Company in its brick plant at Mount Savage following his trade of brick burner. He was an industrious, hard-working man, a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church at Mount Savage, and stood well with his neighbors on the merits of him upright character and good habits. Politically he was a Democrat. Of his six children, Bridget (wife of Dennis Mullaney), James, Patrick, John, Charles and Francis, the last named is now the only survivor.
Francis McNamee was the youngest child of his parents, and quite young when the family settled at Mount Savage, Allegany county, where he was reared and educated. He had the average advantages of the old-fashioned schools, and when seventeen years old found employment at brickmaking with the Union Mining Company at Mount Savage, remaining there until he went out to California in 1863. At Marysville, that State, he learned the trade of machinist, and upon his return to Maryland in the fall of 1865 began work as such in the old shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Mount Savage. The new stone shop building was erected in 1866, and there he has been engaged ever since. After proving his capacity in twelve years of satisfactory work as a machinist, he was made general foreman, of which position he has been the incumbent nearly forty years, throughout which time he has been in charge of a force ranging anywhere from one hundred to two hundred men, as conditions required. Cars, engines and everything else coming under the head of railroad, rolling stock are manufactured in these shops, and their efficient operation plays an important part in the smoothness of the schedule, hence it is vital that the man at the head should be a dependable executive as well as a competent mechanic, and Mr. McNamee has never been found wanting in either respect. He has advanced to his responsible position by hard work and conscientious devotion to his duties, for which he is eminently well qualified, having improved every opportunity to develop. the skill acquired in his early training, and to augment the varied knowledge necessary to dispatch his obligations intelligently. He has always been esteemed for his high moral standards and moderation in all things. Though a staunch Democrat, and interested in politics, he has never cared to mix in public affairs. He has been a consistent member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church at Mount Savage for over sixty-five years.
In 1868 Mr. McNamee married Miss Mary Monaghan, of Mount Savage, daughter of Anthony and Bridget (Hanaban) Monaghan and a member of an old family of this place. Six children have been born to them: Charles P., now general foreman in the machine shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania road at Mount Savage, married Alice Malloy and has four children, Coletia, Edward, Thomas and Mildred; Rose B. is the widow of John P. McMullen, of Cumberland, Maryland; Anna Mary is the widow of Daniel F. McMullin, of Cumberland; Alice Regina is the wife of Joseph P. Noonan, Mt. Savage, and has one child Rosemary; Catherine L. lives at home; Francis J. is engaged as rate clerk in B. & O. Office, Cumberland.
JOHN G. MERRBACH, former county commissioner of Allegany county, is a resident of Frostburg and one of the well and favorably known citizens of the Georges Creek region, in which section he has passed all of his life. As a successful business man, and an official whose record measures up to high standards of public service, he is a credit to himself and to the community which he represents.
Born February 21, 1864, at Barton, Allegany county, Maryland, Mr. Merrbach is a son of Godfrey and Catherine Elizabeth (Schramm) Merrbach, both of whom are now deceased. The father was a native of Saxony, Germany, and a resident of Allegany county from 1855 to the close of his life. By trade he was a weaver, and followed that calling here many years but he was probably just as well known as the leader during a long period of the Barton Band, a popular organization in great demand in this locality. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Merrbach, namely: Gottlieb, of Lonaconing, Allegany county, who is a miner; Theodor, of Frostburg; Amelia, wife of Charles D. Brode, Sharon, Pennsylvania; Henry, a farmer, of Shade Mills, Garrett county, Maryland; John G.; Carrie, wife of John Livinggood, residing in Pennsylvania; Annie D., wife of Charles Vogtman, of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania; Emma, wife of John Philips, of Frostburg; William, a resident of Meyerdale, Pennsylvania.
John G. Merrbach grew up in Barton and Frostburg, and obtained his education in the public schools there. As a youth he did mine work for a short time, but he soon turned to his father's trade, learning carpet making at Frostburg and devoting himself to that occupation for some years. However, he was ambitious to have more active connection with business operations than that line afforded, and accordingly he went into the grocery trade on his own account, carrying it on profitably, and later doing well in the ice cream business also. Mr. Merrbach had no means to help him obtain a start in life, making his way unaided to the prosperous circumstances which he now enjoys, and. earning the respect of his fellow men by the honorable principles which have guided him throughout. He has acquired some valuable' property in Frostburg by his thrift and good management.
Mr. Merrbach has always been associated with the Republican party in politics and he was its successful candidate for county commissioner in 1911, serving a term of two years with characteristic efficiency. All local interests are considered. worthy of his attention and cooperation. He is a leading member of the Lutheran Church of Frostburg, having been president of the church council, and is prominent in various social orders, being a member of the Shield of Honor, a past commander of the Junior O. U. A. M. and a member of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
On June 14, 1890, Mr. Merrbach was married to Miss Susanna Alexander, of Frostburg, daughter of Elias Alexander and to this union have come five sons, namely: Emory, a machinist of Altoona, Pennsylvania; George F., a miner, living in Frostburg; Carl F., who is a conductor on the C. and W. Electric Railway; Albert, with the Pennsylvania Railroad and Clayton, living at home.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MIDDLETON was born February 19, 1843, on Warrior Mountain, two miles east of Twiggtown, Allegany county, Maryland. He was the second oldest son of Joel Middleton and Elizabeth (Thornburg) Middleton, of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. There were eight children born to this marriage whose names follow: William, farmer and coal miner, of Elk Garden, West Virginia; Benjamin F., subject of this biography; John, farmer, now living in Cumberland; Frances Elizabeth, widow of Lawrence Dolan, now residing in Cumberland; Jennie, wife of Michael C. S. Twigg, of Town Creek, both dead; Lurenna, wife of Horace Twigg, of Cumberland; Emeline, wife of Jacob Harden, of Cumberland; Thomas, farmer, of Spring Gap, Allegany county, Maryland.
The Middletons were among the pioneer families of Warrior Mountain, for Joel, father of Benjamin, and son of Hughey Middleton and Lurenna Middleton, was also born on Warrior Mountain, close by where he lived all his life.
Little Ben first went to the Murley Branch school, a log cabin schoolhouse that stood near the Big Spring. His first schoolteacher was George Slicer and Simon Eastman was the second, both of whom were among the best teachers of that time. He next had Miss Martha Smith as his teacher for a short time, and his last schoolhouse was an old log cabin at Twiggtown. Amos Stallings was his teacher.
The school terms of those days were about four months during the winter. Ben grew up to hard knocks, like all the Warrior Mountain youth of his time. From the time he was big enough he began farm work, which in those days was mostly woods work, grubbing, chopping and rail splitting, clearing new fields and fencing them and breaking the new ground for crops. Ben Middleton continued in this strength and hardihood producing occupation until the war between the States broke out, which was to bring him new opportunities.
Not being old enough to answer President Abraham Lincoln's first call for volunteers to put down Secession in the South, he eagerly awaited his chance to go to the front, which soon came to him. He answered the President's second call for volunteers by enlisting at Oldtown, Allegany county, Maryland, in Company E, Second Regiment Potomac Home Brigade Volunteers. James C. Lynn was his captain and Theodore Luman and George Couter his lieutenants, all of Cumberland. This was in the month of February. His company returned to Cumberland in March following.
From this time on his company moved about a very great deal, being ordered from place to place in quick succession to do guard duty. Among other places the company was successively at New Creek (Keyser), Greenland Gap, Petersburg, Patterson's Creek Depot, West Virginia; returning again and again, between times to the Cumberland headquarters. At the end of his two years' enlistment we find Ben Middleton re-enlisting as a veteran for three years, thus becoming a bounty man. This second enlistment was in Company A, Second Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Volunteers, Captain H. H. Hartsock in command. His company participated in General Hunter's raid. The company started from New Creek (Keyser), entrained to Martinsburg, footed it across Blue Ridge into Shenandoah Valley and on and on until it had penetrated as far south as Lynchburg, Virginia. It was in action there and defeated. Then the company's troubles began. In their precipitate retreat, for they, the members of Company A, did not stand on the order of their going, but just went with all the speed they could, as fast as their legs would carry them, across the Appalachians, to Camp Fayette on the Gauley river. This was real wilderness marching. At one time the company was five days in the woods, marching without rations, running from the "Johnnies." Reaching the Kanawha river, the company got down to' the Ohio river and up it to Parkersburg, from which point it entrained to New Creek.
We have gotten a little bit ahead of Ben's life story, for at the end of his two years' enlistment, and upon his re-enlistment "for three years or so long' as the war lasted," as a bounty man and veteran he got a thirty-days' furlough, which he spent at his home on Warrior Mountain and at Twiggtown close by, where he married Nellie Twigg, daughter of David and Savilla Twigg.
This momentous event, the greatest thing that comes in the life of a man, made Ben Middleton a very much better man and soldier. He vividly recalls the day when his company had reached Charlestown, made famous by the trial, conviction and execution of old John Brown, of Osawatomie, and was hurrying south pell mell on its way to slaughter the "Johnnies," for this was the beginning of Hunter's Raid. The company was warned that this was the last chance to write a letter to the folks at home. All of the boys took advantage of the opportunity, and wrote or got a fellow soldier to write for him, and this was the last word they got to or from their folks at home until the company's return to Cumberland. His company saw its last service at New Creek (Keyser) -and at Cumberland. It was soon afterwards ordered to Camp Bradford in the city of Baltimore, where it was mustered out of service. Ben Middleton lost no time in getting back home to his family at Twiggtown.
The following children were born to his first marriage, namely: Lucy, wife of Francis McClellan Hamilton, of Warrior Mountain; Janette, unmarried, a widely known professional nurse of Washington, D. C.; Alice, wife of John Ross, upholsterer, Washington, D. C.; Olive, wife of Dennis Wilson, farmer near Cumberland; Amanda, wife of Wesley Morrison, of Togus, Maine, both of whom are trained nurses; Charles, employe of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, now deceased; Rosalie, wife of Charles M. Hendrickson, farmer, residing east of Cumberland; Hazel K., trained nurse, resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; Bennie Pearl, wife of George S. Reed, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; June Blossom, unmarried, trained nurse of Washington, D. C.
After returning home from the war, with an honorable discharge, Mr. Middleton engaged actively in farming and stock raising, with such good success that he later bought a large farm at Twiggtown, a part of the famous old "Sink Hole Bottom" land, which had for years been in possession of the Twiggtown Twiggs. He retained his mountain farm also, which, because of its splendid pasturage and springs, enabled him to carry on stock raising successfully.
After his return from the army he quickly became a leading figure in his neighborhood. He has by his energy and enterprise accumulated a competency, and is taking life easier in his old days. He is enjoying a very wide acquaintance throughout the county and to his legion of friends he is "Uncle Ben."
For more than twenty years he has been the leading Republican of his district, and because of his kindly nature and never failing geniality he retains and increases his popularity. Death robbing him of his first wife, he married Mary Hymes, daughter of George and Elizabeth Hymes, of Flintstone, and to them have been born three children, namely: Earl, a successful upholsterer of Washington, D. C.; Curtis, a farmer who farms the home place, and Nellie, at home.
"Uncle Ben" Middleton has always taken a deep interest in his local G. A. R. Tyler Post, No. 5. He unfailingly turns out with them upon all occasions.
"Uncle Ben" Middleton twice served as Tax Collector for the First District, and was elected Road Director three times in succession, and discharged the duties of his office fairly and fearlessly. It has never been whispered or said that Benjamin F. Middleton was anybody's man, or that he belonged to any little coterie or party clique or county oligarchy.
Some years ago he yielded to the wouldn't-take-no insistency of a squadron of his ardent young friends and took the part of "Uncle Sam" in a great Labor Day parade, and he so admirably fitted the part facially, physically and temperamentally that he was the leading feature of the procession, to the delight of his thousands of acquaintances and amid universal acclaim, so faithfully did he type the part. And the soubriquet still sticks to him, so he is known to the people of city and country, en masse, as "Uncle Sam."
At this writing, still handsome, hale and hearty, he is always seen wherever there is anything noteworthy going on anywhere in his county, for he is known and liked by his fellow citizens at large and en masse.
He attended the recent dedication of the Lincoln Memorial at Washington, D. C.
He has to his credit attendance at National G. A. R. Encampments at Louisville, Washington, Atlantic City, Columbus, twice at Indianapolis and Des Moines ,in 1922.
Mr. Middleton from childhood has been a great hunter and has killed as many as ten deer in one season, and this has been his life sport.
WILLIAM MOREHEAD'S SONS conduct the oldest stove house in Cumberland, the business having been established by their father in 1860, though it has gone far beyond any size or scope which he likely had in mind when he set about making a living as a tinner and dealer in hardware and house furnishings.
William Morehead was born about 1832, near Chambersburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and his father, John Morehead, was also a native of that county, the family being of old Pennsylvania stock. He came to Cumberland in young manhood, and here learned the trade of tinner under James McGill, within a few years, in 1860, buying the business of his employer, which has ever since been owned and operated in the family, he and his sons in turn being at the head of it. It was then located in a little store room at No. 11 Baltimore street. In the early days, as now, tinning of every kind was handled, Mr. Morehead being an expert mechanic, but before modern manufacturing turned out housewares in large quantities all such articles were made by hand, and he was kept busy supplying household hardware and canal supplies. He was hard-working and thrifty, laboring day and night to keep up with the demands of his patron, and retaining their custom by his accommodating methods and watchfulness regarding their wants. The business grew steadily, and as time passed Mr. Morehead's sons, John E. and Howard B. Morehead joined him. It was carried on at the old stand until 1897. The present commodious building at Nos. 17-19 Mechanic street was purchased in 1904 and equipped with every known facility for the large manufacturing and merchandising business now done. The workroom in the rear is provided with improved machinery and all other devices for handling metal work, from the lightest weight tin to the heaviest iron, modern appliances making it possible to care for the most complicated problems with ease and accuracy. Everything in metal work known to the trade is produced in this establishment — architectural sheet metal, steel ceilings, cornices, skylights, blast pipes, railroad and factory work, copper, tin and galvanized iron gutters, and the firm has always maintained its early reputation for quality roofing, some of the best contracts in Cumberland coming into its hands. Howard B. Morehead, the youngest son of William Morehead, is an expert sheet metal worker and: has given his special attention to this branch of the business. The Moreheads have been noted for their own skill in this line and for their excellent judgment in choosing and training employes, and the delicate and exacting work which has been intrusted to them by some of the big industrial concerns, and on many of the most important structures in the city, shows that confidence in their trustworthiness has not been misplaced. They have always had a name for selecting the best materials obtainable for their roofing, the combination of first-class metals and workmanship guaranteeing long life for all the construction which they undertake. At present, the ranges running from hot plates to hotel stoves, in styles to meet every demand, attractively displayed to give customers every advantage for making proper selection. High-class house furnishings of all kinds are carried, though special attention is given in this line to hotel and restaurant supplies. The sons, like the father, have lost no opportunity to familiarize themselves with every detail of the stove and tinning business, and they fully deserve the confidence which the public has shown so substantially in loyal and long-continued patronage. The firm style has been William Morehead's Sons since their father's death, April 15, 1905. He was a member of the Lutheran church, and a Democrat in politics, but not active in public affairs or many interests outside of business.
By his marriage to Mary Metz Mr. Morehead had a family of seven children John E.; Thomas J., deceased July 5, 1904, age 43 years, formerly a member of the firm; Mary R., deceased, was the wife of John T. Taylor; William W., deceased; Eldridge, who died in childhood; Matilda Jane, deceased, who married John McFeron, a butcher of Cumberland; and Howard B. Thomas J. Morehead left one son, Raymond H., now associated with his uncles in the house of William Morehead's Sons, and thus a representative of the third generation of the family in the business. He devotes all his time to the housefurnishing hardware department and management of the store room, and has taken an effective part in the conduct of the business and carried his full share of its responsibilities.
John E. Morehead was born January 13, 1859, in Cumberland, where he was reared and educated. He began to help his father at an early age, and has devoted all his business life to the Morehead establishment, which now represents largely his policies and ideas. He had the advantage of thorough training in both mechanical and business departments in association with his capable father, and has profited well by it, never allowing the high standards instilled into him in youth to deteriorate in his conduct of the house, of which he is now general manager. Personally he is a man of genial disposition and honorable character, as well liked in his business and social relations as his father before him. Politically he is a Democrat, and like the rest of the family a member of the Lutheran church. He married Laura V. Winters, of Cumberland. They have no children.
Howard B. Morehead was born May 9, 1879, in Cumberland, where he grew up and acquired his education. He also started to work with his father as a boy, and he now has charge of the contracting and mechanical departments, whose details he has mastered by unremitting attention to their problems. He has been an active member of the firm since the death of his brother Thomas, and his energetic tendencies have been a factor of real value in its continued expansion and development. Like his brother he is a Democrat and a Lutheran, and fraternally he affiliates with Lodge No. 60, Knights of Pythias, and with the Knights of the Maccabees, being well and favorably known in various circles in the city. He has never married.
CHARLES ROBERT MORRIS, attorney at law, holds a front rank in his profession at Cumberland, Maryland and throughout his entire live has been usefully active in everything pertaining to the welfare of Allegany County. Although Mr. Morris can lay claim to a long line of honorable, substantial ancestry, he came upon the scene of life at a time when the depression at the close of a great war still affected the finances of capitalists and industrial workers alike, and, like many other men who have nevertheless achieved notable success, has been in large measure the architect of his own fortunes.
Charles R. Morris was born at Cumberland, Maryland, September 28, 1867. His parents, John W. Morris, a native of Winchester, Virginia, and Mary (Deetz) Morris, his mother, daughter of George Deetz, a native of Cumberland, the father being a son of Robert I. Morris and a grandson of Enoch Morris, of Colonial ancestry. For many years John W. Morris was a valued employee of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Cumberland, and is recalled as a trustworthy man in every relation of life. His surviving family consisted of three children, Charles R. being next to the youngest born. The eldest, Walter Grant Morris, is a telegraph operator at Cumberland. The one daughter, Margaret, has her home at Baltimore, Maryland. The family was reared in the Methodist faith.
Mr. Morris has practically spent his life at Cumberland. He is indebted to her public schools for his early education, and to his own determined efforts, to wide and varied reading, and to association with and emulation of men of superior intellectual gifts, for the solid fund of general information from which he can draw at will to prove his case in the court room, as his opponents have frequently discovered in legal contests. Perhaps Mr. Morris can not recall the time when he first felt attracted toward the law, but when circumstances so adjusted themselves that he was able to enter upon serious study with the object of making it his life profession he was fortunate in being able to enter the office of the Hon. David J. Lewis an able lawyer, and formerly a member of Congress from the 6th Congressional District of Maryland. Mr. Morris proved a very satisfactory pupil, having an ambition to excel, and in 1895 he was admitted to the bar and immediately entered into practice.
In the meanwhile, Mr. Morris had become interested in the political movements of the time, from which few intellectual men could stand aloof and in the principles of the Republican party found a standard under which he has ever since been content to march. His political friends have not been unappreciative. In 1896, his excellency, Gov. Lloyd Lowndes appointed Mr. Morris a justice of the peace, in which office he served for four years, during this time being the youngest official of this kind in the entire State of Maryland. Many other political offices have been tendered him, but, with a large increase in his law practice, he has deemed it wise to decline interests outside his profession to a large extent. In 1914, however, his friends prevailed and he became a candidate for the State Senate, failing of election by a very small majority.
Mr. Morris married in 1892 Miss Elizabeth Lewis, of Mount Savage, Maryland. Her parents, now deceased, were Theophilus and Ann (Reese) Lewis, old residents of that section of Allegany county. Mr. and Mrs. Morris have three children, two daughters and one son: Margaret E., Emily S. and Robert C., all of whom have had superior educational and social advantages. Mr. Morris is a member of Ohr Lodge, No. 131, A. F. & A. M.