Carroll’s Yesteryears

16 August 1992

August has long been time of camping, picnics

By Joe Getty

August was the traditional time for camping trips and camp meetings in Carroll County.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, camping became popular as a recreational activity. Local clubs were formed for camping, boating and fishing. In addition, religious organizations sponsored week-long camp meetings where families lived in tents and attended programs of music, lectures and religious sermons.

The best known local camp meeting was at Linwood. It began in 1870 and attracted special excursion trains from Baltimore, western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Admission to the Linwood Camp Meeting grounds was a nickel. On some Sundays the attendance was 10,000 people.

The fee for campers was six dollars for the week. A commissary tent served the noon meal for 50 cents and evening meal for 25 cents. Summertime foods, such as ice cream and lemonade, were popular with over 1,000 watermelons consumed during the week.

Other communities throughout Carroll County sponsored camp meetings. A large meeting was held in Mt. Airy. The Hampstead circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church established the Asbury Grove Camp Meeting Ground on Houcksville Road one mile south of Hampstead.

The establishment of recreational clubs in Carroll County’s communities was also popular 100 years ago. The American Sentinel of July 23, 1892 reports on the first outing of a Manchester club:

“The Manchester Boating and Fishing Club went on their first annual trip, on Thursday last, to Kenny’s dam, near Middletown, where they enjoyed a royal time fishing, seining and outlining during the night. Although the catch was not as large as it might have been the good time enjoyed more than made up the deficiency. Mr. Nelson Warehelm was the originator of the outing, a fact which gave an assurance that the commissary department would be well furnished, an assurance that was well sustained by the supply of good things hidden away in boxes, kegs and jugs, to which full justice was done by the keen appetites of the members and their visitors. The new boat was duly installed and gave good satisfaction. In the absence of a tent the covered wagons were used for sleeping apartments, but as the mosquitoes held full sway there was more fighting than sleeping during the night.”

As we reported in an earlier article, leap year offered the occasion for a woman to propose to a man. The Democratic Advocate of the August 11, 1888 describes a leap year fishing party near Taneytown:

“The ladies of Taneytown gave a Leap year fishing party to the gentlemen of the same place on Friday, August 2nd. The ladies having procured the conveyances, the party left town at 9 o’clock for the meadow of Eli M. Dutterer, a delightfully cool and shady spot on Big Pipe Creek, between Taneytown and Middleburg. The morning passed rapidly away in fishing by some and baiting hooks by others, for the fish seemed to be just as hungry as the fat man of the party, who, after several ineffectual attempts, at last succeeded in getting the ladies to cease trying to ensnare the wily bass and to open those numerous baskets. The table was spread in the shade (it did not continue there though) of several large trees, and one look at it would have satisfied any epicure that the ladies of Taneytown were seconded to none in preparing a first-class dinner. King Appetite reigned supreme although the music (?) of several frogs was anything but melodious whilst eating. Fishing, driving race, during which two gentlemen got left by two ladies, although it was a leap year party, playing croquet, and swinging in hammocks took up the afternoon, and when good things was spread on the grass for supper, it soon became evident that the sports and numerous enjoyments participated in during the afternoon had made keener subjects of their appetites than at dinner, and caused one innocently to say: “Oh, I am so full.” We think it altogether necessary to extend our congratulations to one of the gentlemen of the party for the number of proposals he received, although we will be very sorry if he will be compelled to emigrate to Salt Lake City. The shades of evening began to spread themselves over the valley too soon for all, and it was not long before the happy party were found winding their way homeward, satisfied that it was one of the most pleasant days they had ever spent. Among those present were the following: Misses Lou and Eudora Reindollar, May Forest, Anna Motter, Emma Reaver, Maggie and Jennie Galt, Susan G. LeFeure, Mrs. W. M. Reindollar, Mrs. George Motter, Mrs. S. E. Reindollar, Messrs. Archie and Jas Gault, A. H. Zollickoffer, Robert C. McKinney, Geo. Arnold and Dr. C. Birnie.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Joe Getty

Photo caption: A group of friends from New Windsor pose in front of their tent on a camp outing in the mid-1890’s. The only one identified is Herbert Getty, second from left. If you can identify the others, please call the historical society at 848-6494.