“Little Sketches From Nearby History”
Carroll County Times article for 2 April 2000
By Jay A. Graybeal

Local history enthusiasts have many writers to thank for sharing their knowledge of our rich local heritage. In this column I have paid tribute to several of last century including J. Leland Jordan, Bradford Gist Lynch, Francis Neal Parke, Mary Bostwick Shellman and others.

A writer who has heretofore gone unmentioned is the late Rev. Freeman Ankrum, a Brethren minister who once wrote a column for the Union Bridge Pilot entitled, “Little Sketches of Nearby History.” He contributed several articles about local figures and communities, including the following about a Brethren preacher, J. S. Flory, in the September 27, 1940 issue of the paper:

 “Time makes many changes in the average community.  Perhaps this section of Maryland is as free from them as it is possible for a community to expect.  This may be illustrated by the travels of a Brethren preacher seventy years ago, by the name of J. S. Flory.  This preacher of seventy years ago, happens to be the great-uncle of the wife of the writer of this sketch.  Descendants of the folks visited in that far off day are here and his route may be traced almost as though his trip was made yesterday.  The following is his letter written in January 1870 and published in the ‘Christian Family Companion,’ Tuesday, January 25, at Tyrone Pennsylvania, and published by Henry Holdinger.  ‘The 8th of January had meeting at Sams Creek meeting house; after meeting, Brother E. W. Engler took me to his home near New Windsor, and was kindly entertained by his family; in the evening Brother Engler took me to Pipe Creek meeting house.  Brother Solomon Stoner met me there and took me to his home after the meeting where I had the pleasure of meeting my cousin, his companion and his family.  Meeting next day, Sunday at Pipe Creek again; home with Brother Ephraim Stoner.  Meeting at night at Union Bridge; all night at the home of Sister Sophia Lightner, who entertained us kindly.  Meeting next day at Beaver Dam meeting house, at 10 o’clock; home with my Uncle Jacob Stoner, meeting again at the same point in the evening.  Went to cousin Abraham Stoner’s had the pleasure of getting acquainted with his kind family, but was sorry to find cousin Jane severely afflicted; but she was willing to submit to the will of the Lord.  She seemed willing to submit her case to the great Heavenly physician, and her hope was in the merits of a dear Savior.

Meeting again next day at Beaver Dam meeting house; dined with Brother D. Stoner.  Meeting at night at Good Intent house; very much crowded and many could not get admittance.  Home with Brother D. Grossnickle.  Next Sunday went to Ridge meeting house in Monocacy district; home with Brother H. Shriver; meeting at night at Ridge meeting house again.  All night with Brother Krise.  Next morning visited Sister Ecker, who has been afflicted for several years, had a short season of devotion with her; then went to Elder D. P. Saylor’s, where we were kindly cared for.  P.M. visited a number of brethren and sisters, had religious exercises with them; then visited D. P. Saylor’s married daughter, who are relatives of mine.  Took supper with Brother S. Weybright.  Meeting at night at Keys house of worship, which is the property, donated to the public by the author of the famous National song “The Star Spangled Banner.” All night with Brother John Weybright; next morning at Middleburg, Brother Solomon Stoner left me having accompanied me for a week.  Thanks to him for his kindness.  Brother D. Grossnickle kindly took me to Brother Upton Waltz who had volunteered to take me to Brother Jesse Roops where I met with a kind reception. Thanks to Brother W. for bringing me on thus far. And thanks to God for his care over me.’ “

Rev. Ankrum moved from Carroll County shortly after writing the above piece but he continued his local history research and writing. He authored a book of interesting stories entitled, Maryland and Pennsylvania Historical Sketches in 1947. The book included several stories about local people and places, including “Quaint Little Uniontown”; “Emory Woodyard Reminisces”; “The Zumbrun Mill”; and “Fuss Mill Murder”, collected during his stay in Carroll. 
Photo Caption: Rev. J. S. Flory wrote about his visit to Pipe Creek Church of the Brethren in 1870. Historical Society of Carroll County post card collection.