“Horse and Buggy Days”

Carroll County Times article for 22 June 1997

By Jay A. Graybeal

Prior to the advent of the automobile in the early twentieth century, horses provided most of the private transportation for local residents. Nearly every household possessed a horse and buggy or a farm wagon which was used to transport the family around the county. A sleigh was used when snow and ice covered the roads. Horse drawn vehicles were generally reliable and safe, however, accidents were not uncommon. The following article from the 19 May 1883 issue of the Westminster Democratic Advocate newspaper describes several mishaps:

“An unusual number of accidents have occurred in this county within the past ten days, persons in nearly every case being more or less hurt by runaway horses.Last Sunday Miss Kate Lloyd and her brother attended service at Stone Chapel, near Warfieldsburg. After the morning service Miss Lloyd was sitting in the buggy, and her brother was preparing to feed the horse. After taking off the bridle, and before a halter could be put on, the animal ran off, upsetting the buggy and throwing the young lady against a tree, cutting a gash several inches long over the right eye and bruising one of her lower limbs. The same animal got frightened at a train of cars at Finksburg about four weeks previous and ran off, throwing Scott Lloyd from the carriage and cutting the back of his head severely. Dr. James P. Summers attended both cases.

On Monday last, whilst the North Pleasant Valley Band was playing opposite the Marsh House, this city, the horse of Mr. Peter Lingenfelter, living at Sandy Mount, became restless. Mr. Lingenfelter untied and undertook to hold him, but it was of no use, the animal was too much frightened, and reared and plunged forward and ran off. Mr. Lingenfelter held onto the rein and was forced off his feet by the speed of the horse, and, falling, was dragged some distance before he let go, and then the carriage passed over him. He was picked up insensible and carried into the Marsh House, where he soon revived and shortly after went home. Dr. J. W. Hering examined him, and found that there was a cut behind one ear, produced either by a shaft or by the fall, but discovered no serious injury. The accident was witnessed by a large number of persons, and Mr. Lingenfelter’s escape with so slight injury was a wonder to all.

Mr. Joseph Arnold was thrown from a wagon on Tuesday morning, near his home, several miles down the Finksburg pike. He was driving the team of Mr. Nelson Matthews, and was returning from Baltimore, where he had taken some hogs. When nearly home again a bridle slipped off a horse, and the team ran off, throwing Mr. Arnold out on his head, producing concussion, and the wagon passed over a leg, dislocating an ankle. He was taken to the house of Mr. Leister, near by, and Dr. J. H. Billingslea was summoned. He was unconscious for twelve hours but is now improving.

On Thursday of last week, as Mr. Daniel Roop was starting for home from Maynard’s warehouse, New Windsor, his horse got frightened at a train of cars and ran away. Mr. Roop was thrown from his cart, getting his right arm broken and receiving internal injuries of a serious character. Dr. J. F. Buffington rendered surgical aid. Mr. Roop is improving and hopes of his recovery are entertained. He was taken to his home near Uniontown the following day.

On Monday night, Mr. John Buckley, living several miles this side of Finksburg, with his father, whilst on his way from Patapsco, got out at his father’s gate, opened it and led his horse through. Whilst shutting the gate the horse ran off through the woods, completely demolishing the buggy.

Mr. Jesse Long, living near Tannery, was thrown from a wagon last Sunday evening. He was returning from Tannery Station, driving a young horse to a small wagon, when the bridle came off the animal’s head. The horse started to run, and running against a cow in the road, upset the wagon and threw Mr. Long out. Mr. Long received several cuts and bruises. Dr. W. K. Fringer rendered medical services.

A horse belonging to Capt. A. Billingslea, of this city, while feeling good last Tuesday morning, pranced around until he broke a shaft and frightened the driver.

On Monday morning as Mr. Wm. Burgoon, of Bachman’s Valley, and his son were on their way to this city, the horse became frightened at a goat and ran off a bridge near the residence of Mr. Jacob Zacharias, on the Littlestown pike, and fell a distance of fourteen feet down into a gully. Mr. Burgoon had a leg bruised, his son received a small cut near the eye, the carriage top was smashed and the harness broken.

Our Taylorsville correspondent writes:-On Tuesday evening as Mr. Augustus Brown and two comrades were descending a hill in a buggy on the Bloom’s mill road, near the old Liberty road, a bolt came out, throwing the top on a wheel, scaring the horse, who started to run. Mr. Brown held the animal manfully and stopped him at the foot of the hill before other damage was done.”

Given the extent of the his injuries and the nature of medicine, it is not surprising that Daniel Roop did not survive. He died on May 25, 1883 and was buried in the Pipe Creek Cemetery near Uniontown.
Photo caption: Henry H. Harbaugh drives his buggy on East Main St. in Westminster in this turn-of-the-century post card photograph. Other horse drawn vehicles are visible parked along the street and a water tank wagon sprinkles water on the dirt street to deter dust. Historical Society of Carroll County collection, gift of Roland Harbaugh.