Carroll’s Yesteryears

25 October 1992

Students wrote about Winfield

By Joe Getty

The historical society is dedicated to preserving the history from all areas of Carroll County. As part of this mission, we sponsor an annual dinner meeting each year in different locations in the county.

This year’s annual dinner meeting will be in southern Carroll County at the Winfield community fire hall on Nov. 12. After a family style turkey and oyster supper, we will have a guest speaker and a presentation about the historical society’s Legacy Campaign. The public is invited to attend.

We travel throughout the county in order to learn more about the history of our communities. In our collection, we have photographs and artifacts relating to Winfield history, such as the account books, doctor’s trunk and medical equipment of Dr. Francis J. Crawford.

Another resource that provides many insights about Winfield history is a series of articles in our library collection. The articles were written by Winfield High School students in 1926 and published in the Democratic Advocate newspaper. The excerpts that follow reflect the small-town life that existed in Winfield during the early 20th century.

Why I Like Winfield Community: “I like Winfield community because it has many nice farms and pretty houses with lots of good people in them. I think Winfield is a convenient little town. It has a blacksmith, garage, barber, two stores which are very convenient for all the people around Winfield community. There is also a doctor who is always ready to come at any time. There is also a high school with good teachers in it. It has many husky looking boys and girls in attendance.” – Rachel Moore.

Winfield Geography: “Winfield community occupies a small part of the Central Maryland Plateau Region. This region encloses a plateau about 600 feet above sea level and is noted for the beauty of its scenery … Another important fact that makes Winfield Community extremely interesting is that about one-fourth mile south of Winfield there is a round hill, known as “Little Round Top,” just about the size for a picnic ground. This hill is shaded by a picnic woods upon it. Every year, Decoration Day is celebrated here.” – Julia Bair.

Decoration Day: “Decoration Day is held in Winfield May 30 every year in memory of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. This is held day and night. The P.O.S. of A. Lodge sells all sorts of good eats and bands play most all the time. People come from far and near, but not because of the confectionerys and music, but to hear splendid addresses made by men who tell about the old soldiers and myths about the Civil War. Winfield is lined on both sides of Main Street with automobiles from 10 a.m. until far into the night. I believe I will remember last Decoration Day as long as I live because I had such a good time. Dates are made weeks before but not the kind you eat.” – Lillian Barnes.

Winfield Farming: In the vicinity of Winfield farming is the main industry. The country is divided into farms anywhere from 25 to 200 acres each. The soil is loamy. The most important crops are wheat and corn. Others are wormseed, oats, rye, barley, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peas, hay and some buckwheat…Wormseed is raised in the vicinity of Winfield more than any other place in Carroll County. The crop requires a lot of hard work, but brings a good price.” – Eva Franklin.

Wormseed Industry: “First in the early spring seed is sown in a sheltered bed in a new round or similar, sheltered rich soil. The plants are allowed to grow until they are about six inches high. Then they are pulled up and planted in rows, using the same process as in transplanting tomatoes. These plants grow and become large and huskey. When they reach the height of about two feet, the seed, which has grown all over the outside of the plant, begins to ripen. When the inside of the seed is black, it is ripe and the stalk is cut and laid over to mature. It is then loaded on wagons and distilled. The price of the oil ranges from three to six dollars per pound and is used in some kinds of medicines.” – Julia M. Bair

Social Life: “During our forefather’s time social life was altogether different from that of today. The style was different and also the way of enjoying themselves. The young men used to hitch their horse to a new shiny buggy and escort the young ladies who looked like forty year old women of today to an ‘Apple-Butter Boiling.’ ‘Quilting Party,’ ‘Corn Husking Party,’ or some other old time gathering that would not interest the young people of today. Now the young men jump in their Fords, get the young ladies who correspond with Cupid dolls and beat it to a ‘classic dance,’ ‘movies,’ ‘The Ice Cream Parlor,’ or spin on the new pike in the moon lite. In the older times crowds went to these parties together, the old and the young, but you don’t find it that way today. The young sheiks take their father’s car, put it in the garage around 2 or 3 a.m. and the old sex stay at home and say, ‘The world is going to the dogs.’”

Other excerpts from this series of articles on the history of Winfield community will be on display at the dinner meeting. If you would like tickets to the dinner, contact the historical society at (410) 848-6494.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Carroll County

Photo caption: This view of the tree-lined dirt main street in Winfield was taken in 1910 by the Westminster photographer Mitchell and produced as a postcard by A.J. Stem of Winfield.