“Carroll Record Histories”

Carroll County Times article for 27 February 1994

By Joe Getty

The Historical Society has begun working on a major publication project for 1994. This project will feature a book, The Carroll Record Histories of Northwestern Carroll County Communities, containing histories written 100 years ago by local residents.

Originally, these histories were published serially in the Taneytown newspaper, The Carroll Record, and have never been compiled in book format. They provide a fascinating perspective about the early history of the following communities: Taneytown, Uniontown, New Windsor, Union Bridge, Double Pipe Creek (Detour), Linwood, Harney, Middleburg, Keysville, York Road (Keymar), Bruceville, McKinstry’s Mills, Trevanion and Middleburg District.

Donors to this publication project will be entitled to contribute entries to a supplement of family, business and organizational histories. This supplement will be similar to the one produced last year in conjunction with the reprinting of the 1877 Illustrated Atlas of Carroll County, Maryland.

The Carroll Record was founded in 1894 and its first editor, Preston B. Englar, believed that a local history column would attract subscribers from surrounding communities. In a 1904 article celebrating the 10th anniversary of the newspaper, Englar gave the following description of the success of this idea:

“The opportunity to grow beyond local prominence came earlier than was expected. Before the close of the first half-year, the Editor, in cudgeling his brain for some special attraction for local readers, conceived the idea of re-publishing the history of Taneytown, written by Rev. W. H. Luckenbach in 1876 while he was pastor of Trinity Lutheran church. The idea was scarcely discovered before the advisability of enlarging on it was seen, and the result was a history of Taneytown, written by Dr. C. Birnie, who used the Luckenbach’s sketch only as a nucleus, and added much new and heretofore unpublished information, bringing the history of the town, its churches, industries and growth, down to date. This required twenty-two issues, closing March 30, 1895.

“Long before this history ended, the value of the feature was plainly demonstrated. Through it, subscribers living at a distance were secured – those formerly from the town, or district, or who were otherwise interested – and the elaboration of the idea followed as a most natural sequence. If the publication of the history of Taneytown brought subscribers, why would not the publication of the history of other county towns bring still more? The opportunity was not to be lost. Arrangements were made with competent friends of the Editor in nearly every town and village in the county, north of the Western Maryland, and as soon as “The End” was written to the Taneytown history, another was ready, until the historical feature comprised the following:

“Taneytown, Dr. C. Birnie, 22 weeks; Union Bridge, Daniel Wolfe, 7 weeks; New Windsor, F. J. Devilbiss, 9 weeks; Harney, J. Wm. Reck, 11 weeks; Linwood, Jesse P. Garner, 3 weeks; McKinstry’s, Jesse P. Garner, 3 weeks; Middleburg, Keysville, Double Pipe Creek and York Road, Jas H. Koons, 6 weeks; Bruceville, E. H. Sharetts, 1 week; Middleburg District, S. Weybright, 7 weeks; Uniontown, Dr. J. J. Weaver, 20 weeks; Trevanion, J. H. Taylor, 12 weeks.

“These histories contained, also, very interesting sketches of churches, villages, incidents, and well known families and individuals, to the end that they were unquestionably valuable and popular.”

In the coming weeks, excerpts from these histories will be featured as part of our Carroll Yesteryears’ column.

The Historical Society is publishing “The Carroll Record Histories of Northwestern Carroll County Communities” during 1994. The book will include a supplement of family, business and organizational histories prepared by donors to this publication project. If you would like additional information about this project, contact the Historical Society at (410) 848-6494.

Cutline: Dr. Clotworthy Birnie (1843-1917), a Taneytown physician, wrote the “History of Taneytown” for the Carroll Record in 1894. The Historical Society is republishing his essay along with other community histories in the publication, The Carroll Record Histories of Northwestern Carroll County Communities. The book will also include a supplement of family, business and organizational histories prepared by donors to the publication project.