“Co. H Had Its Beginning in Frizellburg”
Carroll County Times Article for March 21 1999
Carroll County members of the Maryland National Guard have served the state and the nation in two world wars. Local men were called up in June 1916 when Pancho Villa was active on the Border and war with Mexico seemed imminent. Duty on the Border prepared the men for service with the 29th Division during World War I. A new generation of guardsmen was called up for World War II and many participated in the Normandy invasion and the closing battles of the conflict.
Carroll County men formed a National Guard company shortly after the Civil War. The local press noted that the unit, designated as Co. A, 17th Infantry, M.N.G., was formed in 1867. The outfit did not last long, however, nor did a revived version of the pre-Civil War unit known as the Carroll Guards formed in 1879. A more permanent unit would not be organized until March 1899 when a group of Frizellburg men formed an infantry company. J. Leland Jordan described the formation of the Frizellburg Company in one of his regular history columns published in this paper during the 1937 Carroll County Centennial:
“Company H Had Its Beginning In Frizellburg March 20, 1899, was an important day in our neighboring community of Frizellburg, for it was on that day that the Carroll County Military company was organized. It was not until January 8, 1901, that it received its designation as Company H of the First Infantry, Maryland Militia. On the farm of David J. Roop, near by, were the greenhouses of the Sunny Side Floral Company, owned by H. Scott Roop. As was customary in small communities, the general store was the place of meeting for the men of near and far, but not so in Frizellburg. Now it so happened that John F. Auer had been placed in charge of this enterprise, and his employer expected much of him in the way of production and the propagation of plants and flowers which is quite customary in greenhouses. Auer had lately been employed as landscape manager at the State Hospital in Sykesville, but with him came another knowledge which was greater than that of growing things beautiful. He had previously been a member of the Bond Guards in Catonsville, Md.; of the Baltimore Light Infantry, later known as the 4th Infantry, Maryland Militia. Now the thing that strikes as being odd, is the fact that men would find their way to the greenhouses of a florist, and there spend their off hours swapping stories and discussing the important topics of the day, when they could have gathered at the place of more importance, the general store. Nevertheless, they were real he men, despite the fact they preferred the odor of carnations and heliotrope. John Auer, with his military experience, was successful in persuading this group of young men in organizing a military company. At the first public meeting called on March 20, 1899, sixty-five names appeared on the application role. They immediately held an election and we give here the complete roster as of that date:
Considerable interest in the new company was shown by all members, and they immediately began their drills and the “practice of military tactics.” The lack of a suitable building forced them to drill in the street of the town or in a nearby meadow. Funds were badly needed for the various items so essential to a military company, that they soon decided upon having their first “grand annual picnic.” This was held on August 19 of that year, and from accounts attracted about 1500 people. A feature of the occasion was a parade and drill by the company and the Westminster Drum Corps. Both afternoon and night. An orchestra from Westminster “enlivened the event,” $104.06 were the gross earnings. Drills continued and in the course of a few weeks they had mastered many of the close order movements. Due to the lack of a regulation uniform they drilled for some months in white trousers and an ordinary dark coat. The officers were more fortunate, they having secured the official militia uniform. However, a little later (November), when funds were available, blue flannel trousers, a regulation hat and rifle were secured. On December 12 of the same year there appeared the following article in the American Sentinel:
As time wore on, hopes seemed to be heightened,
But alas! when the stalks grew frailer and lanker,
|The Frizellburg Company was designated Company H, First Maryland Infantry in January 1901, a designation it retained until the formation of the 29th Division in 1917. During the Great War, the infantrymen were issued machine guns and designated Co. C, 112th Machine Gun Battalion. During World War II, the unit served as Co. H, 115th Infantry Regiment and local men distinguished themselves on the Normandy beaches beginning the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. The men of “Co. H” had come a long way from the old parade field in Frizellburg.
|The Frizellburg Company posed in civilian coats and hats and white trousers during the summer of 1899. The men were issued uniforms, arms and accouterments in February 1901. From a copy photograph in the Ed Haifley Collection, Historical Society of Carroll County, gift of Ed Haifley 1989.