During those 25 years, the organization worked diligently to save Fort Frederick in Big Pool and Washington Monument in Boonsboro.
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These two historic structures represent major periods in the history of our nation and our county.
The Washington Monument is the nation’s first monument built in honor of the United States’ first president, George Washington. It was built by citizens of the first county of 31 in the United States named for him (and perhaps the first geographic designation anywhere that was not on lands of his family holdings).
Orders for construction of Fort Frederick, completed in 1756, quickly followed the first military command of George Washington, which he assumed on the death of his superior officer.
The hostilities between the English and French over the lands in Western Maryland, Western Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and the entire Ohio River and Great Lakes area erupted and young Washington showed an interest in service to the cause.
He was then recruited as a result of his family status and his familiarity with the region. Fort Frederick was commissioned by the English Governor of Maryland, Horatio Sharpe, to be built in Western Maryland as a defense for the area and a safe haven for the settlers of the region.
The easily combustible design of wooden stockade forts indicated to Sharpe that this new fort should be a strong, stone defense.
Both sites were restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was formed to create jobs and to build and restore public infrastructure during the Great Depression.
Other names associated with the earliest meetings, but not part of the incorporation documents were Clara V. and Nannie B. Tice, Daniel W. Doub, W. W. Seibert, Marshall F. Zeigler, Benjamin A. Beard, Mrs. Harry Beachley, Mrs. O.H. W. Hunter, B.W.T. Phreaner, Helen Ash Hays and Alice N. Barkdoll, all of whom expressed support and became contributing members soon after the legal requirements for the organization were fulfilled.
It is clear from the early minutes book that their shared goal focused on preserving historic sites, beginning a collection of artifacts and making recorded history available to future generations.
By January 1912, the ranks of general membership in the society were growing rapidly with 20 new members inducted at the meeting on Jan. 25. The names read like a “Who’s Who” of local business and industry leaders.
One of the first mentioned gifts to the collection was a copy of the book, “The Life and Journal of the Rev’d Christian Newcomer, Late Bishop of the Church of the United Brethren Church.”
Newcomer was an itinerant minister of the Brethren Church, whose route took him from his home near Beaver Creek in Washington County as far west as places in Ohio as part of his circuit.
The book covers a period of 35 years of his travels and was originally kept by him in German. The book from Brewer is a first edition translated and published in Hagerstown in 1834. It is kept in our rare books storage.
The journal was sent by Luther A. Brewer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who continued to return so many written accounts pertinent to local history to the society that he was made an honorary member.
The second gift was the offer from co-founder John Philemon Smith to give his vast collection of artifacts and written works about Sharpsburg. Interestingly, there was an early letter from the Maryland Historical Society strongly suggesting that all artifacts received by the local organization be forwarded to their collection in Baltimore.
Soon after, Mrs. Hunter offered the ledger, kept in 1862 by her father, Matthew J. Barber, of the ransom contributors to the McCausland demands of $20,000 to prevent burning down Hagerstown by the Confederate occupying forces.
The Daughters of the American Revolution, State of Maryland, also made numerous gifts.