Living with history is not unusual if it is all you have known, Boyer said. The town’s fame does not often intrude on her privacy, but there have been times.
“What irks me is people have come in with metal detectors without permission. Until I catch ’em,” she said.
Boyer said she has found souvenir hunters trying to dig up artifacts in her yard.
Next door, Clay and Jacqueline Herzog have been in the process of restoring a cut stone house for several years.
“I started out thinking it was going to occupy me for about two years,” Clay Herzog said.
That was four years ago, he said, and the end is not in sight.
The street frontage of the house looks much as it would have during the war, but the Herzog’s have built an addition to the rear. As much as possible, in materials and architecture, they have tried to keep it in character with other historic buildings, he said.
Clay Herzog’s deed searches have taken the building back to at least 1853, but he suspects it goes back much further, having been among the first lots sold by Sharpsburg’s founder, Capt. Joseph Chapline in 1764.
“It had been abandoned for 25 years” and dilapidated when they bought it, Herzog said.
The story for this house is that when the owners returned after the battle, they found a wounded Confederate soldier wrapped in a quilt on the stoop, Clay Herzog said. The quilt was donated to the Washington County Historical Society, he said.
Barbara Morrow’s family hid in a cave along the Potomac River and returned to find the soldier, according to historical society records cited by Registrar Cathy Landsman.
During the battle, many Sharpsburg residents fled their homes and the town, but some sought shelter in the Kretzer House.
“We had a spring in the cellar and that’s where the townspeople congregated when the soldiers were fighting,” said Maryanna Munch, who lives in the Kretzer House on East Main Street. “The basement has three rooms, so I imagine it can hide quite a few.”
Munch’s roots in Sharpsburg go back quite a ways, she said.
“My mother was a Kretzer,” she said.
The lady of the house at the time of the battle was Teresa Kretzer. Confederate soldiers coming through town ordered her to take down an American flag that flew at the house, Munch said. When the soldiers returned, she told them “it was in ashes,” Munch said.
In fact, Teresa Kretzer did not burn the flag, but hid it under fireplace ashes, Munch said.
The Biggs House on West Main Street was the home and office of Dr. Augustin A. Biggs during the war years. The gable side of the house, now owned by Sid and Marian Gale, has shell damage, with a cannonball displayed where it struck.
Marian Gale said the original cannonball was removed years ago by a previous owner and she had another put in its place.
The Stone Houses of Sharpsburg Walking Tour pamphlet produced by the Sharpsburg Historical Society notes that another shell went through a window into the dining room and that a Confederate soldier sitting in the doorway was killed by a stray bullet.
The street frontage, with the original carriage stones and hitching post, and the front rooms of the house look much as they would have in the 19th century, down to the furnishings. The bloodstains on the living room walls and floor have been painted over, Gale said.
Their son, Peter Gale, said that occupying the house is a bit like living in a museum. He recalled inviting some college friends over and telling them the family had an antiques shop on the property.
“So where’s the house?” one of them asked upon entering the home, he said.