A Pictorial History of Accident, Maryland, from the collection of Mary Miller
The photographs in this collection were donated to the Ruth Enlow Library
branch in Accident, Maryland, by the Strauss family after the death of Mrs.
Strauss in 1992, and are shown here with the permission of her family. The text
accompanying the photographs was provided by Mrs. Strauss. The photographers
were not identified in the text, but some of the photographs had the source
written on the back. While Mrs. Strauss and the staff of the Library have
attempted to identify individuals and locations, any further assistance would
Mary Miller Strauss was born in Accident, Maryland and taught in the elementary
schools of the Garrett County Public School system for 33 years. After her
retirement in 1976, she continued as a resource teacher in many local county
schools. She was well known throughout the state as a very knowledgeable local
and Garrett County historian. She wrote Flowery Vale, a history of Accident,
Maryland. This book brought alive her love for her birthplace
and the people from the time of the first settlers, the James Drane Family, to
the present. She also co-authored Lutherans on the Mountaintop with
Dr. B.B. Maurer. She collected many photographs from a variety of sources to
augment Flowery Vale, and some of these constitute the collection
held by the Accident Library.
From the early 1950s, Mrs. Strauss had an active interest in the restoration of
the Drane House, the earliest residence in Garrett County. She made possible
the placing of the Drane House on the National Registry of Historical Homes.
Her dreams and many years of hard work were rewarded when the actual
restoration of the Drane House began in 1992. The house, owned by the Town of
Accident, has been restored and is open for visits by appointment.
Accident, Garrett County, Maryland was one of the early settlements in
the far west of Maryland. Mary Strauss explains the origin of the name:
How did this spot get the name Accident? To this very day it remains a
mystery. There are numerous stories advocating the name's origin, but the
following is probably the most nearly correct story of the "accident". At least
it checks with the land records.
In 1774 Lord Baltimore, Proprietor of the Maryland Colony, opened his lands
"westward of Fort Cumberland" for settlement. Among the speculators who
hastened to western Maryland with their surveyors to secure choice tracts of
land were Brooke Beall and William Deakins, Jr., both of Prince George's
County. William Deakins and his brother Francis had warrants for several
tracts, and on April 14, 1774, they surveyed a fine tract of 682 acres between
the branches of Bear Creek, including an old Indian camp ground on the trail to
Braddock's Road. But when the survey was completed, Brooke Beall and his party
appeared on the scene and Beall claimed that he had selected the same tract for
his survey, calling attention to his axe marks on the trees to prove his claim.
Deakins replied that it appeared that they had selected the same land "by
accident". Since he and Beall were friends and land was abundant, he proposed
that Beall take over the survey already made. To this Beall agreed, although
his warrant called for 778 acres. John Hanson, Jr., Deputy County Surveyor,
made out the survey to Beall, and they named the tract Accident. (Flowery Vale,