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Frostburg Slavery Days Recalled, 1921

John Carter recalls Frostburg Slavery Days, 1921 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information



John Carter Earned First Dollar at Age of 28 Years After Being Freed.

Frostburg, Md. July 30.—Celebrating the 55th anniversary of his freedom from slavery, John Carter, aged 83 years, Ormand street, one of Frostburg's oldest colored residents, stopped working yesterday for a few moments and told the story of long ago.

Carter, son of Benjamin Carter, now long deceased, was born into slavery with William Thompson, one of the town's fathers, a stockman and a stage driver. At the age of six, he was put to work about the house and stable doing small chores. In December, 1851, Carter then 14 years old, was sent to a neighbor’s house for piece of harness. On his return he was caught in a snow storm, lost his way and suffered a frozen limb, which: was later amputated.

At the death of Mr. Thompson, he was resold to Aden Clary, a farmer and general storekeeper on the National Pike, at the place now known as Clarysville. At the signing of the proclamation of emancipation Carter was freed and started working for Peter Payne, proprietor the Grand Central Hotel, located on the site now occupied by the Durst Furniture Company. It was there that Carter made his first dollar at 28 years of age.

He married Mary Jane Johnson, also a slave in the Rawlings family at Rawlings station, of which union, ten children were born.

Jack, as he is known, is a familiar figure about the streets of the city and drives an old fashioned phaeton carrying pay masters to the local mines. He is one of the few ex-slaves living and in spite of his age and the loss of a limb is very active. He is employed as a driver by the H. G. Evans Livery Company and does gardening.


Cumberland Evening Times

The newspaper article is from the Cumberland Evening Times, July 30, 1921
The building on the immediate left in the photograph is the Grand Central Hotel which employed John Carter upon his emancipation and which is referenced in his 1921 recollections. The Durst Furniture Building was later constructed upon this site on Main Street in 1918. This 1897 depiction is looking east on Frostburg's Main Street. Note the old steeple from St. Michael's Catholic Church in the background.
Source: Art Work of Allegany County, Maryland, 1897.


Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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