Notes on George's Creek
Notes on Georges Creek
FELIX G. ROBINSON
At the present time there is no extant written history of the Georges Creek Valley. Inasmuch as the commercial development of bituminous coal had its origins in this and adjacent valleys, the communities that clustered around the mine-exits are now becoming foci for historical research. What follows are disconnected bits of information picked up via oral and written tradition.
"A history of Lonaconing Methodist Episcopal Church, Together With a Cook Book of Tested Recipes" by Rev. and Mrs. Charles A. Jones, printed in 1904 by Frank B. Jenvey, Cumberland, Maryland, is in the private library of Margaret Hepburn of Lonaconing, Maryland. The first few pages disclose the following data:
"The first building along Georges Creek was an old log mill built in Moscow about 1725. It was destroyed by a flood in 1823. Eighty years ago (1824) from Barton to Lonaconing was a continuous forest. The first white settlers were the Tottens and Groves from New Jersey, the Duckworths and Broadwaters from Virginia. In 1830 there were not a score of houses between Cumberland and Westernport, Piedmont and Luke. Seventy-five years ago (1830) there were no houses between Frostburg and Westernport except one at Reec's, one at Adam's, three at or near Morrison's Mill below Barton where was also Morrison's graveyard and a Methodist Church; one at Barton, Major William Shaw, Sr.; also his store, blacksmith shop, mill and barn; one at Pekin, and at Lonaconing two, Buskirk's being the older, having been built in 1797."
Margaret Hepburn says the Buskirk house (stone) is still standing. It is to be seen at Knapp's Meadows, a short distance from Lonaconing. Returning to Jones he goes on to say:
"This Valley was called from time immemorial 'Lonaconing,' an Indian name, which is said to signify 'the great right hand pass' (Courtenay). Other historians say the name 'Lonaconing' means 'where many waters meet.' An Indian by the name of George resided in this vicinity. 'Indian George' was well and favorably known."
"The Valley was inhabited by the poorer class of settlers, mostly pensioners of the Revolution and the War of 1812, their heirs and descendants."
"Coal was discovered at Barton in 1810."
"About 1837 Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company opened a blast furnace for smelting iron ore which was dug from an adjacent mountain." Ruins of this furnace still exist in Lonaconing, located back of the Central High School, now used as an elementary school.
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms