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Giant twins (Gortner) page 9

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


When Peter Gortner wrote in his Journal of 1853 that he had a back-breaking job in clearing a field he was soon filled with joyous relief. The Rev. Peter Miller, an Old Order Amish neighbor, pitched in and helped. Peter Miller cleared a field for his friend. This is called "Peter's Field" to this day. It is within the shadow of the Giant Oak.

Within twenty-five years (1873) of ceaseless work one could travel north to "The Great Warriors Path" and on the west side of the Kingwood-Moorefield road (now a section of Rt. 219) and look upon the land of Peter Gortner.

In 1903 the Rev. Peter Miller officiated at the Memorial Service of Peter Gortner. This took place within sight of the Giant Oak. The writer was present and heard every word of tribute to this pioneer who in 1848 landed in the United States with but seventy-five cents. That winter he had to sell his overcoat to buy food for his family. Every dollar he made was derived from honest toil. There were no welfare agencies for him to turn to in 1848, nor were there any government agencies to finance his farm.

In 1898 Franklin Griffith (son of Job F. W. Griffith, a union veteran of the Civil War) and John Ash dug three thousand feet of drainage in Frozen Camp Run Glade. In 1899 Rev. John G. Breuninger, brother Peter, and the writer "poled" and filled these ditches. While doing this something was said that I have every reason to remember. As we were filling a ditch father said jokingly to me: "You lie in the ditch and I will cover you." Pleasantly I replied: "You get in and I shall cover you." Declared he: "The time for me to be covered is all too near." This was in June, 1899. Before the next June had rolled around he had been in the eternity of God for more than a month.

This was a terrible blow to mother and the six children. We were still young. But we were especially blessed with helpful neighbors. George Shatzer plowed the stubborn soil. John Sims, Jonas Yutzy, Henry Eggers and Uncle Frederick Gortner helped us prepare the soil for the spring sowing. The yield was enormous. We had to do like the man in the parable who found himself building bigger and better barns (St. Luke 12:18). Our bank-barn bulged so much that one side bursted out. We had to pile tons of oat straw on ricks. We sold and gave away to our neighbors tons of straw. The hay was so abundant that we could take a load from the field and could scarcely see from whence it was taken. Jacob Sanders helped with the harvest. We bailed hay and sold it to Henry Smouse by the car load.

Grandfather used a Pitts Thresher, and so did we. Four horses went round and round in a circle from dawn to dawn. There is a circle to this very day made by the hoofs of the horses as they went round and round powering the Pitts Thresher. The teeth rubbed the kernels from the chaff, and the grain was free to pass through. The grain and straw passed


Rev. J. C. Breuninger


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

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

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