Giant twins (Gortner) page 15
in cultivation, produced 23 million bushels. Today only four million bushels are produced annually and these mostly in the eastern United States. At the turn of the century one could see blossoming buckwheat that turned into a golden harvest in every part of Garrett County. Now one is lucky to see one field of it as he drives along the highway.
Folger McKinsey, known to his readers as the Bentztown Bard, of the Baltimore Sun visited Garrett County in 1907. He wrote a poem entitled "The Glades of Garrett" which commenced with these lines:
"The highlands for their heather
And Killarney for its braes;
For me the Glades of Garrett
Where the golden buckwheat sways."
Peter Gortner removed the trees, root, stump and all from the Frozen Camp Run Glade—to keep the body and soul of his family in one piece. In the very midst of what was once a virgin forest stood this Giant Oak. He looked upon it as venerable, and left it stand. Whatever occupied him, and most of his days were strenuous, his disposition was that of gratitude and hearty laughter. His perseverance with the good earth paid off handsomely.
He was a humble Old Order Amish who lived a frugal life. Like members of his sect he was content with little. The things of a Sears Roebuck catalogue, except necessities made no appeal. His life was so intimately associated with the soil through sunshine, rain, harvest of the golden grain, that it was like a sacrament of God. Only neighbors like the Rineharts, Yutzys, Ashbys, Arnolds and Ziegenheims could appreciate Peter's pure peasantry.
Man may cover mother earth with deeds and mortgages, call her their own and live upon her bounty for a brief time. He very seldom thinks of the hardship, privations and toil that were endured by those who laid the foundations of a settled agrarian life in the Maryland mountains. In view of the struggle our forefathers engaged with the heavy odds of nature and the memory of their passage from this earth the writer testifies to these words: "This world is but a mansion that becomes evacuated, only to be replenished by an army of succeeding emigrants," "One generation passeth away and another generation cometh and man here hath no continual dwelling. For here have we no continuing city. However we seek one to come." (Hebrews 13:14)
The Giant Oak had within its own life a fulfillment of its needs, its affinities with all other creaturehood, and through these its complete and final purpose. However, Peter Gortner, and all men before and since on this earth, have accumulated strengths, love, harvest, memories and prosperity, still find their lives incomplete. The human race can endure every known adversity and still survive. But there is some-
Rev. J. C. Breuninger
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Editor: Felix G. Robinson
Western Maryland, 1750-1963