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Allegany County
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Garrett County Silver

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Garrett County Silver



The title of my little story will no doubt be greeted with a tolerant smile by those of our readers having Yankee antecedents. A few may feel impelled to give a resigned shrug of the shoulders. The really loquacious readers may exclaim "Oh yeah? What silver?" Yet there are those still living to whom the mention of Garrett County Silver will bring back poignant memories of times long past. Some of those memories may not be exactly pleasant ones.

In reality there are three separate events whose stories I wish to narrate. They all occurred in the same general area. Unfortunately I cannot set exact dates to any of the events as I am writing entirely from memory. We can only say that many decades separated the first from the last.

The Layman Lode

George W. Layman was born in western Maryland in 1810. He lived in what was then known as District 3, Allegany County, Maryland. It is now the northern part of Garrett County. He often went hunting in the dense forests near his home. Game was plentiful. The old National Pike was then in its heyday, a great highway to the West. A constant stream of traffic flowed along this great Appian Way. Some traveled by coach, some by wagon, and some on horseback. Many went on "Shank's Mare". Large droves of cattle, sheep and hogs moved slowly along to the accompaniment of loud and raucous shouts of the drovers. A short distance on either side of the highway one plunged into the primeval forest where all was peace and quiet. Settlers cabins were few and far between.

On one occasion, Mr. Layman traveled far to the south and west of his usual haunts. He may have been hot in pursuit of some especially prized game or wild animal. Eventually he realized that he was in completely strange territory and hopelessly lost. Then, game forgotten, began a long series of wanderings trying to extricate himself. Tired and thirsty, he came at last to a free-flowing mountain spring. After quenching his thirst and while resting beside the spring, he noticed an outcropping of rock that was like nothing he had ever seen before. It was heavy and had a metallic sheen. He broke off a chunk of the rock and placed it in his hunting bag. Then he resumed his weary wandering.

He came eventually to a point that he recognized and was able to get his bearings and thus home. This point which he was later


Roy C. Durst


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

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

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