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Allegany County
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Footprints from the Mountains of Western Maryland

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It was in the summer of 1858 that I made my first visit to this charming and picturesque section of the state, of which the late Nathaniel Parker Willis, author and poet, after spending some days in viewing the prismatic splendors of its vast and varied scenery; the bold, marvelous and majestic grandeur of its towering and seemingly endless chain of mountains; the wild and rugged beauty of its tortuous ravines, rambling over and along the poetic glades whose voluptuous beauty is ever heightened and softened by the melodies of forest and stream, said, in one of his famous "Rural Sketches:" "It is the Switzerland of America," which expression was further emphasized by Bancroft, the historian, who was traveling with him at the time, when he wrote: "Aside from its lifegiving properties, its magnificent sport of forest and stream, its harmonious blending of mountain streams and wilderness rendered it the most enchanting piece of country on which my eyes ever rested, and it strikes me that to those who are fond of the beautiful in nature, it must be a paradise on earth."

My visit was at the suggestion of an old hunter. I was at that time reading law in a big city. The weather was intolerably warm, the thermometer ranging from 90 to 100 degrees through the night. He informed me that anywhere in the glades or along the tablelands of this portion of the Alleghenies, it mattered not how intense the heat elsewhere, one could always sleep delightfully under a quilt and blanket at night and enjoy a delightful breeze during the day. That though this section was but sparsely settled, yet I could find the best milk, butter and mut


William Kilgour

*This story was first published in "The Royal Blue" Vol. VI No. 12, a magazine of The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Mr. Stanton of the Public Relations Dept. of the B & O has given us permission to reprint this story. Col. Kilgour was a lawyer who in later years wrote articles describing his numerous jaunts into the Allegheny Mountains. His home was in Rockville, Md. with offices in Baltimore. He was a close friend of the late Richard Thomas Browning of Oakland, Md. He preferred the month of October for his visits here. He frequently stayed at Kepner's in Oakland, Md. and on occasion would bring Mary, his daughter. Margaret Browning, daughter of Richard Thomas remembers Mary's narration of Ghost Stories. Col. Kilgore wore his hair in curls down to his shoulders. He was six feet in height, slender, and made a handsome appearance. He spoke many languages; was a graduate of Calvert School in Baltimore. His visits to the Alleghenies commenced in 1858, the year he met Meschach Browning, and continued almost to 1900.


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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