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Allegany County
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Garrett County
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Washington County
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The editorial map, page 2

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


knowledge of state geography west of Pimlico is a bit fuddled. Yet paradoxically it is better known by some folks 'down-east' than any of the other counties in the state. For those who like the rugged mountain trails through uninhabited regions of primitive splendor Garrett offers a life-time of exploration. Having lived most of my life here, each season I trace my steps to an unexplored, tenantless spot. It is at such a time and place that one is mindful of the remote past. The first record of human habitation is found in the ground. Archeologists have found shell-heaps and camp sites of the Archaic Period (3,000 to 1,000 B. C.) in Garrett, mostly in the environment of Deep Creek Lake.

The first person of historic times to walk amidst its glades and over its mountains was a native of Baltimore Town by the name of Christopher Gist. The Gist and the Howard families were the foundation families of Baltimore. They inter-married, and their subsequent development was in some measure associated with Garrett County. Christopher Gist on first setting foot in Garrett County killed an elk. Here follows the first written record by any human being pertaining to Garrett County: "November 8th. Friday, 1751. Set out the same Courses N 80 W 3 M, here We encamped and turned to see where the Branches lead to and found they descended into the middle Fork of Yaughaughgaine... We hunted all the ground for 10 M, or more and killed several Deer, and Bears, and one large Elk... The Bottoms upon the Branches are but narrow with some Indian Fields about two thousand acres of good high Land about a mile from the largest Branch." (from "George Mercer Papers" p. 33 by Lois Mulkearn).

Although Meschach Browning makes no mention of elk in his book yet we have from other sources learned that Christian Garlitz killed an elk at the headwaters of Savage River, that Gabriel Friend killed an elk on the Youghiogheny River, just as it was crossing near the site of present-day Friendsville, and that William Wiles killed seven elk in one day in the upper Yough glades in the vicinity of Underwood. And as for Buffalo we have the record of the Ashby brothers killing one on the Youghiogheny above Crellin and the Friend brothers killing a bull at the mouth of Sang Run. By the time of Meschach Browning's hunting period (1797-1841) the buffalo and elk had left the country.

It was but two years after Gist's first trip through our county that George Washington tramped over the same trail. The following year he converted the trail into a road. George Washington, the first President elected by the people, was the first road-builder in Garrett County. During his amazing career he traversed this county five times—four of these by the Nemacolin-Braddock Pike (Rt. 40) across


Felix G. Robinson


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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