Our history begins on the Youghiogheny, page 9
of Friendsville during its boom days. However we are making room for a story that appeared in The Baltimore Sun under the date-line of August 29th, 1904. This was obtained from Robert B. Garrett of Baltimore:
VETERAN VIOLINISTS WHO PLAY OLD-FASHIONED TUNES MUSIC TO MOVE THE DANCERS
PLAYERS OF THE BROWNING FAMILY OF GARRETT WHO CANNOT BE OUTDONE AS HUNTERS AND FIDDLERS
"A contest among the 'eld fiddlers' of Garrett County in Maryland and the adjoining counties of Pennsylvania and West Virginia was held at KoLb's Opera House in Friendsville on last Saturday evening which was participated in by about thirty contestants, most of whom came from the mountains and glades of Garrett.
"The contest was conducted by J. W. Whorton of Oakland and T. A. Kimmell of Thayerville. About twenty contestants were entered! for honors, among whom were several of the far-famed Browning family, descendants of Mesehack, author of 'Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter', and a pioneer settler of this section of the State. Each player was required to play 'Opera Reel', 'Billie of the Lowlands' and one other tune of his own selection. The prizes consisted of musical instruments of several kinds and the contests were spirited from start to finish. Many other musical features were included in the program, and the contest was largely attended. The awards were as follows: Fiddlers over fifty years old—First, John F. Browning; second, Stephen Browning. Under Fifty—First, Abel Browning; second, Abel DeWitt. Dancing, Jeremiah Bittner."
Friendsville and Crellin are the only communities left on the Youghiogheny River in Garrett County. Friendsville today is a village of well-kept homes, stores, churches and schools, and gardens. It continues as a trading center for the farmers in this section of the County. It still has merchantable resources, and an abundance of water that should be attractive to industry. The surrounding area, especially the Youghiogheny Canyon, is of great scenic interest. A fine road from Friendsville to Oakland, along the Youghiogheny River, would open a large recreational area.
THE OLDEST FARMING COMMUNITY
It is doubtful if any other section of the county can claim that as a farming community it antedates Blooming Rose. When Lord Baltimore opened his lands westward of Fort Cumberland in 1774 speculators hastened to the mountains to secure the choicest tracts. One of these speculators was the Rev. Jonthan Boucher, an Anglican clergyman of Annapolis, Maryland. Thomas French, who was Boucher's agent, and Francis Deakins, the surveyor, located for him a large tract on the ridge between the Youghiogheny River and Buffalo Run, west of John Friend's Settlement (Friendsville). It was a fertile plateau
Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Western Maryland, 1750-1963