Hancock, not just a "chicken town", 1854
The Town of Hancock.
Correspondent of the last News thus refers to Hancock, its improvements, scenery - &c-
Upon approaching the ancient-looking place from the east, all cannot but admire the scenery—the mountains, river, canal, and often the swift passing locomotive with her long trains and shrill whistle: all, when combined, give a grandeur not easily surpassed. Guano is doing wonders to the soil in and about this place, of which the luxuriant fields of wheat is abundant evidence, and adds a great charm to the scenery.
As one approaches the place the eyes must rest upon a large and commodious warehouse erected recently on the Canal, by the very enterprising and energetic gentleman, Jacob Snively, Esq., the design and workmanship reflects much credit upon the builder, Mr. Nicholas Burger. It is said to be one of the best warehouses on the line of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal; the top of the building projects so far over the Canal that no boat should pass without giving the countersign.
There are several other new buildings in process of erection here this summer, and I may say the town is looking up somewhat in improvements. The Tavern of Mrs. Bean would be an honor to any place—fare excellent and charges low. To a boarder at her table, the title sometimes derisively given to the place—“chicken town”—has a peculiar and far from unpleasant meaning.
Herald of Freedom & Torch Light
Guano, according to the 1857 Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language was "a substance found on some parts of the South American and African coasts, which are frequented by sea-fowls, and composed chiefly of their excrement; used as a manure." One of columns on the 1858 waybill was for "Guano, bone dust, poudrett, Ashes, lime, and other manures".
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History