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Fort Henry

The History of Emmitsburg East of Flat Run
& the Families Who Called It Home

Michael Hillman

Part 3:  The Annan & Baumgardner Families

The Annan Family

The Annan family originated in Scotland. The American ancestor was Robert Annan, who after pursuing the usual course at the University of St. Andrew, commenced the study of theology under the venerable Alexander Moncrief, one of the original founders of the Presbyterian Church.

He was licensed by the Associate Presbytery of Perth when only about nineteen years old, and shortly thereafter appointed by Synod to visit the American Colonies as missionary. He arrived in New York in the summer of 1761.  At the outbreak of the War his fervid patriotism and especially his denunciation of the British Government during the struggle made him a man of mark - but at the same time, admired by the likes of Washington, Colonel Hamilton, Lafayette and General Knox.  

The oldest of Rev. Annan sons Robert settled at Emmitsburg. A physician, Robert and _____ where parents of six children. Anna Elizabeth, their only daughter, married Oliver Horner.

Robert and his son’s Andrew, Isaac and James, and his Anna’s husband, Major 0. A. Horner, organized the Annan and Homer bank in 1882.

Robert's grandson, James C. Annan, the youngest son of Andrew and Anna Annan, was born in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1836. He was a general merchant at Emmitsburg for many years and was a life long member of the Presbyterian Church, being one of the pillars of that community. For thirty years he was superintendent of the Sunday School and one of the trustees.

Mr. Annan was married to Rosa J. Stewart, a member of an old and well-known Scotch-Irish family of the Cumberland Valley, Pa. There was one son by this marriage: J. Stewart Annan. 

Upon the completion of his education, J. Stewart returned home, and engaged in various occupations. Much of Stewart’s time and energy was devoted to the management of his farms, which comprise about 706 acres of land in Emmitsburg district. He was a director in the People's Fire Insurance Company of Frederick County, the Emmitsburg Water Company; Emmitsburg and Frederick Turnpike Company, and a member of the Banking House of Annan, Horner & Co., of Emmitsburg, MD. In 1907, he was elected to the office of Commissioner of Frederick County for a four-year term.

On March 10, 1896 J. Stewart Annan Married Elizabeth Morrison.  Elizabeth was the daughter of a William and Helen (Agnew) Morrison. William Morrison was the son of Emmitsburg's wealthiest landholder, David Morrison, who was married to a sister of Robert Morris, the financier of the American War of Independence.

One of Elizabeth’s sisters, Mary, married Thomas Baumgardner. To whom, in 1919, Stewart and Elizabeth would sell Fort Henry.
A wealthily man, Stewart Annan had the means to turn Fort Henry’s ‘Mansion House’ into a true mansion. Under his ownership, part of the most radical changes to the house in its history where undertaken. Before he began remolding, the house was roughly half its present shape.

Annan enlarged the attic by adding gables, making it a livable third floor. In the Victorian style of the time, he added a eye-catching turret with curved windows and steep-like roof. He added a formal dining room on the first floor, and adjoining it, he included a butler’s pantry; a small room from which meals could be served and dishes stored . . . out of the mainstream of the dining room.

In 1897 he added an entire rear wing. On the east side of the rear addition, Annan also built first and second floor porches. He also installed an oval "Tiffany" stained glass window in the second floor, again characteristic of the Victorian times.

A turn of the century visitor to the house would first notice, upon entering the front door, the large entrance hallway. Flanking the halls on each side are nearly identical front room (part of the original house). Each of the front rooms has a fire place, plank flooring and French-style door, permitting the to be closed off from the central corridor.

A staircase led up to the second floor and third floor. At the top of the staircase, an unusual split-level landing was created when Annan added the rear wing of the house. From the landing, one can step outside onto the second floor porch, or turn about in the direction of the front bedrooms (which bore close resemblance to the front rooms below)

On both the first and second floor, the ceilings were lofty, perhaps 10 or 12 feet high. However, the third floor, the former attic, rooms had ceilings that measured 6 ½ feet high. The top floor rooms were plastered and number at least 6.

There where a total of 20 rooms, not including the basement. Beneath the building, the foundation walls measured 2 feet thick, indicating that the house was built to last.

In 1919, Stewart and Elizabeth sold Fort Henry to Elizabeth’s sister Mary and her husband Thomas Baumgardner for $17,000.

The Baumgardner Family

On the Baumgardner Side of the family, Thomas' brother John, married a Grace Martin, a granddaughter of Mathias and Anna Troxell Martin who were compatriots of Henry Williams.

While the Baumgardner family was not a well to do as the Annan family, the nevertheless added to the splendor of the Fort Henry with the addition of new electrical fixtures throughout the mansion. In ___, 250 people tecked from all parts of the community to help Thomas and his family raise a new barn.

Thomas Baumgardner was an industrious man. For thirteen years, he ran both Fort Henry, which the family affectionately called ‘The Upper Farm,’ as well as wife’s ancestral family farm just to the east of Keysville-Grimes Road intersection (three miles east of town).

Polly Baumgardner Shank, the youngest of the Thomas’ children, remembers her years in the Mansion fondly. "I was six years old when my parents moved into the house. I can remember was not wanting to leave my mother’s side because I was afraid of getting lost, whenever I did, I would get lost. For the first year, I slept in my parents room, which was above the large foyer. My parent’s bedroom was larger then most downstairs of present day house. Eventually I was allowed to move up to the third floor with my other sisters where I had a room with a big window that faced in the direction of town. In the summer, the view was blocked by a big apple tree that had the sweetest apples one ever ate.

"On both sides of the foyer where two large rooms that each had fireplaces made of Italian Marble. The Kitchen was huge, at least 24 feet by 16 feet. All the walls in the house were plastered and painted dark green. About six feet up on almost every wall ran a piece of fine wood upon which you hung pictures. All the trim was natural wood. While the house had twenty rooms, it only had one bathroom! In a house that had two staircases that went all the way to the third floor mind you. One bathroom for 10 people. Can you imagine that today?"

The house was connected up to the town water system, but according to Polly, "The water from the town was not as sweet as the water from the farm’s well. Because it was expensive to water all the animals using town water, we only used to run town water in the house, the luckly animals got the well water! "

Polly's reminiscences about the past evoke a dream like picture of quintessential small town America. As soon as she was able, she rose before sunrise and joined in with her brothers and sisters as they hand milked the family’s 26 cows. Once the milk was cooled, it was brought to the creamery, (now Quality Tire). From there, it made ways to Boyle's grocery (now the Main Street Deli).

After completing her morning barn chores, Polly would rush home, and quickly wash and ready herself for school. Because they where short on space, the school split the grades up into in several buildings. Polly joined other first thru third graders for classes in the fire hall, where she sat next to the fire bell. Grades 4th thru 7th were in the ‘school building’ on South Seton Ave, now home to ABC Printing. There was no eight back then - you only attended 11 years, not 12 years of school as we do presently.

A avid studier, Polly prided herself on always having done her home work. Even today, she still has vivid memories of the one time she failed to do so, and the embarrassment of being called to the front of the room to explain herself.

School was from nine to four, and because of the small class sizes, two grades frequently occupied the same room and teacher. Up until forth grade, Polly attended school in the building now occupied by ABC Printing on South Seton Ave. Following which she and her classmates joined the upper classes in old high school. After school Polly would rush home with her brothers and sisters and join in the afternoon milking. The evenings were family time, and like other children her age, were spent doing homework.

During the summer, Polly's parents moved their dairy herd out to the ‘Lower Farm.’ While the summer brought a vacation from schoolwork, it was replaced with added farm chores. Polly's eyes glisten as she recants how she and her sister Jane used to retrieve a hidden ball when things slowed down, and sneak off a play with it. "We used to bounce it off the wall picking a particular brick and seeing who could hit it. We would throw the ball for hours, making up all sorts of games until such time as Anna, one of my older sister, would find us and give us more work to do."

Polly's parents were able farmers, and as such, they could afford some of the luxuries of life, like a telephone. "I can remember picking up the telephone and calling into the switchboard and asking to be connected to such and such. The operators always knew who was in or out of town. If the operator received a call asking to be connected to 'Hillcreast-X', she knew it was an out of Towner. The word would spread quickly, and others on the party line would pick up their receivers and listen in. Of course," Polly added with a smile, "I never did that."

Following graduation, many of Polly's classmates began working at the old sewing mill, the present day Antique Mall. Polly however, chose to work in Leone McNair's Green Parrot Tea Room, one of Emmitsburg's more charming restaurants. In 1934 Polly marred Weldon Shank, the man of her dreams. The son and grandson of millers, in 1936, they took over his grandfather's mill located just to the west of the town.

The depression hit the Baumgardner’s hard, and finding difficult to maintain both farms, In 1933 they sold the 3-story brick house, accompanied by 150 acres of farmland to James L. Nester.

Go to part 4:  The Nesters, Brookside Dairy, Epilogue

Part 1:  The Wilsons & Williams Families
Part 2:  The Horner and O’Donoghue Families

Part 4:  The Nesters, Brookside Dairy, Epilogue

Read other stories by Michael Hillman

Do you have your information you can add about these families, or other families that once called Emmitsburg home?  If so, send them to us at History@emmitsburg.net

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