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History of Harney - Part 1

J. W. Beck

Originally published in the Carroll County Times in 1895

In endeavoring to write a History of our town and community, I am at a great loss for correct information; no records ever having been kept, so far as I can learn, therefore my work must be based on information gathered from older citizens, and, in conversing with them about the various places, the time of erection of buildings, and the names of old residents, I am confronted with a great variety of opinions, as well as contradictory statements. I am, therefore, at a loss to know who is right, or who is wrong, and perhaps many things may appear in this work, which will in all probability, not meet the approval of those who are inclined to think that it would be impossible for them to, make a mistake. And, those who de-sire to be critics, will doubtless find that things will appear that may be contrary to their way of thinking: therefore it must be remembered that I have reserved the right to use my own judgment, and, as I proceed, shall aim to give what I consider the best authority, and try to set forth throughout the entire work, what I consider the most plausible accounts.

J. W. B.

We look back nearly a century, and find that the soil which to day produces so abundantly the fruits of the earth, was then one mammoth forest, over which roamed many a brave Indian warrior, of which we are reminded by the occasional hiding of arrow points, the old corn mill hewn in the rocks, and the peculiar characters carved upon the inside of an old cave in one of our neighboring hills.

We find that, in the early part of the present century, the very ground upon which our flourishing little town now stands, was a heavily wooded plain which was then, and is now, included in that lot and parcel of land known as "Rich Level," and supposed to have been owned by John Topper and Eliza Reck, the ancestry of whom we are unable to trace, but both are supposed to have been of German descent. At that time, we have no positive information that any public roads were opened up in this community, but there may have been a road running from Gettysburg to Taneytown.

We are informed that it was not until some time between 1812 and 1815 that a charter was granted for this road, which was placed upon the old records at Frederick city court house; this record, however is supposed to have been destroyed by fire at the time the old building was burn down, so that today this public highway is not upon record, and disputes often arise about changes that would be desirable, and in all probability would add very much to the appearance of different places, but the long-standing of the road compels it to remain just where it was found, and no change can he made except by mutual consent of all parties concerned.

First Building

About 1815 a tract of land containing several acres, located west of the Gettysburg and Taneytown road, and belonging at that time to John Topper's tract was sold to Nicholas Eckes (or Ickes.) He went to work at felling the trees, cleared off part of his land, and erected a small story and a, half log house, which contained one room of medium size, and a very small kitchen. The loft, as it was called, was all in one, and it is said, was divided up into several rooms, by hanging up curtains. This kind of a building would today be considered a very humble abode, but at that time was doubtless considered a very comfortable dwelling. This was the first house erected upon the present site of our town, and after it was completed, Mr. Eckes and his wife moved into it, and started life together. Mr. Eckes was a shoemaker by trade, and carried on the business for a number of years at this place. It is supposed that he bought part of his leather at Taneytown, and carried it home on his back.

During this time three children were born, one son and two daughters. Unfortunately, during the midst, of a very cold winter, while the old man was returning from Taneytown with a roll of leather, he became tired, it is supposed, and stopped to rest near where Mr. V. J. Clousher now lives and was found seated upon his roll of leather, leaning against a hickory tree, frozen to death; and thus ended the life of the first citizen of our town.

It is evident that while seated there alone in the woods, he was conscious that he was freezing, but was unable to move; his cries for help were heard by the neighbors for nearly a mile around, but no heed was given, all thought that it was simply some mischievous boy running along the road, shouting for amusement. After the father's death, the entire family put their shoulders to the wheel and helped to make a living: his son, Enoch Eckes continued the shoemaking business and the sisters worked out on the farms of the community, while the mother, doubtless superintended household duties at home

During this period, all of the grain was cradled and it was customary for nearly all of the women to help in gathering the harvest; some raked, while others would bind, but as a general thing the women done all the raking, and we are told that the Eckes girls were considered very good hands. One harvest while John Hess was cutting grain on the farm now owned by Frank Null, one of the girls raked after him, and she raked up so close to him that in finishing up her sheaf she would always take the last cut as it would drop from the cradle. Mr. Hess was afraid of cutting her and told her several times to stay back, but she kept no account of his warning, but rather kept getting closer and closer, until the point of the cradle scythe cut her apron string in two and it dropped down on the ground: this frightened both Mr. Hess and the girl, and after this narrow escape she couldn’t keep back far enough to be out of danger.

Some time between 1820 and 1827 John Topper sold his farm to Richard Hill, who occupied it until his death. when it was left, to Abraham Hill, his only heir. Some time after this, Enoch Eckes became dissatisfied with his occupation, and the family decided to dispose of their property, and move west: this was done, and Peter Reigle became the next owner, while the Eckes family engaged in tilling the soil somewhere in Ohio.

Peter Reigle was a shoemaker by trade and carried on the business while he lived here. It is said that while Mr. Reigle was helping Richard Hill to harvest he carved his name on an old poplar tree that is still standing and the name perfectly plain. Reigle next sold the property to John Reindollar, who was also a shoemaker, and Reindollar afterwards sold to Harry Rineman, who worked at shoe making for several years, when he, sold out to Samuel Eline a shoemaker also.

During Mr. Eline's stay in this place, it is said that he made several pairs of shoes about the same time; one pair for Richard Hill, and the other for old Daniel Hesson, and immediately proceeded making the shoes: but, rather unfortunately for the mechanic, when the gentlemen came for their shoes it was discovered that they were all made for one foot. From our knowledge of Mr. Eline, we have every reason to believe that he made use of a considerable amount of language on this occasion, not suitable for Sunday school talk. This mistake was considered quite a good joke, and he was compelled to stand the teasing of the entire community

John Kump became the next owner of the property, and was also a shoe-maker by trade. It will be observed the Old log house in the woods was a famous resort for shoemakers, all who have lived thus far carried on the business. Some time prior to this, about, probably about 1824 Nicholas Eckes divided his property and sold part of it to Adam Lichtenwalter who built a two story log house, and commenced the tailoring which he successfully followed for a number of years. This building stood along the Gettysburg Road and was the second house in this place, as will be remembered by a few of our older citizens of today.

Cornell’s Store

We now leave this place, and go about half a mile East through the woods, and there we learn that some time between 1824 and 1826, Jesse Cornell started the huckstering business, and kept a small store. This was the first store in the community, and proved to be a great convenience to the citizens for miles around, and might at that time have been considered a kind of a trading post, a we learn from his old books that very little money was exchanged.

Nearly every one brought something to trade for what they needed; we notice that he would accept butter, eggs, chickens, calves, meat, potatoes, and many other things, as payment for his goods and that he would make a trip to Baltimore every two weeks to dispose of his country produce, and buy a new supply of goods to meet the demands of his trade. He evidently kept a little of almost everything on hand, and his books show many little charges that are somewhat amusing.

We notice the first charges were made in 1826 as follows. December 8th, 1826. Frederick Stocksleger, a debter to 2lbs of sugar at 12½¢ to 1/2 gallon of molasses, 20¢. December 25th, John Fogle, one pen knife 15¢; this knife in all probability was bought for a Christmas present for someone. January1st, 1829, Elizabeth Eckes debtor to one Comley's spelling book, 15¢.; January 22nd, William Shaner, butter, 22½lbs - $2.20¢.; January 22nd, John Reek debtor to 13 yards of musselin at 16¢, $2.15¢; received of John Reek, 76¢; received of John. Reck, 13 chickens;: Julia Reck debtor to 5 yards of mussilin at 16¢ per yard, 80¢; John Neck debtor to 1 pound of coffy 18¾¢; to 1 pound at 12½¢: to 1lb pound of tobacco 25¢.; February 3rd., 1828, William Reck debtor 13¢; March 29th, to ½ gallon of whiskey 14¢; to ½lb tobacco 10¢.

John Reck and William Reck were brothers, who left this country many years ago and were among the first settlers of Darke county, Ohio. John Reek was the founder of Gettysburg in the same county, and named the place after Gettysburg, Pa.

We see from the accounts kept that sugar at that time was more than double the price of today, while coffee was some what cheaper. Calico and muslin were also much higher than at present, and we are told were not carried regularly in stock, but that the old merchant would inform his trade that at a certain time he would bring several pieces of muslin and calico with him home, and our older citizens may remember how the people of the entire community would gather at his place of business and wait for the goods to come.

It is said that he would often sell several pieces of these goods out in one evening, and then that would last for about a year, when he would bring another lot. An old lady who had occasionally dealt with Cornell informs us that, if a lady bought one new calico dress a year, she was considered well off. Just contrast those times with today. When he decided to sell out, he did not have a large stock to run down like we do today, but he closed out his entire stock for $10.00, and every person came and settled their accounts, and in about a week after the sale the books were closed up; this certainly shows very distinctly the honesty of the people at that time, as well as their willingness to pay what they owe.

In order to call back to the minds of some of our citizens many of the little incidents of their boyhood days, we will give as brief list of the people of this community who dealt with Mr. Cornell, as follows; Richard Hill, William Paxton, John Hunter, Sarah Shanner. Joseph Mills, Esther McKinney, George Ohler, Frederick Stoxtinger, William Linn, George Shriver, Henry Hees, John Benner, John Reck, Richard Fream, Daniel Sell, Samuel Null, Arthur McGnigan and John Bishop. We might mention a host of others but space will not permit, those mentioned, however, were some of our old farmers, but all have died long ago.

Evidently in those days people had a great deal of patience, and would go a great distance to the store without any assurance that they could get what they wanted, but their orders were always taken and the desired goods purchased when the next trail was made. Before leaving this subject, we desire to say that Mr. Cornell drove an old sorrel horse hitched to a one horse wagon, and that he was often known to walk the entire distance back to Baltimore and back, and that the faithful animal was so well acquainted with his duties that, he would almost have been able to make the trip alone

In 1825 the Emmitsburg and little stone road was opened up, thus forming an important crossword at this place. Before the road was opened, however, it met with considerable opposition, and, after it had been open, one-man put a gate across and locked it shut, but this was soon opened by the proper authorities. Another man on being asked to move his fence back, became angry, and moved it back about 150 ft. further than was necessary, a complete case of "cutting your nose off to spite your face," because, after the road was used for a short time all began to see how important it was, and were perfectly satisfied, and the gentlemen went quietly to work and moved his fence out to the proper place.

During the next 10 or 12 years nothing of any very great importance seem to take place, with the exception of cutting down timber and clearing off land, and preparing it for farming, and thus things move quietly along until 1839 or 1840. Adam Lechtenwalker sold his property to Elijah Eckenrode, who opened up a small store, but, finding that there was not a fortune in the business, he only continued for short time when he sold the stock to Jacob Carroll, who rented the property and continued the business, but his stay was of short duration. He failed in business, and in-order to save himself, moved across the Mason and Dixon line into Pennsylvania after night. This startled the natives, and cause quite a talk, but upon learning the exact state of affairs, everything passed off quietly.

First preaching

In 1839 John Rathfan, a local United Brethren preacher, bought about 120 acres of land from Eliza Reck. This track is all in the eastern side of the Gettysburg road; he improved the property with a full set of new buildings, but, during this work, he still remembered his ministerial duties, and after his barn was completed he held preachings it at and nearly always had a large audience. This we are told was about the first preaching held in this community. Prior to this the majority of the people of this community attended church in Taneytown. We remember having been told by Samuel Reck, who is born and raised about 2 ½ miles north of this place, about his going to catechism in his young days. He said "that the young people of the community would all walk to Taneytown on Saturday afternoon, and that the boys and girls would carry their shoes as far as Piney Creek, that all  washed their feet and put on their shoes and stockings to walk into town; and when they started home they would come out to the edge of town and all would again take off shoes and stockings and go home barefoot." This of course was "old times," and happened about 80 years ago.

Rev. Rathfan soon discovered however that farming and preaching, did not work well together, so he decided to abandon the farm, and, in 1842 rented his farm to Samuel Null, who farmed the place for several years, then moved to his father’s farm, or what is known today as the old Null property, it is occupied by Greenberry Null. Mr. Null had a large family, 10 boys and two girls; one son fell and died  into a fence of this country near Harper’s Ferry during the late rebellion, and his remains peacefully at rest in the Reform cemetery at Taneytown. In 1866 Mr. Null moved to Lafayette County, Missouri, where he resided until his death which occurred November 14, 1888.

About 1843, Jacob Kreglo bought the old Lichtenwalter property from Elizah Eckenrode and started shop keeping. During this period Jacob Kreglo purchased a tract of land directly opposite his father’s property on the Gettysburg road and built a cabinetmaking shop; he afterwards sold his property to his brother Jonas, who built an addition to the shop and used the new part for a dwelling, and used the old shop part for a store. About the closing up of the forties, John Rathfan sold his farm to Solomon Snider who lived all at it until 1854 when Snider sold out to William Fream who built a blacksmith shop and carried on the business until 1876, when his son George took charge of the shop, and carried on the business until 1878.

In 1834, old Jacob Kreglo sold his property to Philip Shriner, who started wagon making. Sometimes between 1845 and 1850, Jacob Kreglo bought the old Eckes properly from John Kump; he lived there for a few years, then decided to quit housekeeping, so let the property, and made his home with William Cornell, his son-in-law, who then lived about a quarter of mile from his place, on the properly where Abraham Hill now resides. James Mcllhenny became the next owner of this place, and the property was rented for a number of years and finally torn down.

About 1854 or 1855 Jonas Kreglo sold out his store and property to Jeremiah Reinhart, who, we are told, continued in business for three years; during this time he built the house now standing on the quarter of Emmitsburg and Taneytown streets; this house was built for the purpose of being rented and was a rough two-story building put up on our very cheap plan. Daniel Good its present owner, built an addition to it, had it weather boarded and painted, and today it makes a very respectable appearance.

Post Office Established

In 1856 the people of the village began to think the place was of sufficient size to have a Post Office, and the petition was gotten up at Reinhart’s store, which contain the signatures of nearly all the people of the community, praying the government to grant the establishment of an office at this place. When the petition  was sent in, they were promptly notified that there was no mail route through this place, and it would be impossible to have an office where there was no mail route, consequently the first duty of the citizens would be to establish a route by which the mail could conveniently reach this place. Just how this could be done seemed to be the principal topic for discussion, but, in the latter part of 1856 or perhaps the early part of 1857, William Fate, of Gettysburg, conceived the idea that a stage line running from Emmitsburg to Hanover, would be a paying line, and he promptly started it, the scanning to the citizens the desired mail route. This seemed to create new life in the people of the community, as all seemed to think of nothing but the general convenience of having their mail brought almost to their doors, besides the great advantage it afforded them in the way of travel.

The Town Named

The next thing that presented itself was a proper name for the place. Prior to this the town had no particular name, but was commonly called Monocacyville. As there was already one Post Office in the state by that name, it was necessary to change the name before the office could be opened. Quite a number of names were suggested, but none could they definitively settle on, as there always seemed to be another place by the name suggested, so at last Mr. Reinhart went to Emmitsburg to examine the Post Office directory, so that a name might be chosen that was not already on the list of offices. There it was then decided that James Elder, postmaster at that time, as well as a prominent and influential citizens of Emmitsburg, should have the honor of naming the place.

It 1850, Utah was organized as a territory, by the United States government, when Brigham Young was appointed governor by President Fillmore, and his appointment was subsequently renewed by President Pierce. In 1857, however charges of violence towards the officers of the federal government in Utah, were brought against the Mormons and in June of that year, General Harney was appointed to the command of a large body of troops who were to accompany Mr. Cumming, a new governor, appointed in Brigham Young’s place by Mr. Buchanan, to the scene of his duties.

When Mr. Elder was informed that he was to name the new Post Office, he had just finished reading an account of the above named troubles that he promptly replied "we will call it Harney, after General Harney," and the name was sent on to the Post Office Department where was accepted, and the office established with Jeremiah Reinhart, who is well known throughout Carroll County, as the first postmaster.

A short time after this, however, Reinhart sold his store and property to William Hiteshew, who used the place for a dwelling as a store for a short time, when he saw the necessity of having a larger and more suitable room for the accommodation of his rapidly increasing trade, and he built a very respectable bricks storehouse on the corner of Gettysburg and Littlestown streets, where he moved his store and filled it up with nearly a full line of new groods. After several years he sold his property to Jacob Shoemaker, who rented the property for a number of years, then sold it to Daniel Hess, who afterward sold the storehouse and part of a lot to S. S. Shoemaker.

Progress in Building

It 1857 in 1858 the town seemed to be a prosperous condition. John Black build a new house on the Emmitsburg Road. E. D. Hess built on the lot situated between the Taneytown and Bridgeport roads, Donald Hess bought a track of land, and built on the Littlestown Road, and Jacob Kreglo built on the Littlestown Road near the square, thus making for new homes in a short time.

It 1860, George Fream build a full set of new buildings on a track of land purchased from his father’s farm, and James Angel built on Littlestown Street. It 1861 James Mcllhenny built a new Brick house on Gettysburg Street, but soon after sold to Polly Bowers.

About this time, David Bollinger bought Jacob Kreglo’s property near the square, and commenced store keeping just across the street in the storehouse formally built by William Hiteshew. Here he carried on business until almost the close of the war, when he built a new store house or his own property, where he carried on business for some time, then sold his property to John Davis, who kept a saloon.

It 1864, E. D. Hess sold his property to J. Worthington Jones, and brought the James Angel and property on Littlestown Street. After moving after moving there he built in addition to the house, and also a small shop, and started the cabinetmaking business. Mr. Jones also erected a small building on his property and commenced store keeping.

About this time, Philip Schriner sold his property on Gettysburg Street to Dr. Baer, and bought the Daniel Hess property on Littlestown Street where he moved in the spring of 1865, when the property was left to his wife as long she lived.

After Daniel Hess sold out to Shriner, he bought another tract of land on Littlestown Street, and improved it with a full set of new buildings; while living there, and his son, John G. Hess, started the blacksmith business, and soon after, he built a new dwelling house on the corner of Littlestown Street and the road leading to Walnut Grove schoolhouse, adjoining his blacksmith shop, which he afterward sold to the present owner, John J. Hess, who continued the business. John G. Hess, after this, became famous as a coach builder, as today general manager of the famous Hess Manufacturing Co., of Hagerstown Maryland.

Daniel Hess also moved away, and rented his property for several years and finally sold to its present owner, D. T. Shoemaker, who greatly improved the place and it is now considered one of the most beautiful, as well as one of the most convenient, homes in the community.

In 1866 J. Worthington Jones quit store keeping, and rented a room to Dr. E. B. Simpson, who bought out Dr. Bears large practice. Mr. Jones afterwards went into the butchering business, which he continued for a number of years, he was also at one time appointed Squire, but, finding it a very provoking business, he resigned his commission, and lived retired life, and that his death, which occurred in 1894, that his estate to his daughter Miss. Eudora V. Jones. In1866 United Brethren Church was built, a full history of which will be given later on.

In 1868 Daniel Shoemaker bought a lot from Polly Bowers and built a two-story frame dwelling house. Mr. Shoemaker A small confectionery, and was postmaster for a number of years.

In 1869 or 1870, W. F. Eckenrode bought a lot an the corner of Gettysburg and Emmitsburg streets, and built a large frame house suitable for a store and dwelling; this house made quite an improvement to the town and here Mr. Eckenrode Store for a few years, then sold the store to his father, Mr. John Eckenrode, who, with his younger son, J. V. Eckenrode, went into business and afterwards bought the property and continued merchandising until a few years ago, when he sold out and read to E. S. Eyler, who afterwards went out of business, and the store property was read to the present occupant, D. J. Hesson.

For several years following the building of the Eckenrode, the growth of the town seemed to come to a standstill, but business kept gradually increasing, until the people of the community began to think that the town could make a place of considerable importance. In 1875 Henry Kemper bought a lot and built on Gettysburg Street, 1876 William H. Lightner bought his father’s property, tore down all the old buildings and built a flying brick house and a good barn, thus making it a desirable home; here Mr. Lightner lived until his death which occurred in 1893.

In 1878, three new houses were built, one by Rufus Bishop, on the road leading from this place to Bridgeport, one by Josaha Hawn, and another by Henry Hyser, both these properties are located on the road running from this place to Walnut Grove schoolhouse. It 1880 J. V. Eckenrode build a house on Emmitsburg Street; this house was rented until he quit business, then he moved into it himself. In 1881 William Shriner built on Littlestown Street. It 1882 two new homes were built, one on Gettysburg Street, by Henry M. Null, and one on Littlestown Street by Daniel Hess.

In 1883, James H. Reaver built a fine frame house; here he carried on the boot, shoe and harness making business for several years. Prior to this, Reaver had built a small frame house adjoining his new house on Gettysburg Street and S. S. Shoemaker’s store property; he finally sold his property to Shoemaker, who lived in the house for several years. It 1884, T. J. Hess built on Littlestown Street and started a coach repair shop. In 1885, James H. Reaver sold his property and town to Abraham Hesson at about the same time bought a tract of land at the edge of town, and put up a full set of new buildings.

In 1886, George W. Shriner built on Littlestown Street, and Charles H. Hess a house and carpenter shop on Gettysburg Street; this property was afterwards sold C. F. Reindoller, who fitted the shop up for drug store, later it was traded to John V. Eyler who sold it to its present owner. Miss Perry Eyler, and Miss Sally Snider opened up a millenary store in the store. Mrs. Peter Sell also built an addition to her property on Gettysburg Street, thus making a great improvement. E. H. Shoemaker, during this time, also built a large and handsome house on the same Street.

The year 1887, is prominently noted for being the most prosperous of any single year in a history of the town. D. D. Hesson bought the old saloon, and a small lot connected, and though large and commodious hotel. Dr. John C. Bush build a beautiful house on Littlestown Street, which is considered the most perfectly built house in the town: everything was arranged to suit his own convenience, but unfortunately, he was not permitted to enjoy it for long, after his death in 1893, the property was sold to W. A. Snider, its present owner. Andrew Degroff built on a lot ajoining the United Brethren Church. Charles A. Cornell bought and built on Gettysburg Street; Cornell sold his property to Samuel C. Shoemaker, who built an addition to the house, and it is today a lovely residence.

S. S. Shoemaker built to the side and over the top of the store, thus making a quite a large building. All these buildings were large and added very much to the appearance of the town.

Part 2 of the History of Harney

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