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 Washington County Maryland

Welcome to Maryland American History and Genealogy Project we are in the process of building new State and County pages for the states where the coordinator has moved on to other projects. Washington County is looking for a new Coordinator would you be interested? If so please contact Webmaster. Many of the present coordinators are always willing to give help and suggestions to newcomers, you can learn, I did and that was after 60!! Read our About Page and see what our requirements are, pretty easy!

Court House at Hagerstown

Washington County was established on the same day as Montgomery and was taken from Frederick, originally including Allegany and Garrett. It is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania, on the east by South Mountain, which separates it from Frederick; on the south and southwest by the Potomac River, dividing it from Virginia, and on the west by Sideling Hill Creek, which separates it from Allegany. It is nearly triangular in shape. The county is abundantly watered by the Antietam, Beaver, Conococheague, Israel, and other creeks tributary to the Potomac.

The principal products are wheat, corn, oats, hay, rye, potatoes, wool, livestock, butter and honey. The county seat is Hagerstown, with a population of 13,591, and an admirable location as a railroad centre. It lies on Antietam Creek, 86 miles from Baltimore, and a seminary of high order and other private institutions are among its educational facilities. The Baltimore and Ohio, Western Maryland, Norfolk and Western, and Cumberland Valley Railroads traverse the county, and all pass through Hagerstown.

The manufacturing establishments of the city are numerous, and some of their products are bicycles, gloves, organs, building materials, agricultural implements, cigars, flour, carriages, etc. Williamsport has a population of 1,472, and is a commercial and industrial centre. Sharpsburg, Hancock, Clearspring, Boonsboro, Smithsburg, Leitersburg, Funkstown, Keedysville, and others, are thriving villages.

The county ranks high among wheat producing counties of the United States, and is noted for its mountain-side peach orchards. The population is remarkable for intelligence, industry and thrift. Its area is 525 square miles. Germans, English, Scotch, Swiss and French from the border provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were among the original settlers. A number of families were established in the county as early as 1735, and from 1740 onward the numbers rapidly increased. Washington has been the mother of a long line of distinguished men in every walk of life, who have left their impress not only upon Maryland, but upon other States and the nation.

The county may lay claim to no inconsiderable share in the construction of the first steamboat built in the United States (1785-86). General Washington and Governor Thomas Johnson were patrons of the experiment of James Rumsey, and parts of his steamboat were made at the Antietam Iron Works on March 14, 1786. Sharpsburg and vicinity was the scene of the most terrible and bloody battle of the Civil War, and in the Antietam National Cemetery here lie buried 4,667 Union dead.

The Delaware and Catawba battle-ground, at the mouth of Antietam Creek, the limestone or subterranean curiosity from which Cavetown derives its name, and old Fort Frederick, near Clearspring, the last remaining visible vestige of the French and Indian War and Maryland Heights, rendered conspicuous in 1861-65, together with Antietam battlefield, dotted with monuments and tablets, make the county forever memorable in song and story.

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 Maryland AHGP

Source: History of Maryland, by L. Magruder Passano, Wm. J.C. Dulany Company, 1901.

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