Emmitsburg has always had plenty of schools. Of the 158 one-room schools in Frederick County in 1890 more than 20 were near Emmitsburg. This doesn’t even include the private and parochial schools in the town at the time.

In a 1908 article in the Emmitsburg Chronicle, an old-timer recalled his experiences with some of Emmitsburg’s early schools.

One school was on the former site of Helman’s store where Mrs. Reed, a widow, taught classes.

“I was packed off to school when I was about five years old, with a small yellow book called an English Primer. The seat, a rough bench was much too high for my short legs and my feet hung some distance above the floor. The school was a sort of a go-as-you please affair, and I did not receive much attention from the mistress, who, by the way, was a very good-natured lady. Yet, as it is the school boys’ want to go ahead, I made rapid progress and soon learned to throw paper wads and pinch the boys that sat next to me,” the unidentified man recalled.

He also recalled that the first public school in town had been on the site where St. Euphemia’s School would eventually stand. Robert Crooks was the “man’s” teacher.

“Other well-liked and successful teachers of, the old public school were Mr. John Walter, a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s College, and a Mr. Tearce, who came to Emmitsburg with the Gutherie family from Pennsylvania. Mr. Tearce’s assistant was Squire Knouff, well known in this community for many years. Mr. Tearce … joined in all our outdoor games, and many a time in playing corner-ball I had his broad back for a target. With all this comradeship with his pupils, inside of the schoolroom he was master and commanded the respect and love of his scholars,” recalled the man.

His classes included grammar, geography, algebra, and history.

“In the Summer when the public schools were closed we had, what were then called, ‘subscription schools.’ I attended one that was held in a brick house on Broad alley. This building is still standing in good condition and is now occupied as a dwelling, by John Ellis. It was called the ‘Potter Kiln School’ because the house had been built for a potter’s shop. In the rear stood an immense potter’s kiln that had been unused for many years. It was a representative of one of the extinct industries of Emmitsburg: The darkness inside this kiln and the many small openings made it a fine place for boys to play hide-and-seek,” the man recalled.

Darius Thomas was the first teacher. Isaac E. Pierson, a lawyer, also taught at the school and was a harsh disciplinarian. “He did not believe in whipping but inflicted cruel and unusual punishment by making a boy stand up before the school with a girl’s sunbonnet on his head; a terrible penalty, far more dreadful to the boys than the rod,” the man recalled.

He recalled that the Union Academy at Elias Church as one of the best.

“It considered a sort of finishing school,” the man recalled.

Today, most of the old school buildings are gone, but a few remain that have been repurposed. However, the education the students received in the 19th century helped create solid citizens who built Emmitsburg into a thriving town.

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Rocco-MonocacyIt could be argued that Frederick County saved the Union more than once during the Civil War. It was here that General Robert E. Lee’s “lost orders” were found, giving the Union Army the opportunity to stop the Confederate Army’s first invasion of the North at Antietam. It was also here that the Battle of Monocacy was fought to thwart the Confederate Army’s last invasion of the North.

The Battle of Monocacy

By the summer of 1864, the tides of war had turned against the Confederate States. General Lee had been forced to pull back his troops to protect Richmond and Petersburg in Virginia Anxious to press his attack on the Southern cities, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant shifted idle troops from the defensive ring of 65 forts around Washington D.C. to aid in his attack. This left the capital city lightly defended.

“The forts were left poorly manned with third tier soldiers,” said Jack Sheriff, president of the Frederick County Civil War Roundtable. “They were invalids, one-armed soldiers or poorly trained, but they did have a lot of ammunition and guns.”

Lee sent Lt. Gen. Jubal Early and 15,000 troops to the west to secure the Shenandoah Valley, but then to move north and invade Maryland. Early wanted to use his men to threaten or even capture Washington. It was hoped that such an act would erode support for the war in an election year and relieve pressure on Richmond and Petersburg.

“Morale in the north for the war was low. To have the capital taken would have been a huge blow,” Park Ranger Tracy Evans.

Early and his men arrived in Harpers Ferry on July 4. They crossed the Potomac River near Sharpsburg, and then moved east to Frederick and south toward Washington. A railroad telegrapher saw the troops and sent word to John Garrett, president of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who in turn, sent word to Major Gen. Lew Wallace in Baltimore.

As Early’s men moved through Maryland, they ransomed Hagerstown for $20,000, Middletown for $5,000 and Frederick for $200,000.

“Sen. (Charles) Mac Mathias tried every year to get the government to pay back the money, but it never happened,” said Sheriff.

Efforts to have Frederick reimbursed all of the money it lost date back to 1879. Mathias not only wanted the $200,000 repaid but that amount with four-percent interest compounded since 1864.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore Wallace assembled 3,200 raw soldiers and headed to Monocacy Junction. He was unsure as to whether Early would be heading toward Washington or Baltimore and Monocacy Junction placed Wallace in a good position to intercept the Confederate troops either way.

Wallace knew his small army would be outnumbered. His goal was to delay Early and allow whichever city Early was heading toward time to reinforce their defenses.

On July 9, 3,400 additional troops arrived sent by General Grant. Though this more than doubled Wallace’s men, it still left them outnumbered more than two to one.

The Confederate forces began the battle with an attack on the bridges, which the Union was defending. The two armies fought throughout the day and when Wallace realized he could no longer hold his position, he fell back toward Baltimore leaving 1,300 men behind as casualties.

Early rested his troops that night. The next morning, the Confederate troops headed toward Washington. On July 12, they engaged the troops at Fort Stevens. These were no longer third-tier troops.

“The Battle of Monocacy had stopped the Confederate soldiers for one whole day and that gave Grant time to bring up reinforcements from Petersburg,” Sheriff said. “There’s no way the Confederates had enough men to break through.”

Although the Confederate Army had won their only victory in the north at Monocacy, it was a strategic defeat. Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to enter Washington, General Early took his troops back into Virginia under the cover of darkness on July 12.

“Someone coined the term the battle that saved Washington. It allowed time to get reinforcements into the capital,” Evans said.

Sheriff said that if Early had been able to win his way through the ring of forts and attack Washington, the Confederate Army might have been able to cause some trouble but it couldn’t have held the city.

“They could probably have burned buildings, captured supplies and raided the Treasury, but they would have had to leave because Grant’s men were coming,” Sheriff said.

Overall, the Battle of Monocacy was a small battle involving about 20,000 troops. As such, it tends to get lost among the surrounding and larger battlefields of Gettysburg, Antietam and Manassas.

For More Information


Given the fact that the Lilypons, Md., Post Office was created to handle the increased mail-order demand from Three Springs Fisheries, a Frederick County, Md., business that sold goldfish and water lilies, you might think Lilypons is a misspelling of Lily Ponds.

Yes, it is a misspelling.

Not of lily ponds, but of Lily Pons, a 1930s opera singer.

Three Springs Fisheries


Lilypons the company.

George Thomas started his business in 1917 as a roadside stand in Buckeystown, Md., that sold the vegetables and goldfish he grew on his farm. “He had a keen eye for finding some type of venture where he might be successful,” Charles Thomas said of his grandfather. While customers may have bought his vegetables, they showed more interest in the goldfish bred in his goldfish hatchery, Three Springs Fisheries.

Business grew quickly, and the little town post office where his farm was located couldn’t handle the volume. The goldfish needed to be shipped fourth class through the Frederick Post Office 10 miles away.

A New Post Office

Thomas requested a local post office, and because of the volume of his business, the postal service granted the request. The United States Postal Service allowed Thomas to name the new post office. He chose Lilypons. And so, the only post office in the world to be named for an opera singer became official in 1932.

“I always recall hearing she was elated that there was a post office bearing her name,” said Charles Thomas.

The post office was located in a corner of the fisheries’ shipping room in a pink farmhouse that sat amid the many goldfish ponds. The new post office served about 40 families, most of whom were on the company payroll.

Lily Pons Visits Lilypons


Lily Pons the singer.

Pons first visited her namesake in June 1936. The visit coincided with the release of her movie “I Dream Too Much” with Henry Fonda.

Charles said, “It was also planned for when the water lilies were blooming at their height.”

Maryland State Police escorted Pons and her entourage from Baltimore to Frederick with the police officers changing each time the group crossed a county line.

“Her fiancé Andre Kostelanetz traveled separately,” Charles said. “Since they weren’t married, they didn’t want to create a scandal.”

The mayor of Frederick, Lloyd Culler, escorted Pons on a tour of the historic sites in the city. President Franklin Roosevelt sent a representative to greet her while Maryland Governor Harry Nice was personally on hand to meet her.

“She was very high in her career at the time and people wanted to see her,” Charles said.

The reason for her visit was to see the town named in her honor, though. Thousands of spectators showed up to watch Pons tour the grounds and pick water lilies from the ponds as she sat in J. Paul Delphey’s canoe.

“To this day, the imagery lingers, and the mystique created by the clever name still draws visitors,” wrote Susan Stiles Dowell in Maryland Magazine, Autumn 1989.

George Thomas, Jr. wrote about Pons, “Her many commitments have made frequent returns impossible, more’s the pity, but she often has her Christmas cards and gifts mailed from her namesake post office, and she writes to us and also sends us albums of her latest records.”

As the area developed, the post office was eventually closed.

Pons died on Feb. 13, 1977, but her name lives on in the Lilypons Company.

By 1980, Lilypons, once the world’s largest producer of goldfish, had diversified. It now specializes in water garden supplies and plants more than in fish.

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On October 27, 1874, John Resley, son of the clerk of the circuit court of Allegany County, shot and killed Lloyd Clary, the editor of the Cumberland Daily Times and a Confederate Civil War hero. It appeared to be an open-and-shut case. After all, Resley had confessed to the shooting.

However, just as a battle plan becomes obsolete as soon as the enemy is engaged, so too, go jury trials once the judge calls the court to order.

Resley’s murder trial began on January 29, 1874, barely three months after the murder.

The importance of the case became clear when Maryland Governor William Pinkney Whyte sent the state’s attorney general Andrew Syester to assist Allegany County State’s Attorney William Reed with the prosecution.

The defense had four lawyers. Col. Charles Marshall of Baltimore was the lead attorney and James M. Schley, J. J. McHenry and William Price, all of the Cumberland bar were assisting.

Chief Justice Alvey, Associate Justice Motter, and Associate Justice Pearre presided over the trial.

Reed gave the opening statement for the prosecution at the trial saying “they would prove, he thought, that Resley had not read the article when he committed the act,” according to the Hagerstown Mail.

However, the most damning piece of evidence Reed said would be that Resley had confessed in front of witnesses. While standing on Baltimore Street, Resley said, “Nobody else would do it and I did it.”

What Reed was starting to do was lay out a case of premeditated murder based not on a newspaper article, but on Resley’s hatred for Clary.

Schley deferred giving an opening statement to the jury until the state had made its case.

Among the witnesses called was another Cumberland Daily Times editor named Thomas McCardle. On hearing shots fired, McCardle has rushed down from the pressroom and seen Clary holding his throat. “He leaned against the wall as if completely exhausted, his body trembling as if from the effort to keep his feet, holding his throat by one hand, and with the other arm hanging down, holding a pistol in that hand,” the newspaper reported.

McCardle testified that he had never seen Resley with a pistol before then. The defense went further to suggest that Clary could have seen Resley coming from a window and gone to get the gun.

Clary had said in his statement he had been shot without being given a chance and he said as much to Resley just before the man shot him the second time. Clary said he hadn’t been able to get his pistol out to return fire.

Schley presented conflicting testimony that Clary had drawn his pistol and furthermore medical evidence showed that Clary wouldn’t have been able to say anything immediately after being shot in the throat as Clary said in his own statement.

A later witness would testify that Clary had hurried him out of his office just before rushing out to meet Resley on the stairs. This same witness had heard Clary and Resley argue, Clary’s pistol misfire and then two shots from Resley. Resley hadn’t gone to the office seeking to kill Clary. Resley had shot him in self-defense.

Other witnesses testified that Clary had hated Resley and said, “if ever he crossed his path again he would fill him as full of holes as a net,” the newspaper summarized Clary saying about Resley at one time.

After two days of testimony, the jury retired for six hours before returning a verdict of not guilty.

“Resley was then escorted home by the crowd, cheering all the way,” the New York Times reported.

Resley would live to be 73 years old and die from a stroke in January 1916.

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They say, “The pen is mightier than the sword” and for Lloyd Clary that indeed proved true. The young newspaper editor of the Cumberland Daily Times had survived the bullets and swords of the Civil War only to be felled because of something he wrote on October 27, 1873.

“Never in our experience have we been called upon to publish the details of an occurrence more truly painful and shocking than that of the killing of Lloyd Lowndes Clary, the brave editor of the Cumberland Daily Times by John H. Resley…” the Hagerstown Mail reported after the murder.

It was in the offices of the newspaper on Oct. 27 that John Resley shot Clary twice, once in the neck and once in the body. The neck shot would kill Clary later that evening.

Though Resley left the scene of his crime, he did not flee. He walked across Baltimore Street and stood on the opposite side looking at the newspaper office. “A considerable crowd gathered around Mr. Resley while be stood on the street. He was very pale and much excited, and moved about nervously. He did not seem inclined to converse, and several times rebuffed persons who spoke to him,” reported the Hagerstown Mail.

Eventually, Cumberland Police Officer Magruder saw Resley and approached him.

“Am I wanted?” Resley asked.

“Yes you are,” Magruder told him and arrested him.

Resley was later indicted for Clary’s murder.

While the newspapers detested Resley’s actions, they seemed to understand the reasons behind it. The Hagerstown Herald and Torch noted, “It is a fact that the editor referred to wielded a caustic pen, and his paper, as long as we received and read it, contained some terribly severe articles against political opponents.”

As with many men of his time, Clary had not been afraid of a fight. He was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War. “Mr. Clary was intensely Southern in his feelings, every pulsation of his young heart beating in unison with the late struggle of the seceding States for their guaranteed and Constitutional rights,” one obituary noted.

He had joined McNeill’s Rangers in 1862. The Hagerstown Mail credits Clary for planning and executing the kidnapping of Union Generals George Crook and Benjamin Kelley from a hotel on Baltimore Street in February 1865.

“Young Clary in company with four others, captured the Federal pickets, dashed into Cumberland and at three o’clock in the morning surprised Generals Crook and Kelley, and brought them safely out,” the newspaper reported.

Both generals were taken to Richmond where they were paroled and exchanged for Confederate Brigadier General Isaac Trimble.

Crook would later say, “Gentlemen, this is the most brilliant exploit of the war!”

After the war, Clary was a reporter and then editor of the Mountain City Times, which merged with the Cumberland Times and Civilian to become the Cumberland Daily Times in May 1872.

“From its first note to its last the Times has not uttered one uncertain sound. It had but one voice—that of condemnation and exclusion from office of the men whom it had convinced of betrayal of their trusts. Thus fighting he fell with his harness on, a martyr to the cause of honesty, truth and Justice,” the Cumberland Daily Times noted in its obituary of Clary.

Though there was no question in anyone’s mind that Resley had killed Clary, there were still unanswered questions that would come to light during the trial that changed how everyone looked at the murder.

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Switching over

The past few weeks I’ve been revamping my website. Take a look at jamesrada.com if you haven’t seen it yet. One of the things that has been revamped is my history blog. It is now part of my website. You can visit the new blog here. If I got all the bells and whistles right, everyone who is following this blog should now be following the new blog. At some point, I will delete this blog. Meanwhile, I’ll be posting history stories and news at this new blog. So hop over to the new blog and click on the follow button, just to be sure. You’ll also see my three free novels offer on the sidebar. Sign up for that if you haven’t already.



On April 21, 1865, a locomotive slowly pulled out of the depot in Washington D.C. carrying about 300 people. Many of them bowed their heads as the train passed. Others cried. The train was carrying the remains of President Abraham Lincoln who had been assassinated a week earlier and Willie Lincoln who had died in 1862 back to Springfield, Ill.

The Lincoln Special

The train had the funeral car, baggage cars and coaches and the engine, which had a photo of Lincoln mounted on the front of the train over the cowcatcher. The funeral car was decorated with black garland and silver tassels and had a U.S. coat of arms painted on the sideof it.

“With sixteen wheels for a smoother ride, rounded monitor ends, fine woodwork, upholstered walls, [and] etched glass windows” this funeral car surely was a sight to behold,” Scott Trostel wrote in The Lincoln Funeral Train: The Final Journey and National Funeral for Abraham Lincoln.

The journey would essentially retrace Lincoln’s trip as President-elect from Illinois to Washington in reverse. The only change was that it deleted a stop in Pittsburgh and added one in Chicago.

Coming to Harrisburg

The first stop on the journey had been in Baltimore. From there, the train headed to Harrisburg. Gov. Andrew Curtin and a delegation from Pennsylvania met the train at the state line just south of Shrewsbury. They joined the Maryland delegation in the front car and rode to Harrisburg allowing for a short stop in York.

The train arrived in the capital city amid a hard rain around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 21. As it passed the west end of the Northern Central Railway bridge, a cannon fired and church bells pealed across the city.

The train halted only when the funeral car sat on Market Street. Thunder and lightning joined the heavy rain as members of the Veterans Corps carried the coffin from the coach to a hearse that Harrisburg undertakers, W. W. Boyer and Peter R. Boyd, specially made for the occasion.

Four white horses then pulled the hearse down Market Street to the square, north on Second Street to State Street, and then up State Street to the capital building. Col. Henry McCormick led the procession that followed the hearse. It included city ministers, Mayor Augustus Roumfort and some of the city’s leading citizens. A band playing a funeral dirge led the next group of mourners that included Gov. Curtin, his staff, state officials, another band, two regiments of Pennsylvania soldiers and one unit of New York soldiers.

“The entire procession was lit by the city’s new chemical streetlights, which gave off a deep orange glow,” George F. Nagle wrote in The Bugle, the Camp Curtin Historical Society newsletter.

At the capital, the President’s coffin was placed in a catafalque in the House of Representatives chamber. The catafalque was made from lots of black cloth placed over the clerk’s desk and speaker’s dais so that neither could be seen.

Paying Respects

 A public viewing began at 9:30 p.m. and for two-and-a-half hours, an estimated 10,000 mourners waited in the storm outside the capital for an opportunity to pay their last respects to the man who had led the country through the Civil War.

They entered the chamber in two lines. The lines separated at the foot of the coffin so that a line filed along either side of the coffin to view the President’s body.

“Each line exited through specially rigged doorways through the large windows on opposite sides of the chamber. So many filed through that the undertaker had to re-chalk the visibly discoloring face and dust the body before the chamber could be reopened the next morning,” Nagle wrote.

Another public viewing began on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and ran until 9 a.m. The doors to the chamber were then closed and the funeral procession reformed to take the President’s coffin back to the funeral train.

At 8:30 a.m., church bells began tolling and cannons were fired to notify the city to prepare for the funeral procession. An estimated 40,000 people lined the streets of Harrisburg along the route and waited for the procession to pass. This was roughly twice as many people than lived in the city at the time.

Once the procession passed, many of the mourners followed behind to accompany the procession back to the train.

The Journey Continues

The funeral train pulled out of the Harrisburg depot at 11:15 a.m. heading for Philadelphia. As the train left the city, it passed a large American flag that had been spread across a field where it could be seen from the train. Crowds of people stood on either side of the flag and removed their hats as the train passed, according to the New York Herald.

The journey to Lincoln’s final resting place would take two weeks and pass through Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

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