History of Frederick County Maryland
adapted for this page from the book by the same name by Thomas J. C.Williams
In March of 1732 the proprietor of the Provence of Maryland desired to attract settlersto the Northern and the Western areas of his territory., so he made a proclamationdeclaring special land prices and taxes for settlers.
The big land grab
Large tracts of land were speedily secured by a relatively few of the wealthiercitizens of Maryland, including the finest parts of the valleys of the Monocacy and theAntietam.
While the early land grants were to English-speaking people from Maryland, and theearliest settlers came from nearby St. Mary's, Charles, and Prince George's Counties, alarge part of the actual settlers of the land were Palatines from Germany. Most of theGerman speaking Immigrants were spreading south from Pennsylvania. Commerce between theGerman settlements in southern Pennsylvania and parts of Virginia was common, and the mainroad between these areas was through this part of Maryland.
The German Influx
Long before there were any settlements in Frederick County, parties of Germans passedthrough it from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to seek homes in Virginia. The principalroute was over a pack horse or Indian road that crossed the present Pennsylvania countiesof York and Adams to the Monocacy where it passed into Maryland. Once in Maryland, theroad passed through Crampton's Gap and crossed the Potomac at several fords. The firstGerman settlement in Frederick County was as early as 1729 in the village of Monocacy,which was the first village beyond the lower part of Montgomery County in Western Maryland.
Monocacy was situated at or near the present village of Creagerstown. Here around 1732the first German church, which was known as the Log Church, was built in Maryland. The LogChurch later became the church of Creagerstown and then was replaced by a brick church afew rods north of the old site in 1834. There were several taverns there to accommodatetravelers on the Monocacy Road, which was constructed by the governments of Pennsylvaniaand Maryland. Monocacy Road was an improvement upon the old Indian trail which wasformerly used. The road went from Wright's Ferry in Pennsylvania to the Maryland line,then to the Potomac, and then on to the uplands of Virginia.
This group was called the Irish by the locals and the history books. However they wereactually Scots/Irish who were also known as the Ulster Scots. Click here for a history ofthe Ulster Scots. The Scots/Irish tended to migrate towards thehighlands of Frederick County Maryland in the more western parts of the county. In smallgroups, they also lived in the German communities of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
The French and Indian War
The French and Indian War also known as the Seven Years War, began in 1755 with generaldisaster to the British cause and the American colonies. The plan was for France to takepossession of the British area of North America and for her and her allies to divide thecolonies up among them. In the early part of 1754 every Indian suddenly and mysteriouslydisappeared from Frederick County. The emissaries of France had been among them and hadenlisted their aid in their scheme to take possession of the full Mississippi Valley.England was laying claim to virtually all of North America. However, the French had a wellestablished colony at New Orleans, and they were steadily extending their influencenorthward through the Mississippi Valley. When the English government made a grant ofcertain priveleges beyond the Allegheny Mountains to the Virginia Ohio Company, the Frenchincreased their efforts to establish a chain of forts from Canada to their Mississippisettlements. The object was to confine the English colonies to the Atlantic slope. TheFrench had a long standing treaty with the Iriquois Indians, and the Iriquois were greatlyfeared by every other Indian tribe in the whole area, including Western Maryland. Thus theFrench and the Iriquois were able to intimidate the greater part of the Indian tribes ofthe area to make war upon the English colonies. All of the settlements of the westernparts of Frederick County eventually came under attack. Since the Scots/Irish were largelyin the area between the Indians and the Germans, they were the first to feel the brunt ofthe attacks. Then the colonists, including the Germans were killed, tortured and burnedout. Monocacy was burned until just the old log Church and a few nearby buildings wereleft standing. The depredations suffered by the colonists were legendary and T.J.C.Williams goes into great detail in his "History of Western Maryland", so I won'tgo into it here. The war was won through the efforts of the colonial army with littleactual help from the British regulars.
After the war was over, Creagerstown was laid out by John Cramer between 1760 and 1770about a mile from the original settlement of Monacacy and a short distance north of theold Log Church.
As the tide of German immigrants increased, a more direct route to Western Maryland wasestablished. The immigrants landed at Annapolis and later some at Baltimore. From therethey traveled over the bad roads of that time to their destinations in the valley of theMonocacy. The Maryland officials early appreciated the value of the German settlers to theprovince and did all they could to encourage the movement, as the Germans were looked uponas a thrifty, industrious and God-fearing poeple who were a benefit to the community. From1752 to 1755, 1060 German immigrants arrived by this route besides those that came inthrough Philadelphia and used the Monocacy Road.