Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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The Farmsteads of Antietam – Joseph Parks Farm

April 16, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Joseph Parks Farmstead

While traveling on the roads running through the battlefield you can see most of the farmsteads at Antietam except for one – the Joseph Parks farm.  In order to see this farm, visitors have to walk out the Three Farms Trail from the Newcomer House.  Although the land had been cultivated for more than 100 years before the battle, in 1862 the house and farm were fairly new.  Originally part of James Smith’s property and patented “Smiths Hills”, this 160 acres is known today as the Joseph Parks Farm.

Smith Hills

Plat map of Smiths Hills and surrounding region.

In 1739, James Smith, a planter from Prince George’s County received a patent of 208 acres.  It’s believed that Smith lived in the area, as he was surveying lands in the future Frederick and Washington counties and was an attorney for the Frederick courts.  Over the next fifteen years, Smith continued to add land to his holdings.  In 1754, Smith surveyed 12 acres of Porto Santo, another nearby patent. In 1756, a  “Resurvey of Smiths Hills” was done adding 302 acres for a total of 510 acres and a Resurvey of Porto Santo was done to correct several errors which increased its size to 23 acres.  During the resurvey it was found that the Porto Santo “included ‘improvements’ of one acre of cleared land, 400 fence rails and a log house”.  Smith’s holding of these two patents would become the properties of what we know today as the Newcomer and Park Farmsteads.

 

Knowing that colonial interest and the French and Indian War led to more permanent inroads into the backcountry, Smith petitioned Frederick County in 1755 for the building of both a ford across the Antietam Creek and a new road, because he intended to build a mill along the creek on his land.  Smith also knew that an improved roadway through his property would not only increase the value of his land but that of the surrounding area.  Although Smith did not build a mill, “he had set the groundwork for the future development of the milling industry on the property” and a new road would eventually be built from Red Hill to Swearingen’s Ferry on the Potomac at Shepherdstown.

As the French and Indian War was ending, Christian Orndorff, a millwright from Lancaster County, arrived in the area in 1762.   Now that the region was safe and open for settlement, Orndorff was looking for a suitable site to build a grist mill, and he found it along the Antietam Creek.  Christian Orndorff purchased 503 acres of Resurvey on Smiths Hills and 11 acres of the Porto Santo. 

Over the next thirty years the Orndorff family turned the property into a substantial industrial complex.  In addition to a large house and barn, there was a grist mill, a saw mill and a workshop near the Antietam Creek.  The mills were powered by water diverted from the creek through a mill race that Orndorff built.  They also farmed crops of wheat and corn and later established a plaster mill, a cooper shop and other tooling shops.

In 1796, the Orndorff’s sold 324 1/4 acres  for £5500 to Jacob Mumma.  This purchase included portions of several patents, but 303 acres were part of the Resurvey of Smiths Hills.  The Mummas had arrived in Philadelphia in 1732 and settled in Lancaster County.  Like other Germans settling in the area, the Mumma family traveled down the Wagon Road to Sharpsburg.  They were accompanied by Joseph Sherrick, Sr. and his family.  Sherrick would also purchase property along the Antietam from the Orndorff’s.

Photograph taken on Sept. 22, 1862, by Alexander Gardner’s assistant, James F. Gibson. The Parks Farmstead can be seen in the upper right hand corner. (LOC)

Jacob Mumma and his sons continued to run the mill and farming operations.  Over the next several years Mumma would acquire “two-thirds of the large land tract amassed by the Orndorff family decades earlier”.  This area incorporated what is known today as the Mumma Farm, Newcomer Farm and the Parks Farm.   In 1831,  Jacob Mumma and his wife Elizabeth transferred ownership of the mill property to their son John.  Around this time, it is believed that a house and barn were constructed just north of the mill along the creek for John’s eldest son – Elias Mumma. This became known as the “lower farm”, the future Parks farmstead.   Business at the Mumma mill was booming, but John Mumma died suddenly in 1835 and without a will.  His father, Jacob purchased the property back from John’s estate and resold the mill and farm to his younger son, Samuel in 1837.

 

Barn

Main House (vinyl siding covering original wood siding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Kitchen

Kitchen

Cooking Fireplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parks farm

Parks Farm layout in 1862

 

Samuel and his wife had been living at the house on the Mumma Farmstead, but they moved back to the mill complex and continued the operations of the mill and farm.  Samuel sold 151 acres of the mill complex portion of the property to Jacob and John Emmert in 1841 to pay off debts, but he retained 190 acres of the “lower farm”.  By 1843, Samuel was forced to put the “lower farm” into a Deed of Trust to pay off other creditors.

 

Parks property

The “lower farm” that Phillip Pry named Bunker Hill Farm. The red line shows the property line.

In 1850, the property was returned to Samuel Mumma by the trustees and it believed that Samuel’s son, Jacob H. Mumma was living on the farm as a tenant at this time.  According to the 1860 census, Jacob had moved to Boonsboro and the farm was tenanted by a Jacob Myers (Meyer).   In 1861, Samuel Mumma sold the “lower farm” for $10,500 to Phillip Pry who renamed the 166 acre property the “Bunker Hill Farm”.   Phillip and his brother Samuel already owned a large amount of land north of the Bunker Hill Farm along the Antietam Creek, including a large grist mill.  Phillip and his family continued to live at his farm just across the Antietam but rented the Bunker Hill Farm to a tenant named Joseph Parks and his family.

Parks had owned a house in Porterstown which was just on the other side of the creek.  According to the 1850 census he lived there with his wife, Mary and their young children Rosean, Elizabeth, Mary and Martha.  His wife Mary would pass away in 1855 and shortly after that Joseph married Aletha Ann Harmon and they would have six more children together.

On the morning of September 15, 1862, as they withdrew from the Battle of South Mountain, Confederate soldiers marched along the turnpike and across the Antietam toward Sharpsburg.  General Robert E. Lee had decided to make a stand along the Antietam Creek to consolidate his divided army.  Later that day as the Union army advanced to the east side of the Antietam Creek, the Bunker Hill Farm and the Parks family stood between the two warring parties.

Daybreak map of the Battle of Antietam.

The next morning, three companies of Federal troops crossed the bridge and deployed across the Newcomer property, securing the bridge as a future crossing point for the next day’s battle.  Throughout the day the Bunker Hill Farm was in the center of a cannonade between the Union artillery on the east side of the Antietam and the Confederate guns along the ridge east of Sharpsburg.  It is not known where the Parks went during the battle, but most certainly they departed like their neighbors, to the safety of friends or relatives in the area.

 

1030 am map of the Battle of Antietam as Union forces begin to move across the Parks farm.

The next morning on September 17, as the battle raged to the north of Sharpsburg, more Union forces were sent across the Pry Mill ford just north of the Parks farm.  Two divisions of the Second Army Corps moved west toward the East Woods and then pushed into the West Woods and southward across the Mumma and Roulette farms.  About an hour later Major General Israel Richardson’s division crossed the creek just below Phillip Pry’s house and marched toward the Neikirk and Kennedy Farms before turning toward the fighting in the Sunken Road.  Brig. Gen. John Caldwell’s brigade marched in a line of battle across the upper fields of the Parks farm before shifting to the right to support Gen. Meagher’s Irish Brigade.

1:00 pm map of the Battle of Antietam with Union artillery positioned on the Parks Farm.

 

Once the Confederates were driven out of the Sunken Road, Union artillery arrived to help hold the line along the high ground of the Parks farm and the Newcomer fields.

 

 

This enlarged 1862 Gibson photo shows five buildings and the fence surrounding the main house.

Although no specific source has identified the Parks farm as a field hospital, it seems likely that the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment of Caldwell’s brigade would have used it as a temporary one.  Col. Edward Cross, the commander of the 5th New Hampshire reported the situation of his surgeon, Dr. William Child and described the conditions of the battlefield hospitals, “The barns and sheds in all this region were occupied as hospitals by the Union army, and many Confederate wounded were retained here, and I believe were as well cared for as the Union Men.  The barns were filled with flies, and wounds were sure to gather maggots about the dressings and even within the raw surfaces. To avoid this disgusting evil Assistant Surgeon Child personally gathered a few scores of shelter tents left on the battle-field, brought them to a suitable location, and with them built very comfortable hospital quarters and into them moved all the wounded of the Fifth, where they remained until able to be sent to Frederick city or were sent to Antietam hospital, which was finally established upon the western borders of the battle-field. Child was detailed for service in this Antietam field hospital, where he remained until about December 10…”

In this magnified photograph, soldiers can be seen walking along a road leading to the Parks farm.

 

Through the trees on the right the Observation Tower can be seen just beyond the Parks barnyard.

There are no known damage claims submitted by Joseph Parks, but several were submitted by Phillip Pry starting in 1865 and another in 1872.  It is believed that the Quartermaster claim was for his home farm only and not the “lower farm’ or Bunker Hill Farm.

Union artillery and infantry units go into position on the evening of Sept. 17, 1862 across the Park farm

Although Phillip Pry received some payment, his claims became bogged down in legal proceedings and in 1874 he sold the remainder of his property and moved his family to Tennessee.  During the investigation into Pry’s claim it was uncovered by Agent Sallade about Pry’s Bunker Hill farm and he reported, “Mr Pry owned two farms, one the [“Home”] farm containing 170 acres, and one the “Bunker Hill” farm of 166 acres separated by the Antietam Creek, and 1/2 mile apart… all his fencing was burned, his corn and wheat fed, together with a large quantity of hay… His wheat I find was cut in 1862, and put in 4 large stacks, some was in the barn.  These stacks contained not less than 800 bushels this quantity was arrived at by the number of loads – 40 – averaging 20 bushels per load, placed in the stacks. Messrs Joseph Parks, Henry Gettmacher and Wm. Lantz who cut, hauled, and put up this wheat fully confirm this fact. The Affidants of other parties, neighbors and ex-soldiers also confirm this, and also that a portion of the wheat in the barn was used.  Mr. Pry lost about 150 bushels on the farm across the Antietam Creek.  Mr. Pry fully sets this forth in his affidavit”.

Parks grave

Joseph and Aletha Parks grave at Rose Hill

According to records, a few years after the battle Joseph Parks had “to mortgage his household furniture and personal belongings against a debt that he owed to Phillip Pry” most likely for the tenancy.  Joseph Parks had moved several miles north of Sharpsburg, probably to Fairplay or Hagerstown, and became a full time shoemaker.  He died in 1891 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown along with his second wife Aletha.

 

 

The 1877 Illustrated Atlas of Washington County, Maryland, District 1, Sharpsburg. The red dot shows the J. F. Miller properties

In 1867 Bunker Hill Farm was sold to Jacob F. Miller.  Jacob Miller’s son, Otho H. Miller was living at the farm according to the 1870 census.  During this time “a gabled dormer was added to the forebay of the barn  most likely to accommodate improved threshing machines” and a second story was added to the north section of the main house.

In 1884, Jacob Miller sold the Bunker Hill farm to Henry and Laura Rohrer.  The Rohrer family would operate the farm for the next 76 years.  According to the 1910 census, their son-in-law Harry O. Clipp, his wife Stella and their two daughters, Ruth and Edna were living at the farm.  Harry Clipp’s occupation was listed as a “House Carpenter” and he may have been the one who made improvements on the farm.   During the Rohrer’s time at the farm a tenant house is built around 1905 and a corn crib / wagon shed was added onto the barn along with some other out buildings.  In 1914, Henry Rohrer died leaving the farm to his wife Laura, who died in 1919.  The farm was then transferred to her daughter and son-in-law.

Foundation of the tenant house.

The Clipp’s continued to make improvements to the farm, shifting their operation to dairy farming with a
concrete milking area added.  Ruth Clipp and Edna (Clipp) Dorsey who inherited the farm from their parents, sold the farm to William Cunningham in 1960.  In 1988, Cunningham sold the farm to the National Park Service with a life estate for himself.

After the death of Mr. Cunningham in 2000, the Park Service  removed post-war out buildings including the tenant house, repaired the log out-kitchen, restored the barn, stabilized the farm house and recently replaced the roof on the house.   A new recreational trail, the Three Farms Trail was created in 2006 that connects the Parks Farmstead to the Roulette Farmstead and the Newcomer Farmstead.

The Parks Farmstead is a another eyewitness to the history of the battle and the families that lived in the Antietam Valley.

Sources:
  • Find A Grave, Joseph Parks and family, Retrieved from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49395745/joseph-parks
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, Antietam, Md. Another view of Antietam bridge. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/cwpb.01133/
  • Library of Congress Geography and Map Division; W.S. Long and Washington A. Roebling/Battle of the Antietam fought September 16 & 17, 1862/Washington, D.C./ Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3844a.cw0246000
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Cunningham Farm, WA-II-331, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1978, 24 March 2018
  • U.S. National Park Service,  Joseph Parks Barn,  Antietam National Battlefield, Historic Structures Report Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2008.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Parks Farmstead Cultural Landscape InventoryAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2011.
  • U.S. National Park Service,  Newcomer Barn,  Antietam National Battlefield, Historic Structures Report Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape. Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • Western Maryland Regional Library, The Illustrated Atlas of Washington County, Maryland was published in 1877. Lake, Griffing & Stevenson of Philadelphia, 1877.  Retrieved from http://whilbr.org/Image.aspx?photo=wcia053s.jpg&idEntry=3497&title=Sharpsburg+-+District+No.+1
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Pl. XXVIII: Antietam, Suffolk, Gettysburg, Franklin Washington, Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.  Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3701sm.gcw0099000/?sp=53

Eggs Rohrbach

April 5, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Eggs Rohrbach at the Inn

“Eggs Rohrbach”

One of our favorite signature dishes is our “Eggs Rohrbach”.  It has all the same yummy ingredients of traditional Eggs Benedict but is simple to make.  It’s SO easy that even Chris can make it.

Serves 4

 

 

You will need:

  • 5 eggs
  • 4 Slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 English muffins
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)
  • Salt / pepper to taste

 

Eggs Rohrbach out of the oven

Ramekins fresh out of the oven

First, spray four ramekins with some nonstick spray.   Then slice and cube two English muffins into approximately ½” size cubes.

Now place a slice of Canadian bacon centered in each ramekin and  sprinkle with a small amount of cheese.  Place some cubed muffin on top of the cheese and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of muffin.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk and seasoning together and gently pour over muffin.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pull out the ramekins about 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat your oven to 350°F and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until set.

Just before the eggs are done go ahead and start whipping together your favorite Hollandaise Sauce.  We have an easy recipe for that too, but that’s a secret… just kidding tune in for another blog in the future.

When done, run a knife around the edge, invert onto plate.  Top with Hollandaise and garnish with chopped parsley or chives.  Serve with some fresh herb tomatoes and a side of our Apple Maple sausage.  Enjoy!

Eggs Benedict with a twist

Breakfast is served.

Eggs Rohrbach Recipe

Tips:

–  Can be made the same day, just allow enough time for the muffin to soak up the egg mixture.

–  No ramekins? No problem!  Use a jumbo muffin tin.

–  Once inverted onto plate, keep ramekin on until ready to top with Hollandaise Sauce.

 

Celebrate the Art and Culture of Washington County

February 21, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Many guests who come to the Inn think the area is only interesting because of the Civil War.  They are pleasantly surprised to learn of the dozens of museums, theaters and galleries hosting art shows and musical performances on a regular basis, all within minutes of the Inn.  This year celebrate the art and culture of Washington County during your stay.  Here are some local favorites.

The Maryland Theatre

The Maryland Theatre

For over 100 years the Maryland Theatre has been the anchor to the Arts & Entertainment district in Hagerstown.  This 1,300-seat theatre regularly hosts performances of country artists, comedians, orchestra concerts, children’s shows, musicians, recitals, and plays.  It serves as the home of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, City Ballet School and the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant.

Maryland Symphony Orchestra Holiday concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saints Mary Magdalene and Paul by Giovanni Mazone

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Located in beautiful City Park in Hagerstown, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts was founded over 85 years ago by Mr. and Mrs. William Singer, Jr.  Visitors can browse more than 7,000 works of art which include 19th & early 20th Century American Art, Old Masters, and Decorative art.  The Museum is a vibrant center and offers a variety of exhibitions, art classes, lectures, concerts & special events throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Hager House &  Mansion House Art Center

Jonathan Hager House

While you’re at the Museum of Fine Arts, two other attractions also in City Park,  are the Jonathan Hager House & Museum and the Mansion House Arts Center. The Jonathan Hager House and Museum is the refurbished home of Hagerstown’s founder, Jonathan Hager, built circa 1739.  Visitors can take guided tours of the restored three-story limestone homestead staged with eighteenth-century furniture and artifacts.  Built by John Heyer in 1846, the Mansion House is run by The Valley Art Association.   They have a very impressive collection of works by area artists and guests can purchase artwork including lithographs, silk screens, etchings, wood block prints and collages.

 

Hagerstown Cultural Trail

If you want to get outdoors to experience the art,  you can take a stroll along the Hagerstown Cultural Trail to the downtown Arts and Entertainment District.  Along the trail you’ll see sculptures like the “Fishing Lesson”, steel frame structures representing the city-scape and the Fantastical Garden, an interactive play area.  The path leads you through beautiful gardens of the Railroad Switch, steel fences reminding us of the rail system that once ran through the city; you’ll see photos of the Faces of Hagerstown and the Mural of Unusual  Size – the latest addition to the trail.

The “Fishing Lesson”

Mural of Unusual  Size

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington County Playhouse, Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater

All year-round you can experience a Broadway-style show or musical comedy with a buffet dinner at the Playhouse.   Watch as your servers transform into glamorous, talented performers as they present award winning performances on stage.  Shows for young audiences are performed on select Saturdays.  The Washington County Playhouse is a great night out for the whole family to enjoy or the perfect place for ‘Date Night’.

These are just a few of the outstanding places to go to celebrate the art and culture of Washington County.  There are almost forty other museums throughout the county to visit.  Take in one on farming, or railroads, one the local community museums or culture exhibits; there is something here in Washington County for every type of art lover.

 

Washington County’s Best Kept Secret

January 30, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

One of the best kept secrets in Maryland is the Washington County Agricultural Education Center and all the even ts held there.  The center has 68 acres of indoor facilities, outdoor areas and is the home of the Rural Heritage Museum.

As the premiere rental facility in Washington County, the Agricultural Education Center has been the region’s choice location for tractor pulls, trade shows, festivals and the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair.  The center is conveniently located 4 miles north of Sharpsburg, just past the Antietam National Battlefield and 7 miles south of Hagerstown/Interstate 70.

There are way too many events to cover in one blog post, so here are the top nine events to help you plan your trip to Sharpsburg.  (They are listed by month, not to indicate popularity)  Make sure to check out the event website to see the full list of happenings during the year.

 

 

March 17 –  What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day  then attending the Quad State Beer Fest.   At the festival you will be able to sample many local and regional craft beers.  Once you find one or two, that you love settle down with some good food and good friends to enjoy the music.  Be sure to  allow enough time to check out all the vendors, games and maybe take a hot air balloon ride.

 

 

 

April 20-22  – The Interstate BBQ Festival is a state championship event with BBQ competitions for both professional and backyard teams.  The weekend festival is filled with food, fun, vendors, more FOOD and games for all ages including a Kid Zone. Make sure you purchase the World Class BBQ Tasting Kit, consisting of nine 2 oz portions, so you can vote in The People’s Choice Competition.

 

 

 

May 27 –  Wash Co Antique Tractor Pullers Pull is sponsored by the County Antique Tractor Club.  The club is committed to preserving the history of farm tractors, farm equipment and sharing knowledge about the history of farming.  These events are held on various days thru out the summer making it easy to catch a good old tractor pull at the center.

 

 

 

June 9 – The Interstate Winefest  features more than 16 Maryland wineries and a whole area devoted to distilleries.  With over 100 wines for you to sample, you are guaranteed to find something you enjoy.  There are dozens of arts, crafts, wine, travel, nonprofit, and snack vendors to visit while you jam to live music all day.

 

 

July 14-21 –  Washington County Ag Expo and Fair is a full week of family fun featuring a carnival, musical entertainment, bull riding, truck and tractor pull, demolition derby, animal exhibits, and much more.    There are Open Class and 4-H/FFA exhibits and shows, Live Bands, Machinery and Equipment displays, Business displays, Petting Farm and many weekly activities!

 

 

 

August 25 – At the annual Rural Heritage Museum Spudfest  families enjoy a FREE, one of a kind event that spotlights the potato and its growing process.  Potatoes that were planted in the Spring are harvested by a horse-drawn plow. Children can “get dirty” in the potato patch by picking up the crop.   Special activities and features are offered throughout the weekend which include: Museum tours, kitchen with potato food menu, children’s activities , garden information and activities with the Master Gardeners, outdoor artisan bread baking and much more.

 

 

September 8 – If you’re a train buff or a young novice then the  Hagerstown Model Railroad Show  is the place to go.   With dozens of vendors featuring Model Trains, Railroadiana, and Railroad Collectibles if it has to do with trains, you will find it here!  This event is part of the fund raising activities of the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum, which is in the process of restoring the historic Norfolk and Western Antietam Station located in Sharpsburg.   The show is held three times a year, the second Saturday in February, the second Saturday in September and the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

 

 

October 12-14 – The Jack Russell Terrier National Trials  provides an opportunity for Jack Russell Terrier owners to get to know each other, get together with other terrier admirers and in general have a good time with their terriers.  Stop in to see these lively little dogs in action.

 

November 3 – The Interstate Chili, Rib and Wing Cookoff is a massive display of passion for all things Chili, Ribs & Wings!  The event is comprised of non-professional competitions in Chili, Ribs, and Wings (with pretty serious prizes!), live music, games for adults and kids, and dozens of local vendors and other activities.  Come on out, and don’t forget your Tums (it’s worth it)!

 

 

The  Inn is just down the road from all the fun at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center,  Don’t miss these great events – book your stay today!

 

 

2018 Civil War Lecture Series

January 15, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

We have another great lineup of outstanding speakers this summer at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.  Come hear leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Lecture Series.

2018 Speaker Schedule

June 6 – “Disease and Treatment {???} during the Civil War” – Gordon Dammann
June 13 – “Gunners in the Corn – Federal and Confederate Artillery in the Cornfield” – Jim Rosebrock
June 20 – “Images from MG James Ricketts Division”– Joe Stahl
June 27 – “Sumner and French at Antietam” – Gary Rohrer
July 4 – “Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination” – Dennis Frye
July 11 – “Ethnics in the Confederacy and at Sharpsburg”– Ted Alexander
July 18 – “The Battle of Bentonville” – Perry Jamieson
July 25 – “O.T. Reilly: Sharpsburg Relics and Remembrances“ – Stephen Recker
August 1 – “The Last Army of the Republic: the Myth of the Unused Reserves at the Battle of Antietam.”- Steve Stotelmyer
August 8 – “Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney: Beyond Dred Scott” – Matt Borders-
August 15 – “‘The Heaviest Blow Yet Given the Confederacy’: The Emancipation Proclamation Changes the Civil War“ – Kevin Pawlak
August 22 – “Zouaves, the First and the Bravest”- Tom Clemens
August 29 – “Antietam Hospitals” – John Schildt

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Inn at 7:oo p.m so bring a chair to sit around our event tent. In case of inclement weather the talks will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street.  Check our Blog and Facebook page for weekly updates about the speakers and their topics.

Civil War Lecture Series Notice

Speaker Schedule

2017: Our Year in Review

December 31, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

At the end of every year it is always a good idea to look back and see where you have been in order to know where the future should take you.  As we enter into the New Year we reflect back on 2017 and the changes around the Inn, the events thru the year, but most importantly, the extraordinary guests that have stayed with us.

2018 is looking even more exciting with new renovations planned, new events around the Inn, and the opportunity to see guests again.  From all of us at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn: “THANK YOU!”  Thank you for your business, friendship, loyalty, and support in 2017 and we look forward to seeing you again in 2018!

Click here to watch Our Year in Review

 

 

Halloween at the Inn

October 31, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Welcome to the Rohrbach Graveyard

If you have been to the Inn in October than you know that we LOVE to decorate for Halloween. The side of the house is transformed into a “Spooky Graveyard” with tombstones, skeletons and other things that go bump in the night.  We thought it would be great to show the rest of you Halloween at the Inn.

 

 

Like clockwork, on the first of October, the young residents of Sharpsburg start watching the yard to see the transformation begin.  Each day tombstones are arrayed across the side yard.  Skeletons appear, both animal and human, along with rats and birds hoping for a meal.  Every year one or two new tombstones are erected with a catching epitaph like – “I Told You I Was Sick” or “U. R. NEXT“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monsters from the old scary movies are here.

Cat & mice fighting over a bone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping a friend OUT…

Death is coming

Poor George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a hand???

SMILE, we’re watching YOU.

A vulture gathering some food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year we try to change some of the displays around or add something new. One year the push mower ran over a member of the ground crew and his feet were kicking from under the mower.  This year we have three new guests – our Civil War Veterans and a girl in the well.

Civil War veterans re-united at the Inn

Watch out for the girl in the well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a vacancy at the Inn…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front of the Inn is covered with spider webs and spiders moving to the prey they caught.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the top of the stairs, our scary doorman awaits to greet arriving guests as rats run across the porch, away from another gigantic spider.

Welcome to the Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other side of the Inn, a crime has been committed!  Police tape has closed off an area and little yellow tags marking  evidence have been laid out.  In the center of the area, the poor victim is wrapped in a shower curtain.  The evidence markers reveal several possible murder weapons –  a frying pan; a meat tenderizing mallet; and a baseball bat.  Off to the side is a recent newspaper with the headline reading, “LOCAL INNKEEPER MISSING”.

Crime Scene

I wonder what happened to the Innkeeper??       (Wait – Where’s Chris?!?!?)

Evidence markers at the crime scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark and Julia Brugh

If the decorations aren’t enough to scare you, then maybe ghost stories are.  Around the middle of the month, once things start to cool off and the sun sets earlier, we hold our “Ghost Stories around the Campfire” in the backyard.  Mark and Julia Brugh, who run the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour Company, come to tell the stories of local interest and folklore.  Mark is dressed as Arron Good, a town resident who took on the task to identify the location of the burial sites of all the soldiers from the Battle of Antietam.  He would be sought out when family members returned to recover their soldiers and when the government had the dead removed from the field and interned into cemeteries.  Julia is dressed all in black, portraying a young woman in mourning as was the practice of the Victorian period.

 

Jacob Rohrbach and Jack

Throughout the month of October you will see Mark and Julia in front of the Inn during their Ghost Tours.  Once their guests are done scoping out the ‘Spooky Graveyard’, Mark spins the tale of Jacob Rohrbach and his murder in the house by Confederate raiders here to steal his horse.  Off to the side of the yard guests can view the gravestone of Jacob Rohrbach.  There towering above is the skeleton of his horse Jack, whose eyes light up red as he gives a scarey whinny and snort.  If that’s not enough to scare the wits out of you, I’m not sure what will.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally on Halloween night as Trick or Treating begins, we get dressed up in our costumes.  Haunting music begins to play around the Inn and fog goes drifting throughout the graveyard.  Witch Amy is down on the walk passing out candy from her cauldron as a Scarecrow (Chris) stalks back and forth through the graveyard waving at children as they pass by.  And of course Maya and Zoey make an appearance as the “Rohrbach Witches”.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

October 10, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Whether serving a full house or just a few guests, our Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are always a big hit.  They are a little more involved than your traditional pancakes, but oh, SO worth the extra effort!

Serves 10 – (makes 2 pancakes each)

 

 

 

You will need:

Ingredients all ready to go

2 cups ricotta
2 cups sour cream
6 eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
2 dash salt
2 Tbs white sugar
4 Tbs lemon juice
4 tsp grated lemon zest
oil
Fresh blueberries – 2 cups (optional)*

 

Beat together ricotta, sour cream, and egg yolks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat egg whites until stiff

Combine baking soda, flour, salt, and sugar.

Beat egg whites until fairly stiff but not dry

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you finish batter.

Stir flour mixture into cheese mixture, blending well but not beating.

 

 

 

 

Stir lemon juice and zest

gently fold in beaten egg whites

 

Add blueberries.

Stir in lemon juice and zest, then gently fold in beaten egg whites; they should remain somewhat visible in batter.

 

 

 

 

Wait for it… now flip’em

Perfect! Nice and brown.

Grease griddle or skillet with butter, oil or spray to coat surface.

When it is hot add batter, we use 1/4 cup per, making sure to include some egg white in each pancake.

Cook until lightly browned on bottom, 3-5 minutes, then turn and cook second side.

 

 

Serve with warm maple syrup, top with whip cream or try some of our homemade Blueberry Sauce

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

Tips:

– * Can use frozen berries- thaw slightly but do not rinse
– When adding dry mix into the wet ingredients do not overmix
– Gently fold the egg whites into the batter
– Be sure to test to see if the griddle is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water on it: If the water bounces and sputters, it is ready to use.

 

 

Testimonials by our Guests

September 28, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Our goal at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn is to provide every guest with warm hospitality, comfortable accommodations, and gracious service. Before you book your stay with us, take a moment to read what our past guests have to say about their stay. We know you won’t be disappointed.

 

I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying this place….beautiful place inside and out. Wonderful room, breakfast and hospitality. One of the best B&B’s we’ve every stayed.  – Reviewed by Barbara, November 2017 via Facebook.

My husband, my mother and myself had a fabulous experience at the inn. The Clara Barton suite was perfect for the three of us. Chris and Amy were so welcoming and took care of our every need while staying with them. The accommodations were comfortable and spotless. The breakfast we received each morning was delicious. I would highly recommend staying at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn and we plan to return there again.  – Reviewed by Karen, November 2017 via Facebook.

Great B&B. Room was very nice and clean.  Bed was extremely comfortable.  Inn keepers were very nice. That stay was exactly what I needed. /  Beautiful place.  The innkeepers are very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this bed & breakfast to everyone who wants a relaxing getaway. – Reviewed by Richard & Dawn, November 2017 via Facebook.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The Generals Quarters was perfect for the two of us and our Goldendoodle Sophie. The suite included a small kennel (although we travel with our own), and full accessories for your canine companion😀 They even had a flashlight for those late night or early morning outings. I have a bad back and many allergies and I am hesitant to stay at many B&B’s. The Jacob Rohrbach Inn gets an excellent review from me. The pet free room was very clean and the bed very comfortable even for a princess and a pea type of person😀 The breakfasts at the Inn each morning were truly amazing. We will be back!   – Reviewed by Darlene, October 2017 via Facebook.

Thanks so much, we had a wonderful stay, so relaxing.  Can’t wait to come back! – Reviewed by Virginia, Patrick, & Sean, September 2017 via Guest Note.

Everything was wonderful – thanks very much… P.S. + the puppies too & breakfast was lovely.  – Reviewed by Paula & David, September 2017 via Guest Note.

Wonderful place. Definitely one of the best ever that we have stayed in. The room was General Quarters and really was a suite. The owners are fantastic people and what a wonderful breakfast the have. Can’t say enough good things about this place the two dogs are adorable too.   – Reviewed by Evelyn, September 2017 via Facebook.

We enjoyed our stay so much! Our only complaint, we couldn’t stay longer… you are much gracious hosts (all 4 of you!). We would highly recommend this B&B. Y’all just think of everything for you guests and make them feel like family.   – Reviewed by Bill & Sheila, September 2017 via Guest Note.

This is our 2nd visit here and we love it! We’ll be back! – Reviewed by Cathy, September 2017 via Facebook.

Amy and Chris were very friendly and welcoming to their establishment. They had great recommendations for the area. The B&B was clean and breakfast was delicious! It is definitely a must stay when in the area!  – Reviewed by Stephenie & David, September 2017 via Facebook.

Amazing b&b wonderful owners and fabulous breakfast. Can’t wait to go back – Reviewed by Greta, September 2017 via Facebook.

We stayed there for a few days for our 30th wedding anniversary. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our accommodations and food. Chris and Amy are wonderful. We absolutely adore Zoey and Maya….they are little sweethearts. We will definitely be going back often.  – Reviewed by Ed and Becky, August 2017 via Facebook.

This place is awesome! Super sweet people! Clean rooms, historical but modern conveniences. Easy to work with if you have special needs. Food is AMAZING…my boys like scones now! Highly recommend!   – Reviewed by Jamie, August 2017 via Facebook.

Great place to stay if you are visiting the the battlefield. My family and I highly recommend it!   – Reviewed by Shawn, August 2017 via Facebook.

Fantastic inn with cozy sheets and yummy breakfast.  – Reviewed by Julie, August 2017 via Facebook.

My husband and I and our 2 dogs really enjoyed our stay! The General’s Quarters were perfect, breakfast was amazing (french toast made from homemade raisin bread and homemade sausage!), my dietary restrictions were accommodated with a smile. Its obvious that Amy and Chris love what they do. It all made for the perfect relaxing getaway!  – Reviewed by Kate, June 2017 via Facebook.

Beautiful building and grounds, excellent food and wonderful owners. We will definitely be back!  – Reviewed by Connie, June 2017 via Facebook.

We had a wonderful overnight at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in Sharpsburg! The historic building is beautifully configured for guests, Chris & Amy Vincent are welcoming hosts and informed about all of the many attractions in the area, and the breakfast was fabulous!! – Reviewed by Janet, June 2017 via Facebook.

Had another great stay at the inn! Their great breakfasts will power you through a long day of touring all the sights. Looking forward to staying again. – Reviewed by Randal, May 2017 via Facebook.

Lovely yet Quaint. Perfect location to tour Antietam and Harpers Ferry plus SO much more. Hosts Amy and Chris are VERY nice and SO knowledgeable about the area. We stayed in the Generals Quarters. Love everything about it! – Reviewed by Nancy, May 2017 via Facebook.

I am in love with this building and it’s wonderful owners Amy and Chris! Such a warm and welcoming place to stay! The rooms are fantastic, modern conveniences with a historic feel. And the food? So inventive and different, yet down home and flavorful! The location is perfect too. Had such a great time and I look forward to coming back! And I will for sure!  – Reviewed by Lauren, May 2017 via Facebook.

Very much enjoyed our two nights here & hope to stay longer next time. Recommend bike rental to see Antietam (save the long hills for driving in auto later!) plus few C&O trail miles. Convenient to Shepherdstown.  – Reviewed by Becky, May 2017 via Facebook.

We would highly recommend the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.  We’ve traveled all over the world and stayed in a variety of places – yours was a top spot. – Reviewed by Barbara & Chris, March 2017 via Thank You note.

My husband, daughter, and I were driving home from a college visit and decided to stay in Antietam. Amy and Chris took us in at the last minute and it was wonderful!! We had the inn (and innkeepers and puppy dogs) to ourselves. We fell in love with the Harper’s Ferry room; it was perfect for our family of 3. We had ice cream at Nutter’s and then settled in for the night. Breakfast was delicious with fruit, scones, egg casserole, cheese toast, herb tomatoes, sausage, and juice. Once we got home my daughter said her favorite part of the trip was sitting in the common room with Amy Monday night drinking tea and talking and playing with Maya and Zoey. We’ve already booked a return trip for April. See you soon Amy and Chris (and Maya and Zoey)!!!  – Reviewed by Mary, January 2017 via Facebook.

Beautiful place, amazing food and wonderful owners. Kid and dog friendly. – Reviewed by Mary, January 2017 via Facebook.

Beautiful Inn operated by Amy and Chris Vincent – great place to stay and enjoy comfortable pampered lodgings and outstanding breakfasts.  Thank you for hosting our veterans.  – Reviewed by Sharon, November 2016 via Facebook.

What a great experience the four of us had at the Jacob Rohrbach B&B during our stay Oct 28th, 29th and 30th of this year. The Owner’s Chris and Amy were everything great Innkeepers you hope and expect from a stay at a great B&B. Clean, beautifully decorated throughout inside and for Halloween a bonus of outside tasteful decorations that not only delighted the guests but the Town of Sharpsburg’s residents. Breakfast were especially unique with creations of homemade scones, biscuits, egg casserole, French toast, apple bacon sliced thick from local butchers, your choice of juices and fresh fruit especially prepared to complement your complete breakfast. Their knowledge and recommendations for seeing the area history of the Antietam Battlefields were extremely helpful especially with Chris’ history and involvement with volunteering. They provided excellent recommendations for area restaurants that included their special ice cream parlor there in town. We will be sure to return for another visit to these wonderful folks.  – Reviewed by Bob, Debbie, Bill & Susan, October 2016 via Facebook.

Thanks you for all your hospitality and delicious food.  Added pleasure – Maya & Zoey!  – Reviewed by Marianne & Perry, October 2016 via Guest Survey.

The hosts Amy and Chris are amazing and the food is excellent. Highly recommend!  Reviewed by Dana, October 2016 via Facebook.

We enjoyed our stay at this lovely inn. Chris and Amy made us feel right at home. Our room, the General’s Quarters, was wonderful. Breakfast was delicious along with the afternoon cookies- even accommodating my ovo-vegetarian diet.The inn is conveniently located to all the historical sites. I highly recommend this inn for a getaway!  – Reviewed by Stacy, October 2016 via Facebook.

Excellent, Hospitable Welcoming, well worth a Second Visit, Need I say more, First Class.  – Reviewed by Catherine, October 2016 via Facebook.

We recently arrived home from our seven week odyssey and have to say that the evening at your Inn and the tour of the Battlefield with you were highlights on our trip. Thank you so much for the hospitality the accommodations, and your incredible knowledge and presentation of the Battle.  – Reviewed by Rebecca, September 2016 via email.

It is a wonderful place to stay and the breakfast is outstanding. – Reviewed by Christina, September 2016 via Facebook.

Great place with great history! The hosts (including the dogs) are very accommodating. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Dan, September 2016 via Facebook.

We just spent 3 days here for my husbands 60th Birthday. Love the Inn and its hosts Chris & Amy.  They were so welcoming and accommodating.  Atmosphere and food were awesome.  The location sets right in the middle of this historic area and adds to your experience. My husband is a Civil War enthusiast and his friend Ken, who also is, and Peg from North Carolina came to stay here for two days and tour Antietam Battlefield. A great time was had by all. – Reviewed by Donna, August 2016 via Facebook.

Wonderful stay, cordial hosts, delicious breakfast & interesting battle discussion. It was a comfort to return to the Rohrbach Inn after the sadness of the Antietam Battlefield tour. The rooms are lovely and luxurious without being froo-froo. Hosts Chris and Amy are cordial with smiles and conversation, skillful with a delicious breakfast, and interesting with a vast knowledge of the Civil War. We’d go again in a heartbeat if we didn’t live 1,000 miles away. Come to think of it, we might come anyway and stay longer.  – Reviewed by Kate & Julien, August 2016 via Guest Survey/Facebook.

My husband and I just spent a night at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn and we were blown away by the experience. The room was immaculate and expertly decorated and the breakfast was absolutely delicious. The best part of the experience by far was the warm and welcoming Innkeepers, Chris and Amy. You can really tell that they put love into every aspect of the Inn.  We will definitely be booking at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in the future.  Reviewed by Felicia, August 2016 via Facebook.

My wife and I just returned home after spending 3 delightful nights at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in Sharpsburg, Md. The Inn is comfortable and very cozy, centrally located, and the innkeepers are the best. If you love history, and want to stay at a historic property close to the Antietam battlefield and Harpers Ferry, you need to come to Sharpsburg, Md. and definitely stay with Chris and Amy at their Inn! By the way, breakfast is delicious!  Reviewed by Allen, August 2016 via Facebook.

My husband and I just returned from a weekend stay at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn. Our stay could not have been more delightful! The inn itself is brimming with historical character and lovely gardens. And Amy and Chris, the owners and hosts, are totally charming and really good cooks!  – Reviewed by Dee, July 2016 via Facebook.

Our stay at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn was relaxing and delightful all around. During our most recent trips to Maryland to visit our daughter, we stayed in hotels. Our time at the B&B was much more of a vacation. My husband loved the multi-course gourmet breakfasts and we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. The covered deck was perfect for early morning reading or a glass of wine at the end of the day. The beautiful gardens, historic attractions, and charming main street were also highlights of our trip … and the sweet and friendly little dogs were an added treat.  – Reviewed by Carolyn & Tom, June 2016 via Guest Survey.

We stayed for a weekend with our daughter. An amazing inn and an amazing home cooked breakfast everyday. Great location and so beautiful! A must stay!!  Reviewed by Susie, June 2016 via Facebook.

We highly recommend this beautiful B&B as a great place to start our exploration of the National Park and the surrounding historic area. The Inn Keepers, Amy and Chris, are great hosts providing comfortable beds, lots of Civil War reading material, a full snack bar, lovely grounds and delicious breakfast.  Reviewed by Janet, June 2016 via Facebook.

A great place to stay with wonderful hosts, Amy and Chris.  – Reviewed by Bill, June 2016 via Facebook.

Could not be happier with lovely rooms and grounds of the Inn. We enjoyed our stay very much and are booked to return in July.  Our enjoyment of the surrounding was only exceeded by the graciousness of our host and hostess.  – Reviewed by Anna, June 2016

We loved our stay at the Inn! The innkeepers were amazing, friendly and knowledgeable and the food was awesome. It was perfectly secluded for our wedding night in the General’s quarters. I would recommend this place to anyone. It was a night I will never forget and I’m glad that we spent it here.  – Reviewed by Holly, June 2016 via Facebook.

First stay at a B&B and loved it, very personalized service. Rooms are nice size, Civil war memorabilia everywhere gives it a nice unique flavor. And breakfast of cherry and chocolate scone, strawberries and blackberries, with egg soufflé and bacon was delicious. Will be back.  – Reviewed by Debbie, June 2016 via Facebook.

A beautiful, bed and breakfast, the room was outstanding, we chose the General’s Quarters. The owners are friendly and attentive, ask about food allergies, 24 hour beverages and snacks. Wonderful experience, highly recommend.  – Reviewed by Dee H. May 2016 via Facebook.

The accommodations, food and location are excellent. Chris made us feel welcomed from the start. We look forward to returning in the future.  – Reviewed by Gina, May 2016 via Facebook.

We had a wonderful stay!  It was the perfect getaway for our anniversary.  We have stayed in a few B&Bs, this is our favorite! Loved the outside entrance from the rooms and breakfast was delicious!  – Reviewed May 2015 via Guest Survey.

Amazing place with wonderful accommodations! Innkeepers Amy & Chris are a delight and very knowledgeable about the area. Breakfast was outstanding!!! I would recommend this place in a heartbeat!!  – Reviewed by Kathleen, March 2015 via Facebook.

Lovely, comfortable rooms, friendly innkeeper, Chris and Amy. Great breakfasts, beautiful grounds. We enjoyed our stay there very much.  – Reviewed by Kathy, April 2015 via Facebook.

 

You can find more guest reviews on   Google +     TripAdvisor    Yelp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War Ghost Stories at the Inn

September 18, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Civil War Ghost of Sharpsburg by Mark & Julia Brugh

In September 1862, fighting from the Battle of Antietam spilled into Sharpsburg’s streets. Residents were left to bury the dead from both sides. Today, locals report lingering echoes of that strife, from the faint taps of a Union drummer boy named Charley King, to the phantom footsteps of Confederate soldiers charging up the stairs of the Rohrbach House.

On October 18, come hear tour guides Mark and Julia Brugh craft a vivid portrait of Sharpsburg in the Civil War and bring to light stories of the ghosts for whom the conflict never ended.

Mark and Julia are also the authors of Civil War Ghosts of Sharpsburg, which features the story of Jacob Rohrbach.

 

 

 

mark_julia

Julia & Mark Brugh

Julia Stinson Brugh is a native of West Virginia and grew up surrounded by Civil War legends. She was exposed at an early age to the rich history of the area, and lived in a haunted house in Harpers Ferry as a small child. Julia’s father was a historian with the National Park service, and growing up included frequent visits to Antietam with her parents and younger sister. Julia has a love of oral history, folklore, and ghost stories, which combined with Mark’s passion for history, makes the Sharpsburg Tour Company special.

Mark P. Brugh has studied Civil War history for more than thirty years. This passion led to the inception of the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghosts Tours, which offer both historical tours of the town, and family friendly ghost tours with a strong historical foundation. He is a member and volunteer for the C&O Canal Association and the Sharpsburg Historical Society. He is also a member of the Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.  Mark has recently start a podcast about the Chronicles of Aaron Good and other fascinating stories of Antietam.

Join us on Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00 pm around a campfire in the side yard of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn to hear these intriguing Civil War Ghost stories. This program is free and open to the public. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit around the campfire. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates. For further information call (301) 432-5079.

Antietam Creek Vineyards

August 12, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

The newest vineyard in Washington County is right here in Sharpsburg – Antietam Creek Vineyards!  This 55-acre farm is adjacent to the Antietam National Battlefield and the grapes are grown, processed, aged, and blended at the vineyard.

 

About Antietam Creek Vineyards

Antietam Creek Vineyards

Antietam Creek Vineyards (ACV) is owned and operated by Joan Larrea and George Warmenhoven.  Since 2008, these world travelers have been working to turn this former 55-acre dairy farm into a vineyard.  In 2011 George planted their first 4 1/2 acres.  By 2015, the grapevines had reached full production and this husband and wife duo began retrofitting their 100 year old barn into a tasting room.  The next year, George’s dream of opening a winery came true and they opened to the public in August 2016 for weekend tastings.

Distilling At Antietam Creek Vineyards

The vineyard

While visiting this area and staying at the Inn, one of the first things guests notice are all the limestone outcroppings.  Of course they ask, “How in the world can anyone farm here, let alone have a vineyard?”  Well it turns out that the limestone and the soil here are perfect for making wine.  According to ACV the limestone in the soil provides “a perfect 7.0 pH, or neutral acidity. In doing so, it imparts “terroir,” or place-specific taste elements, to our wine. In our whites, it is expressed as flintiness and freshness. In our reds, it allows the varietal fruit flavors to come through cleanly“.

After harvesting, the processing and fermentation takes place in the cool cellar of the barn.  Each varietal is aged in either French oak barrels or stainless steel to preserve and enhance the best features of each wine.  The stone cellar of the barn also makes a great location to store each bottle at the perfect temperature.

ACV offers several varietals and blends depending on each year’s crop size and characteristics.  If you’re lucky you might get some of their peach wine, using the fruit from their own orchard.  Here are just a few of their outstanding wines:

   Petit VerdotAntietam ReserveVital BlancAlbariñoChardonnay

Tasting at Antietam Creek Vineyards

The Tasting Room

Their Tasting Room is in the 1903 bank barn that George and Joan are hoping to have completed soon.  The chestnut post and beam tasting room is a perfect setting to enjoy this local hand-crafted wine while viewing the pristine Antietam landscape.  Until the barn is completed, you can enjoy the wines on the grounds, under the tent or at the picnic tables. Feel free to bring a lunch or some snacks to accompany the wine.

Tastings will be held from April through November, on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-6pm.

For more information about Antietam Creek Vineyards, tastings and future events you can check out their Facebook  Page or their Website

 Directions

Welcome to Antietam Creek Vineyards

Turn onto Rodman Avenue off MD Route 34 into Antietam National Battlefield Park.  Turn right onto Branch Avenue after crossing overpass.  Take a left through the gate and drive back the farm lane to the parking lot in front of the barn. (Click here for Google Maps)

Antietam Creek Vineyard
4835 Branch Avenue
Sharpsburg, Maryland

 

Upcoming Events

Joan & George holding an outdoor tasting.

Saturday, August 12 – Antietam Battlefield talk with Bob Murphy (Free Event) 2:30 pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, August 19 – Food Truck & Live Music (Free Event!)
Featuring Brentwood Smokers BBQ, 1-6pm
and Jeff Taulton, Guitarist 2-5pm

Saturday, August 26 – Wine & Unwind Class
Yoga + Wine Tasting Event
Melanie Sirni, Instructor
12-1pm $25 per person

The Farmsteads of Antietam – Joshua Newcomer farm

August 9, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Some of the earliest land patents of the future Washington County are dated between 1730 and 1740, and they were granted to men who never intended on live on the land.  One of these men was Dr. George Stuart of Annapolis who was granted 4,450 acres of land in western Maryland on March 7, 1732.  In 1739, Stuart transferred 208 acres to a planter from Prince George’s County named James Smith.  It’s believed that Smith lived in the area, as he was surveying lands in the future Frederick and Washington counties and was an attorney for the Frederick courts.  This 208 acres was patented “Smiths Hills” and was the future location of what we know today as the Newcomer Farm.

Plat map of Smiths Hills and surrounding region.

According to the patent, “Smiths Hills” began at “a bounded white oak standing on the side of a hill with a quarter of a mile of the Waggon Road that crosses Anteatom and running thence south“. Over the next fifteen years, Smith continued to add land to his holdings and by 1756 the “Resurvey of Smiths Hills” contained 510 acres.  By the 1750’s, colonial interest and the French and Indian War lead to more permanent inroads into the backcountry.  Smith  petitioned Frederick County for the building of both a ford across the Antietam Creek and a new road, because he intended to build a mill along the creek on his land.  Smith also knew that an improved roadway through his property would not only increase the value of his land but that of the surrounding area.  Although Smith did not build a mill, “he had set the groundwork for the future development of the milling industry on the property” and a new road would eventually be built from Red Hill to Swearingen’s Ferry on the Potomac at Shepherdstown.

As the French and Indian War was ending, Christian Orndorff, a millwright who was from Lancaster County, arrived in the area in 1762.   Now that the region was safe and open for settlement, Orndorff was looking for a suitable site to build a grist mill and he found it along the Antietam Creek.  Christian Orndorff purchased 503 acres of Resurvey on Smiths Hills and 11 acres of Porto Santo, another nearby patent, from James Smith. “The deed conveys property with orchards, gardens, feeding woods, and underwoods in addition to the rights and profits associated with its location along Antietam Creek“.

Looking across the Antietam Creek at the Joshua Newcomer farm and mill. The house was the original Orndorff dwelling and no longer exists. (Alexander Gardner; LOC)

Orndorff built a large house of logs and sheathed it with weatherboard siding.  This large three-story home had two chimneys and six fireplaces.  Just in front of the house he constructed a large barn, a grist mill, a saw mill and a workshop along the Antietam Creek.  The mills were powered by water diverted from the creek through a mill race that Orndorff built.  He also farmed crops of wheat and corn.  Christian Orndoff named his property “Mount Pleasant”.

“With the new road providing access for farmers to bring their grains to the mill, as well as a route for Orndorff to get the milled grain to market, Orndorff’s business prospered.”  Christian expanded his land holding toward Sharpsburg and helped with the construction of other mills along the Antietam.  Besides the grist mill and sawmill, Christian established a plaster mill, a cooper shop and other tooling shops which turned his crossing point on the Antietam into a substantial industrial complex.

By the 1770’s resentment of the British government was growing in the colonies, and in the Antietam region Christian was very active in the cause.  He helped organize, equip and train men, including the first company west of the Blue Ridge Mountains which was led by Captain Cresap.  Christian would become a Major in the Washington County militia and all three of his sons would serve in the army during the American Revolution. His oldest son Christopher was a Captain helping supply the Continental Army with flour and grain.  His second son, Christian III was a 2nd Lieutenant in Capt. Reynold’s “Flying Camp” serving in New York.  He was taken prisoner on Manhattan Island in November 1776 and was held in New York until exchanged in November 1780. He then joined the 6th Maryland Regiment for the remainder of the war.  Henry Orndorff, the third son of Christian II  also served as a captain.  In 1781, Christian II would return home at the request of General George Washington to operate his flour mill and furnish supplies to the Continental Army.

Looking east down the turnpike at the Newcomer Farm and Mill.

In the 1780’s Christian II hired a miller to assist with the operations and constructed a house on the east side of the Antietam Creek for the miller and his family. With the war over, Christopher followed in his father’s footsteps and took over the milling operation.  Christopher would expand and remodel the mill in 1786.  He also built a new dwelling house next to his father’s.  It is this house that known today by its 1862 owner – Jacob Newcomer.  With Christopher now running the mill, Christian II built a new house just to the northwest of the mill on a piece of his property, which is known today as the Samuel Mumma farm.

In 1796, Jacob Mumma purchased 324 1/4 acres from Christopher Orndorff for £5500.  The Mummas arrived in Philadelphia in 1732 and settled in Lancaster County.  Like other Germans settling in the area, the Mumma family traveled down the Wagon Road to Sharpsburg.  They were accompanied by Joseph Sherrick, Sr. and his family.  Sherrick would also purchase property along the Antietam from the Orndorff’s.

The Newcomer Farm layout in 1862

Jacob Mumma and his sons lived in the houses and continued to run the mill and farming operations.  According to census data the Mummas had a number of farm hands as well as ten slaves.  Over the next few years Mumma would acquire “two-thirds of the large land tract amassed by the Orndorff family decades earlier”.  Jacob’s son, John began farming on his own at the current site of the Samuel Mumma farm.  Tragically, his wife passed away and John moved back to the mill site where he took on the milling operation.   “By 1820 the ‘John Mumma’ mill processed 20,000 bushels combined of wheat, rye, and corn as well as sixty tons of plaster”.   In 1821,  Jacob Mumma and his wife Elizabeth transferred ownership of the mill property to their son John.  Around this time, a house and barn was constructed just north of the mill along the creek for John’s son – Jacob, known today as the Parks farm.

The Orndorff or Middle Bridge looking north. The Parks farm can be see in the upper right corner of the photo. (Alexander Gardner; LOC)

After the turn of the century major improvements in transportation in Washington County began to affect the farming community and the local economy.  With the plan to build a National Road from Baltimore to Wheeling, “turnpike fever” spread into Washington County with a number of macadamized toll roads being constructed including “a turnpike leading from Boonsboro through Sharpsburg to the Potomac River” that was completed by 1833.  With the chartering of the turnpikes came the need for better bridges across the Antietam Creek.  In 1824, Silas Harry built a three-arched stone bridge over the Antietam, replacing the wooden bridge just upstream from the mill.  With the construction of the turnpikes and bridges in the county along came the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the ability to transport products from Western Maryland farms to market east.

Approximate property line of the Newcomer Farmstead.

Business at the Mumma mill was booming but John Mumma suddenly died in 1835 and without a will.  His father, Jacob purchased the property back from John’s estate but resold the mill and farm to his younger son, Samuel in 1837.  Samuel and his wife Barbara had moved to the farm that John had vacated after his wife died in 1822 (the Mumma Farm).  Samuel continued the operations of the mill and farm from there until 1841 when he sold 152 acres to Jacob and John Emmert.  The Emmert partnership was short lived and by 1846 the property was purchased by Jacob Miller for $3,000 in a Sheriff’s sale.  Miller conveyed the property to Lewis Watson in 1848.

Newspaper clipping of the sale of “Mumma’s Mill” to Joshua Newcomer from The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Tue, Jan 10, 1854

It is believed that Lewis Watson and Joshua Newcomer were partners in the milling operation. The 1850 U.S. Census of Manufactures called the property the “Watson and Newcomer Mill”.   Not much is known about the Newcomer family.  Joshua married Mary Ann Ankeney in 1837 and together they had seven children.  In 1850, Joshua had an young man named David Barkman, a miller, living with them at the farm.  That year the mill had processed 31,000 bushels of grain.  “Joshua became the owner and proprietor of the complex in 1853 when he purchased it for $19,180” from Lewis Watson.  “Between 1850 and 1860 grain production increased in Washington County, especially corn and rye, but also in wheat”.

By 1860, Joshua’s five sons were all working at the mill or on the farm.  22 year-old William, was a miller and his younger brother Clinton, was a clerk.  Like his neighbors, Joshua grew corn and wheat, had an orchard,  and produced butter, hay, clover, and honey valued at $200.  Even though his property was worth over $10,000,  with the clouds of war on the horizon,  the economic prosperity of both the region and the Newcomer family would fall on hard times.

1860 U.S. Census – Joshua Newcomer Family

In 1861, a hailstorm destroyed the fields, including Joshua’s wheat crops.  “Newcomer had taken out a loan from [Jacob] Miller’s mother and when it was called in he transferred it to someone else”.  With the Newcomer property situated along one the main thoroughfares in the area, and at the crossing of the Antietam Creek, soldiers naturally gravitated to the barns, mills, houses, and other buildings at the farmstead for protection and food.  This would be the case during the Maryland Campaign as Confederate soldiers were moving along the turnpike toward Sharpsburg on the morning of September 15, 1862.  Later that day Union soldiers advanced up to the east side of the bridge and the Antietam Creek.

Newcomer Farm, Sept. 17, 1862 at daybreak

The next morning three companies of Federal troops crossed the bridge and deployed across the Newcomer property, securing the bridge as a future crossing point for the next day’s battle.  Throughout the day the Newcomer property was in the center of a cannonade between the Union artillery on the high bluffs on the east side of the Antietam and the Confederate guns along the ridge east of Sharpsburg.  It is not known where the Newcomer’s went during the battle, but most certainly they departed, like their neighbors, to the safety of relatives in the area.

 

 

Newcomer Farm, Sept. 17, 1862 at 12:30 pm.

The next morning, September 17, as the battle raged to the north of Sharpsburg, Union Horse Artillery was pushed across the Antietam and deployed on the hills of the Newcomer farm.  According to Captain John Tidball, of Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery,  “About 10 a.m., I was ordered to cross the turnpike bridge over the Antietam, where I took a position on the right side of the road. In front, the enemy’s sharpshooters were posted, and there being no infantry at hand to drive them back, I opened fire upon them with canister and gradually worked my guns by hand up a steep ploughed field to the crest of the hill, where I placed them in a commanding position, not only for the enemy directly in front, but for an enfilading fire in front of Sumner’s Corps on the right and that of Burnside on the left of me”.

Newcomer Farm, Sept. 17, 1862 at 3:00pm

By mid-day Union infantry had pushed the Confederate skirmishers back up the hill across the Newcomer fields toward Sharpsburg and more artillery occupied the heights to support Gen. Burnside’s advance to the south.  By nightfall the Union forces held the high ground along the Antietam Creek and across the Newcomer farm.

 

 

 

Looking west at the Middle Bridge. The Newcomer farm and mill complex are on the far bank to the left of the turnpike while the two houses are on the opposite side of the pike. (Alexander Gardner; LOC)

Looking southwest toward the Middle Bridge and Newcomer barn. The small house with the garden still exists and may be the house built for the miller while the stone house across from it is thought to be the toll house which no longer exists. (Alexander Gardner; LOC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the Newcomer farmstead did not witness the heavy fighting like some of their neighbors, they did suffer significant property losses and what was not damaged or destroyed during the battle would be gone in the days and weeks after.  Joshua Newcomer  testified that his pasture fields had been “pretty much used up” by the troops and they, “fed to their horses all my corn and pasture that had not been previously ruined by the soldiers during the skirmishing and progress of the battle on Wednesday (Sept 17). The troops on the adjoining farms fed to their animals his corn and fodder… a great deal of his fences were used for fuel by McClellan’s Army before and after the battle of Antietam. His farm was divided into eleven fields and after the troops left, he had barely enough rails left to fence three fields“.  Newcomer estimated that the damages totaled more than $3097.15.  Despite having testimony from a number of individuals backing his claim, Joshua Newcomer only received $145.oo from the government because he “had not made clear distinctions between damage caused by Confederate and Union troops”.

From The Herald and Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) on Wed, Sep 23, 1868 by a man named ‘Tom’ who was travelling through Illinois when he ran into Joshua Newcomer.

By the end of the war the Newcomer family, farm and livelihood was devastated.   Now deep in debt, and not wanting to burden his sons with the necessary and significant repairs required, Joshua vacated the farm and the Newcomer family moved to Haldane, Illinois, possibly to live with family or friends from Washington County.  By 1880 the Newcomers  returned to Washington County, but lived near Clear Spring.  In August 1887, Mary Ann passed away, followed by Joshua just four months later in December. They are buried in Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Clear Spring, Maryland.

Gravesite of Mary Ann and Joshua Newcomer at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Clear Spring.

 

The iron bridge can be seen in the distance with remains of the mills along the mill race.

After the Newcomers departed, the property fell to a County Circuit Court Trustee and the property was put up for public sale in March, 1866.  On August 1, 1867, David Myers purchased the property for $19,050.  Within two years he sold it to Jacob Myers and Frederick Miller.  Myers and Miller continued farming and operating the mill.  By the 1880’s the water-powered flour milling industry was declining and in 1889 the dam was washed away during the “Johnstown Flood”.

 

Postcard of the bridge at Myers Mill, early 20th century.

The piers of the stone bridge weakened and began to settle in the high water.  The bridge was torn down and replace with an iron bridge.  By this point Jacob Myers was the sole owner of the property buying Miller’s share of the estate.  Jacob Myers continued to reside on the farm until he died in 1901.

 

 

Over the next century the property would change hands ten times.  During this time the dilapidated old mill was demolished and “the farm’s focus eventually shifted to milk production”.  The original Orndorff dwelling was also gone by the mid 1950’s.  In 1956 part of the property was transferred to the State Roads Commission as a right-of-way for the improvement of the ‘old turnpike’ into MD Route #34. With the widened road some of the out buildings were removed as the road cut through the property.  With the new road came the need to develop acres of the once rich farmland into housing developments.  In 1965, Brightwood Acres Inc. purchased the property and planned to “create another suburban community”.  Fortunately the Newcomer farm escaped this fate and the property was sold the next year.

Monument to Gen. R. E. Lee near the Newcomer House.

By 1999, a new owner had plans for the farmstead. William F. Chaney purchased the property for $290,000.00 with the intent of turning the farmhouse in a museum and giftshop.  The following year Chaney began to restore the farmhouse to Secretary of the Interior standards and in October he sold 56.83 acres to the National Park Service.  This parcel included the barn and the land south of the turnpike.  Chaney, who traced his roots to Gen. Robert E. Lee, also wanted to erect sculptures of Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart around the house which was now the War Between the States Museum.  In 2003 a statute to Lee was erected just west of the house, but within two years Chaney sold the surrounding 42.6 acres to the Park Service, including Lee’s statue.  Chaney retained ownership of about 2.2 acres, including the Newcomer House.  Finally in 2007 he sold this last piece to the National Park Service.

 

In 2010 the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area opened an Exhibit and Visitor Center at the Newcomer House, working in partnership with the Antietam National Battlefield and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The Newcomer House is very unique because it is one of two period farmhouses that visitors can go into on the battlefield, the Pry House Field Hospital Museum being the other.  The Newcomer barn has recently been restored and the house is due for future external restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

From the early settlements along the Antietam Creek, to the milling industry and agricultural operations the Newcomer Farm has witnessed the the expansion of America.  This expansion improved the transportation in the region with the building of the bridges and turnpikes through the property.  It has seen the scars of war, from the French and Indian War through the American Revolution to the turbulent times of Civil War.   The property escaped the urban development of the day to become one of the preserved landmarks on the battlefield at Antietam.   The Newcomer Farmstead is a unique eyewitness to the history of the Antietam Valley for over 250 years.

The Newcomer House today.

 

 

Sources:

  • Ancestry.com, Joshua Newcomer Family, Census Data 1850-1880.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Hayes, Helen Ashe, The Antietam and Its Bridges, The annals of an historic stream. G.P. Putnam’s Sons New York 1910. Retrieved from: https://archive.org/stream/antietamitsbridg00haysuoft#page/n121/mode/2up/search/Orndroff
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey,  The Middle Bridge,  Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.md1099.photos/?sp=1
  • Lundegard, Marjorie,  Mills and Mill Sites of Western Maryland, September 20, 2000 Retrieved from:  http://www.spoommidatlantic.org
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Mount Pleasant or Orndorff’s Mill – Mumma’s Mill, WA-II-106, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1975.
    https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Washington/WA-II-106.pdf.
  • Newspapers.com, Newcomer Farm clippings retrieved from: https://www.newspapers.com.
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • Schildt, John W., Drums Along the Antietam. ParsonMcClain Printing Company, 2004.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield, National Register of Historic Place, WA-II-106, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990.
  • U.S. National Park Service,  Newcomer Barn,  Antietam National Battlefield, Historic Structures Report Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Parks Farmstead Cultural Landscape InventoryAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2011.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape. Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

 

Comphy Sheets

July 30, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Thomas Jackson Room

Guests at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn really enjoy the experience of sleeping on Comphy Sheets. These breathable high performance micro-fiber linens feel better than high thread count cotton. Beside feeling great, these non-allergenic, no-iron sheets dry quickly and are pre-treated to resist stains. No surprise that studies show that people sleep better on Comphy Sheets! You spend 1/3 of your life in bed so why not make it COMPHY!

These are NOT sold in stores. If you would like to sleep on Comphy Sheets at home, we can have them shipped directly to you. They also make great gifts!

What are the primary benefits and features of Comphy Sheets?

  • Looks and feels like 600 count cotton.
  • Performance fabric assures breathability and comfort.
  • Eco-friendly micro-fiber is 100% recyclable.
  • Dries quickly.
  • Does not require ironing.
  • Treated for stain release.
  • Highly recommended for people with sensitive skin.
  • Extra fine weave protects against dust mite allergens.
  • 18″ deep pockets fit newer pillow top mattresses.
  • Warranty: All Comphy Co. products are guaranteed for 300 washes!

Comphy Sheets are available in chocolate, cream, grey, silver blue, tea green, white and lavender.
Sets include: 1 fitted sheet; 1 flat top sheet; 2 Pillow Cases.

Pricing

All orders are tax free** and for a limited time, we will pay the shipping costs (within the continental USA) on any order over $135!!

** Any order shipped to a CA address will be charged CA sales tax.

We will take your order at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn (301-432-5079) and Comphy Co will drop-ship the order direct to your address.

Cal King Sheet Set  $149.00
King Sheet Set  $149.00
Queen Sheet Set  $143.00
Full Sheet Set  $135.00
Twin Sheet Set $129.00
Twin XL Sheet Set  $129.00
Standard Pillow Case Set(20″ x 30″) $24.00
Queen Pillow Case Set (20″ x 32″) $28.00
King Pillow Case Set (20″ x 36″) $32.00

To order your Comphy Sheets from the Jacob Rohrbach Inn click here!

Flowers about the Inn

July 17, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

We decided to do a visual blog this month since these pictures are just too pretty to muddle with a bunch of words!  Be sure to let us know what your favorite summer flowers are.   And as always……if you have something unique, we love to share and trade!

(click on the flowers to enlarge them)

 

White Geraniums, Purple Lantana and stripped Petunias – very cheery!

Purple Garden Phlox

Pink Garden Phlox

Gladiolus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squirrel checking out the Primroses (Oenothera speciosa)

Johnny Jump-up  (Viola cornuta) grows under the old pump

Impatient in the wheel-barrel

Pansies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got lilies – LOTS of lilies!

Red

Bright Yellow

and My favorite – Pink Stargazer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love in the Mist (Nigella damascena)      Looks so delicate!

Pink and White Tall Garden Phlox circles the sitting area

Twin Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies on the Coneflowers

Knockout rosebud – so pretty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuscan Sun – Perennial Sunflower

Hot Pink Verbena

More Verbena and roses

Threadleaf Tickseed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Salvia lines the parking area

Purple and Green Hellebores

Found a nifty use for the old wagon and some enamel ware that I had

Container plants greet the guests -MUCH better then the mystery shrub that used to be there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a little garden around the old tree stump with a purple verbena and some candy tuft.

The ‘Rohrbach Farm’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya & Zoey enjoying the pretty planter outside the General’s Quarters…

 

 

The Farmsteads of Antietam – Henry Piper Farm

July 11, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Today the Henry Piper farm sits back off of the Old Hagerstown Pike.  It is one of the oldest farmsteads in Washington County and the only historic farmhouse on the Antietam National Battlefield that is currently occupied by a tenant.  On the morning of September 17, 1862, the Piper Farmstead sat in the center of Robert E. Lee’s battle line and would be engulfed by the fighting along a sunken country road that would be forever known as the “Bloody Lane”.

The Henry & Elizabeth Piper Farm

In 1790, Joseph Chapline, Jr. had the lands that he received from his father surveyed and patented into a new single tract. This 2,575 acres became known as Mount Pleasant.  On the eastern side of this tract, between the old Hagerstown Road and north of the Boonsboro Pike, the surveyor noted that there had been improvements on the property “as being 5,200 old rails, two old cabins, and seventeen apple orchard trees”.  The property known as “Elswick’s Dwelling” had been cultivated and grazed on and it is possible that it was first used as a farm in 1740.  Although the location of the ‘two old cabins’ remains a mystery it is believed that a section of the building next to the current house, later used as a summer kitchen and servants quarters, is the first dwelling on the Piper Farm.

Summer kitchen and slave quarters

Fireplace of the summer kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

1803 Tax record highlighting John Miller’s property

 

 

John Miller, a Pennsylvanian German from Franklin County migrated to Washington County with his parents around 1791. His father, John Johannas Hannas Miller, was a member of the Church of the Brethren, also known as Dunkers.  John Miller was a farmer and he started buying land along the Hagerstown Road, including several tracts that would become the Samuel Poffenberger farm, the William Roulette farm and the Henry Piper farm.  According to the 1803 tax assessment for the “Sharpsburg Hundred”, John Miller owned 632 acres on two patents located north of Sharpsburg.  When John Miller died in 1821 without a will, his estate was divided among several of his children.  His one son, Jacob Miller received a portion of “Elswick’s Dwelling

 

 

 

 

 

Whether Jacob Miller lived here at the time or not is unknown.  Jacob was very wealthy and “very successful in his enterprises. He managed several farms, a grist mill, a saw mill and a flour mill”.  Jacob had built a house in Sharpsburg and it is likely that he rented the farm out to tenants. It was also around this time that the icehouse, or cave house, was built into the side of a small bank from fieldstone.  The two-room structure was used to store produce in one side and ice storage in the other.  The southern end of the large stone and frame bank barn was built around 1820 as well.  A wooden addition would be added to the northern end of the barn in 1914, doubling its size to 144 by 44 feet.

Icehouse or cave house

Southern end of bank barn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Piper

In 1843, Henry Piper and his family moved to the farm as tenants of Miller.  Henry was the son of Daniel Piper, a well known resident of Sharpsburg.  Daniel Piper was the son of (John) Jacob Pfeiffer (later Piper) who emigrated from Germany to the Sharpsburg area in 1763. Daniel raised his family on a farm west of Sharpsburg, including a daughter, Martha Ann who married Henry Rohrbach in 1835 and lived on the Rohrbach family farm just east of the Lower, or Burnside, Bridge.  Daniel Piper purchased the property from Jacob Miller in 1846 for his son.

 

 

 

 

Henry Piper

Elizabeth (Betsy) Piper

Henry Piper married Elizabeth (Betsy) Keedy on November 18, 1828 and together they would have six children.  By 1854,  Henry and Betsy had purchased the farm from his father.  Henry was known “as a rather austere man with a penchant for fashionable hats. He was rarely seen in town without his tall brimmed hat” and was nicknamed ‘Old Stovepipe’.

 

 

 

 

The red line represents the approx. boundary of the Piper property

The Piper family lived on a prosperous 231-acre farm stretching between the Hagerstown Pike to the west; the Hog Trough Road to the north and east; to the Boonsboro Pike and the edge of Sharpsburg to the south.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry Summers, cir 1922.

 

The Piper family were “typical of the region in being both avowed Unionists and slaveholders”.  In 1860, Henry owned six slaves, five of them children, one of the slaves on the farm in 1862 was Jeremiah (Jerry) Cornelius Summers.  He was born on the farm in 1849.  A 16 year-old free black farm hand named John Jumper also worked on the farm.  The slave quarters, thought to be the first dwelling on the farm, served as the kitchen as well.

 

 

 

 

Piper apple trees

The 40×15 feet two-story farm house

It is unsure who built the main house, but by 1860 the 40 x 15 feet two-story frame farm house consisted of five or six rooms with a smokehouse and several other outbuildings around.  Just  north of the house was a 17-acre apple orchard and by the barn, Henry had an apple press to produce cider.  The Piper orchard “was one of the largest in Sharpsburg and the only commercial orchard in the area at the time of the battle”.

 

 

 

 

 

The Piper Farm layout

Just beyond the orchard the Pipers, like their neighbors, had a twenty-five acre cornfield that still needed to be harvested in September 1862 and most of Henry’s other fields “were freshly plowed, ready for planting winter wheat”.  That year the family had grown bushels of Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and cucumbers.  The farm had a variety of livestock, such as horses, milk cows, cattle, sheep, swine, chickens, geese, and turkeys.

 

 

Piper Farm, Sept. 17, 1862 at daybreak

On September 15, 1862 the Piper family farmstead was inundated by Confederate soldiers as they prepared their positions on the ridgeline northeast of Sharpsburg and along the Hog Tough Road.  During the afternoon, Confederate Generals James Longstreet and D.H. Hill had arrived and chose to use the Piper house as their headquarters.  That evening, the Piper daughters served dinner to the generals and offered them wine.  Gen. Longstreet initially refused, by seeing that it had no ill-effect on Daniel Harvey Hill, Longstreet accepted the offer saying, “Ladies, I will thank you for some of that wine”.  After dinner, the Pipers heeded the general’s advice to leave the farm.

 

 

Mr. Piper and his daughters “quickly packed what they could carry into a wagon, and Elizabeth buried her dishes in the ash pile“.  Mary Ellen Piper remembered as they were leaving, “We left everything as it was on the farm, taking only the horses with us and one carriage“.  The Pipers traveled to Henry’s brother’s farm and mill.  Samuel Piper’s mill was just northwest of town along the Potomac where the family could seek shelter from the impending battle.

Piper Farm, Sept 17, 1862 at approximately 9:30am.

At the center of Robert E. Lee’s battle line just north of Sharpsburg was the farmstead of Henry Piper.  Along the Hog Trough Road at the edge of his farm, Confederate infantry were posted.  To the south of the house on the ridge leading to the Boonsboro Pike, four artillery batteries were positioned in Henry’s freshly plowed fields.  As the battle began at daybreak, these Confederate units began moving across the Piper farmstead to confront the advancing Union forces from the north.  By 9:00 a.m. the battle had shifted from the Miller and Mumma farm and the Piper farm was soon engulfed by the fighting at the Sunken Road.

For two days the Pipers waited, listening to the sounds of the fighting and the distant rumbling of army wagons traveling to Shepherdstown.  On September 19, the Pipers departed for home.  Mary Ellen Piper recalled, “On our return the Union forces were encamped upon the farm and in the vicinity, and the Union cavalry were moving along the Hagerstown pike in great numbers towards Sharpsburg“.   As they neared the farm, death and destruction was all around them. Their barn had been shelled, but unlike their neighbors the Mumma’s and the Reel’s barns that had burned, the Piper’s was saved from destruction possibly due to the green hay stored inside.  “Wounded soldiers were lying on the floor of every room. One had the family bible propped up in front of him, tearing out each page as he finished reading“.

Mary Ellen recounts that, “We brought back the horses with us, and they were put in the barn.  A large number of cattle, sheep and hogs belonging to father still remained on the place.  I saw the Union soldiers butchering some of the cattle, when we came back…. The Union forces were encamped in the vicinity for several weeks after the battle – at least some portion of them. During this time… all the cattle and sheep on the farm were taken and used by U.S. military forces. The sheep were all taken the day after we returned home. The hogs and cattle were slaughtered at different times.  I remember four of the calves were slaughtered in the orchard back of the blacksmith shop”.

Initially Henry Piper only filed a claim for $25 for the damage to the house and barn but soldiers had not only slaughtered and taken a lot of the livestock but had “ate two hundred of Piper’s chickens, fifteen geese, along with twenty-four turkeys”. They also took “one hundred bushels of Irish potatoes, thirty bushels of sweet potatoes,…  six barrels of vinegar, eight hundred pounds of bacon, five sacks of salt, four bushels of onions, pickles, one bushel of dried cherries, two hundred bushels of apples, six gallons of cherry wine, and one hundred and ten jars of fruit. They took thirty dollars worth of men’s clothing, and sixty dollars worth of lady’s clothing”.  Henry would later amend his initial claim and the board of survey would assess the damage to the Piper farm as follows:

Henry Piper claim for damages

  • Damage to house and barn                                  $25.00
  • Hay and straw                                                        108.00
  • Stock                                                                       666.00
  • Vegetables and fruits, etc.                                     157.00
  • Grain of different kinds                                         484.00
  • Bacon, lard and tallow                                           117.00
  • Groceries                                                                   78.85
  • 2 bee-hives at $10                                                    20.00
  • Wines and condiments                                            72.00
  • Poultry                                                                        39.00
  • Household, kitchen furniture, clothing, etc.        373.00
  • Lumber, tools                                                             49.00
  • Damage to fencing                                                    300.00

          Total: $2,488.85

Although the board awarded Henry Piper this amount, no payment followed because he did not produce any certificate of loyalty.   Twenty-four years later in November 1886, Henry Piper sued the U.S. Government for the damages to his farm and Mary Ellen Piper Smith’s descriptions of the damages were part of her testimony given in support her father’s claim.

Henry & Elizabeth Piper gravestone at the Mountain View Cemetery

 

 

 

In 1863, Henry and Betsy moved into Sharpsburg to the house that Henry acquired in 1857 following his father death.  The house sits on the corner of Main and Church Streets across from the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  Elizabeth Piper died on January 19, 1887.  Almost five years to the day of her death, Henry would pass away  They are buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Sharpsburg.

 

 

Henry’s son, Samuel, took over the farming operation and would continue farming until 1898 when he moved to Hagerstown.   During this period a wing was added to the house and additions and improvements were made to the servants quarters.  In the 1890’s, the War Department began purchasing property in order to build a road through the battlefield.  In an attempt to preserve the historic part of Bloody Lane as best they could, a road was built to the south of it, in what would have be been Henry Piper’s cornfield at the time of the battle.  In 1896, the War Department constructed the Observation Tower at the end of Bloody Lane.  In 1966, Richardson Avenue, as it was named, was moved farther away from the lane and expanded to include parking areas at both the center of the lane and at the Observation Tower.

Bloody Lane with Richardson Ave. along the lane.

The new Richardson Avenue being constructed in 1966.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The farm would remain in the Piper family until 1960 but rented out over those years.  Samuel’s son, Elmer E. Piper owned the property from 1912 until 1933, and then his son, Samuel Webster Piper held it until 1960.  Webster sold the land to the Antietam-Sharpsburg Museum, Inc.  According to local historian, John Schildt, a log cabin building was constructed across from the National Cemetery which housed historical and educational displays.  Unfortunately, shortly after the 100th year anniversary of the battle the company was forced to closed due to financial difficulty and the construction of the new Park Visitors Center.

Antietam-Sharpsburg Museum

In 1964 the farm was sold to the National Park Service for $75,000.  Over the next twenty years the buildings would be restored and at one time the Park Service operated “the farm as a ‘living farm’ growing crops, raising livestock and using farm implements and conservation practice similar to those employed in the early 1860’s”.

Piper house and out buildings

Piper Barn

 

 

 

 

Piper orchard

Piper cornfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additions to house

Corn crib and blacksmith shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1985, Doug Reed signed a 56-year lease with the National Park Service with intention of restoring the farmhouse and using it as a Bed and Breakfast.  In 1994, Regina and Louis Clark took over as the Innkeepers of the Piper House Bed and Breakfast and continued to operate it for ten years.  Today they still live at the farmhouse and entertain ancestors of the Piper Family from time to time. The “surrounding fields remain an active farming operation” that is leased out by the National Park Service to local farmers.  They cultivate the crops, care for the livestock, and maintain the orchard; keeping the agricultural landscape thriving on one of our oldest farmsteads in the area, and an eyewitness to the fighting at the Bloody Lane.

Henry & Elizabeth Farm today.

A special thanks to Regina & Lou Clark for taking the time to show me around the Piper Farm and sharing a wealth of information about the Piper family and the farmstead.

Sources:

  • Ancestry.com, Henry Piper Family, Census Data 1850-1900.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Clark, Lou and Regina Clark, Personal Collection of the Piper Family History. Sharpsburg, reviewed July 2017.
  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey,  Piper Farm, House, Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.md1099.photos/?sp=1
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Piper Farm, WA-II-335, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 2009.
    https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Washington/WA-II-279.pdf.
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • Schildt, John W., Drums Along the Antietam. ParsonMcClain Printing Company, 2004.
  • The Piper House, photos of Henry & Elizabeth Piper. Retrived from http://www.pathsofthecivilwar.com/piperhouse/history.htm.
  • The Morning Herald, Piper Farm: Employing methods of the 1860’s. Hagerstown, MD, July 13, 1976. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/23053138/.
  • Trail, Susan W., Remembering Antietam: Commemoration and Preservation of a Civil War Battlefield, Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Maryland, 2005.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield, National Register of Historic Place, ANTI-WA-II-477, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape. Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

 

These Honored Dead

July 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Rev. John Schildt (photo credit: fredericknewspost.com)

We are honored to have John Schildt for our final speaker for the 2o17 Civil War Summer Lecture Series.  John Schildt hardly needs an introduction.  He is well known for his many books relating the various aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and local history. Reverend Schildt graduated from Shephard College, Wesley Theological Seminary and has studied at Western Maryland College, Gettysburg Seminary and West Virginia University.

Rev. Schildt was introduced to Civil War history by his great-grandmother who fed Union troops on the way to Gettysburg when she was a little girl. John has been a lecturer and guide for the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute, Bud Robertson’s “Campaigning with Lee”, the Chicago Civil War Round Table, and many other groups. He was the main speaker at the 125th anniversary of Antietam. Outside of Civil War history, John has led three educational excursions to Normandy and took part in the American and French commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the D-day landing in 1994. While giving leading explorations, he likes to make history come alive by sharing human interest stories about people and places. Having been a lifelong student of Antietam, John has written many books on the subject, including “September Echoes,” “Drums along the Antietam,” “Roads to Antietam,” and several others.

In conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Antietam National Cemetery in 1867, John will speak about his new book – “These Honored Dead”, on Wednesday, August 30th.  The book  discusses the development of the Antietam National Cemetery and contains many photographs and copies of documents.  John’s book will be available for purchase.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

From Dred Scott to Secession

July 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Matt Borders is a 2004 graduate of Michigan State University with a BA in US History and a double cognate in Museum Studies and Historic Preservation. While at MSU he was first an intern and then a seasonal for the National Park Service at Antietam National Battlefield. Following his undergrad he immediately went to Eastern Michigan University for his MS in Historic Preservation, with a focus in Battlefield Interpretation, which he earned in 2006. While at Eastern, Matt again worked at Antietam as a Seasonal Ranger.

Upon graduation he taught for a year at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before accepting a contractor position with the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. Moving to Maryland in 2007 with his wife Kira, Matt worked as a contract historian for the ABPP for the next four years, personally surveying over 100 different American Civil War battlefields in the deep south and western United States. In 2011 he became a term employee of the ABPP and continued with his work as the program historian as well as additional duties related to the program’s preservation grants until 2013. Over this period Matt also became involved with the Frederick County Historical Society as one of the developers of the Frederick City Civil War Walking Tours, a member of the Frederick County Civil War Roundtable and as a volunteer and Certified Battlefield Guide for Antietam National Battlefield.

Currently Matt works as the Assistant Unit Manager and historian for the Antietam and Monocacy Museum Stores. He continues to volunteer regularly, as well as give tours of Antietam, and is currently working on his first book.

On Wednesday, August 23rd, Matt  will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “From Dred Scott to Secession”.  Matt’s presentation will be on the turbulent years leading up to the American Civil War. We’ll be looking closely at the period from the infamous Dred Scott Decision to the Secession Crisis. What were the issues of the day, who were the major players? What do the writings and speeches of the period tell us about the coming of America’s most defining event and what caused it to happen? We will be looking at all of this and it is hoped that you will come away with new information and perhaps new insight into this dramatic era in our nation’s history.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

The Woman Soldier at Antietam

July 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Mark & Julia Brugh

Mark P. Brugh has studied Civil War history for more than thirty years. This passion led to the inception of the Sharpsburg Tour Company and the Gravediggers and Ghosts of Sharpsburg Ghost Tour, which offer both historical tours of the town, and family friendly ghost tours with a strong historical foundation. He is a member and volunteer for the C&O Canal Association and the Sharpsburg Historical Society. He is also a member of the Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.

 

On Wednesday, August 16th, Mark  will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “The Woman Soldier at Antietam”.   Mark will discuss the work of Aaron Good among the field graves of Union and Confederate soldiers from 1862 to 1868. In 1862 Good started his own survey of field graves and accumulated a vast list. In the spring of 1863, Good started guiding relatives of the dead to the locations of graves, and charged outrageous fees for his services. In May, 1865 Good showed up at the first Trustees’ meeting to establish the Antietam National Cemetery. He turned over his list of more than 1500 locations of field graves, and was hired by the Trustees to continue his work and locate graves. Mark recently uncovered what is Good’s biggest discovery, from June 1865: a report to the Trustees about the remains of an unknown female Union soldier. Mark will present anecdotal support indicating a female Union soldier was killed, and follow the known evidence to the furthest possible point in an effort to narrow down an identity for the soldier. He will also discuss Good’s work locating field graves for Confederate soldiers in 1867 and 1868, and the possibility that Good may have found remains of a female among them.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Evading Capture: Union Cavalry Escape from Harpers Ferry, September 14, 1862

July 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Sharon Murray

Sharon Murray is a native Idahoan who moved to West Virginia in 2010 to travel, study history, volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield and pursue photography. She has multiple degrees in mining engineering and history from the University of Idaho. Sharon volunteers at the Antietam National Battlefield at the Visitors Center, as a Battlefield Ambassador and a member of “Battery B, 4th US Artillery” living history group. She is also an Antietam Battlefield Guide. Sharon had two great great grandfathers who fought in the civil war, one with the 5th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery and the other with the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry. Neither were engaged at Antietam. She enjoys studying history, hiking civil war battlefields and trying to perfect her photography skills.

On Wednesday, August 9th, Sharon will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Evading Capture: Union Cavalry Escape from Harpers Ferry, September 14, 1862”.  Sharon’s talk will cover the events leading up to the escape, some information about the leaders, the escape itself and the end results.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Water to his Front, Water to his Rear: Robert E. Lee Defends the Confederate High Water Mark at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862

June 28, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Kevin Pawlak

Kevin Pawlak is Director of Education for the Mosby Heritage Area Association and works as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield. Kevin also sits on the Board of Directors of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University, and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Previously, he has worked and completed internships at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, The Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Missouri Civil War Museum. Kevin graduated in 2014 from Shepherd University, where he studied Civil War History and Historic Preservation. He is the author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital, published by The History Press in 2015.

On Wednesday, August 2nd, Kevin will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Water to his Front, Water to his Rear: Robert E. Lee Defends the Confederate High Water Mark at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862”. There is perhaps no other decision that Robert E. Lee made in his entire military career that is more criticized and questioned than his decision to stand and fight outside Sharpsburg, Maryland in September 1862. What compelled him to fight with a river at his back and a superior enemy in his front? Or is it even as simple as that? Regardless, Lee beautifully orchestrated his obstinate defense at the Battle of Antietam, and brought on the bloodiest single day in American history. In the annals of the Army of Northern Virginia’s history, it was one of the army’s best days.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

The Farmsteads at Antietam – William Roulette Farm

June 3, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Roulette farmstead

For over 260 years the property on which the William Roulette Farmstead would be established, has been under cultivation.  The surrounding pristine countryside provides visitors to the Antietam National Battlefield a feeling of what the landscape looked like in September 1862 with the stone walls, wood lots, and old farm roads.

 

 

Anderson’s Delight

During the 1730’s Thomas Cresap had been a land agent for Lord Baltimore of  Maryland.  As Cresap began moving beyond the frontier, up the Potomac River valley, he began acquiring land.   Cresap patented about 2,000 acres of land in Maryland along Antietam Creek, where he established a store and Indian trading post.  In 1748 Cresap received a 212 acre patent named “Anderson’s Delight”  from Lord Baltimore’s Land Office.  As Thomas Cresap continued to move west he sold “Anderson’s Delight” to William Anderson, a Virginia farmer,  in 1751.   It is very likely that Anderson established the first dwelling on the land that would become the Roulette Farmstead.  Anderson would only own the property for ten years before selling it to John Reynolds.

 

 

Spring house / Kitchen

In 1761, John Reynolds, an Anglo-Irishman who migrated to Washington County from Lancaster County Pennsylvania, acquired the 212 acres of Anderson’s Delight for 235 pounds.   In 1764, Reynolds would add another 138 acres to his holdings from Joseph Smith from three other land grants. In 1765, Reynolds had acquired another 35 acres from Joseph Chapline.  According to the Washington County Assessment of 1783, Reynolds’ farm had “76 acres of arable land, 4 acres of meadow, and 112 ½ acres of woodland. In addition, he had 5 horses and 32 “black cattle” or beef cattle.  Some of the crops grown most likely included corn, wheat and rye.

The house was constructed from left to right

During this time it is likely that Reynolds built one section of the extant farmhouse, but the family had been living in the dwelling that Anderson built, possibly the springhouse / kitchen.  John Reynolds continued to farm this property until his death in 1784.   According to Reynolds’ will, the 385 acres was divided between his two sons, Francis and Joseph.  Joseph had acquired the family farmstead while Francis’ acreage just north west of the farm would later become the Samuel Mumma farm.

 

Joseph Reynolds quickly added two additional parcels; in 1785, he acquired 45 acres from Joseph Chapline and in 1789, he acquired 51 acres from James Vardee.  Both were part of a patent called “Joe’s Lott“.  Also in 1789, Joseph Reynolds added another 240 1/4 acres to his holdings through a land grant he obtained directly from the Land Office which was named, “Joe’s Farm“. Over the twenty years that Joseph owned the property, he would continue to expand his agricultural operations and continue on the construction of the the main house and the spring house.  It is believed that Reynolds owned slaves, but that he had set them free in 1794.

In 1804, Joseph Reynolds sold off several parcels of his property, so the farm totaled 262 acres when John Miller purchased it.  Miller was a Pennsylvanian German from Franklin County.  He had migrated to Washington County with his parents around 1791.  His father, John Johannas Hannas Miller, was a member of the Church of the Brethren, also known as Dunkers.  Like Reynolds, John Miller was a farmer and he continued to cultivate the land.

Store house and beehive oven

Ice House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring house / Kitchen

John Miller completed house

 

 

 

 

 

 

During this time, Miller would most likely complete the building of the farmstead. He added the northern section of the house,a log kitchen addition which include a unique beehive oven.  Miller added onto the springhouse, constructed the icehouse and a smokehouse  as well.  The Miller family would also update the interior of the house, adding molding and trim of the period.

 

Roulette Farmstead property

Roulette farm layout in 1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 1840, the farmstead had passed to John Miller IV who continued the family farming until his death.  In 1851, his widow Ann Miller would sell 179 1/4 acres of the farm to the husband of Margaret Ann Miller, a sister of John IV.  Her husband’s name was William Roulette.   The Roulette family had been in Washington County since before 1774 and William was raised on a nearby farm.  Margaret had lived on this property her entire life.  They were married in 1847 and their first child was born in 1849.  When they moved into the farm and set up housekeeping their second child arrived. By 1862 they had six children ranging from age 14, to their youngest, Carrie May who was just 19 months old.

 

William Roulette

Margaret Ann Miller Roulette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roulette bank barn

It is almost certain that William Roulette constructed the large bank barn to sustain his growing  agricultural operations. The Roulettes had a variety of livestock on the farm such as horses, milk cows, cattle, sheep, swine and poultry.  William had a slightly larger herd of beef cattle than most farmers in the Sharpsburg District.  They also grew a variety of grains including corn, wheat, oats and rotated rye.  The Roulette’s had established a four-acre orchard near the house and their vegetable garden stretched between house and barn.

 

 

To help with the farming operations, William Roulette most likely had hired hands.  Although it is not sure when it was constructed, there was another 1 1/2 story structure on the property located along the Roulette Lane near the southwest corner of the orchard.  This may have been used by a tenant farmer or hired hand by the name of A. Clipp.

View of the Roulette Farm from the Observation Tower. Clipp house near the barn just below the farm house. cir. 1900

The Roulette’s did not own any slaves but employed two free blacks.  According to the 1860 Census, 15 year old Robert Simon was a farm hand and 40 year old Nancy Camel (Campbell) worked as a servant.  Nancy was born a slave on a farm in Washington County owned by Andrew Miller, Margaret Roulette’s uncle.  Miller had freed Nancy in 1859.

1860 United States Federal Census for William Roulette

Nancy Camel (Campbell)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battle lines being draw on the morning of September 17, 1862 around the Roulette Farm

On Sunday, September 14, 1862  the Roulettes, like their neighbors the Mummas, were becoming increasingly concerned over the sounds of battle coming from South Mountain.   By Tuesday morning, as soldiers from both armies began to converge on their farming community, William took his family to safety at the Manor Church of the Brethren, six miles to the north.  With his family safe with the Dunker congregation, William Roulette returned to his farm to check on his property, gather some supplies and tend to his livestock.  Once at the farm, William found himself caught between the Confederate and Union lines as the battle erupted on his property.

 

 

Mr. Roulette’s bee hives near the house were knocked over by the 132nd PVI.

 

By mid-morning the battle lines had shifted past the Dunker Church plateau. Union forces were now moving across William Roulette’s property toward the rutted farm lane known as the Hog Trough Road or Sunken Road, to strike the center of the Confederate line.  Confederate skirmishers were using some of the outbuildings as cover when the Union forces pushed them back to their position at the Sunken Road.  William Roulette, a pro-Union man, had been hiding out in his cellar  away from the Confederates.  Now that the Federal forces had begun to push them back, William came out in the midst of the fighting “to see what was happening, and he cheered the men in blue on: ‘Give it to ’em! Drive ’em! Take anything on my place, only drive ’em!’ he yelled”

 

Union forces advance across the Roulette farm toward the Sunken Road.

As more Union troops moved through the Roulette backyard, a Confederate artillery shell landed, shattering the rookies of the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.  In their flight to get out of the area they knocked over Mr. Roulette’s apiary. “Yelping Pennsylvanians scattered as thousands of angry honeybees swarmed over them”.   Over the next three to four hours, Union attacks struck the Confederates in the Sunken Road, finally breaking their line and pushing them back to the Henry Piper farm. Over 5,000 casualties of both sides laid in and around the road now forever known as “Bloody Lane”.  Union casualties were taken back to the Roulette barn and the farm road intersection by the barn was used to pick up casualties to transport them to other Union hospitals nearby.

 

 

 

Burial detail by Sunken Road

Like their neighbors, the Roulettes were left with damage to their buildings and devastating losses to the crops, fields and fencing. The traumatic sight of dead bodies strew across their property and in the road was unbearable.  After the battle Union soldiers began burying their dead across the fields, near the roads and hedgerows and marking the graves.  Two days later, Union burial crews drug the bodies out of the lane and buried the Confederate soldiers in long shallow graves on both side of the Roulette Farm Lane.  Mr. Roulette would say that over 700 bodies were buried on his property.

 

Several weeks later William Roulette would file a claim for damages and loss of property requesting $2496.27 for an “inventory of goods, chattels, and personal effects belonging to me which were destroyed and carried off by the Armies during the late battle of Antietam”.  According to the quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, the claim was rejected stating, “I am well aware that the loyal people of this section of Maryland have suffered severely during the campaign… I regret that they cannot receive full compensation now for their losses, but no disbursing officer with this Army is authorized to pay claims for damages. Such claims can only be settled by express authority of congress.”  William would continue to submit claims into the 1880’s but would only receive $377.37 from a hospital claim.

On October 21, 1862, tragedy struck the Roulette family when they lost their youngest daughter Carrie May to typhoid fever.  She was one of a number of Sharpsburg residents that would die as a result of the battle.  Despite the great loss he suffered, William Roulette remained a strong Union man.  After the war was over, Margaret and William would have another son, Ulysses Sheridan Roulette – born on October 15, 1865.  As time went on the Roulettes would rebuild their farmstead.  Although the older children had moved off the farm, the two youngest sons – Benjamin and Ulysses helped with the farm work and Susan, the youngest daughter who was still living at home, helped with chores.  Nancy Camel would continue to work for the Roulette family until she died in 1892.

In 1883, Margaret Ann passed away. Four years later, William retired from farming and moved into the Town of Sharpsburg, turning over the farming operation to his son Benjamin.  William died in 1901 at the age of 75.  Margaret and William are buried together in the Mountain View Cemetery with their children, Carrie May and Otho.

 

Otho & Carrie May Roulette are buried with their parents

The Roulette grave at the Mountain View Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1890, the Antietam National Battlefield Site was established by the War Department.  They would construct a road to the south side of the Sunken Road, called Richardson Avenue, and build a sixty foot stone observation tower on the southeastern edge of the Roulette farm adjacent to Bloody Lane.  Over the following years the war veterans would return to the Roulettes to hold reunions and reminisce about that day in September, 1862.

 

Roulette Farm lane at Bloody Lane with 132nd PVI monument and the Observation Tower in distance.

Although William died without a will, the family conveyed the property to Benjamin Roulette.  Benjamin married Elizabeth Brown Rhoades in 1886 and together they had four children. Benjamin was said to be “a progressive farmer whose crops were consistently among the best in the local market.”  He also specialized in raising market hogs.  Benjamin owned the property from 1901 until his death in 1947.  Like his father before him, Benjamin died intestate, but the property managed to stay in the family when it was conveyed to his youngest son, Samuel Patterson Roulette.

Samuel and his wife, Leoda, continued to live and farm the property until 1956.  For the first time since 1804, the property passed out of the Miller-Roulette families when they sold it to Howard and Virginia Miller (a different Miller family).   The Millers lived on the property for forty-two years and were good stewards of the land.  In 1998, the Richard King Mellon Foundation purchased the farm for $660,000, and donated it to Antietam National Battlefield.

Looking across the Roulette farm to Sunken Road

Today the Roulette Farm fields are leased to local farmers, who continue to utilize the property for it agricultural production.  The William Roulette Farmstead remains an icon on the battlefield, displaying the architectural history of the developing farmsteads of the area.  It reminds us of what the agricultural landscape looked like before it was an eyewitness to the bloody fighting along the Sunken Road.

 

The William and Margaret Roulette house today.

 

  • Ancestry.com, 1860 United States Federal Census for William Rowllett.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series), Nancy Campbell (Camel). Retrieved from  http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc5400/sc5496/024600/024669/images/campbell_nancy_01_001.pdf.
  • Burrows, Jim, Anderson Papers: Anderson’s Delight. Retrieved from  http://www.eldacur.com/~burrowses/Genealogy/Anderson/AndersonsDelight.html
  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/related/?fi=subject&q=Antietam%2C%20Battle%20of%2C%20Md.%2C%201862.&co=cwp
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  •  Reynolds, Marion, H. Ed. , The Reynolds Family Association, Annual Report. Brooklyn, NY, Press of Brklyn Eagle 1922. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=4iFMAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=John+Reynolds,+Sharpsburg&source=bl&ots=Tf_25HO2wU&sig=v9Y17b6ZDnb8ejGvAWP5E4FCfAg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif4O794pXUAhUGQyYKHelzDE8Q6AEILTAC#v=onepage&q=John%20Reynolds%2C%20Sharpsburg&f=false
  • U.S. National Park Service, Roulette Farmstead Cultural Landscape Inventory, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

 

The Battle of Five Forks – Dr. Perry Jamieson

June 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Perry Jamieson

Perry Jamieson earned a PhD in history and worked for about thirty years as a civilian historian for the U.S. Air Force. He is the author of two books on Air Force history, one on the U.S. Army during the late 1800s, and four on the Civil War. He retired as the senior historian of the Air Force in the spring of 2009, and he and his wife Stephanie have lived in Sharpsburg since then.

On Wednesday, July 26th, Perry will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – The Battle of Five Forks.  On Saturday April 1, 1865, Federal infantry and cavalry crushed a force of about nine thousand Southerners at Five Forks, Virginia, a country crossroads about fourteen miles southwest of Petersburg. This small, but strategically important, battle led directly to the Confederates’ loss of Petersburg and Richmond, and to the final retreat of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Too Useful to Sacrifice. Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam – Steve Stotelmyer

June 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Steve Stotelmyer

Always interested in local history, especially South Mountain and Antietam, Mr. Stotelmyer was a founding member of the Central Maryland Heritage League in 1989. The league gained a modest amount of success in preserving some of the lands of the South Mountain Battlefield. From 1989 through 1994 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a volunteer at the Antietam National Battlefield. In 1992 he published The Bivouacs of the Dead: The Story of Those Who Died at Antietam and South Mountain, Toomey Press, Baltimore Maryland. From 2000 through 2005 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a part-time volunteer and historical consultant for the South Mountain State Battlefield. Steven currently enjoys being a National Park Service Certified Antietam and South Mountain Tour Guide.

Despite the accepted typecast of the slow, timid, overly cautious general who did not want to fight, there are several aspects of the Maryland campaign that simply do not fit the stereotype of Gen. George B. McClellan. Three days before the battle of Antietam McClellan attacked Lee’s rearguard at the battle of South Mountain. It is a matter of fact that Gen. Robert E. Lee was totally unprepared for the battle that occurred in the passes of South Mountain on September 14, 1862. Three days later at Antietam McClellan attacked Lee once again; it was not the other way around. Furthermore, McClellan attacked an enemy positioned on high ground believing that he was outnumbered; this is not the hallmark of a cowardly general. To this day the battle of Antietam still holds the distinction of being the bloodiest single day of any war fought in our nation’s history. Such events do not indicate a slow, timid, overly cautious commanding general. Clearly, the stereotype is flawed.

Yet, it is exactly the image of the slow, overly cautious and timid McClellan that seems to be permanently branded into the national consciousness. It reasonable to suggest that McClellan, because of the stereotype is perhaps the most misrepresented figure in Civil War history. It is largely overlooked that many of the elements of the stereotype have their origins in the presidential election of 1864 when candidate McClellan ran against the popular incumbent and not in the military ability of the general who led a hastily assembled conglomeration of an army in Maryland in 1862.

On Wednesday, July 19th, Steve will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – Too Useful to Sacrifice. Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam.  Steve’s presentation is an attempt to dispel some of the misrepresentations of the stereotype. It is his intent to show that it was an aggressive McClellan pursuing Lee in Maryland. In a little under a fortnight this remarkable general turned around one of the greatest crisis in our nation’s history. Despite the popular stereotype, he was anything but slow, overly cautious and timid.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

 

Henry Hunt and the Maryland Campaign – Jim Rosebrock

June 2, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Jim Rosebrock

Jim Rosebrock is the Chief of the Antietam Battlefield Guides. Jim is a retired army officer and currently works for the Department of Justice. He is currently conducting research for a book that will tell the story of the regular artillery companies during the Civil War.

On Wednesday, July 12th, Jim will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – Henry Hunt and the Maryland Campaign.  On September 5, 1862, General George McClellan appointed Henry Hunt as Chief of Artillery for the Army of the Potomac. The Union military situation was desperate. Lee had just defeated John Pope’s Army of Virginia at Second Manassas. Union artillery was totally disorganized. Batteries returning from the Peninsula often had the men, horses and equipment on three different ships that landed at different locations. Heavy fighting took its toll on men, equipment, and horses. Artillery officers lost in the Seven Days and at Second Manassas battles had to be replaced. Ammunition had to be resupplied. The Ninth Corps had no artillery. A total reorganization was called for. But there was no time. Lee was heading into Maryland in search of final victory.
McClellan rightly considered Henry Hunt as the finest artillery officer alive. Just two months earlier Hunt’s Artillery Reserve had been instrumental in shattering Lee’s attacks during the Seven Days offensive. His guns stopped waves of Confederate infantry at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862 ensuring the escape of the Federal Army.

Hunt now faced an even greater challenge. He had to get the artillery ready for another climactic battle in Maryland. With a core of regular artillery batteries, Hunt achieved this nearly impossible feat in just twelve days. This is the story of those twelve days.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Tom Clemens – Antietam Personalities

May 31, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

 

Dr. Tom Clemens

Dr. Tom Clemens holds a Doctorate in College Education-History from George Mason University, Professor Emeritus from Hagerstown Community College. He is a Tour guide for the Maryland Campaign for the past 30 years. Tom is the Editor of Ezra Carman’s Maryland Campaign of September 1862, 3 Vols. 2010, 2012, 2016. Author of numerous essays and Magazine articles, appeared in several documentary films as on-screen historian, including the orientation film in the NPS Visitor Center.

On Wednesday, July 5th, Dr. Clemens will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – Antietam Personalities.  Most Antietam visitors already know about Lee, Jackson and Longstreet, and of course McClellan, Sumner and Burnside.  But battles are fought by soldiers in the ranks, commanded by much lower ranking officers.  Tom’s talk will focus on some of the ordinary soldiers who served at Sharpsburg in the bloodiest single battle in US history.  Some of them were veterans, some new to the horrors of combat. As much as possible we will also examine their prewar and post-war lives

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

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