The Cresap Society


The Cresap Society exists to recognize the contributions of our common ancestor -- and his wife -- to the taming of the American Frontier.

Thomas Cresap, his wife-- the former Hannah Johnson, and their children travelled on horseback from their home near Havre de Grace, Harford county, Maryland, to the untracked frontier of Western Maryland. There they settled, built a home and called the settlement Skipton, after Thomas' childhood home in England.

The town today is Old Town, Allegany county, Maryland. The site of that frontier cabin has been built over several times, but a corner of it is believed to be visible as part of the foundation of the National Park Service building which sits between the Potomac River and the C & O Canal at Old Town.

On the other side of the canal is another Cresap home, this one once used as a jail.

To these houses travelled every person, white or Indian, moving along the river. George Washington stopped here often on his travels; the Indians called Cresap "Big Spoon" in recognition of his plentiful hospitality.

Thomas Cresap was a colorful, robust character on the frontier. His legacy of over 11,000 descendants is equally robust and colorful.

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To read more about him, from a more unbiased view than ours, the visitor might wish to check out this essay on The Making of the National Road, which is now roughly I-48 through Allegany and Garrett counties.

An article on Frontiersmen will be available a few more months.

Cresap influence can also be seen in other areas, such as Brooke County.

The Society, of course, refutes the calumny that Cresap was either present at or responsible for the massacre of Chief Logan's family. Logan may have made the accusation and Thomas Jefferson evidently believed it, but all outside evidence tends to argue against the likelihood. The late T. Don Scott wrote an excellent treatise on this subject (see our Store).

In 1905, the Cresap Chapter NSDAR was formed in Cumberland, MD. The Cresap Society and Cresap Chapter have a long history, which was celebrated by a joint meeting to celebrate their 100th anniversary as we had at their 50th anniversary. This Chapter meets April through December, and welcomes Cresap associates. Contact them via National Society, DAR.


To check our Family Tree, at least the first five generations of it, click here.


Our next reunion will be in 2009. It will be held in the Cumberland, Maryland area. Additional details and registration information will be available here.

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Content of these pages is © 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007 by The Cresap Society, all rights reserved.