The Queen City of the Alleghanies

Published by Clarence E. Weaver
The Eddy Press Corporation- Autumn of 1911.

The price of this booklet of 30-pgs. was twenty-five (25) cents !

The history of all places of any consequence on the American Continent commences with the savage tribes of Indians and wild beasts of the forests. Christopher Columbus was greeted by the Indian when he discovered America more than four hundred years ago, and the records show that nearly all explorers of the interior came in contact with countless Indians, some of course being more savage than others. And, when George Washington, as a major in the Colonial Army representing the Governor of Virginia, first visited the vicinity of Cumberland in November 1753, while on his way to the Ohio River, with a view to obtaining information about the country and fully performing a mission entrusted to him by the provincial governor, likewise met many Indians, some of them together with pioneer trappers acting as his guides. So to recite here the early history of the vicinity in which the now, great, growing, prosperous and famous City of CUMBERLAND is located, is to tell over again the same old tale of early struggles of the pioneer trappers, fights with the hostile Indians, and peace treaties, characteristic of most all America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

From an old book we learn that the region of CUMBERLAND was entirely ruled by the Red man until sometime between 1720 and 1730, when surveyors looking for a route toward the headwaters of the Ohio,made the first exploration of the dense forests that covered the country from the Blue Mountain Range westward. These pioneer explorers found at the junction of the Cohongaronto and the Caiuctucuc an Indian town of appreciable size. Cohongaronto was the name applied by the Red men to the Potomac River, and the stream which now for more than 150 years has been known as Will's Creek, was called Caiuctucuc by the Indians. The Indian town was called Caiuctucuc also, and the wigwams were built chiefly along the river front, now Green Street. From 1730 to 1750 daring and venturesome trappers and traders gradually made their way into this region, and of these first pioneers little has ever been written. It may be noted that the name of Caiuctucuc was changed by these pioneers, about 1750, to Will's Creek, after the name of an Indian chief called "Will", who lived on the mountain to the north of the village at that time. With the coming of the pale face, most of the Indians abandoned this region and trailed across the mountains to the Ohio, but Chief Will was not hostile to the white man, and with a few of his followers continued to live on the mountain where he had his wigwam, and died there, it is believed, some time after the close of the Revolutionary War. An old Indian grave on Will's Knob is supposed to be his. Chief Will claimed all the land along the creek and sold it to the white settlers for mere trifles.

In 1754, under instructions from Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, Col. Jas. Innes established a fort at Wills Creek. It was built on the hill lying between the creek and the river, and occupied the space now taken by Emmanuel Episcopal Church. It was called Fort Mt. Pleasant and in December, 1754 was visited by Governor Sharp, of Maryland, who did much to improve the conditions and make the fortifications stronger. Shortly afterwards the Colonial Governor of Virginia received orders from the King of England to proceed at once to the erection at Will's Creek of a fort of dimensions sufficient to meet the demands of the existing circumstances, in view of the war-like preparations which the French had made at Fort Duquesne.Governor Dinwiddie at once transmitted the King's orders to Col. Innes, with instructions to comply with the orders without delay. The Duke of Cumberland, one of the chief advisers of the King in American affairs, designated Major General Edward Braddock as commander-in-chief of the Armies in America, and as a compliment to the Duke of Cumberland, General Braddock directed that the new fort at Will's Creek should be named Fort Cumberland. While the fort was a frail affair compared to the great fortifications of today, yet it had its value nevertheless, and afforded a feeling of security for the early white settlers, and made the roaming savages who knew little or nothing of its disadvantages, believe it a place that compelled their best behavior. It served well as a place of organization and preparation by Genl. Braddock for his ill-fated campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne, and for years and years afterward made the primitive traders of the last half of the Eighteenth Century safe from harm.

General Braddock, in command of all the King of England's forces in North America, arrived at Fort Cumberland with his army of regular soldiers recruited in England, on the 10th day of May, 1775. Upon the arrival of Braddock and the army, a salute of seventeen guns was fired from the fort and the garrison was drawn up in line ready for inspection. It was a great day and the weather was fine. Other divisions of Braddock's army, including Colonial troops, arrived from day to day, until the 19th day of May, when there were 2,100 men encamped in and about the fort. On the 7th, 8th and 9th of June, 1755, Braddock marched his army out of Fort Cumberland. Every United States School history tells the story of Braddock's ill-fated march, the scene of the terrible disaster being more than a hundred miles from Cumberland. Braddock and his army were surprised by the French and Indians on the 9th day of July, 1755. Braddock was wounded and died on July 13th. Upon his return from the Braddock expedition, Washington remained for a few days at Fort Cumberland to rest. With Washington there were at the fort many of the wounded officers and soldiers of the ill-fated expedition. Many of them died and were buried on the hillside near the fort. Shortly afterward Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces. In that capacity and in the campaign which continued for several years afterward against the French and Indians, General Washington often had his headquarters here. The Fort was abandoned by the withdrawal of all troops in July, 1765.

Prior to 1776 all of Western Maryland was a part of Frederick County. In that year the General Assembly of Maryland established Washington County and made it include all of Washington County of the present day, as well as what is now Allegany and Garrett Counties. CUMBERLAND and vicinity formed a part of Washington County from 1776 to 1789, when Allegany Co. was formed. After the close of the Revolutionary War in 1781, this region began to attract settlers rapidly, and by 1785 a permanent town with many substantial residences had sprung up on the grounds adjacent to Fort Cumberland. Nearly all the land around the Fort was owned by Thomas Beall, who had surveys made and a town laid out into lots in 1785 and he called it Washington Town, selling many of the lots to settlers under that name. In 1787 the settlers petitioned the Legislature, praying the passage of an Act legally establishing a town which they desired named after the old fort. The wishes of the inhabitants were complied with on the 20th of July, 1787, and thus CUMBERLAND was established. There were about thirty-five families living here at that time. When Allegany County was created in 1789 CUMBERLAND was designated as the County Seat. The first session of the court to convene here was held April 25th, 1791. The first post office in CUMBERLAND was established January lst, 1795. The old log house used as a post office at that time was erected in 1791, and stands today, a relic of pioneer days and one of the points of interest. It is located on North Mechanic Street and was marked by the Twentieth Century Club in 1898. CUMBERLAND was incorporated in 1815, and the population in 1830 was 583 males and 579 females.The population of Allegany County in 1830 was 10,590.

In the period of thirty-one years between 1830 and 1861 when the war between the States broke out, the chief public matters of industrial development may be summed up in the building of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the completion of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to CUMBERLAND. The opening of the canal was celebrated with elaborate ceremonies the 10th of October, 1850. The first train over the B. & O. R. R. arrived from the East Nov. 1st, 1842, and this was a big event for the town and surrounding country. For a period of eleven years from 1842 to 1853, CUMBERLAND was the Western terminus of the B. & O. and during that time the National Pike between this City and Wheeling was a scene of such activity as no other highway in this country has ever known. Strings of stage coaches, freight wagons and other vehicles lined the road day and night. Besides great droves of cattle, swine and horses were driven over the pike toward the eastern market.

CUMBERLAND occupied peculiarly striking position at the beginning of the war and throughout the struggle, and a whole book could be written on war incidents alone,but the scope of this article permits of no such details. The several years immediately following the war became the most prosperous the City had even known, and the City has ever continued to prosper down to the present time, and has a bright future.

CUMBERLAND of today is the second City in population and commercial and industrial importance in Maryland, and center of the great mining, manufacturing and mercantile business of Western Maryland, to which also a small part of Pennsylvania, all of Northeastern West Virginia, and a small portion of the mountain section of Virginia are tributary territory. Situated on both sides of Will's Creek, along the Potomac and its suburbs comprehending a fair sized town across the Potomac in West Virginia, it extends from the Narrows, between Will's Mountain and Will's Knob to the second bend of the Potomac, at the south, 192 miles west of Baltimore, 150 miles west of Washington, 150 miles southeast from Pittsburgh, and 200 miles east of Wheeling, it rightly claims all the intermediate trade territory as its own, and not only claims it but makes good its claim. From CUMBERLAND started the Braddock's Road and the National Pike. Both are dead and abandoned these many years but steel and steam have kept open the transportation to the west and via the two branches of the Baltimore & Ohio, (which here divides, one branch going to St.Louis via Cincinnati, the other to Pittsburgh, and both meeting at Chicago) and Western Maryland and West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railroads. The Western Maryland Railroad is now working on its new extension from CUMBERLAND to New Haven, Pennsylvania, where it will be connected with the Pittsburgh ad Lake Erie Railroad which runs into Pittsburgh. The same territory is covered and CUMBERLAND is still the great receiving and distributing point of this region. The George's Creek region is tapped by the Cumberland and Pennsylvania and the George's Creek Railroads. The Southern Pennsylvania and far Western Maryland sections by the Pennsylvania and the Cumberland and Broadtop Railroads, while the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal floats its freights to the shadow of the Capitol Dome at Washington. The stockade fort has given place to a City of merchant princes; of great factories, wholesale and retail houses and fine public buildings, churches, schools, hotels and residences. The center of an immense wholesale and retail trade, with all banking facilities, with city water, gas and electric lights, with electric street railways, fire departments, parks and with everything that goes today to make up a modern metropolis. Though about it are numbers of fertile farms, rich grazing and fruit raising land. Apple and peach orchards are becoming quite numerous in Allegany and adjoining counties. Thousands of bushels of each are shipped annually to the eastern and western markets. CUMBERLAND is essentially a City of manufacture and mining, for in the hills and dales whence to the early settler came the war-cry of the savage, scores of mines now yield their semi-bituminous wealth and all day & all night long her citizens' ears are accustomed to the continuous roar of trains, heavily laden with the finest steam coal in the world. From the George's Creek region, from the West Virginia valleys it pours, a continuous flood, through this gateway of the Alleghanies and its mining but adds to her population's wealth, its transportation to her business, its fuel qualities to her industry and success. CUMBERLAND is situated only a few miles from the George's Creek coal mining regions where is mined the best steam producing coal in the United States.

CUMBERLAND is a City of thirty odd thousand inhabitants with its suburbs a large share of whom are supported by the railroads and manufactories.

There are many factories, mills and plants of various kinds, among which are N. & G. Taylor Tin Plate Company; U.S. Rail Company; Potomac Glass Company; Wellington Glass Company; Eastern Glass Company; Maryland Glass Etching Works, Cumberland Gas Light Company, Edison Electric Illuminating Company, Klots Throwing Company, Silk Mills, McKaig Foundry and Machine Works, Cumberland Steel and Shafting Works, Footer's DyeWorks, United States Tannery, four large Milling Companies, several Planing Mills, Sash and Door factories, Candy Factories, Distilleries, Breweries, Brick Yards, Garages, etc.

CUMBERLAND has eight solid and substantial banks, four of which are national banks and four savings banks. In the county there are eighteen banks.

CUMBERLAND is surrounded by the most beautiful scenery of the central plateau between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains, with each range in sight and is greatly beautified and corresponds with her situation. "Fort Hill", as the residence section on which old Fort Cumberland once stood, is called, is a charming locality, and has upon it many lovely homes. The City is 600 feet above tide-water, healthful and attractive, a business City filled with wide-awake business men.

Many thanks to Doris Goldsborough for sharing this story of Cumberland with us. Doris transcribed this portion and two additional stories about Cumberland from Bicentennial Memories, which happily, we have permission to share with you as well.

by Cecil F. Catlett

by Doris Goldsborough