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 A Short History of Harbaugh Valley

(Author Unknown)

(Submitted by Howard and Jane Cline of Fountaindale)

Situated in the Northwestern corner of Frederick County is Harbaugh Valley. It is bounded on the East by Catoctin Mountain and on the West by mountain. It is really a continuation of Middletown Valley, being the Northern end of that valley. A small part of it extends into Pennsylvania, and is bound on the North by Jack's Mountain.

It in not known exactly when it was first settled. But a family by the name of Greybill lived in the valley in 1750. Two of the children are buried under the railroad near Samuel Royer's barn.

Probably the next settler was a Mr. Smith, who came from York, Pennsylvania, about 1756 and settled in the neighborhood of Deerfield. His eldest son, Daniel, was born in a sheep pen while his mother was fleeing from the Indians. She was so long away they could only recognize her by a wart on the end of her tongue. After she had been recovered, she was of such a raving disposition that they could not keep her at home. The son, Daniel, built the stone house on the Birely farm near Deerfield. He served in the Revolutionary War from 1777 to the close. He was a private in 1777, in the Frederick County Militia. He became a Lieutenant in Captain Simpkin's Catoctin Battalion, May 1778 and a Captain in Col. Baber Johnson's Battalion, May 29, 1779. He refused a pension from the United States Government when he was an old man.

At this time good titles for land could not be obtained on account of the dispute between William Penn and Lord Baltimore as to the boundary of the two states. This controversy was to our forefathers equal to a state of actual war on a smaller scale, on occasions the sheriffs of the different ones who had titles from William Penn and Lord Baltimore for the same tract of land. In 1760 this dispute was brought to an end by articles of agreement between them. Lord Baltimore giving to William Penn a long tract of land, which had been granted to him by the King in order to make peace. Good titles for the land could now be granted, and this encouraged the making of settlements. About this time permanent settlement began to be made rapidly in the valley.

At this time there were no roads in the valley. The only way to get through the valley was by an old Indian Trail which the Indians used in traveling from West to East, or East to West. This trail can still be seen in several places in the forest. It can be seen most plainly where the road from Pen Mar to High Rock crosses it. The railroad company has marked it here with a sign board.

The settler's coming into the valley had to unload their goods East of the valley, and either carry them, or bring them in on the backs of horses. The mile stones on Mason and Dixon's line were brought in this manner.

To give some idea what an unsettled wilderness lay in this region at this time, we need only to call to mind that Frederick was only laid out in 1745 and Chambersburg in 1755 was only "a little village on the outskirts of civilization". The Rev. Michael Schlathler, who passed from Frederick to Conococheague Valley, says this region was nothing but a forest. He also says, "Indians are still here, but however they are friendly when they are not drunk". All kinds of game were plenty and it was common for the early settlers to have bear's meat on the table. Neither were they safe from danger on account of wild beasts. They frequently ventured up to their house even in the open day.

Probably the first settlers who came after the Mason and Dixon's Line was settled were the three Harbaugh brothers. They were Swiss and had settled in York County, Pa. and moved here in 1760 or 1761. They were George who settled on a farm now owned by Samuel D. Harbaugh. Ludwig, who settled on what is now known as the Warner farm and Jacob settled on the farm now owned by Samuel, Royer. This Jacob Harbaugh was the great grandfather of Mrs. Palmer. County Superintendent Palmer's wife. Jacob Harbaugh built the house that Mr. Royor lived in between 1776 and 1770. The house was remodeled by his grandson, Leonard, several years ago, but the original heavy timbers placed there when it was first built are still in the building. The barn that Roscoe P. Brown tore down a few years ago was built by Ludwig's son, Christian, in 1799. Mr. Brown used a great many of the original timbers in rebuilding the barn.

About this time an Irishman, Patrick Mooney, settled near Blue Ridge Summit and started a store and tavern. The nearest store at that time being either at Frederick or Chambersburg, there being none at Waynesboro or any nearer.

After this the Willards, the Millers, the McClains, the Birelys, the Browns and the Shovers whose descendants are still living in the valley, came in. There were a number of other people who came in but removed, and there names were forgotten. About this time the Eylers settled in the neighborhood of Cascade.

The people lived plainly in those days. In summer they generally ate soup in the morning; no meat. At dinner they had meat. In the evening they had soup and potatoes, no meat. They had also in season for breakfast, apples and peaches, and as drink buttermilk. The constant dish in the winter morning and evening was mush and Milk.

In the evening they had hot mush and cold milk, in the morning they had cold mush and hot milk. They took their meals from a long plain table. No table cloth was used. Their large dishes and bowls, as well as their platters, were pewter. Their furniture was as simple as their fare. The chairs were homemade, the seats plated with board, smooth shavings of white oak, or hickory. The wall was lined with plain benches. They had no carpets, but the floor was given every Saturday, a white and clean appearance under the operation of water and broom.

There were no churches in the valley at this early date. The most of them were Reformed and attended Apple's Church near Thurmont. The remainder was Moravians and attended the Moravian Church at Graceham. Services were held at these churches only every four or eight weeks, but all who were large enough had to go. The members of the Reformed Church in the valley went together and bought several acres of land from Peter Kellenberger, on August 19, 1824 in the northern end of the valley and erected a stone church which is still used for church worship and is known as St. Jacobs.

Several years afterwards the United Brethern built Otterbein Chapel. In I855 the members of the Reformed Church in Sabillasville built St. John's Reformed Church, buying 2 town lots from John Coon. In 1812 the United Brethern Church in Sabillasville was built at the southern end of the village. About the same time, the Church of God built Bethel Church about 2 miles west of Sabillasville. Several years later the United Brethren Church at Deerfield was built. In 1893 the Lutherans built their church at the western end of Sabillasville.

The early settlers, knowing the value of education, and there being no public schools as we have now, "1813 gathered together at the Magistratesís office and signed an article of an agreement; each agreeing to give a certain sum towards building a school house for the education of the children." The site selected for the school house was the same site selected 10 years later for the first church in the valley, St. Jacobs. There has been a school house on that site every since. After Sabillasville was laid out, a log school house was built at the western end of the village. School was maintained there for some time. The building being also used for public meetings and church services. Some of Marylandís greatest men made addresses in that old building. After the stone schoolhouse was built, on the farm now owned by Mr. Wagaman, this log house was used as a residence, and the post office was kept there at 2 different times. The stone schoolhouse was used for school purposes until 1871 when the present brick building was built at the eastern side of Sabillasville. It was made into a 2 room building in 1885. About the middle of the 19th century a long building was built at Deerfield and was used as a schoolhouse, for religious worship, and for other public purposes among which was holding the elections of Hauvers District. About 1890 the present two room building was built on the same ground at Deerfield. The school house was built in 1888.

The village of Sabillasville was laid out November 4, 1813 by a surveyor named Andrew Smith for Peter Zullinger, who had bought part for the Ludwig Harbaugh Farm at his death. The village was named after Mr. Zullingerís wife whose name was Savilla. It was at first often called Zullingerís Town. The town was laid out along "The Great Road to Waynesboro". The street was made 60 feet wide and the lots each contained one third of an acre of land. There were several houses built in the village before it was laid out. They were probably used for the families who worked on the Harbaugh-Zullinger farm. The first houses built in the village were two story houses, about 10 feet square. They were lined inside and out with boards and filled between with sawdust. The houses built afterwards were larger and made of logs. They all had large fireplaces with large chimneys on the outside of the house, built of stone. The houses were heated by fire in the fireplace and all cooking was done in dutch ovens covered up in the coals and ashes in the fireplace.

The persons who bought lots were compelled to pay one dollar per year ground rent.

The railroad was built through the valley in 1872. The Maryland State Tuberculosis Sanatorium was built in 1906. The Red Menís Hall in 1913.

The principal industries in the valley were agriculture, lumbering and tanning leather. Before the railroad was built to Frederick nearly every farm had a still house. The product of their farm being converted into whiskey and brandy, which was hauled to Baltimore in wagons. There were two tanneries in the valley, getting the tannic acid for tanning the leather from the bark of the rock oak tree.

The timber of the trees was made into barrel staves. Two flouring mills were built at the beginning of the 19th century, one in the northern end of the valley which is not now used for any purpose. It was built by the Harbaughís but has been called Martinís mill for a long time. This is the large stone house on Route 16 at the entrance to Harbaugh Valley Road. It is sometimes referred to as Fountaindale Mills, and was built by Yost Harbaugh (1778-1817), who was the sone of Jacob Harbaugh. The other was built near Deerfield, and was called at first Schultzís mill and afterwards Kinnar mill. Both these mills ground flour with burs and after the roller process of grinding four. The Kinnar mill is still used as a chopping mill.

There were a number of saw mills along both Friends Creek and Owens Creek, but they have all been torn down. The steam mill that can be used anyplace in the forest taking their place. Wagon making was carried on in Sabillasville. There was also a number of shoemakers in the valley. The boot and shoes were made to fit the foot by the shoemaker taking a measurement of the foot. Since boots and shoes are made by machinery these shops have all been closed.

Have your own memories of growing up in Fountaindale?  
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