Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oldtown SummerFest

Every year on the third weekend in June, Oldtown has their Annual Summer Fest. Starting at 9am on Saturday, through Sunday at 6pm, you can find yourself entwined with the rich history of this little village. You may run into George Washington, or Col. Thomas Cresap along the road. You may encounter the Shawnee camping nearby, along with the Wills Mt. Renegades' trading site. Come see Michael Cresap's house in all it's beauty, and mayhap you will see a Confederate soldier go by on his way to Virginia. Come listen to the tales of the C & O Canal, the Western Maryland Railway. Enjoy the entertainment each day as the numerous bands play everything from Celtic to Rock. There will be music all day into Saturday night, and all day Sunday. Craftspeople will be abundant, come and see their wares and take some home with you.
Western Maryland Auxiliary Police will handle parking, crowd control and overnight security.


General George Washington and Col. Thomas Cresap:

In Memory of John

If we are lucky in this life, we will cross paths with many wonderful and knowledgeable people who will enrich our lives with their presence. One of those people I had the pleasure of knowing was John Lafayette Carder.

From the time I was a small child, John had been in my life. He was my Grandfather Hartsock's neighbor, on the neighboring farm. Both farms had once belonged to my 2nd Great Grandfather, Thomas Ruby, handed down to his son, George Kifer, then to George's sister, Mizouri Hartsock.

John had told me this, as he had looked it all up. John was good at getting the history on my family, and I loved to listen to him tell of people's lives and the places around me.

Everyone in the area knew John, as he traveled much on the road, usually walking. I remember once picking him up in my souped up 1967 Le Mans. I hope I didn't scare him too much! But John was my friend, I respected his ways. He used to love in these later years to come to my house and we'd sit outside by my horses and talk over stuff -- anything. He just loved my Buckskin horse and would tell me of the horses his Daddy had way back when or of ones my Pap had. I will forever miss this.

This quiet gentle man never hurt anyone, never seemed to have a bad word for anyone, and faced his illness and oncoming death with grace and dignity. He loved his Lord and Savior, prayed through the pain, and still thought of others. We all could have learned a lot from him. We still can. He lived a simple yet full life, without the frills we all seem to demand, and he found a way to stay sane and fully content in this crazy world.

So John--- this is my Tribute to you. I wish you could have seen this before, but maybe through the Grace of God you CAN see it now, and maybe others who see this will think twice before they say an unkind word, or look down upon someone, and that will be YOUR legacy carried on...................

I received a letter from my Dad's cousin, Wreatha Nixon Brill in Florida, when she saw the tribute to John. She went to school with him, as they were neighbors growing up. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Dear Becci,
I was so happy that my sister Betty sent a copy of this beautiful tribute of John. I was thinking of what I could do, and this helped me to decide. Thanks for bringing out the REAL John in such a special way so true.
Love, Wreatha

Years ago, I lived over the hill and down in the valley from John's house, and of course I went to Oldtown School. John had moved up a grade in school, and sat next to me in Mr. McLays Algebra class. We were sometimes allowed to have a candy or sucker in this class, it helped us learn better!!! But, if Mr. Reiter (Principal) came in, we would kinda hide it.

He usually came in the front door and we could see him. One day, we were right at work, like good students, and enjoying our suckers, when John said, "Wreatha, here comes Mr. Reiter!" I looked, saw no Mr. Reiter, and kept on with my lollipop! John said, "No, the back door;" and with that, Mr. Reiter was walking in and I almost fell off my chair! John was doubled over laughing.
Every time, in later years, I would come home from Florida to visit, John would ALWAYS walk up to my brother's home (miles up the road from his house) to visit me and we'd laugh about the lollipop! We'd discuss the good old school days, the World situations, and go down to the cemetery and visit all the memories of the years. John was a kind of SPECIAL being.
My regrets to his family and EVERYONE
God Bless,
Wreatha Nixon Brill.

The C&O Canal at Oldtown in photos

Looking through Lock 69 towards Lock 68. Just past the Lock and to the left there is a sunken canal boat.

Original locks still remain

Lockhouse 71

Lock 70 in the 1950's

Lock 68

From Lock 70 looking to Lock 69
Big Pond. This was a section where the canal boats were turned around. The raised dirt area is the old Western Maryland rail bed.

Shale cliff at Alum Hill section of the tow path

Town Creek Aqueduct near Lock 67 at Town Creek

The Shawnee

An example of what King Opessa's Old Town may have looked like before 1700.

Oldtown was the Hunting Grounds of the Shawnee as early as the late 1600's. By 1711, it was called King Opessa's Shawanese Town, after a Lesser "King" of the Shawnee Nation settled here after leaving Eastern Pennsylvania. King Opessa was Tecumseh's Great Grandfather .

Sometime in the 1730's, Nonhelema, the Grenadier Squaw of the Clan, was born in Oldtown, as was her famous brother, Cornstalk.

Many tribes came through Oldtown, as it was a stop along the Great Warrior's Path of the Five Nations.
After the coming of the Whites, the Shawnee left their homes and settled in Ohio, where the tribe still resides.

Their spirits still linger here, and every now and then you will find something that once belonged to them, be it an Arrow or Spear Head, bits of Pottery, or just a sigh in the wind, our brothers and sisters are still on the hill overlooking present day Oldtown, where their encampment was, or, they are still lingering in their burial grounds on the next hill, wondering why the whites took their land, even their final resting place, and pushed them farther on........

A special Thank You


Where in this life would any of us be if we didn't have family & friends to guide us and love us? This page is for those that have helped me collect the memories. I want to give them a big "THANK YOU"....

~ To my daughters; Amy Jo & Cheyenne Autumn -- for helping an old lady learn web design.

~ Jilla Allen Smith -- for encouraging me to keep Oldtown going.

~ Joyce Deffinbaugh Conduitt -- telling me more of the lives of my family.

~ Betty Lou Nixon Hunter -- keeping me in touch with her family.

~ All my Zimmerman Cousins --- helping me on the Zimmerman Line.

~ Mead Zimmerman --- for the beautiful map of by gone Oldtown!

~ Cousin Thomas Sisler -- giving me pictures of his side of the family.


This site is Dedicated in Loving Memory to my Father, LeRoy F. "Pete" Hartsock, and our close friend, Irvin "Cy" Allen, both who dedicated their lives to keep Oldtown's history alive. They were two of the few that got the C & O Canal rewatered in the 50's so that the people of Oldtown could enjoy fishing & ice skating.

Oldtown, and especially I, deeply miss these two unique men.