Last Update: Oct. 25, 2010
The Search for Braddock's Road Through Frostburg, MD
Personal Note: Anyone involved in the serious study of General Braddock's Road is aware of the invaluable information provided by Bob Bantz's years of on the ground research. I am privileged to call Bob a friend and have relied on him on many occasions for both information and opinion.
As it often has a tendency to do... Research I was doing on Tittle's Tavern, south of today's Frostburg, MD on the old Braddock Road, took on a life of its own. The search for Tittle's begat a search for Braddock's second camp, "Martin's Plantation" which snowballed into a search for Braddock's route through the area. From conversations with Bob Bantz, I learned hard evidence of Braddock's Road through the area has been obliterated by years of development. The search for Braddock's Road, in the Frostburg area, is the subject of this article. ~ Steve Colby
There is a general consensus amongst local historians Braddock's second camp, "Martin's Plantation", was thought to have been in the area east of Welsh Hill (South of Frostburg, md) now known as Grahamtown and Wright's Crossing.
Lacking local historical evidence to the contrary, some hold (myself included) "Martin's Plantation" was a name created by Gen. Braddock or his officers simply to identify the location (similar to Spendlowe's Camp and Bear Camp). If there was a Martin in the area, he has managed to keep any information on himself well hidden.
That's pretty much where the consensus ends. Lacking physical evidence, Braddock's camp and route through the area south of the later day Frostburg are left to speculation.
Two possible routes Braddock may have taken westward are, (1) A route over the northern section of Welsh Hill to avoid possible wetlands on the south side and (2) A route around the southern end of Welsh Hill. Topographically, the southern route is less challenging for men, wagons and cannons. Proponents of this route claim crossing Georges Creek would not present a problem.
Research of period land sales and patents has provided information that may help determining Braddock's route. Relevant information found in land documents (with links to the original documents) and a section of Veatch's map of military lots west of Cumberland are shown below:
Point "A": Hagans Addition - Surveyed May 21, 1793. Beginning at the first line line of Lot No. 3759 and running thence North twenty-five degrees East sixty-eight perches to a Chestnut Stake then West Ninety-six perches to a bounded white oak, South eight degrees West Sixty-three perches to a bounded chestnut tree standing on the South side of Braddocks Road then south twenty one degrees East forty eight perches to a bounded Locust then North thirty seven degrees East fifty eight perches to a bounded Chestnut then by a straight line to the beginning..." Original Document (PDF)
Point "B": Military Lot No. 3757 - "Beginning at a bounded white oak and gum marked 2130 standing on the north side of Braddocks Road and near Georges Creek and running thence North forty-six degrees West Seventy-two perches North Sixty degrees East one hundred and thirteen perches. South thirty-two degrees East eight-four perches then by a straight line to the beginning containing fifty acres." Original Document (PDF)
Point "C": The Mountain - Surveyed Sept. 10, 1760. "Beginning at two bounded white oaks standing on the point of a hill between the main branches of Georges Creek about four hundred perches Northward of Braddocks Road running thence South sixty degrees West ninety perches..." (Blue Line) Original Document (PDF)
The boundary location above provides a few clues and many more questions...
- The survey took place five years after Braddock's march so evidence of the road should be apparent. That said, one is left to wonder why the closest point on Braddock's Road to the survey point is approx. 1-1/4 miles away... In a "Northward" direction?
- If Braddock's Road crossed or traveled to the south of Welsh Hill, why wasn't a closer point to the Road noted?
- There is no question The Mountain patent, circa 1760, infringes on Walnutt Levill, circa 1753. Was it intentional?
- Peter Tittle, Sr. purchased the property called The Mountain and operated a tavern, circa 1771 to 1789, on the Braddock Road. Was the tavern located off of Tittle's property? (See WMH article on Tittle's Tavern.)
If the "400 perches" figure is an error, it will probably remain uncorrected. Perhaps the ambiguous description of the survey point's location could also be intentional.
The following maps should help clarify some of the points made above:
An additional reference has been found in the land patent document for Resurvey on Policy, Col. Baker Johnson, 513 Acres, North West of Hagan's Addition:
"Beginning at the outlines of the wholes at the original beginning it being a Bounded Chestnut Standing about twenty five feet south of of Braddocks old road and about two miles west of Georges Creek..."
Relevant quotes to further clarify or muddy the waters...:
From the journal of Samuel Vaughn, July 13, 1787:
To Tickle’s (Tittle's) farm & tavern. -
“...after a descent of a mile and a half of good land but stony, came to a Creek – a small rising. longer descent when came to waving good land at 5½ miles near a spring is the half way house & here begins Savage Mountain. a small gradual rising & descent then a spring from whence a rising for a mile - all good land ¼ of a mile very hilly and very stony. then a gradual descent when came into a fine bottom where is a small farm. here ends Savage Mountain the residue in hard stones in white freestone sand & then in Brick mould, in a Bottom where is Tickles & another farm. the farmer raises Tobacco & Indian corn has 25 head Cattle & wheat weighs 67 lb the bushel - on each side of Tickles are many farms and 500 families. The Methodists preach every day in different places, Men Women & Children going 7 or 8 miles on week days, neglecting their Families and farms & which is the only religious sect in the back country through which I passed.”
~ Minutes Made by S. V., from Stage to Stage, on a Tour to Fort Pitt. Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Volume 44, #3. September 1961
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From Orme's Journal, upon breaking camp at Martin's Plantation:
June 15th. The line began to move from this place at five of the clock; it was twelve before all the carriages had got upon a hill which is about a quarter of a mile from the front of the Camp, and it was found necessary to make one-half of the men ground their arms and assist the carriages while the others remained advantageously posted for their security.
We this day passed the Aligany Mountain, which is a rocky ascent of more than two miles, in many places extremely steep; its descent is very rugged and almost perpendicular; in passing which we intirely demolished three waggons and shattered several/ At the bottom of the mountain runs Savage river, which, when we passed was
an insignificant stream; but the Indians assured us that in the winter it is very deep, broad and rapid. This is the last water that empties itself into the Potomack.
Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 5 - Captain Ormes Journal, pgs. 334-35
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Veatch's Map Section of the General area around Frostburg with Points on Braddock Road marked.
List of Military Lots and/or Land Patents that have no Braddock Road references:
Walnutt Levill (1753)
New points of intersection of Braddock's Road and land boundaries will be added as I (or you) find them.
Structure identified as both Martin's Plantation and the Musselman Farm HousePhoto courtesy of Christopher Busta-Peck, the MD SHA and the Enoch Pratt Library
The following was included with the photograph above:
The Old Musselman Farm House
The following writting was attached to a photograph of the farm house and follows as written:
'The old Musselman Farm House, later operated by Mesack Frost as a tavern before the National Road was completed through Frostburg, When the principal highway was the old Braddock Road. The inscription on the spring house was as follows; C and S Musselman/ May 31st - 1905'
The above data was given by the late Mrs. C. C. Jabobs, whose grandmother was Mary McCulloh, a daughter of Robert Clark, who at one time owned most of the land occupied by the the town of Frostburg. The boundaries of this land extended from the end of Eckhart Flat to the turn in Hoffman Lane, then to Braddock Rock, a stone now standing near the Pullen School (At one time located at the lot of Charles Conrad) then to Linden St. and up Linden to High St. to somewhere near the Borden Rd.
This picture was taken and information collected by the late S. Graff Haverstick of Frostburg.
I discovered the following road survey while searching Musselman properties and it still has me scratching my head... I'm pretty sure it was drawn upside-down as Musselsmans house is south of the Turnpike (National) Road
Aug. 19, 1819 - Survey for a Road from Josiah Frost's to Meshach Frost's Dwelling to Musselman's Tavern on Braddock's Road.
Beginning at the Turnpike Road above Josiah Frosts, thence to run with said turnpike road by Meshach Frost's dwelling house forty-seven perches, then with a straight line line of twenty seven perches to the old road leading to Christian Musselman's Tavern on Braddocks Road as will appear by a plat hereto annexed and we are of the opinion that the said road, when made publick will be of considerable benefit...
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