Monday, July 8, 2013

Mappy Monday: Old Military Lots in Allegany County, Maryland

I like maps. They get me visually organized. Can't have enough of them, especially of the area where most of my American ancestors spent the bulk of their time, and that's Western Maryland, northern West Virginia where it kisses Allegany and Garrett Counties of Maryland, and that bit of south and western Pennsylvania that touches those same two counties. There aren't enough pins in my pin box to mark all of the locations were my ancestors dwelt there. And sometimes, if the conditions are right, I can look at a map and make a new observation, like the time I looked at the Military Lot Map and saw how close the Eckhart, Porter, and Workman families lots were! No wonder those branches intermarried like it was a contest!

One of my favorite memories of maps was an exercise using Google Earth. Don't you just love Google Earth? I was curious about where exactly George Adam Eckhart's (1729 - 1806) property was located. I knew they were lots numbered 3644, 3645, 3646, and 3694. Adam Eckhart most likely didn't serve in the Revolutionary War directly but he might have lent aide, as they say. Most authorities on this line believe that he purchased his land and when the Military Lots were surveyed by Francis Deakins in 1787, and the assignments made, the lots marked as belonging to Adam Eckhart were already owned by him.

The original Deakins map was lovely but it wasn't going to help me much because there were no landmarks that could identify where the lots were in today's terms. There is also a map drawn in 1796 of Military Lots, but that map has few contemporary landmarks, except the "Potowmack River", or Potomac.

Map of Military Lot tracts, 1796.

The most helpful map in my quest to find Adam Eckhart's property was the one just below. This wonderful effort combined the Deakins map with today's landmarks, as well as the names of the assignees of the lots. Suddenly the relationship of Eckhart property to Porter land was abundantly clear. All the Eckhart boy had to do to see the Porter girl was walk up over the hill!

This wonderful map, a portion shown above, was a joint project of the Evergreen Heritage Center and Frostburg State University has been a very special resource for me. As the map states:

This map represents the historic military lots on and surrounding the Evergreen

Heritage Center property surveyed by Francis Deakins in 1787. Various modern

landmarks have been mapped for reference use and were not present during the

original survey.
So now that I had a really good idea about exactly where the Eckhart lots were in relation to a road or two, off to Google Earth I went to see Eckhart, Maryland. The top image below, as best I can calculate, is just about where lot 3644 was. See the road there on the upper right of this first image? Across that road and just out of sight of this image is where the old Eckhart Mansion stood. The stable was across the road and perhaps its footprint or old stone foundation can be seen as a reverse "c" shape mid-left in the image.
The "mansion" was a residence and also an inn along the National Road. Adam's son, John, paid the government $300 per year for the right to run that establishment. As a road commissioner, he was responsible for upkeep on his assigned stretch of the Old Pike. It also gave him the right to make a deal with stage companies in order to use his place as their official stop. From what I understand, and there are plenty of experts on this subject who could do a better job of this, the location of this inn meant that John Eckhart's contract was with lesser stage lines who would use his place as a watering stop for livestock and meals for folks traveling. The bigger splashier full-service inns were in Frostburg just up the road a couple of miles and that's where the premiere stage lines stopped with passengers who enjoyed a fine meal and a room.
I met some Eckhart descendants on Facebook and they clued me in as to the details of the property and where the inn or old Eckhart mansion stood. I found out from a NatGeo program on national highways that inns on this stretch of the Old Pike road in Allegany County had the stable on the opposite side of the road, and downhill from where travelers ate and slept. Makes sense. The big find for me from these other Eckhart descendants is that there is still a grave marker on the old Eckhart family Cemetery! And here's a photo of it below.

The marker sits on that mound in that green oval shape you see mid, right.

And here it is: the grave marker for George Adam Eckhart put there by some of his descendants.

Mappy Monday is a blogging prompt from those wonderfully helpful folks at GeneaBloggers! Try them, you'll like 'em:)

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