Posts Tagged ‘C & O Canal’

William Jarboe Grove wrote “‘The History of Carrollton Manor”.  I consider this work an excellent glimpse into the history of early Frederick County, Maryland and it’s development through the years.  He has also provided a glimpse into my ancestors’ lives providing me with never known before facts.  Prior to his book I had little if any knowledge about the development of Manor. Since reading I have become fascinated with the area and have delved into researching it and combing the actual area.

One of my journeys took me to St. Joseph on Carrollton Manor church and cemetery.  While combing the cemetery I ran across several very interesting tombstones.  One such tombstone was a mass grave of Irish Catholics who perished while constructing the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  Working in the canal  and on the railroad was back breaking and posed my health threats.  In the early 1820’s & 1830’s the area experienced a calamitous outbreak of  Asiatic Cholera which sent many of the Irish workers to their grave.  There is a memorial marker containing over 100 such workers to honor their lives.

Upon the stone the it is engraved ” ” translated it means “Pray for us.”  The Irish and slaves are credited with being the most populous of all the laborers for the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice towards the development of the Industrial Revolution and the development of the canal and the railroad.  Charles Carroll of Carrollton who developed the 12,000 acre estate was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  He was also present at the ground breaking of the B&O Railroad on July 4, 1828 and was the only living signer of the Declaration of Independence at that momentous occasion. Two men at the ceremony handed out copies of the Declaration of Independence and the band played the “Carrollton March.” Charles Carrollton only stayed in the Manor for a short stay preferring his home in Ellicott City.  The Church which was rebuilt after the Civil War is in wonderful condition and the cemetery well cared for.  I was delighted to stumble upon the graves of William J. Grove and his family.  Thank you Mr. Grove for preserving and recording the history of the most glorious Carrollton Manor.


 

Photo Courtesy of Bob CarneyClarke Monument at Night 

Close up of Clarke Monument Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Close up of Clarke Monument Mt. Olivet Cemetery

James C. Clarke was a distinguished man and Frederick, Maryland resident. He was one of the most notable railroad men in History.  He was brought into the world by Dr. Gustavus Warfield on March 3, 1824 in Unity, Montgomery County, MD.  Son of Elizabeth (Betsy) Simpson and William Clarke. The Simpsons’ originally came from the South England and his father from Newtownard, County Down, Ireland.  Betsy and William were entered into the estate of matrimony by the Reverend Doctor Jennings on May 4, 1823. William was employed by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad when it was extending its line into Frederick County.

Betsy Simpson Clarke was very spoiled and high spirited.  They were aristocratic,descending from Worthington’s and Ridgely’s, and quite wealthy owning many slaves.  Mr. William Clarke was very amiable and endeavored to please her but she would frequently fly into a rage and seeking revenge would set free some of the slaves.  Finally Mr. William Clarke would leave her and the family never to return. 

Betsy in time became poor and at 12 years of age James C. Clarke stopped his schooling at Point of Rocks, MD to seek employment. He called on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal but was refused work due to his young age.  James pressed on telling them he had a mother to support.  They admired his courage and started him as a water boy.  By age 16 he was a  mule driver of a canal boat and held the position for four years eventually rising to the owner of a boat, which was sunk in a collision.

 In 1844,  when he was 20 years of age, he applied for a job on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and was accepted.  His hard work and industrious application soon brought their reward.  For 10 years he labored for the B & O starting in the machine and repair shops advancing to a locomotive fireman and next an engineer.  He was an ambitious young man on the move.  He soon mastered the conductors job, station agent and then  train master. During his term of service he ran the old engine “Arabian.”

December 21, 1852 he married Susan Schaffer (1832-1892), daughter of Peter Schaffer and Elizabeth Brunner.  The Brunner family it should be noted was one of the first families of Frederick. Her great-grandfather, Jacob Bruner, founded a tract of land called “Shiverstadt” now known as Schifferstadt and the home still remains to this day. James and Susan had 5 children.

General James C. ClarkeIn 1854 James C. Clarke was made superintendent of the Central Ohio Railroad where he was when the famous Col. John H. Drone, master of transportation on the B & O ,was selected as General Superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad.  The only man that he asked to bring with him for the job was James C. Clarke.  James was appointed Assistant Superintendent under Col. Drone.

Col. Drone died in an accident at Hyde Park in 1856 and James Clarke succeeded him as General Superintendent.  While in charge he had the task of safely transporting President Abraham Lincoln from Harrisburg, PA to Washington, DC. A few years before Abraham Lincoln had been an attorney for the Illinois Central Railway and they enjoyed renewing their friendship while traveling together.

 The Clarke family was eager to return to Maryland to engage in farming, milling and merchandising in Frederick County, MD.  He was regularly visited by Federal and Confederate Armies. He once owned the farm that was owned by Governor Frank Thomas.

From 1862-1870 he took charge of the Ashland Iron works in Baltimore County, Maryland at a large salary in the manufacturing of iron.  His success was unparalleled, he soon became an owner of interest in this establishment.

In 1866 after three years residency in Baltimore County, J.C. Clarke was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.  In 1867 he was elected to the State Senate in Annapolis where he served for two terms at that point he was offered the presidency of the Western Railroad for a handsome salary, but turned it down for his first love the canal.

in 1870 Governor Bowie met with the Board of Public Works in Annapolis and nominated J. C. Clarke as President of the C & O Canal at $10,000.00 dollars per annum.  The highest salary ever paid.

In 1872 General Clarke was made President and General Manager of the Erie Railroad where he remained until 1874.  He was then made an offer to be the General Superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad, rising to President of the railroad in 1883.  During his 4 year presidency the railroad shared in the general prosperity incidental to the western boom in immigration.Frederick, Md. City Hall

In 1888 Clarke went with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad for a year and a half as its V.P. and General Manager.  He salvaged a flailing railroad and was able to put back the road on a paying basis and when he retired in 1898 left the railroad in a most prosperous condition. Clarke is described as a rough and ready railroader, tall and strong with a can-do attitude. He was a master story teller and loved by all.

James C. Clarke passed away December 9, 1902 of Bright’s Disease.   He is honored in death by a family monument in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.  Buried beside him are his wife, children and family friend Caroline V. Haller.

Clarke Place, a charming street in Frederick County, Maryland was named for James C. Clarke. The beautiful fountain in front of the old court house (now City Hall) was donated to the City of Frederick in 1862 by the General.  General Clarke had a love affair with the city for which he and his family had resided and he always remained a benefactor.

Photograph of City Hall Courtesy of Bob Carney, all rights reserved.

James C. Clarke Monument