Collection Location: Allegany College of Maryland
Contributor: WHILBR – Western Maryland's Historical Library
Collection Overview: City of Cumberland and Allegany County Directory, 1895-96, published by Bell Publishers of Baltimore, lists the names, occupations and residences of heads of households in Allegany County, Maryland in 1895. It also listed the various companies doing business in the region. There are separate entries for Cumberland City, Barton, Frostburg, Lonaconing, Mt. Savage and Westernport. There is a general listing for Ocean, Orleans, Oldtown, Eckhart Mines, Flintstone, Pratt and other small towns, which also includes those who resided outside the town limits. Many of those in this section of the directory are farmers, but there are also miners and others.
Many of the occupations that employed men in 1895 are not common today. Included in this list are telegrapher, rigger, tinner and tanner, basket maker, slater (possibly roofer), lime manufacturer, iron founder, elevator boy, paper finisher, boat inspector (on the Canal), peddler, huckster (another name for peddler), wallpaper renovator, gas producer, wood peeler (for the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Co. and W Va Paper Co) and wood turner. There were doublers who might have operated a machine used to twist together strands of cotton or wool fiber. There were also singlers who may have also been involved in rope or carpet making. Coopers made wooden barrels and casks.
In the glass industry in Cumberland there were gatherers who inserted the blow iron into the molten glass ready for the blower. In addition there are listed glass etcher who added designs to the glass, glass selecter and glass shipper. The railroads hired railroaders, car inspectors, brakemen, baggage masters, conductors, engineers and boss wreckers.
The iron works, mines and canals by comparison seemed not to break down the occupations. One page of Lonaconing’s records, for example, lists 13 miners, two saloon keepers, two widows, a mine boss, butcher, grocer, clerk, judge and assistant postmaster. Farming was the major occupation listed for the rural areas.
Some of the terms may have been used in different industries. A molder may have made molds for the glass, brick or iron works. A heater could have kept the glass liquid or a steam engine ready to go, or been a furnace operator, furnace tender, hammer heater, or slug furnace operator. A cooler might have cooled the molten glass or worked in the iron or railway industries. A puddler could work clay into puddle to repair the canal walls and make them watertight or he could have been a wrought iron worker. A shearsman might have cut cloth, metal or perhaps even glass. A rougher, hammerman, driller, catcher and puller could have worked with glass or iron. There were hostelers who could care for horses or railway engines. Some of the more interesting occupations listed were leader of the Cornet Band, bird fancier, canvasser of novelties, equestrienne, singleboy and a crier at the circuit court.
Women with occupations are included too – dressmakers, millinery, boarding houses. For example, in Cumberland Katie Millman is listed as a florist; Mrs. Hildebrandt a grocer; Mary Hammersmith had a saloon on 12 Queen City Pavement; and Miss Mary Hilleary and Miss Mercy May ran schools. Miss Ida C Mathis was superintendent of the Western Maryland Hospital. In smaller towns women had additional roles – Mrs. Sarah Craig was a confectioner in Lonaconing; Johanna Hauser, a grocer in Frostburg; Mrs. Henry Schramm ran a general store; and Carrie Creutzburg was a milliner and dressmaker in Barton. Mrs. Frank Wolfe sold stoves and tinware in Frostburg. Mrs. E. Thompson was a music teacher in Mt. Savage and Jennie Loar in Ocean; Mary Nugent the Postmistress in Westernport, and Isabella Baltan ran the saloon at Eckhart Mines. Annie Oder was a compositor, while her father Benson Oder was the proprietor of the Frostburg Mining Journal.
Two interesting entries in the directory are those of Benton Alexandria, miner, Water in Frostburg and Cronley Florence, miner, Mt Savage. In the 1890s Florence was a fairly common name for men, and while Alexandria was less common, the 1900 Maryland census lists 14 heads of household with a first name of Alexandria, and all but two were men. It is very unlikely that there were women working in the mines in some capacity in Frostburg and Mt. Savage in1895.
Widows appear in the directories, together with the name of their former husbands, as in Welsh Bridget wid James of Cumberland and Kooken Sallie wid Joseph of Westernport. Unmarried women also are listed, even without a profession. So Weiskettel Miss Belle, cashier, 67 Decatur is listed with her profession, but Weiskettel Miss Minnie, 67 Decatur is listed too.
The list of abbreviations notes Names of Colored Persons marked with an Asterisk, thus, *. In the transcription of the text, the asterisk has been replaced by '(Colored)' to make searching for African-Americans easier. There are a significant number of African-American miners in Frostburg. African-American barbers, blacksmiths, grocers, saloon owners are listed among the Cumberland business owners. Ellen Johnson, an African-American woman, owned a grocery store on 16 Ann and Helen Harvey, laundress, 183 Madison. May Hoye Public School on Independence in Cumberland and a Public School in Westernport were denoted for African-American students. Cumberland also lists a number of churches marked as African-American, and there were African-American secret societies, like the Star of the West Lodge No 26, [colored] A F and A M.
In addition, there was a Chinese laundry in Cumberland. SAM LEE, [Chinese] 84 Baltimore is listed under Laundries. Sing Sam ran a Chinese laundry in Frostburg. Hagerstown also had a Chinese laundry in 1893.
Saloons were by far the most common business in Cumberland, at least in this 1895 directory. Seventy-nine were listed. Retail grocers were numerous too. There were 27 lawyers. The large number of insurance companies for fire indicates the dangers of flammable structures and industries like the glass factories and iron furnaces. There were also specialty insurance firms for steam boilers and plate glass.
Collection overview prepared by Jill Craig, Digitization Librarian, Western Maryland Regional Library.