Collection Location: Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library
Contributor: WHILBR – Western Maryland's Historical Library
Collection Overview: The 1875 edition of Boyd's Business Directory of Maryland lists the occupations and businesses in the five largest cities in Maryland, and all the smaller towns. This collection includes the entire state, but not Baltimore City. There is a separate entry for Cumberland and Hagerstown, but this information is also included in the main listing of Business Firms outside of Baltimore.
Directories were precursors to modern-day phonebooks and contain the names of each adult resident in the town along with their occupation and home addresses. The first directory for Baltimore was published in 1796 by Thompson & Walker. Cumberland's first was published in 1859-1860. However, for most small towns, there are no directories and no records of this nature. But Business Directories list the occupations and businesses throughout the state, even in small towns and villages. The 1875 Boyd's Business Directory of Maryland is a case in point. It includes towns like Emmittsburg, Galena, Havre de Grace, Laurel, Manchester, North East, Owings Mills, Port Deposit, Salisbury, St. Michaels, Towsontown, Upper Marlborough, and Westminster. In the directory 72 names are listed from Rohrersville in Washington County (population twenty years later in 1895 of 225). In Garrett County, the most western county in the state, information on towns not available through City Directories is accessible. Hence, Deer Park (179), Swanton (87), Accident (276), and Almont (56) are included (again using populations from Rand McNally, 1895).
The book is organized by occupation. Many of the citizens were self-employed and so the list contains mostly individuals, rather than corporate entities. The exception is newspapers and hotels, and in Western Maryland's case, coal companies. John Gnagey of Accident is listed under Agricultural Implements, William Chapman of Grantsville under blacksmith, G. H. Murphy of Swanton as a shoemaker. Joel Ward of Oakland was a cabinet maker, W. F. Caldwell ran a boarding house in Deer Park, F. P. Fallon sold sewing machines in Swanton. John Miller ran the general store in Altamont while Mrs. Walter Steele ran the store in Deer Park and Mrs Eliza Newcomer ran the store in Benevola. Matilda Taylor's occupation was listed as "human hair", E. K. Harris was a segar manufacturer and F. F. Wilty was a watchmaker in Hagerstown. In effect most of the employed population is listed, with the exception of farmers and those who worked for others (like railway workers and clerks etc).
Boyd's Directory of 1875 also included a list of post offices and postmasters through the state. These may interest genealogists as they add the names of towns and villages considered large enough to warrant a post office. A significant number of women were in charge of the post office. In Allegany County: Mrs. Mary A. Shoup in Ellerslie, Miss Ellen A. Callen in Orleans. In Washington County: Miss Eliza Beard in Boonsborough, Miss Catharine A. Coover in Ringgold, Mrs. Elizebeth Grosh in Funkstown, and Mrs. Harriet Benton in Sharpsburgh. In Piscataway, Prince George Co., Louisa B. Miller was postmaster. Still Pond, Kent Co., Miss Georgia L. Norris was in charge, while in Templeville, Queen Anne's Co., Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper acted as postmaster. In Tyaskin, Wicomico Co., Mrs. Delia E. Moore is listed as postmaster as was Mrs. Margaret Hunter in Weisesburgh, Baltimore Co.
Collection overview prepared by Jill Craig, Digitization Librarian, Western Maryland Regional Library.