History

The information for this page was derived from the Midland Anniversary Books and was written by many people including: Agnes Manley Davis and Sally Cutter Butler. If you are aware of any corrections or would like to contribute any additional information, please send  an email  to webmaster@midlandsroots.com

The town of Midland is 1600 feet about sea level, is located 5 miles south of Frostburg and 3 miles north of Lonaconing. Paradise Run and Neff’s Run carry the precipitation from Dan’s Mountain on the east to Georges’ Creek, while Squirrel Neck Run feeds it from the west off of Savage Mountain.  Some say that Midland derived its name from its location, some say it was named after the Midlands in Scotland by the Scottish settlers.

The history of Midland is a little vague before 1850. According to the Heritage Press there were some early pioneers who lived in caves and covered wagons while building their log cabins in the area now know as Midland.  George Winters, an Englishman, who originally settled in Pennsylvania, later moved to Frederick, and then moved west to establish a home in Midland sometime before 1765.The VanBuskirk (Buskirk) family built a stone house in about 1790 about 2 miles south of Midland. Early Catholic services were held in this house, and worshipers traveled on foot from the surrounding area for 5 miles to attend.  This stone house was later inhabited by Miss Virginia Brummage.

In the latter part of the 1700?s, the Combs family settled on the farm which is now the home of Clarence O. Miller.

In 1826 Henry Koontz built a greystone house of logs and stone gathered from the land surrounding the area. This home’s later residents (1975) were Mrs. Marie Winters and her sister, Francis Winters.  Mr. Salem Koontz and his wife, Birdie, moved from the farm to their newly built colonial home in the Koontz orchard, which is now a part of Midland. This was later inhabited by Mrs. Arch “Sweetie” Dixon, granddaughter of Salem & Birdie, who was born in the house. Succeeding owners of this home were Mr. John Kenny and Mr. & Mrs. Gary Eagan. Thus, Midland was originally called “Koontz”.

Earlier writings regarding the early days of Midland refer to a Staup farm located on the present site of the town. One of the first dwelling, a log house, was located on Paradise Street opposite the home of William Kroll.  This house was occupied by a farmer and a woodsman named Staup. In 1863 the heirs of George Staup, Mary A., Peter and William, sold a tract of land to Thomas Gimmel for $7,000. This land was named “The resurvey of the Elk Lick”. Later inhabitants of this home were Bob and Lucy Loar.

The Firlie family bought many acres in this same vicinity, but failed to buy the mineral rights which, according to Carl Firlie of Cumberland, were offered to his grandfather for an additional $100.

Another early family of the area was the Cutters. In the 1850?s Henry Cutter and his wife immigrated from Germany and built a log cabin on the site of the present Hartman farm. In this log cabin ,in 1859, John Barney Cutter was born. He was one of 14 children.

Around 1850, two enterprising Scottish brother, Alexander and Thomas Gimmel, organized the Hampshire and Baltimore Coal Company. The location of their mine was directly behind the site of the Midland School.  In 1859 they built a row of brick homes facing the C&P Railroad. Only 2 of these houses are still standing, completely renovated.

It was an opportune time for the founding of Midland, the youngest of the “Creek” or “Crick” towns. Westernport, Barton and Lonaconing had been settled much earlier. The Georges Creek Coal Company had built a railroad from Piedmont to Knapp’s Meadow to link the newly opened coal fields with the Eastern city markets by way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which had been extended from Cumberland to Piedmont in 1851. The Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad, after purchasing the Georges Creek Coal and Iron Railroad, completed the laying of track from Cumberland to Knapp’s Meadow so that the valley from Cumberland to Westernport, by way of Mt. Savage, had the means of transporting the coal.

From 1874, the town steadily grew. Shortly after 1900 the Koontz Addition was filled with residences. The first grocery business was run by a man named Shearer. Later, Sandy Tennant built and operated an independent grocery business.

In 1900, C.T. Clayton began publishing a weekly newspaper in the Knights of Labor Hall.

One of the early department stores operated by J. R. Poland dispensed news and advertised items in a small news sheet known as the Midland News.T

Leave a Reply