Arnold Hometown History Project

by the students of

Magothy River Middle School

Arnold, Maryland

Spring 1997


 

Arnold, Maryland: Our Hometown

 
 

Our mission: The students of Magothy River Middle School were curious about the history of Arnold, Maryland. Since not much has been written about this place, we decided to research our local history ourselves. We are giving special focus to the years 1850-1880, and to the life of an important resident, Thomas H. Arnold. We hope that you will enjoy learning about this very special place.

We are grateful to the MARYLAND HUMANITIES COUNCIL for their generous financial support of this project.
Lead Teachers: Diane Bragdon, Lisa Kissinger, Judy Lee

Scroll to read the project in its entirety or go directly to a desired
location by clicking on one of the sub titles.
A Town or Just a Zip Code? Arnold Elementary School History 1952 - 53
The Life and Times of Thomas Hamilton Arnold The Historic Buildings of Arnold
The Arnold Family Tree The 1850 Census of Anne Arundel County, Maryland
African-American Slaves in Anne Arundel County Occupations in Anne Arundel County
The Will of John Arnold - 1857 The Will of Thomas H. Arnold
Learning About Arnold Through Oral History A Living, Growing History
 
"Arnold - A village about four miles northwest of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County. In 1866, it was "Arnolds Store, P.O." Postmaster Franklin Spriggs states that Arnold takes its name from an old resident, Tom Arnold, who had the first store. In 1878, when the place was called "Arnold's Store", E.F. Arnold was postmaster and general merchandiser."
The Place names of Maryland, Their Origin and Meaning, Hamill Kenny, Ph.D., 1984


Arnold, Maryland: A Town or Just A Zip Code?

Arnold is an unincorporated area. It does not have a traditional courthouse or a town square. There are no signs saying welcome to visitors, or telling you that you are leaving Arnold. Yet people who live here consider it a town in many ways. There is a history here, and a story of how Arnold got its name. There are landmarks, and historical buildings, and a feeling of pride among its residents. This project attempts to define this place, to help the students of our school understand more about the place where we live.

We first decided that it might be helpful to try to establish some boundaries for Arnold. We asked our local postmaster, Mr. Bill Campbell, of the Arnold post office to help us determine the boundaries of Arnold. We are grateful to Mr. Campbell for his help. The post office sent Mr. Gary Cranford, a supervisor at the post office, to speak to our students about this question.

The Arnold Post Office was established in the 1930's, and it started with just one carrier and one clerk. Today, the Arnold Post Office has 17 carriers and 6 clerks. There are about 7,700 daily deliveries now, which represents a great increase in the last ten years due to development, and increases in housing in Arnold. The rapid development started in the 1950's when many of the local communities were built. Before that time, things were very different. For example, Mr. Cranston told us that when he was younger, he planted tobacco on a big tobacco farm where the community of Wexford now stands. He said that at that time, Bay Hills was a huge farm that had horses and tobacco. He also told us that the 1990 census showed Arnold has 21,700 residents.

Mr. Cranston showed us the boundaries of Arnold. Arnold is bordered by Route 50 to the south, Pennington Lane to the east, Jones Station Rd. on the North, and the Severn River on the west.

The Early Inhabitants on the Magothy River

We received a history of the Ulmstead community which told us about the earliest history of our area, and answered some of the questions we had about Native Americans in our area. For instance, we wondered what "Magothy" meant, and where the name had originated. The Ulmstead history tells us that the earliest spelling of the river our school is named after was Magoty; but by 1795 the spelling had become Magothy. The word itself supposedly came from the Algonquin Indian word "magucke" meaning a "wide plain", "without timber", that does not really sound like the Broadneck peninsula area. We wondered if the name came from maggots or mosquitoes. The Ulmstead history suggests that if it did, maybe the earliest English inhabitants added an "h" to it to make it sound better.

This excerpt from the Ulmstead community history was very informative: "According to legend, the area around the present community of Ulmstead was the site of Indian feasts between the tribes of Western Maryland and Gibson Island. Indian artifacts from the late Archaic period (5000-1500 BC) were discovered near Ulmstead Point. Later the area was occupied by the Algonquin tribes who left their arrow heads. When Captain John Smith of Jamestown arrived in this area in 1608, his records show that he found no Indians. Early in this century, Mr. Franklin B. Spriggs uncovered many arrow heads when he plowed up a mound on his bottom land near the present day community of Bayberry". We found from other sources that Mr. Spriggs was a postmaster of our Arnold post office. We thank the residents of the Ulmstead community for their help with this project.

Tombstones As Textbooks

 
 
In order to begin finding information about the Arnold family and the beginnings of our town, we went to our local church cemetery. Behind the Asbury Methodist Church ,on Church Rd in Arnold, lies a small cemetery. There we found ten tombstones which bear the name Arnold. The information we obtained in the cemetery was our first glimpse into how Arnold was started. We took grave rubbings of the tombstones so that we could bring our information back to school. We also mapped the cemetery, thinking that the position of graves would help us tell which people were in families together. Then this information could be used to help piece together who the important settlers of Arnold were.

Arnold Elementary School History 1952-53

We are grateful to a group of teacher from Arnold Elementary School from the year 1952-53 who wrote a very interesting history for their school and community. This document was one of the only published sources we could find when we began this project. The teachers who wrote this history with the students of Grades V and VI of that year were:
Mrs. Virginia Lederhos, Miss Mary Jane Rudy, Miss Dorothy S. Kirkley

The history was very informative. It explained much of the lore that you will read about in our history. We especially liked the section called "Strange Discoveries" which told us of the existence of an Indian burial ground at Joyce Lane, and some of the legends about the grave of John Arnold. We also got a feel from reading this document about what life was like in Arnold in the 1950's. It covers topics like geography, people at work, religion, recreational, and civic groups. This history is available at the Maryland State Archives. It is part of a series of histories done by elementary schools called "Discovering Our School Community" in 1952-53.

The Life and Times of Thomas Hamilton Arnold

It is generally thought that Arnold takes its name from Thomas Hamilton Arnold, a resident and prominent figure in the history of Anne Arundel County. From looking at his tombstone, we realized that he was pretty important. It is one of the biggest, most elaborate tombstones in the cemetery.

Our preliminary research quickly pointed to Thomas Arnold as playing a huge role in the development of this town.

We first got to know Thomas Arnold through his newspaper obituaries. In that time, obituaries were written in a very detailed, colorful style. The newspaper account not only told the cause of death and the names of the relatives left behind, but also described the highlights of his life and evaluated his character as well. We received an obituary from Mrs. Carol Larson, a descendent of Mr. Arnold. She showed us the original one that had been cut out from some newspaper. We became very intrigued about the life of this man because of what the obituary said.

"Mr. Arnold has had the respect of men throughout his life and for a half century has been prominent in the affairs of his county. A man of fine judgment, his advice was often sought. He was never a candidate for office, but in the famous fight of 1875 he was forced upon the ticket of that year for county commissioner and with the ticket of that year was declared elected, but after a contest in the courts the ticket was ousted." Later in the obituary we read about his role in a very famous trial. " Mr. Arnold is the last survivor of the noted Wharton jury. It was he who stood firm for the acquittal of the prisoner, and after a prolonged lockup, the other eleven joined him in the verdict." We were very curious about this trial, and wanted to know more about it. We were unable to determine which newspaper this particular obituary was from, so we decided to look up the Capital and the Baltimore Sun to see if it had come from either of those newspapers.

When we went to the Maryland State Archives to look up Mr. Arnold's obituary, we were surprised to find that a different obituary was on the front page of the Evening Capital newspaper on Friday, September 6, 1901. The obituary stated that "No man held the respect of a larger number of residents in this county than Thomas H. Arnold."

Also on that front page was a notice that President McKinley was shot and died within an hour after the shooting. It was very sad to read the accounts of how a stranger had shot the President and had escaped. The President and his party had just returned to the Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y. It was interesting to hear what national events were happening at this time.

Thomas H. Arnold was described also as "an interesting figure in Anne Arundel county for the past half a century" The obituary also stated that: "The deceased was a man of fine qualities and estimable character, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him."

We became anxious to learn more about this man just by reading his various obituaries. The Capital said that "he was a member of the famous Van Ness-Wharton jury." And that "he held no public office except that of county commissioner".

The Baltimore Sun also published an obituary for Mr. Arnold. It states that he "was one of the most prominent men of that section of the county". We read that "he was a farmer, but of late years conducted a retail merchandise business", and that "in 1870, he was a member of the jury which tried the Wharton-Van Ness case". Along with the obituary was a death notice which stated that the funeral would be "this Saturday afternoon". Relatives and friends of the family invited. Train leaves Camden Station at 1:10 P.M." It sounds as though people were expected to make the trip from Baltimore to pay their respects to Thomas Arnold.

When we started to research his life, we found that, indeed, Thomas Arnold played a big role in the early history of Arnold. First, he donated land for the Asbury M.E. Church. Next, he started a store which gave the town its name. Around the time of 1866, the town was called Arnold's Store. It is noted that way on the historic Hopkins map of 1878. We thought a good next step would be to investigate the buildings around Arnold, to see if we could glean where Arnold's store was, and where Thomas Arnold lived.

We found the death certificate of Thomas Arnold at the Maryland State Archives. This document is very informative, because it helped us tell who his parents were (so that we could keep working on the family tree). We found out that, unfortunately, death certificates were not kept by the state until 1898, so it would not be helpful in tracing the earlier members of the family. We found out that the cause of death was "facial erysipelas". We researched that and it appears that this disease is a kind of staph infection. Many things like this were big problems before they had antibiotics.

The Historic Buildings of Arnold

We are very grateful to the Office of the County Historian, Ms. Donna Ware, for her assistance in tracking down the history of Arnold's Store and various historic properties in Arnold. Much of the following information was shared with us by Ms. Ware and Ms. Sherry Marsh of the County Historian's office.

Our students used the Hopkins map of 1878 to try to determine where the store was. We thought it might be an older building across from Chesapeake Academy on Old County Road in Arnold. Ms. Ware and Ms. Marsh helped us by doing title searches on properties which we felt were originally owned by members of the Arnold family. Ms. Ware told us that the building we thought was Arnold's store was known by early residents as "Revell's Store" and here is what she found out about it.

Thomas Arnold owned 684 mostly contiguous acres in and around the vicinity of the town that bears his family's name. The largest parcel of land was given to him by his father, John Arnold in 1856, "out of the natural love and affection, and desire to see him advance in life."This was land that John previously inherited from his father. The remainder of Thomas' holdings were acquired by private purchase. According to the Anne Arundel County Commissioner's Assessment (1876-1896), by 1887 he had acquired much more land.

The Arnold Family Tree

We are very grateful to Mrs. Carol Larson, a descendant of the Arnold family for assisting us with our research on the Arnold family. She graciously gave us a family tree that she had worked on to learn more about her family. This gave us a big start in our research. Mrs. Larson was also kind enough to come and speak to our classes. She showed us pictures of the early Arnolds, and told us a lot of interesting things. We thank her for the time she spent with us.

The following diagram is a family tree that we have established using information from Mrs. Larson, and from research at the Maryland State Archives.

The Wharton-Van Ness Trial

Thomas Arnold became involved in what was one of the biggest trials of the century. It involved a Mrs. Ellen Wharton, of Baltimore, who was accused of poisoning several people. First, she allegedly poisoned General Scott Ketchum, a highly esteemed Confederate general. He was a guest in Mrs. Wharton's home. She owed him some money, and that was thought to be the alleged motive. Then she was accused of poisoning Mr. Eugene Van Ness, a neighbor in Baltimore. Mr. Van Ness was a banker, who knew that Mrs. Wharton owed General Ketchum money. General Ketchum died, but Mr. Van Ness lived. To make things even more complicated, Mrs. Wharton's husband and son also died mysteriously. Mrs. Wharton was to be tried separately for the two cases. Much like modern trials of our day, the defense attorneys were worried that Mrs. Wharton would not receive a fair trial in Baltimore because of all the media attention the crimes had received in the press. So they asked that the trials be moved to Annapolis. Thomas Arnold was appointed to the "petit jury" just before the Wharton-Van Ness trial began, and so he played a historical role in a big trial.

Mrs. Wharton was acquitted of the murder of General Ketchum. As for the alleged murder of Mr. Van Ness, "the jury after another long trial failed to agree and were discharged." From reading day-by-day accounts in the newspapers of the day, it seems as if the medical experts could not agree about the poison used, or even that the near death resulted from poisoning. There appears to have been some reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.

Reading the accounts of this trial in the newspapers of 1872-73 is like following a soap opera. Mrs. Wharton is described in detail. When she was brought to the courthouse, her daughter and friends accompanied her. They decorated her room in the courthouse and made it pleasant for her. Her meals were brought in to her from a local hotel in Annapolis. We enjoyed learning about the times from reading these newspaper articles.

We spent hours looking at microfilm of the newspapers, and sometimes, by accident, would find an interesting story which involved the Arnolds. One example is the following entry in the paper from 1/21/1873.

Tuesday Morning, Jan. 21, 1873.
"A curious fatality seems to attend the trial of Mrs. E.G. Wharton. During the trial for the alleged murder of General Ketchum, several deaths occurred in the families of jurors, and at the present trial Richard Arnold, brother of Elijah Arnold, one of the present jurymen, was drowned in the Severn River last Friday night. Henry Chairs, Esq., High Sheriff of this county, died suddenly on Sunday the 12th, but before the meeting of the court on Monday the Governor appointed a successor, who qualified and entered upon his duties at once. Mrs. Harvey, mother-in-law of Attorney General Syester, who is engaged in the trial, died at her house in Hagerstown on Sunday the 12th instant. None of these casualties interfered materially with the progress of the trial."
We then tried to find the original account of the drowning and did. In the newspaper of the same day was the story:
Drowned in the Severn
"Mr. Richard Arnold, residing in the Third District, on the north side of the Severn river, came to this city on Monday morning by crossing on the ice, to transact some business. On his return after dark, he unfortunately fell into a gap in the ice and was drowned. His cries and struggles were heard by three of the cadets of the Naval Academy, who went to the rescue, and not withstanding their heroic efforts, they were unable to save the struggling victim. One of these young gentlemen, John C. Colwell of Pennsylvania, was the first to reach the fatal spot, and succeeded in getting hold of Mr. Arnold, but the drowning man's struggles were so violent that his brave rescuer was dragged into the water, from which perilous situated he was rescued by his two companions, who came to his assistance after it was too late to save the drowning man. Young Colwell had a very narrow escape- the intense cold completely benumbing him and requiring the most active and powerful restoratives to save his life, after he was drawn from the water."
And about six weeks later..........
Body Recovered
"The body of J. Richard Arnold, who was drowned whilst attempting to cross the Severn river on the ice during the time of the late Wharton trial, has been found in the Severn. It was in a good state of preservation."


The 1850 Census of Anne Arundel County, Maryland

The census of 1850 gave us much information about the structure of the Arnold families, their occupations, and their descendants. The area we call Arnold is located in the Third District of Anne Arundel County. The Third District was located in the northeast part of the county where Pasadena is now located. There were 2, 107 people in 430 households in the Third District. The average of persons in this district was 23. The average number of people in each household was 4.9.

There were 678 children of school age, 6-18, in the Third District. Only 73 or 10. 77% of these children attended school during the previous year. The following table reports the school attendance for each racial designation.

Children of the Third District Who Attended School - June 1849-June 1850 
White  Black  Mulatto 
Total Number  486  182  10 
In School  72 

The Arnold Families of District 3 in 1850

There were two families of Arnolds listed in the third district in 1850, the households of John Arnold, and Elijah J. Arnold. Both were farmers who could be considered wealthy, at least in terms of the amount of land they owned. John Arnold owned $5,000 worth of land, and Elijah owned $6,000 worth of land. John was the father of Elijah Arnold. John Arnold was 63 in 1850. Elijah was 29 years old that year, and had gone out on his own. The next son in line was Thomas Hamilton Arnold, who was 23 years old. He is listed as a member of his father's household. The story of how our town of Arnold began can be told by examining the lives of these early inhabitants. By studying their lives, we can build a picture of what Arnold was like before 1900, and how it developed into our hometown. We found an original document in the court docket books at the Archives that showed us that Elijah R. Arnold was appointed a "Justice of the Peace" by the State of Maryland. The document reads "Be it known that exposing (?) great trust and confidence in your judgment, integrity, and love of justice, you are hereby appointed a Justice of the Peace of the State of Maryland". It appears that Elijah was also very well thought of in the Third District. His term was "two years from the first Monday in May 1876 (unless sooner removed from office) and until your successor shall qualify according to law."

African-American Slaves in Anne Arundel County

Schedule 2 of the 1850 census counted the number of slaves in Anne Arundel County. This information gives us a glimpse into the important role that African-American slaves played in making Arnold the agricultural success that it was at the time.

There were 11,247 slaves in Anne Arundel County in 1850 compared to 21, 077 free people. be. In the third district, where Arnold is located, the statistics are as follows:

There were 677 Males, 362 Females, for a total of 1,039 slaves. This comprised 42% of the population of the Third District. The county average was about nine slaves per owner.

Schedule 2 of the census does not list the names of the slaves. Only each slave's age, sex, and color was recorded under the name of the owner. If the slave had run away, space was provided to record the number of years he had been gone. A column is also included for recording how many slaves of each description had been "manumitted" or freed.

Occupations in Anne Arundel County in 1850

The census also tells us occupations of the heads of households and some others as well. It is very interesting to read what some of them are. Here is a list of examples of occupations which we found interesting:
Wheelwright, Watchman, Showmaker,Blacksmith, Butcher, Hotel keeper, Boot maker,Miner, Carter, Rough Carpenter, Ditcher,Puddler,Moulder, Dresser, Weaver, Miller, Picker, Cooper, Justice of the Peace, Overseer, Stone cutter, Tinner, Wagoner, Tailor, Millwright, Pump maker, Huckster, Tobacconist, Potter, Cabinetmaker, Bar Keeper, Captain Vessel, Hod Carrier, Ship Carpenter, Toll Gate Keeper, Barber, Minister, Teacher, Saddler, Whitewasher, Carder, Spinner, Striker
Some of these occupations may be unfamiliar to you, so here are some explanations:
Carter: a person who drives a cart
Cooper: a person who makes and repairs barrels
Founder: Person who casts metal.
Molder: A person who shapes something.
Smelter: a person who obtains metal from ores by melting
Tanner: A person who tans hides.

Causes of Death in the Third District in 1850

People in 1850 died of some diseases which do not now cause deaths. The mortality schedule of 1850 lists everyone who died in the twelve months preceding June first of the census year. Dysentery, scarlet fever, and consumption (tuberculosis) were the leading causes of death in the Anne Arundel County of 1850. There was a very high infant mortality rate. Over one-half of the victims of various diseases were less than 20 years old. Other causes of death in the third district in 1850 included:

Scarlet fever, Accidents, pleurisy, dysentery, congestion, Bilious, old age, influenza, teething, purpural fever, whooping cough, "child bed".
Pleurisy: Inflammation of the thin membrane covering the lungs and lining the thorax.
Purpural fever: Disease characterized by purple spots on the skin or mucus membrane.
Bilious: Trouble with the bile or liver
 

The Will Of John Arnold - 1857 

 
We were able to find the original wills written in beautiful handwriting at the Maryland State Archives. We recorded what hey say here, because it is difficult to read them.

In the Name of God, Amen!

I, John Arnold, of Anne Arundel County in the State of Maryland, being of sound and disposing mind, memory, and understanding, considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence, do therefore make and publish this my last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say: First and principally I commit my soul into the hands of God and my body to the earth to be decently buried, and after my debts and funeral charges are paid I devise and bequeath as follows

Item -I give and bequeath unto my second son Thomas Hamilton Arnold all that tract or parcel of land lying and situated on the North Side of the Severn River in Anne Arundel County Maryland and known as "Hammonds Security" containing about 300 acres more or less and meeted and bounded as may be seen by reference to deed from Julianna Hammond to John Arnold, to him my said son, his heirs and assigns forever.

Item -I give and bequeath unto my wife Rebecca Ann Arnold the residue of my estate, real personal and mixed to be hers during her natural life , and I do hereby declare that the bequests herein after _____shall not take effect until the decease of her my said wife or in any way interfere with the full enjoyment by her of this bequest.

Item -After the decease of my wife Rebecca Ann Arnold, I will desire that all my real estate situated on the North Side of Severn River in Anne Arundel County Md, be equally divided by sworn commissioners between my three children John Richard Arnold, Medora Wills Arnold, and Victoria Arnold share and share alike to be theirs their heirs or assigns forever respectively.

Item -Whatever personal property may be left at the time of my wife's deceased including also my house and lot in the city of Annapolis I give and bequeath unto my four children Thomas Hamilton Arnold, John Richard Arnold, Medora Wills Arnold, and Victoria Arnold to be divided between them share and share alike.

Item- I give and bequeath unto my oldest son Elijah Redmond Arnold the sum of fifty dollars, and unto each of my grandchildren ________unto my said son Elijah Redmond Arnold I bequeath one hundred dollars to be paid to them by my named when they shall respectively arrive at the age of twenty one years.

and lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my second son Thomas Hamilton Arnold Executor of this my last will and Testament, enjoining and making it a condition upon which depends all the aforegoing bequests in his favour that he my said Son shall take charge of the family after my decease, and manage for his mother, & help her to take care of the minor children so long as she shall live and I do hereby revoke and annul all wills by me heretofore made and do publish and declare this to be my last will and Testament.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the twenty seventh day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and fifty five.

Signed sealed published and declared by John Arnold the above named Testator as and for his last will and Testament in the presence of us, who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.....Seals

The Will of Thomas H. Arnold

I, Thomas H. Arnold of Anne Arundel County State of Maryland do make and declare this to be my last will and Testament.

1st I direct that all my debts, funeral expenses, taxes, and all legal charges against my estate shall be paid.

2nd I will and bequeath to my grandson Martin Steel my store and one-half acre of land around it. Also I direct the goods in the Store to be sold and five hundred dollars ($500.) of the money realized from the said sale be given to the afore said Martin Steel.

3rd All the rest and residue of my estate real personal and mixed I will and bequeath to my wife Eliza P. Arnold during her single life and at her death to be divided among my children share and share alike except my son Alton R. Arnold and my grandson Martin Steel who have been provided for.

4th I hereby name and appoint my son Alton R. Arnold executor of this will.

Witness my hand and seal this thirty-first day of August nineteen hundred and

Dr. J.D. Ridout

A.R. Arnold


Learning About Arnold Through Oral History

Our students would like to thank Ms. Valerie Pawlewicz, one of the scholars involved in this project, for teaching our students and teachers about how to do oral history projects. Ms. Pawlewicz, a noted oral historian, was an extremely important part of this section of our project. The skills we learned from her will help us with many future humanities projects.

We also wanted to know about Arnold in the 1930's and 1940's. We are very grateful to Mr. Bill Schriefer, who came to our school to talk about what Arnold was like when he was growing up. Mr. Schriefer grew up in a house which originally belonged to John Arnold, and which is the site of the grave of John Arnold. There are many stories about why John Arnold is not buried with the rest of his family in the Asbury cemetery, but we will never really know. As the stories go, it is said that John Arnold requested to be buried right near his house so he could always keep an eye on his young widow Rebecca. Other stories say that he was buried with his money, and if you kept quiet while digging for it, you would be able to get it, but if you spoke, it would sink deeper into the earth. We do not believe these legends since we found the will of John Arnold, and realize that he left his money to his family.

Mr. Schriefer told us what life was like here when he was a boy. The Arnold schoolhouse then had four rooms and were filled with kerosene lamps lighting the rooms. Electricity did not come to Arnold until 1934.

After school was done for the day, everyone would go and swim in the Magothy River. It wasn't at all polluted then. Then, they would walk home along the roads made of gravel and oyster shells. The train was the most popular form of transportation other than walking. The wealthy would have horse-drawn carriages, or would invest in the new Model A Ford. Ritchie Highway was built in 1939.

Most of the children lived on farms, and either raised animals or food. Arnold was a very rural farming region until World War II. Mr. Schriefer told us that the ice man would come around and sell 50 lb. blocks of ice for 25 cents. A quart of milk was 10 cents. Water for drinking and bathing was pumped from wells. It would have been fun to live in Arnold 60 years ago!

Here are excerpts from the oral history that we did which tells us about life in Arnold when Mr. Schriefer was a boy....

".....The roads them days were all gravel or oyster shell based, usually full of pot holes, and when a car or wagon went down the road, dust flew all over the place.and the ones living on the west side of the road didn't have too much trouble. But those living on the east side of the road ,the wind always blows mostly from the west and of course those days we didn't have washers and dryers and they hung the clothes out on lines to dry them so they have to build the line way back off the road in case a car come along to keep the clothes from getting dirty all over again......."

"We didn't get electricity in there until 1934. Previous to that we had oil lamps, wood stoves, wood and coal. Every house had a kitchen range. Ah, you went home from school, you always had chores to do, o.k.? You carried out the ashes, you carried the kindling and the wood in, you had to pump your own water, and if you lived on a farm, there were animals to take care of, and you always done that first. You'd better do it. And without electricity, of course, you couldn't have a Frigidaire. So a lot of people had what you'd call ice boxes. An the ice man would come around twice a week and sell you a piece of ice. Well, the economy was very bad around here then. There wasn't any money, and a lot of people didn't have jobs, and they couldn't afford ice, and they couldn't afford ice boxes. So they would go and if they lived near sea level, close to the water, there always springs running near the water, and they'd build themselves a spring house. and they'd leave their perishables, milk, eggs, butter, and things like that, in there between meals. And up where I lived, I was considered lucky. We had an ice box and an ice man. The wells were all around 100 feet deep, and they were ugly holes in the ground.they were dug about 6-8 foot in diameter. They were built by hand. A man went down there with pick and shovel. An d dug 'em, and these people would put their perishables in a bucket and lower them down the well. and keep their perishables from spoiling that way. Now, a well, to accommodate a couple of horses and a couple of cows, and all the farm chickens (they took a lot of water), I guess the language you people can understand today, a cow can put a hurting on a bathtub of water! An d they drink a LOT of water, and it all had to be pumped. We had a way of pumping, and I'll give you that in a second. The well, if they had a slow stream, the well digger would go down there and dig what we call a curve, a big reservoir under the ground, and don't ask me what one looks like, cause I never had the nerve to go down there and look at it. I took their word for it! Years ago they used to have what they call an old make and break engine, some of 'em would call 'em a "one lunger", a big heavy cast iron one-cylinder engine. And you could hook it to your pump and start it, and it would pump water. Most of them had tanks that they'd fill up, and then after you'd finish watering your animals, or your laundry and all the water you'd need...they would just take a pin out and put a pump handle on, and if you wanted a bucket of water for the house, you just went out and pumped a bucket."

"When I first started school at Arnold, they had a coal stove in each room. And all the bigger boys, especially those who, ah, got in a little trouble along the line, they had to tend the fires. And that second or third year, they put a regular heating system throughout the whole building. It took about two years to get the kinks out of it. We were colder then then we were with the regular heating system. All of us then, at a very young age, learned how to tend stoves. We could all built fires, and you had to be very careful. The closest fire department at that time was up at Earleigh Heights. That was before Ritchie Highway was built. And it set back on Truckhouse Road, and they would have to come all the way down Truckhouse Road to Goske's Store, on the old Annapolis Road, and to get down in this area here. Arnold Fore Department wasn't built until about 1943. And so people were very careful. You didn't have tile floors then there were all wood floors with varnish on them, and you had to be careful that you didn't knock the lamps over."

"On the corner of Church Road and Jones Station Road, was Heneke's Store. It was an old farm store. And it didn't have all the fancy things in it that you see in stores today. You might have five or six barrels, and you might have like pickles in one, maybe sauerkraut in another, apples and codfish in season. Whatever was in season. Sauerkraut you bought loose. Potatoes would be in baskets, tomatoes, and things like that. You didn't buy too much by the pound then. It was by the peck or basket, or things like that. Most of the natives here didn't buy much of that stuff out of the store. They raised their own, but in the summertime, down at Shore Acres, and along here, there were a lot of summer homes. People would come down in the summer. They're the ones that would buy from stores like this, We bought some things, like sugar, bread, and once in a while you'd run out of a canned good, and things like that, and we bought our gasoline most of the time there and kerosene. Most stores had a kerosene pump and an ice house where you could buy a piece of ice. And the gasoline pump, to give you an idea of what it looked like then, it was a big tank, and it had a big glass bowl up in the top, and if you wanted five gallons of gasoline, you would pull up there, and they would pump five gallons up into this tank, and it was all marked off by the gallon, and you could see it, and then it would gravity feed it into your car or container. And before electricity came along they had a hand pump on there, they would pump it up. And the people used to get out and watch that mark to make sure they would get their full gallon or five, or whatever they were buying. Gasoline was real cheap those days. You could buy six gallons for a dollar. Or 18 cents a gallon, something like that. Buck Heneke's Store was like a family affair. And the younger ones would go out in the field (he farmed as well) and bring in the cantaloupes or melons, whatever was in season at the time. He also had farm animals."

" When I started Arnold school in 1931, they had electricity in there then. At that time there was one house between the Methodist Church and the Senior Center down there at that time. And most of the other area was all woods coming down. There was a family of Grays that lived there where Hollyanna Acres is now, and they had two oxen that they used to work the farm with. And, uh, they were slow animals, but they were powerful. And they were like your big bulldozers today. They could really work! And you didn't drive them like you did your horses or team. You walked along side them, and the man had a little twig. You touched them one way or the other, whichever way you wanted them to turn."

"People worked on farms in those days, for anywhere between a dollar and a half to two dollars a day. And their dinner. And they worked from seven in the morning to six at night, and you worked! And of course the farm madam, she would always have a great big dinner, cause you could eat then! Soup to start with ,and maybe chicken and things like that. In those days, you only got fried chicken once a year. Chickens came out in May, and by July they were big enough to be called "fryers". And that was a real treat! Everybody loved fried chicken. They didn't grow chickens all year then. Then they'd go from that to a "pullet" stage...and they would start laying then. And the pullet eggs were small, so all the big eggs went to market and all the little eggs we ate ourselves."

We are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Schreifer for telling us about what this place called Arnold was like when they were young!


A Living, Growing History

Did you grow up in Arnold? Do you have more information about the history of Arnold that you would like to share? If so, please contact the Enrichment Center at Magothy River Middle School.

Magothy River Middle School, 241 Peninsula Farm Road, Arnold, MD 21012. (410) 544-0926

We have tried to begin the task of learning about Arnold through archival, genealogical and oral history research in this 1996-97 school year. Our hope is that this history project will continue to grow and develop as people in our community read it and contribute to it. We look forward to hearing from and working with you.

Diane Bragdon
Enrichment Teacher
 
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Updated 2/1/99