Stories from celebration's long history enliven Carroll Co.'s 158th birthday

January 20, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

About 100 people said "Happy birthday" to Carroll County at the Historical Society yesterday and heard tales from parties past.

"They had almost the same kind of weather 158 years ago," Pearl Helwig said of the rain and fog.

"People came up from Annapolis and planned a big parade. They had to cancel and celebrate in several homes along Main Street because of bad weather."

Mrs. Helwig came across that information as she researched her family history.

Rainy weather did little to dampen the 158th festivities at the Shriver-Weybright auditorium in Westminster.

The celebration included readings from the society's latest publication and traditional punch and cake.

"In 1837, Carroll County launched its better proportions for better or for worse," Jay Graybeal, society director, read from a history of the county and added his own comment.

"History shows us it is for the better."

The crowded snickered at the anecdotes that Mr. Graybeal had selected from "The Carroll Record Histories of the Northwestern Carroll County Communities," an informative account he promised was also "full of whiskey stories and practical jokes.

"We laugh because these stories are amusing, but they are a part of our history," he said. "Most of our history is about people, like you and me, who worked here."

The book, edited by Del. Joseph M. Getty and published by the society two months ago, reprints articles from a Taneytown newspaper that operated for several years before the turn of the century.

"You can't find this information any place else," Mr. Graybeal said. "Had these stories not been written down, we wouldn't be able to enjoy them today."

Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who received a copy of the book autographed by several society members, said he recognized in the pages names of several families who still live in the area.

"I doubt if there are any Dells in the book about Northwest Carroll," he said. "We started here nine generations ago and five of those generations have lived in the same house on Sullivan Road."

Commissioner Dell said he would like to see similar publications detailing the history of other sections of the county.

"The information just doesn't get this good from other parts of the county," Mr. Graybeal said.

Jacob Yingling, president of the society, encouraged members to write their family histories.

"If not for foresight 100 years ago, we wouldn't have these stories," Mr. Yingling said.

"You have things happen in your lives which are interesting. Write them down and pass them on. It is going to be important to somebody later on."

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