Rain puts a damper on Camp Harding concert

July 28, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

PECKTONVILLE - About 100 people gathered for a patriotic concert Saturday at Camp Harding, including a woman who owns a brown ceramic cup former President Warren Harding drank from when he was in the area about 81 years ago.

A rainstorm ended the concert by the Rohrersville Band after about three songs.

The event was sponsored by the Maryland Cracker Barrel magazine.

Cracker Barrel Editor Frank Woodring said the event had two purposes: to thank the community for its support of the magazine and to give recognition to the Rohrersville Band, the oldest community band in Maryland. The band was founded in 1837 by Rohrersville marble cutter G. Washington McCoy, Woodring said.

Woodring said he decided to have the concert at Camp Harding to draw attention to a county park that many Washington County residents do not know exists.


In July 1921 Harding, businessmen Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone Sr. and inventor Thomas Edison, along with others, camped in Pecktonville, west of Clear Spring. They arrived on July 21 and broke camp July 27.

Pictures taken of the event show the men exercising by splitting wood and riding horses that Firestone had shipped to the camp. They fished in Licking Creek.

At one point during the visit, Harding drank water out of a ceramic cup and then set it down and walked away, said Janice DeShong, 68. DeShong's mother, Carrie May Miller, grabbed the cup before another woman who said she had similar intentions could take it, DeShong said.

DeShong inherited the cup, which she keeps in a cabinet with her salt and pepper.

She doesn't drink out of the cup.

"I'm afraid to use it. I'm afraid I would break it," she said.

Ford, Firestone and Edison started taking annual trips together in 1918, Woodring said. Edison mapped out the routes for the trips and he liked to choose obscure spots throughout the country, Woodring said.

The 1921 visit to Pecktonville was the first camping trip in which the wives of Ford, Firestone and Edison were invited, Woodring said. Edison opposed bringing the women, questioning whether they could handle the primitive nature of the camping, Woodring said.

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