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History on the move

Log cabin goes from Washington County to Frederick County

Log cabin goes from Washington County to Frederick County

May 06, 2007|By PAT SCHOOLEY

The small log house settles into a hollow facing Md. 85 just east of Buckystown, Md., in Frederick County and is a little way from its original Washington County home.

The house originally stood along what is now Alternate U.S. 40, the Old National Pike. Built at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th, the house sat on the north side of the road, down the western slope of South Mountain, close to Md. 67, southeast of Boonsboro.

Now near Buckystown, the house is newly refurbished, set on stone foundations with a large stone chimney on its west side. Windows are new, as is the chinking, but the newly sanded and finished floor is original. A new standing seam roof, supported by its original rough-hewn rafters, covers the structure and extends over the wide front porch. A small weatherboard wing attaches to the back. This two-part log house has become part of Mount Hope Manor, a farm complex that includes a handsome brick mansion, a hip-roofed barn, another smaller log building and a tall blue silo that announces Hedgeapple Farm. This farm, 254 acres that back up to more than a mile of the Monocacy River, supports grass-fed beef in a sustainable agriculture operation, has a perpetual conservation easement and focuses on a nonprofit beef cattle operation - applied beef and forage research to benefit cattle producers.


The log house has become Hedgeapple's sales office, filled with refrigerated cases selling prime beef. Once a one-and-a-half-story structure with eight rooms, it is now a large undivided open space with a large stone fireplace at its western end. No original moldings or trims remain, no second level, no stairs.

A 1791 map shows the realignment of a road from the Frederick County line to Elizabeth Town through Turner's Gap. The map describes the land in the area where the house once stood in Washington County as "Aulabaugh, his Land" and "Boons Land." But, so far, research has not determined who built the log house.

The first known owners of the log house were John and Sophia Spielman, who had the 9 1/4-acre plot containing the house in 1818 and acquired other acreage as well. For most of the 19th century, it functioned as a small farmstead. In 1853, Ruth H. Meredith purchased a 22 1/4 acre, 7-perch tract containing the farmstead and owned it for six years. In 1859, John and Mary Lapole bought the property and lived out their lives farming there. During this time, they covered the outside of the house with plain lapped weatherboarding and built a small brick kitchen wing onto the north side of the house.

In 1901, the property was advertised in the Boonsboro Times by the Lapoles' heirs as, "All that Tract of Land containing 13.5 acres more (or) less, situate about one-half mile South of Boonsboro along the national Turnpike, and adjoining the lands of Samuel Wagner, John D. Young, Frank Meredith and John Doat. The improvements consist of a good One and a half Story Weather boarded House, containing Eight Rooms and a Hall. There is also a Barn, Carriage shed, Hog Pen, Smoke house, and other outbuildings, all in good condition, and a number of choice apples, pears, plums, and other fruit trees in bearing condition on the premises. A Never-failing well of water is close to the kitchen door. The land is in a good state of cultivation and is well-adopted for the growth of peaches."

It was purchased by Samuel and Fannie Virginia Wagner and then passed to their son Frederick. In 1942, he was listed as "incompetent," and his committee, or trustee, Dr. J. Hubert Wade, sold the property to Charles Herman Rabbitt, who sold it two years later to George and Mary Stiles.

Over time, the Stileses accumulated about 88 acres. In 2004, Todd, Michael, Jacob and Jeanette Easterday purchased this parcel for development. According to Michael Easterday, the log house sat next to a creek in a flood plain and had water in its cellar.

The Easterdays gave the house to Jamie Fields, who carefully took the building down, numbering the logs. He found replacements for logs that could no longer be used and sold the structure to the Jorgensen Family Trust, owners of Hedgeapple Farm, where Dave Johnson erected it once again. Stones from the original foundation and from the site of the house on South Mountain were used to build new foundations and the fireplace. One particularly large, square stone was once the well cover of that never-failing well mentioned in the 1901 auction notice.

Now more than 200 years old, the little house no longer stands in Washington County, but it still serves a useful function. It allows people who see it to remember and to reflect on those who have passed before, those who opened this land and lived out their lives in homes such as this.

Term to know:

Weatherboard: One of a series of horizontal boards used as an exterior wall covering to protect the building structure from weather damage.

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