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A thesis by 
Luther Hiller Harper 
as part of his initiation into Maryland Beta 
Chapter of Tau Beta Pi Association. 

January 10,1930. 



The site of Gtmiberland was first Inhabited "by the 
Shawawanee Indians of the warlike Algon^in groupe. They 
called their settlement "Gauetuouc" for the creek which ran 
past the town. The white, trappers renamed the town Will's 
Town and the creek iVill's Creek, 

Trappers ventured into the terriatory trading with 
the Indians and finally establishing a trading company known 
as the Ohio Company, France, realizing the valTO of this trade, 
, stopped the work of the Ohio Company, Washington with a small 
force tried to drive out the French but was too greatly out- 
numbered. The IMfce of Cumberland, for whom Cumberland was 
named, sent General Braddock to drive out the French, Braddock 
was not accustomed to the warefare of the savages, who were 
helping the French, was killed and his Army defeated. Finally 
Colonel Boquet was auoceaaful in taking the territory from the 

Cumberland was incorporated in 1815 by act of the 
Legislature of Maryland. .?hich was ammended in 1834 by a 
bill incorporating the to'/m under the name and title of the 
•^layor and Councilmen of the Town of Cumberland? 

The Cumberland Road was constructed by the federal 
government. It carried many people and imich money to the weat 


and served to haPBoniae" and to strengthen, if not to sare 
the Union, Changes were made in the original location of 
the road "by the government officials. The road had much 
to do with the development of Ctmberland and established 
Cumberland as one of the principal ways to the West, 

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was constructed to pro- 
vide a better means of transportation to and from Cumberland, 
It was not completed soon enough, however, to be as prosperous 
as was expected. 

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad came to Cumberland in 
184 E, It carried passengers to and from Cumberland for travel 
to and from the West on the Cumberland Road, It gave a sat- 
isfactory aeceas to the markets of the East and was a great 
stimilus to the growth of Cumberland, The Cumberland and Penn 
sylvan la Railroad went from Cmiberland westward and brought 
coal and iron from the west to Cumberland for transportation 
over the Baltimore and Ohio, 

111 of these means and ways of trajisportation helped 
to establish Cumberland as the -Gateway to the West and did much 
toward the establishment of future industries and helped the 
growth of the to'/ra. 



A ship came sailing out of the east one mid-siumner 
morning in 1746 bringing news to the American colonies of 
a great battle fought on the Scottish field of Culloden, 
where the cause of the Stuart Pretenders had been declslrely 
vanquished before the army of His Majesty George II, 

There was rejoicing in all the colonies of Mainland 
who had already declared in its council for Eing Greorge, 
Word of the victory was received in Annapolis with great 

Many miles inland from the fashionable capitol, past 
the little » frotmtier town of Frederick, westward In that 
region of the oolony where the white raan had not as yet 
blazed his first rude roads, there was another town by the 
name "Caiuotucuc". Its inhabitants were Shawanees, members 
of the fierce, warlike Algonquin groups. Their settlement 
was built on the shores of the noisy, little stream that 
gave the town that name. This creek wandered into the val- 
ley through a deep gash in the western hills, and, after 
flowing past the redman*3 wigwams, mingled its waters with 
those of the placid river known to the savages aa tht 
"Cohongoronta". On all sides of the Indian camp towered 
the high blue walls of the Alleghanies, with their trackless 


foresta and deep rsTlna, formidable barriers that they were 
holding in check the advance of civilization. Only the 
trappers in their search for furs had defied these moun- 
tain strongholds. They came often to Caiuctucuc to trade 
with the friendly old chief and his braves. The musioal 
Indian names did not come readily to the rude tongues, 
so they chose a name of their own for the chief, his vill- 
age and the creek on which they paddled their canoe; thus, 
Caiuotucuc became (¥111*3 Town, 

The July twilight that saw Annapolis in gala attire 
brought only peace to the Shawanees settlement, IJo rumor 
of the battle had crossed the Alleghaniea, Uo fonn of 
gaiety there celebrated the victoiy at Culloden, Yet there 
at the junotion of 'ffill's creek was to rise a queenly city 
that would perpetuate forever in its name the memory of him 
who has been called the "TButcher of Culloden", His Royal 
Highness the Duke of Cumberland. 

So this is the story of how it came to pass that on 
the sight of that ancient Shawanee camp a frontier fort was 
erected and the white man, with his axe and his gun, came to 
break the silence of the centuries, as he laid the foundation 
for a noble city there in the heart of a pr imative wilder- 



IMtll 17S8, nothing was loaown of the regions bord- 
ering the riyer that is today called the Korth Branch of the 
Potomac* Then the trapper, in hia search for furs, began to 
venture farther and farther into the dense forests, follow- 
ing the Indian trails or paddling his canoe along streams. 
It was the indomitable courage, energy, and rude diplomacy 
of these trappers that opened up the way to trade with the 
savages. By 1748 this fur trade had become so important a 
business that some influential gentlemen Joined to forai a 
company that was chartered by the British government under 
the name of the Ohio Company, havii^ among its founders 
Lawerence and Augustine Washington and a Colon el Ore gap, 
who was already established at a place called 01dtown» 

five hundred thousand acres were granted between the 
Monongahela and the Kanawha Rivers, provided one hundred 
families be established In seven years, a fort established 
and a garrison maintained. The land was explored and a post 
established on the banks of the Will's Greek, where trading 
was done with the Indians, The Ohio Company prospered 

France as a challenge, erected new forts and put 
forth new efforts to prevent their enemies progress. The 
Ohio Company was compelled to discontinue its working and 
the warehouse at Will's Creek was abondoned. 


(Jeorge Waahlngton was selected by the governor of 
Tlrginla to lead the force that was to regain posaesslon of 
the Ohio Company* a grant. 

Setting out from Will's Creek, iVaahington followed 
the path marked "by Goloniel Cresap, Finding it scarely 
more than a narrow trail through dense forests, he was com- 
pelled to travel slowly, widening the road as he advanced. 
It was iraposaible to advanoe more than a few miles a day, 
A French detachment had left Pt, Duquesne to meet .Vashington 
and surprise him from ambush. Learning of this Washington 
decided to surprise the enemy before they surprised him. 
The leader of the French was killed and the others captured, 

Washington hurried back to his main body of men and 
erected Port IJeoesslty iflSiere he awaited the arrival of the 
French whom he felt sure would avenge the p3?eviou3 defeat. 
The French arrived and so greatly outnumbered Washington's 
men that after nine hours fighting in the rain he was forced 
to surrender the fort and return to Will's Creek, 

The Duke of Cumberland as Conmiander in Chief of the 
British Inny sent Major General Sdward Braddook to attack 

Braddook knew nothing at all of American Warfare, 
despised the savages, and undereatitnated their ability and 
importance. At the suggestion of General Braddook the new 
fort at Will's Creek was called Fort Cumberland, for the 
Commander in Chief of the British Aimy, 


Braddook's Army marched out of Fort Ciimberland Tae- 
neath a cloudless sky of turquoise blue. The men were in 
high spirits singing, joking as if they were off on a 
picnic "but as they advanced the going teoorne harder and 
their spirits fell. Shortly after noon on the seventh of 
July the army was surprised from ambush ty the savages. 
Their red uniforms proved deadly targets for the Indians 
and the British become panic stricken when they could not 
see who they were fighting and fled while attempting to 
make the retreat as orderly as possible, Braddock was shot 
down and died a few clays later. The men returned to Fort 
Cumberland, For a long time much crime was cosmitted along 
the frontier since it was left undefended, 

William Pitt became Prime Minister of England and 
his interest in American affairs was very great, ^« sent 
Colonel Boquet who drove the French from Fort Daguesne and 
reatabliahed order along the frontier* 




Fort Cxmberland continued to grow and tracing be- 
come more prosperous. 

The town was inoorporateii in January, 1815, at which, 
time the Legislature passed an "Act to provide for the ap- 
pointment of Commiaaioners for the regulation and improve- 
ment of the to-ivn of Gumlierland, in Allegany County, and to 
incorperate the aanie. 

In March 1834, a bill was passed ammending the act 
of 1815 and proTiding that seven counoilmen should "be elected 
each year, and that they should elect one of their members 
as mayor. 

The town was inoorparated under the name and title 
of the '•Mayor and Counoilmen of the Town of Cumberland"* 




The C-umberland Road westward to Ohio was so named 
because Cumberland was the point officially designated as 
the starting point for work done by the federal goveim- 
ment to link the East with the newly settled lands West 
of the Ohio rlver» The road was subsequently loaown also as 
the Union Pike and the National, Road, 

On March 29, 1806^ President Jefferson signed a bill 
appropriating $30 » 000 for a preliminary survey of a road 
from Cumberland, through the Narrows and across the moun- 
tains » to the Ohio river at yfheellng; construction followed 
as soon as practical thereafter, Taut was nearly stopped by 

the War of 1812. Work was resumed In 1816, and the road was 
opened to Wheeling in 1818 ♦ 

'iThil© the federal government assumed authority to 
construct this road under th.e clasue of the Constitution 
empowering it to establish ^st roads, the principal motiT« 
of Its construction was political. It was a continuation 
of Washington's policy to unite the settlements west of the 
Allegany Mountains with the Atlantic seaboard by the strong 
bands of commerce. 

The road carried thousands of population and millions 
of wealth into the *,Vest ; and more than any other material 
structure in the land, served to harmonize and to strengthen, 
if not to save the Union, 


From 1806 to 1838 Oon^^ress jipproprial:ed ;?4, 284,086.43 
for the building and maintaining of the Ciua'berland Road, The 
totea length of the TOh.1 was atoiit 750 Diileej ^1,889,170.59 
of the whole aiim was spent on the road from Ctim'berland to 
Wheeling; 131 miles as marked by that many markers, some of 
them yet standing, over 75 years old. 

An. army of people lived upon the traffic that passed 
over the road. For 34 years the Cumberland Road was the 
great national highway, the principal avenue from the Atlantic 
slope to the Valley of the Mississippi, There was no high- 
way of equal importance to the national road. It was the 
"Appian Way" of Aoaerica, The people who lived along it wit- 
nessed a great procession of stages » line wagons, cones togas, 
horsemen, droves of cattle, sheep and swine. 

The Harrowa, Will's Creek, near Cumberland (abous ISSS) 


The first lo oat Ion of the road had "been out (Ireen St» 
and across Will's Mountain through Sandy Gap, A "better route 
was found through the Harrows and along Will's Greek and 
Braddoolc*s Ktm. The relocation was for six miles, and was 
made by General Gratiol the Chief Engineer, He estimated 
the cost of the relocation and various repairs at 1645,000, 
Tfavel through the Narrows route began in llovember, 1834, 

As many as £0 stages, each drawn by four horses, 
were sometimes counted in a sin^'le line on the road, and 
from March 1 to March 20, 1849, 2586 passengers were carried 
on the stages. Merchandise was carried in large broad wheel 
wagons, protected by canyas stretched over bows, drown by 
six horses, Nearly every mile of the mountains route had 
its wayside inn where lodging could be procured for the night. 

Thus it can be seen that Cumberland was the Gateway 
to the ifl^est as it was the start ir^ point for one of the greatest 
highways in the world* 




Realizing the need of "better means of transportation 
from the east to the west, it became the general desire to 
substitute some better method than the Jack horse or the rirar 
boat. This project took place in 1823, and the proposition 
was to construct a canal along the Potomac River to its Head 
waters and thence to the waters of the Ohio River, This scheme 
was brought before the legislation of the state of Maryland 
and met with general approval, A convention was called and a 
company organized known as The Potomac Company, 

The Potomac Company, on the 15th of Augtiat 18S8, ex- 
ecuted a deed surrending their charter, property, and rights 
to the Chesapeake And Ohio Canal Company, 

It was not until June 1823, however, that a sufficient 
amoxmt of stock had been taken and the company was formally 
organized and accepted the charter. 

The first spade fall of earth in the construction of 
the canal was removed by no leas a personage than John Quinoy 
Adams, President of the United States, The work was started 
in Washington and moved West wards ♦ Work progressed on the 
canal, money was plenty, and the magnificence and costliness 
of all the work done bear evidence of it. The traffic of the 
great west was the main object. But about this time attention 
was directed to the Cumberland coal fields, and tests and 
comparison were made with all other coal, and it was established 


"by testa at the navy yard that a pound of Cumberland coal 
was of snel^er bulk and gave out more heat than any other 
soft ooal. Being the only carrier of thia inexhaustible 
aupply of the best steaming coal in the world, that xm- 
naturally made the oanal people very well satisfied with the 
future. Finally money ran short and the progress of the 
canal slowed up quite a bit. The flompany had trouble with 
their creditors and their laborers, Maiyland was the only 
source fjrom which money could be obtained and thus the caiial 
was completed only as far as Cumberland. 

A view of Cumberland showing dam across the Potomac 
which supplies water for C & Oanal, 

Thruaday the l©th day of October 1850, was a memorable 
day in history of Cumberland. That day the Canal was opened 
for traffic between Cumberland and Tide Water at Georgetown 
on the Potomac. 


Thft completion of the work required twenty -two years 
and cost 111, 071, 176 or #59.618 per mile. The Canal was 
worth to the state all it cost "because it developed the great 
coal mining industry of Allegany County, But as a National 
thoroughfare, for ^ich it was designed, it was a bitter 
disappoihtment to its projectors, however the canal made 
Ctmberland a center for the Vfestward trade. 

Yiew along the Chesapeake and uhio G'^snal 



Por more than ten years C-umljerland was the western 
terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Hail road, The road was 
opened from Baltimore to Cmn'berland on the first day of UoT- 
emher, 1842, and the western extension, ffcm Cumherland to 
(Theeling, was opened to traffic to Wheeling on the 10th of 
January, 1953, That period, when it was the teiminal of the 
road, was a moat prosperous time for the city of Qumherland, 



The Cumberland Road westward was in effect the continu- 
ation of the Railroad, Eastward the wagon road was almost 
abandoned. The great stage lines were withdrawn and the line 
wagons and other rehicles, and hearda of cattle, sheep, and 
swine from the West, stopped at Cumherland, All passengers 
and freight between Baltimore and other eastern points were 
transfered at Cumberland that west bound from cars to stages 
and wagons; that east bound from stages and wagons to the 
railroad cars. The volume of freight was so great that the 
railroad was not always ready to carry to its destination in 
the east that which the line wagons had brought from the West, 
and many warehouses were built along the railroad in which to 


store that which was waiting transportation east and west, 
Gri^eat drOTes of hogs come £rom the Hest for ahipnent to 
Baltimore, Aa many as S600 were shipped daily, and as the 
equipment of the road was greatly overtaxed, there would be 
long periods of waiting for the oars. The Canal had not 
yet reached Gtimberland, and the opening of the railroad, 
giTing satisfactory access to the markets of the East, was 
the first great stimulus to the growth of the town. 

A view of Cumberland of about the year 1858, Note "William G«Uoway" type englae with train on 

right aide of picture 

The Cumberland and Pennsylvania Hailroad^ runs from 
Cumberland through the Narrows to Piedmont, Jf. Va, It passes 
through, the valley of George's Creek, the most important 
coal region of Maryland, It first extents from Cumberland 
to Mount Savage from where it transports coal and iron to 
the Baltimore and Ohio Road at Cumberland, This road was 
completed in 1846 shortly after the Baltimore and Ohio had 


2?eached C-omlierland, The G'um'be rlaM and PeimsylTania Oompariy 
was chartered in 1850, 

It can thus be seen that these two railroads up to 
1875 did much for the growth of Cumberland and established 
Cumberland as the principal way for East to West traffic* 



CTmberland as the G-ateway to the We at was first 
established by the Ohio Company, The fur trade established 
the town and its prosperity at the time i^eri men were push- 
ing farther West, 

The Oiamberland Road, while established for political 
reasons, did more to make Cumberland aa the principal route 
to the west than any other thing. 

The utilization of the Gumberl^id Road by many people 
moTing into the fast developing iVest made Cumberland one of 
the most popular towns of the time. 

The Canal and Railroad helped to develop Cumberland 
as an Indus tual center and a trading center and carried 
many people and much freight to Cumberland on the way Westward, 
Viewing all these facts it can be seen that Cimberland had 
much to do with the development of the West, 



Histoid of Allega3!iy Coimty, Maryland- 

By James W, Thomas, L,L,]}, 
Judge T, J, C, WilllsmB- 

T©roentenaa?y History of Mary land- 
By Mathew Page Andrews, 

History of Western Mary land- 
s' J, Thomas Scharf» A, M« 

Maryland- The History of a Palatenate< 
By William Hand Brown, 

The Old Pike- 

By T, B, Searight, 

History of Cumtierland- 

By 'f» H, Lowermilk,