Monday, June 1, 2015

John & Mary Beckley

June 9th marks 202 years since the death of Mary "Polly" Reister Beckley.
Mary was born in early 1757, the sixth and youngest child of John Reister and Margaret Sohn.  She was still just a baby when her father patented the "Reister's Desire" land tract in Baltimore County the following year, and shortly after he moved the family there.

In 1781, John Reister broke his property "Brotherly Love" into smaller lots for several of his children.  Mary, in her turn, was deeded a half-acre with a small house, located south of the Reisters' inn.
Two years later, on October 14, 1783, Mary married John Beckley, a blacksmith.  He, too, was of German descent, believed to be the son of Mathias and Elizabeth.  John took over the blacksmith shop established about eight years prior by his new father-in-law.
Perhaps as a wedding gift, John Reister deeded John Beckley a quarter-acre lot with a house from his original "Reister's Desire" land in August of 1786.  Reister promised to "warrant and forever defend the aforesaid lott or parcell of land and premisses unto him the said John Bachley his heirs and assigns forever against any person or persons whatsoever", in exchange for five shillings sterling, and an annual rent of six dollars.
While the oldest part of the house dated back to 1779, the Beckleys added on to the structure.  By 1798, it was listed on tax records as a two-story brick building, twenty-nine feet by fourteen feet, with a fifteen-by-fifteen brick kitchen.

John Beckley passed away on December 5, 1806 at the age of 50.
As John left no will, Mary was appointed administratrix of his estate in February of 1807.  By April, her estate inventory totaled $142.12, including:
"1 bedstead and bedding, 2 chests, 1 lot of wearing apparel, 1 pair speckticles and one pair knee buckles, 1 case of razors, 1 looking glass, 1 chest, 1 bedstead and sacking bottom, 1 walnut table and a desk, 1 stove, 15 chairs, 1 table and a candlestand, 1 bedstead and furniture, 1 small bedstead under bed and quilt, 1 lot of books and a clothes brush, 1 looking glass, 2 old spinning wheels and reel, ten course linen sheets and one fine, 4 old bed quilts 4 hand towels + 2 table cloths, 1 bedsted bed and furniture, 1 folding table, 1 lot of plates and dishes, 3 decanters 3 tumblers, 1 lot of tea ware, 8 bottles, 1 cutting box, 1 cow, 2 iron shovels + one garden rake + one hoe, 1 drag and fork, 1 lot of crockery, 1 lot of pewter and finery, 1 lot of wooden ware, 3 flat irons 2 dripping pans 2 ladles 1 fleshfork, 1 sow and pigs, 4 pots 2 frying pans and potlid, 3 kettles, 1 cittchen cupboard and coffee mill, 3 dough trays and churn, 3 barrels 3 tubs, 1 lot of old blacksmith tools and some old iron, 1 grindstone and slate, 1 wooden morter and old ax."
The following year, Mary was appointed guardian of John Beckley's "orphan" children:  Juliet Ann, John, Philip, Elizabeth, Jacob, and Dorothy.
Mary passed away four years later, on June 8, 1812, at the age of 56.  The guardianship of the younger Beckley children would fall to John Jr., who had taken over his father's blacksmith shop.

The Beckleys' house still remains today, at the corner of Main Street and Cockeys Mill Road.  For many years, it remained in the hands of Reister descendants.  In the early 1900s, the house was purchased by the Naylors and became a popular ice cream parlor.
In the 1970s, the Beckley house entered its current incarnation as the Ski Shoppe.

John and Mary's children were:
  • Julia Beckley, c1785-1854, unmarried
  • John Beckley, 1788-1871, husband of (1) Urith Geary & (2) Juliann Gore
  • Philip Beckley, 1793-1860, husband of Rebecca Choate
  • Elizabeth Beckley, c1794-1974, wife of Solomon Choate
  • Jacob Beckley, 1796-1874, husband of Matilda Wilson
  • Dorothy Beckley, 1801-1869, wife of Elijah Gore

Sources: (inventory & Orphan's Court records)
Maryland Archives (marriage & land records, Historic Sites Inventory Survey)

Reisterstown Library
  • Ice Cream Parlor Photos
  • Reister's Desire by Lillian Bayly Marks, 1975.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Friday, May 1, 2015

Myrtle S. Eckhardt

May 1st marks 38 years since the death of Myrtle Sophia Eckhardt.
Myrtle was born on October 10, 1895, the second child of Charles Frederick Eckhardt and Myrtle Elizabeth Waltman.  Charles was the son of German immigrants, and was only four years old when his father, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, died.  Though her mother Myrtle was born in Maryland, her family came from Pennsylvania, where her father had worked as a carpenter.

In the 1900 census, the Eckhardts were living on North Wolfe Street in Baltimore City.  Father Charles, who worked for the Western Maryland Railroad, was listed as a freight "master".  Unlike their neighbors, he was listed as a home owner with a mortgage, rather than as a renter.  Myrtle was then the middle child of the family, between brothers Charles and Glyndon.  Also living in the household was a boarder, George Uhler, who was a laborer for the railroad.
In 1905, Charles and Myrtle purchased two lots of land in Glyndon, each about an acre, from Annie Jessop Hanna for $2,100.  The following year, they purchased an adjoining lot from John and Anna Gill for $390.  An atlas from 1915 shows the location of the Eckhardts' property on Central Avenue, opposite Albright Avenue.
Two more children had joined the family by the 1910 census:  nine-year-old Fred and seven-year-old Minnie.  Charles continued to work for the railroad as a local freight agent, and all of the children were attending school except for eldest son Charles.
Myrtle graduated from Franklin High School the next year, one of the 27 members of the class of 1911.  She had served as the secretary of the Franklin Literary Society and was an assistant editor for the Dial Yearbook.
Myrtle continued her studies at the Normal School (now Towson University), graduating in 1913.  She would later go on to attend Columbia University in New York, earning first her bachelor's, and after, her master's degree in education.

By the 1920 census, Myrtle was working as a public school teacher, living at home with her parents and three younger siblings.  Her elder brother Charles had married, and was living next door with his wife May.  Both he and brother Glyndon were listed as government clerks.
Ten years later in 1930, Myrtle's siblings had all moved out, though brother Charles' family still lived just next door.  Her occupation was now listed as a school supervisor in Carroll County.
In the 1940 census, the last census opened to the public, Myrtle was again listed as a school teacher.  Her father Charles, now 69 years old, had retired from the railroad.  All three of her brothers, Charles, Glyndon, and Frederick, now lived on Central Avenue with their families.
In all, Myrtle worked in the Allegheny, Baltimore, and Carroll County schools for more than four decades years before retiring.  As her niece Betty Nordwall recalls:
"She spent 44 years of her life teaching young people, preparing them to become good, hard working citizens in the modern generation.  She was very sincere about her path in life, always encouraging, always seeking ways to improve.  As part of her continuing education she traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe, bringing home many slides showing native costumes, folk dancing, and culture from each nation in addition to art and architecture.  These she shared with both school children and her family. ... She was born to educate and she did a excellent job."
Myrtle was also very active in the local community as a member of the Women's Club of Glyndon, the Community Senior Citizens, the Ladies Auxiliary to the Glyndon Fire Department, and the Baltimore County Historical Society, among many others.

In 1971, Myrtle published the booklet The Story of Glyndon for the town's centennial year, detailing its history, residents, places, and organizations.  For the country's bicentennial in 1976, she and Louise Goodwin researched and wrote a series of weekly articles on local history which appeared in the Community Times.
Though Myrtle never married, she was very close with her seven nieces and nephews, bringing back gifts from her travels and taking each on trips to New York City.  She ensured that they all graduated from college, and passed on the responsibility of contributing back to society.  In the summers, the extended family would gather together at the Meadows and Mills farm on Cockeys Mill Road (prior to Liberty Reservoir).  In later years, Myrtle often hosted family dinners at her home.

Myrtle passed away on May 1, 1977 at the age of 81.

Sources: (census records)

  • Year: 1880; Census Place: Shewsbury, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1207; Page: 460D.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Ward 9, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: 611; Page: 14B.
  • Year: 1910; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_550; Page: 4B.
  • Year: 1920; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T625_654; Page: 12A.
  • Year: 1930; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 846; Page: 15B.
  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T627_1504; Page: 2B.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Miss Eckhardt Dies At 81." Date: 3 May 1977; Page: A21.
Historic MapWorks

Maryland Archives (land records)

Betty Nordwall

Reisterstown Library
  • The Story of Glyndon by Myrtle Sophia Eckhardt, 1971.
  • Dial, Franklin High School, 1911.
  • "History Series Result Of Student's Question" by Eleanor Taylor, Community Times, 1975.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Samuel & Rebecca Storm

April 9th marks 122 years since the death of Samuel Petrus Storm.
Samuel was born on September 4, 1807 in Adams County, Pennsylvania, the son of Petrus ("Peter") and Eva Storm.  Per the baptism records of the Sacred Heart Church in Conewago, he had at least three older siblings:  Anna Maria, Lucia, and Jacobus.  In the 1810 census, the Storm family was living near York, Pennsylvania.

Samuel moved to Maryland sometime prior to the 1830s, as on December 4, 1832, he married Rebecca Rachel Richardson Larsh, a widow with an eleven-year-old son, James (see the blog post from April 2013).  Rebecca's first husband, Charles Larsh, had died in 1829.  Samuel and Rebecca had three known children born in the 1830s, but the 1840 census indicates that there might have been another child;  four children under the age of fourteen were living in the household that year.

On September 12, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, Samuel Storm received a commission in the Baltimore County Militia's 36th Regiment.

For the 1850 census, Samuel served as an Assistant Marshal, and as such, swore to "make a true and exact enumeration of all the inhabitants within the district" and "faithfully collect the other statistics therein".  Assistant Marshals were paid two cents for each person they counted, ten cents per farm, fifteen cents for "each establishment of productive industry", and were allowed ten cents per mile "for necessary travel".  Samuel's name was included on each of the 490 pages of population schedules for Baltimore County's first district, including over 19,000 residents.  The forms for the 1850 census had 42 lines on each page, but interestingly, Samuel left the first and last lines blank on his forms - perhaps to make counting easier, with an even 40 names per page?

The Storm family was counted on the last census page for the district.  Appropriately, Samuel listed his occupation as "Deputy Marshall".  He was 42 years old, and owned real estate valued at $2,000.  Two children were living in the household, fourteen-year-old Samuel and ten-year-old Juliet, both of whom were attending school.
The following year, Samuel was elected to serve as Sheriff of Baltimore County, winning only by a close margin.  He received 1,966 votes, whereas his opponent William Duncan received 1,803 votes.  Samuel served a two-year term, from 1851 to 1853.
In the 1860 census, Samuel had no occupation given, and curiously, was not listed as owning any real estate.  His two children Samuel and Juliette were still living at home, with Samuel working as a clerk.  Living next door was his son Edwin, a hotel keeper, with his wife Sarah and infant son William.
Samuel Storm was a staunch Confederate supporter during the Civil War, serving as Captain of the Reisterstown Riflemen.  Samuel's son used to tell the story of how Union troops were going through the town in search of Captain Storm, who had hidden in the cellar of a house near the Lutheran Church on Main Street.  The cellar had a wide plank that covered a little stream, where the lady of the house stored cream, milk, and butter, and where Samuel chose to hide.  According to the tale, several Union soldiers went down into the cellar, but it was so dark, they couldn't see, and one of them accidentally walked into the stream.  The soldier yelled out, "Come and get me!  There is no damn Rebel down here!"  And Samuel was never found there.

The Storms' eldest son Edwin was just 33 years old when he passed away on April 17, 1867.  His widow Sarah and their four young children went to live with Samuel and Rebecca before the 1870 census, when they were all counted in one household.  Samuel was listed as a saddle maker, with Rebecca keeping house.  Son Samuel was working as a court clerk.  While Samuel's personal estate was valued at $500, and daughter-in-law Sarah's at $300, it is curious to note that Rebecca is the one listed as owning the real estate, valued at $1,200.
A map of Reisterstown from 1877 shows the location of the Storms' home, located at the south end of Main Street, between present-day Walgrove Road and Berrymans Lane.
Rebecca Storm passed away on July 28, 1875, at the age of 75.
In the 1880 census, Samuel Storm's occupation was given as magistrate.  His daughter Juliette and daughter-in-law Sarah were keeping house, while grandson William was apprenticed to a printer, and grandchildren Samuel and Rosa were attending school.  Also living in the household were Sarah's mother, who was listed as a nurse, and two boarders, Sarah Chew and her son Frank.
Tragedy struck on August 7, 1890.  Samuel and Rebecca's son William was vacationing with his wife Rosalie, daughter Edith, and son Bayard, at Rosecroft in St. Mary's County for the summer.  That afternoon, Rosalie and the children had gone swimming with a group of friends in St. Inigoes Creek, when a steamer passed by, causing an undertow which pulled several of the swimmers out into deeper waters, including Rosalie.  Edith went further into the water to try to save her mother.  Local oystermen were able to rescue nine people, but neither Rosalie nor Edith were among those saved.  A distraught William quickly returned home to Baltimore with Bayard.  A solemn double funeral was held a few days later, but Samuel Storm, near 84 years old, was unable to make the trip into the city for the service.

Samuel Storm passed away three years later on April 9, 1893.
Samuel and Rebecca's children were:
  • Edwin L. Storm, 1833-1867, husband of Sarah Keagey
  • Samuel William Storm, 1835-1916, husband of (1) Rosalie Clair Hancock and (2) Blanche Hackette
  • Juliette Rebecca Storm, 1838-1909, unmarried
Samuel Storm's Signature

Sources: (census records & map)
  • Year: 1810; Census Place: Heidelberg, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: 57; Page: 132.
  • Year: 1840; Census Place: District 5, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 162; Page: 161.
  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 464A.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 36.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Reisterstown, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 282A.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 571B.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Maryland Election Returns." Date: 8 November 1851; Page: 1.
  • "Sheriff's Tax Notice." Date: 16 March 1852; Page: 4.
  • "Four Lives Lost." Date: 8 August 1890; Page: 1.
  • "Four Persons Drowned." Date: 9 August 1890; Page: 6.
  • "Suburbs And County." Date: 10 April 1893; Page: 10. (birth record)

Maryland Archives

Milestones in the History of Reisterstown, Maryland by Louise Bland Goodwin, 1966.

Reisterstown Library
  • Reister's Desire by Lillian Bayly Marks, 1975.
United States Census Bureau

Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Sunday, March 1, 2015

William & Charlotte Dwyer

March 7th marks 127 years since the death of Charlotte (Reister) Dwyer, and March 25th marks 145 years since the death of her husband, William Dwyer.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them into living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Forty years a member of the Methodist Church

He sleeps in Jesus and is blessed
How sweet his slumbers are
From suffering and from sin released
And freed from every care
William Dwyer was born on October 9, 1790 in North Carolina, the son of Dennis and Winefred Dwyer.  During the War of 1812, he served as a private in Captain John Montgomery's Company of the Baltimore Union Artillery, enlisting on August 19, 1814.  From his pension file, William was described as being about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with blue eyes, black hair, and a dark complexion.

In April of 1818, William married Ann Susannah Hughes.  The couple had one daughter, Elizabeth, who was born circa 1827.  Elizabeth was barely a teenager when Ann passed away, on November 21, 1840.
Charlotte Reister was born on October 9, 1802, the daughter of John Reister III and Helen Chapman.  Along with several of her unmarried sisters, Charlotte lived with her parents on land passed down in the Reister family.  In 1822, "in consideration of the natural love and affection" and "for the better maintenance support livelihood and preferment of them," Charlotte's father in turn deeded property to his seven children: Charlotte, Elizabeth, Margaret, Caroline, James, Jesse, and Annie.  Their house on Main Street likely dated back to the late 1700s, shortly before John and Helen were married.
William Dwyer and Charlotte Reister were married on August 26, 1845.  By then, William was nearly 55 years old, and had been a widower for almost five years.  In the 1850 census, William was a farmer, and owned $1,200 worth of real estate.
On May 28, 1855, William applied for bounty land for his service during the War of 1812, which he later sold.  By the 1860 census, William's real estate was valued at $1,600, and he was still listed as a farmer.  Also living in the household with him and Charlotte was his granddaughter, Emma Thomas (see the blog post from August 2013), who was apparently counted twice in the census that year;  she was also listed in her parents' household.  The family employed a servant, Rebecca Bristol.
William Dwyer passed away on March 25, 1870 at the age of 79.
William Dwyer's Signature
The following year, Charlotte sold 45 acres of William's land to the Emory Grove Meeting Association and moved back to the Reister home on Main Street.  Only her younger sister Margaret was still living there;  sisters Caroline and Annie had passed away, sister Elizabeth had married and moved away, and brothers James and Jesse had moved out west.  The 1877 map of Reisterstown labeled the house as the residence of the "Misses Reisters", even though Charlotte was a widow.

Charlotte's sister Margaret passed away later that same year, on December 20th, so the 1880 census shows Charlotte living on her own, and even described her that way, in place of listing an occupation - "widow living alone".
Two years prior, on June 10, 1878, Charlotte had applied for a widow's pension for William's service during the War of 1812.  Her application was approved, and on January 27, 1879, she was granted a pension of $8 per month.  At some point, the pension amount increased, as her last payment, on December 4, 1887, was for $12.
Charlotte Dwyer passed away on March 7, 1888 at the age of 85, the last surviving child of her parents John and Helen.  At her death, she was the last person born with the name Reister to own any of the original Reister land.  As Charlotte had no children of her own, her will left her family home to William's granddaughter Emma Thomas Shriver.
Charlotte Dwyer's Signature
Unfortunately, the condition of the Reister home had deteriorated so much that it was torn down last year.  The property, on the corner of Bond Avenue, remains empty.

Sources: (census records & map)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 223A.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 47.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 567A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Died." Date: 8 March 1888; Page: 2. 
  • "Baltimore County."  Date: 21 March 1888; Page: 6. (marriage records)

Fold3 (pension file)

Internet Archive
Maryland Archives (land records & Historic Sites Inventory Survey)

Reisterstown Library

  • Reister's Desire by Lillian Bayly Marks, 1975.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Sunday, February 1, 2015

William & Margaret Berryman

February 27th marks 130 years since the death of William Mitchell Berryman.
William was born on August 7, 1807, the son of William Berryman and his second wife, Patience Clarke.  His father, whose family came from Virginia, was serving as a trustee of the Lutheran Church in Reisterstown when the church was incorporated by an Act of the Maryland General Assembly in 1821.

On October 9, 1834, William married Margaret Wheeler, the daughter of Edward Wheeler and Hannah Parish.  By the 1850 census, the couple were living in Carroll County and had five children, ranging in age from two months to fourteen years old.  William had no occupation given, though he was most likely a farmer or a farm hand, like the two boarders living in the household, Milton Frizzell and Joseph Hess.
In 1855, the Berrymans moved to Reisterstown, when Margaret purchased a little over an acre of land, adjacent to a half-acre lot owned by William's mother Patience, from the Moale family for $128.  A new house was soon built on the property, as described by an article in the Northwest Star:
"... a sturdy seven-room house with lovely porches and climbing vines to shade them.  The house itself ... [was] made of American bricks -- probably made at the brickyard near Reisterstown.  The largest fireplace inside was big enough that a 20th century cookstove could fit in it.  The rafters of the cellar were full grown trees cut in half with the bark and all left on.  And the walls were 14 inches thick -- thick enough to keep the house cool in summer and serve as insulation during the cold winters.  All of the interior doors of this fine old house were hand-made and no two windows have the same measurements.  It is sometimes said that the man who measured these windows had a 'crooked eye'."
By the 1860 census, William was listed as owning $500 worth of real estate, and was working as a farmer along with his eldest son George. The two youngest children, Edward and Margaret, were attending school.
In 1870, the value of William's real estate had decreased to $269.  Margaret was keeping house, with only the two youngest children still at home, aged 19 and 22 years.  Son Edward was working as a store clerk.
A map of Reisterstown from 1877 shows the location of the Berrymans' property and house at 605 Main Street, near the street that still bears their name to this day:  Berrymans Lane.
In January of 1880, youngest daughter Margaret married Samuel Brown and moved out, leaving William and Margaret with an empty nest in the 1880 census.  William, now 73 years old, was still working as a farmer.
The following year, Margaret Berryman Brown gave birth to a son, Mitchell.  It must have been a difficult pregnancy, as sadly Margaret died soon after, on May 4, 1881, at the age of 31.  Later that year, widower Samuel Brown would marry Florence Weller, a granddaughter of William and Margaret Berryman through their eldest daughter Vilmina.

William Berryman passed away on February 27, 1885 at the age of 77.  A brief notice appeared in the Baltimore Sun:
In the 1900 census, Margaret Berryman was living with her grandson William Gore's family.  Oddly, though Margaret had six children, the census lists her as only having had one.
Margaret, known to all in town as "Grandmother Berryman", lived to be 91 years old.  She passed away on July 2, 1903.  In her will, she named her son George as executor, and ordered that her almost all of her property be sold, and proceeds divided into four equal parts for her surviving children Vilmina, George, and Hanna, and her grandson Mitchell Brown.  The only exception was Margaret's feather bed, which was specifically bequeathed to her granddaughter Laura Weller.
Margaret and her daughter Hanna
The Berrymans' house was torn down decades ago.  Its present-day location is now the parking lot of Camden Body.
William and Margaret's children were:
  • Vilmina Berryman, 1835-1919, wife of William F. Weller
  • George Gordon Berryman, 1838-1925, husband of (1) Julia Ann Uhler & (2) Annie Belle Koons
  • Hanna Elizabeth Berryman, 1841-1913, wife of Thomas J. Gore
  • William Edward Berryman, 1846-1878, unmarried
  • Margaret Virginia Berryman, 1850-1881, wife of Samuel H. Brown
  • John Whorton Berryman, 1853-1854
As a side note, Ovington Eugene Weller, one of William and Margaret's grandchildren, served as a U.S. Senator from Maryland from 1921 to 1927.

Sources: (census records & map)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 4, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: M432_289; Page: 207B.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 40.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Reisterstown, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 281B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 572C.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 1B.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Died." Date: 28 February 1885; Page: 2.
Maryland Archives (wills, marriage, death, land & legislative records)

Reisterstown Library

  • Family & house photos
  • Northwest Star article
Cemetery photos © AgateGS