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BRIEF HISTORY OF POOLESVILLE

By: Charles W. Elgin, Sr.


Imagine, if you will, the entire area in and around what is now Poolesville as a wilderness. This is exactly what existed in this area in the early seventeen hundreds when a few hearty souls began settling the area. There were a few wagon roads and Indian trails available for the early settlers of this area to ride. There were tribes of Indians around and the State of Maryland appointed Rangers to range about the area to spot Indian bands to determine if they were friendly or hostile to the white settlers. One of these Rangers, Richard Brightwell, established what he termed Brightwells' Hunting Quarter. The exact size and location of this tract is questionable. Probably near Edward's Ferry.

What we now know as Montgomery County was originally part of Frederick County. In 1776 the Maryland General Assembly took part of Frederick County and made Montgomery County and part to Washington County. Counties were divided into "Hundreds", an old English custom. The area in and around Poolesville was known as "Sugarland Hundred".

The State of Maryland held a census in 1776 prior to the first National Census of 1790. Many of the old family names that we have known over the years appeared in that census. (See copy of Census).

John Poole, Sr. and his brother Joseph Poole, Sr. came to the area from Anne Arundel County (near Annapolis) in 1760. John bought part of the tract called Elizabeth's Delight from Charles Hoskinson, who had obtained 498 acres in 1759. John Poole apparently bought 160 acres from this tract and had it resurveyed in 1769 into Pooles Rectification, 90 acres to John and 70 acres to Joseph. They later had it resurveyed, John called his Pooles Right and Joseph calling his Pooles Hazard. Frederick County land records show that John Poole leased part of his land in 1767 to Michael Coates, a carpenter and in the terms of the lease Michael Coates was to build a small dwelling house, a tobacco barn and to plant an apple orchard.

In 1806 Joseph Poole, Sr. marked off six lots of 1/4 acres each along Coxens Road and gave each of his five (5) sons a lot and kept one for himself. In 1793, John Poole, Jr. built a log cabin along Coxen's Road on 15 acres which his father had given him. There John Poole Jr. ran a store and it was in this store that the first Post Office in Poolesville was established on December 5, 1810. Dennis Lackland, a clerk in John Poole's store, was the first Postmaster.

Two of Joseph Poole's sons, Joseph Jr. and Benjamin bought a lot of less than one acre from John Poole, Sr. and opened a store which apparently was on the corner now occupied by the Odd Fellow Building. After John Poole, Jr. married Pricilla Woodward Sprigg he sold the store to Dennis Lachland and he and his bride moved to near Barnesville where his wife inherited a farm from her father.

Dennis Lackland did not succeed in the store business and the property was foreclosed. His brother-in-law, Ignatius Davis bought the property and sold it in several parcels. Franklin Viers build a brick house on part of this property. This is the house now owned and lived in by Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Stevens. The log house was bought by Mrs. Martha Michaels whose mother was related to the Poole's. At her death in 1859 it was left to her niece, Rose Ann Money. The Money family lived in the house for many years. I find a slight error in a paper written by Miss Martha Sprigg Poole (descended from John) in which she states that neither Joseph Jr. nor Benjamin, sons of Joseph ever married. Joseph Jr. did not marry but Benjamin married Ann Willett Manly, daughter of John Manly. They had several children and their youngest son, Benjamin R. Poole married Jane Elizabeth Elgin in 1858. One of their daughters, Elizabeth Ann Poole, married Colemore Offutt. Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Offutt married Thomas Hungerford Fyffe. They were the grandparents of Mrs. Mary Fyffe Chiswell. The Peters Family who were very prominent citizens in Georgetown and Montgomery County and owned 1796 acres of land beginning almost in the center of Poolesville and extending southward. In 1820 they gave land for a Methodist Episcopal Church on which a brick building was built. This building is still standing on W. Willard Road and is owned by the Town of Poolesville who have made it available for use by a number of Churches for a Thrift Shop.

The congregation of this Church split during the Civil War and the southern sympathizers built a new Church on the site of the present United Methodist Church on Elgin Road. St. Peter's Episcopal Church was built in 1846-7 on land acquired from William Thomas and Frederick Poole. St. Peter's Church in 1790's to 1846 was located on the site of Monocacy Cemetery. The Poolesville Presbyterian Church was build on its present site in 1849. The present Poolesville Baptist Church was built in 1984. Over the years there were a number of Baptist Churches in and around Poolesville. Some of these were known as "Old School or Primitive" Baptist Churches. The Church of God is on White's Ferry Road about two miles West of Poolesville. There are four Churches in the area with predominately black congregations; Elijah Methodist; Martinsburg Methodist; St Paul's (Sugarland) Methodist and Jerusalem Baptist.

Schools:
One and two room schools -- Fisher Avenue and W. Willard Road; Cedar Bend on W. Willard Road on corner across from Izaak Walton League Farm; Oak Hill School on Club Hollow Road; Seneca Schoolhouse; Poolesville High School (early 1900's) Briarly Hall Boarding School for Girls 1870-1900; Briarly Hall Military Academy (Capt. Sidney Lodge)) on Route 109, 2 miles North of Poolesville.

Banks:
Poolesville National Bank 1908 (merged with Central Trust Co. of Maryland -failed 1931) reopened as Poolesville Bank, merged with Farmer's Bank and Trust Co. which in turn merged with First National Bank of Maryland.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal built in 1824 from Georgetown in DC to Cumberland, Maryland was for many years the main artery of transportation for the entire area in between these two points. All of the farmers along the way had their grain hauled to Georgetown and seed and other supplies brought back by Canal boats. Coal was brought from mines in the Cumberland area. The Canal operated successfully until the early nineteen hundreds when the railroads finally put them out of business.

Poolesville saw quite a lot a activity during the Civil War, being occupied at intervals by both Union and Confederate forces. The majority of people in the Poolesville area were southern sympathizers. Most of the able bodied men in the area went across the Potomac River and joined Col. Elijah Viers (Lige) White's 35th Virginia Cavalry and fought for the Confederacy. Most of their names are carved on a memorial tablet in The Monocacy Cemetery. The Chapel of St. Peter's Church on that site was destroyed by Union Soldiers. The Chapel presently standing on that site was built by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1912.

Poolesville was the scene of several major fires which destroyed a large part of the old business district. Tle first in 1923 burned an entire block from Elgin Road to the old Kohlhoss house. This included four stores, the Post Office, a tin smith's shop and a dwelling. In 1930 a building on the southwest corner of Fisher Avenue and Elgin Road, where Bassetts Restaurant now stands, burned. This building contained a residence, a store and the Post Office. In 1953 fire destroyed Elgin's Drug Store, Odd Fellows Building which housed a barber shop on the first floor and a small building next to the building which now houses Jamison's Real Estate Office.

The people of Poolesville have stood tough in the face of adversity, are proud of their heritage and are equally proud of their ability to plan and move ahead into the future.