Baltimore County

1833 referendum resulted in Manchester firing cannons at Westminster

Last week's column discussed the October 1833 referendum that sought to create Carroll County out of piece of Frederick and Baltimore counties.

One of the towns most adamantly opposed to forming Carroll County when the referendum was put to a vote was Dug Hill.

Where in the world is Dug Hill? Well, of course, the town of Dug Hill was also known as Noodle Doosey — or what we know today as Manchester.

In his book, "Towns and Villages of Carroll County," former county commissioner Dean Minnich notes that, "At one time, the German immigrants who populated the town would hang noodles to dry on lines on their front porches. People passing through town gave it the nickname, Noodle Doosey."

Apparently, the 1833 election was a "doosey" of another sort. According to Nancy Warner's history of Carroll County, "Pamphlets in English and German (were) circulated throughout the area" arguing for or against the formation of Carroll County.

Of course, the main sticking point against forming a new county was, you guessed it, taxes.

After the election, passions continued to run high to the point that "the old cannon in Manchester was dragged to the hill-top and exultantly repeatedly fired in the direction of defeated Westminster," writes Warner.

And we thought elections were tough these days.

After the vote, in which the referendum was defeated, the Maryland General Assembly began an investigation into the election and debated two questions, according to Warner:

"1) Did illegal votes in Baltimore county cause the majority there to be against the bill?

"2) Was (the vote) constitutional?"

It was eventually determined that the whole election was a "nevermind."

"The House of Delegates, in a committee as the whole, declared the (election) unconstitutional. … A vote of the people was not necessary. After this decision, the question of illegal voting was irrelevant."

Meanwhile, not so irrelevant: I had several conversations with readers about the name of a town in another part of the county, Finksburg. The area we now refer to as Finksburg was known many years ago by a number of names, including Cedarhurst, Congoleum and a personal favorite, Asbestos.

However, research into whether or not Finksburg was really once known as Asbestos was inconclusive. Indeed, according to Minnich, "A post office has served Finksburg since 1841, when it was spelled, 'Finksburgh.' "

However, the April 25, 1924, issue of the now defunct Democratic Advocate seems to bolster the claim at last a bit: "FIRE IN 4000 TONS OF RAGS. FLAMES RAGE IN RAG STORAGE HOUSE AT CONGOLEUM PLANT ASBESTOS, FOR HOURS-WESTMINSTER FIREMEN DO GOOD WORK. … Fire originated in the rag house at the Congoleum Company, at Asbestos…"

As for yet another reader's question, according to the Finksburg Planning and Citizens' Council November 2009 newsletter, "Congoleum's Cedarhurst plant can trace its roots in Carroll County back to 1913, when the Baltimore Roofing and Asbestos Company built the original facility to manufacture roofing materials."

Perhaps someone from the Finksburg council can help us with more information on the origins of the name Finksburg? If so, please be in touch.

When he not ducking cannon balls from Manchester, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad