Central Carroll: Murder & Mayhem during box lunch talk

Central Carroll: Murder & Mayhem during box lunch talk
Master Gardener Bill Corun is shown with heirloom tomatoes. On Aug. 19, the Carroll County Farmer’s Market will host their heirloom tomato festival from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carroll County Agriculture Center. (Courtesy Photo)

The Historical Society of Carroll County (HSCC) will hold its monthly box lunch talk on Tuesday, Aug. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. in Grace Hall at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster. This month's talk title is Murder & Mayhem in Carroll County and it will be presented by Kevin Dayhoff.

When Dayhoff was asked in an email interview why murder and crime stories were of interest to him he wrote, "The simple answer is that ever since the days when I was a preschooler, I have been totally preoccupied and distracted by writing and telling short stories and the tension between good versus evil. Stop and think about it, if you can get past being totally creeped-out by the very nature of the crimes; the narratives, characters, plot development and devices and the stories about these events are often complex and fascinating, if not spellbinding."


In the email, Dayhoff wrote about some notable Carroll crimes that his research turned up.

"From 1859 to 1916 three people were hanged in Westminster for heinous murders. Rebecca McCormack killed a 13-year-old boy by stabbing him with a pitchfork. She was convicted of murder and hanged in June 1859 outside the jail. She was the first person hanged in Carroll County, and the only woman ever to have been executed here. Joseph Davis was hanged in 1874, and Solomon Sudler, a 16-year-old, was hanged in 1916."

These crimes are but a sampling. Dayhoff also shared information about an entertainer found decapitated after his show at the Odd Fellows Club in Westminster portrayed Lincoln, Grant and other national leaders in an unflattering light. There are even stories of witchcraft in the county.

Dayhoff is a Carroll County Times history writer and former mayor of Westminster. He's been a self-employed artist, writer and businessman since 1974 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland Pro Chapter. The Maryland Delaware-DC Press Association awarded him an editorial award on April 24, 2009, and a religion reporting award on May 12, 2017. He lives in Westminster with his wife Caroline.

The Historical Society of Carroll County holds one-hour Box Lunch Talks on the third Tuesday of every month inside Grace Hall at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster, always beginning promptly at noon. Guests sometimes take their lunch break from work and bring their meal along, learning about Carroll County history as they eat.

Admission to the Box Lunch Talk is $3 for members and $7 for non-members. The price of admission includes a small selection of beverages and dessert.

Grace Lutheran Church is located at 21 Carroll Street, Westminster. Free parking is available in the nearby Carroll Street parking lot.

For more information check the historical society's web site at, or call them at 410-848-6494.

Heirloom Tomato Festival

It wouldn't be summer without the zesty taste of fresh garden tomatoes. The sweet reward when you sink your teeth into a thickly sliced tomato with mayo on fresh-baked bread is almost immediate, but many will admit that tomatoes have changed over the years. To keep those old-time varieties alive, savvy gardeners have saved seeds from their heirloom tomatoes, passing them down over the years.

On Aug. 19, the Carroll County Farmer's Market will host their heirloom tomato festival from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, 706 Agricultural Center Drive,Westminster.

Come early in the day to sample tomato dishes as well as many varieties of heirloom tomatoes. With games and drawings and the master gardeners on hand to answer your tomato growing question, the Heirloom Tomato Festival has something for everyone, even the kids.

Last year's tomato festival included kid's activities, coloring books and a giant smiling tomato who walked around the festival greeting visitors and directing them into the festivities.

Look for regular market vendors outside the "tomato room", with produce, eggs, organic meats, baked goods, crafts and more. There's sweet summer corn, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, green onions, radishes, sweet cherries, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, beets, cut flowers, garden plants, blueberries, cantaloupes and bedding plants.

Breakfast and lunch will be offered for sale inside Burns Hall, with soups and sandwiches, beverages, slices of cake and a variety of pies and many other homecooked goodies available as well.


For more information, call 410-848-7748 or visit them on the web at

AARP Summertime Indoor Picnic with Speaker

On Friday, Aug. 4, the Westminster office of AARP will host an indoor picnic with a speaker at 11 a.m. inside the American Legion, 2 Sycamore St. in Westminster.

After enjoying a meal, attendees will learn how to protect themselves by State's Attorney's Office Chief Investigator, Dean Brewer when he speaks about some of the scams taking place in nursing homes and assisted living venues across the country.

Tickets cost $15.

For more information, call 410-876-1607. Learn more about AARP at

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. To contact her call 443-293-7811 or email