While many of the artifacts in the New Windsor Museum were donated by town residents, both living and deceased, two new installations are from New Windsor descendants whose families had carried pieces of the town's history far away, but wanted to return them to the town.
These new items, and a redesigned museum layout focusing on telling the story of the town's past, can be viewed during the museum's regular hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
The first new piece of local lore is a .44-caliber pistol slug that shows 19th-century New Windsor resident Ann Gilbert wasn't lying when she said she had been shot and wounded during a Confederate raid on the town in 1864.
"Her obituary in the Union Bridge Pilot mentioned the fact that she had been wounded in the raid, but I think most people thought she had exaggerated," said Frank Batavick, a member of the New Windsor Heritage Committee, which operates the museum.
As the story went, Ann Gilbert and her son Isaac Luther Gilbert were sitting on their front porch when the Confederates came riding into town, firing their guns over their heads and trying to scare people, Batavick said, in an effort to steal horses, saddles and bridles, and get food for their troops, which were poorly equipped.
"They didn't intend to shoot anybody, but apparently a stray bullet passed through Mrs. Gilbert's hand, went across her son's chest and embedded itself in the siding of the [house]," he said.
Some local historians had scoffed at the story, Batavick said, because there wasn't a detailed, recorded account of anyone being wounded in the town raid. But Batavick said he thought Gilbert's story rang true, so he included it in his documentary on the town, "Time's Crossroads: The History of New Windsor, MD," in 2012.
Then in summer of 2013, the heritage committee was contacted by Roland Snyder, of Lake Jackson, Texas, the great-grandson of Ann Gilbert.
"He mentioned that his [great-grandmother] had been wounded and did we have any information about that," Batavick said.
Members of the New Windsor Heritage Committee corresponded with Snyder, who said he had that bullet, and asked if the town would like to have it. The committee was quite excited about this development and gladly accepted his offer, and the bullet arrived through the mail in the summer of 2014.
The dark gray bullet, which is disfigured from having hit something — believed to be the wood siding of the house — was examined by two local historians who agreed that it matches the type of bullets used at that time and that it has the appearance of a bullet that would have been cared for, rather than one that had been buried in the ground, Batavick said.
"One hundred and fifty years after the raid, we got the proof of [her story] in her bullet," Batavick said.
The bullet is now housed in a small case inside a greater collection of household items from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Then in the summer of 2014, Gary Fisher, of St. Peters, Mo., contacted the town asking if a tavern ledger book that had been passed down through his family could have been from New Windsor, Md. The book did not include the name of the tavern, and the top of the pages were generally labeled as "N. Windsor."
"He Googled and found a bunch of New Windsors around the country and contacted them, including us, and asked 'could this belong to your town?'" Batavick said.
The heritage committee asked Fisher to send some photos of the pages, and Jeanne Laudermilch, a past president of the committee and its archivist, immediately recognized some Carroll names, including Frizzle and Hibberd. Laudermilch replied that it was indeed from New Windsor, Md., and Fisher carefully packaged it in bubble wrap and mailed it to the town.
The ledger belonged to a man named Emanuel Brower, though it is unknown whether he was the owner of the tavern or just a manager, Batavick said.
"He kept this ledger book … from Sept. 1, 1806, through Dec. 30, 1813, so that's a lot of years," he said. "It's missing some pages, but it's 293 pages."
Laudermilch has combed through the book and transcribed every detail, allowing future researchers to study the contents of the ledger without putting its fragile state in danger.
"I feel like I really know this man now," Laudermilch said of Brower, whom she said had very attractive and legible handwriting.
Batavick said Brower took detailed notes of every transaction at the tavern, such as the selling of nails and stabling of horses. He kept a record of every drink that was ordered, and by whom.
"They were drinking primarily rum and whiskeys, but there were some cocktails, like whiskey slings and things like that," Batavick said. "Apparently there were bar fights, because some patrons were charged with breaking windows and glassware."
While the discovery of the ledger has given the heritage committee a detailed picture on some aspects of town life, it has also opened a large mystery, Batavick said.
"We have always thought since the founding of the town that the founder, Isaac Richardson Atlee, came there and started the tavern at the crossroads and built the town around the tavern and continued to run the tavern until his son took over the property," Batavick said.
But this tavern was located on Lot 6 of Atlee's land plans, and records show that Brower bought this lot from Atlee. That's where the Dielman Inn property currently sits, Batavick said, but that's also where Atlee's tavern was supposed to have been located.
Researchers are planning to look into the state's archives on liquor licenses, Batavick said, to see if they have any records for the first tavern of the town and whether it can give them any more information.
Because of its age and fragile state, the ledger is being kept in a glass case at the museum, displayed with a sample page to let viewers see some details of the book and look for Carroll names they too might recognize.
Inquiries and info
"I still think it's kind of interesting that like the bullet, we just got these inquiries of 'does this belong to your town,' and it's really neat," Batavick said.
The New Windsor Museum is 207 Main St. in New Windsor. The New Windsor Heritage Committee recommends calling before visits in winter to ensure that the museum will be open.
For more information or to contact the museum, call 410-635-2602 or email email@example.com.
Lenten fish fry
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Libertytown will host a Lenten fish fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 27 and March 6, 20 and 27.
The church serves gluten-free fried fish and diners can pick three sides from salad, coleslaw, stewed tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, waffle fries and applesauce. Desserts and beverages are also included.
Plates are $8 for those 12 and older, $4 for 5- to 11-year-olds, and free for children younger than 5.
Carryout is also available.
St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church is at 9101 Church St., one block north of the intersection of Md. 75 and Md. 26.
For more information, call 301-898-5111.
St. James Lutheran Church is hosting a basket bingo Feb. 28 at the Union Bridge Community Center.
The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and games will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, with only 130 tickets being made available.
The ticket entitles participants to 20 games, though additional games and specials will be available.
Anyone who brings a canned good or personal-hygiene product to donate to the St. James Food Pantry in Union Bridge will receive a special raffle ticket.
Light fare refreshments will be available for purchase.
Money raised from the bingo will support St. James Lutheran Church.
To purchase your ticket in advance, call Stephanie at 410-635-6872 or Pam at 410-861-5567.
The community center is at 4770 Ladiesburg Road, Union Bridge.
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Carrie Ann Knauer covers New Windsor, Union Bridge, Taneytown and neighboring communities in the West Carroll area. Contact her at 410-596-9248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.