Carroll County News

Historical Society announces schedule for Bag Lunch Talks

Folks looking to stretch their legs and get away from their desks at lunch will also have the opportunity to learn a little about a variety of Carroll County-based topics at the Historical Society of Carroll County's monthly Bag Lunch Talks starting this Tuesday.

Topics to be covered this year include the history of the Westminster Municipal Band, antiques and fine art, beer brewing, the Western Maryland Railroad and more.


Catherine Baty, curator for the Historical Society, said it's important to keep guests interested with a wide variety of topics.

"People get tired of hearing the same stories all the time," Baty said. "We try our best to cover different parts of the county. We don't want people to think we only care about Westminster. We like to change up the time periods and locations."


The bag lunches open Tuesday with Jim Shriver discussing the history of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, for whom Carroll County is named.

Shriver said as a lifelong Carroll County resident, he's long been interested in the life of Charles Carroll.

"He's such an interesting figure. We're going to be discussing his whole life span. He lived to 95, so he saw a lot of history," Shriver said. "He lived during the period of the country's foundation, and he dealt with all of the influential founding fathers. It's a way to see how the country and the county unfolds."

Shriver said though he had some base knowledge, in his research on Carroll he learned a lot of surprising facts he plans to share.

"I didn't realize how extensive his career was," Shriver said. "He was one of the first signers of the Maryland Constitution as well as one of the first Maryland senators. He served on many committees where they needed sound judgement, and he was an early political writer."

Since Carroll, the longest surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived under the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, Shriver said, the political figure gained some interesting perspectives on governing that we can learn from today.

"I really think it's important, when you look at the county name for Carroll, to look at the significance of the man and his accomplishments," Shriver said. "You can just feel the love he had of country. That link to history is important to the founding of the county."

The Historical Society began the box lunch talks in 2001. Baty said they began as a way to provide a quick opportunity for working people to learn during their lunch hours. Baty said there is a committee dedicated to choosing topics for the bag lunches, though they take community input into consideration.


"We take recommendations. Sometimes they give us a suggestion of topics they'd like to hear about, and the tricky thing is finding someone who could speak about that," Baty said. "We always try and have at least one Civil War speaker and architecture is always popular."

Baty said she thinks Hilda Koontz' "What's In Your Wallet" will be one of the most popular of the talks.

"She going to be discussing Civil War civilian life, for instance, what did they carry in their wallets? They didn't have credit cards or insurance cards or anything like that," Baty said. "Everybody looks at the soldiers; they don't look too much at the civilians of the era."

This year, because of financial support provided by the Carroll County Office of Tourism, the prices for the Box Lunch Talks has dropped from $5 for members and $10 to non-members to $3 for members and $7 for non-members.

Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or

If You Go


What: Box Lunch Talks

When: Noon, second Tuesday of the month

Where: Grace Lutheran Church, 21 Carroll St., Westminster

Cost: $3 members, $7 non-members

For more information: Visit or call 410-848-6494.

Monthly Talks


Jan. 13: Charles Carroll of Carrollton: A Founding Father

Feb. 10: Building Bridges: Pioneers of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Bridge Department

March 10: Westminster Municipal Band: Making Music in Three Centuries

April 14: Carroll's Renaissance Woman

May 12: What's In Your Wallet? Everyday Life During the Civil War

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June 9: A Journey of Faith


July 14: Brewing in Maryland

Aug. 11: Five Things You Should Know Before Hiring an Antiques & Fine Art Appraiser

Sept. 8: Five Generations of Collecting: A Family Tradition

Oct. 13: George Alfred Townsend: Pioneer War Correspondent

Nov. 10: The Forgotten Corner: A History of Oakland Mill

Dec. 8: Tales of the Western Maryland Railroad