By Hazel Groves Hansrote
Will's Town was the name the Indians and White Traders called this area as early as 1728. It included the thousands of acres of land alongside the water, which became known as Will's Creek. This included land in Pennsylvania from which Wills Creek comes. It empties into the Potomac River in Cumberland, Maryland, the county seat.
The juncture of Will's Creek and the Potomac River is one of the most historic sites in Allegany County. It was here that the first storehouse of the Ohio Company was established. It was discarded when the larger storehouse was built across the river on the Virginia (now West Virginia) side of the Potomac. The juncture is important to Fort Mount Pleasant, the predecessor of Fort Cumberland. Prior to all of this, the Indians' had used the site as a favorite camping place. Will's Creek passed through the Narrows alongside Will's Mountain, then on past Mt. Savage Junction. Kreigbaum, a railroad flag-stop, turns to the right at Corriganville and on to Ellerslie, then on to Pennsylvania. Will's Town included the land along Jennings Run from Corriganville to Barrelville, another favorite place for the Indians to camp, also the land of Mt. Savage and Frostburg, Md.
Corriganville, at the juncture of Jennings Run and Will's Creek, was named for a member of the Corrigan family. In this village is an original old Inn, a stagecoach stop still standing. It has been renovated. The log Inn was built on what was known as the Plank Road. The Inn was built of logs 12 feet long with mud joints. The Corrigan Tavern, built of brick, is also still standing in a good state of repair.
Ellerslie, was named around the middle of the 19th century. Creek Road, running though the town, joined the main high-ways of the eastern United States, The Lincoln Highway and the National Highway. It was a short cut between Cumberland, Maryland and Schellsburg, Pennsylvania. Ellerslie was a very busy town during the last half of the century, with heavy traffic on the road. However, due to problems during the seasons of high waters, the original Will's Creek Road was abandoned and the existing road was built.
Benjamin Tomlinson gave Indian Will $30 and an old rifle for about a thousand acres. This land was located on each side of the Mason-Dixon Line which divided Maryland and Pennsylvania. Mr. Tomlinson built a brick house in Ellerslie about 1775. It is believed to a be the oldest brick house in the county. It was occupied by the King family.
The Tomlinsons came from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Tomlinson (1752-1838) was buried in the Tomlinson's plot on the King farm family cemetery. The graves of many early well-known pioneers could once be seen there. King's Grove was one of two recreation spots of the area. Ramsey Grove was the other one.
Ellerslie was an important railroad center with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's main line, the Pennsylvania railroad, the George's Creek railroad and the Cumberland and Pennsylvania (C&P) railroad all serving the area. This railroad traffic kept the town growing. This growth continued until this railroad activity slackened.
Among the early families living in Will's Town area were: Arnold, Anderson, Baer, Barcus, Beall, Blubaugh, Boyer, Bruce, Byran, Clark, Combs, Crowe, DeVore, Durgin, Eckard, Elwell, Frost, Fogle, Gary, Grate, Glessner, Grimes, Gwynne, Hansel, Hitchins, Houser, Hunter, Jones, Kimberly, Logue, Lowery, Logsdon, Lister, Lancaster, Magers, Mattingly, Merrill, Meyers, McKenzie, McVicker, Milton, Minch, Miller, Musselman, Moore, Neff, Newmyer,Oswald, Parker, Preston, Porter, Richards, Rizer, Robinson, Rickard, Shockey, Sisler, Sapp, Smith, Starner, Taylor, Tomlinson, Toothman, Trimble, Uhl, Waddle, Winebrenner, Winters, Workman, Wycoff. These names are spelled in various ways in early records.
Some of the later families to come to Will's Town area were: Albright, Buchanan, Buchholtz, Gardner, Grieves, Humbird, Johnson, Porter, Shoup, Speelman, Wilkins and Wolfe.
Franklin Delano and James Roosevelt moved on to New York following the slackening of the railroad activity. Their descendant, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came to visit in the area, as a teen-ager. It's a matter of record that many of the Presidents of the United States travelled through Allegany County. The ancestors of many of them came from nearby areas but this is the one spot, in the county, that can boast of having been the home of ancestors of a President.
(Courtesy of Carol Vivier)