National Geographic : 1949 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Beloved by all Hagerstown residents is "Little Heiskell," the Hessian soldier weather vane atop the City Hall. Fashioned from wrought iron with hammer and chisel by a Hessian tinsmith, Little Heiskell stood guard over the city from 1769 until a Civil War bullet found its way to his heart. Today he has a place of honor in the City Hall's museum, and astride the steeple of the new City Hall is a replica. Southward through Maryland, Hagerstown Valley is guarded on the east by South Moun tain, long linked with legends of mountain folk, descendants of German settlers. Now the older generation of mountaineers has died and younger people for the most part have not retained the folklore and magic cures. South Mountain's magic cure for dropsy: take three pints of vinegar, one ounce juniper berries, one ounce squills, one gill mustard seed, one handful parsley root, two handfuls horse-radish root. Mix together and boil in an iron pot. Take a wineglassful three times a day before each meal. Shenandoah, Ancient River Pirate Eons ago the Shenandoah sector of the Val ley was a limestone plateau level with the Blue Ridge. Streams rising in the Alleghenies flowed southeastward across the Valley to Chesapeake Bay. When the soft limestone bed eroded more rapidly than the hard rocks of the Blue Ridge, the buccaneer Shenandoah River seized the chance to "pirate" the waters of Beaverdam and Goose Creeks, and of Rap pahannock, Rapidan, and Rivanna Rivers. And today "wind gaps" through the Blue Ridge are monuments to the Shenandoah's piracy.* Harpers Ferry starts at the top of a moun tain, coasts down the steep side of it, and stops abruptly where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac. I climbed the mountain for a look at the view that Thomas Jefferson said was worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Be low, the buccaneer Shenandoah poured its liquid wealth into the rushing, roaring Poto mac.t Stronger than other ancient transverse Valley rivers, the Potomac cuts a deep gorge into the Blue Ridge. When I was a child my parents took me to Harpers Ferry (page 2). There a guide had told me that I was standing in two States with my hand on a third. I think, now, he must have been pulling my leg-it would have had to be longer than it was to stretch across the Shenandoah! But it is true that West Virginia, at Harpers Ferry, does stick out its tongue at Maryland and Virginia. Sandwiched between the Virginia and Mary- land State lines, the West Virginia counties of Jefferson and Berkeley are separated from the rest of the State by the Allegheny Mountains. Now a part of the Eastern Panhandle section of West Virginia, these counties formerly be longed to Virginia. At Charles Town, seat of Jefferson County, the courthouse where John Brown was tried and convicted for treason is still in use.: Somnolent Charles Town wakes up twice a year when horse-racing fans pour in to visit the race track, overflow tree-shaded streets, and clamor for rooms in the hotel. Washington Family Estates Restored George Washington's brothers and their de scendants once owned much of the countryside surrounding Ranson, West Virginia. Today, 25 miles of whitewashed fences enclose the Washington estates, restored by a West Vir ginia industrialist, R. J. Funkhouser. His O'Sullivan Farms (named for the rubber cor poration), including 16 historic homes and farms, cover more than 6,000 acres. Built by two of Washington's grandnephews, restored 34-room Claymont Court and smaller Blakeley are seats of O'Sullivan Farms' cattle and horse-breeding activities. Reminiscent of colonial plantation days, the Farms form a community which is practically self-sustaining. When I visited Claymont Court, Mr. Funk houser's home, the frozen-food unit was well stocked with meat, chickens, and fresh vege tables, all products of the farm. Milk and butter were supplied by O'Sullivan cows. Mr. Funkhouser also bought and restored Happy Retreat, home of Charles Washington. Though within the Charles Town limits, it is included in the Farms. Berkeley County's seat, Martinsburg, works hard. Smoke belching from factories and freight-yard trains pervades the bustling streets of the business section. One factory produces more than 18,000,000 bricks an nually, enough to build 1,800 six-room brick faced bungalows. Large mills of the Interwoven Stocking Company, makers of men's socks, turn out almost 25,000,000 pairs a year, enough to meet the needs of about a third the male population of the United States (page 29). * See "Pirate Rivers and Their Prizes," by John Oliver La Gorce, NATIONAL GEOGRAPtIC MA(;AZINE, July, 1926. t See, in the NATIONAL GI.EOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Potomac, River of Destiny," by Albert W. Atwood, July, 1945; and "Down the Potomac by Canoe," by Ralph Gray, August, 1948. 1:See "West Virginia: Treasure Chest of Industry," by Enrique C. Canova, NATIONAL GI:o(;RAIPIIC MAG;A ZINE, August, 1940.