Early in the 1880's, the Baker family decided to diversify its business holdings and acquire raw materials used in their tanning operations.  Their first venture into the Jefferson County limestone industry appears to have been the result of this decision and coincides with the transfer of control of Daniel Baker & Sons from Daniel Baker I [1] to his sons William [3], Joseph [5], and Daniel II [6]. 

The Bakers were preceded in Jefferson County by two other residents of Buckeystown ¾ Charles E. and Otho J. Keller (Figure 14-1).  These men began acquiring land along the B. & O. Railroad line between Harpers Ferry and Duffields early in 1883, and by April of the following year they had obtained more than 240 acres of land containing sizeable limestone deposits.1  They were not agents of the Bakers, and the family continued its own quarrying operations for decades after the Baker brothers became firmly established. 

The Keller's quarrying operations must have begun rapidly in 1883, for the Board of Education had acquired a nearby lot for a schoolhouse by August.2  This area became known as Keller, and later, Engle, West Virginia.  Much of the land they acquired had been in the Engle or Strider families before the Civil War. 

The Baker's entrance into the limestone industry in Jefferson County came in 1884, when they purchased a half-interest in 87 acres owned by the Keller brothers.3  Although this initial acquisition gave the Bakers a foothold in the area, William Engle (1844-1911) was responsible for the Baker's major coup ¾ the purchase in 1889 of a 39-acre deposit of high-calcium limestone and an 8-acre tract on the north side of the B. & O. Railroad.  The former tract, approximately 2 miles north of Keller's operation, was adjacent to the Oak Grove schoolhouse.4  This area became the heart of the Bakerton quarry.  The village of Bakerton quickly grew up around it. 

Just as critical to the Baker's quarrying operation was William Engle's development of a patented lime kiln.  Some time before the Baker's arrival, Engle had built his own kiln.5  The Bakers acquired Engle's patent and made use of his expertise during the early development of the quarry. William Engle's son-in-law (D. R. Houser, Figure 14-2) and his grandson (W. J. B. Houser) were later to become managers of the Bakerton operation. 


During July of 1889, the Bakers began a railroad spur to connect the Bakerton quarry with the B. & O. railroad line at Engle.  Construction of the track, and much of the early operation of the company, was supervised by their brothers-in-law S. W. Bratt and C. F. Thomas [10].6  The area at the junction of the spur and the B. & O. main line became know as "Engle's Switch" at this time.7 

The first known reference to this new village of "Bakerton" occurred in the Shepherdstown Register on November 28, 1890: 

Bakerton is the name of the new town that is being built up at Oak Grove school-house.  It is two and a-half miles from the main line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, by which it is connected with a branch road that joins it at Keller's.  The Washington Building and Lime Company, a corporation in which the Messrs. Baker of Maryland are largely interested, constructed the road and bought the 45 acres of land where the improvements are being made.  They have opened up a large limestone quarry here and constructed four patent kilns for the burning of lime. Each week  11,000  bushels of lime are burned ¾ about 20 car loads ¾ which is shipped to Washington and points in Maryland. From forty to fifty men are constantly employed.  A steam drill cuts the holes into the great beds of limestone, and dynamite tears the masses asunder. Horses and carts carry the broken stone to the top floor of the large building containing the kilns.  Here men feed them into the iron maws, from which, two stories below, the lime is drawn and wheeled into the cars that stand right in front of the kilns.  An inclined plane, to be run by steam, will shortly be put in operation, thus doing away with the horses and carts.  The stone will then be drawn directly from the quarry to the kilns. 

Already Bakerton is making a fair showing in a business way.  There have been erected the large three-decked kiln-house; a cooper shop where five coopers turn out 200 barrels a day; a large store building, where Strider and Engle do a big general merchandise business under the supervision of Mr. Jesse A. Engle, Jr.; seven new dwelling-houses for the use of the workmen.  A tank, filled from an artesian well, supplies water to the works and the houses, and also to the school building.  Bakerton is a post-office, and has three mails a day.  Mr. Engle, the manager of the store, is postmaster. 

3455 (2)

Mr. S.W. Bratt is the efficient manager of the company's business at Bakerton, and the lime turned out under his supervision is the best on the market.  Every day a locomotive comes in to bring empty cars and take away the loaded ones.  The road, we understand, is controlled by the company that runs the lime works.  A telephone connects Bakerton with Keller station. 

Every Saturday is pay day, and each week a considerable sum of money is put into circulation.  Most of the employees are men from the vicinity, so the money is spent at home.  The farmers of that vicinity find that Bakerton is of great benefit to them.  They find ready sale for wood and almost every sort of farm product at the highest market prices.  They also have the privilege of loading their wheat at this point, thus saving many miles of hauling over rough roads.  Messrs. Hodges and Lemen, of this place, have been the principal wheat buyers. 

As may be seen from the above, Bakerton is already a thriving place.  But it is more than likely that only a beginning has been made, for there is a well-defined impression that better times are to follow.  There are some persons who are so sanguine as to predict that in a couple of years more Bakerton will be a lively town of a couple of thousand inhabitants.  We hope it may be so. 

By 1900, a second quarry had been opened, and within two years, several upright kilns had been built in the same area, and more were erected in 1908.  The same year, electricity was added to the plant.8  In 1909, the Bakers  further expanded their holdings in the Engle area by acquiring the 18-acre tract known as Peacher's Mill.  The property included the mill and mill house, approximately 10 acres southwest of the railroad underpass, and a strip of land lying south of the Keller property between the B. & O. Railroad tracks and Elk Run.  The Bakers obtained an undivided half interest in the 87-acre tract owned by O. J. Keller Lime Company after its owner died in 1912.  Six more kilns were built in Bakerton in 1913, and an additional 223 acres were acquired from William O. Keller.9  As the south quarry continued to expand, it began to get uncomfortably close to private buildings.  By 1917, the present Bakerton Methodist Church had replaced the older brick church on the edge of the quarry.  Three years later, the company purchased Preston Millard's house so that they would have better access to the quarry, and they succeeded in having the road through Bakerton bent into a southward loop to accommodate the expanded operation.10 

During this period, both the Keller and Knott quarries were still in operation.  The Keller Quarry was closed from approximately 1906 to 1916, but was subsequently reopened when the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company of Pittsburg leased the remainder of the property.  Knott's quarry was operated by the descendants of Samuel Knott [1], who continued to ship their stone down the canal to their own Columbia Lime Kilns  in Washington, DC. 

By 1905, their holdings included the Cammack and Decker Lime Kilns in the District of Columbia.  In addition to these long-established quarries, the Southwest Limestone Company purchased 135 acres along the B. & O. Railroad line at Engle and began quarrying and crushing operations in 1918.11 


Establishment of the quarry and railroad spur at Bakerton led to the revitalization of iron mining operations at the Orebank.  Friend's Ore Bank had been closed from approximately 1874 to 1888.12  When the Antietam Iron Works failed in 1886, Thomas W. Ahl purchased 96 acres of Friend's Orebank and began modernizing the operation. 

Earlier operators had used iron rakes to remove the ore from the earth, an inefficient process that extracted only about one-half of the usable ore.  The new owner extended the railroad spur (brought in from Engle by the Washington Building Lime Company) to the river property.  By 1890, he had hired W. C. Foreman, a miner with 24 years' experience in the business, to superintend the operation.  About 25 men were employed at the time, most of them living on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.  Of the Ahl's 96-acre tract, approximately 55 acres were estimated to contain usable ore.  According to a contemporary source, "The ore, which comprises almost the entire hill, is easily mined.  It is loaded onto small cars, drawn by steam up an inclined plane, dumped into the big washer, the dirt and refuse cleaned out, then drawn again into the cars, which are pulled up to a platform along the railroad, and the ore is finally dumped into the cars."13  Most of the ore was being shipped to Baltimore, with some going to a furnace at Dunbar, Pennsylvania.  At that time, there were plans to construct a new inclined plane, expand the equipment, and build houses to accommodate the workers. 

The property owned by Jacob S. Moler, north of the Ahl's operation, had been quarried previously (probably by the Ahls) but was not in use in 1890.  Apparently, there was still plenty of iron ore at this site because a reporter was told that "All you have to do is take a pick and dig into the ground and out rolls the ore."14  The land was then being examined by "Baltimore capitalists" with an eye to leasing it. 

John Moore became superintendent in 1896, working for the new owner, Joseph E. Thropp.  Moore's daughter, Juantia Moore Horn, said that her father had previously worked for John Flanagan, who owned a stone quarry on the Potomac River between the Orebank and River Bend.  Moore boated stone down the river and lived on board the boat with his wife, Nora Welsh Moore, and their two children.15 

After taking the new job, John Moore purchased 25 acres of land north of the Orebank from Adam Moler and built the house still occupied by Juanita's husband, Mark Horn.  Juanita Moore, the youngest of eight children, was born in the house in 1904.  She remembered seeing the mine owners frequently as a girl, for her mother used to make dinner for them whenever they came to inspect the operation.  A 1909 letter from Joseph E. Thropp, Sr., bears the address: "John Moore, Supt., Antietam Mines, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia." 16  The letterhead lists Joseph E. Thropp, Jr., as General manager of the Earlston and Saxton furnaces in Earlston (Bedford County), Pennsylvania.  George W. Hughes was listed as Assistant Manager. 

At this time, the Orebank was the only operating iron mine in West Virginia.  One ore vein, opened to a depth of 88 feet by 1890, had by this time been delved to a depth of 140 feet.  Fifty to sixty men were then employed, and a small engine was used to haul the iron ore from the pits to two washers.  The washing plant, run by Ben Huff, used a steam-driven pump to draw water from the river and separate the ore from the clay.  The mud residue was channeled off to the bank on moveable metal flumes.  As a result of the washing operation, mud deposits accumulated to a depth of 20 feet, forming what was known as the "Mud dam."  The ore-washing operation tinged the Potomac River red on the West Virginia side as far down river as Harper's Ferry.17  The washed ore was shipped to a furnace at Earlston, Pennsylvania, where it was combined with lake ores.  (See Figure 14-3.) 

During this period, the Orebank had developed into a working community that included a store, a post office, a telephone (one of three in the area), and several houses for workers.  The store and post office were run by Jack Boyers.  George Gay and Grover Hardin lived in two of the three small frame houses on the property, and there was a barn to house livestock.  Approximately five shanties had been built on the property for workers who stayed at the quarry during the week and went home on the weekends; most of these people came from across the Potomac River in Maryland.18 

While John Moore was superintendent, the Israel Friend House was first occupied by the Eaton family.  At the time, the house had two usable entrances, one on the ground floor facing the river and another on the top floor that was reached by a wooden drawbridge from the bank behind.  The house was later occupied by George Washington "Pappy" Jones and his family.  Jones had previously worked with John Moore, moving stone from Flanagan's Quarry down the Potomac and he and his family had also lived on a houseboat.  Jones came to work at the quarry after Moore became superintendent.19 



The first store in Bakerton opened some time in 1890, shortly after the quarry was established.  The opening of a store and the erection of houses for workmen and their families (both on company property) were necessary first steps in changing a sparsely populated rural area into one of the industrial centers of Jefferson County.  Operating under the name of Strider and Engle, the store was advertised as having branches in both Bakerton and Uvilla.  The former store served as the company commissary and was managed by Jesse Alexander Engle.  The Uvilla store was managed by N. S. J. Strider, who had run a store in the Duffields area during the previous decade.20 

A second store, run by R. H. Moler and Brother, was opened in June 1895.  The brothers simultaneously opened another store at Keller.21 

The Baker's influence on the commercial and residential development of Bakerton was deeply felt during the first decade of the quarry's operation.  The Bakers usually managed the quarrying and track-laying operations and other business ventures through trusted intermediaries related to the family by marriage.  Preston S. Millard, whose sister Lena married John H. Baker [8], was one of the major agents in the early commercial and residential development of the Bakerton area. 

Born in 1874 in Buckeystown, Maryland, Preston Millard attended Eastman Business College and entered the general merchandise business shortly after graduation.22  By 1895, N. S. J. Strider had sold his share of his stock in the company store to Millard and Engle.  It was at this time that Millard became a partner with Jesse A. Engle in the company commissary.23  (See Figures 14-4 and 14-5.) 

It was from the company store that the employees were paid ¾ after items charged to their accounts were deducted.24  (See Figure 14-6.)  This procedure, common to many company stores during the period,was to continue for several decades. Bill  Flanagan, who worked in the company store in the 1920's, noted the owners (now Preston Millard and Jacob Moler): 

ran it for their own profit, but they sold to the company.  And the company insisted that they let the people have their products at a reasonable price on credit, and their bills would be deducted from the payroll.  Of course, the law came in later on and they couldn't do that.  Several people ran up bills that they couldn't meet.  We tried to keep them down, of course, as much as we could.  And there was one in particular....  He lived at Engle at that time and worked in the quarry at Bakerton loading stone.  He had a large family, and he bought all his groceries there at the store boots, shoes, gloves, hats, most all things that were necessary.  And at the end of each month they would have to pay....  Some of the people at the plant ... never even knew how much money they'd made or how much they were to draw, because they took all the money they had made to pay their bill and there was nothing coming to them....  And Mr. Millard, I heard him say several times, maybe about in July or August of the year, "Charlie, you're getting a little behind."  Charlie would say "No, Press, I'm sorry to say you're the one a little behind."25 

Although some employees consistently spent more than they earned, P.S. Millard's operation was not like the notorious "company store" found in many mining towns.  Employees were free to shop elsewhere and, as Bill Flanagan remembered, 

Mr. Millard ... at the end of the year, would go to the account registers.  They had two of them, and there were a couple of hundred names in each one.  They had that many accounts to take care of.  He'd go to the register at the end of the year and take those accounts and tear them up and throw them in the waste barrel.  And tell them to start over new the first of the year and try to keep their accounts within reason to where they could handle their accounts, and at least draw a little bit of money.26 

3133 3302

Bakerton, with its railroad spur, not only served as the collection point for local farmers' grain but also as the distribution center for the coal used by area families.  The dependence of employees on the goods provided by the company extended even to the large number of workers who traveled to work each day from the Antietam area.  Lowell Hetzel recalled that  

The men (many of the employees were from Maryland) came across the river.  There weren't any bridges in those days.  And they came by boat.  And they even bought hog feed over here.  And many times, Mr. Millard had a little Ford Model T pickup truck and during the summer when I was working there ... we'd load whatever they bought into the truck, and haul it down to the river.27 

This continuous traffic and trade between the West Virginia and Maryland sides of the Potomac River was an important part of Bakerton life from the 1890's until the widespread use of automobiles made highway travel more practical.  The Dargan-Frog Hollow area on the Maryland side of the river played a special role in the local economy, particularly after the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920.  Moonshine frequently crossed the river in the lunchboxes of quarry workers.  Larger shipments were often brought across the river by boat at night and hidden until they could be picked up, or they were driven across the Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry toll bridges by innocent-looking Bakerton youth. 

By the end of the nineteenth century, the growth of the Keller and Baker quarries had brought about the development of the community near Engle Switch.  Some time after the spur to Bakerton was completed, Engle Station was constructed (Figure 14-7).  A store run by B. E. Maddox (possibly the one originally opened by the Moler brothers) contained a post office and was the point at which P.S. Millard and later Bakerton postmasters picked up their local mail.  A school for white children was erected in the mid-1880's across the road from the present site of Keller Chapel.  The store at Moler's Cross Roads appears to have been built before the Civil War and was then run by George S. Knott [5].  This store also contained a post office and received its mail from Shepherdstown.  The post office ceased operation some time before 1910, and the store was taken over by Jacob Reinhart.  The corner store in Bakerton was built approximately 1898 and appears to have been run jointly by Millard and Engle until the former gained complete control a few years later.28 


P. S. Millard and another local businessman, C. D. Carter, were responsible for much of the residential development in Bakerton during the early part of this century (Figure 14-8).  Beginning in 1914, the land records show a steady accumulation of property by these two men, particularly in the area surrounding the Bakerton quarry.  Around 1917, the two men formed a partnership and subdivided the property they had acquired (behind the present Bakerton Methodist Church) into 29 one-third acre lots.  They named the two main streets in the development Carter and Preston Streets.29  At about the same time, another local business man, A. G. Rice had three large houses built on the land catty-corner to Millard's store.30  These homes were rented to company employees. 

Agriculture remained a major industry in the Bakerton area during this period, and both Oak Grove and Moler's Cross Roads had their own local Grange.  During the 1880's, Moler's Cross Roads also had its own Farmer's Stock and Agricultural Society that sponsored annual exhibitions, entertainment, lectures, and judgings similar to those found at Morgan's Grove at the same time.  Both the Moler's Cross Roads and Morgan's Grove events were comparable to miniature County Fairs.31 

The Bakers tended to buy land that contained promising reserves of limestone, including much of the agricultural land in the Bakerton, Engle, and Elk Run areas.  In general, much of this land continued to be farmed for decades, either by the previous owners or by tenant farmers.   Eventually, the agricultural land in the Bakerton area was gradually converted to other uses.  When the land was sold by Martin-Marietta in the 1960's, most of it was turned into residential subdivisions. 




Before the Bakerton Quarry began, the area was known as Oak Grove, and the Oak Grove School was built in 1879 in the center of what would later become Bakerton.32  An earlier schoolhouse near the Zion Presbyterian Church had been damaged or destroyed during the Civil War, and the church probably served as the local schoolhouse until the new one was built.  The Presbyterian church and the Oak Grove School were the only buildings suitable for meetings and social gatherings until the Methodist Episcopal Church South was erected in 1894.  During the first decade after Bakerton's birth, the school house was used as a community center when classes were not being held.  Entertainment, lectures, religious and secular fund raisers, and Grange meetings were held in the building.  The Oak Grove School was dismantled in 1923 after the Bakerton Elementary School was constructed.33 

The old schoolhouse had originally been built to serve a limited number of students in a small rural community, but it was expanded in the 1890's after the Bakerton Quarry opened and workers began to settle in the area.34  Although the school has been gone for more than half a century, it is clearly remembered by former students Bill Flanagan, Lowell Hetzel, and Guy Moler. 

Bill Flanagan recalled that the rooms in the Oak Grove School "had a platform and it had the single-row seats.  I guess there was at least forty or fifty seats in each room.  It was a two-room school.  It had a pot-bellied stove, back to back, where the two rooms came together.  The upper grades and the lower grades.  The teacher and the blackboard was up at the end of the school, the west end of the school.  And, of course, the children, all of us, always looked outside to see the engine go by ... bringing ore from down to the orebank.  Inside the school was a coat room for boys and girls at the south and north end or sides of the building."35 


According to Lowell Hetzel "the upper grades room may have been larger than the lower grades room, and there was a partition with doors between the two rooms.  Inside the entrance to the upper room was a hallway with cloak rooms on either side.  The water cooler was kept in the hallway and the bell, in the belfry, was rung from here.  The bell announced school opening, recesses, lunchtime, and closing for the day.  The flag hung from the outside flagpole."36 

Bill Flanagan noted that "The school was from September.  It started the first day after Labor Day or the first Monday after Labor Day.  A lot of them didn't even go to school until winter set in because they were helping  on the farm.  Until the superintendent of schools set down the laws.  Then they had a truant officer and you had to go to school or else your parents paid a fine."37 

During the 1920's, teachers earned approximately $70 to $85 per month, depending on their experience and scores received on an examination.38  Workers at the Bakerton quarry probably earned about twice that amount.  Most of the Oak Grove teachers were graduates of Shepherd College.  Discipline at Oak Grove was strict, and the subjects taught were the basics ¾ reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Rural education also had its lighter side, as both Bill Flanagan and Lowell Hetzel recall. 

Bill Flanagan remembered that, when he started school,  "The teacher was Miss Ethel Moler and Mr. Jesse Engle was the principal.  He was in the east of the school and Miss Ethel Moler was in the west....  Everyone, most all of the students, was scared to death of Mr. Jesse Engle because he could really bring the switches in.  He always cut them down in front of my house.  That's where he got them, in that woods down there.  And he'd bring them up and bring them in the school.  And of course all the kids were scared to death.  And then some of the kids, especially, I think it was the Walker children, two boys, would notch the sticks and when they would go to whip them down across the shoulders, why these sticks would just fly all over the place.  And it was a good while before Mr. Engle would find out what was going on.  Miss Ethel Moler would never whip the children.  She would correct them."39 


Flanagan continued, "We had a lockout there.  The teachers decided that they were going to do something to the children, make stricter rules, and so we decided we were going to have a lockout.  The teachers had gotten word, but the students didn't know it.  So Mr. Jesse Engle came real early one morning.  Nobody knows how early he got there.  And he climbed in the bell tower.  And when it was time for school to open, he came climbing down the ladder out of the belfry, and he said 'Okay, everybody take their seats now.'  And of course that was very disturbing to everybody because they were going to have a big time.  They felt sure they had the teachers locked out and there wouldn't be any more studying that day." 

Lowell Hetzel, who attended the Oak Grove School a few years later, recalled that "We had a potbellied stove that sat in the middle of each room.  I was in the upper room at that time, and the smoke pipe went right out the top of the stove and up near the ceiling and made a right turn and over to the chimney.  And it was held up there by wires, the horizontal run.  And one of the teachers decided to clean the smoke pipe of soot.  So he had an old shotgun of some kind, and he took the beebees out of the shell and left the wad and explosives in there, and opened the door and stuck the gun barrel in the door and pulled the trigger and blew all the smokepipe down, and had soot all over the place."40 

For many of the Bakerton children, the eighth-grade education provided at Oak Grove was adequate, and graduates went about the business of farming, mining, or raising a family.  Guy Moler noted that "The eighth-grade students at the end of the year had to take a county examination....  All the kids in the district would assemble into Charles Town.  We took it in the old Wright-Denny grade school over there.  And they would have the questions prepared on each subject.  It was usually a two-day affair, and if you didn't pass the county examination, you washed out.  And if you did, you went on to high school or whatever you wanted to do.  So I think the percentage of students who passed in Bakerton was comparable to any of the others around here."41 

Some of the early students from the Oak Grove, Reinhart, and Elk Run Schools did go on to high school and college.  Bill Flanagan, Lowell Hetzel, Christine Shade, Francis Millard, Jack Donley, and Guy Moler were among the few.  Lowell Hetzel stated that "In the early days they didn't go any further.  I started down there at Harpers Ferry High School in '24.  There were a few ahead of me, but not too many -- Bill Flanagan.  Some of them chose to go to Shepherdstown.  The county didn't provide any transportation, and I don't know when the buses started, but buses were operating when I started in '24....  A local operator supplied buses under contract to the school board.  And for one year, possibly one and a half, I drove a school bus.  I went home in the evening, dropped the kids off, come up through Engle and all along the way, and took the bus home at night....  I even came through Halltown.  Of course, [U.S. Route] 340 wasn't much of a road in those days.  We came from Harpers Ferry to Halltown and then we started dropping kids off on the way back.  And in the morning, we picked up at Bakerton first and picked them up all the way into Halltown."42 


Religion occupied a central place in the lives of many residents of the Bakerton area, and the growth of the churches reflected the ways in which residents formed communities.  As noted earlier, Presbyterian and Methodist families who had once been part of the congregations at Duffields and Uvilla had formed new congregations in the area that would become Bakerton and at Moler's Crossroads.  The development of these two churches was an early sign that distinctive communities were evolving within the Bakerton area.   As the population in the Bakerton and Engle area grew, these residents felt a need for churches in their neighborhood that reflected their own values. 

Part of the credit for the growth of Methodism in the Bakerton area must go to the Baker family, for they donated the lands on which the Bakerton and Engle Methodist churches were built.  Congregations at Millville and Kearneysville were also given land for their churches when the Baker family opened quarries at those locations. 

The Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church South was founded in December 1894.  While the church was being built, the congregation held services in the Zion Presbyterian Church.  The Methodist Church was a brick structure and was located next to the road across from the property now owned by the Church of God.  The land for the church was donated by Washington Building Lime Company.  The church was dedicated in May 1896 and continued to serve the congregation for the next 20 years.  Few people now remember coming to worship services on horseback or in wagons or warming themselves on cold winter mornings by sitting on benches clustered around the big, pot-bellied coal stove.43 

As the Bakerton quarry expanded southward, it crept closer to the church grounds until Washington Building Lime Company bought the church property in 1915 so that the grounds could be used to accommodate their growing operation.  The congregation purchased land from plant superintendent D.R. Houser and erected the Methodist church that still stands in Bakerton.  The congregation met in "Carter's Hall" on the second floor of the building that used to house the post office, until the new building was completed in 1916.44 


At the time of its founding, the Bakerton Methodist Church was on the same circuit as the churches at Uvilla and Moler's Crossroads.  In 1905, the circuit was changed so that it included Bakerton, Halltown, Millville, Fairmont, and Murriel Hill.  Bakerton became part of the Winchester District in 1915 and shared its charge with Shenandoah Junction and Halltown.  Millville once again became part of the Bakerton circuit in 1920.45 

About the same time that the people of Bakerton were building their own Methodist Church, the residents of Engle, W.Va., felt a similar need.  According to one source 

When Mrs. Lucretia Hines, a very determined woman, found out that the men of the community were not going to do anything, she boarded the train at Engle and went to Harpers Ferry herself in search of a minister.  There she contacted the Presbyterian minister and asked him to come to Engle on Sundays for a worship service.  When he found that there was no church, he would not come.  She then contacted the Methodist minister and when he found that they had a school house, he agreed to have services there on Sundays.  The people worshipped at the school until the church was built.46  

The Keller Methodist Protestant Church at Engle was established in November 1898 on land sold to the trustees for $1 by the Washington Building Lime Company. 

Church services and social events sponsored by this congregation became a major part of the community life.  Church members fondly remembered exchanging news while they peeled and cored apples and cooked apple butter, a day and a half process that involved family members of all ages.  Others recalled the early church festivals that were held in the lighted parking lot of B.E. Maddox's store so that customers could see what they were eating.  The church organists, sisters Emma and Jessie Cockrell, appear to have provided the congregation with more than one kind of entertainment, for they could not agree on which side of the church to place the organ.  Thus the organ was moved from one side of the church to the other each Sunday, depending on the organist scheduled.47 

The Bethesda Methodist Church at Moler's Crossroads underwent major structural changes during this period.  The church had been built in 1874 and, according to its historian, 

For forty-two years this church filled the needs of the community, when the younger members felt a more modern building of artistic design should replace this one.  The older ones, especially of the Knott contingent, remembering the early days, were satisfied with what they had such an improvement then over the old schoolhouse building.48 

A compromise was eventually reached in 1916 that satisfied both the young and older members of the congregation.  Instead of tearing the church down, it was raised several feet, a basement was built under it, and the old church windows were used to illuminate this area.  At the same time, a vestibule and steeple were added and the building was stuccoed and pebbled until it resembled the building we still see today. 

The Zion Presbyterian Church was also active during this period, drawing much of its congregation from the families of local quarry workers.  Two black churches were erected in the Bakerton area during this period ¾ the Zion Baptist Church was built on Ten Row in 1920 and a black Methodist Church was erected near the main entrance to the Standard plant on the left.  The date of the founding of the Methodist Church is not known; however, it had probably stood for several years before the Bakers repaired it for use as a black school in 1918. 


Mining has always been a dangerous occupation, and the village of Bakerton arose before the advent of Social Security, labor unions, welfare programs, and disability insurance.  Throughout the early development of the Bakerton community, the Baker family tended to the health, safety, and welfare of the villagers and their families much as a municipality would, although with a great deal more control. 

At the same time that Bakerton began to take root, William [3], Joseph [5], and Daniel Baker [6] began one of their most important social efforts ¾ the establishment of the Buckingham School for Boys.  Opened in 1898, the school was funded and administered solely by the Baker family.  The school was established primarily to educate indigent boys and the sons of men killed or incapacitated in the Baker mining operations, and its methods of operation provide a revealing glimpse of the Baker character.  

Located about a mile outside the village of Buckeystown, the large brick school building housed both classrooms and dormitories for approximately 50 boys in the first eight grades.  The boys arose at 4:30 am, attended mandatory chapel, and then took a full schedule of classes and sporting activities.  In addition, the students worked on the school farm. Here they raised most of the produce needed by the school plus a substantial surplus that was sold to the Baker's local canning company to help offset the cost of their education.  The boys were allowed to have individual garden plots and sell their own produce to the school; money obtained in this way was put into individual bank accounts and given to them when their education was completed.  Discipline was strict, and visitors were allowed on only one specified day every six months.  Children graduating from the school were found jobs within the Baker's operations or were given the opportunity to receive a more advanced education.  Several boys from the Bakerton area, including members of the Mills and Capriotti families, received their education at the Buckingham School.  The school was closed in 1944.49 

In Bakerton, a pest house was erected on company property to quarantine the victims of local epidemics, and it was used at least twice when smallpox struck the area in the early part of the century.50 At the time, the nearest doctor, Samuel T. Knott [17] (Figure 14-12), lived at Moler's Crossroads; his son-in-law, Dr. Johnson from Harper's Ferry, also made calls in the area.  One of the most frightening occurrences mentioned by older residents was the influenza epidemic of 1918.  Approximately 20 residents died of this disease in a 2-month period, and villagers recalled the experience of leaving their homes each morning, anxiously scanning the familiar faces and wondering who had succumbed during the night.51 

Fire was a constant threat throughout the area.  Many of the original company buildings were made of wood, as was the scaffolding that surrounded the lime kilns.  The kilns erected on the Daniels' place in 1902 burned three years later.  During the summer of 1910, both the company stables and corn crib and Walter Moler's Restaurant and store were leveled by fire.  (The fire at Moler's store was thought to be deliberately set.)52 The kilns on the old Daniels' place were leveled once again in 1911. 

Railroad and mine accidents also took their toll of the local population.  Between 1903 and 1920, at least ten workers were killed in the Bakerton area.  The number of serious or disabling injuries is difficult to estimate, but it must have been at least double the number of fatalities at this time.53 


A black community sprang up in Bakerton soon after the village began to develop.  Little is known about its beginnings, but blacks probably worked as kiln tenders during the last decade of the 19th century.  The kilns generated intense heat while they were firing, and high temperatures had to be maintained for long periods of time.  A smaller black community developed to support the Keller quarries in the Engle area. 

Most of the early black workers appear to have come to Bakerton from Rappahannock and Stafford Counties in Virginia.  They usually came alone, leaving their families behind, and many of them lived in shanties on company property.  Company houses were eventually erected in the area, which became known as "Ten Row."   (See Figure 14-13.)  Ten Row consisted of ten houses located northwest of the original quarry.  A well at the southernmost end of the row provided water for all the tenants.  The houses were electrified but did not have inside plumbing.54 

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There appears to have been no school for black children in the Bakerton area during the 19th century.  Black schools had been established at Halltown and Harper's Ferry, but there is no evidence that local black children traveled that far to school.  By 1901, the number of school age black children in the Engle area had apparently increased, for the Board of Education proposed that a new school be built between Halltown and Engle and that the old one at Halltown be abandoned.55 This school was built at Deck's Crossroads rather than on the proposed site because of local opposition.56 

Two years later, the board of trustees of the Oak Grove School applied to the Board of Education for a black school to be built in Bakerton.  Their application was not granted on the grounds that "as only four children out of sixteen were in attendance, school was moved back to Halltown.  Now it is too late to take any further action in this year as the levy has been made."  A similar request made the following year was also denied.57 

During the next few years, two black churches were established in Bakerton on company property.  One of them, the Zion Baptist Church, was built on Ten Row, across the road from the home of George Dozier (Figure 14-14).  Dozier's father, William, was an ordained deacon in the church and helped erect the building which was dedicated on June 13, 1920.  The preachers at the church included Reverends Dusey and Gene Bailey from Charles Town and Reverend George Carter from Harpers Ferry.  George Dozier recalls: 

It was a wainscotted church.  There was no lining, nothing in it, just wainscotted.  It had pews in the church.  Four of them set lengthwise.  And they had a meeting place there.  If they had all day meetings, the people they put up tents to feed them....  People would come from all different places, preachers and all, and they would have a big day there on Sunday.  And all the people around there would help donate money for the church and the preacher.58 

A second black church ¾ this one Methodist ¾ was located on plant property near the main entrance on the left.  This gray wooden building appears to predate the Baptist church.  It housed the congregation of Preacher Burrel, a kiln tender at the Bakerton plant who lived on Ten Row.59 


By 1917, the School Board was trying to establish a black school at Engle and contacted the Baker brothers about obtaining a piece of land.  When no suitable land was found at Engle, officials "motored over to Bakerton and looked at the colored church for a school building, which the Bakers agreed to have repaired at once.   School was opened there."60   The  building selected for the school was the black Methodist church.61  The records do not list the names of black teachers during the school's first two years, but Margaret Evans was the teacher in 1919 and Mary W. Page taught at the school the following two years.62  The black school at Bakerton appears to have been disbanded late in the 1920's.63  Since school bus transportation was probably available at that time, the children may have attended school in Harper's Ferry. 

Some time during the early part of this century, a restaurant and boarding house for blacks was established on company property by Dolly Butler.64

Although much of the black community was made up of hard-working, church-going families, there was a transient element in the population that frequently caused trouble.  Many of these unsavory characters came from Virginia and worked a few weeks or months before returning home. These transients appear to have been responsible for most of the fighting and shooting that went on in the black section of Bakerton and for several crimes committed along the road to Harper's Ferry.65 


The year 1921 marks the end of the first phase of Bakerton's development and the beginning of major changes in the more rural parts of Eastern Jefferson County.  During that year, Daniel Baker II [6] died, the first president of Standard Lime and of Stone and Washington Building Lime.  His brother William [3], also active in the establishment of this mining village, died the following year.66  Two of the original public buildings in Bakerton, the Oak Grove School and the original Bakerton Methodist Church, were replaced in 1921 by larger, more modern structures.  During the same year, Standard Lime and Stone began tunneling in Bakerton.67  The days of the open quarry were drawing to a close. 

Much had changed since the initial operation began in 1889.  The first of the Baker's mining ventures outside the Buckeystown area, the Bakerton plant was now one of the largest limestone producers in the Eastern United States.  Beginning with this one plant, the Baker family had acquired numerous limestone quarries, including mines at Millville, Kearneysville, Martinsburg, Keyser, and Bowden, West Virginia; Dickerson, Frederick, and Havre de Grace, Maryland; and Strasburg, Virginia.68 

The Company was now being run by the second generation of the Baker-Thomas families.  In 1921, John H. Baker [8], the son of William G., succeeded his uncle Daniel as president and Daniel Baker III [27] became vice president.  Two years earlier, in 1919, C.F. Thomas' [10] son, Frank [17], had become General Superintendent of all Company plants.69  For approximately the next 30 years, the Bakerton mine and the village itself would be shaped by these three men. 

While the developing limestone industry was bringing business and prosperity to Bakerton, the advent of the automobile also had a profound influence upon the Engle, Bakerton, and Moler's Cross Roads communities.  On the one hand, the car enabled people to live miles from where they worked.  Thus people from Halltown, Harper's Ferry, and Shepherdstown were brought into the local workforce without necessarily becoming part of the adjacent community.  On the other hand, the automobile also gave rural residents easier access to the towns.  Commenting on an era when country homes were centers of society and culture, John O. Knott examined the Moler's Cross Roads area in 1922 and asked, 

what has become of this community of wonderful and peaceful homes, with its wealth of promising young people and such powerful church constituency?  A small and inadequate school house stands by the road, near the Cross Roads, and speaks in words that need not be articulated of the want of vision on the part of the community.  The church in the neighborhood stands bleak and cheerless, with premises unattractive and trees fast being cut away to leave it still more cheerless.  The neighborhood store is the same building that stood there years ago, and scarcely a building in the way of a home has gone up for years.  Many old homesteads have been permitted to fall into a state of dilapidation, or are tenanted now by persons who can have no interest in their upkeep. 

The young people of this favored and wealthy community have gone to the city at least they do not care to stay at home.  Homes have not been modernized, save in few instances.  An auto stands at the gate in every instance ready to take the community people to town, just as soon as the day's work is done, and often before it is done.  But must progress and the auto is progress mean that old, established and cultured homes in a community as influential and moral as this community has long been, must be sacrificed to the mere pull of the town moving picture or the chatter of mere street talk?   Why should not the country home pull the town people, as it did in former days, and fill the spacious yard with autos of town people glad to gather and look upon the autumn colors that are now so gorgeous?70  

Residents of Engle, and of dozens of other small communities in Jefferson County, doubtlessly asked the same questions.  Although the automobile was partly responsible for drawing rural youth to the city, it was a means of getting people there rather than the major cause of rural discontent.  Changing values, rather than technology per se, were responsible for the growing importance of the towns and, in part, for the subsequent decline of the rural areas. 


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1. Deed Book L, pp. 309, 312-313; Deed Book M, p. 456; Charles Town, W. Va. 

2. Deed Book O, p. 467, Charles Town, W. Va.  Benjamin D. Engle, the grantor, stipulated that the lot was "to be used for a school building for white childs alone," suggesting that several black families lived in the area.  Blacks are known to have been employed within the next few decades as kiln tenders and packers of finished lime. 

3. Deed Book S, pp. 31-32, Charles Town, W. Va. 

4. Deed Book S, pp. 516-517, Charles Town, W. Va. 

5. W.J.B. Houser, "Bakerton," undated typescript in the possession of Charles Knott, Bakerton, W. Va.  Winfield Engle, History and Genealogy of the Engle Family, p. 77. 

6. Minutes, Jefferson County Board of Education, Harpers Ferry District, 1889-1913, July 31, 1889, p. 8; Diary of John Welsh, 1900-1928, manuscript in possession of Lowell Hetzel, p. 3. 

7. Shepherdstown Register, December 21, 1888. 

8. Diary of John Welsh, pp. 1, 2, 8. 

9. Deed Book 106, Charles Town, W. Va.  Diary of John Welsh, pp. 6, 13.  Deed Books 108 (p. 311) and 109 (p. 369), Charles Town, W. Va. 

10. Shepherdstown Register, July 19, 1917,  August 2, 1917, and August 26, 1920.  Deed Book 199, pp. 149-150, Charles Town, W. Va. 

11. Shepherdstown Register, August 14, 1914, and March 3, 1916.  Will of William J. Knott, Will Book C, pp. 24-27, Charles Town, W. Va.  Letterhead of Columbia Lime Kilns, Knott-Reinhart Papers.  Jay Votel, "Jeffersonian [Fred Donley] has nearly a century of memories," Martinsburg Journal, January 17, 1981.  Shepherdstown Register, October 31, 1918, and April 24, 1919. 

12. Shepherdstown Register, November 28, 1890. 

13. Shepherdstown Register, November 28, 1890. 

14. Shepherdstown Register, November 28, 1890. 

15. Interview with Juanita Moore Horn, April 23, 1984. 

16. Interview with Juanita Moore Horn, April 23, 1984.  Thropp also owned the Maryland Orebank (Singewald, "Report on Iron Ores," p. 193). 

17. Grimsley, West Virginia Geological Survey, pp. 275-276; Interview with Juanita Moore Horn April 23, 1984; C.S.G., "Iron Industry," p. 18. 

18. Interview with Juanita Moore Horn, April 23, 1984. 

19. Interview with Junaita Moore Horn, April 23, 1984. 

20. Shepherdstown Register, November 25, 1892. 

21. Shepherdstown Register, June 13, 1895. 

22. Interview with Frances Millard, April 13, 1986. 

23. Shepherdstown Register, advertisements in January 1896 issues; Deed Book 79, p. 358, Charles Town, W. Va. 

24. Shepherdstown Register, November 2, 1899. 

25. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985. 

26. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985. 

27. Interview with Lowell Hetzel, June 1, 1985. 

28. Deed Book 85, p. 48, Charles Town, W. Va.  Interview with Samuel J. Donley, May 7, 1987.  The original store at Moler's Cross Roads was an L-shaped two-story structure that burned in the late 1960's.  The store run by Jack Donley during the next decade stands on the site of the original store building. 

29. Deed Books 115 (pp. 454-455), 116 (p. 111), and 119 (p. 230), Charles Town, W. Va. 

30. Deed Book 116, pp. 230, Charles Town, W. Va. 

31. Shepherdstown Register, August 20 and September 3, 1886. 

32. Deed Book G, pp. 491-492 , Charles Town, W. Va. 

33. Jefferson County School News, February 1976; Shepherdstown Register, July 27, 1884, June 25, 1886, August 20, 1886. 

34. Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, 1889-1913, pp. 30, 32-34. 

35. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985. 

36. Interview with Lowell Hetzel, June 1, 1985. 

37. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985. 

38. Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, 1889-1913, pp. 115, 125. 

39. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985. 

40. Interview with Lowell Hetzel, June 1, 1985. 

41. Interview with Guy M. Moler, July 8, 1985.  Samuel Jackson "Jack" Donley (Interview, March 7, 1987) had similar views about the quality of education at the Reinhart School. 

42. Interview with Lowell Hetzel, June 1, 1985. 

43. Helen H. Mills, "History of Bakerton Methodist Church," manuscript, 1985; Shepherdstown Register, May 26 and May 30, 1896. 

44. Mills, "History." 

45. Mills, "History. 

46. Katy Welty, "Kellers Chapel History," typescript, 1973. 

47. Welty, "Kellers Chapel History." 

48. Nellie Hendricks Moler, "History of the Founding of Bethesda M.E. Church South, 1874-1934," Moler's Crossroads, 1934. 

49. Meg Forbes, cited in: Nancy Bodmer, Buckey's Town Remembered, pp. 158-161.  T. J. C. Williams, History of Frederick County, pp. 518-519.  Interviews with James W. Flanagan (July 23, 1985) and Guy M. Moler (July 8, 1985). 

50. Diary of John Welsh, pp. 2, 6. 

51. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985.  Shepherdstown Register, July 24, 1952. 

52. The Diary of John Welsh records the following fires: Nov. 1, 1903, John Flanagan's barn burns;  Mar. 4, 1905, kilns on Daniels place burn; May 7, 1910, Bakerton Stable burns; Farmer's Advocate, July 23, 1910; July 18, 1910, Walter Moler's store and restaurant burns, possibly set, Farmers Advocate, July 23, 1910; Oct. 11, 1911, kilns on Daniels' place burn; April 7, 1917, C.D. Carter's stable burns; May 11, 1917, George Houser's house burns; Dec. 1, 1917, Preston Millard's store burns. 

53. The Diary of John Welsh records the following accidents: June 4, 1903, Walter Rouser killed by flat car; Oct. 31, 1903, Ed Walter's head cut (Ore Bank); Mar. 2, 1906, Peg Grim killed at pit; Feb. 13, 1911, Harvey Ingram killed; Aug. 21, 1911, Will Stuart killed by train; Dec. 22, 1911, horse electrocuted; Aug. 8, 1914, John Cox killed at Knott's Quarry (Shepherdstown Reg., August 13, 1914); Oct. 31, 1914, Wallace Grim hurt; Dec. 22, 1914, Paddie Kephart killed; May 10, 1916, horse fell in quarry; Aug. 2, 1917, Jack Barrett killed; Nov. 22, 1917, Howard Hetzel hurt; Feb. 13, 1918, Preacher Montgomery killed; Jan 29, 1919, Harry Brown killed (Keller Quarry); May 5, 1919, Will Smith killed by train; Nov. 18, 1920, horse falls in kiln. 

54. Interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986. 

55. Jefferson County, W. Va., Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, May 23, 1901. 

56. Jefferson County, W. Va., Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, August 10 and August 20, 1901. 

57. Jefferson County, W. Va., Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, August 22, 1903, and July 5, 1904. 

58. Interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986. 

59. Interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986. 

60. Jefferson County, W. Va., Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, October 17, 1917. 

61. Interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986. 

62. Jefferson County, W. Va., Board of Education Minutes, Harpers Ferry District, August 26, 1919,  June 29, 1920, and July 5, 1921.  Flora Walker also taught there in the early 1920's (Interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986). 

63. Katherine Kent taught in 1922 (Minutes July 3, 1922), Mr. R.E. McDaniel in 1923 (Minutes July 2, 1923), and Richard Jackson or Margaret Evans in 1924 (Minutes June 20, and July 7, 1924). 

64. Interview with J. William Flanagan, April 14, 1985; interview with George W. Dozier, May 19, 1986. 

65. Two of the most sensational crimes occurred in 1904, when four men attempted to hold up travellers near the Bakerton underpass and school teacher Laura Knode was assaulted by George W. Williams.  All five of the men either worked at, or were staying in, Bakerton when the crimes occurred.  William's capture, escape, recapture, and trial prompted the formation of lynch mobs in Charles Town and Martinsburg and doubtlessly added fuel to the fires of racial prejudice in Jefferson County.  Williams was hanged in September 1904.  See Shepherdstown Register, June 30, July 11, July 14, August 4, and September 15, 1904. 

66. Shepherdstown Register, August 11, 1921.  Martinsburg Journal, September 15, 1922. 

67. Spirit of Jefferson, August 9, 1921; Diary of John Welsh, p. 36. 

68. Grimsley, West Virginia Geological Survey (1919), p. 396. 

69. The Insulator, November 1948; Matthew P. Andrews (ed.), Tercentenary History of Maryland (Chicago: Clarke Publishing Co.), vol. III, pp. 371-372. 

70. John O. Knott, "Homes and Home Building," Shepherdstown Register, November 2, 1922.