Tourism: Sharpes Burgh Founder's Day Event, July 9
Sharpes Burgh Founder's Day Event, July 9
by William L. Bulla
The Colonial beginnings of Sharpsburg has often been lost in the smoke and roar of the Civil War canon. That is understandable because on September 17, 1862, two great armies faced one another across Antietam Creek, and waged a battle that took a toll of human life never exceeded on any single day in our nation's history.
But, Sharpes Burgh's beginnings happened nearly a hundred years earlier, near a Great Spring that had been a stopping place for Indian tribes and frontiersmen on their way west. Its founder, Joseph Chapline, was a prominent colonist in Maryland. His family had settled along the banks of the Potomac River in the 1730's.
Chapline operated several businesses and trading posts, producing and shipping goods to the coastal towns of the tidewater areas. By 1740, Chapline had established a manor on several thousand acres deeded to him by the colonial governor of Maryland. This was his payment for expanding civilization into the wilderness and protecting it from the native Indian tribes. This estate included the area of the Great Spring, where he established a trading post. In 1748, he was elected representative to the Maryland Colonial Assembly and served for twenty years.
With the outbreak of hostilities with the French in 1754, Chapline formed the first company of militia, in the area known as Antietam Hundred, to protect the frontier against Indian raids.
In 1763, with the French and Indian Wars over, Chapline converted the area around his trading post into what was to be the first town in Washington County. He named it Sharpes Burgh, in honor of his friend Governor Horatio Sharpe.
On July 9, the Sharpsburg Historical Society, together with the town of Sharpsburg, will commemorate the 242nd anniversary of its founding with numerous activities for young and old alike. They include lectures, historical exhibits, a graveside remembrance ceremony, a community social, and special youth activities. Those attending the Founder's Day program will learn, and experience, the lifestyle of the 1700"s through historical exhibits and events.
Founder's Day includes history lessons for children of all ages. "We feel it is especially important to engage our youth in this event to expand their knowledge of regional history beyond that of the Civil War," said event organizer Jennifer Silbert.
Local storyteller, Crystal Brown, will provide a colonial themed story time for children in grades K-3. Space is limited so advance registration is required for this free event.
Another free event, also requiring advance registration, is the Colonial Kids Camp for youth in grades 3-8. This 2nd annual event will be held at the Washington County Agricultural Educational Center at 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, just outside Sharpsburg from 9-3. This year's theme revolves around agriculture and farming and will include six living history stations of various topics where kids can learn while having fun. Last year more than 70 kids attended.
"The intent of this event is to immerse kids in their history lesson while making it fun and realistic," said Silbert. "That works well in a living history format where history can come alive."
In the afternoon hours, local scout troops will offer period arts and crafts activities. Special presentations are continuing to be programmed for the remainder of the day.
That evening, the community is invited to participate in a moving graveside remembrance ceremony, complete with honor guard salute, and special presentations, and each other. Birthday cake and drinks will be served.
The schedule of events is as follows:
9AM-3PM- Historical Exhibits on display at Town Hall. Learn more about the history of area homes and families. Come join us for a cup of coffee and share a story, reminisce about by-gone days, research your own home, or learn more about our organization.
9AM-3PM- Farm-themed "Colonial Kids Camp"-Washington County Agricultural Education Center, Rte. 65 outside Sharpsburg. Family-oriented living history camp. Dress up like a colonial boy or girl on the Maryland frontier. Learn about Native American Indian and colonial farming. Milk a cow. Churn some butter. Make bread from scratch. Dance like Eastern Woodlands Indians. Practice military drills with Revolutionary War soldiers. Lots of show and tell, demonstrations, and crafts for the entire family. Open to youth in grades 3-8 and their families. Space limited to 100 youth. Call 301-432-7984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Deadline for registration is July 1.
10AM-11AM- "Chart Your Sharpsburg Family History." Linda Irvin-Craig offers a free genealogy lecture at Town Hall. Linda has been doing genealogical research since 1990, most of it based in Washington County with a focus on Sharpsburg. Bring a pen and pencil and a small rigid lap covering to write on and start charting out your family history. "Space Limited to 25-30 persons". Call 301-432-7984 to register or sign up at the town library.
11AM-Noon- "Colonial History" story time by Crystal Brown at the Town Library. Open to children in grades K-3. Enjoy a shadow puppet story, learn about colonial days, make a colonial craft. Space limited. Pre-registration required. Sign up at the town library.
6:30PM- Graveside ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery. Wreath laying, Honor Guard Salute, Costumed Living History Interpreters, 18th Century Music. This event has historically been a time for all to meet with descendants of the Chapline family along with other founding families, to fellowship with neighbors, and to share family stories and histories with townspeople.
7-9PM- Community Social. Antietam National Cemetery parking lot. Birthday cake, 18th century music, light refreshments (in the event of inclement weather, event will be moved to town hall).
Visit www.historicsharpsburg.org to find our more about this worthy celebration.