Top Ten Jewels of the Ort Library Map Collection

Top Ten Jewels of the Ort Library Map Collection

MaryJo A. Price, Frostburg State University |

Price 2011w Abstract


The Lewis J. Ort Library ( is part of Frostburg State University (, located in Frostburg, in the western mountains of Maryland. The Ort Library houses a notable map collection of topographic maps including regional coverage at 1:24,000 and 1:62,500 scales; and GSGS (General Service, General Staff [Great Britain]), AMS (Army Map Service), and DMS (Defense Mapping Agency) maps from the 1930s forward. Other maps include navigational and aeronautic charts, Census maps, and maps from National Geographic publications. Older maps, along with maps of regional interest and importance, are housed in the Special Collections Room of the Library.

With a plethora of maps to choose from, I selected my “Top Ten” based on uniqueness in their content, condition, and age, as well as on their value to regional history and geography. The maps are divided into categories that follow the history and geology of the region. These five categories are: Braddock Road; Military lots and land grants of the Revolutionary War; City of Frostburg; Coal Mine Maps; and Garrett County, Maryland.


General Braddock and George Washington forged Braddock Road in 1755, which followed the Native American trails from Cumberland, Maryland to Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh, PA). Braddock Road was hewn through the forests and mountains of Western Maryland and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Ort Library has several maps from John Kennedy Lacock and Bob Bantz that show the road as it winds from Cumberland to Southwestern Pennsylvania. The first map is a small blueprint copy of the map used in Lacock’s book, Braddock Road, the account of his travels in 1912 when he tried to retrace Braddock Road.

The second map, Braddock’s Military Road, covers the area from Cumberland to Braddock, Pennsylvania in 1755. It was compiled by Lacock in 1912 and is on blueprint paper. The larger version measures 110.3 cm x 227.3 cm and the smaller one is 26.67 cm x 57.785 cm. The map shows the twenty encampments used by Braddock and his men when they marched to Ft. Duquesne in 1755. The first camp, Spendelow Camp, is nearest to Cumberland, Maryland. The encampments shown on the map in order heading west are: Martin’s Plantation; Savage River Camp; Little Meadows; camp two miles west of Little Crossings; (on the Maryland/Pennsylvania line); Bear Camp; Squaw’s Fort Camp; camp four miles east of Great Meadows; Orchard Camp; Rock Fort Camp; Gist’s Plantation; camp on west (sic) side of Youghiogheny River; camp on east (sic) of Youghiogheny River; Great Swamp Camp; Jacob’s cabin; Salt Lick Camp; Thicketty Run Camp; Monacatuca Camp; camp near Stewartsville; and Monongahela Camp (McKeesport, PA). This map has value as the template for Bob Bantz’s work (as described in the next paragraph), and it gives visual perspective to the journals of Orme and Washington. Lacock also produced a series of glass slides and postcards that show the mapped camps as they looked in 1912.

Lacock’s maps are supplemented by those done by Bob Bantz at the beginning of 2000. Bantz, a resident of Allegany County, Maryland began tracing the road using GPS (Global Positioning System) technology in early 2000. As he walked Braddock Road, he referred to Lacock’s materials along with other resources. Bantz’s eighteen maps measure 28 cm x 21.7 cm and have 22 photographs showing various points along the road. His maps (Figure 1) include an overview of Braddock Road from Little Cacapon, West Virginia to Colonel Cresap’s post in Maryland, and on to Cumberland. The maps then proceed from Fort Cumberland through the Narrows, and confirm evidence of the road over Haystack Mountain. The major camps of General Braddock provide specific reference points. The road then crosses into Pennsylvania near Addison, Pennsylvania. This series of maps validates the work of Lacock in 1912 and provides historical context to Braddock Road. Bantz’s maps include latitude and longitude using maps from TOPO! Explorer 2000 from National Geographic holdings ( Bantz traced the Road in blue and marked the camps with arrows. With this set of maps, Braddock Road information covers primary sources such as Orme’s and Washington’s journals, both from the 1750s; Lacock’s work in 1912; and Bantz’s materials from 2000 forward.

Figure 1. Bantz Map of Braddock Road from Frostburg, Maryland west to Savage River Camp and Advanced Party at Mudlick.

Figure 1. Bantz Map of Braddock Road from Frostburg, Maryland west to Savage River Camp and Advanced Party at Mudlick.


When the Revolutionary War ended, the United States government awarded bounty lands to citizens and soldiers for their services during the war. Soldiers and citizens received free land instead of money for their military service and assistance to the cause. The records of these bounty awards provide an excellent resource for genealogists and historians.

The Ort Library has two valuable maps with the military lots, bounty lands, and/or land grants clearly marked. The first map shows the “City of Frostburg with the military lots and original land grants from the surveys, old maps, and land records of Philip Hartig, Jr., land surveyor, Maryland Registry 1403.” The map, compiled in 1953, is on blueprint paper, and measures 50.4 cm x 76.3 cm. The map shows the city of Frostburg and the surrounding area. Coverage extends from Frostburg northeast to Borden Mines and then south to Wright’s Crossing. Areas of interest include notation of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad, headwaters of Georges Creek and Sand Spring Run, and the confluence of Sand Spring and Georges Creek south of Frostburg.

Georges Creek eventually joins the Potomac River at Westernport, Maryland. Braddock Road, marked as “General Edward Braddock’s Line of March, 1755,” appears on the map, crossing the southern section from Green Street through the Frostburg State University campus, and then crossing Sand Spring Run and continuing to the west toward Big Savage Mountain and Saint John’s Rock. The map user can trace the lots by the numbers and/or name of the grant. Some of the names provide a glimpse into the terrain, with names like Walnut Level, The Mountain, Wagon Wood, etc., while other names show the optimism of the landholder—e.g., Paris and Waddell’s Fancy. Still other names, such as Mussel Man Farm and William’s Sheep Walk, show how the land was likely used. One final piece of information comes from the index of the twenty-six buildings located in Frostburg and the surrounding area. The map depicts the basic shape of the buildings, with the owner’s name given on the index.

Two additional maps of interest—the Map of the Military Lots, Tracts, and Escheats in Allegany County, Maryland West of Cumberland and the Map of the Military Lots, Tracts, and Escheats in Garrett County, Maryland—expand the land grants plotted on the Frostburg map. Both maps were prepared under the authority of the Act of 1874, Ch. 322. The scale is 200 perches to one inch. Each map details all the lots, tracts, grants, etc., of that county. Viewing them enables the user to see the number of lots surveyed, lot numbers, and/or names of owners. The Military Lots in Allegany County map has two sheets, with the first being the southern segment, 41 cm x 61 cm, plus title information. The second sheet, of the northern section, measures 41.2 cm x 60.5 cm. On this one, Allegany County industries are distinguished by name: Green’s Iron Ore Lands; Smith’s Coal and Iron; Coal and Iron Certain; and Hoyes Coal Iron and Lime Prospect. The tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, following the Potomac, the Cumberland and Pennsylvania railroad, and Wills Creek, provide examples of transportation lines. The Allegany County towns of Westernport, Frostburg, Mt. Savage, and Cumberland—as well as Piedmont, West Virginia—are marked on the map. The two sheets of the Garrett County map (Figure 2) measure 43 cm x 60.3 cm for the southern section that includes the title information and 60 cm x 45.3 cm for the sheet covering the northern part of the county. The towns on the Garrett County maps include Altamont, Oakland, Grantsville, and Accident. Rivers include Deep Creek, Crabtree Creek, Bear Creek, Youghiogheny, Savage, Potomac, Buffalo Marsh Run, Little Youghiogheny, and Cherry Creek. Interestingly, the Casselman River, east of Grantsville, does not appear on the map. The river flows from the southwest to northeast where it eventually joins the Youghiogheny River.

Figure 2. Detail of the “Map of the Military Lots, Tracts in Allegany County, Maryland West of Cumberland.” Photo by V. Williams.

Figure 2. Detail of the “Map of the Military Lots, Tracts in Allegany County, Maryland West of Cumberland.” Photo by V. Williams.


Frostburg, incorporated in 1812, will celebrate its Bicentennial in 2012. As preparations begin for the celebrations, the search intensifies for any materials on the early history of the town. One such resource is the 1837 plat map of Frost’s First Addition to the town of Frostburg, measuring 30.5 cm x 22.9 cm. This map, as laid out by the commissioners in 1837, shows the streets and alleys of the First Addition. The lots designated by the commissioners are neatly numbered on the map. Visualizing the City of Frostburg, the user quickly places Frost’s First Addition, to the northwest of Water Street. The map lacks the names of the businesses or residents located on the lots. The material for the map feels like linen with a waxy coat. One final key to the map is the designation L. No. T. f. 236; however, there is no further clue to the original’s location. This alpha-numeric identification may be the location of the map at the Courthouse in Allegany County or possibly in Annapolis, Maryland.


Coal was first discovered in 1804 in Eckhart Mines, just east of Frostburg, Maryland. The use of the National Road and horsedrawn wagons severely limited the ability to ship the coal from the area. The arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1842—and later the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in 1850—facilitated coal transportation from the area. The Ort Library map collections house many maps of the coal basins in Allegany and Garrett Counties. Three of these maps are exceptional in the detail of the coal mines, transportation, and waterway delineation.

The first map (Figure 3), Georges Creek Basin Acreages of ‘Big Vein’ Coal, lists tracts in both counties and includes the acreage. When one views the map, the extent of the coal mines is evident. The map measures 92.7 cm x 26.5 cm at a scale of 1:62,500; unfortunately, there is no date to put the map in historical context. The map shows towns and communities, some that are still in existence and others that no longer exist. The names of the communities and coal mines do enable the viewer to place locations on present-day maps as reference points. The Cumberland and Pennsylvania, Georges Creek and Cumberland, and Baltimore and Ohio railroads are labeled; however, roads are not. The streams, creeks, and rivers are indicated. The map covers the area from Wellersburg, Pennsylvania down to Westernport, Maryland and further into Mineral County, West Virginia to the southwest. This map’s historical information adds value to the user working with the coal mining history and geology in Garrett and Allegany Counties.

Figure 3. Detail of Georges Creek Basin Acreages of “Big Vein” Coal, undated.

Figure 3. Detail of Georges Creek Basin Acreages of “Big Vein” Coal, undated.

The next map is plate XXXII from the “Final Report on the survey of the Boundary Line between Allegany and Garrett Counties in Accordance with an Act Passed by the General Assembly of 1898,” from volume 5 of the Maryland Geological Survey Report, 1905. Titled Map of the Georges Creek Coal Basins showing the location of Mining Properties and the Aerial extent of the Pittsburgh ‘Big Vein’ and Lower Coals, it bears the name of William Bullock Clark, State Geologist, and a 1903 date. The encapsulated map measures 59.8 cm x 26.9 cm. The mining properties were compiled by B.S. Randolph and the geology by G.C. Martin. Included in the book is a list of fifty-five mines with name, owner, and operator. The map inside the Library copy is missing, so this map is invaluable in support of the Survey. The “Big Vein” and the Pittsburgh and Lower Coal seams are shown in different colors, making their location and size easy to detect. The map extends from the Pennsylvania line south to the Westernport, Maryland/Piedmont, West Virginia area, and westward into Garrett County, Maryland along the North Branch of the Potomac River. Listed in red are the names of the mines and their owners. Some of the mines include: Cumberland Basin Coal Company; Midland Mining Company; Frostburg and Withers Mining Company; New York Mining Company; Consolidation Coal Company; Borden Mining Company; Barton and Georges Creek Valley Coal Company; New Central Coal Company; Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company; Maryland Coal Company; West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railroad Company; and numerous other smaller companies, some of which are owned by individuals or families. The map contains topographic detail, allowing the user to see the terrain surrounding the mines. Railroads and bodies of water are further keys to location and concerns about removal of the coal, pollution, reclamation, and transportation.

The final coal mine map (Figure 4), 58.2 cm x 116.3 cm, shows the area’s coal mines, the Lower Kittanning seam, towns, railroads, and bodies of water. There is no title, date (the cataloger provided 1931 in the catalog information), source, or name of any individuals or agencies involved in the making of the map; this lack of information does present concerns about verifying the accuracy. The lower left corner lists the names of fifteen mines. The operator, mine, and seam are listed for each of the fifteen mines. The names of the seams are: Pittsburgh, Recovery; Tyson or Sewickley, Suspended; Waynesburg Suspended; Tyson or Sewickley; Bakerstown; and Montell or Clarion Suspended. The terms “recovery” and “suspended” would assist the user in locating information about mines that are being reworked or when work was stopped. This information may lead to a general date for the map.

Figure 4. Detail of the Coal Region of Allegany and Garrett Counties, Maryland,
showing the “Big Vein” Pittsburgh Seam. Photo by V. Williams.

Figure 4. Detail of the Coal Region of Allegany and Garrett Counties, Maryland, showing the “Big Vein” Pittsburgh Seam. Photo by V. Williams.

Although these three coal mine maps show the same basic information, with little variation on presentation, each map lends additional details and information to increase the users’ information about the coal region and adds to the history of the coal mining region of Allegany and Garrett Counties.


Many geologic maps of Garrett County, Maryland have been produced over the years, showing topography, geologic formations, physiology, and forest/ vegetation. The condition of these maps in the Lewis J. Ort Library collection ranges from pristine to dog-eared, laminated, encapsulated, backed with linen, and more.

This final map (Figure 5) on the list has been trimmed to a rectangle measuring 113.34 cm x 18.1 cm (the overall measurements being 108.5 cm x 90.5 cm), backed with linen, and covered with a black, impermeable material. This map comes from the John J. Rutledge Collection, received in 1987. The map collection, donated by Alma Rutledge Goldberg, contained about 404 maps and 501 books on coal. Dr. Rutledge was appointed by Governor Ritchie as the first Chief Mine Engineer for the state of Maryland and continued in that position until his death in 1952. Dr. Rutledge himself probably cut the map and carefully backed it with the linen so that he could use it in the field. The map easily folds into a manageable size, allowing the user to easily transport it for field work.

Figure 5. Detail of Map of Garrett County Showing the Geological Formations and Agricultural Soils, 1902.

Figure 5. Detail of Map of Garrett County Showing the Geological Formations and Agricultural Soils, 1902.

The map shows Permian and Carboniferous formations, providing the names of the coal, shale, and limestone beds, as well as the sections, including Dunkard, Monongahela, Conemaugh, Allegheny, Pottsville, Mauch Chunk, Greenbrier, and Pocono. The columnar section lists Hampshire and Jennings as the two formations within the Devonian period. This visual shows the shale and sandstones present descending from 1,200 feet to 5,000 feet. The legend designates the Permian, Carboniferous, and Devonian layers by color and other markings. The geology description is on the left; soil types, surveyed from 1897–1898 by Clarence W. Dorsey, are described on the right. The description of the geology and soils for river bottoms, terrains, and glades provide more information for the user working with Garrett County soils and geology.

Four vertical cross-sections, A-A through D-D, provide another viewpoint to the geology. Cross-sections labeled A-A and D-D bisect Garrett County, while B-B and C-C begin at the state lines and go to the county’s center. B-B is in the eastern portion and C-C is in the western portion of the county. A-A runs from Detmold Hill (close to the Allegany County line) and extends to the Pennsylvania line. B-B goes from southeast of Bittinger to the West Virginia/Pennsylvania/Maryland line in the northern section of the county. C-C bisects from Shaw in Mineral County, West Virginia to a point northeast of McHenry, Maryland. D-D bisects the county at the Potomac River east of Stoyer, Maryland and terminates at Preston County, West Virginia northeast of Corinth, West Virginia.

The towns, railroads, ridges/mountain tops, and bodies of water provide points of reference on the map, allowing the user to find the same points on presentday maps. A final key for the map is the text Conventional Signs, which gives the symbols for coal, fire clay, limestone, mines and quarries in operation, coal mines and quarries not working, and prospect coal.

Maps add a visual way to obtain information for research, travel, exploration, and learning. The map collection of the Ort Library enables students, staff, faculty, areas residents, and visitors to research and explore areas of particular interest. These unique and historic maps lend an exciting way to retrieve facts and information. Maps, whether computer generated or hand-drawn antiques, will always fascinate and entice users.


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