60 Years of Educating, Inspiring, and Entertaining

Deb Spalding
The 60th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show opened with the 40th Annual Community Flag Ceremony at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9, 2016, at Catoctin High School. Being its sixtieth year, former Maryland State FFA Officers from Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Catoctin High Schools, were cited for their contributions that helped to strengthen our community’s agricultural awareness and expansion over the years.

The Community Show is sponsored by civic-minded and community-concerned business people. No admission is charged to the public. The show has many different parts, all of which either educate, inspire, or entertain the show-goer, as intended in the Community Show’s mission statement.

The Opening Ceremony on Friday evening kicked off a weekend of civic dinners, entertaining concerts, baked goods and livestock auctions, farm animal shows, good-natured contests, community organization and business exhibits, and exhibit entries of artistic ability, craftsmanship, culinary talents, and gardening or farming aptitude.
It’s a little overwhelming to take in all of the aspects of this show. You must experience the different parts to truly appreciate the grandness of it and to soak in the heritage that is celebrated within it.

For example, for the past seventeen Community Shows, Harold and Peggy Long of Long-View Farms have been donating the hog that is sold at the livestock auction during the Community Show to benefit the FFA Scholarship Fund. Their grandson, David R. Young, a senior at Catoctin High School, shows this hog. Carol Robertson, president of the Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., has been buying it for the last eight years. This year, she purchased the hog for $10.50 per pound. It weighed 249 pounds! That’s $2,614.50 going into the FFA Alumni Scholarship Fund. Carol Robertson chuckled as she said, “I had just been to the grocery store and spent $1.89 per pound for pork. Then I went up there [to the livestock auction] and spent $2,600 on a pig. It’s gotta be a good pig. Best pork ever!”

That same hog was then taken to the Westminster Livestock Auction, per Carol Robertson, to be resold. That sale money is then given to the Thurmont Food Bank. So, both organizations benefit.

Maxine Troxell of Thurmont has been entering baked goods into the Community Show for years. She has won countless champion and reserve champion ribbons. The sales of her cakes and pies have generated thousands of dollars that benefit several organizations, including the Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Catoctin FFA Chapter, and the Thurmont Grange.

In addition to entering baked goods in the Community Show exhibits each year, Maxine often enters one of her dogs in the annual pet show. The pet show is a long-time Community Show favorite. It is free to enter your canine companion or feline friend in this contest, where the “Longest Whiskers” and “Waggiest Tails” are two of the categories judged.

During this year’s opening ceremony, current Maryland FFA State President Ellie Grossnickle and current Maryland FFA State Secretary Amanda Farmer thanked Community Show President Rodman Myers, Community Show Vice President Robert “Bob” Valentine, Community Show Secretary Brian Hendrickson, and Community Show Assistant Treasurer Cathy Little, for sixty years of the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Daniel Myers shared that his grandfather, Rodman Myers, and William “Bill” Baker started the Community Show sixty years ago. Rodman was Master of the Thurmont Grange and Mr. Baker was the high school Vo-Ag teacher, spending half of his school day at Thurmont High School and the other half at Emmitsburg High School. Bill and Rodman each served as co-chairmen of the Community Show for thirty years. The Emmitsburg Grange and Emmitsburg FFA had a Community Show until 1969, then moved it to Catoctin High School, where the show combined with Thurmont to become the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

Robert Valentine was a ninth-grade student at that time, and has been a participant in, and later, an officer of, the Community Show for the entire sixty years. Bob is vice president and chairman of the Annual Beef, Sheep, Swine, Goat & Dairy Show that is part of the Community Show.

Becky Myers Linton was the first FFA Chapter Sweetheart at Thurmont High School in 1957. At that time, she was escorted by Robert Fraley, the 1957 Thurmont FFA President. As they did sixty years ago, they both walked on the stage at the 60th Anniversary Opening Ceremony, wearing the same FFA jackets they wore then.

Any past Thurmont, Emmitsburg, or Catoctin FFA Chapter Sweetheart or FFA Ambassador in attendance at the ceremony stood to be recognized.

Past officers of the Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Catoctin FFA Chapters, who also served as officers with the Maryland State FFA, were the honorees, awarded with a certificate of appreciation during the ceremony. Terry Shank, Maryland FFA Executive Director, spoke about the honorees, stating, “The National FFA has a vision of engaging members, building communities, and strengthening the agricultural community. This vision is truly lived out through the individuals we are recognizing tonight.”

Honorees included: Woodrow Wills, 1930-31 (Thurmont); Ray Valentine, 1937-38 (Emmitsburg)—his son, Randy Valentine, attended the opening ceremony and sponsors the annual Dairy Cattle Fitting and Showing category in his father’s honor; Guy Krom, 1939-40 (Emmitsburg); Eugene Long, 1943-44 (Thurmont)—the oldest living past state officer in the area, turning ninety in March; Charles Free, Jr., 1958-59 (Thurmont); Joe Kuhn, 1960-61 (Thurmont); Susan Weimer Trice, 1973-74 (Thurmont and Emmitsburg High Schools combined to represent Catoctin High School at this time); Michael Wiemer, 1975-76; Naomi Weimer Knight, 1976-77; David Harman, 1979-80; Barry Burch, 1980-81; Susan Flanagan Greubel, 1981-82; Todd Levering, 1983-84; Margaret Flanigan Klemme, 1984-85; Brian D. Glass, 1985-86; Dana Gates Cessna, 1987-88; Stacey Troxell Ridge, 1988-89; Sterling “Gene” Bollinger, III, 1989-90; Karen Young Myers, 1989-90; Michael Gates, 1990-91; George Bollinger, 1991-92; Ray Martin, III, 1992-93; Missy Willard Donnelly, 1996-97; Gary Bassler, 1997-98; Mark Valentine, 1997-98; Jessica Troxell Valentine, 1998-99; Shaun Shriner, 1999-2000; Karen Mueller Jacobs, 2001-02; Melissa Sharrer, 2001-02; Julie Roop Tingue, 2004-05; Annie Delauter Bentz, 2006-07; Bridget Hoffman Nicholson, 2007-08; Carrie Wivell, 2008-09; Tyler Yoake, 2009-10; Tyler Donnelly, 2011-12; Daniel Myers, 2013-14; and Ashley McAfee, 2014-15.

Representing Frederick County Agriculture, Catoctin High School graduate, Megan Millison, was recently named the 2016 Miss Maryland Agriculture. She has also served as the Frederick County Farm Bureau Ambassador and former Catoctin High School FFA Ambassador.

Among several candidates, Maybelin Cruz was selected as the 2016-2017 Catoctin FFA Ambassador.

With the Opening Ceremony complete, the Baked Goods Auction immediately followed.

Fresh Fruits: Champion – Kylie Robertson (Sugar Giant Peaches); Reserve Champion – Kylie Robertson (Honey Crisp Apples) • Fresh Vegetables: Champion – Brian Harbaugh (Yellow Corn); Reserve Champion – Charles Sayler (Watermelon) • Home Products Display: Champion – Roxanna Lambert; Reserve Champion – Charlotte Dutton • Canned Fruit: Champion – Donald Stanley (Canned Pears); Reserve Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Yellow Cherries) • Canned Vegetables: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Tomatoes); Reserve Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Yellow Tomato Juice) • Jellies & Preserves: Champion – Denise Shriver (Peach Preserves); Reserve Champion – Paul Miller (Pepper Jelly) • Pickles: Champion – Stephanie Ott (Dill Pickle); Reserve Champion – Joanna Fuss (Corn Relish) • Meat (Canned): Champion – Ann Welty (Canned Fish); Reserve Champion – Ann Welty (Canned Quail) • Home Cured Meats: Champion – Robert McAfee (Ham); Reserve Champion – Catoctin FFA Alumni (Ham) • Baked Products (Cake): Champion – Maxine Troxell (Hummingbird Cake); Reserve Champion – Maxine Troxell (German Chocolate Cake) • Honorable Mention (Cake): Burall Brothers Scholarship – Sherry Flohr (Coconut Cake) • Bread: Champion – Carolyn Eyler (Banana Bread); Reserve Champion – Debbie Wiles (Biscuits) • Pie: Champion – Denise Valentine (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion – Denise Valentine (Shoo Fly Pie) • Sugar Free: Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Diabetic Bread); Catherine Miller (Apple Pie) • Gluten Free Baked Product: Champion – Elizabeth Ruppert (Honey Oat Bread); Reserve Champion – Ann Welty (Bread) • Sewing: Champion – Peggy Vandercruysen (Quilt); Reserve Champion – Constance Smith (Infant Layette) • Flowers & Plants: Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Side Table Arrangement); Reserve Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Silk Arrangement) • Arts, Painting & Drawings: Champion – Penny Keilholtz (Acrylic); Reserve Champion – Johnny Kempisty (Drawing) • Crafts: Champion – James Garman (Handcrafted Furniture); Reserve Champion – Mary Connecher (Collage) • Photography: Champion – Debbie Swing (Color Photo – Action); Reserve Champion – Debbie Swing (Color Photo – Animal) • Corn: Champion – Matt Clark (Yellow Corn); Reserve Champion – Bridgette Kinna (Indian Corn) • Small Grain & Seeds: Champion – Rodman Myers (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion – Rodman Myers (Wheat) • Eggs: Champion – Jen Sayler (White Eggs); Reserve Champion – Audrey Downs (Brown Eggs) • Nuts: Champion – Edward Hahn (English Walnuts); Reserve Champion – Edward Hahn (Black Walnuts) • Rabbit: Champion – Laura Dutton (Rabbit and offspring); Reserve Champion – Paige Baker (Female Breeding D’Argent Champagne • Poultry: Champion – Ann Seiss (Rooster); Reserve Champion – Jerry Seiss (Hen) • Dairy: Champion – Joseph Hubbard (Ayrshire Winter Calf); Reserve Champion – Robert Hahn (Milking Shorthorn Summer Yearling) • Dairy Goats: Champion – Olivia Dutton (Doe 2 years and under 3 years); Reserve Champion – Rose Froelich (Doe 3 years and under 5 years) • Hay: Champion – Matt Clark (Alfalfa Hay); Reserve Champion – Sam Topper (Orchard Grass) • Straw: Dallas McNair (Wheat Straw); Reserve Champion – Rodman Myers (Wheat Straw) • Junior Department: Caroline Clarke (Sewn Item – vest); Reserve Champion – McKenzi Forrest (Artwork) • Junior Department Baked Product: Ryan Martin (Chocolate Cake – Frosted); Reserve Champion – Jayden Myers (Cookies) • Youth Department: Champion – Alex Bollinger (Paper Craft); Reserve Champion – Gabriella Ferraro (Gel Pen Drawing) • Youth Department Baked Product: Justin McAfee (Peach Pie); Reserve Champion – Ruby McAfee (Bread) • Beef: Champion – Margo Sweeney; Reserve Champion – Travis Fields • Lamb: Caroline Clark; Reserve Champion – Kaitlynn Neff • Swine: Champion – Wyatt Davis; Reserve Champion – Ray Martin, IV • Market Goat: Katie Glass; Reserve Champion – Joseph Hubbard • Decorated Animal Contest: Peyton Davis (Dorothy & Scare crow); Reserve Champion – Laura Dutton (Goat – Bumble Bee) • Pet Show: Tracy Beeman (Pomeranian Dog); Reserve Champion – Pam Kaas (Dog) • Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull: Champion – Ryan Martin; Reserve Champion – Caroline Clark.
Pictured from left seated are Jessica Valentine, Susan Free, Susan Trice, Gene Long, Karen Young Myers, Maybelin Cruz, Carrie Wivell, Bridget Nicholson, Ashley McAfee, Becky Myers Linton; standing, Mark Valentine, Brian D. Glass, Principal Quesada, Dr. Terry Alban, George Bollinger, Ray Martin, Gene Bollinger, Bob Valentine, Barry Burch, Daniel Myers, Joe Kuhn, Rodman Myers, Shawn Shriner, Tyler Donnelly, Bob Fraley, Randy Valentine for Ray Valentine, Dave Harman, and Stacey Ridge.

Left side top to bottom: Flag bearers line up for the Opening Ceremony Procession of Flags.
Matthew Offutt’s dog, Maddie, won first place (Prettiest Dog).
Abby Stouter and Kaylee Smith from the Thurmont Riding Club lead a pony ride for little Emily Roberts.
Three-year-old Rebecca Schectman enjoys the sweet dwarf bunnies in the Ag area.
Right side top to bottom: Maxine Troxell (Grand Champion Cake baker) is shown with (buyers) Gateway Candyland & Liquors, Grant Kelly, Maggie Doll, John Doll, Jamison Doll, and Eva Doll.
Bob Valentine (Community Show vice-president) and Rodman Myers (Community Show president) are shown with the 2016-17 CHS FFA Ambassador, Maybelin Cruz.
Josie Martin (six years old) enthusiastically peddles to the finish line.
2016 Reserve Market Goat Champion, Joseph Hubbard, is shown with his Boer goat, Dom.


Harold and Peggy Long (donors of FFA Scholarship Hog) are shown with Catoctin Colorfest President (buyer) Carol Robertson, David R. Young (The Long’s grandson and CHS Senior), and Maybelin Cruz (2016-17 CHS FFA Ambassador).

Horseshoe Tournament participants shown are: Gary Miller, Gary Hoffmaster, Gary Willard, Rich Willard, Carl Willard, John Holt, Dick Glass, Jim Shubert, Bill Klunk, Gil Lue Kenbaugh, Dave Miller, John Smith, Dale Kaas, Donnie Kaas. Tournament winners were: 1st Place — John Holt and Dale Kaas, 2nd — Rich Willard and Carl Willard, 3rd — Gary Willard and Donnie Kaas.

Officer Duhan (Thurmont Police Department) is shown with his dog Buddy. They did a demonstration and placed in the Pet Show.

Caroline Clarke showed the Grand Champion Lamb.

Deb Spalding
Korey Shorb of Emmitsburg has been “down and out.”As a former heroin addict, he was so far down that he lied to his family, stole from others, started dealing drugs, went to jail, and then to prison. He repeated those same shaming behaviors over and over again. It was a cycle during which he used, “Any drug you can think of — I shot it, smoked it, ate it. The first heroin high is the best; the addiction is when you keep trying to capture that high feeling, but after the first time, the high is lower. We are enslaved. You can never recapture that first high again.” He feels that heroin has changed in the past few years. People are bypassing weed and alcohol and going straight for the hard stuff, the stuff that will kill you quickly.

Korey has been drug-free for the past eight years. He got “up and out” of his addiction. “The opiate addiction problem is killing our communities,” he said. Therefore, in an effort to help others recover, and to possibly prevent addictive behavior, he started an organization he dubbed, The Up & Out Foundation.

About the organization, he said, “Originally it was to give money back to the Drug Courts Program out of Frederick. To people recovering, it’s a big deal to graduate from the program. It’s hard work to get through the program, but Drug Courts are designed for people like me. They need a reward. Not everybody has someone. It’s important to help.”
Funds generated from Up & Out’s Run for Recovery, paint nights, quarter auctions, and other events, help recovering addicts pay for resources that will help them. For example, when you’re down and out, the $400 or $500 admission fee to a Recovery House to begin recovery is hard to get; the $100 copay for the monthly Vivitrol shot that will render opiate effects useless is hard to pay. It shouldn’t be hard to find resources when recovery gets tough.

“Up & Out helps to get people off the habits that could kill them. Relapse does not have to be a part of recovery. There’s someone who can help you,” explained Korey.
Up & Out offers that lifeline for help. They’ll help navigate the resources, and help you gain access to different programs.

The Frederick County Health Department is a great resource. They can help with prevention, awareness, substance use, and mental health. They assess people and refer them where they feel is appropriate. They also have a recovery center in Emmitsburg, and one located in Frederick, which are great for people in recovery who may not choose to go to a twelve-step program.

Since its conception in 2014, Up & Out is growing because there’s a need. Melissa Wetzel, a CPA in Emmitsburg, helped to start the organization, and Korey paid out of his pocket to obtain the organization’s 501(c)3 non-profit designation.

Meanwhile, Korey started a much-needed job through the Fredrick County Health Department. He works with the Drug Court program and the Frederick County Parole & Probation Office.

“If you would have told me eight years ago that I’d be working in the probation office that I used to report to, and that my former probation officer would be working right across the hall from me, I would have said you’re crazy!” Korey added, “I suit up and let God do the rest. While I was in jail, my mom would write at the bottom of her letters: ‘Pray Korey, there’s power in prayer.’ I used to think prayer was a sign of weakness. I know today that prayer is where my strength comes from.”

Korey speaks about the mission of Up & Out. He’s spoken to high school students, to college students, to juvenile delinquency classes, clubs, and churches, and to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He found his niche in public speaking. “I know what it’s like to be in high school and feel different, and not be able to talk about it.”
The Youthful Offenders program through the Frederick County States Attorneys Office is a place where at-risk youth can get help. They can be referred to the program by a parent, an officer, a friend, or a family member, for help with any at-risk behavior.

“Everyone will have a different road to recovery,” Korey emphasized. He was stubborn. He needed consequences behind his actions. He feels that our society is babying addicts too much. “They have to sit in jail and use that time to think. My dad didn’t let me manipulate, and he made me accountable for my actions. My mom nearly loved me to death. She was borrowing money from friends and getting bank loans to ‘help’ me.”

Korey strongly advises family members to, “Let them sit in jail, don’t bail them out; don’t pick up the phone if you can’t say no. They can get help while they’re in jail.” The Fredrick County Detention Center has a designated block for substance-abuse treatment.

Korey feels that an addict will never stay clean until they change their thinking. “If nothing changes, nothing changes. Drugs are still winning.”

There is a science called Neuroplasticity. This is basically retraining a person’s thinking. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. The process is very difficult because it’s uncomfortable. But, from Korey’s experience, it is spot-on for people getting clean and staying clean, by using coping skills when the craving comes to use opiates again. He’s not anti-medication, but he feels that medication does not fix addiction or alcoholism. “Medication is a symptom dampener. We still have to address the addiction. An addict thinks they’re going to get on some type of medication-assisted treatment, but not change the way they live. For me, not using drugs and alcohol was a very small piece of the puzzle. I had no clue, until I got sober, but then realized that I had to change the way that I live my life. Until we change our thinking, we will always recycle our experiences.”

In 2014, Sue Hood created a documentary that can be viewed on Vimeo and Youtube called “Running for Recovery.” The video is an educational tool for schools, churches, and recovery centers.

Eventually, Korey wants to open a recovery house, and he’d like to start a running club. For now, Up & Out is a way to give back to the community and help people. “Just because someone struggled with addiction or might have done time in jail, it doesn’t mean their life is over. If they get clean, their life is just beginning.”
Korey Shorb, founder of Up & Out Foundation, is shown in front of the Frederick County Courthouse.

James Rada, Jr.
jim-rada-blue-blazes-stilWhen the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol was banned in the United States in 1919, citizens had to choose between becoming teetotalers or criminals. Many law-abiding citizens chose the latter.

Since a person could get in trouble buying a drink, people who did it, didn’t talk about it. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t happening. Underground bars, or speakeasies, weren’t advertised. People knew about them by word of mouth. You got in by knowing someone or knowing a password. Manufacturing moved to stills hidden in the woods or basements.

Moonshining (the illegal manufacture or distribution of alcohol) has been around since the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s. The Western Pennsylvanians, who refused to pay the federal taxes on homemade liquor, were the country’s first moonshiners.

However, it wasn’t until the Prohibition era that moonshining took off since the demand for liquor increased. With the profits increasing—a quart of moonshine could fetch $16 in Hagerstown ($225 in today’s dollars)—more and more people were willing to risk being arrested and became moonshiners, rumrunners, and bootleggers.

How to Make Moonshine
Kenny Bray was a Western Maryland coal miner in the early 20th century. I have a copy of his unpublished memoir. It includes a section on moonshining and how it is made.
First, you need a still, a tub, and a source of running water.

The average still during the early decades of the 20th century was a 14.5-gallon copper wash boiler. A worm, which was a long piece of 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch copper tubing, ran from the top of the boiler to the cooling tub. The boiler lid was sealed with flour paste. The worm was coiled inside the cooling tub, with the end coming out near the bottom. A small stream of water ran into the tub to cool the coils.

Once the still is set up, here is the recipe: a bushel of corn or grain; 50 pounds of sugar; a couple cakes of yeast; and 35-50 gallons of water.

It is all mixed in a barrel and left to ferment into corn mash. The barrel is covered but it is not sealed like the boiler. As it ferments, the mash becomes milky white. It is occasionally mixed. After the mash has fermented, the grain will settle to the bottom, and the mixture is said to be “worked off” and is ready for distilling.

jim-rada-stillIn preparation for the distilling, the copper parts of the still are cleaned with vinegar and salt to remove any rust.

The boiler is filled with mash to within a few inches of the top and set over a low fire. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, the alcohol evaporates while the water does not. The alcohol vapor travels up into the worm and moves through the tubing. As it moves through the water-cooled tub, the vapor condenses back into liquid alcohol. What comes out at the end of the worm is moonshine.

This first run is called a “singling.” It is not pleasant to drink and will leave a burning sensation in your mouth and throat.

After the singling run, the still is emptied and cleaned. Then the singling is poured into the boiler, along with water, and the cooking process is done again. This is called “doubling,” and Bray calls it the best grade of moonshine. After this doubling run, you would probably have about 10 gallons of moonshine.

jim-rada-story-picHowever, if you ever see old pictures of moonshine jugs with X’s on them, that represents the number of times run through; XXX isn’t porn, it’s high-grade moonshine.
The original mash can be used up to three times by adding more sugar, yeast, and water.

This was all done without meters and gauges to tell alcohol was no longer coming out of the worm. The way that moonshiners could tell a run was done was that they would catch a teaspoon of moonshine out of the worm and throw it on the fire. If it flashed, they kept cooking. If it sizzled, they stopped.

Bray’s grandfather used honey instead of sugar and corn to make a good, smooth whiskey called, Honey Brandy.

However, former Catoctin Mountain Park Ranger Debra Mills pointed out during a presentation at the Thurmont Regional Library, “No still ever makes whiskey, because it doesn’t have time to age.”

Moonshining produces distilled alcohol.
Some moonshiners weren’t too concerned with their quality of product and took shortcuts in making moonshine. Some of the things that Prohibition moonshiners did include:
• Doubling the first run in mash instead of water.
• Using a 55 gal. steel drum instead of a copper boiler.
• Letting the still run too long.
• Put rubbing alcohol in the mash when it was ready to run, which would increase the amount of the run 2 to 1 in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol put in, one pint of 70 percent rubbing alcohol would make two pints of 70 proof moonshine.
• Putting other materials in the mash to ferment, such as overripe fruit.
• Coloring moonshine with tobacco juice or iodine instead of vanilla to make it taste strong when it wasn’t.
• Using a 14 oz. bottle and selling it for the same price as a 16 oz. bottle.
Wayne Martin, a Thurmont resident whose grandfathers were moonshiners, said his Grandfather Henry used to speed up the “aging” process by putting the kegs on hot water pipes, which supposedly also made the moonshine taste better.

The Waynesboro Record Herald reported about a moonshiner who took the ultimate shortcut. He sold three Waynesboro men three pints of moonshine for $2 a pint. It was a good deal that the men jumped at. “Naturally, after they had it in their possession, they wanted to sample the liquor, and on doing so found that they had purchased muddy mountain water with no more ‘kick’ than the water which runs into the pipes in homes of Waynesboro from the town reservoir,” the newspaper reported.

Thurmont Moonshining
Mills points out that Catoctin Mountain was much more barren during the Prohibition era, and the people who lived on it were poor.
“Prohibition was probably a good thing economically for people in this area,” Mills said.

Having stills operating also gave farmers a place to sell their crops. Although corn was the most popular grain for moonshine, Elmer Black said in a 2015 interview that he only ever knew of rye being raised to be sold to the local moonshiners in the area.

The finished product was often shipped out of the area on the railroad in barrels labeled cornmeal, according to Mills.

It could leave other ways as well. Black recalled that his grandfather would often run moonshine right under the nose of the county sheriff and his deputies. He would get the family together to take a ride in their Studebaker, and off they would go. There was an ulterior motive for the drive, though. Moonshine was hidden underneath the seats.
“My grandfather would wave ‘hi’ as they went by the sheriff,” Black said.

Two of Black’s uncles were some of the biggest bootleggers around the Thurmont area. Even his father was known to drive moonshine out of the area to sell. One time he took Black and his siblings along for the ride. The kids fell asleep.

“The three of us woke up and asked, ‘who lives here?’” Black said. “Some senator, they told us. They were rolling the barrels up to the house.”

Stills were hidden on Catoctin Mountain near streams that could supply them with the water needed for the moonshine recipes. According to Black, if you follow the streams on Catoctin Mountain upriver, you can still see the remnants of stills that were destroyed.

Martin shared some of his family stories during a presentation at the Thurmont Regional Library about moonshining.

One grandfather kept a quarter keg of moonshine in his attic, and when friends would come by with Mason jars, Martin’s grandfather would tell his son to “go up and get some ‘shine for the friends.”

At some point, Martin’s grandfather moved the keg from the attic to the basement and buried it in the coal pile.

Once, revenue agents came by wanting to search the house while Martin’s father was alone. The boy didn’t know what to do because he couldn’t get on the phone to call his parents, so he let the revenue agents in to search the house.

They started in the attic, which worried Martin’s father, but the men didn’t find anything. Martin’s father thought he was safe and that the moonshine was no longer in the house. The revenue agents continued their search, ending up in the basement.

One of the agents saw the coal pile and wondered if moonshine might be buried in it. Martin’s father, not knowing that was the case, held up the coal shovel and told the agents, “Go ahead and dig, but you’ve got to put it all back or my dad will be mad.”

Luckily, the agents were lazy and chose not to dig. Martin’s grandfather moved the moonshine out of the house after that.

The revenuers did eventually catch up with Martin’s grandfather. According to Martin, they came in the front door of the house, chasing Martin’s grandfather while the man went out the back door. The revenuers chased after him.

Martin’s father, a young boy at the time, chased after the revenuers. “Dad, he caught up with one revenuer and bit him on the leg and my grandfather got away,” Martin said.

The Blue Blazes Still
jim-rada-story-blue-blazeOn July 31, 1929, two cars drove up Catoctin Mountain on Route 77. Six men rode in the cars. Only five would be alive two hours later.

The cars pulled off the side of the road. Frederick County Deputy John Hemp and Lester Hoffman climbed out of one of them.

Although not a deputy, Hoffman was the only one in the group who knew his way through the forest to what an informant had described a week earlier as a “large liquor plant.”
“The officers, in attempting to creep up on the small vale in which the still was situated, ascended a winding mountain path, which led abruptly to the scene of the tragedy,” reported the Frederick Post.

As they neared the still, shots rang out. Deputy Clyde Hauver fell and the deputies scattered for cover, as the moonshiners fired on them, hidden by the underbrush.
Once Hauver was on his way to Frederick, the remaining deputies used picks and axes to destroy the vats and boiler. The newspaper reported that Blue Blazes Still was one of the largest and best equipped in Frederick County, according to reports. It had a boiler from a steam locomotive, twenty 500-gallon-capacity wooden vats, filled with corn mash, two condensing coils, and a cooling box.

A National Park Service (NPS) ranger told me that the still produced alcohol so fast that if a man took away a five-gallon bucket of alcohol and dumped it into a vat, by the time he returned to the still, another bucket would be filled and waiting to be removed.

A manhunt started for the moonshiners and eight men were eventually jailed. Charles Lewis was convicted of first-degree murder in the Washington County Circuit Court on March 7, 1930. Governor Theodore McKeldin commuted the sentence in 1950, when Lewis was sixty-five. He died a short time after his release.

There is still much speculation over whether Lewis was the actual murderer. Mills pointed out that he was probably the informant who told the sheriff’s department about the operation. Names get suggested as do motives, such as a love triangle gone bad or one man coveting another man’s job, but no other person has been conclusively shown to be the killer.

Today, the Blue Blazes Still is gone, but the NPS has a 50-gallon pot still captured in a Tennessee raid on the same location. NPS uses it for presentations about moonshining in the mountains.

The NPS actually operated the still for demonstrations from 1970 to 1989. It was the first still ever to operate legally on government property, according to Thurmont Historian George Wireman.

When the NPS started operating the still, the Hagerstown Morning Herald reported, “National Park officials hasten to assure that the whiskey is not for presidential consumption, although the pungent odor of mash undoubtedly wafts over the mountain retreat to be inhaled occasionally by VIP nostrils.”

However, though the park had received permission from the Treasury Department to manufacture whiskey, park personnel hadn’t talked to state authorities about it. The Hagerstown Morning Herald wrote, “on the first day the still was in operation, an agent of the state’s alcohol tax division appeared at the park with two deputies, all set to make another raid on Blue Blazes.” Since the still was on federal property, they couldn’t do anything about it, though.

“I’m still known as the only park superintendent in the service who’s been raided for being a moonshiner,” former Park Superintendent Frank Mentzer told the newspaper.

Moonshining in Pen Mar
Pen Mar, with its ideal location as a resort on the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, became a popular spot for bootleggers to hide their stills. Also, being at Pen Mar put them close to people who wanted to relax and enjoy themselves with a drink.

In 1921, an informant told police that there were thirteen stills that he knew of in the vicinity of Pen Mar. The bootleggers were making good money selling their product, though they didn’t stay very long in one place.

The Gettysburg Compiler reported that one informant about the bootlegging at Pen Mar saw “a bootlegger with a suitcase, placed the latter on a rock near the old Blue Mountain House path and did a land office business by handing the liquor out by the pint and half pint to people who appeared from among the bushes.”

After a few minutes, he closed up shop and disappeared into the woods, only to reappear in another location about half an hour or so later.

In 1925, revenuers tried to get Daniel Toms’ 30-gallon still in Cascade. He held them off for a short time with a shot gun, but they eventually surrounded him and caught him and his henchmen.

Smithsburg Moonshining War
Revenuers also spent plenty of time in Smithsburg, combing the hills for moonshiners. They tried to pass themselves off as tourist hikers.

Smithsburg made national headlines as having an “old-time mountain feud” between John Cline and Henry Russman. There were reports of night raiding, indiscriminate shooting, and fights. They were accused of wrecking a church, dynamiting a sawmill, killing one person, and wounding others. A 1923 article estimated that there were 500 stills between Hagerstown and the Pennsylvania line. The interest in this fighting may have been due in part to the recent coal mine riots that had grown so violent across the country.
One newspaper reported about the moonshiners, “They are unmolested. It would be as much as an officer’s life would be worth to try and interfere. The natives are silent. They know a bullet in the dark would follow any giving of information.”

End of an Era
Due to its unpopularity, Prohibition soon ended after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. With that, prices of liquor dropped and moonshining lost its appeal to many people.


Town Considering Adding a Third Sheriff’s Deputy
The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners approved an adjustment to their contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for the two community deputies in town. Because of pay scale adjustments in the Sheriff’s Office, the cost of the deputies to the town is going to be $28,583 more for this fiscal year, for a total of $260,603. The town had budgeted $247,950 for the deputies, which covers most of the increase.

Interim Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the sheriff has also agreed not to charge any overtime this year to the town as a way of helping offset the increase.

The commissioners also brought up adding a third community deputy to the town, but that deputy can’t be added until the next fiscal year so that the increased costs can be budgeted.

Commissioners Balk at Consultant Cost
Although the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners had agreed to retain former Town Manager Dave Haller as a consultant on an as-needed basis at a cost of $24,000 for one year, they changed their minds when they saw that they could only use his services for 150 hours during that year.

Mayor Don Briggs reminded the commissioners that they had agreed to use Haller as a consultant for the reason that his knowledge of the town would be useful in transitioning to a new town manager.

Commission President Tim O’Donnell said, “150 hours is very limiting.”

The commissioners discussed options and thought that the Maryland Municipal League could also serve as a resource, and it is one that they already have.
“I think it’s time to move on,” Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, said.

Town Office Will Soon Accept Credit Card Payments
The Emmitsburg Town Office will soon be able to accept credit card payments for town bills, but there will be a $5 convenience charge to cover the costs the town has to pay to make that service available.

The service should be available in early October.
For more information on the town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.


Thurmont Growth Slows
One finding that is part of the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission’s annual report is that Thurmont is not growing as fast as projected in the 2010 comprehensive plan.
According to Town Planner Chris Jakubiak, Thurmont’s population has only increased by 280 since 2010. The majority of that growth hasn’t been through annexation but through infill. Parcels already zoned for residential growth within the town limits are being developed.

Colorfest Bids Approved
The Thurmont Mayor and Town Commissioners approved bids for security, bus transportation, trash removal, and portable toilets for the 2016 Colorfest.
May Security Services will provide security with twenty-nine officers for $13,224. They were the sole bidder, but they have provided Colorfest security before. This cost is the same as 2015.

Rills Bus Service of Westminster will provide bus transportation during the festival for $11,888. They were also the sole bidder, but they have provided the service for the festival for some time. Because the commissioners decided to reduce the number of buses used, this year’s cost is significantly less than the $17,160 for 2015.

Although there were two bidders for trash removal and portable toilets, only one bidder could provide both services. Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide trash removal for $2,264 and portable toilets for $9,936. The commissioners had decided months ago to reduce the number of portable toilets from 162 to 123.

The total savings over 2015 is $7,772. If the town’s revenues for the festival remain the same, there will still be a deficit, but it will be less than half of the deficit of 2015. However, some fees have also been raised, which will increase the revenues. The number of highway signs has been reduced, which saves an additional $900.

Halloween Decorating Contest
The Town of Thurmont is sponsoring a Halloween decorating contest for homes and businesses. The decorated locations will be judged on October 27 and 28, and the winners will be announced at Halloween in the Park on October 29.

The prizes are $75.00 for first place, $50.00 for second place, and $25.00 for third place.

For more information on the town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call the town office at 301-271-7313.

From the Mayor
Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

The 60th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show was again a phenomenal success. Adding to the attentiveness was that it was also the weekend of the fifteenth year since the 9-11 attacks. To the occasion was brought a keenness of being with friends and family. Many times we take for granted the things that are so important, but not that weekend. It seemed, like during the immediate aftermath of 9-11, that we were absorbed with not only being with family and friends, but strangers also, those new friends that are only one smile away.

The Mount community again took special time to remember alumni lost on 9-11: Andrew J. Alameno, 1986; Anthony E. Gallagher, 1983; Elizabeth C. Logler, 1991; James F. Murphy, IV, 1993; and Kevin J. Murphy, 1983. Also relatives of alumni: Edward A. Brennan III, Christopher Clarke, Alan Linton, Mark McGinly, John F. Rhodes III, and John Swaine.

Four years ago, I asked Ray Barnes, now Frederick County Board of Education Executive Officer, to tour Emmitsburg Elementary School with me. I, like many up this way, felt the school needed some upgrading. I know patience is a virtue, but every year I visited the school to speak to fourth graders, it seemed nothing was being done. Then, this summer, there was a noticeable change in activity at the school. First, site lighting was being enhanced. Twenty LED lights and poles were being installed. Fourteen were replacements for the original 20-foot poles and six were installed at new locations. As we know from our experience from replacing our street lighting with LED lamps, the lighting provides fuller coverage, more light, and uses less wattage. Less wattage converts to energy cost savings. Also, the LED fixtures have a life expectancy of more than twenty years, so there is more savings to be had with less bulb replacements.

Then, large equipment containers began to show up (AC/heating equipment) with two air handlers for the gym and kitchen; new cooling and chiller; five roof-top heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) package systems. With the new equipment came new building automation for temperature control and operational timing. The final touch was to replace all ceiling tile in the school. Not done yet: next summer the roof will be replaced. Cost to date is $1.5 million. Thank you, Board of Education.
The official opening of Seton Center, Inc. Outreach was held on September 9. Among the dignitaries attending were County Commissioner Otis and County Executive Gardner. Every town has a pulse and the Outreach Center is a beacon. Being there conjured up thoughts of what Robert Frost wrote, “taking the path less traveled and that has made all the difference” and that of St. John Paul II, “in each of us is a soul which is the seed of eternity.” Think about that. Helping those in need often is the path less traveled and to our souls it will make all the difference, and that is a part of eternity.

The 35th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is on October 8-9, 2016, a national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. Please welcome our 6,000 guests to the area for that weekend.

The walkway along East Lincoln Avenue, connecting Creamery Road and South Seton Avenue, was open in time for school openings at Emmitsburg Elementary and Mother Seton School; at times the walkway seems like a boardwalk, with people strolling up and down it. Again, this is the eighth sidewalk connection made in the last four years. We are on our way to becoming a walkable community.

From the Mayor
Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird

As I write this column, it is hard to believe that the first day of fall is upon us! Many I have spoken to recently lament the passing of summer, and look glumly forward to early sunsets and cooler weather. Summer is generally thought of as the season of great activity, be it work, gardening, or vacation, but this fall brings lots of activities for our residents, as well as many public improvements.

We will be hosting Colorfest on October 7-9. Great crafters, yard sales, delicious food, close friends, and all the visitors that Colorfest attracts, join together to make a very enjoyable weekend. Be sure to plan your Colorfest days and take advantage of the free bus service, ready to whisk you to the center of all the activities.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Thurmont is once again raising awareness and funds to help fight this devastating illness. We encourage residents to purchase pink light bulbs for their porches; this year, we will also have pink pinwheels to diplay in support of this great cause.

The Think Pink 5K Fun Run and Walk will be held at the Eyler Road Park on Saturday, October 22. You can register online or stop at the town office for more information. This year, the Board of Commissioners will be sporting pink shirts at our meetings, and we will be attending the 5K event to cheer everyone on. All funds raised will be donated to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

As everyone must be aware of by now, the Moser Road Bridge is in the process of being replaced. To date, the improvements are very evident, with a new footbridge crossing Hunting Creek and the recent completion of the new supports and bridge deck. The project is scheduled to be completed by early December, but I hope we will see the bridge open for traffic prior to that date. Be sure to watch for regular updates on my Facebook page. There will be a ribbon-cutting for the new bridge, and everyone is welcome to attend to see the completed bridge.

We are in the beginning stages of installing a second football/lacrosse field at the Eyler Road Park. This project has been several years in planning and will be completed this calendar year. Plans are to let the field sit for a season to establish the turf.

The town is also installing a new pumping station to service the McDonalds area waste water customers. This facility is being upgraded with a new sump and pumps. Service will not be interrupted during this upgrade.

The Water Company recently installed switching gear at one of our main wells, so the pumps can continue to operate during an extended electric outage. The well is equipped with a large diesel generator and the necessary electric equipment to isolate the well from the rest of our electric system.

In the next month or so, we will be starting on a new public works building to house our fleet of electric service trucks. The new building will house the bucket and pole trucks in one handy location. An additional feature of the new facility will be indoor storage for road salt. While thinking about the Electric Company, I want to thank the residents on the Tippin Drive circuit for their patience during the recent service outage. A major underground feeder line failed and needed to be replaced. Our electric crew ran a temporary line to restore service while the new line was installed. I want to thank our electric, roads, water, and waste crews for working together to resolve this outage.

I thank you for reading my article and invite you to join me and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners in the meeting room for our weekly town meetings that are held on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Please call on me if I can be of any service at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or on my Facebook page.


The Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company is holding a Sportsman’s Bingo on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Only two hundred tickets will be sold; ticket price includes meal. Bingo features ten games for cash and ten games for gun prizes. View the advertisement on page 13 for more information.

Save the dates for several upcoming not-to-be-missed Safe and Sane events. The Class of 2017 Safe and Sane committee will be selling raffle tickets on October 8-9 at Criswell Chevrolet in Thurmont—you could win a 2016 Chevy Spark. Dining for Dollars is October 13 at Roy Rogers in Thurmont, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. On November 5, a 5K Color Run will be held at Eyler Field; a Sportman’s Bingo will be held on November 19 at the Lewistown Fire Hall.

Visit local participating businesses for Thurmont’s Think Pink to help the cause for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the cure. The participating businesses will donate from in-store promotions for the month of October to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

You won’t want to miss the 33rd Annual Mountain Fest, taking place on October 8-9, 2016, at Sabillasville Elementary School, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. A Car Show will be held on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Admission is free. Additional vendors are wanted.