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In Carrie’s Footprints

If you’re interested in learning more about Sykesville History, In Carrie’s Footprints, The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey by Jack White is a great place to get started. You can order it at Amazon.


September 4, 1941

Miss Mary Agnes Shipley Bride of Levin S. Comley Monday Afternoon

The home of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Shipley was the scene of a lovely early Fall wedding on Monday, when their younger daughter, Mary Agnes, became the bride of Levin S. Comley of Chesterstown, Md.

The ceremony took place in the garden of the home before an improvised archway, banked with flowers, autumn leaves, candelabras and tall baskets of cut flowers. While the guests were gathering, a musical program was rendered by Mrs. Karl Justus, pianist, and Joseph Seivold, violinist. Frank Mellor, tenor, sang three numbers — “Because,” “Through the Years,” and Grieg’s “ich Liebe Dicht” (I love Thee).

At four o’clock, to the strains of the Lohengrin wedding march, the bridal party led the wedding procession, followed by six bridesmaids, walking in twos, the maid of honor and two flower girls.

The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Edward R. Brahm, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Sykesville.

Members of the Bridal Party

The bride, on the arm of her father, who gave her in marriage, wore a gown of white chiffon, in tailored styles, with an illusion veil of fingertip length, caught with a coronet of orange blossoms, and with a short train. She carried a bouquet of white chrysanthemums, baby’s breath and other flowers.

All of the bride’s attendants were attired in chiffon gowns, make alike, of the Fall nasturium shades. Each wore a floral wreath in her hair and each carried a spray of chrysanthemums.

The maids were: Miss Mary Anna Comley, sister of the groom, of Wilmington, Del, and Miss Dorothy Mae Robinson, of Washington, dressed in flame color; Miss Edna Brooks, of Baltimore, and Miss Helen Durding of Rock Hall, in nectarine; and Miss Katherine Cooms, of Washington, and Miss Margaret Louise Bennett, of Sykesville, in rosewood.



July 22, 1943

The British Navy landed in force in Sykesville on Wednesday evening when 15 officers and men arrived to spend 10 days with local families. Last week five of the British blue jackets spent a brief furlough here.

Miss Margaret Harris of Sykesville and Mr. Marley Cassof of Gaither, working in conjunction with Baltimore USO headquarters, placed the visiting sailors, mostly in pairs, in local homes. The men expect to spend 10 days here before being ordered back to their ship.

Local families who are showing the English seamen how American hospitality works, include: Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Jones, Mr. and Mrs. William S. Shipley, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Fleming, Mr. and Mrs. Jonothan Dorsey, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Hurline, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Ridgely, Mr. and Mrs. John Lewis, and Charles W. Mitchell, 3rd. In addition to the 15 here, two other British sailors were assigned to Woodbine and are staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Lewis.


July 13, 1977

More than 1000 colleagues attend funeral of policeman

A Sykesville resident, described by his fellow workers as a man who “loved his job, and loved to help people,” was buried Saturday.

The 26-year-old man, Charles Alan Huckeba, died doing what he believed in, thus becoming the first Baltimore County policeman to be slain in a shooting incident in the department’s 103-year history.

Officer Huckeba was killed by a gunman when he answered a call for assistance  from Charles S. Fessenden in Lansdowne. Mr. Fessenden had reported that his 19-year-old son was disorderly and uncontrollable.

Officer Huckeba and Officer John W. Stern arrived at the house to find the father locked out. When the infuriated father kicked open the door, his 19-year-old son Albert was seen standing in the doorway with a rifle.

The three men took cover in different directions. Officer Huckeba ran back toward his car, parked across the street, to radio for help. He was shot in the face and fell beside the car.

When Officer Stern tried to go to his assistance, he was struck in the back by another shot. As ambulances waited nearby, police units tried unsuccessfully to reach the wounded men. Police reported that more than 200 shots were fired during the two-hour gun battle.

The gunman was felled by two shots fired by a member of the police Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT). The officer had been authorized to shoot to kill so that police could reach the two wounded men.

Officer Huckeba was taken to St. Agnes Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed that he had died instantly from the shot.

Officer Stern remains in critical condition at University of Maryland Hospital Institute for Emergency Medicine.

More than 1000 policemen attended the funeral services Saturday in Catonsville. Many were red-eyed as they filed out of St. Mark’s Catholic Church following the hour-long mass, officiated by the Rev. John Mike, a county police chaplain.

The young priest praised policemen for pursuing good as part of their occupation, adding, “Today we mourn because we see good wasted.”

Police formed an honor guard for the mourners. Patrolman, Charles E. Myer, of the county police honor guard, performed a muffled drum roll at graveside. At the conclusion of the prayers, three vollies of rifle fire were sounded and “Taps” was played by patrolman Charles L. Clayman, Sr.

Officer Huckeba’s widow, Deborah, was presented with the flag which had been draped over the casket.

Charles and Deborah Huckeba lived in the 7000 block of Brown St., Sykesville. They were the parents of a two-year-old son, Wyatt.

Friends and neighbors remember Officer Huckeba as a devoted father and family man.

“He loved his son. He loved his job. He loved people,” said his commanding officer Daniel Huggins. “He cared about people. That was the main reason he was a policeman. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help someone else. He game of himself all the time.”

Born in Baltimore 26 years ago, Officer Huckeba grew up in the Lansdowne area. He graduated from Patapsco Senior High School in 1969 and attended the University of Maryland and Essex Community College.

In 1971, he joined the Army National Guard, later switching to the Air National Guard. He had nearly completed his six-year term at the time of his death.

In 1974, he joined the Howard County police department. While on that force, he received several letters of citizen appreciation and an official letter of commendation from the former Howard County police chief, G. Russell Walters.

He was commended for helping a person in need of blood. The Howard County Hospital had issued an emergency call for blood at  3 a.m. for a patient in surgery. Officer Huckeba responded immediately.

Officer Huckeba transferred to the Baltimore County force in 1976 and was assigned to the Wilkens District.

His hobbies included reading, fishing and karate, in which he held a black belt.

He had recently become a licensed real estate agent, intending to pursue that activity on a part-time basis.

The Huckeba family moved to Sykesville approximately two years ago.

Deborah Huckeba accompanied her husband’s casket in the hearse during the funeral procession. Officers commented on her composure during the service.

“She’s a unique woman,” said Sgt. Huggins. “They were the kind of people that make you put on your uniform the next day and go to work…proud to be a policeman.”

Besides his wife and son, Officer Huckeba is survived by his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Oscar D. Huckeba, and two sisters, Mrs. Patricia A. Hoover and Mrs. Inez Caruso, all of Baltimore.


Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun – September 26, 1906

Sykesville, MD, Sept. 25. — Mr. John McDonald, one of the leading merchants of Carroll county, who died Sunday at the Maryland University Hospital, was buried today from his home in Sykesville.

Mr. McDonald is survived by a widow, Mrs. Kate A. McDonald, daughter of Mr. George A. Blake of Baltimore; two daughters, Marie and Kate, and a son, Harry Blake McDonald.

Mr. McDonald was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1846, and located in Sykesville in 1856, where he conducted a general store and was eminently successful. His home is one of the handsomest in Carroll County.

The funeral services took place in St. Joseph’s Church, where a requiem high mass was celebrated by Fathers Robert Achsletter, Edward McAdams and Thomas J. McCluskey.

Over 500 persons attended the services. All business in Sykesville was suspended for the funeral. The honorary pallbearers were Messrs. E. M. Mellor, Wade H. D. Warfield, John Harris, A. Hepner, Harvey Fowble, L. H. Schultz, W. H. Bennett and Dr. D. B. Sprecher.

The active pallbearers were Messrs. W. H. Timmermann, Edgar Easton, William Warthen, Clyde Pindell, Howard Scott and Walter Hawkins.



The Philadelphia Medical Journal, November 12, 1898

About thirty miles from Baltimore a little off from the main line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, on the undulating land bordering the valley of the Patapsco, lies one of the historic demesnes of the State of Maryland. The manor house built in the classic simplicity of the Colonial period, although well in its second century, has fortunately escaped disfigurement by modern additions and improvements.

Here lived the willful Betsy Patterson, who one night after her father had gone to bed, let herself out by a window and mounting a horse, with a negro slave upon another horse carrying her dress, rode to Baltimore to attend the ball where she met the French officers and found her fate among them in the young Jerome Bonaparte; and here, one lovely summer evening after dinner, we sat on the beautiful lawn fronting the house, the road, unlike the approach to most dwellings leading to the rear, listlessly watching the rising full moon, the hum of birds and insects in the surrounding park alone disturbing the blissful calm, until the notes of a distant bugle sounding the tattoo caused the post prandial idlers to stroll out upon the lawn and look whence came the sounds, toward a group of buildings that had been erected within a year upon a hill 400 yards away, and which were then brilliant with electric lights.

Again the bugle sounded “taps,” and with the last notes the lights disappeared simultaneously, save a few dimly marking certain sites. It was not a military post that sent forth these familiar martial strains but a madhouse, wherein 154 madmen had gone to bed as so many soldiers in a barrack to sleep unmanacled and behind no restraining bars or locked doors until the bugle’s reveille should call them to the labors of the day; and the old Colonial homestead is the official residence of the superintendent Dr George H. Rohe, where he rules his domain of 800 acres by the touch of an electric button.

Let us see how the madman of to day lives his disjointed life.

By the time we had had our own breakfast and had crossed the intervening space to the cottages on the hill, we met gangs of apparently well-conditioned laborers or farmhands at work with spade and shovel and pick leveling off hummocks and grading hillsides; others with heavy iron mallets sitting in the road breaking stone for macadamizing; still others, rake and hoe in hand, weeding the vegetable gardens — here a party mending fences and trimming hedges, there a crowd of jolly haymakers, and in the house some with long-handled fretteurs polishing the waxed floors of the corridors, sitting-rooms and dormitories, or with mop and cloth brightening mirrors and window panes and chasing incipient dust heaps from their hiding places in corners and crevices.

Of the 154 inmates, the morning report of the medical officer of the day showed 113 actively at work, minds diverted from dwelling upon their idea by congenial occupations that demanded their attention, the outdoor employments at the same time exposure to sun and air and helpful exercise of muscles — hygeiatherapy — that made them keen for the signal to cease their labor for dinner — how — by depositing their clothes in the basement of their several cottages and washing at the spacious lavatories on that floor.

Then, with clean hands and faces and decent garments, they fall into line at the bugle’s call to dinner and, led by uniformed attendants in squads, two by two, arm in arm, the stronger supporting the weaker, each with his chosen companion, along the covered corridors to the dining room in the service-building where, standing until all are in place, they seat themselves upon a signal at tables with clean white cloths and furnished with and bowls or cups and saucers, glass tumblers,  — what old madhouse doctor would believe it — knives and forks, and, at the time of our visit, spoons for ice cream, which was decently served as a dessert.

There was no stint of food. The plates of the hungry and the ravenous were replenished over and over by watchful attendants; the indifferent or obtuse induced to eat, or whim and fancy catered. When all had finished, the knives and forks were gathered and counted and, this done, the medical officer  of the day, always present, pulled the gong signal, and they rose in order fell in in pairs, and at another stroke of the gong, marched back to their respective cottages to smoke, to loll, to gossip until their afternoon duties should again call them to work, or to bathe or to stroll or to whatever else might be the day’s routine.

The distinguishing features of this new establishment for ministering to men with minds diseased may be briefly stated to be: (1) Impressing upon the inmates the fact that they are patients under treatment; (2) dispensing with every form of visible restraint or irritating means of compulsion; (3) finding appropriate occupation, especially outdoor work for everyone utilizing the skilled labor of mechanics, or giving the Polish Jew, who never knew other instrument than the needle, the task of mending clothing bedding; (4) encouraging and exacting habits of personal cleanliness, water closets, urinals, lavatory basins or rain baths, soap and towels being provided on every floor in apparent superfiuity; (5) instituting a quasi-military precision and regularity in the associated operations, in dressing and undressing, in beginning and quitting work, in going to bed and rising, bugle calls, so far as possible supplementing personal orders and uniformed attendants acting rather as captains and guides rather than as keepers or guards.

The hospital idea in its full development comprehends numerous elevations embraced within the extensive limits of the estate with independent groups of buildings. One for male patients is completed and in successful operation; ground has been broken for a second for females, which is to have only female nurses, attendants, cooks, and assistants, and female medical officers; a third for epileptic insane will follow; and so, until the capacity of the grounds shall have been exhausted and the inmates number thousands.

The group completed consists of four detached buildings, each occupying the side of an open space or court 200 feet square connected by covered but unenclosed corridors. One of the four is the service building of the group, in which the medical officers and attendants live and have their offices, and wherein are the visitors’ reception room, the store rooms and dispensary, this being the least frequented in the building, and in the basement, the kitchen, pantries, refrigerators, and patients dining room, as only the bedridden and the helpless are fed elsewhere.

The other three buildings are practically two storied and basement cottages, of which the ground floor is chiefly devoted to sitting room purposes, with large, open porches, whose attractive outlooks make them the preferred resorts, while on the upper floor are the dormitories, solely used as such. In the basements are hooks and boxes for working suits and shoes. On all the floors are lavatories.

At the sound of the tattoo, the inmates of the several cottages ascend to the dormitory floor, strip off their day clothes, each article having its appropriate hook, wash at the lavatory on this floor, which in appointments would not be out of place in a first class club or hotel, and donning their night shirts, go to bed. The long line of day suits exposed to the current of air sweeping through the open windows of the ante room outside the dormitory thus becomes thoroughly ventilated during the night.

At taps lights are extinguished, save at the attendant’s table, where he sits awake with every bed in view until relieved, when he goes to his own room in the service building to sleep, as no one but patients is allowed to sleep in the cottages. Within reach of the attendant are the switches controlling the electric lights and telephone calls communicating with the service building and the superintendent’s quarters. A characteristic feature of the dormitories is the long row of open windows checked only enough to prevent the egress of a body, but with no suggestion of bolt or bar.

On the living floor below, numerous doors without locks open freely outward, a catch on the exterior knob only preventing entrance from the outside. Stone and brick passage ways from the dormitories without bends or angles, locked and unused except in emergencies, provide a rapid means of escape from fire to the outside without the necessity of traversing the buildings. An automatic register in the office in the service building records the progress of the night watchman in his hourly rounds, indicating the time and the place of his several visits.

What can be accomplished toward humanizing these unfortunates who have come here, to be made well if that be possible, or to be cared for if incurable, is most strikingly illustrated at the general weekly inspection by the superintendent on Sunday morning, when every nook and corner are explored with a thoroughness that bespeaks the military antecedents of Major Rohe. Having been more than once invited to act as inspecting oflicer and urged to indicate defects and oversights for which 20 years experience in charge of United States Naval Hospitals perhaps qualified me, I bear witness to the wonderful results that have been here accomplished.

One hundred and fifty cleanly-appareled clean-skinned men, mostly of the humbler class, decorously sitting on comfortable chairs upon the porches in pleasant weather; waxed floors unsoiled by expectoration; spotless window panes and lavatory mirrors; the ridges and hollows of the moldings of steam registers, the angles and bends of stairs, the tops of door jams and window frames, and the narrow spaces behind pipes, which invite dust and neglect, all without evidence of either, even at places only to be reached by chair and ladder; balusters and brasswork, which give no smear to the pocket handkerchief, all these tell their story to the alert inspecting officer. Once only I found a stray dust cloth under a steam-coil, where it had been hastily left by an attendant unexpectedly called away.

In attic and basement, in dormitory and living room, in ante room and dining room, the same incredible order prevailed. Even in the attendants closets the paraphernalia of service were neatly arranged and the folded bedcovers and pillowcases on the long line of beds, all but one unoccupied, would have been the envy of a housewife or the head chambermaid of a hotel, while both these would have appreciated the fact there is no such thing as a chamber pot in the dormitories. Not the least interesting display of the Sunday inspection were the rows of workday clothes and hats and shoes, each in its assigned place in the basement, where their owners had placed them the previous Saturday on ceasing work.

In each cottage on the dormitory floor, there is a single ample-sized porcelain bathtub standing well into the room, so as to be accessible on every side, and used only by the very sick and feeble or others unable to bathe themselves; but an abundance of rain baths (appropriate and desirable for private residences) is provided, where general ablution can be performed decently and thoroughly. When the weather permits, it is the custom to march the several squads for outdoor bathing, for which the numerous watercourses of the domain furnish facility.

Here, then the problem has been solved so far as human intelligence can do it, of the humane treatment of those unfortunates, whose minds have gone adaft. Here, amid the placid surroundings of rural life away, from every exciting cause, with agreeable outdoor occupation, the unbalanced mind may recover its equilibrium, or, if that cannot be if healthy living, wholesome food, and generous indulgence cannot effect a cure, the inveterate sufferer can at least live peacefully, decently, and as far as the fantasies shaped by his seething brain will permit, contentedly.

But these are selected cases an old-time keeper suggests. Is it probable that the almshouse from whose overcrowded insane wards most of them have been received would transfer any but the most unruly and least orderly and least serviceable of its inmates? I saw myself a patient admitted, an acute case, whose wrists still showed the marks of the hand irons he had worn, and put to bed in an open ward and kept there by a watchful attendant, or as many as might be required, and who in three days had become tractable and responded to the usual clinical questions of the physician; while another who, as soon as he landed from the wagon that brought him, made a break to escape and thrice repeated his attempt the same day, before a week had passed was sitting quietly among the others and taking part in their work or play.

Great was the indignation when the people of Carroll County learned that the aristocratic Patterson estate was to become a “lunatic asylum” The village shopkeepers refused their wares to the pestiferous invaders. Immediate neighbors declared their intention of moving away. Those who had to pass along the roads watched askance the groups of laborers who had been put to work utilizing the farm buildings on the grounds. Soon they learned from their own employees that these very laborers were the dreaded crazy men.

Today the brilliantly lighted buildings on the hill, visible for many miles around, are the pride of the county and the envy of adjoining ones, while railroad and express, local dealers and post office rejoice over the thrifty newcomers.

The State of Maryland has great reason to be proud of this unrivaled establishment, and the Board of Managers may congratulate themselves upon the trust they so implicitly placed in the judgment and acquirements of the Superintendent, who himself has the rare satisfaction of having seen his plans and promises fulfilled to the very letter. What has already been accomplished in this superb institution betokens what may be expected in its further development. Simple, chaste, elegant in architecture and appointments, its broad halls, lofty rooms, and admirable proportions and equipment cannot fail to please the critical visitor, while the man whose monument all this is, may justly boast that without stint of what was necessary, with lavishness only in the direction of the sanitary provisions of cleanliness, not one dollar has been expended for which a full equivalent is not in evidence.

Is this a sketch of fancy? Let the doubter defer his verdict until he can come and see.


Happy Keeney dies at 81; barber, mayor

The News, Frederick, MD November 29, 1982 Mr. Leroy Sinclair “Happy” Keeney, 81, Sykesville, died Sunday, Nov. 28, at the Frederick Memorial Hospital. He had been a guest at the Citizens Nursing Home for the past several months. in Frederick, he was the son of the late Ulysses and Daisey Keeney. His wife, Mrs. Hilda […]

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Death of an Old and Esteemed Citizen — George Patterson

The Democratic Advocate of Westminster, Maryland November 18, 1869 Mr. George Patterson, an esteemed citizen of Carroll county, died on Friday, at his residence, Springfield, near Sykesville. The deceased was the youngest son of the late Wm. Patterson, well known in Baltimore, and who was possessed of a large amount of real estate in this city. […]

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Overcrowded and Understaffed, but Springfield Hospital Is Doing “Remarkable Job”

August 1, 1968 By Carolyn H. Nord Recently Springfield State Hospital has received some harsh and misleading publicity as to how the nurses and doctors care for patients at this local institution. Staff members object to the attitudes and impressions given by one of the large daily papers in particular. Director of nursing Richard Bolin […]

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B & O Train Station, Sykesville, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate of Westminster, MD September 27, 1884 The new Baltimore & Ohio depot at Sykesville, just finished and occupied, is the finest structure of its kind on the line of the road outside of Baltimore City. It is 90 ft. long and 28 ft. wide. Twenty six ft. in the center is two […]

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Sykesville Is a City

The Democratic Advocate of Westminster, MD May 14, 1904 Sykesville is now a city. It has its City Fathers and is prepared to join the great procession — New York, Chicago and all the rest. Because it is as yet, rather small, there is no reason why it should not become a bright and shining […]

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Sykesville Awakening

The Democratic Advocate, Westminster, MD March 3, 1904 Sykesville wants to be Incorporated and Introduce Water to Protect Property There will be a meeting at Sykesville this Saturday afternoon, at 3 o’clock, at the Lyceum in the interest of incorporating the town. There is now an opportunity to get water protection from fire at the […]

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Midnight Alarm at Mellor Home

July 23, 1914 A Frog Hunt That Had A Thrilling Sequel for Two People Mr. J. Brooke Mellor, several of the town boys and Archie and Charles Mellor, who are visiting for the Summer, went out after frogs the other night, and thereby hangs a tale–not the tail of a frog nor of a pollywog, […]

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New Well Blown at State Hospital

Louis P. Schultz, Sykesville’s expert well driller, has just completed his fourth well for Springfield State Hospital and Wednesday the well was blown and tested and is nearly ready to hook up with the others that supply the big institution with the purest water. The well is 504 feet deep and most of the way […]

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Once a Slave

March 19, 1914 Death of Uncle John Burgess, Aged 99 Years John Burgess, the oldest and most respected old colored man in Howard County, died on Wednesday last at his home near Glenelg, aged 99 years, from the infirmities of age. He was born near Clarsksville, and was a slave in the family of the […]

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Governor Ignores Sykesville’s Claim

February 19, 1914 No Resident Member of Hospital Board of Managers —– Beasman’s Successor from Baltimore —— It is a matter of genuine regret that Governor Goldsborough did not see fit to appoint a resident member of the Board of Managers for the Springfield State Hospital in place of former Senator Beasman, whose four-year term […]

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