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December 7, 2020

Washington County and the crossroads of the American Revolution

The date was Dec. 25, 1776. A stinging, biting chill hung in the night air, as did a quiet sense of dread. Freezing rain cascaded down in a driving, relentless torrent, pelting man, horse and cannon alike. Men like William Heyser, a captain in the German Battalion of the Continental Army — in which many Washington County men served, grimaced in pain, unable to cry out as their raw, bare feet clung to snow and ice. Did you know Washington County is famous for having had at least one participant in every major American military conflict? During the American Revolution, more than 80 residents like Heyser, Sgt. Jacob Miller, and Private Adam Stonebraker enlisted in the German Battalion at the beginning of the war. These men saw service in the disastrous New York Campaign, as well as the campaign that followed. In fact, these brave Washington Countians not only served in the desperate Ten Crucial Days Campaign, which began with a nine-mile walk through Hell to Trenton, but, as some of George Washington’s most experienced soldiers, they were in the forefront of the fighting at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, which occurred on Dec. 26, 1776, and Jan. 3, […]
November 9, 2020

Hagerstown’s “Buffalo Soldier” left an indelible mark, and a distinguished legacy

November 11th is Veterans Day. Originally called Armistice Day, and celebrated for the first time on November 11th, 1919, Veterans day was, initially, a day that marked the cessation of World War I, which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Armistice Day was intended as a day to commemorate the lives lost during the Great War. In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day. Today, Veterans Day honors the selfless service and sacrifice of America’s veterans.  Did you know that Washington County is famous for having had at least one participant in every major American military conflict? From Jonathan Hager to Jacob Huyett, Washington County has an extensive military heritage. In honor of Veterans Day, we want to share with you the incredible story of William Othello Wilson, a dedicated soldier, a Medal of Honor recipient, and a native son of Hagerstown.  Born on September 16, 1869 in Hagerstown, Maryland, William Othello Wilson enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 21, 1889, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Assigned to the 9th Cavalry Regiment – one of four completely African-American regiments nicknamed the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ by warriors of the Cheyenne Native American […]
October 16, 2020

The 1955 Fairchild National Sports Car Races

Close your eyes. Can you hear it? The roar of the engines? The screams of nearly 15,000 exhilarated and delighted fans? The deafening rumble of 200 cars surging by at speeds of 120 miles an hour? The twelfth race in the 1955 SCCA National Sports Car Championship season, the Fairchild National Sports Car Races took place at the Hagerstown Regional Airport on Sunday, October 16, 1955. The Fairchild National Sports Car Races consisted of seven separate races, all of which were run on a makeshift, 2.4 mile closed circuit track built on the runway. The first major event of its kind to take place in Hagerstown, the Fairchild National Sports Car Races was sponsored by the Fairchild Aircraft Employee Recreation Association.  Although it wasn’t technically a “pro” race (the drivers were considered amateur racers, and they weren’t competing for purses, but for trophies, plaques, and silver serving trays), the Fairchild National Sports Car Races drew more than 200 participants nationwide! Most notable among the participants was Jim Kimberly, William C. (Big Bill) Spear, World Champion Phil Hill, Briggs Cunningham, Paul O’Shea, and the Boston, Massachusetts speed ace Sherwood Johnston. In addition to the racers, the event garnered a crowd of […]
January 17, 2020

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