18th Century Workbook found with links to Allegany and Frederick Counties

Jonathan Arnold's WorkbookThis fragile, coverless school workbook (object ID 2008.12.6) came to light as we were cataloging farm ledgers from Flintstone, MD donated by the Robinette family. The book belonged to Jonathan Arnold, son of Archibald Arnold, and writings within date from 1787 to 1799. From the text and from some online genealogy research, we’ve been able to find that he was born around 1775 in Frederick and became an apprenticed tailor there in 1790. He had two siblings connected to Allegany County — a sister born in Cumberland in 1778 and a brother who died in the County in 1830.






Delay in PunishmentThe book is full of handwritten mathematics lessons in Geometry, Reductions, and Multiplication. There are also many places where Jonathan took to writing sentences in repetition, as one may have done for punishment. Some of these inscriptions go, “Delay in Punishment is no Priviledge to Pardon,” and “Gentility without Ability is like a Pudding without Fat.” In many places, he practices his quill work and doodles little eagles next to his Long Division.






This Indenture WitnessethA few pieces of his later, more formal writing were also found inside. A Last Will & Testament for a Mr. Michael Cunningham dated 1788 was hand-copied by Jonathan in 1790 because he seems to be connected to one of Mr. Cunningham’s debtors. Also, two contracts were found that indenture Jonathan as an apprentice to Mr. Solomon Crissman to become a tailor, and to Mr. Mich Kelly as a scholar. Both were dated January, 1790.






GrandsonThe oldest known ancestor of Jonathan Arnold in Maryland is his great-grandfather Anthony Arnold, Sr., who died in 1688 in Anne Arundel County. On one page of the book, next to a place where Jonathan had written his name and the date 1788, his grandson Thomas J. Arnold signed the book and dated it 1888.

25th anniversary season of the tourist train

The Allegany Musuem is ready for the start of the 2013 tourist train season. The 25th season of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad got off to a great start on May 3rd. The 1916 Baldwin steam engine is in fine form. Upon it’s arrival to the Frostburg depot, the turn around point of the journey, train riders were welcomed to the Thrasher Carriage Collection by Allegany Musuem docents. The collection has never looked better!

Museum president Gary Bartik and his crew of community service workers spent a week cleaning and detailing the carriages and adding new explanatory information to the museum. Coming soon, visitors will be able to view at the Thrasher a rare late 1800s wedding ensamble that was recently donated to the Museum. Our collections manager Marie Kujenga noted “this lovely wedding dress is a wonderful donation. The lady who wore it was married here in Cumberland and might have rode in a carriage on her special day.”


Allegany Museum in Washington Post

Yes, there are great museums in Western Maryland!

That was the assessment of Washington Post reporter Zofia Smardz on February 07, 2013 when she visited Cumberland and Allegany Musuem President Gary Bartik took her on a tour of the Museum and Thrasher Carriage collection. She called the Amesbury carriage her “personal highlight” and also praised Roosevelt’s inaugural coach and a “pretty” ladies’ basket phaeton once owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt.

You can read her full article here


Oster toy collection exhibition

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The Allegany Museum recently hosted a special exhibition a new collection of toys dating the early 20th century, especially the 1915 to 1930 period.

Dr. Walter Oster and his wife, Florence, who for over fifty years had collected more than 90 toys, donated the collection to the museum in the fall 2012. The collection is a gem in that all the toys were made in the United States of metal and many are mechanical “wind-up” toys that are still in fine working condition.

The board of the Allegany Museum enthusiastically voted to accession the toys because they are an excellent expression of the museum interest in transportation history. Items in the collection include a motorcyclist, a plane, World War I-era boats, a Conestoga wagon, a 1920 Ford car, a carriage, a train, and many other unique vehicles.

The Allegany Museum is currently researching details of the toys and creating a permanent exhibition space for them.

Read an article in the Cumberland Times-News about the donation.