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My Girlhood Home and Farm

Armanella Hammond Schriner

My great-grandmother's memories of a trip to her childhood home (just outside of Baltimore, MD) with her daughter, either my grandmother, Stella Schriner Ivey, or my great-aunt, Louisa Margaret Schriner. It was probably the latter; I don't remember Grandma Ivey ever driving, but I do remember Aunt Louise driving - an old Plymouth, I think! From the text, I gather that the trip took place during World War II. Working from a xerox of the handwritten manuscript (which is who knows where), I transcribed the text as literally as I could. The cursive script was hard to read in places; words that I couldn't make out have a "(?)" next to them. The spelling is as it is in the manuscript. Punctuation I interpreted as best I could - periods looked like commas and vice-versa. The paragraph breaks were inserted by me for readability. Bold-face text was underlined in the manuscript. The notes at the bottom were written on the back of the (xeroxed) manuscript by my mother, Jeanne Ivey Measday. John Greenstreet provided further information, including a photograph.

I had a great longing to see my girlhood home and farm so - my daughter and I hopped in the machine one Sunday afternoon and were soon on our way. It is'nt so far, about ten miles away, as the (crow flys). I had not been there for about three years, but lots of changes can take place in a short time. We left the Annapolis boulevard, turned in our lane, to which we sorta layed claim. And as we came nearer there stood the dear old home, where there had been much fun and frolic in our childhood days. Yes! standing on the high hill, as a sentinal keeping watch, all quiet except for a care taker and his wife. A very large three story redbrick house, with many rooms and porches, for that house had been lived in by Father and Mother, seven sons, & four daughters. But more of them later.

There was one thousand acres of land, all tilled for many many years. My grandfather built the house for my parents when they were first married, that would make the home about eighty or eighty-one years old, also gave him forty acres of land - the rest of the thousand he accumulated himself. The house only had two storys when first built but the family grew so Father added the third floor. Father's ancestors the Hammonds came from England in the year of 1634. Mother's people came later the (Shipleys).

Father was a wonderful farmer, the best in his day. I do not remember him ever doing any work himself, but a wonderful executive. He was up at four o'clock in the morning, in bed by eight, never reproved us for the noise we made, and there was plenty. The things he grew were strawberries, peas, beans, tomatoes, black berries, red & black rasberries, canteloupes, peaches, apples, cherries, goose berries, grapes, all grains such as wheat, corn, hay, oats.

We, the children use to look forward to the times when the help had to come save the crops. We had what we called a row-boss a man that spoke the Bohemian & Polish language and murdered the English language. He was hired to go to the homes of these people, and engage them to pick the fruits for market and to be shipped away. The time was usually about the latter part of May that they arrived. There were about two hundred men, women, & children that came. Our wagons would go into the city about four o'clock in the morning, load up house hold things, feather beds, cooking utinsils, food - clothes, but no furniture, they had plenty of trunks, the kind that come from over seas.

They would arrive about two or three o'clock in the afternoon to live in long shanties, (built on the barracks kind) that our soldiers live in,) only they did not have the upstairs, one of them did. These were built in a grove of lovely trees, a nearby brook ran through the edge, and there was a wonderful spring that could not be dipped dry, that supplied the water for these folks. And did they love it, for it was very icy and pure. We kids! always welcomed them on their arrival for it meant lots of life on the old farm. It did not take them long for them to get settled, they made up their bunks (beds) on the floor, each family steaked off his corner, in a little while you would see camp fires glowing (they fixed ovens and built baths out of boards, near the fire. They were all pale and thin, being shut up in the city, when they came out to rough it, but you should have seen them when they left to go back to the city. Their cheeks were rosy and their bodies were filled out after having all the fruit & vegetables & fresh air - and they were happy. They went in the fields just as soon as they could see to pick the crops, some mornings they were through about eleven o'clock, when crops were heavy they worked all day. Then when you looked towards the shantys late in the evening you would see the figures passing around in the fire light getting their evening meal. They were all musical, playing the accordion singing & dancing, after working all day. was a sight one never forgets as the time passes.

The price of picking - Strawberries 1 1/2 cents per qt. raspberries 2 cents per qt. peas 15 cents per bu. beans 20 cents per bu. blackberries 1 cents per qt. This may sound like very little in comparison with today's prices But your money had more value in those days. When you shipped your stuff to Pittsburg & other places your boxes & crates were returned for they had your name stenciled on them. Then they passed a law. No crates & baskets returned. I remember Father saying at the time, "May as well not plant berries, for there is no money made when you have to give away the containers."

Now the help on the farm to plow, sow, and plant! We had five tenament houses on farm with the white families living in two of them, negro families in the other three. Also a large log cabin quarter where the Negro men, that came from Va stayed, from Jan until just a few weeks before Christmas, when they went back to their families in Va to carry their spoils of the seasons. The negroes did not migrate to the north then as they do now; they said it was too cold.

I think we had about thirty mules and eight driving horses. And if you wanted to see a sight you should have seen those animals when around the drinking troughs, with two negroes pumping the water into the troughs, then when the stock had their fill, wending their way to the barn and the stables looking like a trail(?) against the skyline to get their nice meal of corn & hay. You just would not take any thing for the memories.

Among other things we had was a beautiful white angora goat and did we love that animal. Father had a wagon built & a harness made, so we would hitch Billy to the wagon, and just about four of us would squeeze in to ride. Billy would do fine, until he grew tired, then would refuse to pull. After working on him awhile we would give up, unhitch and start for the house. Billy very revengeful would start too, and whoe! is he who got in his path, the next thing he would put his head down make a run and you would just be knocked out and not in the ...ring(?), each one received the same treatment if he was not on the alert, could that goat butt!

Then one day Billy picked up a hickory nut, swallowed & was chocked, before we could get help, then died. Poor Billy! I can still see him in my minds eye as he would saunter towards the cloths line, and before you could arm your self. He had the sleeve or leg chewed off of some of the familys wash, and the clothes were crippled for life. We all sat around, six mourners all crying for Billy's untimely death. There was a large funeral in the apple orchard, where we layed him to rest amid the apple blossoms.

There were no schools near, so Father & Mother had a governess for us. There were quite a few children from the Cromwell family also from the Stoll family. Our house was large, so there was a school room. The doors were open to our neighbors children. Of course, the older children were taught, sent away to colleges, then the next group were taught, sent away until there were no more for we were all grown up. It takes a lot of teaching and learning for a family of eleven. There was always a lot of help, the servant(?) was not a problem of those days. I don't think my parents could have accomplished so much had there been.

There was a school built near by after a time. I remember one year, we were started in the public school, but it did not pan out so well. We had to be taken in bad weather & sent for. And when the weather was good, we loitered(?) along so, it was most night when we arrived home. One day John & Herbert hung back alone - they had to come across a meadow, where the hay had been cut and stacked; five stacks   The boys though they would lean against the stack and rest. It was Spring of year, a little cool. One of them said lets warm our hands. A match was lighted, immediately the stack caught fire. The workmen were plowing near by. Father who was on the hill side saw the smoke, called to the plowmen to hurry over plow around the other stacks and save them, which they did. Could you have seen the expression on my brothers faces, fright and tears. Then they said to Father   Oh!   look what one little match can do. That saying was never forgotten. That ended public school.

We always had good cooks three of them were men. One of them really only seventeen years of age - he surely could make buckwheat cakes. After the family had eaten he would always cook a stack of them for his self with home made sausage. One morning, my little sister Stella was passing through the kitchen just as William sat down to his breakfast. Sister, like all kids commenced to count the cakes. Mother was in the dinning room. William called, "Miss Camsie", you care how many cakes I eat. Miss Stella is counting the cakes on me. No William eat as many as you want.

There are so many things that happen in a large family. We could all ride & hitch up a horse, though we had some one to do it for us. We were taught a lot of things that we rebelled at learning, but they (Mother Father knew best. We were allowed all the company we wanted, providing we picked the right kind. I remember one incident when there were four girls that came home with us from school. How we were catered too? But we had every thing that could make a family happy. My parents were always just in their judgements & decisions. they were just Grand. There is lots of fun where there is a large family, they amuse each other take care of one another.

I could go on indiffinately, but I must move on if we are to see the farm, and that is one of the things my daughter and I started to do, but my mind side tracked with memories. There is a steep road that leads up to our home from our lane. Well! the government has bought a strip off of the home place at the foot of this road going on past the farm down through the camp. This camp is five hundred acres taken from home farm, by the government in the first World war. And is called Curtis Bay Ordinance Camp and lays on the same creek that passes the farm. They had Barracks & Magazines. Where the high explosives were stored during World war 1. Then moved after the was. Well! now that World war no 2 is on. Same camp has many more barracks and is being used, but they don't look much like our old hunting grounds.

Adjoining the home camp (I will call it). My sister lives, the place years back belonged to one of my ancestors "Charles Hammond. The old brick house that Sister lives in is supposed to have bricks that were formally used in ships for balast that traveled to and from England. There was quite a bit of land there, but the oil people that handle oil have. Standard Texico, Sherwood, Singlear, and such firms(?) have bought up the land until about thirty acres are left. Then down across Cabin Branch bridge you come to the Coast Guards, all that property belonged to neighbors the "Watsons". Retracing our steps back over the bridge, through Curtis Bay we come to the Fairfield ship building yards. All that property at one time belonged to uncles, the Crisps, old homes gone, industry taking the old farms. Through Brooklyn past the M.P. church, the ground under it being a gift of my grandfather.

Back home, feeling that these things happened long, long, ago.

Written by Armanella Hammond Schriner,
Born March 14, 1874 - Died Feb. 9, 1953
Daughter of Camsadel Lucinda Shipley Hammond (b. 1842)
and John Thomas Hammond.
Homeplace, "Snow Hill", Anne Arundel County, Md.
near Genburnie.  Destroyed when highway for the Francis
Scott Key Bridge was built.
Wife of Herman Henry Schriner (b. 1871)
Mother of Louisa Margaret Schriner, Stella Schriner Ivey,
and Herman Hammond Schriner.
Grandmother of Jeannette Louise Ivey Measday
Great-Grandmother of Walter, Peter, Andrew, and Alex Measday
educated by family governess, then at Stuart Hall,
Staunton, Va.

John Greenstreet kindly E-mailed me the following message:

As a resident of the Curtis Bay area, I read with interest the memories of your Great Grandmother that you transcribed. Thought you might find the following article, from the 1976 book, A History Of Brooklyn-Curtis Bay, interesting also:

"History Of Snow Hill Farm"
(Near Curtis Creek on Ordnance Road)

    Built in the 1750's, this brick and stone house on Snow Hill had a
commanding view of the surrounding area, witnessing the change from quiet
shoreline and open farmland to heavy industrial operations.

    In a Will witnessed September 11, 1777, Col. Charles Hammond, stated, "I
give and devise unto my dear wife Rebecca Hammond, the use of part of a
tract of land called Jackson's Chance whereon, etc.,---"

    In 1854 this same tract of land was deeded to the Patapsco Land Company. A
deed dated 1861 shows that this property was purchased from the Patapsco
Land Company, by Daniel Stoll who had come to this country from Germany in
the early 1800's. It was to remain in the Stoll family for four generations.

    On February 20, 1901, the third generation Stoll,
John Daniel Stoll, married
Stella G. Hammond, a direct
descendant of Col. Charles Hammond.

    In 1969, in the name of progress, the State Roads Commission acquired this
property from the fourth generation of Stoll's to complete the Outer Harbor

    In the spring of 1971, the house fell victim of the bulldozers and a sixty
foot excavation replaced a cherished landmark with ribbons of concrete.

The attached picture, faded as it is, accompanies the article.

Alex Measday  /  E-mail