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Twiggtown
Contributed by Connie Beachy, Jerry Twigg and Joyce Whyde

 

The single most famous house in Twiggtown
Site of many neighborly gatherings
(Courtesy of Joyce Whyde)

 

Although no one is certain of the exact time Twiggtown came to be known as such, there was a Twiggtown Post Office at this place in 1893. Austin D. Twigg was the Proprieter and Postmaster. The Post Office was part of the General Store, as many small post offices were at that time.

Austin D. Twigg
1863 - 1941
(Courtesy of Jerry Twigg)

Robert Twigg of Antietam Creek area, Washington County, Maryland, was the first Twigg to purchase land in what is now Allegany County, Maryland. In 1768 he purchased the land known as "Sink Hole Bottom" from John Perrin. This name probably derived from the fact that the area contained several limestone caves and pits.

[Property owners, Murley's Branch Hundred 1793]

Robert Twigg of Robert was the first of three brothers who came to Allegany County. His brother, John Twigg, settled on property also purchased from John Perrin, "Three Springs Head", located to the northeast of "Sink Hole Bottom." Eventually John Twigg of Robert purchased parcels of land renamed "Twigg's Adventure" which connected to "Twigg's Good Luck" owned by John Twigg of Rebecca.

The original purchaser of "Sink Hole Bottom," Robert Twigg of Robert, purchased adjoining land named "Discovery" while later Twigg descendants purchased "Twigg's Recovery," "Duke of Argyle," "Resurvey on Abednegoe's Choice," "Olympia," and "Long Chase." All of these properties interconnected. In March of 1854, Oliver Twigg resurveyed the acreage where the homeplace sits, 457 1/8 acres, and named it "Glenrose" which is actually the current name of the property. The homeplace is currently owned by a descendant of Oliver Twigg and Mary Ann Stallings.

OLIVER TWIGG

DIED

JAN 4, 1888

AGED

71 YEARS

& 15 DYS

Twigg Middleton Cemetery, Twiggtown
(Photo courtesy of Doris Goldsborough - 1997)

Francis Twigg, the third brother, lived nearby but
his property did not border on his brothers' land.

Mt Herman Cemetery, Twiggtown
(Photo courtesy of Doris Goldsborough - 1997)

(Click on the picture below to see how this home evolved from a log hut.)

Another view of the House at Sink Hole Bottom
(Courtesy of Connie Beachy)

 

 

THE BLUE EYED AND BLACK EYED TWIGGS
OF SINK HOLE BOTTOM
by Jerry B. Twigg

The story of the "Blue-eyed Twiggs" and the "Black-eyed Twiggs" is one that has been told many times. It has appeared in print in histories of Allegany County and numerous accounts of the Twigg clan. No one knows when the story was first told, nor by whom, but before it ever reached print it must have been told countless times by many people. As with all stories passed on by word of mouth, the story seldom remains the same and in fact often loses most of it's factual base. By the time it gets to print it has been romanticized for the sake of making the story interesting. If in fact this is what has happened then, what could remain that is true in this tale and what might have been the real story? Much study has been done in recent years into the Twigg families of western Maryland and there is little to support the idea that Ruth Farmer, wife of John Twigg of Robert, Jr., was an Indian squaw or that her children were born with the characteristic black eyes of Indian blood. It is believed that Ruth Farmer was the daughter of John Farmer of Bedford County, Pennsylvania and that Ruth's brother married John Twigg's sister, Lydia. In no other case but Ruth's are the Farmers known to referred to as of "Indian Heritage." Nor is it true that John and Ruth lived on one side of the big pond while John and Susannah (McElfish) Twigg lived on the other side. John and Susannah NEVER lived at Sink Hole Bottom. ....


View from across the pond
(Courtesy of Sharon Banzhoff)

John Twigg, eldest son of Robert Twigg, Jr., can only be described as having lived a difficult life.....He traveled the countryside whenever possible, was known by many as "Fleet-footed John" or "Stompin' John." Before he was twenty John had brought home to Sink Hole Bottom, Ruth Farmer from Bedford Co. whom he married. Robert, in hopes that John would now settle down gave him a portion of the farm intended to be his inheritance. There are those who believe to this day that Ruth was an Indian girl and that her presence was the cause of great division between the Twigg families.

(The truth is that "Fleetfooted" John Twigg was the father of 12 sons who grew up at a time when John was responsible for so many things involed with his parents' estate that he may not have had the time to properly discipline his sons. Living next door to a boisterous bunch of boys could very well have caused the dissension between John and his cousins. A look at the relative ages of the two Twigg families living at Sink Hole Bottom gives one an idea that the dispute probably began when the family of John of Rebecca seemed to be always sporting black eyes from fighting with their cousins. Rebecca was still living at this time and may have told her son, "Keep your children on this side of the pond." )

("Fleetfooted John Twigg died before his wife, Ruth. Her opinion of her 12 sons may lie in ) the fact that upon her death she left, in her will, each of her sons 25 ˘...... To her only daughter, Savilla, who stayed by her to the end, Ruth left not only her personal belongings but her widow's share of the land, which was seldom if ever passed on to a daughter.

This is not the end of the story of the "black-eyed" Twiggs and the "blue-eyed" Twiggs nor of Sink Hole Bottom. In 1832, David Twigg, son of John of Rebecca, unmarried and 30, began buying parts of what had been the original Twigg homestead from the heirs of John Twigg of Robert, Jr. In 1836, his brother, John M. who had married Elizabeth Johnson in 1809 and had completed his family of 8 children, joined in the final purchase. During the years that followed, David courted Ruth's daughter, Savilla, and sometime after Ruth's death they married. It is believed that at that time John M. and David set about dividing Sink Hole Bottom exactly in half, right through the big pond. They would share the land across the pond and bring to an end the most famous legend in Twigg History.

The map of "Twiggtown" shows how Sink Hole Bottom was divided. The eastern portion eventually became known as the MIDDLETON farm following the marriage of David and Savilla's daughter, Ellen "Nellie" Twigg to Benjamin (Franklin) Middleton. Both "Nellie" and Ben are buried on the Twigg farm.


Nellie Twigg Middleton
(Courtesy of Connie Beachy)

Benjamin Franklin Middleton
(Courtesy of Connie Beachy)

(BF Middleton and Ellen "Nellie" Twigg had a daughter, Lucy Middleton, who married Francis McClellan Hamilton. Mac and Lucy Hamilton were the grandparents of Connie Hamilton Beachy.)

 


Benjamin Franklin Middleton
(Courtesy of Connie Beachy)

 

Benjamin Franklin Middleton, 1843-1924, husband of Ellen "Nellie" Twigg, was the son of Joel Middleton and Elizabeth Thornburg. The Middleton Farm was located along Oliver Beltz Road within 3 miles of Twiggtown. BF's sister, Sarah Frances Middleton, married Nellie Twigg's brother, Michael C. Spriggs Twigg. His sister, Lurena Middleton, married Nellie's cousin, Horace Russley Twigg. BF's brother, Thomas Middleton, married another Twigg cousin, Laura Virginia Twigg.

BF Middleton fought with Company A, Second Regiment of the Potomac Home Brigade throughout the Civil War, returning home after his first enlistment to marry Nellie. After the war he became interested in local politics and in community affairs. For many years he portrayed himself as "Uncle Sam" in the Fourth of July parades in Cumberland. He did run for Road Commissioner and was elected.

After the death of Nellie Twigg, BF married a young woman named Mary Ann Hymes. By Nellie Twigg he fathered 11 children and by Mary Ann Hymes he fathered 3 children. Upon his death his body was laid to rest next to Nellie's on the Twigg Farm.

Campaign Poster


Benjamin Franklin Middleton
(Courtesy of Connie Beachy)

©Copyright 1999, Sharon Banshoff, Connie Beachy, Jerry Twigg and Joyce Whyde


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