Walking Tour of Barton
June 11, 1997
Any genealogist would envy the success of my trek through Barton. Armed with camera and notes, my first stop was Town Hall on Railroad Street. It seemed best to notify the authorities of my intentions to gather photographs and information related to my family research. Here I met Sue Loar. During our conversation, I mentioned that I was researching the Creutzburgs and the Shaws. To my surprise, Sue stopped me in my tracks, when she announced that she was the current owner of Henry Creutzburg's house.
Henry was one of the original Creutzburgs settling in Barton in 1853. He and his parents John and Anna Maria (Schramm) immigrated from Saxe-Gotha-Coburg Germany. Henry ran a mercantile business in Barton from 1869 to 1917. Until my short conversation with Sue, I had not been able to pinpoint the exact location of Henry's store or house. Within less than 5 minutes in Barton, Sue had given me two critical pieces of data in my research. And, unlike many buildings from the 1800's, both the store and house were still standing and in use.
Sue also showed me the plaque listing all the mayors of Barton since it's incorporation as a town in 1918. The first mayor of the town was E. Frederick Creutzburg, the eldest son of Henry. According to the biography of Henry in "The History of Allegany County," Henry was active in politics and it appears that Frederick continued that tradition. Later in this account, we will get a peek at Frederick's house.
With respect to the town's history, Sue showed me two works written on Barton which are kept at Town Hall. In addition, she informed me that one town historian still living in Barton is Thelma K. Byers, a former teacher at the Barton School. She then steered me to Peggie Connor, who together with her son Jason, are in the process of gathering data for an updated history of Barton. These are valuable contacts, to be sure.
At this point, I had already gathered enough information to call my trip to Barton a success. Believe it or not, things simply got better as the day went on. Upon leaving Town Hall and rounding the corner onto Legislative Road to take the picture of Henry's house and store, I encountered Ed Robertson, a life-long resident of Barton. I told him of my Creutzburg quest, but he had little to offer on this part of my family. But, he told me a great deal about the town and the mining operations, all of which I intend to incorporate in this document.
My first photo op, after conversing with Ed, was Henry's house and store. From that point, I roamed around Water Street, Eutaw Street and Railroad Street. Several interviews of Barton residents contained in "Bicentennial Memories" by Jo Beynon, referred to this area of Barton. In addition, land records indicated that Creutzburgs owned property in this area. Using these two sources, I selected properties which "may be" former Creutzburg properties. The connection is yet to be established. In one source, which I cannot locate at this writing, I read that a fire claimed 20 buildings in one part of Barton. This fire, which I believe occurred in 1919, led to the formation of the local fire department. The problem is that I cannot recall exactly when or where the fire was. I believe that South Eutaw may have been the site. The photos which follow are attempts to locate Creutzburg properties, and are not necessarily the desired properties.
After wondering through this eastern portion of Barton, I stopped for lunch at the luncheonette on Railroad Street. While eating, I studied old photos and the land records to try to figure out which buildings in the old photos still existed. I was able to identify Henry's store and the relative location of his house in a picture of Broadway Street from the early 1900's, It appears that a man and woman are standing on the front steps. Perhaps they are Henry and Matilda. Three horse drawn vehicles occupy the roadway, which is unpaved, and has streetcar tracks traversing the south side of the street. None of the buildings in that picture on the south side of the street, remain today. This is clear from the picture of Legislative Road today.
After photographing Legislative Road, I walked north on Railroad and photographed an area which probably includes Lots 9 & 10 on North Railroad Street, former property of John Creutzburg. I also took a picture of the Schram property.
My next target was the site of the Barton School on Latrobe Street and the Methodist Church on Legislative Road at Latrobe. As I was photographing the church, Ed Robertson and his wife drive up to me. They had just been to visit Violet Malcolm, who owns and resides in the beautiful home on the other corner of Latrobe and Legislative Road. Ed was telling her about my quest, and she told Ed to let me know that she has diplomas of some Creutzburgs. After providing me with the details of how to contact Mrs. Malcolm, the Robertsons drove off.
Now, elated with the prospect of obtaining access to the Creutzburg diplomas, appropriately, my next stop was the site of the Barton School (1893-1978). Today it serves as a playground. On the north side of the site, bordering the Malcolm property, stands a memorial to the school.
Believe it or not, the best is yet to come. While looking around the playground, I spotted Ed's car, and heard his wife calling me. They had returned to tell me that Mrs. Malcolm's address was listed under John Malcolm. As we stood by the Methodist church, I told them of my interest in the church because of the Shaws. I mentioned that Elva Shaw McGee and her brother Ernest may be related through their mother, Johanna Creutzburg. They told me that they knew Elva and her husband, Dave, very well. They also knew Ernest, more commonly know as Ernie. We talked at length about them.
Ed described Elva as the "tallest person in Barton." She was the only resident who had to duck under the branches of the trees on either side of the entrance way to his house. Ernie, unlike his father Pete Shaw, apparently was not the most ambitious person. Sue Loar remembers that there was an old man on Caledonia Hill who owned a lot of dogs. That property, in her days, was off limits to the kids. This could have been Ernie. Today the once lush farm land is totally overgrown, and the house, if still standing is inaccessible.
Elva and Dave's house, on the other hand was quite accessible, and the Robertsons offered to take me there. So I hopped in their car, and we drove down to Railroad street, past the post office and the Robertsons' house.
After passing the Robertsons' property, we turned west on German Road, and traveled a short distance to Elva's House, which is located in an area known to Ed as Dutch Row. This area sounds like it could be the location of the property purchased by Valentine in 1866 from Conrad Hohing.
Elva's house is currently owned by Louise Colmer. Elva willed the property to Louise because, when Elva was ill, Louise took excellent care of her. I plan to contact Louise to see if she has any information to pass on about Elva, Dave, Ernest and any of the other family members. Located on the property of Bob Kelley, two houses north of Elva's property is the Old German Lutheran Church, built in 1870.
After visiting the German street sites, I said farewell to the Robertsons, and proceeded up to High Street. At the south end of High Street lies the remains of the road which once lead to and from the Shaw farm. It is currently impassable. Heading north on High Street, situated on the western side of the street, are several properties once owned by Henry. Lots 32-35 all were at one time purchased by Henry. Henry's son, Fred, lived in the house occupying lots 33 and 34.
High Street was my final stop in Barton. With this effort, I have only begun to relate the information gathered during my three hours in Barton. I offer a heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to such a profitable venture.