By Cliff McCarthy, 2012
John Baumgartner was born to Jacob and Mary Baumgardner on 23 August 1790. Although the exact place of his birth is not certain, he is listed as a native of Pennsylvania in the 1850 U.S. census. At any rate, John’s family is known to have attended historic Conewago Chapel in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he was baptized.
The Baumgartners were devout Catholics. John’s father Jacob was among the founding families of the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, which began as a mission of Conewago in 1791. St. Aloysius had no resident pastor, but was served by the priests from Conewago.
Sometime around 1805, Jacob Baumgardner moved his clan south from Adams County, Pennsylvania to a farm in Piney Creek Hundred, between Taneytown, Maryland, and Littlestown, Pennsylvania, in what was then Frederick Co., Maryland. A “hundred” was a land unit which was carried over from England to Maryland as a subdivision of a county or shire and its terminology was derived from the fact that in each area there lived approximately one hundred men who could be called for military duty. Piney Creek Hundred was originally located in Frederick County where it was bounded by the Monocacy River in the west, by Piney Creek and Big Pipe Creek in the south, and by the Old Hanover Road near Union Mills in the east. It became a part of Carroll County in 1836.
The family continued to worship at in Littlestown and many of John’s family members were baptized, married, or buried from St. Aloysius church. One record from 1823 shows that Jacob Baumgartner paid $4.00 to the church that year while his sons John and Jacob, Jr. each paid $1.00.
As children, John and his siblings were all well-educated, attending private schools and academies, rather than the rural schools of the area. John was a skilled mathematician and he established a private school at which he taught.
John married Margaret Koons (also spelled “Kuntz” or “Kuhns”). His brothers Jacob, Jr. and Samuel married Margaret’s sisters, Magdalena and Barbara, respectively. The sisters were among the children of Paul & Mary Ann Koons. The Koons family were parishioners of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Taneytown, Md.
John was a member of the committee that petitioned the Maryland legislature for the creation of Carroll County and, when it was established 19 January 1837, he was subsequently appointed its first Register of Wills. Legend says that he walked the 65 miles to Annapolis to receive his commission. He was repeatedly re-elected until 1851.
He moved his family to Westminster from the Taneytown District and became active in the public affairs of the town. It is thought that he built the Baumgartner house at 188 East Main Street that remained in the family until the 1980s. He was a leader in the Whig party and a well-respected member of the German-American community in the region.
He and Basil Hayden were two of the incorporators of Westminster Academy, created by an act of the General Assembly of Maryland on February 6, 1839. John was also an incorporator of the Carroll County Lyceum, established on March 30, 1839.
John and Margaret had nine children — three boys and six girls. One daughter, Mary Josephine, married Francis T. Kerr, an influential newspaper editor and politician of the day. Also, upon the death of their neighbor, John and Margaret took into their home three children of the Sullivan family, whom he raised and educated. All three became prominent members of the church: Father Florence J. Sullivan, a Jesuit priest, was connected with Santa Barbara College in California; and his sisters became Madames of the Sacred Heart, in Detroit, where one became Mother Superior.
John Baumgartner died on January 16, 1853 and was originally buried at Conewago Chapel, in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He and Margaret now rest in St. Aloysius’ Cemetery, in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. The disposition of his real estate was the cause of Carroll County Equity Case #847 in which it states that John owned parts of tracts called “Troublesome Job” and “Owings Second Chance.”
Children of John & Margaret (Koons) BAUMGARTNER
JOHN BAUMGARTNER was born on 23 August 1790 in Pennsylvania (Piney Creek). He died on 16 January 1853 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD. He married MARGARET KOONS, daughter of Paul KOONS and Mary Ann. She was born on 8 January 1793 in Maryland. She died on 11 February 1861. John BAUMGARTNER and Margaret KOONS had the following children:
i. WILLIAM H. BAUMGARTNER was born about 1815 in Maryland. He died on 19 September 1853 in St. Louis, MO. He married CATHARINE ELDER on 23 November 1837 in St. Louis Co., MO, daughter of Jesse ELDER and Elizabeth BLACK. She was born about 1822 in Missouri.
ii. MARY JOSEPHINE BAUMGARDNER was born on 13 June 1819 in Maryland. She died on 2 October 1875. She married FRANCIS T. KERR on 28 September 1844 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD. He died on 30 September 1844.
iii. FRANCIS JAMES BAUMGARTNER was born before 1820. He died on 5 January 1861 in St. Louis, MO. He married (1) HELEN ELINE on 4 February 1847 in Conewago Chapel, Edge Grove, PA. She died on 11 August 1850. He married (2) CAROLINE LOUISA AUGUSTA FISHER on 19 October 1851 in St. Louis, MO.
iv. JOHN JOSEPH BAUMGARTNER was born on 13 June 1821 in Piney Run, Carroll Co., MD. He died on 2 May 1878 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD. He married MARGARET ANN HAYDEN on 19 October 1846 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD, daughter of Basil HAYDEN and Apprillah BUCKINGHAM. She was born on 17 September 1824 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD. She died on 24 November 1884 in Westminster, Carroll Co., MD.
v. ELIZABETH BAUMGARDNER was born on 10 October 1823 in Maryland.
vi. MAGDALENA “LENAH” BAUMGARDNER was born on 8 September 1827 in Maryland. She married LEWIS GILBERT.
vii. HARRIET A. “HENRIETTA” BAUMGARDNER was born about 1832 in Maryland. She died in Nashville, TN.
viii. MARGARET OLIVIA BAUMGARDNER was born about 1835 in Maryland. She married JEROME ALEXANDER OVERMAN on 13 November 1866, son of Thomas OVERMAN and Sarah SAGE. He was born in 1831. He died in 1905.
ix. AGNES C. BAUMGARDNER was born on 13 January 1837. She died on 12 March 1845.
- 1850 U.S. Census for John Baumgartner (Westminster District, Carroll Co., MD).
- 1860 U.S. Census for Margaret Baumgartner (Taneytown District, Carroll Co., MD).
- “An act incorporating Westminster Academy in Carroll county” (Maryland Archives, Volume 598, page 35, website online, 6 May 2007).
- “An act to incorporate the Carroll County Lyceum in Westminster” (Maryland Archives, Volume 598, page 277, website online, 6 May 2007).
- “An act to issue to John Baumgartner a commission as Register of Wills of Carroll county” (Maryland Archives, Volume 537, website online, 6 May 2007).
- Carroll County, Maryland Deeds (Carroll County Courthouse Annex, Westminster, MD).
- Correspondence of Carol Smith (E-mail to author, dated 26 November 2004.).
- Death Notice for John Baumgardner (Baltimore Sun, 1853-01-21).
- Gravestone of John Baumgartner (St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Littlestown, PA).
- Gravestone of Margaret Baumgardner (St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Littlestown, PA), year illegible.
- “Let’s Meet The Old Folks,” J. Hampton Baumgartner, 1944, at the Historical Society of Carroll County.
- Records of St. Aloysius Catholic Church (Littlestown, PA), Burials, p. 5.
- Scharf, John T., A History of Western Maryland, Regional Publishing Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 1968. Originally published in 1882.
- Stenley, Virginia D., Chancery Books of Carroll County, Maryland, Volumes 1-20, 1837-1873, Westminster, MD:Family line Publications, 1994.
- Warner, Nancy M., Ralph B. Levering, and Margaret Taylor Woltz, Carroll County, Maryland: A History 1837-1976 (Carroll County Bicentennial Committee; Westminster, MD, 1976).
- Weeks, Christopher, Building of Westminster in Maryland, The (Fishergate Publishing Co., Annapolis, MD; 1978).
- Will of Jacob Baumgardner (Carroll Co., MD, dated 3 September 1846, probated 28 September 1846).