History of Glassmaking in Frederick

From the book "In and out of Frederick Town: colonial occupations", authored by Amy Reed on microfiche [6088329] LDS church, 975.288 H2, I have excerpted sections from the chapter on Glass Manufactories-Ken Engle.


The earliest glassworker whose records have been found in the Frederick Town area were Jacob Frederick Dannwolf, a glassblower, and Peter Engel, a glass cutter. The presence of just two glass artisans suggests that theirs may have been a small, village-type window glass industry requiring only one glassblower, a cutter to maker window lights from the large disk of glass and one or two helpers. Frederick Town's steady growth certainly would have provided a market for window glass. The fact that John Shellman had glass window lights in his house in 1759 could be indicative that glass was available locally, perhaps Just across the street.

Jacob Frederick Dannwolf acquired an East Patrick Street lot across from Shellman's house, in 1762, but he could have been a tenant before receiving a deed. It is interesting that Dannwolf's lot was one of the few owned by Walter Dulany in Frederick Town. Could Walter, an Annapolis merchant, have recruited the two glassworkers on a profit sharing arrangement similar to Wistar's? (In 1764, Peter Engels Sr. acquired lot #100 for one penny from Daniel Delaney. The low amount suggests Peter did have a business relationship with Delaney.) This may be the explanation for Dannwolf and Engel coming into the Maryland back country. There is, however, another possibility to be considered.

The Varle Map of 1808 shows an "Old glass-works" along Tuscacora Creek about three miles north of Frederick Town. Recent archaeological testing at the Tuscacora site reveals a dry-laid limestone foundation that suggests a long, narrow building, possibly part of an early glass works. In addition to the foundation, archaeologists discovered a high density of glass fragments, slag, glazed brick, and limestone slabs. The excavation site was part of "Tasker's Chance" that Benjamin Tasker transferred to Daniel Dulany, the immigrant, in 1744. The tenant on the land at the time of transfer was John Conrad Keller. Little is known of Conrad Keller who was consistently recorded as a farmer in Frederick County land records. Though he bought several other tracts of land during his lifetime, Keller never owned the glasshouse land on which he lived. The Dulany family held that tract from 1744 until it was seized in the confiscation proceedings during the American Revolution.

Why did three generations of Dulanys retain ownership of a relatively small piece of Tuscarora land while they were actively promoting the sale of their western Maryland land holdings? The only reasonable explanation seems to be an industry on the Tuscarora land that had proven to be a good investment. Given the Dulany involvement in the Baltimore Iron Works and the local partnership between Daniel Dulany, the immigrant, and Major John Bradford for locating and surveying unclaimed western land, the possibility of a glasshouse partnership cannot be overlooked as an inducement for Dannwolf and Engel to come into the Frederick Town area.

Though the workplace of Dannwolf and Engel is not certain, both men spent the remaining years of their lives in Frederick County. Jacob Frederick Dannwolf died of convulsions in 1771, at the age of forty-three. Many glassblowers died at an earlier age than the general population due to the rigors of blowing glass. Convulsions and strokes were common causes of death.

Dannwolf was survived by his wife, Ann, and a daughter, Anna Maria. Christian Kreiss, a glassworker, married Anna Maria, but both of then died within a few years of their marriage. Ann Dannwolf cared for their infant son, and in her will she appointed Christian Steiner as guardian for young Frederick Kreiss. The Frederick Town blacksmith taught his trade to Frederick, and they worked together until Steiner's death. Soon afterward, in 1806, Frederick divided and sold the Dannwolf lot on East Patrick Street, one half to Valentine Motter and the other part to Elizabeth Birely. Frederick Kreiss then left the county, and there is evidence that he settled in Ohio.

The Tuscarora glass-works

It is impossible at this time to assign a founding date to the Tuscarora glass-works because no records from the manufactory have been found. The bottles of Monocacy ale in the 1753 inventory of Daniel Dulany, the immigrant would be significant if their origin could, be traced to this glasshouse. According to local history, colored bottles and bottle fragments were found on the site in the late years of the nineteenth century. There is no certainty, however, that these were blown as early as 1753.

Entries in Joseph Doll's ledger, beginning December, 1771, (Joseph Doll was a famous furniture maker in Frederick and a Captain in the War.) indicate that the glasshouse was part of a small industrial complex that included a sawmill, a charcoal pit and coal house, a malt hill, and possibly a brewery. Though Doll had no bookkeeping or management responsibilities for the glasshouse, his records of the other industries and the farm have provided information relating to the Tuscarora glasshouse in the 1770's.

Among the earliest accounts in the ledger are those for Philip and Jacob Hain who purchased lumber from the sawmill. Philip paid his bill with a "sou from the vandue", a sow from the public sale, a vendue. Misspelled words in some ledger entries occurred because Doll kept his records in English, but his first language was German. Jacob Hain settled his account at the sawmill with cash, an indication that he worked for wages. Independent farmers and artisans usually paid their bill, with commodities. The name Jacob Hane is listed with other New Brennan glassworkers in the 1790 census. Although Amelung brought a number of glassworkers with him, he also employed some from glasshouses in Frederick County. It is possible that Jacob Hain was a Tuscarora glass artisan who went to New Bremen.

Entries in Joseph Doll's ledger indicate that glass window lights sold for nine Pence each in 1774. Twelve individual lights for just one window would have cost nine Shillings, a price equivalent to Esther Planck's wages for six days work hoeing corn. But even at that price, local glass was less expensive than glass imported from England. There are no records for the sale of glass bottles during the 1770's. If bottles were blown at Tuscarora, either the sales were handled by the glassworkers, or the entire production was required for bottling malt liquors made at the glasshouse complex.

The Tuscarora glasshouse land was confiscated with the Frederick County land holdings of Daniel Dulany, the third. The tract was sold to Henry Sinn in 1784 and transferred to Governor Thomas Johnson in 1787. The glass works may have remained in operation under the ownership of Sinn or the Johnsons, but there is no evidence that they built a glasshouse on the site. Governor Johnson offered 800 acres of Tuscarora land for sale in 1793, just six years after he had acquired the property. The glasshouse, a sawmill, a tanning yard, and a grist mill were included in the advertisement. The 1798 tax record shows that the glasshouse was "out of repair" when William Goldsborough bought the land in 1801.

The Johnson glasshouse on Bush Creek was not a colonial manufactory and therefore, a complete investigation of this glass works was not undertaken. However, in the interest of historical accuracy, the following information is given.

The Dennis Griffith Map (1794) shows the Tuscarora glass-works as "Aetna," but at that time, the name Aetna belonged to the Johnson glasshouse farm on Bush Creek, southeast of Frederick Town. This glass-works is not shown on the Griffith map. The Aetna glass-works was first operated by Thomas Johnson, Jr. and his cousin Benjamin, the son of the governor's brother who resided in Calvert County. The children of Benjamin Johnson had come to Frederick County to live with their uncles after their mother's death. Young Benjamin made his home with Governor Thomas Johnson's family.

When Thomas Johnson Jr. went to Baltimore about 1795, his younger brother Joshua became Benjamin's partner in the glass-works on Bush Creek. The cousins operated the glasshouse from late the nineteenth century. At Benjamin's death, the property went to Joshua Johnson.

The Foltz, Kramer, Everhart glass-works

The ship Brittania arrived from Rotterdam via Cowes, England, at the port of Philadelphia on September 18, 1773, The following advertisement appeared in Bradford's Journal September 29, 1773.

Germans
"Just arrived in the ship Brittania- James Peter, Master.
A number of healthy German Passengers, chiefly young people, whose freights are to be paid to Joshua Fisher and Sons or to the Master on board the Ship lying off the Draw-bridge."

Among those owing passage money was Conrad Foltz, indebted for fifty-three pounds, eight shillings. He was accompanied by his sister Margreda, his wife, and two daughters. Balthazar and George Kramer were also on board the Brittania as part of a Kramer family group that included their brothers Martin and Adam Kramer. Martin Eberhart completed the group of glassworkers who went to Mannheim Pennsylvania together in October, 1773.

Balthazar and Martin Kramer, Volts, and Everhart are listed among the employees at the Stiegel manufactory in Mannheim. Martin Kramer died in December, a few months after their arrival, and Balthazar married Margreda Foltz, Conrad's sister, in January, 1774. They were all unemployed at the end of May after the glass-works closed in bankruptcy. With Stiegel's other employees, the Brittania people left Mannheim to find work. Church records indicate they were in Frederick by 1778.

In 1780, the Kramers, Foltz and Eberhart formed a partnership and Conrad Foltz the senior partner acquired three tracts of land near Bennett's creek. He bought 1577 acres of "Gantts Garden" from James Marshall, who held the mortgage on the land and he acquired "Tobacco Hook" and "I Don't Care What" totaling 122 acres from William Murdock Beall for 300 Pounds.

In the first years of its operation, the Foltz, Kramer, and Eberhart glass-works showed promise of becoming successful glass industry. But that promise was not to be realized. Conrad Foltz died at age of forty-six in October, 1784. His Will directed his executors to exercise their judgment in continuing the operation of the furnace or selling the land and equipment. The glass-works may have operated during the winter of 1784-85 but when the glassblowing year ended in May, George Kramer and Margaret Foltz sold the land, the glasshouse, the equipment, and the inventory to John Frederick Amelung. For nearly two hundred years no one knew that Amelung had bought an established glass-works. Amelung acquired additional land, built a new glass-works and a complete community for his workers and called it New Bremen.

The Kramers and Martin Eberhart went to work at New Bremen. Ludwig Kramer who had cone to America with them and had married Elizabeth Ryley in 1781, also found employment there. His daughter, Barbara, attended the New Bremen School for the glassworkers children. After Ludwig's death, his widow married Peter Engel, Jr., a glass cutter like his father. (This Peter Engels is not the son of Peter Sr. but the son of Johannes, first cousin of Peter Jr.) Martin Eberhart died in 1792 and a year or so later Balthazar and George Kramer went West with a group of glassworkers from the financially troubled New Bremen manufactory.

The group had intended to found a glass-works in Kentucky, but before they arrived at the Ohio River, they met Albert Galletin, a Swiss émigré, who persuaded them to settle in a Pennsylvania town he had bought and named New Geneva. With Galletin's financial backing, the New Bremen people built a glass-works in New Geneva and another in Greensboro Pennsylvania, that operated until 1849. (Peter son of Johannes married the widow Elizabeth Ryley in 1800 and had a daughter in 1801 all in Frederick so it is unlikely he went to Pennsylvania. However, no record exists of him or his family after 1801. They were married in the house of Jacob Haux. Elizabetha, daughter of Peter Engels Jr. married Balthazar Kramer in 1800 after Peter Jr. moved his family to Monongahela Township Greene County PA.)


The 1794 map of Tuscarora Creek is shown below with the location of the Aetna (Tuscacora) Glass Works clearly marked.

glass-works map

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