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Farming in Carroll County, Maryland (Images of America Series)

Farming in Carroll County, Maryland (Images of America Series)

by Lyndi McNulty

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Carroll County's road signs are a testament to the farm families who settled here. Bollinger, Hoff, Roop, Baugher, Royer, Bushey, and many more are road names that honor those who have produced food for themselves and the nation in times of peace, war, and the Great Depression. In 1917, when the first county agricultural agent arrived, 96.6 percent of the land was


Carroll County's road signs are a testament to the farm families who settled here. Bollinger, Hoff, Roop, Baugher, Royer, Bushey, and many more are road names that honor those who have produced food for themselves and the nation in times of peace, war, and the Great Depression. In 1917, when the first county agricultural agent arrived, 96.6 percent of the land was held in 3,384 farms. By 1926, Carroll County, Maryland, led the state in corn, swine, and poultry production. It was second in dairy and beef, and it was the world leader in wormseed oil production. A prominent feature of Carroll County's landscape has always been the red barns, and they still are today. The photographs in this book were collected from farm families and historical organizations, portraying a unique insider's view of the history of farm life in Carroll County.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Ag book important for heritage

Author: Staff Writer

Publisher: Carroll County Times

Date: 4/28/09

History is more than wars and generals. It's more than politicians and constitutions. It's more than dates and numbers.

It's also the story of everyday people whose names don't appear in history books or as possible answers on multiple-choice tests. It's their stories that define the times.

Twentieth-century historian Will Durant compared civilization to a stream with banks. "The stream is sometimes filled with people stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks," he said.

A new book about Carroll County's agricultural heritage tells what happened on the banks. And it's a valuable service to residents of the county.

"Farming in Carroll County" by Lyndi McNulty is part of the "Images of America" series.

McNulty sorted through 2,600 photos and was able to present a variety of aspects of rural life in Carroll.

She said the photos showed what people valued since cameras weren't as available in the past as they are today.

McNulty and her husband, who helped research the book, also transcribed oral histories from hours of interviews with families. They plan to donate the transcripts to local historical societies.

Agriculture is still important to Carroll. This importance is shown in politics: The county commissioners have made agricultural preservation a big part of their proposed fiscal year 2010 budget.

It's also shown in recreation, such as the annual Carroll County Tractor and Truck Pull that took place Sunday.

You likely won't find many Carroll farmers listed in textbooks. None of their names will appear on exams. But their work has helped define the county and maintain a fulfilling tradition.

McNulty's book helps show through images the story of what happened on the banks of the stream. It's a story Carroll countians can be proud of.

Title: Woman chronicles Carroll's farming past

Author: Carrie Ann Knauer

Publisher: Carroll County Times

Date: 7/14/08

Coming from a family of farmers that dates back in Carroll County to 1790, Lyndi McNulty considers the farming history of the county as part of her own history.

McNulty is asking other farming families of Carroll to share their stories, and more important, their photographs, for a new book she's compiling for the "Images of America" series, on Carroll's farming history.

For the past two weeks, McNulty and her husband James Voter have zigzagged across the county, visiting local historical societies and individual families to see their old farming photos and hear the stories behind them. Each has a laptop, with McNulty typing the oral histories behind the photos while Voter scans the images into another computer.

One photo they have collected shows siblings walking with their lunch pails toward the road where they will be picked up by a school bus.

Another shows a half dozen people sitting in the seats of a Stanley Steamer car, and on the front and back of the vehicle.

Other pictures show more than 50 people working together at a barn raising, and come with notes about how to cook enough pie to feed all the workers at such an event.

"I'm interested in preserving these pictures that might be lost, or the [information on the] people in them that might be lost," McNulty said.

As part of her project, McNulty plans to make a disk of all the photos she collects available to all of the municipal historical societies, she said, so they can use them on their own.

One of McNulty's favorite photographs so far is of five children of the Wilhide family in Keymar holding corn threshers and standing on the edge of a field and about to begin. Carroll Wilhide, who was about 7 years old when that photo was taken and is now 97 years old, told her the photograph was taken on Thanksgiving Day -- the only day that all of the siblings would have been home together like that and had time to work in the fields together, she said.

"You're just not going to get that anywhere else [but from the families]," McNulty said. "You can't get details about farming like that unless you talk to the farmer who was there in 1918."

The book she's compiling will have more than 200 photographs, she said, and will contain many images that the public has never seen.

While she's been able to get pictures from most areas of the county, McNulty said she's still hoping to find farm families from Finksburg, Sykesville and New Windsor to interview. She's also hoping to find family members of the original Hahn's of Westminster and Myers Meats in Westminster.

Timmi Pierce, executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County, said she's glad that McNulty has taken up the project of chronicling a central part of Carroll's history.

"I think it's wonderful. Carroll County is still an agricultural community and farming was what the county was founded on way back when," Pierce said.

Pierce said she also appreciates the donation McNulty has made, offering the county historical society the royalties from the book's sales for the first two years it's sold. After that, the royalties will be given to the county's municipal historical societies, McNulty said.

McNulty said she plans to finish writing the book by the end of August and hopes it will be available for sale this winter. The book will be for sale at the Historical Society of Carroll County in Westminster and at other historical and farm-related locations, she said.

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or carrie.knauer@carrollcountytimes.com.

Titles: Book looks at farming in Carroll

Author: Carrie Ann Knauer

Publisher: Carroll County Times

Date: 4/27/09

"We had 10 times as many photos as we could get in the book," said McNulty's husband Jim Voter, who helped with the research for the book. "We easily could have done Volume 2 and Volume 3."

Farm families across the county opened up their homes and family photo albums to the couple, and the result is the newest book of the "Images of America" series, titled "Farming in Carroll County."

The book will be available at local historical societies and book stores, McNulty said, and her first book signing is scheduled for May 2 at the Historical Society of Carroll County's open house for Cockey's Tavern. McNulty said she tried to get a wide range of photos in the book from as many different families as possible.

"Anybody from Carroll County is probably related to somebody in this book," McNulty said.

The range of old photographs that people had were amazing to view, McNulty said, because these pictures basically showed the things that were important to the people who took them, considering cameras and film weren't nearly as available then as they are today.

That meant there were a lot of pictures of people with prize crops and livestock and new pieces of machinery, McNulty said, but not as many scenes of everyday life, such as hanging laundry on a clothesline or giving the dog a bath. But after meeting with enough people, she and her husband were able to compile a collection that showed many facets of rural life in Carroll, she said.

"We went around the county and we took two laptops and a scanner," McNulty said of the information-gathering process. "Sometimes we ended up interviewing families for hours."

In addition to collecting the photographs, the couple typed up the oral histories of the subjects they interviewed, McNulty said, which she may donate to the local historical societies. One of her favorite stories includes a bull named Junior that was known for its love of Pepsi, but would never drink Coca-Cola.

Another favorite was the influence the Maryland Cooperative Extension had on the region, teaching scientific agricultural to farmers, offering women canning classes, and providing all kinds of skills to 4-H youths, McNulty said.

The book costs $21.99, and the royalties for the first two years will be donated to the Historical Society of Carroll County, McNulty said.

Then they will donate proceeds to the smaller historical societies. These nonprofits will also be able to use and have prints of the photographs from the book, she said, thus sharing the stories with another audience. McNulty said it was enlightening to collect the stories that came with the photos, and she's hoping that readers will appreciate those stories and learn more about Carroll's agricultural heritage from the collection.

"I think they'll get an appreciation for the significance the agricultural way of life [still has] in Carroll County," Voter said.

Product Details

Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
Images of America Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Author Lyndi McNulty is from a family that has been in Carroll County for more than 200 years. Her great-grandfather owned seven farms in the county. She was a museum curator for 10 years and researched, designed, and installed farm exhibits at three Maryland farm museums. McNulty owns Gizmos Art in Westminster. The royalties from sales of this book will go to support local historical organizations.

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