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Mr. Isaac Motter and Mr. Charles W. Humrichouse were directors of the
Western Maryland Railway and it was decided at a directors' meeting to
extend the road to Williamsport, it having been completed to Hagerstown,
thus making this place the terminus. That autumn, 1871, a concourse of
citizens preceded by the band, repaired to "Laurel Hill," just a little
beyond the residence of W. D. Byron, to the surveyed right of way for the
road along the side of the hill and during a discourse by the band, Mr.
Hotter turned the first shovel of earth toward the extension. Within a
short while the contract was let to Mr. McGuken and he continued work
thereon until the following summer, when he went to Baltimore with his
estimate. Receiving his money for the work completed, he returned here the
night preceding pay-day, and during the night, with the help of trusted,
transient employees, gathered together all his stock, carts and other
paraphernalia and decamped. Nothing was ever heard from him.
The laborers, quite a number of them visited the office in the morning for their money and learned of his departure. They repaired to the commissary, Mr. George Williamson, in charge, located in the building along pavement (been razed for some time), in front of the Catholic Church and a great many succeeded in securing some merchandise. Some one spoke of McGuken's departure which was overheard by Mr. Williamson, and he immediately closed.
The road was later finished by the Watkins brothers of Montgomery County, Maryland.
The first passenger train which ever came into Williamsport, bore a party of gentlemen—officers of the W. Md. R. R. [Western Maryland Railroad]—and a few guests, who were on a trip of inspection and arrived in the town on the afternoon of November 27, 1873. A large throng of citizens met the train and greeted the advent with cheers and other demonstrations of joy. The party consisted of the President Alexander Rieman, George Bokee, William A. Boyd, Jr., J. D. Hipsley, Samuel Adams, D. D. Foley, A. P. German, M. Bannon, Mr. Fawcett, James Webb, F. A. Hack, S. H. My-ers, R. A. Snowden, Hon. J. K. Longwell, John Welty, Hon. Joshua Biggs and George W. Harris; Hon. W. T. Hamilton, Hon. A. K. Syester, Attorney-General of the State; Hon. A. K. Stake, member-elect to the House of Delegates; E. M. Mobly and other influential gentlemen. They remained for several hours.
The celebration upon the completion of the road was a great event of the town. At 2 o'clock, the afternoon of December 17th, 1873, a train of six handsomely decorated passenger coaches arrived from Baltimore. The cars contained a distinguished party including Governor William Pinckney Whyte, a deputation from the Baltimore City Council; the officers of the road; and a number of invited guests. The party had been met at Union Bridge by a reception committee comprised of the following: W. H. Beard, Burgess; E. McCby, Assistant Burgess; Charles Ardinger, Lewis Wolf, Theodore Embry and Joseph H. Farrow, Town Council: Alonzo Berry, S. S. Cunningham, James Findlay, J. L. McAtee, Robert Lemen, Jesse Thompson, Isaac Gruber, Henry Grosh and Samuel Lefever.
The arrival of the train was announced by the ringing of church bells and other demonstrations of welcome. Business in the town had been suspended, flags were floating and the train was met at the terminus, along the canal, by a canal barge, decorated with garlands, drawn by six mules, with banners hanging from every part of the harness. The boat carried a band of music. When the visitors had alighted, Attorney-General Syester delivered an address of welcome, and the guests were escorted to the Public School house, where a banquet under the direction of Mrs. John Ensminger, Mrs. M. E. Long, Mrs. Jacob.Masters and others. At the table W. H. Beard, the Burgess, extended to the guests a hearty welcome, to which Governor Whyte responded, saying that he had been early associated with the scenes and inhabitants of the town. Mr. Syester proposed the health of the officers of the canal, to which A. P. Gorman, the president, responded. Hon. J. K. Longwell, responded to the toast, "The Western Maryland Railroad"; Hon. Montgomery Blair to the toast, "The President of the United States;" Mr. Joseph S. Hauisler to the toast, "To the City of Baltimore."
From: Williamsport and Vicinity and Reminiscences, Williamsport Chamber
of Commerce, 1933. pp 54-56
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