The Man Who Once Owned Monterey Pass

The Citizens Fight of Monterey PassCharles H. Buhrman was born on June 1, 1837 at Mount Zion, Frederick County, Maryland. He was the oldest of three children. Just like his father Samuel, Charles engaged in farming at a young age. He was married to Ann Maria Green on February 16, 1858. They had six children together, two boys and four daughters, however, one the girls died at a young age. Charles and his wife Ann took up residence at the eastern base of South Mountain, near Monterey Pass along the Emmitsburg & Waynesboro Turnpike, where he worked his farm.1

In 1861, his father, Samuel died and Charles inherited the Monterey Inn. His father had purchased Ripple’s Tavern in 1843, and ran it as an inn. By 1849, a fire broke out and burnt the building to the ground. Rebuilding the tavern now known as the Monterey Inn, the Buhrman family built a brick building that was continuously remodeled to accommodate the fast growing nature of patrons staying in the area. Charles continued to live on the family farm and worked the land, while David Miller managed the Monterey Inn.2

When the Civil War came to South Mountain on the night on July 4-5, 1863, in what is known as the Battle of Monterey Pass, Charles helped to guide the Union cavalry under the command of Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick, while a major battle took place on his property. He helped to guide the 1st Vermont Cavalry to Smithsburg and Leitersburg during the midnight hours of July 5. At dawn, he witnessed the destruction of several Confederate wagons. As he approached Ringgold, Charles became separated from the Vermonters and was captured. He was escorted to Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick’s headquarters, where several Union officers recognized the farmer, and ordered his release.3

As Charles was returning home, he came across a Confederate picket line and was nearly captured, near modern day Blue Ridge Summit. Returning home long enough to kiss his wife, Charles was forced to hide out in the mountain until the last Confederate soldier marched through Monterey Pass during the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 6. 4

In 1866, after living on his farm since 1861, Charles left the trade to enter into the mercantile business, in what would become the future town of Rouzerville. On October 22, 1868, Charles petitioned the commonwealth for $500 in theft his farm suffered during the Confederate Retreat. While he was waiting on the commonwealth for aide hid property suffered during the Civil War, he rented out his farm and ran a very successful mercantile business until 1869, when his business caught fire. He returned to his farm and lived there for two years, but eventually he became bored with farming, and moved back to Rouzerville. After petitioning Pennsylvania for a second time, on November 22, 1871, Charles received some good news and was awarded $495.00 for his claim to the commonwealth.5

On June 26, 1873, Charles became Postmaster of the Rouzerville Post Office. In 1874, Charles built a new home in Rouzerville and continued to engage in the mercantile business. In 1877, Charles Buhrman sold the Monterey Inn to V.E. Holmes, cutting his last ties to Monterey Pass. As his children got older, Charles, now a wealthy man provided one furnished home and horse along with a buggy to each of his four children that lived to adulthood one the day of their weddings. Charles came in contact with many wealthy men and apparently helped George Frick to start his new company as the chief financial backer.6

Ann Buhrman passed away in 1879. With his second wife Eliza J. Brown Buhrman (1851 – 1899) by his side, he operated and owned a general store in Rouzerville. Shank’s Mill near Waynesboro, PA was built in 1857. In 1888, Charles Buhrman purchased the mill through a sheriff’s sale. He did this because of the proximity of the mill, his general store and the railroad head being a mile from the business. On July 4, 1899, Eliza passed away and Charles married Mollie J. Flanagan (1859 – 1944).7

In 1900, Charles purchased property along main street in Waynesboro, PA. The property contained the oldest house in Waynesboro that was built around the year 1760. Charles, after demolishing the old house, built a brick house for his new residence in it’s place. In 1905, Charles sold off the 15 acre Shank’s Mill to Edward and Emma Shockey.8

Charles died on September 9, 1912. He was buried at Burn’s Hill Cemetery in a family plot where two of his previous wives are buried. HIs widow Mollie continued to live at the Buhrman residence until here death in 1944. She too, was buried in the family plot. Charles also rests with two of his daughters, Dean F. (1877-1894) and Fanny (1861-1863).9


1.I. H. M’Cauley. Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Chambersburg, PA, 1878, pg. 309-310

2.Ibid

3.Miller, John. The Citizens Fight At Monterey Pass, Monterey Pass Battlefield Publication, 2013

4.Ibid

5.Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, pg. 309, Methodist Layman. Charles H. Buhrman (1837-1912). Also, Adams County Collections of Civil War claims. https://www.lycoming.edu/umarch/chronicles/2012/Buhrman.pdf Some of the information is wrong in this article. For example, makes it seem as if Charles Still owned the Monterey Inn when Bessie Wallis Warfield was born in the cottage in 1896, although, Mr. Holmes had purchased the Inn in 1877.

6.Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, pg. 309, Warner-Beers.History of Franklin County Pennsylvania, Chicago, IL, 1887, http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/franklin/history/local/wbeers008.txt

7.http://www.shanksmill.org/history.html Official History by the Shanks Mill preservation group.

8.Waynesboro Village Record, August 9. 1900. Oldest house In Waynesboro Torn Down For C.H. Buhrman Residence. Antietam Historical Society.

9.The grave site of Charles Buhrman is located at Burn’s Hill Cemetery. A large monument stone is the place where Buhrman and all of his wives rest beside him. Two of his children are also buried there.

 

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