Happy President’s Day! .... once again.
In commemoration, a year ago, I wrote a piece about Joshua Johnson (1742-1802), younger brother of Gov. Thomas Johnson, Jr. This Johnson brother was a London shipping merchant, US Consul to London (1790-1797), and US Collector of Stamps for Washington, DC. His greatest claim to fame, at least as it pertains to the history books, lies in the fact that his daughter, Louisa Catharine Johnson (1775-1852) would become a presidential First Lady when she married John Quincy Adams in July, 1797.
This isn’t the only connection Frederick’s Mount Olivet Cemetery has to the US presidency, as we have a few other folks (interred here) that are blood-related to past “commanders in chief.” Just the other day, I came across an extended ”Johnson family” relative named William Monroe Johnson, Sr. (1895-1991), a World War I veteran. He was a great, great-grandson of President James Monroe, hence the catchy middle name. His mother, Ruth Monroe Gouverneur married Dr. William Crawford Johnson. All three individuals are buried here in the cemetery’s Area E. Ruth (Mrs. Johnson) was a founding member of Frederick’s Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter, and rightfully so.
Nearby Ruth Gouverneur’s grave is that of another of Frederick DAR’s founding ladies—Millissent Washington (1824-1893). This Kentucky native was a daughter of William Temple Washington, a grandson of Samuel Washington, younger brother of George Washington—making Millissent the great-grandniece of our first US president. She married Robert G. McPherson of Frederick and took up residence here. In addition, Millissent McPherson was also a grandniece of Dolly Payne Todd Madison, wife of former president James Madison.
I’m sure this is the tip of the iceberg as plenty more persons buried here in Mount Olivet could be linked genetically to US presidents and First Ladies. I kindly invite readers to add any special connections (that they may know about) to the Comments section immediately after this story.
"It's a Small World After All"
My son Eddie and I traveled to Orlando, Florida in late January for a mini-vacation spent visiting my brother Tim and his family. It really is a luxury having a family member living in Orlando, as there is always a free place to stay, and no shortage of great things to do. Atop that list is the varied experiences related to the Wonderful World of Disney, of course. Eddie, now 11, hadn’t visited the Magic Kingdom since age 3, and vaguely remembered any of the signature attractions. So it seemed like a good choice to have him experience Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Big Thunder Mountain this time around with the benefit of lasting cognitive abilities. Saying this, I spared him the “It’s a Small World” ride experience, for the same reason.
I did, however, pull him into the renown Hall of Presidents in Disney’s Liberty Square, built to resemble Philadelphia in 1776. The Hall of Presidents sometimes get passed by for rides and other more thrilling attractions, but not by a bona-fide “history-geek” Dad like me— Eddie Haugh is no stranger to US history. I have brought him to the real Philadelphia on several occasions, successfully slipping in visits to places like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House, as preludes to seeing his favorite sports teams in the form of the Phillies and Eagles.
For those of you who have not been to the Hall of Presidents before, this attraction is a multi-media presentation and stage show featuring Audio-Animatronic figures of all 44 individual United States Presidents, adorned in period attire of their respective era in the White House. The entire concept is based on Walt Disney’s Animatron of Abraham Lincoln, featured in an exhibit that first appeared at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The experience opened on October 1st, 1971, along with the rest of the Magic Kingdom and resort.
Housed in a building resembling Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the current attraction features a short film depicting a historical account of several American presidencies, notably George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The film is followed by a stage presentation of all the presidents in Audio-Animatronic form and features speeches by Lincoln, Washington, and the most current incumbent President, Donald Trump.
As you are waiting to go into the theater for the 25-minute show, an ample-spaced indoor lobby serves home to a gallery of president-related portraits, murals and display cases holding historic artifacts and memorabilia. I spent our ten-minute wait engrossed with John Quincy Adams’ microscope, Gerald Ford’s tennis racquet, George Washington's beer stein, John Adams’ pocket watch and cowboy boots worn by George W. Bush at his inauguration. I also saw a plaster sculpture of Fala, the beloved Scottish Terrier of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This item was made for the president, and kept atop his desk.
I took particular interest in this because of a story involving Fala told to me by the late historian George W. Wireman of Thurmont. One day during World War II, FDR and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were en-route to the presidential retreat at Shangri-La. The presidential motorcade made a stop for Thurmont’s only red light, located in the center of town. Apparently, Fala jumped out of the car and headed to the nearest fireplug to relieve himself. This public urination took place to the great chagrin of the world leaders in the car, and the secret service detail who tried to corral the presidential canine.
Back at the Hall of Presidents, it was now our chance to go into the theater for the show. There was still time for me to see one last display case as we were being “herded-in” to our seats.
I have to admit that I was so excited to see someone from Frederick represented in the Hall of Presidents that I jokingly thought the attraction could be renamed “the Haugh of Presidents.” I could have easily overlooked the whole thing. Once back home, I set out to learn more about the former clerk of the court. Little did I know, that the day we visited Disney and saw this artifact, was actually Mr. Haugh’s birthday! Coincidence, or divine intervention?
Eli G. Haugh
Eli Grant Haugh was born on January 25th, 1866 to parents William Haugh, Jr. and wife Elizabeth Cramer. His middle name represents another connection to the presidency, but at the time of Eli’s birth, Ulysses S. Grant was better known for his keen leadership in the American Civil War, accepting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, VA just seven months earlier.
The Haugh family lived near Ladiesburg in the Johnsville District of northeastern Frederick County. This vicinity is located off MD194, near Little Pipe Creek and Carroll County line. Lasting reminders of the once prominent family include Mount Zion/Haugh’s Church, Haugh's Cemetery and the aptly named rural road that goes by them up to Detour. In fact, on the 1873 Titus Atlas, one can see a plethora of Haugh properties in the area and an area between MD194 (Woodsboro/YorkPike) and the Frederick & Pennsylvania Railroad here is labeled as Haughville, also referred to occasionally as Haughsville. Again I claim no relation to this line, although I wish I did. And, I have been told that the family actually pronounced their name “Hawk” as in the flying bird of prey.
Eli’s great-grandfather, Paul Haugh (sometimes referred to as Powell), is said to have emigrated from Germany or Switzerland and settled here in late 1700’s, building a valuable farmstead at the location of Haugh’s Church. Paul Haugh gave the ground for the church, the first house of worship in the vicinity. A graveyard is associated with the church and holds the grave of this gentleman and generations of Haughs to follow. Eli’s grandfather, William Haugh, Sr., took up the occupation of village blacksmith. This gentleman’s son, William, Jr. (Eli’s father), grew up on the homestead, and received education in local public schools. He married and began farming, himself, quite successfully. Eli Haugh eventually accepted a position as superintendent of hauling teams with Peregrine Fitzhugh, owner/operator of Catoctin Furnace from 1843-1858.
Interestingly, President Herbert Hoover would be linked to Catoctin Furnace and the Catoctin Manor, one-time home of Peregrine Fitzhugh. Hoover’s personal secretary, Lawrence Richey, would purchase the property in March, 1929, primarily to have a place at which the president could escape the White House and enjoy his favorite pastime of fishing in Little Hunting Creek (at Catoctin Furnace). The property was commonly referred to as Hoover’s Camp. And this, in turn, explains the fishing license issued by Clerk Eli Haugh to the president in April, 1929.
Eli received his education in the public schools of the Johnsville District and remained at home until 15 years of age. He spent his youth working on his father’s farm and grew up in the German Reformed faith (practiced at Haugh’s Church). He soon went to work as a clerk in several stores in nearby Johnsville, eventually forming a partnership with a gentleman named Samuel Garber. The firm of Haugh & Garber lasted for four years, having bought the stock and trade of one Charles E. Saylor. The partnership would eventually dissolve, but Haugh would stay on as a clerk for new owner Samuel Furry for the next seven years. Haugh’s clerking skills also came into play as he served as Johnsville’s Postmaster in the early 1890’s.
Along the way, Eli would marry a local girl from the Johnsville area named Annie M. “Mollie” Strasburg. This was in 1887. They would have two daughters: Hilda (b. 1889) and Nellie (b. 1891). Due to a career change, the family would soon take root in Frederick City, first living on E. Church Street.
The year 1897 brought the opportunity of public civil service for the 31-year-old Haugh within Frederick County’s government sector. Eli’s hard work and determination as a clerk paid off, as he would be appointed deputy Register of Wills under his former business mentor Charles E. Saylor. He remained in this position for six years, at which time he was appointed Deputy Clerk of the County Court for Frederick County (1903). He served a full term in this role, and was reappointed in 1909 by newly-elected Clerk of the Court, Harry W. Bowers. T.J.C. Williams’ “History of Frederick County” reports: “During all these years he discharged the arduous duties of the office punctually and creditably giving entire satisfaction to his employer. Mr. Haugh is one of the leading citizens of Frederick, and is highly esteemed in the community.”
Eli Haugh was involved in several aspects of his community. He was a director of the Commercial Bank, served as secretary of the Frederick City Draft Board during World War I, and was a devoted member and steward of Calvary Methodist Church. I even found an article from 1906 where Eli was among a group of gentlemen who purchased "White Rock," in hopes of building a resort hotel. This never materialized to my knowledge.
Haugh's involvement in fraternal organizations included the Masons, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Redmen, and Independent Order of Heptasophs.
In the fall of 1936, Mr. Haugh, at the age of 70, had spent the majority of his life in the employ of Frederick County and her citizens. The community was stunned as he passed suddenly one week before Thanksgiving in the confines of his home located at 309 Dill Avenue. He had been engaged in his life’s work until his waning hours. Frederick historian John Ashbury, in his 1997 book entitled “And All our Yesterdays” chronicles the last hours of Eli G. Haugh’s life on November 19th, 1936:
“After completing his day’s work at the courthouse on November 19, 1936, Mr. Haugh went home for supper. Shortly after he ate, he was called to the courthouse to issue a marriage license. When he returned home. He complained to his wife, Mollie, that he had indigestion. His daughter, Mrs. Edward M. Mantz, who was visiting, gave him his usual medication but to no avail. Mr. Haugh suddenly slumped in his chair, and a physician was called. He was pronounced dead of apoplexy.”
Mr. Haugh’s death was front page news in the November 20th edition of the Frederick Post. Amongst the multi-column obituary provided, the paper said of the distinguished gentleman:
“Among the law profession and others who came in constant contact with the clerk of the court’s office, Mr. Haugh was one of the most efficient public officials the county has had. His devotion to duty was reflected in his deputies and the office was conducted in an efficient manner. Lawyers relied upon him time and time again. The Circuit Court, itself had confidence in his judgment. He personally handled the ever-increasing business of the civil and criminal dockets of the court.”
Eli Grant Haugh’s funeral in Mount Olivet occurred on November 22nd. It was performed by Dr. Benjamin Meeks under the charge of the deceased’s Masonic Lodge and before a large throng of onlookers and admirers. Mr. Haugh was laid to rest in Area S, Lot 130. Wife Mollie would soon be by his side, dying less than two months later on January 16th, 1937.
Eli Haugh’s successor as Clerk of the Court for Frederick County was a man named Ellis G. Wachter, who would break his predecessor’s record of service—38 years. Ironically, Mr. Wachter’s replacement would be Charles E. Keller, born the same year that Eli G. Haugh passed away. Keller would serve 24 years until current Clerk of the Frederick Court (and fan of our blog) Sandra K. Dalton took office in 1998.
One final point of interest to me was that my father (Edwin A. Haugh) was born in the fall of 1936, and my great-grandfather Albert A. Haugh died at that time—just two days after Eli Haugh on November 21st, 1936 in Camden, NJ.
As for the actual Hall of Presidents’ show, my son Eddie enjoyed it, especially seeing his favorite president, Harry S. Truman. He certainly liked the cavalcade of presidents more than hearing me blab on about seeing Eli G. Haugh’s signature on a fishing license for Herbert Hoover—my greatest takeaway from the exhibit.
If you are heading to the Magic Kingdom anytime soon, please take note of this unique artifact as it truly is representative of Frederick’s Haugh of Presidents.
In honor of President's Day, here are a few bonus articles pertaining to President Hoover and visits to our area.