Manchester History

Once trails used by the Susquehannock Indians, Manchester began (circa 1760) as a harmonious blend of English and German cultures. This is evidenced by the English name of the town and by old tombstones in the cemetery inscribed in German. The first land grant was given in 1737 to Samuel Stevens for property at Lineboro Road and Hanover Pike (once a toll road in 1895) called "Dugg Hill." Manchester was laid out March 5, 1765 by Captain Richard Richards. Early names for the town were "New Market", "German Churche", "Noodle Doosey" and "Ginger Cake Town".
A Lutheran Church was erected in Manchester in 1760 as the first place of worship in Carroll County. That church's direct descendant is Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded in 1862 and located on Church Street. A large white oak tree, older than the church, stands beside it and is considered the town symbol and town tree.
When it was incorporated in 1834, Manchester had commissioners, a justice of the peace, a clerk and a bailiff with a population of 640 people. It was originally part of Baltimore County and was know as "Manchester Germantown." It became part of Carroll County upon the county's creation on January 19, 1837. Conestoga wagons and later stagecoaches brought commerce such as taverns and stores to Manchester. Stagecoaches passed through Manchester twice weekly in 1830.
Manchester's existence was closely related to the agriculture of the district. Growth of tobacco in the area led to the development of an extensive cigar manufacturing business. At one time, an iron mine was opened near Melrose, which was thought to have such potential that a spur railroad was built to the site. There was even an iron foundry in Manchester in its early days.
The town was also the site of Irving College, a boy's school named after Washington Irving and founded in 1858 by Dr. F. Deiffenbach. Its companion school, for girls, was located on Main Street and run by Dr. Deiffenbach's wife.
During the Gettysburg campaign of the Civil War, Manchester saw much activity among Union forces. On, July 1, 1863, Union Sixth Army Corps, under the command of General Sedgwick, received a message to move his troops to Gettysburg. There, the general and his troops played a decisive role in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Manchester Historical Center

Created in 1989, the Manchester Historical Center, consists of five rooms containing displays, collections and memorabilia relating to the history of the Manchester area. Many class pictures can be viewed in the school room. New items are continually being added to the displays as well as some family genealogy.
Local citizens as well as visitors to the area are encouraged to visit and enjoy the Center. The Manchester Historical Center is open the first Sunday of each month and by appointment at other times during the month by calling Julia Berwager at 410-239-7673. The Center is located in the basement of the Memorial Building.
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