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Near Burkittsville in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

GATH: The Man and His Mountain

 
 
G<small>ATH</small>: The Man and His Mountain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 5, 2007
1. GATH: The Man and His Mountain Marker
Inscription. George Alfred Townsend, known by his pen name of “GATH,” was born in Georgetown, Delaware, in 1841. One of the youngest and most renowned special correspondents of his time, he reported on politics and war in both the United States and abroad. In 1860, Gath’s natural talent and classical education earned him a job with the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1861 he transferred to the New York Herald, where he reported on the Civil War. Noted for investigative journalism, his reports and commentaries were accurate, informative, and descriptive. He had begun a prolific writing career.

After the war, in 1865, Gath married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Evans Rhodes of Philadelphia. Bessie, as she was known, loved his writing. In 1884, Gath observed that “mankind is always interesting, but is also fatiguing.” Wanting a summer retreat, he built his baronial Gapland estate on this property over a ten year period. In 1896, Gath unveiled Gapland’s crown jewel, his War Correspondents Memorial Arch. He dedicated it to his colleagues, both North and South, who reported on the Civil War.

Eventually Gath’s prose style became less popular and no longer sustained his lavish lifestyle. In 1903, after the death of Bessie, he slipped into perpetual mourning to the detriment of his health.
Marker in Front of Gapland Hall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
2. Marker in Front of Gapland Hall
Gapland Hall, Gath's summer home, and presently the park headquarters and visitors center.
He became a virtual recluse. Townsend left Gapland in 1911 and moved to the residence of his daughter and son-in-law in New York. He began his memoirs but died in 1914 before he could finish them. Buried beside Bessie in a Philadelphia cemetery, he never returned to Gapland. Today, despite a rich literary legacy and this marvelous estate, Gath is a largely forgotten figure.

Donated to the people of the United States by The Friends of South Mountain Battlefield.
 
Erected by Blue and Gray Education Society.
 
Location. 39° 24.297′ N, 77° 38.384′ W. Marker is near Burkittsville, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of Gapland Road and Arnoldstown Road, on the left when traveling west on Gapland Road. Click for map. Located in front of Gapland Hall, the mark headquarters and visitors center, in Gathland State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Burkittsville MD 21718, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Troup Light Artillery (within shouting distance of this marker); Burial: A Most Disagreeable Task (within shouting distance of this marker); Bartlett Leads the Way (within shouting distance of this marker); Medal of Honor Recipients
Gath's Empty Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 5, 2007
3. Gath's Empty Tomb
About a hundred yards north stands an empty tomb, which the interpretive sign best explains, During the 19th Century few people bought burial lots in public cemeteries as we do today. Instead, a small parcel of their own land was usually set aside as a private cemetery. If enough money was available a mausoleum (tomb) was often built for certain family members.
Gath, concerned with his own burial, built this lonely tomb about 20 years before his death, which came on April 15, 1914 in New York City. By this time his great wealth had dwindled and the near penniless Gath was buried in a Philadelphia, PA. cemetery instead of his own tomb as he had desired.
Gath's empty tomb mutely symbolizes the uncertainties of Life, Fame and Fortune and the certainty of death.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Padgett’s Field: Confederate Last Stand (within shouting distance of this marker); The Stage is Set (within shouting distance of this marker); Gath's Empty Tomb (within shouting distance of this marker); Mausoleum (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Burkittsville.
 
More about this marker. The marker displays a portrait of George Alfred Townsend, and the cover of The Entailed Hat, with the caption, “A prolific writer, GATH wrote numerous poems and plays, two text on political economy, and five historical novels during his career. The Entailed Hat was perhaps his most popular book.”
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Entailed Hat. From the project Gutenberg catalog. (Submitted on August 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Washington, outside and inside. A picture and a narrative of the origin, growth, excellencies, abuses, beauties, and personages of our governing city, by George Alfred Townsend. One rather timeless question he poses - “What part of the government most requires correction, the executive or the legislative?” (Submitted on August 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicNotable PersonsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,262 times since then and 107 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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