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Darnestown in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Origins of Darnestown

 
 
The Origins of Darnestown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
1. The Origins of Darnestown Marker
Inscription. Darnestown Road is one of the oldest roads in Montgomery County. Once an old trail, the route dates back to 1600 when it was used by the Seneca Indians. Native Americans Established villages, planted maize, and fished along the Potomac Palisades.

The land that eventually became Darnestown began to be settled in the mid-18th century by Scottish and Irish frontiersmen, many of whom became farmers. One of the first settlers Ninean Beall, acquired a tract of land called "Barren Hill," located between Darnestown and Germantown, in 1749. Beall, a tavern keeper, started a long lineage in the community.

One of Beall's granddaughters, Elizabeth Gassaway, married William Darne in 1798. Elizabeth inherited the land originally named Mt. Pleasant. When the first post office was established ca. 1815-20, the town took Darne's name, as he was the largest land owner. Consequently, Darne was a slaveholder, owning 18 bondspeople who worked the fields. His wife Elizabeth, inherited the property upon his death in 1845. During his lifetime, William Darne served as a State Representative, Levy Court Judge, and later as director of the C&O Canal. The town was called "Darnes" or "Darnes Town" and eventually became known as Darnestown.

Canals & Trains

Darnestown's period of greatest prosperity mirrored the rise and fall
The Origins of Darnestown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
2. The Origins of Darnestown Marker
of the Chesapeake& Ohio (C&O) Canal. This canal was an important part of the transportation of commercial goods from the mountains to tidewater, greatly reducing the time it took to get these goods from one place to another. Construction of the 184 mile canal began in 1828 and reached Cumberland, Maryland in 1850. Though railroads had already begun to surpass canal travel by this time, transportation of goods continued to be by canal in Darnestown. Farmers from surrounding areas brought their grain to the mills of Darnestown, where it was milled and transported via canal to Georgetown.

When the railroad came to Germantown and Gaithersburg by the early 1900s, the need for the canal decreased until it stopped operating in 1924. Commerce was drawn elsewhere and Darnestown's place as a crossroads center faded away with the end of the C&O canal.
 
Erected 2012 by Montgomery Parks M-NCPCC.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
 
Location. 39° 6.197′ N, 77° 17.453′ W. Marker is in Darnestown, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Click for map. Marker is in Darnestown Square Heritage Park at 14039 Darnestown Road. Marker is in this post office area: Gaithersburg MD 20878, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other
Darnestown, As it Was, Looking West image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
3. Darnestown, As it Was, Looking West
Close-up of background image on marker
Montgomery County Historical Socitey
markers are within walking distance of this marker. Andrew Small Academy (here, next to this marker); A 19th Century Crossroads (here, next to this marker); Clues to the Past: Oral History and Archaeology (here, next to this marker); Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War (a few steps from this marker); Darnestown: A Strategic Point of Defense (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Troops & Darnestown Residents (within shouting distance of this marker); The Signal Corps and Wartime Communications (within shouting distance of this marker); The Civil War in Darnestown (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Darnestown.
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
Darnestown, 1865 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
4. Darnestown, 1865
Close-up of map on marker
Montgomery County Historical Society
Windsor Store Circa 1890s image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
5. Windsor Store Circa 1890s
In addition to selling goods, Windsor Store served as Darnestown's post office. The store and post office was located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Darnestown and Seneca roads. During the 1800s mail arrived three times a week by stagecoach from Rockville and local people gathered for the arrival, creating a regular social event. The above images depict the store during different eras.
Close-up of photo on marker
Montgomery Historical Society
Windsor Store, 1920s image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
6. Windsor Store, 1920s
William Darnes image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
7. William Darnes
Sculpture by Cheryl Foster, one of six sculpted portraits in Darnestown Square Heritage Park.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 251 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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