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

The Watchful Eye

Catoctin African American Cemetery Interpretive Trail

 
 
The Watchful Eye Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2021
1. The Watchful Eye Marker
Inscription.  
"This is, indeed, gross ingratitude…It would be a serious loss to me, if they would leave for Pennsylvania."
—John McPherson Brien, 1848, owner of Antietam Ironworks, Catoctin Furnace, and more than 60 enslaved men, women, and children, expressing his dismay that enslaved workers wished to leave Catoctin Furnace.

You are looking directly at the site where some of the enslaved residents of Catoctin Furnace lived. The three-bay stone building with three chimneys was torn down in the early twentieth century, but the picture to the left shows what it looked like. Imagine parents weeding their vegetable garden plot after a long day's work at the furnace and in the Ironmaster's Mansion. While their toddlers may have had a few years to play, an enslaved child's workload began as early as age six, with tasks such as winding thread and carrying water. Notice the ruins of the Ironmaster's Mansion, uphill to your left. It was situated so that furnace bosses had a view onto all aspects of their enslaved workforce's lives. The second floor, south bedroom was claimed by the master. (1.) This room with
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windows facing south and east would have afforded an unparalleled view —day and night— of the operation and workers.

(1.) Based on analysis by Reed, D. (1981)
 
Erected by Maryland Historical Trust; Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture; Maryland Park Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (Marker Number 3.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Historical Trust series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1848.
 
Location. 39° 34.864′ N, 77° 26.042′ W. Marker is in Thurmont, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker can be reached from Catoctin Furnace Road (Maryland Route 806) 0.2 miles north of Catoctin Hollow Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12698 Catoctin Furnace Rd, Thurmont MD 21788, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Catoctin Furnace African American Cemetery Interpretive Trail (a few steps from this marker); Dirty and Dangerous (a few steps from this marker); Catoctin Iron Furnace (a few steps from this marker); A Diverse and Skilled Workforce (a few steps from this
The Watchful Eye Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2021
2. The Watchful Eye Marker
marker); a different marker also named Catoctin Iron Furnace (a few steps from this marker); Catoctin Furnace (within shouting distance of this marker); Ironmaster's Mansion (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Resources: Use—Reuse—Recycle (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Thurmont.
 
Mule Barn / Slave Quarter image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 21, 2021
3. Mule Barn / Slave Quarter
» Evidence shows that this structure housed enslaved workers before slavery's abolition. It was then repurposed several times, serving as both a mule barn and a blacksmith's shop.
Close-up of photo on marker.
Ironmaster's Mansion image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2021
4. Ironmaster's Mansion
» The 17-room ironmaster's Mansion was built ca. 1785. Enslaved domestic servants laid fires in the 10 fireplaces, prepared food, washed clothes and linens, cleaned rooms, and served as nannies for the children.
Close-up of photo on marker
Catoctin Furnace Village image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2021
5. Catoctin Furnace Village
» This early 20th century view shows the proximity between the former enslaved quarters, the furnace office, and the Ironmaster's Mansion. The panoptic view of the master was designed to control the behavior of the workers at all times. The former quarters, which was being used as a blacksmith shop, was torn down shortly after this photograph was taken.
Close-up of photo on marker.
Freedom Seeker Advertisements image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2021
6. Freedom Seeker Advertisements
« Freedom seeker advertisements such as these were placed in newspapers, offering large rewards. Researchers have found six advertisements, ranging from 7780 to 1846 for 76 freedom seekers from Catoctin Furnace. Doubtless there were more.
Close-up of articles on marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2021, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 108 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 21, 2021, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 20, 2024