ground where Rockwood now stands was claimed originally by Moses Rambo in a warrant
dated November 25, 1773, which called for 405 1/4 acres and the legal allowance
of 6 percent for roads. This tract, then part of Milford Township, was subsequently
taken up and patented by John Schaff in the right of Moses Rambo, and surveyed
By all accounts Moses Rambo did not tarry here long after locating
his "tomahawk claim." After his departure John Schaff became a leader
in the immediate neighborhood. He and his neighbors strapped their grain on the
backs of horses and carried it to Hagerstown, MD, to have it ground into flour.
The mill was of such small capacity that each had to wait his turn. At one time
Schaff and those with him had to wait six weeks before their turn came. They
did not suffer for food because they had plenty of fresh meat and some vegetables
and honey. One of his sisters was taken captive by the Indians and was held for
12 years before she made her escape. When she came home, her ears were clipped
and she had a ring in her nose in true Indian style.
John Schaff died in 1816. That same year a bridge was built across
the Casselman River that became known as Schaff’s Bridge. Seven hundred
dollars was raised by subscription, and the remainder was paid by the county.
This bridge was rebuilt in 1843 by Samuel Miller.
From the time of the building of the first bridge in 1816, this locality
was known as Schaff’s Bridge. In 1856, Phillip Wolfersberger bought the
land around Schaff’s Bridge from Matthias Miller and Peter Buechly. He
had Martin Meyers, a farmer and surveyor from Milford Township, survey the tract.
In 1857, Wolfersberger laid out a town, giving it the name of Mineral Point.
(It was later discovered that there was a
post office of that name elsewhere in the state. The present
name was settled upon after much discussion. At least a half
dozen meetings were held by the citizens at the school house
without coming to any decision. Finally, E.D. Miller, P.S.
Wolfersberger, and B.S. Harrington gave the town the name
it now bears. Wolfersberger, being ticket agent of the Baltimore & Ohio
Railroad, prevailed upon the managers of the railroad to
call the station Rockwood, and Miller, who was then the postmaster,
succeeded in changing the name of the post office. Thus,
the matter was settled ere the citizens were aware.)
The first house was built near the bridge by Philip and David Wolfersberger
and was used by them as a store and a dwelling. Benjamin DeHaven, a shoemaker,
built a house in 1857 or 1858, and Solomon Bechtel opened the first blacksmith
shop in 1857. The first schoolhouse was erected in 1858 at a cost of $375. S.A.
Will was the first teacher, followed by E.D. Miller, George M. Baker, R.H. Dull,
After the town was laid out in 1857, a number of lots were sold,
but not much building was done for the first decade for two reasons: The big
freeze of 1859 and the commencing of the Civil War in 1861.
Although the post office was established in 1868, for the first four
years mail was brought from Gebhart’s with citizens making voluntary contributions
to pay the mail carrier. The first postmaster was F.B. Long, followed by William
S. Kreger and E.D. Miller.
The first tannery was built in 1869 by Henry Werner, a native
of Germany, at a cost of $3,000.
With the completion of the railroad in 1871, the town became a scene
of bustle and activity. Houses began to be built, stores were opened and the
town enjoyed steady growth. The planing mill of A. Growall and Sons was built
in 1872 at a cost of $1,000, and a two-story grade school building was built
in 1875 for $2,500. In 1882, D.H. Wolfersberger opened the Rockwood House, and
Samuel Buckman built the Merchants Hotel at a cost of $10,000.
By 1884, Rockwood contained four general stores, two groceries, four
hotels, three blacksmith shops, one tannery, one gristmill, one planing mill,
one tin shop, one shoemaker shop, two carpenter shops, one tailor shop, three
churches, and one grade school. Two ministers and two physicians also were residents