I spent my day on a pilgrimage—researching my Cronise and Fundenburg ancestors. The journey began with a visit to the Frederick County Historical Society in Frederick, Maryland. And I hit the jackpot! I spent over $60 on photocopies of letters from the 1850’s written to and from my ancestors Catherine Fundenburg and Jacob Cronise who were living in Monrovia, Maryland as well as research notes on both families from a cousin in the 1950’s. I also found a picture of a portrait of Catherine Fundenburg Cronise as well as some of her children.
After paying off my photocopy bill, I drove north of Frederick to the little village of Utica where Catherine and Jacob lived just after they were married. A cousin had written that Jacob’s abandoned mill was still standing in the early 1950’s but I was not able to find it. My guess is that it’s lost to the ages.
My pilgrimage ended in the nearby village of Lewistown where I found the home of Catherine’s parents Walter Fundenburg and Elizabeth Studebaker—“Prospect 1776”, where Catherine was born in 1784 and where she and Jacob married in 1806. The house is still standing and is beautiful. It is now called “Poff’s Prospect”. Walter, Elizabeth and several young Fundenburg and Cronise children are buried in the family plot in the middle of a hay field with a beautiful view of the Catoctin Mountains.
After the owner’s son turned off the electric fence, I walked across the field to visit the graves and took photos of the tombstones. I then enjoyed a nice visit with the current owners of the farm and learned they raise 20 head of Angus cattle, and enough corn to fill the silo to feed the cattle. It is a peaceful spot not far from the busy highway 15. Over the years I have passed by numerous times without realizing the significance that particular farm held for me and my ancestors—our Old Old Old homeplace! And I did feel right at home there. I’m thankful it is still preserved and maintained and used as a working farm after 234 years of continuous residence. This farm passed out of my family many years ago but I still feel a connection to this place today.