Why our town is called Accident
About the year 1751, a grant of land was given to Mr. George Deakins by King George II, of England, in payment of a debt. According to the terms, Mr. Deakins was to receive 600 acres of land anywhere he chose in Western Maryland. Mr. Deakins sent out two corps of engineers, each without knowledge of the other group, to survey the best land in the area.
After the survey, the engineers returned with their maps of the plots they had surveyed. To their surprise, they discovered they had surveyed a tract of land starting at the same tall Oak tree and returning to the start point. Mr. Deakins chose this plot of ground and had it patented “The Accident Tract;” hence, the name of the town.
The area around Accident was laid out in military lots and was given to Revolutionary War soldiers in lieu of cash for services rendered. Most soldiers sold their lots and never lived in Western Maryland.
Accident was incorporated in 1916.
Accident Road (circa 1914)
Left: Workers shown preparing
the road bed for cement are
Harvey Kolb, Jonas R. Kamp
and Arthur George (left to right).
Note boardwalk and picket fence.
Above: The paving of Accident’s
Main Street is shown from the
center of looking southward.
Frank Spoerlein, his wife Emma, and son Francis, are shown in front of Spoerlein’s
Garage (circa 1926). The garage, the first in Accident, was originally built in 1916
by Harry Black and Arthur Chisholm. It as purchased by Spoerlein in 1919-1920.
The first log house built in the area was owned by Colonel William Lamar prior to 1798. His sister, Priscilla Drane, along with her husband, Lt. James Drane, and their 8 children and 6 slaves moved to Accident from Prince George’s County about 1800 and became Accident’s first permanent settlers. The land was deeded to Priscilla in 1817.
James Drane was born in 1755 in Prince George’s County and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. He died on June 27, 1828. Priscilla Drane died on February 29, 1836. Both are buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery located beside the Drane House property. Most of the children moved out of the area by 1838.
The house was last occupied in 1952.
The house entered into the National Register of Historical Places in January 1985. The Town of Accident purchased the property from Kolb Farms, Inc. in 1987-1988. The Mayor and Town Council sponsored an application to the Maryland Historical Trust for State Capital Grant funds for the 1989 Fiscal Year. The original cost for the acquisition, restoration and site development was $80,000.
The reconstruction began in 1991. The building was disassembled and tagged to install new foundation piers. Piece by piece the house was reconstructed in its original location.
The dedication was held on September 24, 1994. The public can access the house by Cemetery Road off of State Route 219 (Garrett Highway) on the northern end of Accident.
There is always some type of activity going on at the Drane House during Accident’s Fourth of July Homecoming. The Cancer Awareness Tea is held the first Saturday in October and the annual Cookie Sale is held on the first Saturday of December.
On the Drane House property is located the Memorial Garden. The ladies of the Garden Society plant several kinds of heirloom vegetables and flowers.
For more Accident, Maryland history information:
Western Maryland’s Historical Library
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