by Polla Horn
for The Frostburg Express
George Henry Loar & The Montel Mine
The Loar family planted their roots in American soil as early as 1737. Jacob Loar arrived from Rotterdam, Holland on the ship “Union” on September 30, 1774. Jacob served as a private in the Third Company, 7th Battalion, York Co. PA Militia in 1785. After serving in the militia he was awarded military lot #3682, a 50 acre parcel of land, ten miles west of Fort Cumberland. His brother Henry received the adjacent lot (now the Loar Cemetery.) Jacob eventually purchased a total of 231 acres of farm land. He later sold the mineral rights to Charles Thurston for $3,000.00, not realizing the wealth in coal that lay beneath.
Jacob married Sarah Eckhart, daughter of George Adam Eckhart and Anna Marie Wittmeyer Eckhart. Jacob and Sarah established their home in Eckhart Mines, where they raised eleven children. He was a man with a strong faith in God. He, his brother Henry, Tobias Steyer, George Loar, and others organized and built the Lutheran Church in Frostburg. The church, built in 1812, was called Neff’s Meeting House. Jacob died in 1827 at the age of 80; Sarah died several years later at the age of 61. They are buried on the farm where they lived, worked, and raised their family.
The “begets” in the Loar family are of biblical proportions. Jacob and Sarah begot Henry Loar in 1812. He was the last of their four sons and five daughters. Henry married Catherine Winters; they also had eleven children. Henry died in 1852 at the age of 41 from blood poisoning; Catherine raised their children alone.
Henry and Catherine begot Shadrick Loar, born in 1834. He married Elizabeth Humberson and became the father of seven children. Henry was said to be the keenest marksman of anyone far or near, and could shoot the eye out of a turkey.
Shadrick and Elizabeth begot George Henry Loar, born February 11, 1876. Henry, as he was known to family, married Lula M. Phillips on September 13, 1906. He was a coal miner at Montel Mine in Vale Summit, eking out a living to support his wife and their nine children. On Friday, October 17, 1919, on a crisp, clear morning, Henry and his brother-in-law walked to work enjoying the glorious colors of autumn on Dan’s Mountain. At 1:30 that afternoon, while working with his brother-in-law, a large quantity of breast coal fell without warning, crushing the life out of Henry Loar. His partner escaped uninjured.
Once again, a widow was left to raise children alone; they ranged in age from two months to twelve years. Lula, like so many other Loar women, found the courage and fortitude to keep her family together. For the next nine years, with no other means of support, she took in laundry, doing for others what she was already doing for a family of ten. Without the benefit of electricity, she produced pristine loads of laundry, perfectly ironed with a flat iron, earning fifty cents per basketful. She married again, about nine years later, to Raymond Earl Henry; they had one son together. Lula had a green thumb and grew beautiful flowers and a bountiful garden to help feed the children. She had a magnificent Christmas cactus, which, like Lula, became tired and stopped blooming. One of the children knocked it over; Lula scooped it up and re-potted it, and the blooms were gorgeous thereafter. Like the prolific Loar family, the Christmas cactus begot many cuttings which bloom in the homes of grandchildren near and far. The roots of the Loar family, like the cactus, have grown strong and true in the soil of Western Maryland.
The Committee would like to thank Joanne Beal, Jean Plummer, Ralph Nelson, and David Loar for their contributions to this “Recollection.”
The Coal Miner Memorial Statue Fund is accepting contributions for the placement of an educational memorial near the crossroads of state Route 36 and the National Road in Frostburg. A bronze statue will honor all of our Georges Creek miners and name those who perished while mining.
Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the Foundation for Frostburg CMMSF
P.O. Box 765
Frostburg, MD 21532.
We welcome updated information and encourage your participation.
Contact Polla Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bucky Schriver at email@example.com
to share your thoughts and stories. Be on the lookout for future “Miner Recollections.