Cornelius Broadwater and Mary (Piper) Broadwater

Western Maryland Broadwater descendants are much indebted to Wayne Bittinger, who compiled A Broadwater Family History, 1988. Its 66 densely packed pages include sketches of the first two generations of this large family, biographical data about three more generations, and a number of old portraits. Wayne dedicated the book to Howard W. Broadwater of LaVale, Maryland, a remarkable oral historian of the Broadwater family. Wayne built upon the excellent foundation provided by Amos Broadwater, Sr., who wrote a small family history in 1891 entitled A Sketch of The Broadwater Family and Its Connections.

Cornelius Broadwater, the ancestor of the Broadwater family of western Maryland, came to America sometime prior to the Revolutionary War. His grandson Amos Broadwater, Sr., wrote of him: "He emigrated from England, but in what town or locality he was born, I do not know. He married and settled in Loudon [Loudoun] County, Va. He married Miss Mary Piper, who emigrated from England likewise. They had eight children ... all whom were born in Loudon Co., Va., about six miles below Leesburg, near Carter's mill."

Cornelius reportedly died in Loudoun County in 1804. Within several years, Mary and six of her children left Virginia and settled in the wilds of western Maryland.

It is known that Cornelius's son Charles came to western Allegany County (now Garrett County), Maryland, in 1807, and son Guy settled there about 1811. When Mary came to what is now Garrett County, about 1809, she was accompanied by her youngest child, Sam.

Others who left Loudoun County at an early date and settled in Allegany County were Jacob Sigler, John and William Michael, George Smarr, Jim Parris, George Layman, and Michael Wilt.

Jacob Brown, a nineteenth century lawyer and historian of western Maryland, reported that Cornelius and Mary's sons "settled not far from Savage river--a very hilly--even mountainous country, then almost a total wilderness...." "These men in their more early years were strong, active, enduring and lively, not averse to some of the mirths and enjoyments of the old time life."

Sam Broadwater and his widowed mother, Mary, lived on a property near Russell Road, in what is now eastern Garrett County. This land lies atop Big Savage Mountain, northwest of Barton, Maryland. Cephas Moore, one of Mary's descendants, wrote about Mary some decades after her death, "My Mother [Nancy (Broadwater) Moore] was well acquainted with Her. She loved to talk of Loudon Co., Va. She were lively turned to Joke & tell tales to children."

It is said that Mary died in October 1838 and was buried in a private graveyard on the Corbes place, along Russell Road.

Children of Cornelius Broadwater and Mary Piper were Sarah "Sally" Broadwater, Elizabeth "Betsey" Broadwater (born about 1777), Charles "Charley" Broadwater (born 4/22/1778), Guy Broadwater, William Broadwater, Nancy Broadwater, Virginia "Jennie" Broadwater, and Samuel "Sam" Broadwater.

The above information about the ancestors of the western Maryland Broadwaters, Cornelius Broadwater and Mary Piper, is summarized, with permission, from Wayne Bittinger's A Broadwater Family History. The above hyperlinks to the first generation of Broadwater descendants lead to additional information extracted and summarized from this book. A Broadwater Family History is no longer in print.


Beginning in 1909 and for several decades thereafter, the annual Broadwater Reunion was unrivaled as a social event in eastern Garrett County. The reunion was very well attended, many people regarding it as the highlight of the summer. As the years went by, it seemed that actual descendants or spouses of Broadwaters, or at least those who were aware that they were descendants, comprised a small minority of the attendees.

At first, the reunion was held at Merrill's Grove near the tiny remote community of Merrill deep in Savage River Valley, the ancestral home of many of the Broadwater clan. Later, the reunion was held at a rustic facility on U.S. Rte. 40 between Frostburg and Grantsville, which I believe was called the Meadow Mountain Inn. After the Reunion was moved from this location, its popularity dropped dramatically.

The following article appeared in the Cumberland Evening Times , September 13, 1909, the first year of the Broadwater Reunion.

Saturday, Sept. 11, was Broadwater day in Garrett County. The reunion held at Merrill Grove was one of the most remarkable events in the county. The weather was ideal and nothing interfered to prevent the Broadwaters from gathering at Merrill's Grove. A conservative estimate of the number present is 800. Fully 90 percent of them were Broadwaters. They came from four states. Virginia and West Virginia sent a hundred or more, and the Broadwaters of Garrett County muster strong, stalwart, farmers, wholesome, hearty matrons and rosey-cheeked maidens. The grandsire hoary and the maiden merry, they were all there.

Bounteous Fare

The day was given up to social enjoyment, vocal and instrumental music. The eatables were there in enormous quantities and it seemed as if all the chickens in Garrett County had been slaughtered for the occasion. Visitors were welcomed with genuine country hospitality, and introduced to the roast chicken and "fixins" at once. Ample provision had been made to feed this army of Broadwaters and fully a quarter of a mile of tables were loaded with good things to eat. It was a farmer dinner, prepared by farmers' wives. Cooling drinks, ice cream and fruit of all kinds could be had on the grounds. There was a long program of athletic sports, and good music for the dancers. It was a great big picnic.

A brief history

About the year 1807, four brothers, Charles, William, Guy, and Samuel Broadwater, immigrated from Loudoun County, Va., to Allegany County, Md., and settled where their descendants now reside. Their progeny is numerous. Charles, the eldest, had eight sons and daughter: one of the sons, Amos, married Sarah Sigler. Of that union, 12 children were born and all are living today and were present at this reunion. They are: Mrs. Henry Green, aged 83; William, 81; John, 80; Mrs. Jefferson Green, 71; Jefferson, 74; Mrs. Simon Green, 71; Mrs. Peter Bittinger, 70; Amos, 66; Mrs. Jacob Blocker, 64; David, 62; Mrs. Peter Stevens, 59; and Eli, 57. The sire died six years ago, aged 97. He left 12 children, 98 grandchildren, 111 great-grandchildren, and a regiment of great-great-grandchildren.

Saturday's gathering was a magnificent demonstration of the sturdy vitality of these stalwart sons of the fearless pioneers who conquered the wilderness, and after long years of unrelenting toil left the children in possession of the land which they had redeemed.

Among those who went to the reunion from Lonaconing were: D.R. and D. Lindley Sloan, William R. Bradley. Geo. Kirkness and William Picken. It was a great day for the Broadwaters.

Kirkness, the Lonaconing photographer was on the ground taking pictures of the Broadwaters.

Of English Descent

The Broadwaters are of English descent and the first of them to cross the ocean - as far as is known - settled at Carter's Mills, Va., shortly before the Revolutionary War and it is believed that two men of the family served in the Continental Army. It is certain that the brothers, Charles and William Broadwater served in the War of 1812, and walked to the Little Savage River from Baltimore after the war was over.

Settled in Garrett early

The Broadwaters left Virginia because Negro slavery made it impossible for the white man to earn a living as a laborer. They came to Maryland and settled on Little Savage River in what is now Garrett County. Amos Broadwater and Sam Beeman came from Virginia together and built a log shanty on Little Savage, and cut punchons for a floor, but they hadn't the tools to construct a door and for more than a year a blanket hung in the doorway.

Almost a centenarian

Amos Broadwater died a few years ago, aged 97, leaving six sons and six daughters. The oldest, a daughter, is aged 83. There are scores of grand and great-grandchildren.

A numerous family

The Broadwaters are a numerous tribe, and every one of them was at Merrill Saturday. Broadwaters met Broadwaters they had never seen before and they were all busy getting acquainted with each other.

The second year of the Broadwater Reunion was even bigger than the first. The following article appeared in The Cumberland Alleganian, Thursday, August 18, 1910.


Fifteen Hundred Members of One Family on Ground

Were Earliest Settlers

Lonaconing, Md. Aug. 15

Fully fifteen hundred Broadwaters assembled at Merrill Grove, about a half mile from the town of Merrill in Garrett county, last Saturday. It was the second annual reunion of the Clan Broadwater, and it is safe to say that if any Broadwater stayed at home it was because he, or she, was bedridden, and could not be carried to the muster place. This gathering is one of the most remarkable events in the history of Garrett county. It was a magnificent demonstration of the sturdy vitality of those stalwart sons of the fearless pioneers who conquered the wilderness and, after long years of ceaseless toil, left their children in independent possession of the land which they had redeemed.

Some Fine Addresses

Duncan R. Sloan and N. V. Bond, of Oakland, spoke to the people, and had a large and appreciative audience, for both of these gentlemen spoke on topics of especial interest to their hearers. Mr. Sloan took for his subject, "The Conservation of the Land, and Why the Boys should Stay on the Farm." Mr Bond talked about the Broadwaters as citizens and neighbors. Both addresses were well received and generously applauded.

Some of the Broadwaters drifted into West Virginia and there are several families of them in Ritchie county.

Among the visitors at the picnic were Dr. George Sloan, of Yakima, Washington, Mrs. Johseath Broadwater and Mrs. Sophia Broadwater, from Minnesota, and Mrs. Rachael Boucher, of Centreville, Pa., and Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Ellithorpe, of Bittinger, Garrett county.

It was very evident that the Broadwaters are a prosperous tribe, and they welcomed their visitors with a hearty hospitality, and gave them a farmer's dinner. There was a program of athletic sports and good music for the dancers. It was a great day for the Broadwaters.

This page was revised November 26, 1999. For more information about western Maryland family history, visit Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Home Page.