Henry Durst and Barbara (Garlitz) Durst

Western Maryland Durst descendants are much indebted to Wayne Bittinger, who, over a 22-year period, compiled the most carefully researched family history of western Maryland, and perhaps elsewhere. His remarkable 1986 book (The Bittinger, Bittner, Biddinger, and Bidinger Families--and Their Kin--of Garrett County, Maryland) is a distillation of original research on many of the early families of present-day Garrett County. Its 836 pages include many stories about the pioneer generations of these families, 68 pages of photos of family members born in the early and mid-1800s, full documentation of all information, and a large index, so it's easy to find your way around the book.

Many pioneer families were related by marriage to Henry Bittinger's family. Separate histories of dozens of these are given in the book; most begin in the 1700s. Besides the Durst family, included are Baer, Baker, Bauser, Beachy, Beeghly, Blocher, Boger, Bowman, Brenneman, Broadwater, Butler, Custer, Detrick (Deitrick), Ecenbarger, Engle, Fazenbaker, Foust, Fuller, Green, Gronmuller, Handwerk, Hare, Harman, Hoover, Kerling, Lenhart, Lindeman, Lohr, Miller, Mimmie (Mimna), Orendorf, Otto, Peck, Pifer, Platter, Reckner, Ruckle, Rush, Schaaff, Shrout, Sigler, Sloan, Spiker, Stanton, Stark, Walls, Wampler, Weitzel (Weitzell), and Wiland. The book is available for sale at Buckel's Store in Bittinger, Maryland.

The following information about the ancestors of many of the western Maryland Dursts--Henry Durst and Barbara Garlitz--is copied, with permission, from Wayne Bittinger's book. Minor formatting revisions have been made to accommodate this web site.

Henry Durst, son of Casper Durst and first wife, Anna Elizabeth, was born in Pennsylvania about 1769. He married Barbara Garlitz and lived for a time near Salisbury, in Elk Lick Township. Barbara was born about 1762. On 5/13/1789, Henry was confirmed at the Reformed church in Salisbury. The 1790 census included "Hendrey Dust" and his household in a list with known Elk Lick Township residents.

Children of Henry Durst and Barbara Garlitz:

(1) a daughter? (possibly born in 1790 or before).

(2) Margaret Durst (born 3/22/1791). Married William Wiland.

(3) Christian "Christly" Durst (born about 1792). Married Hannah Wiland.

(4) a daughter? (possibly born in the 1790s.

(5) Casper Durst, Sr., (born in 1796 or 1797). Married 1) Catharine Bittinger, daughter of Henry Bittinger and Barbara "Barbary" Bauser and 2) Matilda Durst, daughter of Jacob Durst and Nancy Wiland.

(6) Adam Durst (born about 1800). Married Susanna Nymoyer.

(7) Henry "Bridge Henry" Durst (born in March 1802). Married Mahala Young.

(8) Solomon Durst (born 1/6/1805).

(9) Sarah "Sally" Durst (born about 1807). Married Peter "Pete" Bittinger, son of Henry Bittinger and Barbara "Barbary" Bauser.

(10) Barbara Durst (born 1/4/1808). Married Henry Baker.

(11) Elizabeth Durst (born about 1812). Married Joseph "Joe" Bittinger, son of Henry Bittinger and Barbara "Barbary" Bauser.

(12) Mary Ann Durst (born about 1816). Remained single.

Henry owned land in Elk Lick Township as early as 2/20/1799. On that date, his brother John bought a piece of property in the township which was bounded on one side "by land of Henry Durst." In 1800, Henry was head of a household in this township. County assessments taxed him for land there in 1800 (50 acres), 1801 (50 acres), 1802 (60 acres), 1803 (60 acres), 1805 (115 acres), and 1806 (115 acres). During most of these years, he owned two horses and two head of cattle.

On 1/20/1807, Henry sold 100 acres "on the Waters of Meadow Run," in Elk Lick Township. Four days later, he and his wife, Barbara, sold 65 acres of a tract called "Bell View," also located on Meadow Run, in the township. (This second property had been purchased by Henry on 5/27/1803.) He and Barbara were township residents in 1807.

On 6/5/1809, he purchased a parcel of land on the Mason-Dixon line in western Allegany County (now Garrett County), Maryland. This 150-acre tract lies north of the Stone House, which stands along Alternate U.S. Route 40 about three miles east of Grantsville.

Henry's name was added to Allegany County tax lists in 1810. He was assessed in the "Sandy Creek & Glades Hundreds," which approximates present-day Garrett County. He was assessed for three horses ($60 total value), six head of cattle ($30 total), $10 worth of other personal property, and 150 acres. His name also appeared in that year's Elk Lick Township assessment; he was taxed for 50 acres, but no horses, cattle, or houses. The 1810 census located Henry "Dust" in what is now northern Garrett County.

Henry was the first person to ride a horse across the great stone bridge over the Casselman River, east of Grantsville. All things considered, this ride can be taken as an act of courage. The bridge is a "semi-circle arch of great width and height," and at the time of its construction in 1813 or 1818, it was the longest stone arch in the United States--spanning 80 feet. The public sentiment was that when the supporting timbers were taken away, the brand-new bridge would collapse. The bridge held firm, however, when the "key" to the wooden framework was removed; the bridge stood while Henry Durst made his ride; and the bridge stands today--a monument to 19th century engineering.

During the period 1813-1824, Henry was taxed in Allegany County's District No. 2, which is now part of northern Garrett County. He was assessed for two horses ($45 total value), seven head of cattle ($45 total), and $15 worth of other personal property. He and his wife sold their 150-acre tract on 2/8/1814.

On 4/24/1817, Henry "Dust" bought 200 acres of the resurvey of "Desert," a tract of land between Ridgley Hill and the present town of Grantsville. He paid $800 for this property, much of which consists of the bottomland along the Casselman River. A large part of this section of the tract is included in "The Maples," recently owned by Guy S. Stanton, Sr. Henry was apparently living on his 200-acre property in 1820; his close neighbors included Eli Ridgely and Henry Bittinger. Four people in the Durst household were working in agriculture that year.

Henry's name was included in a list of men who voted in an election held at Tomlinson's Mill in western Allegany County (now Garrett County) in September 1821.

Henry may have left "Desert" prior to 4/20/1822; Peter Beachy was the owner of the 200-acre section of the tract on that date. During the period 1825-1832, Henry was assessed for the following in District No. 2: two horses ($30 total value), four head of cattle ($18 total), and $56 worth of other possessions.

Census records suggest that the Henry Durst family was living on Maynardier Ridge, 3 1/2 miles south of "Desert," by 1830. On 7/16/1835, Henry bought 105 acres at Maynardier Ridge from Henry Maynadier of Annapolis, Maryland. This property was part of two tracts, "The Lily of the Valley" and "The Eastern Vale." The Durst household was located in this area in 1840.

Henry Durst died at Maynardier Ridge in the early 1840s. Part of his land was sold by his heirs on 7/13/1844; the remainder was sold by the heirs in 1848. The deeds for these transactions listed the "legal heirs of Henry Durst," including "Barbara Durst widow of Henry Durst," and John and Mary Custer; Mary was possibly Henry's grandniece. The remainder of the heirs may be presumed, by legal convention, to have been Henry and Barbara's children and their spouses. At the time of Henry's death, his land on Maynardier Ridge totaled a little over 146 acres.

Barbara was still living as late as 7/12/1850. On that date, census records listed her as a member of her grandson Joel Wiland's household, near Grantsville. Both Barbara and her husband were reportedly buried in the cemetery on the land they had owned at Maynardier Ridge. The cemetery is located on the section of this property now owned by Mrs. Earl Burow.

This page was created November 26, 1999. For more information about western Maryland family history, visit Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Home Page. Comments about western Maryland Durst families are welcome.