When Henry McDuell, an Irishman, bought the land from Kemp, the property was “nothing to brag about, lying in a damp vale coursed by Manor Run,” according to Timothy J. Reese’s book “Sealed With Their Lives: The Battle for Crampton’s Gap.” “Previous owners had inhabited a modest, two-story dwelling built directly over the creek.”
McDuell spared no expense in building a brick manor house he called “Fulderea Manor.” “Without bias it could be said that his was the grandest domicile in the Burkittsville neighborhood,” Reese wrote.
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The Battle of South Mountain, part of the Antietam campaign, took place on Sept. 14, 1862, in the fields and roads around Crampton’s Gap. Although the Union Army forced the retreat of the heavily outnumbered Confederates, the delay gave Confederate forces time to capture Harpers Ferry.
More than 1,200 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in the day-long fighting at Crampton’s Gap.
In her book “Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign,” Kathleen Ernst described the aftermath:
“By Sunday evening a long line of ambulances was slowly rumbling up and down the steep road from Crampton’s Gap, hauling bleeding men to parlors and kitchens where their wounds were dressed. The first hospital was established at the home of Henry and Magdalena McDuell, Irish-born Southern sympathizers who lived on a farm outside of town. McDuell, who already was angry that his home had been taken over by the medical men, was enraged when in the ensuing chaos the home received an estimated three thousand dollars’ damage.”
According to local lore, the Union soldiers treating the wounded became so exasperated by McDuell’s ranting that they dangled him by his ankles outside an upstairs window until he cooled down. Four years later, at age 63, McDuell died of a heart attack at the home.
When the heirs of Luther A.T. Horine, who bought Fulderea in 1869, later abandoned the estate, it was said that McDuell haunted the house. According to Reese’s book, in the time that Melvin J. Berman — the Maryland developer who later acquired the farm and restored the mansion and the original house — lived there he saw no sign of McDuell’s ghost.
But it is not surprising that the old house was believed to have a ghost. Tales of the supernatural are rampant in Burkittsville, site of the 1999 movie “The Blair Witch Project.”
The 160-acre property, including 135 acres of crop-producing farmland, includes a five-bedroom, four-bathroom, 4,800-square-foot main residence with 10 fireplaces; a 1752 guesthouse; a 1770 stone barn; an 1810 smokehouse; a 1770 log cabin; a six-car garage, a tennis court and a pond. It is listed at just under $3.5 million.
Listing agent: Ray Wedell, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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