Explore Our Towns
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.
Incorporated in 1916
The town of Friendsville is Maryland’s western-most municipality, situated in the corner of the state adjacent to the borders of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Friendsville’s first known settlers were John and Mary Friend, who came to the area in the 1760s and gained permission from the Shawnee Indians to build a log cabin near their encampment along the Youghiogheny River. The “Yough,” as the river is known locally, flows northward from Friendsville into Pennsylvania, which accounts for the Shawnee name which translates as “waters that flow in a contrary direction.”
By the early 1900s, Friendsville was a thriving community with numerous homes, hotels, stores, and an opera house. The local economy was supported by a booming timber and coal-mining industry and a railroad that serviced the area. During World War II, a flood-control dam was constructed on the river downstream from the town, leading to abandonment of the railroad. Many of the mines closed, and the logging industry became stagnant, resulting in fewer and fewer jobs for local residents.
Today Friendsville has become synonymous with whitewater rafting because of the town’s proximity to the Youghiogheny River, which boasts some of the best rafting and kayaking east of the Mississippi. The boom in that sport and the popularity of the area for vacationers and fishermen has been most beneficial to Friendsville. The healthy economy supports an active community that strives in many ways to maintain as supportive and congenial environment for its residents. Friendsville Community Park provides a variety of recreational and cultural opportunities; a community and senior citizens center meets a diversity of residents; needs; and the Friend’s Museum provides a genealogical library and a glimpse of the town’s past. The museum also serves as the headquarters of the Friend Family Association of America.
Friendsville takes pride in its motto – “The friendliest little town in Maryland.”