SHRIVER FAMILY HISTORY

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In 1721 the first of the Shrivers disembarked at Philadelphia. Andrew Shriver (1712-1797) came from the Electorate Palatine in Germany and quickly moved to the Schuylkill River. There he practised as a tanner and shoemaker apprentice; once freed from this apprenticeship, Andrew moved in 1734 to the Conewago region in Pennsylvania where he remained the rest of his life. His son, David Shriver, Sr. (1735-1826) moved to Frederick County, Maryland and eventually became a political, economic, and social leader, especially among the large German populace in that area. David Shriver, Sr. served in the Conventions of Maryland, 1774-76, in the Lower House of the Maryland Legislature from the late 1770s to the early nineteenth century, and in the Senate, 1808-10. It was this Shriver that laid the foundation of the family’s prominence, most notably in the political arena.

The collections described here represent the records of the Shriver family at their "Homestead" in Union Mills, Maryland. Union Mills is located seven miles north of Westminster, Maryland and was founded by David Shriver's son -- David Shriver, Jr. (1769-1852) and Andrew Shriver (1762-1847) -- in 1797. The site of the Homestead was selected because of its strategic location along routes leading into Pennsylvania and further westward. With this area as a foothold, the family exerted considerable influence in Republican and Jacksonian politics and, as a consequence, on the economic development of the whole region. Andrew Shriver operated a general store, post office, and grist and sawmill there for many years; eventually a tannery and the farm itself became important economic components of the family operations.

Many family members left the Homestead and added to the significance of the family. Abraham Shriver (1771-1848), Jacob Shriver (1779-1841), and Isaac Shriver (1777-1856) all sons of David Shriver, Sr., all variously held significant local political posts. Of these Abraham was the most important, sitting as an Associate Judge on the Fifth Judicial District from 1805 to 1843. David Shriver, Jr., James Shriver (1794-1826), Thomas Shriver (1789-1879), and Joseph Shriver (l806-l886), the latter three sons of Andrew Shriver, practised as civil engineers. David Shriver, Jr. worked as Superintendent of Construction of the National Road for a number of years and obtained positions for both James and Joseph. James worked on the National Road, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the Wabash Canal in Indiana; in 1824 he published An Account of Surveys and Examinations, with Remarks and locuments, Relative to the Projected Chesapeake and Ohio, and Ohio and Lake Erie Canals. Joseph worked on the National Road, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and later became a prominent banker in Cumberland, Maryland, as a founder and President of the Cumberland Bank of Allegheny County (later First National Bank of Cumberland). Thomas Shriver had a long and varied career surveying and constructing a number of local roads in Maryland, inventing improvements for wagons, managing a stage company in western Maryland and West Virginia, and serving as Mayor of Cumberland, Maryland from 1843 to 1849.

Family members have continued to play important roles in Frederick County, now Carroll County, until the present. Other prominent individuals included (and represented in these collections) are Samuel S. Shriver (1822-1898), a Presbyterian minister for the last forty years of his life in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland; John S. Shriver (1788-1855), Baltimore merchant, minor politician, and finally, steamboat company proprietor; and George N. Shriver (1868-1942), leading official of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from 1888 to his death.

The Shrivers early developed an intense interest in the preservation of their records and their Homestead. The Homestead at Union Mills was lived in by members of the family until the 1950s when it was taken over by three brothers, Frederic Shriver Klein, Philip S. Klein, and Richard H. Klein. These brothers, the former two being professional historians, recognized the historical significance of the house and opened it as a private museum in the early 1950s. This ownership was transferred to a foundation in 1970 and, in 1976, Carroll County took over control.

The interest of the family in its own history is reflected in a number of publications which provide an excellent introduction to the family itself. The History of the Shriver Family (Wytheville: D.A. St. Clair, 1869) is one of the earliest attempts at published genealogies in Maryland. This work was superceded by Samuel S. Shriver, comp. and ed., History of the Shriver Family and Their Connections, 1684-1888 (Baltimore: Guggenheimer, Weil and Co., 1888); part of this was updated by Robert C. Shriver in an 1976 edition. Harry C. Shriver, A History of the Shriver Family with Particular Reference to Jacob Shriver (1714-1792), His Son Lewis Shriver (1750-1815), and Their Descendants (N.p.: Privately published, 1962) has only a few references to the Maryland branch, but is, nevertheless, of some interest. The best introduction to the family is Frederic Shriver Klein's "Union Mills, The Shriver Homestead," Maryland Historical Magazine 52 (December 1957): 290-306. Robert H. Fowler, "The Shriver Homestead at Union Mills, Maryland," American History Illustrated 3 (July 1966): 23-30 is a popular account with some interesting photographs. Dr. Klein's "Meade's Pipe Creek Line," Maryland Historical Magazine 57 (June 1962): 133-49 discusses the military activities of the battle of Gettysburg near Union Mills; his Just South of Gettysburg, Carroll County, Maryland in the CivilWar:Personal Accounts and Descriptions of A Maryland Border County, 1861-1865 (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press , 1963) also has a considerable number of references to Union Mills and the Shriver family. Frederic Shriver Klein's "Jeffersonians in Local Politics Along the Pennsylvania-Maryland Border" Pennsylvania History 24 (January 1957): 15-28 is the most helpful description of the family's early political activities; the papers he used for this study are now MS. 2085 at the Maryland Historical Society. A number of the papers have been published in some form. William P. Shriver, Samuel Smith Shriver 1822-1898 (New York: Privately published, 1936) reproduces Shriver's 1897 autobiographical letter. See also William P. Shriver Letters of an Old Homestead (New York: Privately published, 1933) and Thomas W. Kemp, "A Trip to Washington in 1811," Maryland Historical Magazine 35 (December 1940): 382-88, both include some early letters of the family; the Kemp article is especially interesting as it shows the political influence and civil engineering interest of the Shrivers. Frederic Shriver Klein has edited also a number of Joseph Shriver's letters in Letters of a Young Surveyor, 1828-29," Missouri Historical Review 23 (October 1928): 61-84. Papers which are not part of the Society's collections but are, nonetheless, significant are published in John Quentin Feller, "The Letters of Cardinal James Gibbons to the Shriver Family," Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia 75 (June 1964): 79-92, (September 1964): 182-92, and 76 (March 1965): 3-13. Those interested in studying the family in full should also peruse Samuel A. Goldblith, "Controversy Over the Autoclave," Food Technology (December 1972): 62-65 which considers Andrew K. Shriver’s 1874 development of a pressure cooker, the 1974 interview with George N. Shriver, Jr. (OH 5086-87 at the Society) discussing the Homestead, and the Newsletter of the Union Mills Homestead Foundation, Inc. published since June 1975.


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Source: Richard J. Cox, "A Register of the Shriver Family Papers at the Maryland Historical Society (MS 750-750.1, 2085-2085.8)", August 1977; edited and converted to HTML by J. Douglass Klein, December, 1998