The legend of Baughman's Rock
Article found in the archives of the Somerset county historical society files, writer unknown.

          In the spring of 1849 there was much excitement among the people of Elk Lick Township. This was caused 
     by the strange disappearance of a twelve year old son of Henry Baughman. Mr. Baughman’s family consisted of 
     himself and his wife, both between thiry-five and forty years of age. There were also a daughter, Elizabeth, 
     about sixteen; a son, Henry, about fourteen, and a son, August, about twelve years old. There were also several 
     younger children. Henry Baughman was a German by birth, and a tailor by occupation. He was a man of very 
     passionate temper. He lived in Elk Lick Township, on or near the top of the Negro mountain, and on the west 
     side of a road leading from Summit Mills to what was known as the Peck Settlement. It was at least a mile 
     from the Baughman home to that of the nearest neighbor. 

          On or about the first of April, on a Saturday night, there had been a fall of snow to a depth of several inches. 
     Baughman was the owner of several cows that were running at large, and on that particular evening the cows 
     failed to come home. On Sunday morning Mr. Baughman and the two boys, Henry and August, started out in 
     search of the cows. During the afternoon they came to the house of Mrs. Peter Lichty, who then lived at Peck’s 
     sawmill, and distant from the Baughman home from two to three miles; Mrs. Lichty gave them something to 
     eat, after which they went up through Peck’s fields toward their home. Toward evening Mr. Baughman and 
     Henry returned home, but the boy, August, was not with them. Mr. Baughman made inquiry from the family as 
     to whether the boy had come home, saying that up on the hill the two boys had started to run a race, and that 
     Henry had fallen, while August kept on running towards home, and that this was the last they had seen of him, 
     adding that he surely must be somewhere about the place. He was then looked for, but could not be found. Mr. 
     Baughman did not appear to be in any way worried over the failure of the boy to come home, but remarked that 
     he had probably gone to the house of one of the neighbors, and would be home in the morning. 

          But on Monday morning the boy failed to appear at his home, and the family reported that August was lost. 
     By the time a party could be collected to hunt for the boy, the warmth of the sun had melted the snow, and thus 
     obliterated all tracks made on the preceding day. All of the remaining part of the day was spent on the 
     mountain, but no traces of the boy could be found. On Tuesday, the report, of the lost boy having spread over 
     the community, a large number of people turned out and joined in the search; it being supposed that the boy 
     was still alive and wandering about on the mountain. Mr. Baughman pointed out the place on the flat where the 
     two boys had started to run the race, Henry confirming all that his father said. The hunt was kept up all through 
     the week. On Sunday it was estimated that from five to six hundred persons were on the mountain. A thorough 
     search was now made. Every thicket, every crevice in the rocks, every hollow log an tree, was examined, but 
     without results. Burning the second week the hunt was continued, but by smaller numbers of people. On the 
     second Sunday there was again a large turnout of people, but as on all other days, no traces of the lost boy were 

          It now began to be observed that the father at all times kept Henry near him, and that no one had any 
     opportunity of speaking with him except in the fathers presence. At last a great many people began to suspect 
     that Mr. Baughman knew more about the disappearance of the boy than he had yet told. He, himself, could not 
     fail seeing that he was being looked on with suspicion. His condition was really pitiable. Any close observer 
     could notice that the man was suffering untold agony of mind. After the search had been continued into the 
     month of may without finding a single trace of the boy, an information was made against the father, charging 
     him with the murder of the boy. After being placed under arrest and taken away , the boy, Henry, readily agreed 
     to tell all he knew, if he were protected from the wrath of his father, and this protection was promised him and 
     the promise was made good, and he was brought up to be a good citizen. 

          Mr. Baughman was taken before Gillian Lint, Exq., a justice of the peace, for Summit township, for hearing. 
     T he son, Henry, and the daughter, Elizabeth, appeared as witnesses. Henry’s statement in substance was, that 
     on the Sunday when they were hunting for cows, August, who had become quite tired, lagged and fell behind. 
     He and his father stopped and waited several times for him to come up. His father scolded him and told him he 
     must keep up. At the upper end of the Peck fields August had again fallen behind, and they had to wait until he 
     came up. when his father asked him why he did not keep up he replied, “Oh, father, I am so tired”, whereupon, 
     his father struck him across the back with a heavy stick that he had in his hand. August fell to the ground and 
     blood ran from his nose and mouth. Presently, when he showed no signs of life, his father took a blue 
     handkerchief that the boy had about his head, and tied it over his face to keep the blood from trickling down on 
     the snow. Then he picked up the body, put it across his shoulder, and got over the fence with it, and into the 
     woods, telling him (Henry) to follow. They went about a mile and a half, and near the top of the mountain, 
     where they came to some large rocks. Here his father stopped and laid the body between two large rocks, and 
     this was the last he ever saw of August. Then they started towards home, and when they got tot he flat place on 
     the mountain, his father stopped and told him that he would never dare tell what had become of August, but 
     told him what to say about their having run a race there. He also said that when the family had retired at night, 
     he could not sleep, and that during the night his father came to his bedside to see if he were asleep, and he did 
     feign to be asleep, whereupon his father put on his clothes and left the house, and was gone until nearly 
     morning, when he returned and went to bed. 

          In the morning, when he, Henry, had got up and gone out of the house, he saw the shovel and mattock 
     standing at the corner of the house. He also noticed that they had yellow clay attached to them, and looking as 
     though they had been used during the night. The daughter, Elizabeth, said that when her father and Henry 
     returned home that Sunday evening and told the story about the foot race, she had gone tot he place described 
     by them. There being still some snow on the ground, she could see the tracks in it made by her father and 
     Henry; that she had followed then for a considerable distance, and could see those of only two persons, and that 
     they were those made by her father and Henry. 

          Baughman was held for court, and committed to jail. It was now plain that the boy had been foully dealt 
     with. Renewed search was made for the body, and much time was spent in seeking for it. Henry had taken a 
     party to the place where has father had struck August, and also to the place to which the body had been carried, 
     but it was not found there. But nearby was a place that looked as though the ground had been recently dug up. 
     It having the appearance of a grave, it was supposed that the body had been buried there, but when the loose 
     earth had been removed no body was found. 

          When the time for the trial of Baughman came, the body of the boy had not been found, and there was not a 
     little uncertainty in the minds of the public as to the outcome of the trial. It would all depend on the testimony 
     of the timid country boy. There were few to doubt the truth of his statements at the preliminary hearing, but 
     would he be able to withstand the searching cross examination to which he would be subjected in open court? 

          Judge Jeremiah S. Black presiding at the trial, with John McCartney and George Chorpening as associate 
     judges. The late Colonel John R. Edie was deputy attorney general and represented the commonwealth. Francis 
     M. Kimmell, then a rising member of the bar, defended the prisoner with great ability. 

          Henry, the son, was placed on the witness stand and made the same statements he had made before the 
     justice at the preliminary hearing, without a break. The cross examination by Mr. Kimmell was sever, but failed 
     to shake or weaken his testimony. The daughter, Elizabeth, also adhered to her first statement. Several other 
     witnesses were called, after which the case was closed. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the 
     second degree, and the court sentenced the prisoner to undergo imprisonment of eleven years and nine months 
     in the penitentiary. Baughman served his full sentence, after which he returned to Elk Lick Township, where he 
     lived to the end of his life. 

          To the last he denied having killed his son, and said that the boy had wandered away, and might yet return. 
     Except for this one episode in his life, and the fact that he possessed a quick temper, there is little that can be 
     said against the man, although most of the people of Elk Lick Township of that day believed him guilty of the 
     crime he was charged with. 
          Many years after this murder, or disappearance, whatever it may be called Solomon Trassler, a son of Silas 
     Trassler, was seeking for pine knots in a locality known as the Pine swamp which is over an eight of a mile 
     distant from the buildings on what was then known as the Joseph Christner farm. Somewhere about the middle 
     of the pine swamp Trassler found a human skull, a jaw and a few other bones. These were taken to Salisbury 
     and exhibited to the late Dr. C.G. Stutman, who pronounced them to be the bones of a person of twelve or 
     fourteen years of age. it is extremely probably that these bones were a part of the remains of August Baughman, 
     for there is no tradition extant of any other person ever having disappeared from that community. The place 
     where these remains were found, in a straight line, is distant several miles from the place to which Henry said 
     the body of the boy had carried. It is not now known that any search had been made in this locality, it being so 
     near a house. The opinion now held by those who know most of the occurrence, is that when Baughman carried 
     the body of the boy to the place shown by Henry, the boy was not dead but only stunned and unconscious. After 
     his father and brother left him he revived, and either tried to make his way home or to the Christener place. 
     That it was probably then night, and the boy may have become bewildered and got lost in the Pine swamp, or 
     possibly he may have been so weak and exhausted that he could go no further and so perished. It is also 
     probable that when Baughman left the house on the Sunday night, as was testified to by the son Henry, he went 
     back tot he place where he had taken the body and dug a grave for the purpose of burying it and when he went 
     to get the body he failed to find it, the boy having already recovered and left the place. It is therefore probable 
     that this final disappearance of the boy was as much of a mystery to Baughman as to anyone else. It may also 
     account for his persistent denial all through life that he really had killed the boy. It is to be doubted very much 
     whether he really meant to kill the boy. What he did was done in a fit of rage and passion. When he saw the 
     result of it he became alarmed, lost his head, and did what almost anyone else might have done under the 
     circumstances. If, instead of concealing the matter, which certainly was a great mistake, he had carried the boy 
     home, if he was only stunned, he would have regained consciousness there as well as in the woods. He might 
     have recovered, and there would have been no tragedy, with long years of suffering for himself. Even if the boy 
     had been dead, it was still a mistake. Had he made no attempt at concealment, and told things about as they 
     really had happened, he would have fared no worse. He might not have escaped all punishment, but still he 
     would have had more sympathy at the hands of his neighbors. 

Baughman's Rock Baughman's Rock
Baughman's Rock

baughman's rock


Plane Crash
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Salisbury Endures
Sergeant Mark A. Prynn
Baughman's Rock
Haines Fire

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