The Keagy (also spelled Keagey) house was built in 1815. Located in the center of Salisbury this home is unique in many ways. Built in a time when wood was the choice material for home construction, John Keagy elected to build his home from dressed stone. Keagy was a prominent and extremely successful man and undoubtedly sought to be a status symbol within the community. John Keagy had large land holdings, a grist mill, was appointed post-master in 1822, and operated a general merchandise store with his brother-in-law, Peter Markley. John was married to Susanna Markley Fadely Keagy, the daughter of John Markley. Sadly both Susanna and John Keagy both died less than ten years after the completion of their home. Susanna died in 1820 and John in 1824. The Keagy's had one son named John M.

The Keagey house contains two fireplaces on the bottom floor and two additional fireplaces on the second floor. The thickness of the walls are evidenced by the inset front door and deep window sills. In 1988 I had the privilege of living in this house. In my opinion it is a grand house in every way. 


It was 1823 when John Keagy and David Crider, another Salisbury merchant, boarded a coach, one of the regular stage lines at Tomlinson's Tavern on the National Road. They were going to Baltimore to buy merchandise for their business. On the coach was an Ohio businessman by the name of Abraham Boring who was headed to Baltimore on a similar mission.

The trip was long and arduous, and, like most men with like interests confined to a small space for a long period of time and enduring the same unpleasant circumstances, they became acquainted with each other and developed a friendly relationship.

After Boring and the other men had made their purchases in Baltimore, Boring, having purchased both more and more valuable goods, sought, a good method of transportation to Ohio for his merchandise. His new-found friends offered their services by introducing Edward Tissue, a wagoner, as a reliable man to make delivery. Because Boring's goods would not all fit into one wagon, the Salisbury merchants also recommended another wagoner, Edward Mitchell. Boring, his business accomplished, departed for his home in Ohio.

Such an opportunity for gain does not appear every day, so after Boring's departure the two Salisbury merchants and the two wagoners conspired to hijack the shipments. The shipments were carefully loaded and consigned to the buyers, and the wagons headed west along the Old Pike. However, at Hagerstown the wagons with Boring's wares were diverted from the National Highway, the wagons repainted, and the drivers traveled by back ways to the Salisbury area. The booty was stashed in a barn near Salisbury and taken to the retail store in small lots so as not to arouse questioning. Goods too "rich" for the trade were destroyed.

Meanwhile Mr. Boring awaited his shipments, and as week after week passed with no sign of the merchandise he had purchased, he waited with increasing uneasiness. His correspondence with the wholesale houses reassured him that his merchandise had been properly loaded into the wagons of his designated carriers, and that the wagons had headed west on the Pike. Dissatisfied, Boring traveled once again to Baltimore to confirm for himself that his goods had been properly shipped. It had, and he followed the trail of his purchases as far as Hagerstown, where it disappeared. There was nothing for him to do but continue west along the road, inquiring at all taverns and stage stops.

Boring got off the stage in Somerfield, Pennsylvania to eat dinner and rest for the night. While he was eating his dinner, he noticed that one of the serving girls had an outstanding tortoise shell comb in her hair. It reminded him of similar combs he had purchased in Baltimore. Upon inquiry, he learned it had been purchased in a store in Salisbury. Boring retired for the night, thinking to resume his journey in the morning. However, instead of continuing west, he took the east bound stage to Tomlinson's Tavern and then to Salisbury. Entering Keagy and Markley's store in Salisbury, Boring saw displayed for sale a very recognizable portion of his own goods.

Convinced he had been duped, Boring traveled to Somerset to swear out a warrant that resulted in the arrest of both Keagy and Markley, who quickly posted bail. The other conspirators fled the area, and Markley jumped bail and escaped to Ohio. Before Boring's suit came to trial, Keagy, overcome with guilt and shame, ended his life in the house he had built in happier days.

(Keagy story told by Vida Bender)

Views of Salisbury

Street Scenes of Salisbury--Page One
Street Scenes of Salisbury--Page Two
Street Scenes of Salisbury--Page Three Salisbury Homes : Photo's of the homes of Salisbury. 
Aerial View of Salisbury
The history of the Keagey House
The Johnson House
Overviews of Salisbury -- Page One
Overviews of Salisbury -- Page Two
Overviews of Salisbury -- Page Three
The Salisbury Union Cemetery

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