Lock 28 - Fulton's Lock


Mile 48.9 - Historical notes from Gary Pyles: 

My grandfather, William Henry Fulton, was the last lock keeper at lock 28 at Point-of-Rocks, Maryland. The Fultons were originally from Loudouncounty, Virginia, just across the Potomac from Point-of-Rocks, Maryland,where they had a farm since the late 1700's. In 1864 the Union army hadpurposely devastated Loudoun county and ruined the economy there for manyyears to come. Under orders from Grant to raze the area, Gen. Phillip H.Sherman burned fields and farms, drove off all livestock and took all slaves and white men under the age of 51,regardless of political leanings, in orderto deny forage, comfort and manpower to Confederate Mosby and his raiderswhich had been a thorn in the Union army's side in the area. Ruined farmersand artisans were forced to leave their homes and relocate across the river in Point-of-Rocks where many of them found jobs on the canal and railroad.

William Henry Fulton eventually married Emma Florence Oden of Point-of-Rocks and they raised 10 children including my mother, Lula FultonPyles, in the tiny lock house where he had become the lock keeper. WilliamHenry died on Christmas morning in 1933 and his wake and funeral took placeat the lock house 28. His wife Emma died January 14, 1940 and they are bothburied in a corner of the St. Paul's cemetery near Point-of-Rocks. Their children are buried in different locations in the the cemetery. A son who isalso buried there, Ollie Fulton, was found dead on the railroad tracksacross from the lock house in 1913, allegedly killed by a train but thoughtby most to have been murdered. A daughter Esther, who was said to have beenstrikingly beautiful, died at a young age in the great flu epidemic which swept the area around 1918 and is buried near her father.

Two sons, Willie and Walter lived for many years until their deaths, along the side of Catoctin mountain near the lock house and were familiarsights near the Potomac as they were both avid bass fishermen. Walter diedin 1968 at age 78 and Willie died in 1964 at age 79. Willie had worked attimes on the family farm of Pepper Scotto of this forum. I believe one orboth of them had met Bobby Kennedy and Justice Douglas when they hiked the canal.  I'd like to hear about any families from this area and stories of the canal era and the railroad there. 

Mile 48.9 - The lock house is 18 x 30, made of whitewashed brick and 1 1/2 stories high with a basement. Notice the clump of bamboo to the right, there was a very healthy bamboo grove growing here that NPS destroyed a few years ago. Bamboo does grow in the Washington DC area, the National Zoo has it planted all over its ground as food for the pandas.