Mildred Shipley

Mildred Shipley is a lifetime member of Westminster United Methodist Church. Milly has lived in Westminster her entire life.


RICHARD MARS: In 2012, Westminster United Methodist Church will celebrating its 200th anniversary. Milly Shipley is a lifelong member of that church and a lifelong resident of Westminster, Maryland. My name is Richard Mars.

I am also a member of Westminster United Methodist Church. And we are here today is Milly’s home to have a conversation with Milly about her recollections, her experiences in Westminster, and at Westminster United Methodist Church. Milly, I would like to begin by talking about your family. Your family is so well known and really quite legendary in Carroll County and in Westminster–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: I’m prejudiced.

RICHARD MARS: –and at Westminster United Methodist Church. In fact, if you look at the Westminster Verizon telephone directory, you’ll find 42 separate listings for the name Shipley body. And that doesn’t include the business listings.

I’m just talking about the residential listings. So the name Shipley is important both in this town and this county and in our church. I’d like to talk with you today about your family. I’d like to begin with the history of your family. If you could tell us when your family first came to Carroll County and Westminster, where they came from, what brought them here, and what they’ve been doing here all these years– just tell us in your own words about your family and about those things.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: The Shipleys came here from Yorkshire, England. There is a town named Shipley in Yorkshire, which is the largest county in England. And its an industrial town.

They came basically for economic and religious freedom. They came to Annapolis, first of all, in 1689 and settled in that area and spread out from here. They loved the land and they were farmers and landowners in England.

And they were the same here in Maryland. They’ve branched out to do many things– from farming to being members of the state legislature at times. The person that I remembered most and we loved him dearly was my grandmother.

He was a doctor. He was one of nine children and his sister also became a doctor, which was unusual for the time. He was born in 1856, so he grew up during the Civil War period.

And he doctored up here in Westminster and his sister was in the Sykesville area. They were good friends and they loved each other. He married my grandmother Lauren Genevieve Lampert, who’s a teacher.

They were both members of Westminster United Methodist Church and sang in the choir. And that’s how they met. She was a lady who became president of what was the Woman’s Science and Christian Service then. It’s United Methodist Women now.

But they had four children. They had six children, really, but they lost two of them– twin boys. My father was the oldest and my aunt followed next.

My dad was not healthy. And as a matter of frank, World War I helped him because he had both a inguinal and a hiatal hernia. And they didn’t operate like that before World War I. But in World War I, of course there were so many injuries, they expanded their operation.

So he got operations at the University of Maryland. There was a Doctor Shipley who was a distant cousin who operated on him there. And by that time, he and mother had two children, a boy and girl– my older brother Paul [INAUDIBLE] and my sister Helen Louise.

They decided to have more children. Dad was better, the war was over, and the farm was doing well. So Dan came along, Daniel Fillmore Shipley, and then myself. And they ended with me.

So they had two boys and two girls. We were like separate families, really, because there was 10 years difference– really 13 years difference from my older brother and myself and 10 years difference between my sister and myself and three years between Danny and I. And we also were friends.

My mother was a very gentle person, but she also believed in family and family should get along. You shouldn’t fuss and [INAUDIBLE] this certain kind of thing. And we loved her very much and felt lucky to have her.

My father became quite ill with Parkinson’s disease and that changed her life considerably because we realized and he realized he could no longer do the work on the farm. So we moved here to West Green Street and added to this house. It was a shingle house first and then we put siding, white aluminum siding, on it. My mother was a real home maker.

I know I’m prejudiced, but she really was. And she determined to care for dad at home. So we added a bedroom and bath onto the end of the house and a brick porch that has an entrance to the kitchen and also to their room so that if there should be a fire or whatever, we could get them out quickly without having to go through all the sections of the house to do it. And dad liked to sit on this brick porch.

And we used to have a Japanese maple here that was perfectly beautiful in the fall. If you know Japanese maples, they had tiny little leaves that turned red and gold, all of them– all those colors. And of course, we were sad when the tree finally said, I’ve sheltered you.

I’ve welcomed you. I’ve had enough. And we took the tree down earlier in just this past year, really. It had seen some damage in some of the hurricanes that had come through. And we were afraid that we’d taken some limbs out of it that were damaged by the storms.

But we nevertheless loved it and decided not to put another tree there so that there would be [INAUDIBLE] under the trees so there wouldn’t be bare spots and whenever. My mother and dad were both gardeners and he loved to give her roses for their anniversary. We used to have [INAUDIBLE] they were married more than 42 years.

He died in 1960. And then we had all these roses down in the lower yard. And we had two left.

There’s one that– the arbor-like rose that’s on here on this side of the house and then one here that’s right their bedroom window. And it’s a– they were hybrid tea roses, so they were strong groceries. And mother used to go out early in the morning and check them.

We used to have infestations of Japanese beetle. And they just would cover the rose and consume it completely. And we did everything. Neighbors used laugh and say, well, we put out the traps for the Japanese beetle. And of course, that drove them from everywhere else.

RICHARD MARS: Give them to your neighbor.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, and he said, we really appreciate you work around those Japanese beetles. But it was quite a job.

RICHARD MARS: Milly, what was your grandfather’s name?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Daniel Fillmore Shipley. And Dan carries his name– my brother Dan. He was a wonderful whom we all loved. Mother used to say she felt better just knowing he was coming because he was their family doctor.

RICHARD MARS: What was he? Was he a general practitioner, or–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: He was homeopathic and general practitioner. He taught Sunday school in their church for four years, in his fidelity Bible class. And when he went to heaven in 1932, they put a plaque on the corner of the church honoring him and planted a garden– trees and shrubs and things of that sort– in front of our church also to honor him.

Because they knew he enjoyed gardening and liked it and whatever. So the garden, of course, is– well, the church is very different now. I have a plate of the old church. I’ll get it and you can see what it looked like.


MILDRED SHIPLEY: Isn’t it different?



RICHARD MARS: What was your father’s name, though?


RICHARD MARS: And your mother’s name?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: He was– Paul was– he was the oldest and he had no middle name. And somebody commented on that. And grandfather said, well, the apostle Paul will be enough for him to live up to. That took care of that.

RICHARD MARS: What’s your mother’s name?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: My mother’s name is Laura Maria Royer. And she lost her mother when she was just nine and was very close to her dad. And her dad liked music and movies and things of that sort.

And that’s where dad first saw mother. He was here at the– now, this is a long time ago because they were married in 1912. But anyway, he saw her at the movies. And he was there with a friend.

He said, who’s that? And she said, his friends said, it’s a cousin of mine. You want to meet her? Well– he kind of lost his nerves.

He arranged for a meeting later and his friend took him out to their place and the situation took off from there. But no, she was like dad. She enjoyed music and dancing and all that good stuff.

And Dan and Ellie, my brother who bears his name, he and Ellie like square dancing and round dancing and whatever. And they do it very well. Of course, I’m not prejudiced, but they really do do good–

RICHARD MARS: Where was your original farm? Was your father’s farm?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: It was on Pool Road. It’s long gone now. It’s a development.

And we– sorry about that. When dad came home from the war, we needed a bigger because he decided he wasn’t going to go– he was a smart guy, but he decided he liked forming and enjoyed and knew something about it. And that’s what he wanted to do.

But we had a person who was interested in buying land. And he had– he wanted our farm. And he just bought the land around it so that it was all gone by the time he came home– dad came home from the war. So we looked around and found a farm out in Bachmans Valley, old Bachmans Valley, that had been built in– the brick house had been built in 1824 by mother’s relatives. The Royers had settled up there.

The Royers came from France in 1719. They were French Huguenots– in other words, French Protestants. They came here for religious freedom.

And that– there is a house across the hill in old Bachmans Valley on Fridinger Mill Road that was built by one of the Royers. And it became a house church because they thought, well, maybe we better worship very close to home. And they didn’t know how long the religious freedom was going to last or whatever.

So it’s still– it’s on a national registry of historic places. And it was damaged by a bad storm that we had, but some of the oaks in the yard in that area were over 200 years old and [INAUDIBLE]. And finally in 1900, they decided, well, we were settled enough.

They could start a Brethren church. That’s what they — members of the Church of the Brethren. And they did here in town off the park, which is still a course of ongoing concern for us. And the persons who live old house on Fridinger Mill Road, it’s on the national register of historic places.

Because they wanted to keep it like that and they did. They had an unusual arrangement. It sounds like it would be awkward.

But the way they did it wasn’t. They had chairs that they hung around various areas as well as seated area so they would have extra seating when they needed it for people who came. And it’s a perfectly beautiful house. So I hope the people that live there continue to appreciate it and keep it in good shape.

That’s on Fridinger?

Yes, off Fridinger Mill Road, [INAUDIBLE] Bachmans Valley. And of course, it’s just across the hill from where– my brother and his wife live on [INAUDIBLE] Road.

They built a house above the farm at the top of the hill in the woods there, about 12 acres of woods. And what he’s done is he’s received– I’m bragging about it now, but he deserves it. Carroll County used to be first name in [INAUDIBLE] preservation.

It’s now fifth, but as you know, he has three farms now– the [INAUDIBLE] farm where his wife Eleanor grew up and a little farm next to that and of course, as you know, where Piedmont plateau also. So this means hills and valleys and gullies also if you don’t care for them. So he has made it a tree farm.

And he doesn’t plant trees himself, but he works with the forestry and they analyze the soil for him and whatever and tell him what trees would be best put it there. So he’s got a mixture of the deciduous trees and the evergreen trees. And of course, I think it’s perfectly lovely.

RICHARD MARS: You grew up on the farm on Pool Road–


RICHARD MARS: –before you moved to this house here on Green Street.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, well we moved– when dad came home from the war, as I said, we felt we needed a bigger place. So we sold that place and it’s not there any longer. It’s all gone to development.

RICHARD MARS: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like over there when you lived there as a child?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes. Well, of course, the high point at the time was having grandfather come visit. And grandmother was a good cook.

So we used to have family dinners. And my mother was very family oriented too. So the idea of having dinners at Thanksgiving and dinners at Christmas and birthdays and whatever was a tradition.

And we took turns. My aunt was also a good cook. And she never married, but she was fascinated by history and helped start the historical society in Carroll county in 1939. And she was the first resident curator.

She lived there for six years. And unfortunately, she became ill with Parkinson’s and it was too much for her to do it anymore. So she had a talent for making good friends.

And [INAUDIBLE] the elder dies whose house used to be right across the street here. And his father, who was the president of what was then Westminster Theological Seminary, which was on the hill right next to the college, which was then Western Maryland College. And they were very good friends.

And when her parents died, she continued to live there. She taught dramatics and public speaking and whatever at Westminster Theological Seminary. And she started the costume shop.

And she also gave nativity inspirations. And the Theological Seminary used to have a roof that’s set out. And you could– then there were huge windows on either side so they could use that roof for setting for angels.

And the nativity scene was the entrance and it had a fine sign– blessed be thy coming in and blessed be thy going out. So she was very talented and she had that– she had over 3,000 costumes in that house from some cellar to attic. Everything was–


MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, it was as neat as it could be. And she was also leader in relations with blacks. She felt that they should be educated and they should be given the employment that they deserved.

And she had two women who worked with her– Mary and Margaret. And Margaret did the cooking and cleaning and whatever and Mary helped her with the customers bringing things down from the attic or the basement or whatever. And of course, all those things had to be cleaned and darned and cared for. But you could depend upon Miss Dorothy’s.

RICHARD MARS: All the costumes.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, yes, and she did it very well. When Ms. Dorothy went to heaven, they attempted to– a lady attempted to carry that on, but it didn’t work. They eventually sold the costumes.

But I knew Mr. Eaton, who was a fine English and grammatics teacher at Westminster High School, always went up to Ms. Dorothy’s to get his costume for the plays whatever they worked together on it. And she would do the make up for the kids for the plays.

And he was quite a person. He had a cadre of teachers who worked with him. Ms. [INAUDIBLE] who taught biology there for over 40 years did the choir robes and things of that sort, making sure that the kids looked right and their bows and all that sort of thing were set well. And Ms. [INAUDIBLE] was the music teacher.

She and Mr. Eaton would work together on coordinating the music and the chorus or whatever. Herb [INAUDIBLE] was there too. They were, we felt, a cadre of teachers who worked well together. And of course, we felt that it was– the community used to fill the auditorium for his Christmas programs and whatever because–

RICHARD MARS: For the high school.


RICHARD MARS: Can we talk a little bit about life on the farm when you were growing?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes. Life on the farm was challenging.

RICHARD MARS: What was the day like?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Well, you got up at 4:30 in the morning to go out and milk the dairy cows. We had– they were fine cows. But this was, of course– you didn’t have milkers then.

And of course, we moved off the farm later. But Dan gave up the dairy heard in the ’70s. But there weren’t milkers. You did the milking–

RICHARD MARS: Hand– by hand.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, by hand, because they needed the steel and that sort of kind of thing for the war effort. And we realize that. So at 4:30 in the morning, you were out there and you milked the cows.

And I usually had one– we named all the cows. They were like family members. Mine to milk– I had one called Petunia.

She had a huge bag and little tiny teets. And so my hands were the smallest. So I had her job to milk.

We had a little goat also who would in the– the cow had stanchions. And there was a little water container that they could push and get water. Came down a little cup– excuse me– besides the entrance. And the stanchions were made of cement

And he would walk up on in front of the cows. And he knew the cows had a spot here where their hair parted. Their horns, of course, came out like this.

And this spot in their hair would be central [INAUDIBLE] that he liked to nibble– that he knew that they liked it rubbed. So the cows would stand there with their head out and he would be nibbling that spot.

He was a character. He knew it and he enjoyed it too. He was wonderful.

Then we had– of course, we had horses. And we had a person horse in particular. Dad liked them to have big box stalls so they had room to move around.

And I’ll never forget one horse. We called her Alice. And of course Alice is my first name.

But she was a perfectly beautiful horse. She was a person and she had a white [INAUDIBLE] and she was not a [INAUDIBLE] but not blonde either. And she had wonderful disposition.

But we used to talk to her and bring her apples, you know, and that certain kind of thing because we knew that she liked that. And she would look at us and eat the– we’d put the apple out in her hand and she’d nip at it. But she never hurt us or anything like that.

And we had another horse called bird who was a different kettle of fish. We loved to ride and she wasn’t a riding horse, of course. And I remember climbing on and she would take me as far as a tree down beyond the meadow.

And she looked at that train. She’d turn around and look at me as if to say, are you on tight? And she’d gallop back to the barn. That was enough. She was a wonderful horse.

RICHARD MARS: Did you actually use the horses to work the farm?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes. Yes, we did. Tractors and things of that sort didn’t come in until after the war. Again, for reasons that I’ve already stated, we needed the steel and whatever for the war itself.

And I can still remember. I was lying on the floor listening to Rose [INAUDIBLE] and the Coca Cola Hour doing my Latin when I heard this announcement that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. And at first, I couldn’t believe it and none of us could.

But we found out it was true nevertheless. And of course, that changed everything. My older brother had graduated from what was then Western Maryland College in 1936.

And he was in “Row-ti-cee,” ROTC. And of courses it meant immediately he was off to that. And my sister was a librarian at Westminster Theological Seminary.

And of course the seminites were involved– everybody was involved and they needed to be. And she married a minister there and became engrossed in his work. They had a [INAUDIBLE] over in [INAUDIBLE] in the Eastern Shore. But she lost him in World War II and she came home to marry– to raise their baby daughter who was my niece Ann.

And there are pictures of her over here. They’re not good pictures. But anyway, they’re pictures of her and her husband and their wedding.

They were married in a little baker chapel up here and they both belong to organizations. They both went to Gettysburg College. And of course, I think she’s absolutely marvelous. There’s no good thing that you can’t say that I don’t feel as well. And–

RICHARD MARS: Getting back to the farm for a moment, did you have chores other than milking and–



MILDRED SHIPLEY: That’s for sure. Tomatoes were a crop then that– [INAUDIBLE] had a canning factory then. And we raised tomatoes.

We’d take them in there to that. And picking tomatoes and waiting tomatoes, whatever, was– we all helped and everything. You had to, really.

Because of the war effort, people could get more money working in defense plants and whatever then they would make on the farm. But everybody, we cut corn. And of course now, they have machines that do that.

But no, we cut corn and we had a mower that cut the hay. But we put the hay into sacks so it could dry in those sacks. And we did the same thing with wheat and whatever’s– the wheat and corn were both put in shocks so they could dry better.

And it was quite a process. And I remember my mother had a sister who married let a fine man who was very family oriented. And her sisters both married– well, all three sisters married.

The older sister, Ann Blanche, became a nurse and married a doctor. And she lived in Jacksonville, Florida. But they used to come up for the summers. And people came to us.

Because, well, farmers, you were very busy. You didn’t have time to run around and do this and that and the other. And Grace married Uncle Ed Car. And he was head of the [INAUDIBLE] Steam Ship Corporation in New York and handled the port authority, worked with the port authority there.

And Uncle Frank worked for AT&T. And they had summer cottages on Long Island in Jamesport, Long Island. And he felt that when the New York World’s Fair happened, Uncle Ed said, those children ought to see that. It’s–




MILDRED SHIPLEY: And so he said he would see to it that we got out there. And Aunt Grace and– and Bill would take us out to the fair and show us around. And we were eating supper when World War II began. We heard the announcement over the radio as we were eating supper. And of course we knew that would make a lot of changes– just a lot of changes.

RICHARD MARS: What was Carroll county like back in those days and the Westminster area? By that, I mean, were there a lot more farms then than there are now?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, we used to– saving farms and putting them in ag land preservation was a prime thing for me and for my family because we felt that that would be silly to not have agriculture and be able to feed your own people on. You spend so much money in trying to import it and it just wasn’t practical. And Carroll county used to be first in ag land preservation.

It’s now fifth, but it use to– I mean first in the nation of the 3,000 more counties in the United States. Carroll County was the top one in preserving ag land. That means that when you put your farm in ag land preservation, you don’t develop it. You don’t sell parts for development.

You can live on the farm and whatever. But you don’t sell that off for development. And Dan and Ellie, as I said, had three farms. They’re all in old Bachmans Valley. They aren’t contiguous with each other.

Be nicer if they were. But the home farm he bought, he and Ellie bought from my parents, when my dad realized he could go do the farming and moved to Westminster. And he also my– Ellie had tragedy in her life.

Her father drowned while they were– the family had gone off on a picnic. And the older sister and her husband lived on the farm. And they said, why don’t you let us keep the baby?

She’s only two years old. And you’d have so much more fun. And we would have a lot of fun too because we enjoy her.

So that’s what they did. And she had two older sisters. And the 14-year-old sister had a cramp while she was out swimming.

And the father attempted to save her and they both drowned. And so it was a horrible experience. And Ellie’s mother died not long after that.

But the aunt and uncle then said we’ll take care of Eleanor. And they raised her as they’re own daughter. Of course, she knew that they weren’t her parents– whatever.

And the Wareheim place is the– Aunt Norma had married Walter Wareheim. And that place is the place that Dan later bought. Because Aunt Norma and Uncle Walter are long gone. But–

RICHARD MARS: When you moved here, what year did you move here?



MILDRED SHIPLEY: And Dan had come home from the war then. And he and Ellie– these are pictures of their 25th wedding anniversary party. They were and are a dear couple.

RICHARD MARS: What did you do after you moved here? I mean, you didn’t–


RICHARD MARS: –anymore.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: I went to Western Maryland College. I won a scholarship there and became a day student here. And of course I guess I inherited some of the love of the family for history. And so I majored in history and I graduated with honors in 1948 and then taught in Hartford County for several years and then moved back home to Carroll County. And between the two of them, I taught 37 years– to me, an interesting, challenging job.

RICHARD MARS: Did you always teach history?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: No, we had a program. They called it Core then. And–


MILDRED SHIPLEY: –in Hartford County, that meant a giant core. It’s English, social studies, science, and math. Well, I could handle the first three. But the math– I last had math in the eighth grade and I was teaching eighth graders math.

I was dating an engineer at the time. And he would take me out to dinner and I’d take the math book along. And he’d say, you do this, this, and this.

But it wasn’t fair to him. It wasn’t fair to the kids and certainly wasn’t fair to me either. So after struggling through that, then I made a lot of good friends there. Also, Happy Maury was a first grade teacher and she and I became friends and remained so even after we moved back to Carroll county.

RICHARD MARS: Why did you– where did you teach in Carroll county?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: In Carroll county, it was core, but smaller.

RICHARD MARS: But where? What school?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Westminster High School.


MILDRED SHIPLEY: I taught at Westminster High School and I taught ninth graders at Westminster High School. And it was a combination of English and social studies. And then it became– they said, well, the core idea is out, really, because nobody can be qualified in two things as well. So they ask us to choose whether we wanted to teach English or social studies.

And I chose– then it was called civics. It was government. And so I chose civics and we had an annex that was added to the high school which was of course on [INAUDIBLE] Avenue then. We felt we were really something because the annex was brand new.

And Herb [INAUDIBLE], he’s a wonderful guy. And my room was room 13. Ms. Crowe was room 11.

Ms. George was room 12. My room was room 13. and the music room was right next to mine. The band room was across the hall.

And when the kids practice, that was out on the yard area. And everybody said, well, gee, your kids.

And I said, well, we got used to music. The only one that really got to me was– Herb [INAUDIBLE] is a wonderful music teacher. He worked very well with Mr. Eaton and Ms. [INAUDIBLE] whatever and putting on shows.

His kids used to sing hang down your head, Tom Dooly. Hang down your head and cry. I said, that one really gets to me. He said, well, I’ll try and tone that down a little bit.

RICHARD MARS: Tell us a little bit about Westminster when you were here in the ’50s going to college and living here.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh boy. Westminster was trying to make up its mind on how to grow, really. Main Street– we had wonderful stores in Westminster. TW Mather and Son was a prime place to go.

It’s now a music store. But my dad worked there when he was growing up and going to high school. And the Mathers did a lot, really, for Westminster.

RICHARD MARS: But, like, a department store?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, it was. It had– you could go in the front door and walk out the back door. And it had clothes, beautiful clothes.

Make [INAUDIBLE] tailored clothes and whatever. And they had hats and they sold shoes. And upstairs, there was– they sold furniture as well. And at Christmas time, they had a Christmas shop up there for the kids.

They were really something. And Evelyn Mather, who was very much interested, of course, in the store, but she thought that Westminster ought to have a library. And the old Times build was just up the street from TW Mather’s.

And it had an extra room. And that’s where she started a library. And it was donations and books and things of that sort– whatever, there. Well, of course, now it’s just amazing.

You’ve been to our Carroll County Public Library now. But nevertheless, she started it and it grew from there. And of course Ms. Dorothy– the churches cooperated in the plays that she gave. And we had choirs and all that sort of kind of thing.

They cooperated too. And the historical society used to have special programs as well. And then it was just the Shellman House.

And then Tess [INAUDIBLE] who was an organist in their church and directed the choir, lived in that area right next to the Shellman House. Really, it was the [INAUDIBLE] House. And she and Aunt [INAUDIBLE] were very good friends.

And as I say, Aunt [INAUDIBLE] and Ms. Dorothy and Tess [INAUDIBLE] all worked together in founding the historical society. And of course what is now Conkey’s Tavern was Huffman’s Inn. That was a wonderful place to eat.

Thelma Huffman really knew how to cook and encourage people. And Mr. Eaton lived in the second floor. It was an inn as well as a rooming house. And he always ate there.

And he never owned a car, never learned to drive a car. And he would walk over across from Huffman’s to the high school. And he had his own key because he always liked to get there early.

So he’d get there about 6:30 and let himself in and get himself all situated and whatever for teaching. And as I say, he was something. He was a legend and he deserves to be because he gave us a good education.

We stood when we recited in his class. And when I say recited, he had certain things that he wanted us to learn from Shakespeare, poetry, whatever. And we could choose what we wanted to learn.

And he had these little index cards. And he would call on us. So he’d flip the card and he’s day, oh, I hope mine is next. And, well, you’d stand and recite this or that or the other. If you’ve read the Carroll County Times, you’d read someone who said, those darned index cards scared us half to death.

RICHARD MARS: This was Mr.–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Eaton– William Grendel Eaton.

RICHARD MARS: How do you spell it?


RICHARD MARS: OK. What did young folks do for entertainment and recreation back in the ’50s?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh, we had the opera house then was like a little theater for kids. And Ms. Dorothy and some of the other folks in town would– we’d put on plays and things like– and of course, parents and grandparents and relatives showed up for these plays. And of course, it was good training for us too. Really, we were scared half to death. But anyway, we learned.

RICHARD MARS: Did you have a movie theater?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: It became a movie theater, the opera house.

RICHARD MARS: Out near Harry’s on–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: No, it’s in downtown Westminster. It’s on this side of Main Street about a block down from our church, as a matter of fact. It became a place for newspaper production, whatever.

And the man who owned it turns the roof of it into a garden. It was a lovely place. And I don’t know if you can still see that or not.

But it was a large building, of course. And he could do with it what he wanted. And it used to be opera and lunch there to one side so that you could get something to eat.

But you were not to take in the theater. You were to eat it in the little lunch room and that was understood. Because you didn’t want a mess in the theater, whatever.

RICHARD MARS: What about movies?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh, well, Nelson, Eddie, and Jennette McDonald– when I’m calling to them, I would say whatever. But they and–

RICHARD MARS: “Canadian Mountie”.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, yes, just wonderful shows. And dad used to [INAUDIBLE] gentleman who ran the theater. So just as long as you have shows like this, you have people come.

They’ll come. He said, well, he wasn’t too sure. We had more modern things, you know. And we had two other theaters in town– the Carroll Theater and the State Theater where the–

RICHARD MARS: They had three theaters in Westminster? Three movie theaters in Westminster?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Well, more like places where– the opera house was a place for stage, whatever. Gave plays. But yes, really. Movies used to be quite the thing. A Saturday night, oh my.

That was the place to be. And well, of course, people had worked hard all week and the store stayed open on Friday night and Saturday night. 11 o’clock wasn’t unusual for the closing time for stores.

And of course we have a lot of stores in downtown. Rosenstock’s, Kaufman Fisher’s Rosenstock’s– he was Jewish and he had the latest in clothes, whatever. And Kaufman Fisher’s was more tailored. And of course, Mather’s just led the whole thing.

And they were all right there on Main Street. You could walk down from Rosenstock’s and Mather’s was maybe half a block down and half a block from that. And the railroad tracks divided the town north and south.

RICHARD MARS: Did you have train service that you could go in and out of Baltimore?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, yes we did. The B&O had a unit here in– they called it the Western Maryland. And I can remember I became a scout leader for a time.

And my kids– I wanted to see the service center. So I took my scout troop and got on board the train. And this was, oh, just amazing.

Because I hadn’t been on a train either that much when I was little at their age. And so we went on up to the service center and they toured the service center and they [INAUDIBLE] arranged for the– and of course the train went to New Winter. So we walked down to the station. Don’t be late and whatever.

They were brownie scouts. And CP Campbell really was a Girl Scout leader in this town, did a wonderful thing for Girl Scouts. She’s long gone to heaven now.

But her husband Monk Campbell was a great supporter of that. And of course we had Boy Scouts too, whatever. Boy Scouts are much more a unit now than the Girl Scouts are. But we had Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth groups–


MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh yes, 4H. And 4H has been here for more than 100 years. And of course Ellie was a 4H leader. She was one of their top ones.

They sent her to Chicago where they had major meetings at 4H. Of course, here’s the Carroll County Farm Museum. Was established in 1965.

And Dan and Ellie and the family active in that too. And Ellie’s still a guide out there. And–

RICHARD MARS: At the museum?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes. My sister was too. She loved being there.

So farming in the community, as I say, emerged in– I think I probably told you we used to be first in ag land preservation in all of the 3000 or so counties in the United States. Now we’re fifth and fighting to hold our own, really, with development and whatever. But they have the county commissioners and folks in the county government feel that this is important and that the development of land should be thinking of the resources and the service to the people and all that certain kind of thing.

So it’s still an ongoing thing. And they– I used to go talk to them. Now, this was in the ’60s and the ’70s when things began to change and whatever.

And Theodore McKeldin was the unusual Republican governor of Maryland. And I say Republican because most of our governors have been Democrats. I don’t have anything against the Democrats. They both have good ideas and we need good ideas from both of them.

RICHARD MARS: Can we talk a little bit about the Westminster United Methodist Church?


RICHARD MARS: What’s your earliest memories of the church?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Gee, my earliest memories were being here very early in the morning to participate in– because there were choirs. Ms. Kimmy thought there should be choirs for the little kids and choirs for the middle ages and choirs for the adults.

RICHARD MARS: Now, who was Ms. Kimmy.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: For a long time, she was our– Tess Kimmy was our organist. And she was an excellent organist. She was very strict and we had little white [INAUDIBLE] that we wore and black bottoms and whatever.

And were were on this side of the church. And they used to be– I thought the old church was ugly. I know that the new church has some good ideas too, but the old church had the two doors.

And Jesus was above one door and the choir, the adult choir, was over on this side. And there was another door and Jesus ascending into heaven was on that door. Well, we little kids used to come up from the bottom steps because we were all dressed in our white [INAUDIBLE] or whatever and come up that and go across in front of the alter.

And the alter was lovely. It was stair steps so that the pastor of course was, as he is now– as she is now, I should say– able to overlook congregation and whatever. And we all marched in.

And it was a big choir. We got a lot of little kids. And Brian Locker, who was later superintendent of schools, was in that group.

And I can– we still have pictures and he looks absolutely angelic sitting here with his hands folded in front of him. Very proper– get this done. But they–

RICHARD MARS: What age were you when you had this memory of all these kids when you started?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: I guess I was about nine or 10, maybe younger.

RICHARD MARS: Did you have all those choirs in the same Sunday service so that you would have the adult choir and the children’s choirs all present?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, yes. And it was a full church, a very active church in the community. And it didn’t have a soup kitchen then.

We’re more active in the community in lining up services like that. But we had rummage sales and we had dinners, Thanksgiving dinner, whatever. [INAUDIBLE] Church up the– I’ve forgotten the exact town where it was located.

And it used to make a big deal of having Thanksgiving dinner. And the whole church turned out to help with these wonderful Thanksgiving dinners. And our grandmother– grandfather died in 1932.

He worked too hard. But the grandmother would take us up there for Thanksgiving dinner. And we all lined up.

And they had wonderful dressing and turkey and whatever. And I had to be excused from the table. And I used to save my dressing into a [INAUDIBLE] because I liked it so much.

By gummy, when we came back, my plate was gone without the dressing. I never did that again. Oh my.

I guess they thought, well, she doesn’t like it. She’s not going to eat it. And she’s gone from the table, whatever.

RICHARD MARS: Do you remember attending Sunday school here?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes. Sunday school, we learned things and needed to– I think Mr. Eaton was a Lutheran. But then kids were supposed to learn things and stand up and recite and whatever.

And they did. I later taught about Sunday School in the junior department. I taught first graders and we had– now it’s a room that’s been– it’s on the second floor of the addition that had been added to the church.

And we had fourth graders– two tables for the fourth graders, two tables for the fifth graders, and the sixth graders were over in another room. But we all came together for grouping, whatever. And we were supposed to recite things, learn things, and put up bulletin boards and whatever.

And Marlon Warren worn was one of our teachers. He and I shared the fifth grade class. I had 11 kids in my class. I think he had 12 or so in his.

And there was a boy that we all felt sorry for. He was retarded and his parents wanted him to have the Sunday school. But he was beyond whatever.

And I remember he loved Mr. Warren– loved Marlon. and we used to give him the job watering the flowers. Well, I remember seeing something unusual out of the corner of my eye. He was watering Mr Warren– standing right here and he had the watering can over his head like he would with flowers.

And Marlon didn’t– he didn’t move, he didn’t say a word. Ah, patience itself. He sang bass in their choir.

He was a wonderful man. He was married and had children of his own. But we thought his patience went beyond, whenever.

RICHARD MARS: Do you remember a Sunday school teacher when you were attending Sunday school that you particularly liked?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh, well, Dr. Berthoff was a professor at the college.

RICHARD MARS: Dr. Burtoff?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Berthoff, right,


MILDRED SHIPLEY: B-E-R– yes, I think that’s right. I’d have to see if it was a double F or not, but–


MILDRED SHIPLEY: Anyway, he had three children– a daughter and two sons. And Max was our junior class president. They later moved out of this area and he got a job teaching– well, he was a teacher at the college.

And I think he taught at the seminary too. I’m not sure about the double job there, but they were a wonderful family. And the kids, their children were good examples too.

We had a lot of good ministers out. Orel Robinson was one of our ministers in the 1930s. And he had two daughters. Joan was a beautiful little girl, had long curls. And she was the epitome of how a child should act if you were the minister’s daughter.

But she was a beautiful little girl, too. And we had a sad time when he was given a job as a pastor in Washington DC. And we used to go over and see them and whatever.

But they did a fine job here and they did a fine job in Washington DC too. Of course, Joan went to college and married and had kids of her own– far gone. But nevertheless, it was quite a setup.

And of course, the singing– our church was known for its singing, its Christmas performance we had. And dad was head of the ushers for years. And Dr. [INAUDIBLE] was our minister before he became president of the college. And he gave dad the ultimate compliment.

He said when Paul’s in charge of the ushers, he knew the service would go well– that there would not be this running around and whatever the old people were doing. Dad did that for years and love d it.

RICHARD MARS: Did Dr. [INAUDIBLE] become president of the college or of the seminary?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh, he became president of the college. And I don’t think they ever– I’m not sure about that. But I know he was president of the college.

RICHARD MARS: OK. So you remembered her uh– uh– Orville Robinson and Dr. [INAUDIBLE]. What other pastors do you–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Oh, oh, I think our present paster– this is the first time we’ve had two lady pastors. And I think they’re both good. And you can– there’s no trouble hearing Dr. Laura.

RICHARD MARS: Even without the microphone.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: No, no. She enunciates. You can hear and understand her.

And I had Parkinson’s disease and it’s affected my hearing as well as other things too. But there’s not a bit of trouble hearing her. And Pastor Kathy does a good job on that, not as good as Dr. Laura.

Though of course she hadn’t been at it as long either. Give her time. She’ll get there.

And my brother has been– he made money for me. And he has given it to the community as well. He helped with the agricultural center.

And it’s called the Shipley Arena because he gave most of the money for it or whatever. And also because he was a farmer and it was good to call for him. And he felt like mother and dad did that stay close to God and you can’t go [INAUDIBLE] too far along.

So we had a church library before the church expanded. But it was small and right next to the sanctuary itself. And when different pastors said, well, you know, we need to expand Sunday school, we need to help in the community more, we need a place where we can– Lorne [INAUDIBLE], who’s our pastor at that time, felt very strong about soup kitchens and rummage sales and whatever.

And United Methodist Women always did hold fine rummage sales. And there were many, many, many good cooks among them. So they– I’m not sure if he started the soup kitchen or not.

RICHARD MARS: Who was this?

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Lorne [INAUDIBLE]. He was our pastor in the ’60s. And the ’60s were turbulent times, you know?

And they felt strongly about– and he felt very strongly about going places, too. He used to take members of the congregation– he took us to Israel and we went to [INAUDIBLE]. And that was a real treat and the passion play at [INAUDIBLE] that I’m sure you’ve heard about.

And it’s just as inspiring as they talk about, too. And of course, it’s all in German. But they had translations in English that they passed out among the people who went there.

But he lead a group of us there. And a group of us went to Palestine, to Israel. And of course, he had been here a number of times.

He’s still doing that. We keep in contact with he and his wife. And of course they had children of their own. And she said he’s now semi retired. And after that, she put, ha.


MILDRED SHIPLEY: But he had a nice bass baritone voice and she had a soprano. And they used to sing duets not to take over the choir but to merge with the choir. And he did a very good job of it.

But I can remember travelling with him and how he– and he felt that the– he told us that [INAUDIBLE], we’d be impressed because the people of the village– well, you know the story so I won’t belabor it– put it on as a pledge for the plague being removed from their village that they felt by God. So they had promised that every 10 years, they would put on this passion play. And I don’t know whether you’ve been there or seen it or not, but it is hours long.

And the people of the village do the job. And I remember Aunt [INAUDIBLE] and Ms. Dorothy went over in 1929 before the crash to see it. And they said they felt sorry for the man who played Judas. Because everyone would be around the man who played Jesus. But Judas–

RICHARD MARS: Hated person.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: –walk along by myself, whatever. But it is a remarkable play. And of course plays that Ms. Dorothy helped our church run were good too. And her choirs– our church just worked well together. And I think they still do basically because there’s a soup kitchen in every church every day in the community so that the people go there can depend upon one hot meal–

RICHARD MARS: Every day.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: –every day. The Ascension Church, the Episcopal Church, which is the oldest standing church in town– beautiful church. But they’ve added a huge section to their church. Judge Parks had a beautiful home on Court Street.

And when we went to heaven, he never married. Very handsome man, very– he served 30 years as our Circuit Court Chief Justice. This beautiful house there on Court Street, and when he went to heaven, they had an enormous sale.

And of course his family had loved antiques and whatever. And the Episcopal church bought that house and has added a section to it so that– one of my sister in laws was an Episcopalian. And they had the service.

She went to heaven two years ago. She was a wonderful woman. Married my older brother, made him very happy. They had four kids. They loved on the farms and–

RICHARD MARS: More Shipleys.

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Yes, yes, and two boys and two girls. And–

RICHARD MARS: Is there any big events during the life of the church in your time there that you remember? Any particular celebration or–

MILDRED SHIPLEY: Well, Christmas was always big. And we had– [INAUDIBLE] Ms. Dorothy was a real– the pageants at the seminary always included some folks from our church as well so that these [INAUDIBLE] the historical society always had programs that people went to. And Tess Kimmy, when she died, she left the Kimmy House to the historical society so that– that’s the administrative building of the historical society now.

And when the folks came to– her name’s going right out of my– Helen Huffman. When Huffman’s inn became too much for her, the historical society bought that. And it’s– they have a gift shop there. And there’s a Shipley room on the second floor.