Submitted by Beveryly Kerkam
My husband and I, like many other current Carroll County residents, are not natives to the area We have lived here over 40 years, however, and will always feel this county, and the people in it, have shaped and enriched our lives. One person who impacted our lives was Rose Crook. She was not born in Carroll County either, but lived most of her life here. She was born Rose Ember Forney in the tidewater area of Virginia and was the oldest of 14 children. Her family had relatives in the Taneytown area and at the age of 14, she left her home to live on their farm. This family had a large farm on Harney Road. They had several sons, but no daughters to help the farmer’s wife with house hold chores and cooking.
Like so many farms in Carroll, this was a dairy farm. And since the date was sometime in the early 1900’s, Rose did the milking and made butter by hand. We learned from her that milk was sold in limited quantities since refrigeration was not available, but butter was more easily stored in the spring house or even in the well and butter was then traded for other commodities. Rose lived on this farm and learned to cook for the farm hands and the family until she married.
We came to know Rose, or “Granny” as she preferred to be called, in 1973 when I started working in Westminster with her step-grandson, Bill, with whom she lived. We hadn’t yet moved to Carroll County but Granny adopted us and we adopted her as our surrogate grandmother. She invited us to numerous Sunday dinners, picnics or holiday meals. Her crab cakes were some of the best we have ever eaten! She sent us home with homemade pies, cakes or cookies.
We were fortunate to know her, to hear her tell stories of her life and to obtain some of her favorite recipes. We remember her soft, ginger-molasses cookies and the red metal cookie can she stored them in. I still use her tip of putting a few slices of apple in a tin to keep the cookies soft.
Although she came from a very large family, her contact with them diminished over the years. She never had children of her own, and sadly, her grandson, Bill, predeceased her. She continued to live independently for a while and then with some assistance in Finksburg and we were grateful to be able to help her until she died in 1988, just two months shy of her 100th birthday.
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 cup sugar.
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup molasses
- ½ teaspoon cloves1 eggginer
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Cream sugar, molasses and egg with softened butter. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Chill dough for 1 hour or more. Roll dough into ½" balls and roll in sugar. Place balls about 2" apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Store in air tight container. Makes 5 dozen.