The Irvin Allen/Michael Cresap Museum
19015 Opessa Street, Southeast
Oldtown, Maryland 21555-9702

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HISTORY

The Irvin Allen/Michael Cresap Museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of only 100 structures listed in Colonial and Historical Homes of Maryland. The original fieldstone structure was built by Michael Cresap in 1764 and the brick addition built in 1781 by Rev. John Jacobs, who married Captain Michael Cresap's widow. Michael Cresap died in New York in 1775 on his way home from Boston. Michael Cresap had mobilized over 140 of the first southern volunteers to report for duty in the Continental Army. The many intricate links between the Cresaps, General George Washington and others involved in the Revolutionary cause establish the house as a centerpiece for historic Oldtown, Maryland.

Two influential and unsung Maryland frontiersmen, Colonel Thomas Cresap and his son Michael, provided help and hospitality to George Washington at their wilderness outpost, from his first expedition to Maryland in 1748 through his Presidential visit to review troops in 1794 on their way to end the Whiskey Rebellion. Thomas Cresap played a particular and important role in hosting a "pre-Revolutionary think-tank" at his remote outpost on the northern branch of the Potomac, entertaining such diverse persons as native tribal representatives, General Edward Braddock, Methodist Bishop Asbury, and Luther Martin, Maryland's first attorney general. Research has been conducted on the physical layout of Cresap sites in Oldtown, including the location of Colonel Thomas Cresap's fort and gravesite, as well as the biographical background of the Cresaps' impact and astoundingly broad range of activities and interests.

Oldtown Maryland was the first settlement in what is now Allegany County, Maryland. It has a rich and fascinating history. A ford in the Potomac led to the establishment of early Indian settlements in the area, and the famous "Warrior Path" from the Indian Nations of the north to the southern tribes, crossed the Potomac here. In 1740, Thomas Cresap, an early explorer, established a fort to trade with the Indians. Cresap became a prominent figure in the development of Western Maryland. He made and lost several fortunes, eventually establishing himself as the primary trader in this part of the frontier. Pennsylvanians, interested in attaching the land to their colony, battled with Cresap several times in 1730s. After spending time in jail in Philadelphia, Thomas Cresap moved to Maryland, and settled in Oldtown in 1741. In 1748 he entertained George Washington, a sixteen year old surveyor’s apprentice surveying the west.

Capturing and maintaining the true story of the essence of America's history is only one generation from failure. The process of rapid societal and technological change over the last 100 years has distorted our Founders' vision with simplifications, stereotypes and revisionism by various enemies of Liberty. As with other unique social movements throughout history, the development of our values must benefit from regularly revisiting the wellspring from which it began.

For further information on the Irvin Allen/Michael Cresap Museum, contact info@michaelcresapmuseum.org or phone us at 301-478-5848.

Jilla Diane Smith, President

    Judy Allen O'Hara, Secretary/Treasurer


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