By Elaine L. Orr
Earlier in May, I visited Garrett County, Maryland, which houses the (fictional) town of Maple Grove, home to Digger, Uncle Benjamin, et. al. in my Family History Mystery Series. I drove or took the train through the Western Maryland mountains many times, but didn't visit as I wrote the series because of Covid restrictions and a crushed vertebra. (Note to self: human parts are delicate. Do not crush.)Garrett County Historical Society mailed me materials and many scholars have written readily available articles on the region. The stories are fiction, but I like the history to be true when I refer to things such as building Deep Creek Lake or Civil War actions in the region.It was fun to tour the many hundreds of artifacts in the society building on Second Street in Oakland. It also reinforced my choice to name the sleuth Digger Browning. When I did initial research, I wanted a name that would relate to the area, but would not point to a specific person alive today. I chose Browning because this was the name of an early pioneer (Meshach Browning) and he had eleven children -- and thus many descendants.