Poolesville is a town in the western portion of Montgomery County, Maryland. It is surrounded by (but is technically not part of) the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, and is considered a distant bedroom community for commuters to Washington, D.C.
The name of the town comes from the brothers John Poole, Sr. and Joseph Poole, Sr. who owned land in what is now Poolesville. Due to a historical anomaly, until 2010 the legal name of the town was "The Commissioners of Poolesville". Residents overwhelmingly voted to formally change the name to "The Town of Poolesville" in the November 2010 general election.
In 1760, brothers John Poole, Sr. and Joseph Poole, Sr. purchased 160 acres acres in the area that is now Poolesville. Thirty-three years later, John Poole, Jr. used a 15 acres tract that he inherited from his father to build a log store and subdivided the tract, selling portions to a number of other merchants. The settlement grew from there and was incorporated in 1867.
During the Civil War Union military leaders realized that the shallow fords of the Potomac River posed a threat to the capital city. At certain times of the year the Potomac River is shallow enough to cross and thus thousands of troops were moved to both Darnestown and Poolesville. The Corps of Observation was established just outside Poolesville and soldiers were stationed near the river to watch for Confederate incursions into Maryland. During the winter of 1861-1862 it is estimated that 20,000 Union troops were stationed in or around the town. There were no battles fought in Poolesville; however, the infamous Battle of Ball's Bluff was fought nearby on October 21, 1861. Hundreds of Union soldiers who were stationed in Poolesville were killed in this battle that was badly managed by inexperienced Union generals.
There were several Confederate raids into the town during the war and the Confederate Army invaded Maryland by crossing the Potomac near Poolesville in both 1862 and 1864. The old Poolesville Methodist Church cemetery contains the remains of approximately twenty soldiers who either were killed in action at Bulls Bluff or who died of illness while in camp.
The Seneca Schoolhouse, a small one-room schoolhouse of red sandstone, was built in Poolesville in 1866 to educate the children of the stone cutters who worked at the Seneca Quarry. Operating as the Seneca Schoolhouse Museum, it provides tours to schoolchildren so that they can experience a typical school day as it would have been on March 13, 1880.
The Poolesville Historic District was listed in 1975 on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Data last updated: May 20, 2022 3:55:am.