History of Land Ownership
Research at the Maryland State Archives and documents in the files of Ruth Hedeman have outlined the beginnings of a history of Koppelman and related families’ land ownership in Baltimore County. The Koppelmans’ ownership of land on Franklin (Frankford) Avenue, between Belair Road and Philadelphia Road, has been traced back to 1840, and the family expanded those holdings to somewhere between 60 and 70 acres by the time of Johann Hermann Koppelmann’s death in 1877, when the estate was divided according to his bequests. From then until the area underwent rapid development after the 1918 expansion of Baltimore city limits encompassed the area, his sons and grandsons engaged in a complex series of land transactions in the neighborhood.
These transactions involved not just selling and buying from neighbors, but also lending and borrowing cash on the strength of mortgaged land. Often there were familial connections between the Koppelmans and the neighbors to whom they lent and from whom they borrowed, as in the series of mortgages John George Koppelman, Jr., granted to various members of the Melchoir family.
These mortgages were always paid off, sometimes with extensions. Thus the loans taken and given appear to be a system of neighborhood lending, using land as collateral.
It was a system that seems to have come largely to an end around 1919-1920, when the Koppelmans sold their land on Franklin Avenue, and moved out just beyond the city limits, to 32 acres on a hill overlooking Hamilton Avenue and Philadelphia Road, purchased from John Langenfelder.
Many of the deeds have been found from invaluable notes made on the 1915 Bromley Atlas of Baltimore County by a longtime Baltimore County surveyor who left a large collection of maps to the Maryland State Archives. Ruth Hedeman acquired a copy of one deed and extracts about several others from an undated letter from her aunt, Charlotte Koppelman Betz.
Still others were found using the Maryland State Archives’ pilot digitization project, mdlandrec.net.
September 29, 1840: John H. Koppelman and John H. Jeungman together bought 24.5 acres of land from William L. and Mary Bowley near Bowley’s Lane, south of Belair Road, for $400.00 (Liber TK No. 305 Folio 98).
September, 1849: John H. Koppelman bought out John H. Jeungman’s share of the above property for $200 (Liber ? No. 420 Folio 173).
26 September 1859: John Herman Koppelman bought about seven acres of Gay’s Enlargement/Gay’s Favor from William A. Stewart, trustee, for $708.12-1/2 (Liber GHC No. 24 Folio 304-305.
1860: The 1860 Agricultural Census of Maryland records John Kupplman as owner of 32 acres—16 improved, 16 unimproved—worth $3,000.00. His farm implements were valued at $100, and his livestock $160 (Maryland 1860 Agricultural Census, volume 1, transcribed by Linda L. Green (Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 2007).
June 13, 1863: John H. Koppelman bought 10 acres on Franklin Avenue from John Thomas Mumma and his wife Sarah E. Mumma for $575, with the stipulation that Anna Mumma would have use of the house and other buildings on the property throughout her life. In 1893, this parcel was given to John G. Koppelman’s daughter Minnie by her mother Elizabeth, following John George Koppelman’s death (Liber GHC No. 38 Folio 39).
February 21, 1866: John H. Koppelman bought 22 acres on Franklin Avenue from Nathaniel Melchior and Henrietta Melchior for $3,500 (Liber JHL No. 47 Folio 445). This deed cleared a murky title that involved faulty conveyances dating back to 1852.
February 10, 1870: John Herman Koppelman made a will, recorded with the Baltimore County Register of Wills, Liber JBM No. 5 Folio 304 or 203. The divided his land. Two codicils followed: one in 1871, dealing with smaller bequests; and one a month before his death in 1877, dealing with the future of the Koppelman family cemetery.
March 20th, 1877: John Herman Koppelman’s will was registered and proved, following his death on February 25, 1877. The following bequests of land were made:
• His wife, Anna Maseman Koppelman, remained owner
of all 70 acres of land until her death.
• After her death, John George/Gerhardt Koppelman
was to receive the farm called Little Got and the tract
purchased from John Thomas Mumma, comprising about
• John Heinrich Koppelman was to receive the farm
called Grindon and the farm called Gay’s Enlargement or
Gay’s Favor, comprising about 31 acres.
6 June 1882: Louis E. Schaub and Amelia Melchoir Schaub bought abt. 49 acres from Edward Melchoir et. al., heirs of Nathaniel Melchoir. This deed refers to 10 acres previously conveyed to the Schaubs by Nathaniel Melchoir.
13 July 1882: John Henry Koppelman loaned $1,000 to George F. Corse and Sarah Corse, as a mortgage on the Corses’ 150 acres at Bushy Neck, on Middle River (WMI No. 100 Folio 314-317).
November 12, 1883: John George/Gerhardt Koppelman and Elizabeth Koppelman bought 14 acres from Elizabeth J. Darney (nee Mumma) and husband John Henry Darney for $2,850 (Liber WMT? No. 138 Folio 402).
December 2, 1885: John George/Gerhardt Koppelman bought 20 acres on Franklin Avenue from Joshua Mumma for $3,500 ($2,000 in cash; $1,500 mortgage). The deed says this land was part of a parcel owned previously by Christian Mumma, and partitioned among his heirs in 1858 (Liber JWS No. 149 Folio 73).
1891: John George Koppelman died without a will, causing his estate to be sent to probate court.
September 14,1893: A settlement was reached between his widow Elizabeth Kemp Koppelman and her children, as follows:
• John Harman Koppelman received the 14 acres his
father had purchased from the Darneys in 1883 .
• Henry L. Koppelman received the 22 acres purchased
by his father from the Melchoirs in 1866.
• Minnie Koppelman received the 10 acres that her
father had purchased from John Thomas Mumma in
In return, each of the three agreed to pay their mother $60 per year for her life, for a total of $180 per year.
Notably, John George and Elizabeth Koppelman’s fourth child, John George Koppelman, Jr., received nothing by this agreement.
24 February 1897: John Henry Koppelman released Pauline Thelin, heir of the 150 acres at Bushy Neck mortgaged by the Corses, from $1,500 of the $2,000 then owed on the property (LMB No. 190 Folio 95-96).
3 June 1897: Louis E. Schaub and Minnie Koppelman Schaub deeded the above 10 acres to her brother, John George Koppelman, for $5.00; he deeded it back to them on the same day. The reason for these transactions is not clear; we know from census records that John George Koppelman farmed with the Schaubs. Was this a way of making him a co-owner of part of the land? (LMB No. 224 Folio 189-192).
21 January 1901: John G. Koppelman loaned $500 to William H. Melchior and Caroline Melchoir on three acres conveyed to them by George N. F. Melchoir in 1899 (NBM No. 241 Folio 336). On18 Jan 1912, a note adds, Koppelman released them from the mortgage “for value received.” The mortgage refers to John F. Gontrum as John G. Koppelman’s attorney (WPC No. 217 Folio 309-311).
11 July 1901: John G. Koppelman loaned $300 to George N. F. Melchoir and Elizabeth A. Melchoir on an unspecified number of acres conveyed to George and Elizabeth by William H. Melchoir in 1899 (NBM No 241 Folio 338; WPC No. 223 Folio 11 ff.). Koppelman released the Melchoirs from this mortgage on 22 June 1912.
27 November 1912: John Harman Koppelman bought nine and 12/100 acres from neighbor Wilhelmina Murray, widow of Peter Murray. This is the first clear instance in which a mortgage functioned as a land purchase on long-term installments. Mrs. Murray allowed Koppelman to pay off the purchase price over five years for $1,900.00 (WPC No. 402 Folio 39-43). Koppelman paid off the mortgage and assumed title on 18 May 1917 (WPC No. 509 Folio 523). Note: This land had previously been purchased by the Murrays from Christina Louis Gunther et. al. in 1872 (WPC No. 404 Folio 295-297). JHK now had about 23 acres.
2 February 1913: Henry L. Koppelman deeded 46/100 of an acre to William E. Reineke and Mary A. Koppelman Reineke on Radecke Avenue west of Franklin Avenue, for $5.00.
18 February 1913: Henry L. Koppelman mortgaged 22 acres for $3,500 borrowed from Cora Marley Hipsley and Betty Sill Marley (WPC No. 400 Folio 335). This mortgage was extended in 1918 and paid off in 1920.
28 August 1918: Lakedale Land Company assigned about 11 acres to John Harman Koppelman. Lakedale had previously purchased this land from George N. F. Melchoir in 1917 (SCL 3253 Folio 81). This brought Koppelman’s known holdings to about 34 acres.
8 February 1919: John Harman Koppelman sold 2 and 27/100 acres of the Lakedale Land Company property to Joseph and Mary Kafka (SCL No. 338 Folio 175-176). John Harmon’s holdings were now back down to 32 acres.
3 March 1919: John Harman Koppelman placed an ad in the Baltimore Sun and the Union News offering 23 acres for sale. The ad, which has been preserved by his descendents, read:
“Truck farm in high state of cultivation, 23 acres, 7 room
house, barn, wagon shed, garage, and other out-buildings,
plenty of good water, located on Franklin Ave. bet. Belair &
Phila. Roads. –J. H. Koppelman, Raspeburg, Md.”
Koppelman responded to the inquiries generated by the ad with a price of $8,000. There is no evidence, however, that he sold the property at this time.
We had always assumed that the sale advertised in the paper in 1919 paid for the purchase of the Langenfelder property in 1920. But as more land transaction records have been found, this one has proved elusive. Instead, the evidence supports a different theory: instead of selling his land all at once, John Harman Koppelman disposed of it piecemeal.
2 April 1919: John Harman Koppelman sold Letitia Mumma 6 78/100 acres, part of the 16 acres he’d received from his mother in 1893 (SCL No. 3336 Folio 31-32). This reduced JHK’s holdings to about 25 acres.
19 April 1919: John Harman Koppelman conveyed to his son John Louis Koppelman the 9 and 1/2 acres John Harman had bought from Wilhelmina Murray (SCL No. 3345 Folio247). This reduced John Harman’s holdings to about 16 acres.
April 22, 1919: John Harman Koppelman bought 32 acres of land from John Langenfelder off Hamilton Avenue, north of the Philadelphia Road (Liber WPC No. 510 Folio 69). One of the bounds of the parcel had been part of the estate of William Loney, which had been subdivided in 1861. Another of the bounds was the tract called “Stansbury’s Inheritance.” John Langenfelder had acquired this farmland from his father, John Langenfelder Sr., in 1896. The property included a good-sized two-story house, built in 1878, and a number of outbuildings, situated on a hilltop. The deed only specifies a payment of $5.00, so the full purchase price is not known. But figuring from the 1885 price of $175 per acre for the land bought from Mumma, and including the excellent house and other outbuildings, the land must have cost at minimum $8,000. The Langenfelders stipulated that they continue to have use of the dirt road through the property back to their land. This became known as Koppelman Lane, until developers changed it to Bluegrass Road in the 1960s.
The house on the property, which has been renovated and looks much like it did when the Koppelmans owned it, was later moved down the hill to its present location at 7805 Bluegrass Road, just across the street from the old home of Katherine and William Herman Koppelman, Sr..
2 June 1920: Henry L. Koppelman, John Harman Koppelman’s brother, sold 12 acres of land to Thomas M. Gontrum. This land was part of the 22 acres Henry had received from his mother in 1893 (SCL No. 3747 Folio 107-108).
6 June 1920: Henry L. Koppelman sold an unspecified number of acres to John F. Willheim and Lilly Willheim. The land was specified as lots 1, 2, 3, and 5, so presumably, Henry had had his land subdivided. This was also part of the land he received from his mother in 1893 (SCL No. 3747 Folio 277-278).
3 September 1920: John Harman Koppelman, his wife Anna Schaub Koppelman, William Herman Koppelman and his wife Katherine Schwarz Koppelman entered into a mortgage with Germania Permanent Savings and Loan Assoc. for $1,976.00, for the purchase of a lot on Middle River, in what had been Turkey Point Farm. They agreed to pay $7.04 per week on the loan. They built a summer cottage there (WPC 581 Folio 518 ff.).
6 October 1920: All the living descendents of John Herman Koppelman, and their spouses—34 people in all—agreed to deed the 1/4-acre Koppelman burial ground on Franklin/Frankford Avenue to Anna Catherine Weber Koppelman, widow of John Henry Koppelman; presumably, so that she could sell the entire parcel and divide the proceeds among her children, as John Henry’s will directed (SCL No. 3690 Folio 122).
8 November 1920: John Harman Koppelman sold 16 acres—apparently the remainder of his holdings in the Franklin Avenue area--to Frank and Sophie Herald and James and Mary Poncha (SCL 3368 Folio 558-560). Part of this 16 acres was from the Lakedale Land Company parcel. Another part of what he sold the Heralds and the Ponchas in 1920 came from the 14 acres he got from his mother in 1893. In all he sold these two couples 16 acres. If we have found all the land he owned in the Franklin/Frankford Avenue area, this would have completed the sale of his property there.
21 April 1921: Henry L. Koppelman sold Sarah L. Disney lots 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 on a plat of “Summerfield,” acreage unspecified. Summerfield must have been the name Henry gave to his subdivision. There were several restrictions placed on uses of the property, most notably, “said lots or any part thereof not to be occupied by any Negro or Chinese . . .” and “that no swine shall be kept upon said lots of ground” (SCL No. 3729 Folio 111-112).
March 3, 1923: John Harman Koppelman and Annie M. Koppelman conveyed about 3/10ths of an acre of their land to their son and daughter-in-law, William Herman Koppelman and Katherine Schwarz Koppelman (Liber WPC No. 570 Folio 187ff). Herman built a small house there for his new family.
January 13, 1925: John Harman Koppelman and Annie M. Koppelman conveyed about 6/10ths of an acre of their land to their son and daughter-in-law, William H. Koppelman and Katherine Schwarz Koppelman (Liber WPC No. 611 Folio 329 ff.).
March 28, 1929: John Harman Koppelman and Annie M. Koppelman conveyed the 32 acres they had bought from John Langenfelder in 1919 to two of their sons, George Elmer Koppelman and Frederick Koppelman, excepting the approximately 1 acre that had been conveyed to William H. and Katherine Koppelman in 1923 and 1925 (Liber WHM, No. 808, Folio 276-277).
March 31, 1943: Carrie and George Elmer Koppelman and Viola and Frederick Koppelman bought about 20.6 acres fronting on Hamilton Avenue from neighbors Annie and Louis Tremper (Liber 1281 Folio 280 ff). This would have brought their holdings to about 52 acres.
January 12, 1945: Less than a year after the death of her husband, Frederick Koppelman, his widow, Viola Volz Koppelman, sold her interest in the Hamilton Avenue farm to Carrie and George Elmer Koppelman for $5,000 to be paid over five years at 4.5% interest (Liber 1367 Folio 257 ff). George Elmer Koppelman paid off this mortgage on July 11, 1945 (Liber 1367 Folio 262).
March 29, 1946: George Elmer Koppelman mortgaged part of his land to George M. Hannah for $5,900, to be repaid at 5% interest (Liber 1443 Folio 1429).
December 1st, 1953: George Elmer Koppelman leased the former Tremper house, on 0.22 acres, to his nephew George Edward Koppelman, for $120 annual rent (Liber 2398 Folio 135 ff.).
December 28, 1955: George Elmer Koppelman sold all his remaining land on Hamilton Avenue, about 49 acres, to the Landcroft Co., for an unknown sum (Liber 2848 Folio 533 ff.). One family member remembers hearing that the property sold for $75,000. The farm was subdivided for homes, and Koppelman Lane became Bluegrass Road. Elmer bought a much larger farm in Kent County, near Kennedyville, on the Eastern Shore.
July 10th, 1956: George Elmer Koppelman bought the 2.1 acre former Arthur Kahler house and property on Hamilton Avenue from Sherman O. and Isabelle Canapp (Liber GLB No. 2967 Folio 272 ff.)..
September 5th,1957: George Elmer Koppelman sold to George Edward Koppelman, his nephew, the Kahler house, totaling 0.599 acres at Hamilton Avenue and Philadelphia Road, for the sum of $9,000, to be paid over 5 years at 5% interest (Liber 3225 Folio 242 ff). This was part of the land Elmer had acquired from Sherman Canapp in 1956.
last updated 11.18.07