How did this spot get the name Accident? To this very day it remains a mystery. There are numerous stories advocating the name’s origin, but the following is probably the most nearly correct story of the “accident”. At least it checks with the land records.
In 1774 Lord Baltimore, Proprietor of the Maryland Colony, opened his lands “westward of Fort Cumberland” for settlement. Among the speculators who hastened to western Maryland with their surveyors to secure choice tracts of land were Brooke Beall and William Deakins, Jr., both of Prince George’s County. William Deakins and his brother Francis had warrants for several tracts, and on April 14, 1774, they surveyed a fine tract of 682 acres between the branches of Bear Creek, including an old Indian camp ground on the trail to Braddock’s Road. But when the survey was completed, Brooke Beall and his party appeared on the scene and Beall claimed that he had selected the same tract for his survey, calling attention to his axe marks on the trees to prove his claim. Deakins replied that it appeared that they had selected the same land “by accident”. Since he and Beall were friends and land was abundant, he proposed that Beall take over the survey already made. To this Beall agreed, although his warrant called for 778 acres. John Hanson, Jr., Deputy County Surveyor, made out the survey to Beall, and they named the tract Accident.