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Branches of Baltimore History

Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Baltimore

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Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery is located in west Baltimore and is bound by Redwood Street to the north, Lombard Street to the south and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west. 2.8 acres of land was purchased in 1800 as a burial ground for Old Saint Paul’s growing congregation. The church, established in 1692, is one of 30 original parishes granted to the Colony of Maryland by the Church of England.

Several prominent American war veterans are interred at Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery. Revolutionary War hero and Maryland politician John Eager Howard is buried here in his family vault. Howard is famous for leading the 3rd Maryland Regiment during the Battle of Cowpens. He later served as 5th Governor of Maryland from 1788 to 1791.

George Armistead rests within the park’s boundaries. Commander of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Armistead died just four years after the epic Battle of Baltimore. His nephew Lewis Armistead became a Confederate Brigadier General during the American Civil War and was incredibly courageous at the Battle of Gettysburg, a battle which ultimately claimed his life. He lies next to his uncle near the cemetery’s center.

Francis Scott Key, author of the Star-Spangled Banner, was initially interred in the Howard family vault. His daughter Elizabeth was married to Charles Howard, the fourth and youngest son of John Eager Howard. Francis Key died at his daughter’s Mount Vernon home in 1843. His remains were moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland in 1866.

Jacob Small, Jr. is buried in Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery. Small fought in the Battle of North Point during the War of 1812 and later served as mayor of Baltimore. He designed the Aquila Randall Monument in 1817. The memorial still stands in Dundalk.

Other notable Marylanders at rest here are politicians Samuel Chase, James Carroll and George Howard. Chase signed the United States Declaration of Independence and eventually became an associate justice of the Supreme Court. His father, Reverend Thomas Chase, was the first pastor of Old Saint Paul’s Parish. James Carroll was a Congressman from Maryland and George Howard, 1st son of John Eager Howard, was the 22nd Governor of the state.

Robert Cary Long, Sr. was a self-taught American architect responsible for designing and building numerous structures throughout the City of Firsts. His Peale Museum and Davidge Hall remain. Long was a member of Old Saint Paul’s Parish and was the architect of its second church building which burned down in 1854. He sleeps within the park’s protective walls.
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An interesting aspect of historic cemeteries is the burial bell. In the past there was a legitimate fear of being buried alive. A bell atop a burial room with a string hanging below was one last insurance policy for the recently departed. Cemetery workers were employed around the clock to listen for the ringing of the dead. Rick Tomlinson, Verger for Old Saint Paul’s Parish and gatekeeper of its graveyard, pointed out a few burial bells while he graciously lead me around the grounds.


Written by monumentcity

October 29th, 2011 at 11:24 am