Archive for the ‘Cemetery’ Category
At the Diocesan Convention of 1855 a petition was granted to create a new parish in the village of Hampden. The first church building was erected that year in present day Roosevelt Park. In 1859 the city bought the land and created the Hampden Reservoir, displacing the church. The reservoir was filled in a hundred years later.
The Saint Mary’s episcopal congregation moved in 1860, one year before the Civil War began, to a few acres of land in north Hampden donated by Henry Mankin, a developer and landowner in the area. The parcel was later expanded in 1900 through a gift from local businessman Robert Poole. The churchyard extends from Roland Avenue down the hill to Hickory Avenue and is bounded to the north by 41st Street and to the south by Rectory Lane.
The second church, built on the new property, was made out of wood and subsequently burned down before 1873. Northern troops may have used the timber for firewood. A wooden fence that once surrounded the property was taken down piece by piece and used at a nearby Civil War soldier camp. The southern sympathizing Hampdenites were apparently treated with contempt by the Union battalions.
The third church building was built in 1873 and still stands today. The parish was decommissioned in 2002 and the building was turned into an outreach center for the Hampden community. In 1964 the congregation tore down its rectory, which stood just south of the 1873 church, and the Roland towers assisted living complex was erected. The chapel at the northern boundary of the parcel is still standing but is vacant. The building was previously occupied by a separate congregation.
The Victorian graveyard is one of a few remaining in the city that is still physically connected to the church of its origin. Founded around the same time as the episcopal parish, Saint Mary’s Cemetery has graves dating back to the late 19th Century. The park is open from from dawn until dusk and is worth visiting for the view alone. A tour of Hampden is not complete without a trip to Saint Mary’s.
Baltimore’s Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery was established on May 3, 1882. The Redemptorist burying ground is situated in north Baltimore and is bound by Belair and Moravia Roads above Herring Run Park. The Redemptorist order is a Catholic congregation founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, the Italian author, philosopher and bishop. The graveyard was created to serve the city’s Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint James the Less parishes. Over the years other local congregations acquired sections of the burial ground, forming a rich cross section of Baltimore’s catholic history.
The centerpiece of the cemetery, the Francis E. Tormey designed chapel, was payed for by local businessman and politician Frank Furst. Completed in 1917, the Furst Memorial Chapel was once used for ceremonies and is currently under consideration for renovation. Mr. and Mrs. Furst are entombed within along with 61 Redemptorists that were transferred from a graveyard in Ilchester, Maryland.
Babe Ruth’s mother is buried in section G-2 near Priest Circle. A new tombstone was recently placed on her previously unmarked grave. She died in 1912 of tuberculosis while her son was still a teenager. In section W lies the remains of Henry Gunther, supposedly the last man to die in World War I. Gunther was killed in France on November 11, 1918 at 10:59 in the morning. His grave consists of an angel on a plinth and detailed marker that was installed in 2010.
Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs was established in 1786 as Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery. In the middle of the 19th Century the congregation (First Presbyterian) decided to erect a church building. They chose the cemetery for the Dixon, Dixon, Balbirnie designed structure, placing the foundation on top of the burial ground. Completed in 1852, the Gothic Revival church is raised above a portion of graves creating catacombs. It closed in 1977 and is now owned and maintained by the University of Maryland School of Law. The facilities are available for functions and the cemetery is open to the public from 8am until dusk. The catacombs can be toured by appointment.
Several American heroes are resting at Westminster. Revolutionary War physician James McHenry was buried here in 1816. A signer of the Declaration of Independence and George Washington’s aide-de-camp, McHenry eventually became the third United States Secretary of War. Fort McHenry was named in his honor.
Brigadier General John Stricker was instrumental in Baltimore’s defining moment during the War of 1812. In command of the third brigade of the Maryland Militia, Stricker was tasked with stalling the approaching British land force as they marched on Baltimore in September of 1814. His men were successful, enabling Major General Samuel Smith to carry out his fortification plans. Stricker was also a soldier during the Revolutionary War.
Next to the Stricker vault is the final resting place of Samuel Smith, merchant, statesman and war hero. Smith elevated to Lieutenant Colonel during the Revolutionary War and to Major General during the War of 1812. He commanded the city’s overall defense during the Battle of Baltimore and was a United States Senator from Maryland. He was mayor of Baltimore from 1835-1838. Smith died in 1839 at the age of 86. His politician brother Robert, Secretary of State under James Madison, is also buried at Westminster.
A number of Baltimore mayors are entombed here. James Calhoun, Edward Johnson and John Smith-Hollins join Samuel Smith in the small Victorian cemetery.
In 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was placed at Westminster next to his grandfather, David Poe Senior. A veteran of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, David was Charm City’s assistant deputy quartermaster during the Revolution and apparently committed $40,000 of his personal fortune to the American cause. He helped defend Charm City in 1814 at the age of 71. His tombstone reads: Patriot.
In 1875 Edgar Allan was moved to the front of the cemetery and placed under an Egyptian-themed George Frederick designed monument. Several years later, in 1913, a second headstone was erected at the writer’s initial burial site.
The land for Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery was purchased for $3000.00 by the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Baltimore on October 25, 1854. The obscure location is west of the Jones Falls across from the neighborhood of Hampden. In 1860 the countryside surrounding the 4.5 acre cemetery was purchased by City Council under the guidance of Mayor Thomas Swann and turned into Druid Hill Park, the third oldest landscaped public park in America.
In 1868 the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Church divided into three separate congregations: Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran and Martini Lutheran Church. An agreement was reached to jointly maintain the burial ground thereafter. One stipulation of the agreement was that no lot owners could bury blatant blasphemers. During this transitional period the City of Baltimore bought 2.25 acres reducing the cemetery’s size by half.
The burial site was severely vandalized in 1986 leaving many of the markers tipped over and broken. A pile of stones remains at the base of an old growth tree. Today Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery is solely owned and operated by Martini Lutheran Church with the Friends of Druid Hill Park adding assistance. The two groups have made vast improvements to the yard. A stone-worker is repairing neglected memorials and someone is keeping the grass trimmed.
The peculiar family plot of Gottlieb Taubert lies unmarked in Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. Lincoln conspirator George Atzerodt is supposedly buried with the Tauberts, secretly interred here by his mother and father sometime after 1869. Victoria and John Atzerodt went to Washington to retrieve their son’s remains when President Andrew Johnson pardoned those involved with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. They brought their son to Baltimore.
Upon reviewing the cemetery’s burial records at the Maryland Historical Society Library I noticed that a Viktoria Asserat (Victoria Atzerodt) was placed to rest in the Taubert lot in 1886. It’s my belief, and others, that George Atzerodt is buried anomalously along with his mother in the Gottlieb Taubert family plot, Lot 90 near the center of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Druid Hill Park.
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.
Elijah Bond was best known for filing the first United States patent for the Ouija board. Born in Harford County, MD in 1847, Bond became a successful lawyer in Baltimore City, starting his own practice in the 1870s. He filed the Ouija patent on behalf of the Kennard Novelty Company in 1891. Elijah Bond died in 1921 and was anonymously buried in his family’s plot at Green Mount Cemetery. Robert Murch, America’s foremost Ouija historian, after fifteen years of searching, located the ambiguous grave. Murch erected the Ouija-themed headstone in 2008. The cemetery’s mausoleum is nearby.
Rogers-Buchanan Burial Ground lies within the boundaries of Druid Hill Park across the street from the zoo’s Reptile House. This small north Baltimore cemetery was created in the 1700s as a typical family estate burying ground.
The estate was acquired by Lord Baltimore in the late 1600s and being prized for its lumber, was sold many times to industrial colonialists. Nicholas Rogers came to own 200 acres of the forest-covered land. When Rogers died in 1709 he left the estate to his daughter Eleanor.
Eleanor married George Buchanan, one of the seven commissioners responsible for establishing Baltimore City, and bore him ten children. When George Buchanan died in 1750, his son Lloyd took over the land, adding surrounding properties and enlarging the estate to 625 acres.
The Colonel, a Revolutionary War veteran, had an interest in architecture and worked on city projects with builder/architect Robert Cary Long. Rogers designed the the Assembly Room which stood adjacent to the old courthouse. The building burned down in 1873 in the Holliday Street Theatre fire.
Through the years the Rogers family modified the estate, adding rolling pathways and adventurous landscaping. Colonel Rogers IV made great improvements to the property by adding bays and indentations to the untamed forest.
In a unique move for the time, the Colonel’s will provided that his slaves be freed and given monthly salaries upon his passing. Rogers IV died in 1822, outliving his wife by ten years. Their son Lloyd Nicholas Rogers inherited Druid Hill.
Rumored to be a recluse, Lloyd apparently cut off ties with friends, city officials and former family business partners. When Mayor Thomas Swann and City Council wanted to build a turnpike through the Rogers-Buchanan estate, Lloyd refused. A bitter and lengthy battle ensued. Lloyd Nicholas Rogers died in 1860, a month and a half after he unwillingly sold the family property.
The half-acre graveyard was left in the possession of the Rogers family when the sale of the park was finalized. The burial ground’s last interment was Edmund Law Rogers in 1896.
Moving a cemetery is a difficult thing for any development company to do. Especially moving a 19th Century burial ground where the caskets have deteriorated and the headstones are non-existent or unreadable. But apparently developing neighborhoods need shopping centers more than old cemeteries.
While researching Charm City’s former reservoir system I noticed a graveyard near Clifton Park that isn’t there today. The city’s 1905 land records clearly show a Laurel Cemetery on the lot now occupied by the Belair Shopping Center. Laurel Cemetery was founded in 1852 and was the first non-sectarian funerary grounds in Baltimore for blacks. Numerous important figures were interred there including members of the local church and Civil War veterans.
The site made perfect sense. It was on a hill, just outside the North Avenue city boundary, that had been used for decades as a burial ground for the free and slave servants of local landowners. Before long, Laurel Hill became the premiere cemetery for blacks in the area.
The Rev. Daniel A. Payne, a senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a frequent visitor to Abraham Lincoln’s White House, was buried there in 1893. Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist, eulogized the bishop at the cemetery. The seventh bishop of the A.M.E church, Alexander Wayman, who had spoken at Bishop Payne’s funeral, was himself buried at Laurel in 1895.
As the years passed Laurel became overgrown and neglected, its administrators eventually unable to afford regular maintenance. In 1958 the city stepped in to purchase the land, and just four years later a company by the name of Two Guys built a store and parking lot, forever sealing the historic parcel. In her journal, Agnes Callum, an Enoch Pratt librarian, published her assessment of the land takeover.
Laurel was already more than 100 years old when a band of city law officials and real estate operators formed a corporation to buy the cemetery for themselves in 1958.
With the help of legislation initiated by Marvin Mandel, then leader of the city delegation to Annapolis and later governor, the corporation acquired title to the cemetery. They bought the prime site on Belair Road for $100 in an audacious and complex land-acquisition coup.
After buying the land for basically nothing the city turned around and valued the boneyard at close to a quarter million dollars. When they sold the land an undertaker was hired to exhume and move the bodies to a new site located in Carroll County. The question is whether or not they actually moved them. Of the estimated five to seven thousand people buried at Laurel only eight to twelve bodies were removed intact. These remains along with two to three hundred small boxes filled with anonymous bones and skulls were taken to Carroll County. The rest were paved over.
For many years after the cemetery’s removal, human bones would occasionally be found protruding from the hill behind the department store. The bones ended up as souvenirs in the collections of local citizens.
In 1815, French-born architect Maximilian Godefroy completed the carriage gates at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. Godefroy designed the cemetery entrance in the Egyptian Revival style with its hourglass form symbolizing “time’s swift flight.” He earned $5000 for the work. Landing in America after fighting on the losing side of the French Revolution, Godefroy spent 15 years in Baltimore working in the architectural field. He designed the Battle Monument, First Unitarian Church and Saint Mary’s Chapel, all of which are still standing. Westminster Burying Ground is the final resting place of James McHenry, Samuel Smith and Edgar Allan Poe.
Green Mount Cemetery is home to over 68,000 graves. Established in 1838, the 68 rolling country acres located in northern Baltimore City is both intriguing and inviting. The historic park of the dead, built on the former site of merchant Robert Oliver’s estate, is filled with fine sculpture and monumental memorials. Among the towering obelisks and ancient markers are the graves of a few important Americans. There’s the Lincoln Assassin John Wilkes Booth and two of his co-conspirators, Michael O’Laughlen and Samuel Arnold. There’s the sideshow performer Johnny Eck and the poet Sidney Lanier. You can also visit Philanthropist Johns Hopkins or the founder of the American Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Thomas Wildey. It’s a fascinating journey through the past. The links below provide focused GPS information for these and other historic graves at Green Mount.