Happy “Shark Week” from Mount Olivet Cemetery! I can practically guarantee that this salutation has never been uttered by a human being ever before in the history of the world.
It’s late July and we find ourselves once again in the midst of this unadulterated, yearly celebration of the cartilage-based fish possessing an infamous reputation akin to seafaring pirates of yore. For those unfamiliar with what I’m talking about here, Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block found on the Discovery Channel, which features shark-based tv shows and documentaries. Now, mind you, I didn’t have this year’s event on my calendar or smartphone (July 24-30th, 2022). I was reminded this past Sunday morning while sitting on the beach in Fenwick Island, Delaware by a blimp.
In researching for this week’s “Story in Stone,” I learned that Shark Week originally premiered on July 17th, 1988 and is featured each year in either July or early August. It was originally devoted to highlight conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks. Over time, and with a keen marketing approach, the yearly “feeding-frenzy” of programming grew in popularity, becoming a major hit on the Discovery Channel, which is based just down the road in Bethesda. Since 2010, Shark Week has been the longest-running cable-television programming event in history and is broadcast in over 72 countries.
After seeing that blimp overhead last weekend, I wondered if there was any way I could connect Shark Week to Mount Olivet? I have written about sharks before as they hold a unique connection to me as my son Eddie had the nickname of “Sharky” as a toddler—dating back to his days swimming around as a fetus. Seriously, as my wife and I chose not to know the sex of our child until birth. I refused to simply refer to the future child as “baby” in conversation, thinking it needed a nickname with frankly more bite. I also named my side “research for hire” business History Shark Productions, thus making me either the History Shark, or at least part of a legion or fraternity of “History Sharks.”
So, my literary search for the dreaded “Great White” began right there on the beach. I began my search with our Mount Olivet database of interments and received “no bites.” I then scoured the Find-a-Grave.com page for Mount Olivet with a similar result. I then began thinking on national terms in an attempt to spark my creative juices.
I certainly sailed off-course and soon found myself in troubled waters as I had landed on a unique Find-a-Grave tribute page of shark attack victims. This was compiled by an individual named Lashelle Childress and had absolutely everything to do with maneaters and cemeteries, but nothing to do with Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland. I decided to read further anyway.
There are only a handful of names on this page, but three are in Monmouth County, New York. One such was Charles Bruder, a 28-year-old native of Switzerland, and former soldier in the Swiss Army. At the time of his death, he was employed as the Bell Captain at the Essex and Sussex Hotel at Spring Lake. Mr. Bruder was the 2nd victim of the infamous "Jersey Maneater Shark Attacks" of 1916. He was attacked by the shark, which bit off both his feet before he was rescued by the hotel shore patrol. He died on the beach from loss of blood and shock.
Lester Stillwell was a 12 year-old boy who went swimming with friends in the Matawan Creek (Matawan, NJ) on the afternoon of July 12th (1916). As his pals watched in horror, young Lester was brutally attacked by a shark (still unknown as to what kind) and killed. Townsfolk quickly gathered at the creek and several men attempted to find Lester's body. One of the men, Watson Stanley Fisher, 24 years old, actually found Lester's body when he, himself, was attacked. Stanley died 12 hours later that day from blood loss from his wound, while Lester's body was discovered two days later. Because of his bravery and sacrifice, Stanley is remembered as a hero. Both he and Lester were buried on July 15th, 1916 at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan.
A gentleman named Dr. Richard Fernicola wrote a book about these tragic deaths entitled, "Twelve Days of Terror" about the shark attacks of 1916 along the Jersey Shore and in Matawan Creek. Four people would be killed or injured between July 1st and 12th. The event can be seen as the very first “Shark Week,” you could say, and took place against a backdrop of a deadly summer heat wave and polio epidemic in the United States that drove thousands of people to the seaside resorts of the Jersey Shore. Since 1916, scholars have debated which shark species was responsible and the number of animals involved, with the great white shark and the bull shark most frequently cited.
Personal and national reaction to the fatalities involved a wave of panic that led to shark hunts aimed at eradicating the population of "man-eating" sharks and protecting the economies of New Jersey's seaside communities. Resort towns enclosed their public beaches with steel nets to protect swimmers. Scientific knowledge about sharks before 1916 was based on conjecture and speculation. The attacks forced ichthyologists to reassess common beliefs about the abilities of sharks and the nature of shark incidents of a violent nature.
The Jersey Shore attacks immediately entered into American popular culture, where sharks became caricatures in editorial cartoons representing danger. The assaults became the subject of documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and Discovery Channel, which aired 12 Days of Terror (2004) and the Shark Week episode Blood in the Water (2009).
Sufficed to say, my reservations about getting back in the water were “short-lived,” pardon the pun, but I was sure glad to be on the beaches of “Lower, Slower” Delaware than New Jersey, or, worse yet, Amity, Long Island, New York. The latter was the fictional site of the “Jaws” novel by Peter Benchley, and subsequent movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. These two offerings captured my imagination as a youth, as it did countless others, upon its release in the mid-1970s. That summer of 1975 had everyone going to the beach on high alert as the movie was released on June 20th.
On a lighter, and related, note, exploration of Find-a-Grave.com led me to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s historic Allegheny Cemetery where there is as unique a tombstone as you will ever see.
This marks the grave of Korean War veteran Lester C. Madden—self-proclaimed to be one of the biggest “Jaws” movie fans in the world. Mr. Madden was buried under a stone shaped like the iconic great white from the book’s cover and movie posters.
I was certainly envious of Allegheny Cemetery for having such a stone, and told that to my history assistant, Marilyn Veek, upon my return to the office earlier this week. However, she brought to my attention the presence of a shark-themed gravestone in our midst here in Mount Olivet. It is located in Area TJ/Lot 87. Here, one can find the touching tribute to an 8-year-old who, I assume, had a great fascination with the Elasmobranchii family of which sharks belong. This is the final resting place of Mark Anthony Marketon, who passed away the day after Christmas in 2018. The Rockville native died at Johns Hopkins Hospital of an undisclosed illness.
Mark Anthony’s gravesite, like Mr. Madden’s in Pittsburgh, is surely something to behold, and will keep his memory alive to cemetery visitors long into the future. Among the notable features are a photo collage, a glass front compartment housing favorite toys, and two renderings of sharks—a Great White and the silhouette of a hammerhead.
I could not find any other sharks, but fish abound on gravestones throughout the newer sections of Mount Olivet. These are commonly chosen to designate avid outdoorsman or those desiring the religious connotation employing the symbol frequently used by early Christian writers in the Gospels to mean resurrection and infinity thereafter.
Another thing that many sharks, and visitors to a cemetery, can encounter, are anchors. These “boat holders” typically symbolize hope and steadfastness, often serving as a symbol for Christ and his anchoring influence upon the lives of Christians. In coastal areas, the anchor also serves as a symbol for nautical professions and commonly mark the graves of dedicated seaman. Sometimes, the anchor can also be disguised as a cross to guide the way to secret meeting places. Much like the Victorian iconography of a broken column, an anchor with a severed chain represents death, in most cases prematurely.
Two of our past Stories in Stone are shining examples of this as they tell the stories of two seafarers buried here in Mount Olivet: Captain Herman D. Ordeman and U.S. Naval engineer George A. Dean. Both fine monuments can be found in Area A.
A few weeks back, a few gravestones connecting to a naval profession caught my attention. I was not far from Confederate Row, when I was pulled into a family plot in Area H, listed as Lot 506. Here lie seven members of the Cassin family.
No anchors, fish or sharks for that matter, can be found on any stones. Truth be told, there are no symbols or memorable designs whatsoever. However, three of the six stones certainly beckon the sea in respect to the U.S. Navy and a former leading member of that branch. Problem is, this gentleman is buried elsewhere.
These stones proudly express a familial relationship with Commodore Stephen Cassin (1783-1857), a native of Philadelphia who is buried at the famed Arlington National Cemetery. Here we have buried Commodore Cassin’s son, John Cassin (1838-1903), and grandson, John Stephen Cassin (1870-1895). Interestingly, John Cassin was married to Alice Schley (1839-1911), daughter of Col. Edward Schley and great-granddaughter of one of our Frederick Town founders—German immigrant John Thomas Schley (1712-1790) and wife Margaret Wintz.
While Col. Schley had nothing to do with water in a military sense, he even got the proverbial "shout-out" on this gravestone too. Col. Schley's brother, Winfield Scott Schley, had everything to do with H2O as his career was based on it. Alice (Schley) Cassin’s first cousin, Winfield, was born in 1839 in Frederick at Richfields plantation, just north of Frederick City and along US Route 15. Just look for the billboard saying so along the highway and across from Beckley’s Motel and east of Homewood Retirement Community.
Richfields was the original homeplace of Gov. Thomas Johnson, Jr. before he moved in with his daughter at Rose Hill Manor after losing his wife. Interestingly, Winfield Scott Schley’s mother would die at Richfields as well along with some of Winfield’s siblings. This supposedly spooked his father, John Thomas Schley, Jr. (1808-1876), who began to question the safety of drinking water on the property. This precipitated John to move his family to downtown Frederick—200 East Church Street to be exact, on the southeast corner as it intersects Chapel Alley. Winfield attended St. John’s Catholic School across the street from his home, and then went off to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis where he graduated in 1860. He served in the American Civil War and eventually rose to the rank of rear admiral in the United States Navy and the hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish–American War. He died in 1911 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery as well as the forementioned Stephen Cassin.
Admiral Schley’s parents (John Thomas, Jr. and Georgianna) were farmers and are buried in Mount Olivet’s Area P, along with several of his siblings. In neighboring Area F/Lot 41, one can find Admiral Schley's uncle, Col. Edward Schley, father of Alice (Schley) Cassin.
I’m assuming that Winfield Scott Schley was well aware of the exploits of his cousin’s father-in-law. (Stephen Cassin). Perhaps old Admiral Schley was responsible for the introduction between cousin Alice and Commodore Cassin’s son John Cassin. We may never know, but I found it interesting that these cousins have the same vital dates by year.
Before we look at John Cassin a bit closer, I’d like to share some information on his father Stephen Cassin (Feb 16, 1783-August 29th, 1857). He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery's Section 1, Grave 299.
Here is what his biography on FindaGrave.com says:
United States Naval Officer. He began his Navy service in 1800, when he was appointed as a Midshipman. He took part in the Barbary Wars, and had risen to Lieutenant by the outbreak of the War of 1812. Sent to serve under Commodore Theodore MacDonough in Lake Champlain, he assisted in building up American Naval forces there, and was given command of the “USS Ticonderoga”. He performed well at the September 11, 1814 Battle of Lake Champlain, directing his ship as it fended off British attacks and a boarding party. Commended by Commodore MacDonough, Stephen Cassin was awarded a Gold Medal by the United States Congress a month later for his performance. He ended the war with the rank of Master Commandant. Remaining in the Navy, he achieved the rank of Captain in 1825, and Commodore in 1830. In 1822, while in command of the “USS Peacock”, he captured and destroyed a number of pirate vessels that had been preying on shipping in the West Indies.
Stephen Cassin died in 1857, and was originally interred in Georgetown, DC. He was subsequently removed to Arlington National Cemetery, where his remains lie in Section 1. Two United States Navy Destroyers have been named “USS Cassin” after him – DD-43, which served during World War I, and DD-372, which was heavily damaged at Pearl Harbor, but was salvaged and won six battle stars during World War II.
Our John Cassin was named for his grandfather who also experienced a storied career with the US Navy. This gentleman, John Cassin (1760-1822) was born in Philadelphia and buried in St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Chirch Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina.
Little is known of John Cassin's early life, but what is known reveals he fought in the Revolution as early as 1777 participating in the Battle of Trenton and continuing his service with the Army until he became a First Mate as a Pennsylvania Privateer on board the "Mayflower" on June 27, 1782. After the Revolution Cassin became a merchant seaman, twice being shipwrecked near the turn of the century it became necessary to increase the size of the Navy due to the ongoing Barbary pirate attacks along with other potential threats. He enlisted as a Lieutenant on November 13, 1799. On April 6,1806 he was promoted to Master Commandant and became second in command of the Washington Navy Yard. On July 3, 1812 he was promoted to Captain, then the highest rank in the United States Navy. During the War of 1812-1815 he led the United States Navy in the Delaware for the defense of Philadelphia. He was also the Commanding Officer of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard from August 10, 1812 until June 1, 1821 when he was chosen to be the Commanding Officer of the Southern Naval station based at Charleston, South Carolina.
The Crawford-Cassin House still stands in Georgetown at 3017 O Street. Built in 1818, the gardens of the property once extended to 30th Street to the east and to P Street on the north. The house is still accessible from P Street by a private driveway. Early in the 20th century the building was altered and enlarged to be used as a private school. Today it is again a private residence, which recently sold for $13 million dollars.
Our subject, John Cassin, was born in Washington, D.C. on June 20th, 1838. The Cassin family was living in style in Georgetown in the 1850 US Census. I will venture to say that perhaps John was sent to Frederick’s St. John’s Academy for his schooling as this would explain the opportunity to meet his future wife, and perhaps Winfield Scott Schley was a classmate, and better yet, a friend.
In 1860, while Schley was graduating from the Naval Academy, young John Cassin had taken a different path in life away from military service. He is listed as a farmer and living in a downtown hotel operated by Michael Zimmerman. By 1870, he appears to be farming his own farmstead north of town in the Yellow Springs area. Further research showed that John bought a 100-acre farm on Yellow Springs Rd (in the deed the road was called Spout Springs turnpike) in 1859, but would lose it to bankruptcy in 1873. He had 3 mortgages on the property, 1 to H D Ordeman, 1 to William White, and 1 to Nathan Neighbours and B. H. Schley (presumably Major Benjamin Henry Schley, Alice's brother). My assistant Marilyn gave me the idea that Alice's parents or other relatives could have played a role in influencing them to buy the farm, since "Dr. Fairfax Schley" owned properties nearby. The area of Cassin's farm is now the Clover Hill development.
John and Alice would raise four children into adulthood: Margaret “Maggie” B. (b. 1862); Edward Schley (b. 1864); Anna “Nannie” Affordby (b. 1869) and John Stephen (b. 1870). By 1880, he had traded in his plough for a pencil. His family moved back to his old hometown of Georgetown. and he was employed as a clerk for the US Navy Department. I’m guessing this occurred around 1873, likely as a result of the bankruptcy. However, this was the same year that marked the death of his father. I found later that he started in his employment with the Navy that same year.
John and Alice’s daughter Nannie died of Typhoid fever at age 18. She would be laid to rest back here in Frederick next to her father’s sister, Olivia (1842-1867), who had died in 1867 at age 25. Two years later (1869), two of John and Alice’s children were reburied here in the family plot. Through Ancestry.com, I found one of these was Alice Cassin (March 22, 1865-Dec 4, 1869). Another son, John Stephen, would die in 1895 (aged 25) of Typhoid fever like his sister.
In 1900 the John Cassin family was living on 23rd Street in Northwest D.C. I found a US Navy employee U.S., Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service directory from July 1903 which shows both John and son Edward working as clerks for the Navy Department. Coincidence or plain old nepotism, you be the judge? However, one cannot deny that those Cassins had great connections to naval heroes.
John Cassin died five months later on December 4th, 1903. His mortal remains came back to Frederick for burial. From his obituary, I was excited to learn that Admiral Schley had attended his funeral service.
Alice would die in May, 1911 as mentioned earlier. Her son possessing her Schley maiden name, Edward, died of nephritis less than 16 years later and is buried here in the family plot as well. Margaret B. (Cassin) Gladmon passed in 1926.
It might not be obvious to the casual visitor, but this family certainly was connected to the sea through familial connections. If anything else, they sure were proud of the Commodore. Maybe it's because they knew their life blessings could be attributed to his fame? Who knows?
That's it, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Not quite Shark Week material, but neither is receiving writing inspiration from a blimp at the beach when you get right down to it. Unless, of course, that blimp has sharks all over it.
I bet little Mark Anthony Marketon would have really got a kick out of seeing that contraption flying overhead.
After last week’s “Story in Stone,” I was “jonesing” for a more sizable grave monument to write about. As I was driving into the office earlier in the week and pondering what to write about this week, my eye caught one among the thousands available to me. This is located along the cemetery's central drive and across from the fenced-in Potts Lot in Mount Olivet’s Area E. This locale is one of the highest elevations in the cemetery, and Frederick City for that matter thus heightening the monument in my mind in a subconscious way too, perhaps?
I soon learned that this fine specimen belongs to a family with an ancient Scottish surname from the Celtic term “boidhe”—meaning fair complected or yellow (blonde). The name apparently derives from a Scottish historical figure named “Boyt” or “Boyd.”
So, just who was this dude “Boyd,” whose birth name was Robert? Well, he was the fair-complected son of Simon, and grandson of Alan Flaad the Younger, a favorite of King Henry I of England. Alan (the Younger) was the son of a guy named Flathald, aka Alan fitz Flaad (c. 1078 – after 1121), a Breton knight, likely recruited as a mercenary by Henry I in his conflicts with his own brothers. Flathald’s son (Alan) became a diligent advisor to the king and obtained large estates in Norfolk, Sussex, Shropshire, and elsewhere in the Midlands, including the feudal barony and castle of Oswestry in Shropshire. His duties included supervision of the Welsh border. Got it?
Scottish history claims that Robert/Boidhe died sometime before 1240 but his moniker would live on as a surname through descendants, eventually anglicized to “Boyd.” Over 500 years, and many generations later, a descendant named Andrew Boyd was born on September 25th, 1745. Interestingly, his birthdate was just two weeks after the official founding date of Frederick Town by Annapolis investor Daniel Dulany.
Little is known of this gentleman, but I'm guessing he was likely pale-skinned and/or possessed blonde hair. Whatever the case of his appearance, he would make his way to the New World, and eventually made it to Frederick, Maryland. Andrew Boyd hailed from Balmerino, Fife, Scotland, a small farming village and former monastic center by the estuary of the River Tay. It is the home of Balmerino Abbey and former abbots of Balmerino who were great regional landlords. It became a secular lordship at the beginning of the 17th century and fell into ruin. (Click here for a short slideshow of vintage photographs of Balmerino).
I came across a note on an Ancestry.com family tree regarding his departure from Scotland in 1770 and apparent arrival in New Jersey. The water became quite murky for me at this point, as it was tough finding additional info on this particular Andrew Boyd through my usual resources. He is not buried here in Mount Olivet, however a Find-a-Grave.com memorial page places him within our Mount Olivet online collection on the popular website.
I did, however, find a plethora of information on Andrew’s son, David, and several grandchildren buried here in the shadow of some substantial monuments—including another Andrew, named in the immigrant Boyd’s honor.
Meanwhile, our cemetery records show the re-interment of a woman named Margaret (Dundas) Boyd who died in 1774. She is buried in the mass grave on Area MM. This gravesite is certainly associated with the major removal project undertaken in 1913 with the old All Saints’ Protestant Episcopal burial ground once located between East All Saints’ Street and Carroll Creek.
Speaking of All Saints’ Church and Cemetery, many may be familiar with the local parish history book by Ernest Helfenstein, with a second edition published in 1991. This was edited by an old acquaintance of mine whose family ran a landmark business on North Market Street for generations under the moniker of Hendrickson’s.
Of course, I’m talking of Carroll H. Hendrickson, Jr. (1920-2013), who operated the ladies clothing store his grandfather began in 1877. Carroll was a meticulous researcher who introduced me to the many resources at the Maryland Historical Society. He performed continuous work with the Historical Society of Frederick, the Maryland Episcopal Church Archives and, of course, his beloved All Saints’ Episcopal Church. Carroll graciously assisted me with my 1995 history of Frederick video documentary, Frederick Town, and appeared as an on-camera commentator.
Imagine my surprise when I found an online genealogy piece on the Boyd family of Frederick authored by my old friend while performing a Google search. Here’s what Carroll had to say:
The background of the Andrew Boyd who married Mary MacKay in Frederick, Maryland, on 25 June 1783 has yet to be determined. Attempts to connect Andrew to the several Andrew and Mary Boyds in Cumberland, York, and Adams counties in Pennsylvania, Baltimore city, and other Boyds in Maryland have not been successful. The Maryland Historical Society's accession #48732 given by Mrs. Margaret Bridges Blakeslee in 1941 includes the "Boyd-McKay Family Bible" and two versions of a typed and unsigned article on "The Boyds of Frederick." One version states "Andrew Boyd, the first member of the family to settle in Frederick, was born on September 25, 1749. The date of his arrival in this country is not known." The other states "Andrew Boyd was the first member of the family to settle in Frederick, but the date of his arrival there is not known." That is the same birth date hand-written in the bible for that of Mary McKay Boyd, which would have made her thirty-four years old when she was married. The bible has no written mention of Andrew, and the birth and death dates of others appear to have been written by someone in the following generation, the last entry being 1842.
Dr. Albert Francis Blakeslee, whose wife was the donor of the above documents, stated on a paper obtained from another descendant that Andrew Boyd came from Scotland with his brother, William, who went to Kentucky. No source is given. An unsigned biography of Andrew's grandson, Dr. Charles Mifflin Boyd, 1826-1887, states that "he came from a very affluent family...."What we do know is that in 1779, Andrew Boyd bought Lot 91 (East Church to East Second St. beside Middle (Maxwell) Alley) and was listed as "weaver," married Mary MacKay in 1783, had four children baptized in the Evangelical Reformed Church, and had two living children and four slaves listed in the 1790 census. The two children were Mary Ann, born 1787, and David, born 1790. He was listed as "merchant" in the will of his father-in-law, William MacKay, in 1797, and he died in 1807/8. William was an immigrant from Sutherland, Scotland, and his wife's father, James Pearre, had come from Aberdeenshire. MacKay and Pearre were termed "tailor," and Andrew was a "weaver," yet all three had the means to buy property in Maryland.
His (Andrew’s) son, David, was deeded the house on Lot 91 on East Church St. (later 101 East Church St.) and had fourteen children. One of which, Andrew, had eight children. David advertised his weaving and blue dying business on Church and Second Street between 1811 and 1815, and in later years the family had a store beside the City Market on Market Street. Family members bought and sold property in both the town and county.
Although Andrew's children were baptized in the Reformed church, David and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Meissell (Meixell/Measell), joined the Methodist church about 1807, and David "became one of the principal pillars in the church," according to the "Sketches of the early History of the Methodist Church of Frederick." Upon David's death in 1862, the official body of the Methodist church wrote lengthy laudatory resolutions on "Brother Boyd," and the writer of the "Sketches," who had known David since 1820, added another paragraph to state that "Bro. Boyd was one of the principal men who saved our church in Frederick from a similar fate" to those others in a "radical controversy when many of the most prominent appointments ...were torn to pieces and became mere wrecks from which they have not recovered fully to the present day."
In the 1770s there was also in Frederick an Archibald Boyd from England and Abraham Boyd of the John Boyd family from Southern Maryland. Both of these are well documented, and there is no obvious connection to Andrew. Andrew's wife, Mary MacKay, had a Scottish father and mother. We are now assuming that the statement of Dr. Blakeslee is correct, and that our Andrew was actually a Scottish immigrant.
This passage was a spectacular find, and I must add that Carroll H. Hendrickson is buried in his family’s plot in Mount Olivet's Area AA/Lot 130. Now that we have painfully established immigrant Andrew Boyd, wife Mary (McKay) and mentioned the two children of that union who grew into adulthood (David and Mary Ann (Boyd) Hunt), it’s time to delve a bit deeper into David Boyd and his family.
It was David, whose picturesque obelisk put me on this quest to Scotland, back to America, and finally here in Frederick. His name was familiar as I recall working with his bio and gravesite a decade ago with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. At that time, the cemetery published a book entitled: Frederick’s Other City War of 1812 Veterans and engaged in a project in which we placed special markers on the graves of 108 such soldiers here in Mount Olivet. Private David Boyd served under Capt. Henry Steiner of the Frederick Town Regiment, Maryland Militia, from April 28th to June 29th, 1813, and again from August 25th to September 27th, 1814.
We’ve already established that David Boyd was born August 20th, 1790 to Andrew and Mary (McCay or McKay) Boyd in Frederick City. He grew up along today’s Maxwell Alley that stretches between East Church and East Second streets. His father had bought the lot on the east side of the alley in 1779, but sold the north end (Second Street) in 2 parcels in 1802 and 1807. In 1814, David’s mother sold him the south half of the property fronting on Church Street. Nearly two decades later, David sold this property in 1833, eventually making it possible for the Tyson House to be built utilizing an Italianate design in the year 1854. Many also know this also as the Musser House, located at 101-103 East Church.
In 1833 David Boyd moved up the alley, buying lot 102 located on the east side of Maxwell between Second and Third streets. He would live in a house on this lot fronting on Second Street. That same year, David also bought property on the east side of Market Street, then described as a three-story brick house and lot.
David Boyd married Mary Meixell on May 30th. He spent his working career as a merchant and farmer here in Frederick. He seems to have taught a few of his sons the family business and subsequently partially retired to take up the life of gentleman farmer as can be seen in the 1850 and 1860 census records.
David and Mary had 14 children, six of whom are buried in Area E (most in the family plot of lots 5-8). These include Andrew (July 22nd, 1815-May 12th, 1877), Mary Ann (Boyd) Jones (June 22nd, 1819-April 28th, 1897), John Jacob Boyd (July 1, 1820-June 16th, 1876), Job Hunt Boyd (June 23, 1824-January 1, 1842), Hamilton Boyd (July 11th, 1833-May 2nd, 1863), and Caroline Virginia (Boyd) Medders (January 27th, 1835-April 26th, 1904).
Three children died young and were likely buried in the German Reformed Graveyard (Memorial Park) and not recovered to be buried here in Mount Olivet like son Job Hunt Boyd who died at age 17. Job was moved here upon his father purchasing the family plot (Area E/Lot 5-8) in Mount Olivet’s opening year of 1854.
David Boyd died December 24th, 1862 at his residence on Second Street at the age of 72. He was laid to rest next to Job. Another son, Hamilton, would soon follow just five months later as a casualty of the American Civil War. Hamilton Boyd’s gravestone states that he served with the 1st MD Inf., Co. D., C.S.A. Our cemetery record database claims he served with Co. C, 43rd Virginia Cavalry under John Mosby. The Soldier History states "H.P. Boyd" enlisted as a private and served in Co. C, Va. Mosby's Part. Cavalry." The Detailed Soldier Record back this claim by saying that "H.P. Boyd" enlisted as a private and served in Co. C, of Mosby's Ref't. Va. Cavalry. (NOTE: Another soldier history states "H.P. Boyd" enlisted as a private and served in Co H, 146th Va. Militia Inf. Are these two different soldiers?) Hamilton Boyd is reported to have died on May 2nd, 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. His family, however, had the means to bring his body home for proper burial.
Another son of David Boyd, named David as well, also served with the Confederacy, supposedly under Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Jackson was fatally wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville, but David lived a full life (1838-1909) after the war. He is buried in Baltimore’s Greenmount Cemetery without a stone.
As they say that this was a war of "brother vs. brother," depicted locally in the story of the Baer family as we featured in a former "Story in Stone" last year. The Baers are buried across the drive and at the south end of the Potts lot, only 20 yards away from the Boyd plot in Mount Olivet. They also relate to the Tyson House on East Church Street as a descendant (Jacob Baer Tyson) would be an owner of the property that once belonged to the Boyd family. Anyway, another son of David and Mary’s was Dr. Charles Mifflin Boyd (1826-1887) who served for the Union Army as a surgeon. After the war, he re-located to Renick, Randolph County, Missouri where he eventually died after being hit by a train. He would be buried in a small, remote family burying ground called the Boyd-Venable Cemetery. It's in a dilapidated condition from what I found on Find-a-Grave.com, but I was delighted to see that Charles' gravestone states that he was from Frederick County, Maryland.
Two of David Boyd, Sr.'s children would be buried in Virginia: Frances Elizabeth (Boyd) Ball (1817-1904) in Portsmouth; and Asbury McKendree Boyd (1831-1908) in Foster, Mathews County, Virginia.
It is unknown where Wilson Rowen Boyd (1828-1896) is buried. In 1859, he was boarding at Frederick’s Central Hotel and working as a tailor. He married Lizzie H. Roche, who predeceased him and is buried in Howard County’s Grace Cemetery. Perhaps he is here, or was buried in either Easton (MD) or in Baltimore where he lived out his life. While looking into him, I stumbled upon a fascinating article in the Baltimore Sun which points to wealthy ancestors in Scotland on his grandmother McKay's side of the family.
David's wife, Mary, died in 1871. She was buried next to her husband. Two more immediate family members need to be covered, both sons who were primarily responsible for handling their parents' estate and holdings interests. These were John Jacob Boyd and Andrew Boyd.
A Baltimore Boyd
John Jacob Boyd (July 1st, 1820-June 16th, 1876) is not within the Boyd family plot here in Mount Olivet, but is within a stone's throw to the southeast of it. This monument is the grandest Boyd "stone" of all, and the location is solely due to a marital relationship relating to two leading citizens of Frederick’s past who shared the same first name as him—John Sifford and John Loats.
John Sifford (1798-1878) was a prominent farmer and broker who was one of Frederick's wealthiest individuals throughout his lifetime. Mr. Boyd (wisely) married Mr. Sifford's daughter, Frances Adelaide Sifford, on March 9th, 1847. The name Loats is appropriately applied to a city park located just down the hill and to the east of our cemetery property. It was once owned by John Loats (1814-1879), John Jacob Boyd's brother-in-law who had married John Sifford’s daughter Caroline. Mr. Loats was a businessman who would serve as one-time president of the Frederick and Pennsylvania Line Railroad and gave us the Loats Female Orphan Asylum which was located in today’s home of Heritage Frederick (formerly known as the Historical Society of Frederick County).
John Jacob Boyd was a former city councilman and worked in a mercantile business here in Frederick that his brother Andrew had taken over from their father. This was located on the southeast corner of North Market Street and Market Space according to the Williams’ Frederick Directory of 1859-60. By this time, John Jacob and family had ventured to Baltimore seven years earlier in 1853 where he would be in charge of his own dry goods operation.
My research assistant Marilyn Veek shared with me some research I asked her to conduct in respect to John Jacob's land purchasing in Frederick during his time here. She found that John J. Boyd bought what is now 201-203 East Second Street in 1849, and sold it in 1859 after moving to Baltimore. Since this is the first property he bought in Frederick, and the last he sold, it seems likely that this is where he lived (note that tax records indicate that the current houses there were built about 1880). John J. also owned, for shorter periods, a lot on the north side of East Patrick (in the vicinity of 41-49 East Patrick) and a lot on the south side of East Church Street along the west side of Chapel Alley. Lastly, he also bought a 121-acre property (possibly along New Design Road) from Sifford & Lorentz in 1852 and sold it to Sifford & Loats in 1857--skillfully keeping it all in the family.
I'm always interested to see where those buried in our cemetery once lived, especially when it involves locations outside of Frederick. John Jacob Boyd and family lived in the western part of center-city Baltimore (denoted below with red arrow). They lived at 5 North Carey Street which is about a three block walk northwest of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.
John Jacob Boyd brought his own sons into the family business naturally, and also ventured into the grain trade business after the Civil War.
He died in early summer of 1876, but was buried here in Frederick under one of the finest monuments in our cemetery, complete with curbing and numerous ornamental birdbaths. This gravesite located in Area E's Lot 68 & 69. truly quenched my appetite for a "monumental" monument sought from the outset.
Well, it seems as if we’ve come full circle, at least in name. Holding his immigrant grandfather’s name, Andrew Boyd (son of David) was born on July 22nd, 1815, less than a year after his father’s service at the Battle of Baltimore—the event that helped make our Francis Scott Key a household name.
Andrew made a great mark on Frederick through his commercial endeavors and civic involvement. He learned the family business from his father and married Caroline Elizabeth Mantz on September 1st, 1842. Andrew Boyd inherited the North Market Street property from his father and was in partnership with brother John Jacob before his move to Baltimore.
The census of 1850 shows a fairly, large household, not unlike what he had grown up in. The location would also serve as the site of his dry goods business. Interestingly he was to men and boy's clothing, what the Hendrickson's would be for clothing for the fairer sex decades later.
In the early 1850s, Andrew either volunteered, or was chosen, to represent the interest of Frederick’s Methodist Church (of which he was a member) in a new venture to form a non-denominational burying ground for Frederick. Many of the downtown church graveyards, like that of the Methodist congregation once located east of Middle (now Maxwell) Alley between Third and Fourth streets, were either filled to capacity or hindered additional growth to church structures. The thought was to construct a cemetery that was outside of the town center, and follow the direction of many cities over the previous two decades in forming “garden cemeteries.” Andrew Boyd was one of 16 incorporators of the Mount Olivet Cemetery on October 4th, 1852.
Four years later, in 1856, Andrew would be among the original incorporators of the Franklin Savings Bank of Frederick. The entity would rent a room from Andrew Boyd at his location on North Market next to the City Market House. Boyd continued building his own business clientele up through the next decade which would be filled with plenty of trouble on the local, state and national level. Meanwhile, he and Caroline would raise eight of their eleven children into adulthood.
Mr. Boyd would play an interesting role during the American Civil War. This came with Jubal Early’s Confederate invasion of town in July of 1864. After Gen. Early levied his legendary ransom of $200,000, the Franklin Savings Bank would be apportioned to raise $31,000 by the City Fathers to save the town from apparent destruction by the Rebel hosts. Mr. Boyd was there to assist. Williams’ History of Frederick County (1910) recounts the tale:
“Later in the month, there was apprehension of another Confederate raid on Frederick. Andrew was authorized to take the coin bonds and valuable papers of the Franklin Bank to Philadelphia “as the safest place for these things to be deposited.” He left Frederick on the morning of the 27th and his report made a few days later shows that he deposited them in the Bank of North America in Philadelphia. In the following month, August, some of these bonds and coin was sold in Philadelphia, the gold bringing $2.54 and the silver $2.37 per dollar. The balance of the bonds and papers were brought back to Frederick on April 14th, 1865, the principal item among which was $37,000 U.S. gold bearing bonds.”
On the Titus Atlas map of 1873, Andrew’s name appears to be the owner of additional property on North Market Street between 8th and 9th streets. In 1874, he was appointed President of the Franklin Savings Bank of Frederick and served in this capacity for three years.
The savvy businessman also sold life insurance, and centered much of his energies into this profession late in life.
Andrew Boyd had served on Mount Olivet Cemetery’s Board of Directors for 25 years when the corporation held its annual elections on May 7th, 1877. Mr. Boyd was re-elected that day to serve another term, however, he would die just five days later on May 12th, 1877 at the age of 61. An emergency meeting was called and Mr. Boyd’s vacancy would be filled by his own first cousin, Ashbury H. Hunt. Andrew Boyd would be buried in the family plot in Area E within the cemetery he helped create 25 years earlier.
Caroline sold the Boyd’s longtime home on North Market Street to Adrian McCardell in 1877. Today, the former Andrew Boyd business store location is numbered 116-129 North Market Street. The large building is owned and operated by Frederick County Government (immediately south of Brewers Alley Restaurant) and provides office space to county employees. Franklin Savings Bank eventually became the Mutual Insurance Company in a building that still stands. The southern portion of the Boyd property was sold to Franklin Savings Bank by Mrs. Boyd as well. The present facade was constructed in 1909 (now 112-114 N Market St.). Caroline Boyd died in 1899, and is buried here with 9 of her children surrounding her.
One last note while we are on the Boyd family. There is a place named Boyds located just across the Frederick County border in neighboring Montgomery County. This community was named for Colonel James Alexander Boyd (1823–1896), a Scottish immigrant who was a construction engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Boyd built a temporary village to house construction workers as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built the Metropolitan Branch line after the American Civil War. The railroad line began service in 1873. After the railroad station opened, a mill, stores, and other businesses were established in the area.
As for our bookend "Andrew Boyds" for this story, mot to mention David and John Jacob, and all the others, I’d be very interested to see portraits or photos to check or verify whether any or all of these individuals of Scottish origin were actually fair-complected and/or blonde like their early ancestor from way, way back in the 13th century.
Merry Christmas! That’s right, I said it…Merry Christmas! Can’t you just feel the spirit of the season?
Maybe you’re just distracted by doing so thanks to rising temperatures, and prices for just about everything? Yes, baseball, outdoor concerts and the beach don’t help with the yuletide vibe, but I’m telling you, it’s time to do a mid-year accounting of who’s been naughty or nice. And it’s never too late, or early, to wish Jesus a happy birthday if you are of the Christian faith tradition.
Many have likely heard the phrase “Christmas in July” and thought it was simply a commercial marketing ploy. Or maybe it signifies creative fundraising efforts by non-profit/charity groups at an alternative time of year from traditional giving. I’m happy to report that there are places in our world actually celebrating “Christmas in July” for all the right reasons.
In the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are in reverse to ours in the Northern Hemisphere, with summer falling in December, January, and February, and winter falling in June, July, and August. There are some countries that have championed “Christmas in July” by undertaking mid-winter Christmas events in order to have Christmastime with a winter feel in common with the northern hemisphere. Some of the longtime participants include Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and New Zealand. These countries still celebrate Christmas on December 25th, like us, but none can expect a traditional “White Christmas” on that day.
It was happenstance that I was led to this interesting fact, and the blame solely falls on the Ruprecht family located in Mount Olivet’s Area H/Lot 423 and 425. Recently, I saw this row of stones—among some of the most plain and average looking specimens that we have here. With our second annual Mount Olivet Monument Hall of Fame enshrinement coming up in early September, I will gladly offer a “spoiler report” that none of the gravestones here come even close to consideration.
If you read our “Hall of Fame” Story in Stone article last summer, or saw our Hall of Fame Gallery on this website, you learned that our nominating criteria has nothing to do with the achievements garnered, or life led (or experienced) by our decedents. This is solely an honor based on art, architecture, creativity and design executed on a piece of stone destined to be used as a grave memorial.
Since their gravestones are somewhat forgettable, I felt it my duty to write an article here so readers could find the Ruprechts worth remembering—the same philosophy to be used when considering all 40,000+ individuals buried here in our cemetery and others, everywhere else.
So, what’s up with this distinctly German name? And you may also be wondering how the heck am I going to weave Christmas into this story? Well, I will tell you that our featured family does hail from Deutschland, and they have a name that forever links them to Christmas as celebrated in their native home country.
Knecht Ruprecht, which translates as Farmhand Rupert or Servant Rupert, is a companion of Saint Nicholas as described in the folklore of Germany. He first appears in written sources in the 17th century, as a figure in a Nuremberg Christmas procession.
Tradition holds that St. Nicholas appears in homes on St. Nicholas day (December 6), and is a man with a long beard, wearing fur or covered in pea-straw. Knecht Ruprecht sometimes carries a long staff and a bag of ashes. He also wears little bells on his clothes and in some descriptions rides on a white horse. Other times he is accompanied by fairies or men with blackened faces and dressed as old women.
According to tradition, Knecht Ruprecht asks children whether they can pray. If they can, they receive apples, nuts, and gingerbread. If they cannot, he beats the children with his bag of ashes. In other (presumably more modern) versions of the story, Knecht Ruprecht gives naughty children useless, ugly gifts such as lumps of coal, sticks, and stones, while well-behaving children receive sweets from Saint Nicholas. He also can be known to give naughty children a switch (stick) in their shoes for their parents to beat them with, instead of candy, fruit and nuts, in the German tradition.
The companions of Saint Nicholas are a group of closely related figures who accompany St. Nicholas in German-speaking Europe and more widely throughout the territories formerly in the Holy Roman Empire. These characters act as a foil to the benevolent Christmas gift-bringer, threatening to thrash or abduct disobedient children. Jacob Grimm (of the famed Grimm Brothers) associated this character with a pre-Christian house spirit or elf which could be benevolent or malicious, but whose mischievous side was emphasized after Christianization. The most famous (and violent) of these was Krampus, who was depicted on many holiday post cards as a devil-like creature with a long tongue.
So, to review, kids of today just have to contend with a creepy elf on a shelf doll watching their every move come Christmas season. Back in the day, ornery kids were given coal and smackdowns with either a stick or bag of ashes. Who would’ve guessed that Christmas could be so painful?
The Ruprecht Family
This family came to Frederick around the year 1842 from Hanover, Germany. As I’ve already put emphasis on the Ruprecht name, I assume the Ruprecht’s had a comfort level with the name of their new home, Frederick, as both city and county were named in honor of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-1751) who was also born in Hanover. Frederick, son of King George I and father of King George II, never got his chance to be king as a member of the “House of Hanover,” better known as the Electorate of Hanover of the Holy Roman Empire. This electorate was located in northwestern Germany and took its name from the capital city of Hanover.
For most of its existence, the electorate was ruled in personal union with Great Britain and Ireland following the Hanoverian Succession dating back to 1714 when the Prince-Elector of Hanover became King of Great Britain. As a consequence, a reluctant Britain was forced time and again to defend the King's German possessions. Hanover, itself, remained a separately ruled territory with its own governmental bodies, and the country had to sign a treaty with Great Britain whenever Hanoverian troops fought on the British side of a war. Merged into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, it was re-established as the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814, and the personal union with the British crown lasted until 1837.
Henry William Ruprecht, Sr. was born in Hanover, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) Germany on August 11th, 1804. According to info found in a family tree on Ancestry.com, he married Hannah Julian Dorothea (1792-1865) sometime before 1828, at which time the couple were blessed with a boy who would take his father’s name. Another son would be born to the couple in 1833, and was given a very fitting name based on the information I just told you. This was Henry Frederick Ruprecht.
An obituary article at the time of Henry Frederick Ruprecht’s death offers a little insight on the family’s immigration to the New World around 1837, and eventually taking up residence in Frederick five years later:
"HENRY FREDERICK RUPRECHT, one of the best-known citizens of Frederick and a retired decorator and carpetman, died at his home at No. 29 East Third street at about 8.30 o'clock this morning. Mr. Ruprecht was a native of Germany, and came to America with his parents when only three years old. His parents located in Frederick in 1842 and here Mr. Ruprecht was reared and spent his life.
He learned the trade of his father, that of an upholsterer and another brother, learned paper hanging and the brothers for years did a large business in Frederick, and there are few houses, where one or the other of the brothers did not do work during their long term in business."
Henry Frederick Ruprecht was the last surviving member of his immediate family. His occupations were certainly influenced by his father and brother as the article reads. An article appeared in the local newspaper in 1908 on the occasion of his 75th birthday. It was hard to read, but it said that he upholstered many pews for local churches (including Middletown's Lutheran church) and repaired 136 beds of the old Jesuit Novitiate on East Second Street before having them shipped to Poughkeepsie, New York ( the Catholic religious order removed there in 1903).
Thanks to fellow resident, Jacob Engelbrecht, also of German stock, we have a few points of information that could not be found on Ancestry.com, but were recorded for posterity in Mr. Engelbrecht’s famed diary. One such entry dated September 23rd, 1858 reads:
Henry William Ruprecht was born in Carlshafen, Curhassen Germany on August 11, 1804 and married in Hanover Germany June 10, 1827 to Miss Hannah Dorathea Julianna Roselich, born Dravisfeld, Hannover. Came to America and arrived in Baltimore in the ship Gustav Captain Spilcher April 30, 1838 came to reside in Frederick, Maryland November 8, 1843. Has two sons the eldest Henry William Ruprecht Junior born April 29, 1828 and Henry Frederick Ruprecht born November 8, 1833.
Where Jacob shorted us on proper punctuation in his original writing (within the diary), he gave us so very much in the form of facts that have been lost to time elsewhere. The Ruprecht family appears first in Frederick in the 1850 US census. Mr. Ruprecht’s occupation is written as “mattressmaker.”
The Williams’ Frederick Directory City Guide and Business Mirror of 1859-60 lists the Ruprecht family home on the north side of East Third Street, in between Market Street and Middle Alley. Research showed that the family lived on the west side of the alley in the home that carries the address today of 33 East Third Street.
The same directory gives an address for Mr. Ruprecht’s business as located on the east side of Market Street and East Second Street. the warehouse type structure was south of the original F & M Bank location (on the southeast corner) and the Juniors Fire Hall but north of the Old Market House (Frederick’s former town hall and today’s location of Brewer’s Alley Restaurant). I think I know the exact location as Jacob Engelbrecht also had his tailoring business in this same location before moving it to West Patrick Street and Carroll Creek. Unfortunately, it is not pictured but would be at the D.B. Hunt building or in between the images below found on the Sachse lithograph of Frederick from 1854.
The coolest find in my research here came in this city directory publication that listed Henry W. Ruprecht’s occupation as “Paper Hanger, Upholsterer and Curled Hair Manufacturer.” The latter certainly caught my imagination. I would soon learn that a “Curled Hair” merchant was a dealer in horse-hair stuffing, commonly used in upholstery. Individuals, be they manufacturers or customers, referred to this luxurious product as “hair seating.”
Engelbrecht makes other mention of the Ruprecht’s business endeavors in his diary, and also lists Henry William Sr. and both sons as members of the Brengle Home Guards during the American Civil War. The diarist also recounts an event from October 28th, 1862 in which the family’s barn “was set on fire and entirely consumed together with a large quantity of husks (for mattresses).” I’m guessing corn husks mattresses were the cheaper model (than horse hair). Regardless, Engelbrecht quoted the loss at about $300, but made sure to report that Mr. R. was duly insured by the Mutual Insurance Company of Frederick County for $50 (incendiary). I wonder if it was the work of a rival, or more so, a southern sympathizer?
The family carried on business activities throughout the war, but Henry William, Sr. stepped down to allow his oldest son to take the "reins" so to speak.
This same gentleman, Henry William, Jr. was also raising his own family, having married Eva Catherine Duft in 1859. The couple would have two children: Lewis Frederick Ruprecht (1859-1940) and Anna M. Ruprecht (1861-1949.) Both children are buried in the family plot in Area H as well, Miss Ruprecht having married a gentleman named Columbus C. Cover.
The grave plot had been purchased in June of 1860 and Mrs. Hannah J. D. Ruprecht would be the first family member buried here. She died in the waning months of the Civil War, on January 28th, 1865.
The 1870 US Census lists Henry W. Sr’s profession as a “Curled Hair Maker” and both of his sons, daughter-in-law “Kate” and grandchildren are living in the same household. Sadly, Henry William Ruprecht, Jr. would join his mother in Mount Olivet a decade after her death. He passed on June 21st, 1875. His wife would die less than two years later in early February, 1877. Henry’s father and brother were left to guide and care for his two, teenage children.
The group can be found together in the 1880 Census still living on East Third Street, but Mr. Ruprecht would soon join his wife and son, dying on December 12th, 1881.
Uncle Fred served as sole parent to his nephew and niece up through his death. In 1900, Anna is living with him, as well as a servant named Daisy Stouffer. Lewis can be seen living next door (33 East Third Street) with his wife Mary and son, Guy. Both uncle and nephew worked together as “paper hangers.” The same would hold true a decade later as well.
I saw somewhere that the Ruprechts would re-locate their showroom to Patrick Street, but I'm not positive exactly where. Henry Frederick Ruprecht died on April 14th, 1913 at his home at 29 East Third Street. His death was colorfully described in detail in the Frederick News:
"Mrs. Ruprecht retired from the business about four years ago and was succeeded by his nephew, Lewis F. Ruprecht. Mrs. Ruprecht then moved to the house in which he died, his niece, Miss Anna Ruprecht keeping house for him.
Ever since his retirement Mr. Ruprecht has been in poor health, but managed to get about very well. Yesterday one week ago he attended the Methodist church, of which he was a member, but was seized with a dizzy spell and was compelled to leave. This morning he came downstairs, complaining of a severe headache, but went to the table and began eating breakfast. Suddenly he threw his head back and fell lifeless. A physician pronounced death due apoplexy.
Mr. Ruprecht was born in Hanover, Land Minden, Germany on November 8, 1833, and was in his 80th year. He had never married, but upon his brother's death reared his nephew and niece. He was regarded as one of the substantial citizens of the community, and was held in high esteem by all who knew him."
Well, that’s it for this one. Not much more to say other than “Happy Holidays” to you and yours, and be extra good, because life’s much too short to be getting the smackdown from Knecht Ruprecht. At least in Frederick, Maryland, kids receiving a spanking from Ruprecht or a parent for misbehaving at least had a soft place to sit if the Ruprecht family had upholstered their seats.
The 159th anniversary of arguably the most famous conflict of the American Civil War is occurring as this story is published in early July, 2022. Of course, I am referring to a place just up the road from Frederick and across the Mason-Dixon Line, —Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town, by Union and Confederate forces under Major General George Meade's Army of the Potomac and General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. A Union victory resulted in halting Lee's invasion of the North, but also involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war. It is often described as the war's turning point due to the Union's decisive victory and concurrence with the Siege of Vicksburg.
I hadn’t made a trek to Gettysburg in quite some time, but that soon changed as I have made two trips there in recent weeks. One outing was for history, and the second for pleasure, as I saw Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot perform at the Majestic Theater on June 23rd. Now mind you, history reared its head at the concert as well, but it had nothing to do with the “high-water mark” of the American Civil War, and everything to do with dangerous waters of a non-proverbial kind involving “a legend that lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee.”
Two and a half weeks earlier, back on June 4th, I had the opportunity to chaperone my 15-year-old-son and his girlfriend on a private field trip for three. It was a beautiful day, and we could have done anything, anywhere in the tri-state area. I randomly suggested a trip to Gettysburg National Battlefield. They consented, and soon they were in for a special treat—that of listening to me ramble on as their personal battlefield guide.
It was a day which brought back great memories for me of past visits. I shared with Eddie, and girlfriend Devyn, that our ancestor, John Greenwood, (my GGG Grandfather) had participated in this legendary fight as a private in the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment’s Company D. I pointed out his name on the Pennsylvania State Memorial, and also showed them the iconic monument to the 96th located in the valley below Little Round Top. This unit participated in the bloodbath sector of the battle called the Wheatfield.
This particular trip was made much more special to me as I was able to make connections (from the battle) back to Frederick. One such example resides in the fact that the Union commander, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac just days before the battle at Prospect Hall. A monument, crafted from a piece of brown sandstone from Devil's Den (Gettysburg Battlefield), commemorates this fact along Himes Avenue, just down the hill from the mansion house used most recently as the location of St. Johns Catholic High School. This was placed here in 1930 by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission.
Speaking of Union officers, I shared with my young tourists the stories of Brig. Gen. John Buford and his cavalry division at Seminary Ridge, and Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine’s gallant hold of the Union Army’s extreme left flank at Little Round Top. Both men were immortalized by actors Sam Elliot and Jeff Daniels in Ron Maxwell’s 1993 movie Gettysburg.
This motion picture debuted on Ted Turner’s TBS Network and was based on Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Killer Angels. I always make the suggestion to friends planning to make a visit to Gettysburg to watch this movie first. It will certainly make the battlefield touring experience more enlightening because you can view the current landscape while imagining the scenes as depicted in the movie version.
Two other commanders with ties to Frederick that fought at Gettysburg include Gen. Jubal Early of Virginia and Brig. Gen. Daniel Sickles of New York. Early’s name should jump off the tongue as he was the commander who threatened Frederick’s well-being a year later (July, 1864) by demanding a ransom of $200,000 to be paid. Early and many of his soldiers likely passed by Mount Olivet’s front gates by way of Market Street and the Old Georgetown Pike to engage Union forces under Gen. Lew Wallace at the Battle of Monocacy. As cantankerous a guy Early has been said to have been, his match was certainly Dan Sickles.
Daniel Edgar Sickles (1819–1914) was an American politician, soldier, and diplomat, born to a wealthy family in New York City. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Sickles became one of the war's most prominent political generals, recruiting the New York regiments that became known as the Excelsior Brigade in the Army of the Potomac. Despite his lack of military experience, Sickles served as a brigade, division, and corps commander in some of the early Eastern campaigns. His military career ended at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, after he moved his III Corps without orders to an untenable position, where they suffered 40% casualties but slowed Confederate Gen. James Longstreet's flanking maneuver. Sickles himself was wounded by cannon fire at Gettysburg and had to have his leg amputated. He was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
We have a direct connection to Gen. Sickles here at Mount Olivet, and I would soon learn that many ghost tours in Gettysburg include a story that illustrates this point, yet not directly mentioning our humble burying ground by name. Dan Sickles was involved in a number of scandals throughout his time as a politician, most notably the 1859 homicide of his wife's lover, U.S. District Attorney (of Washington D.C.) Philip Barton Key II. Yes, the name should ring a bell, or evoke the vision of an American flag, because Philip was the son of our very own Francis Scott Key.
Once a confidante and close friend of the patriot songwriter’s offspring, Sickles gunned down Philip in broad daylight in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. In what was hailed as the trial of the century, Sickles was acquitted after using temporary insanity as a legal defense for the first time in United States history.
After the war, Sickles devoted considerable effort in trying to gain credit for helping achieve the Union victory at Gettysburg, writing articles and testifying before Congress in a manner that denigrated the intentions and actions of his superior officer, Maj. Gen. George Meade. Sickles was appointed as a commander for military districts in the South during Reconstruction. He also served as U.S. Minister to Spain under President Ulysses S. Grant. Later he was re-elected to Congress, where he helped pass legislation to preserve the Gettysburg Battlefield.
On a ghost tour the night of our visit, the kids and I learned that Sickles helped procure a much-needed fence around the perimeter of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Apparently, Congress was against an appropriation, so Sickles urged the need for a new fence around Lafayette Square, the old “scene of the crime” between Sickles and Mr. Key years before. This was granted, and Sickles made sure the old fence would go to Gettysburg and the cemetery. Ghost tour guides tell this story, with the creepy takeaway being that one of these sections of fence, could possibly be the exact one that Philip Barton Key died against as he breathed his last breath. Supposedly his jacket became impaled by the fence.
In case you are curious, Philip Barton Key II was buried with his wife Ellen Swan Key in Westminster Burial Ground in downtown Baltimore. This is the same historic cemetery where Edgar Allan Poe's mortal remains reside.
While Sickles was not very hospitable to the Key family, he was a friend to the tourism industry because of all he did in bringing about this battlefield park, the most famous in the country. Like cemeteries, battlegrounds can find themselves full of mortal remains during the conflict. After proper burial, those who died within these hallowed grounds are forever memorialized by monuments depicting their brave deeds in life. Once again, I was able to use some of these monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield to make a few unique connections to others found in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
I took the kids to my second favorite monument on the battlefield beside the fore-mentioned one of my GGG grandfather’s 96th regiment. This would be the 1st Maryland Monument at Culp’s Hill. The granite monument on the northeast quadrant of the battlefield stands 12 feet tall. It is capped with the star symbol of the Twelfth Army Corps and has a relief feature of a bayonet and cartridge box on its face, supported by rolled bedrolls. A round bronze Seal of the State of Maryland is inset in the center of the front. Just above the base (on the front) is a relief of a forage cap on top of laurel branches. The monument was dedicated on October 25th,1888 by the State of Maryland.
This monument includes the name of Col. William Pinkney Maulsby, a lawyer from Frederick, who commanded the 1st Maryland Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade. Maulsby was the owner of Prospect Hall during the war. He is buried in a family plot located in Mount Olivet’s Area G and is worthy of a full “Story in Stone.”
The unique aspect of fighting at Culp’s Hill this pivotal spot of the Union Army’s right flank is the fact that Union Marylanders squared off against Confederate Marylanders here. A past subject of my blog participated at the fighting at Culp’s Hill under Col. Maulsby on July 2nd and 3rd. This was Captain Joseph Groff of the Potomac Home Brigade who was accompanied by his son David. Both men survived the battle and war. Capt. Groff was a local business and civic leader in Frederick who operated a few different hotels once located on N. Market Street. Along with other members of the Potomac Home Brigade, Groff is buried in Mount Olivet.
To the northwest of the battlefield, the visitor will find the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. This was dedicated on July 3rd, 1938. It commemorates the 1913 Gettysburg reunion that marked the 50th anniversary of the battle in which surviving veterans came together as united Americans and not adversaries as they had done in battle. Here, a natural gas flame burns within a one-ton bronze urn atop a tower located on a stone pedestrian terrace. I learned that the eternal flame was the only one in the world for its first few decades.
I learned a couple of extra sidelights on this monument. One such being that faulty Alabama limestone had been used for the base platform. With heavy pedestrian traffic, this began failing miserably within a decade of the monument's erection. This would require a major renovation. This monument was visited by President Jimmy Carter during the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. A decade later, the Gettysburg Peace Celebration committee had been formed for the upcoming 50th anniversary rededication of the memorial planned for July 3rd, 1988.
Renovation projects are always going on, as I have a much deeper appreciation of what grave monuments experience due to age, weather and erosion. It is quite amazing to see the shape the battlefield is in considering the years and visitation that these sentinels have experienced.
A renovation project was being done at the Eternal Peace Monument in 1985 that would have a direct impact on our cemetery. Eleftherios Karkadoulias, a noted expert in both granite and bronze restoration and based in Cincinnati, was making repairs. This same gentleman was visited at this time by our cemetery superintendent, Ron Pearcey, who inquired Mr. Karkadoulias’ of his experience and talents. Ron's goal in doing this teamed from the need to properly restore our Francis Scott Key monument. Mr. Karkadoulias would perform this task for us in 1987. The bronze figures of Key, Columbia and two young boys were dismantled and delivered to Mr. Karkadoulias' studio in Cincinnati to undergo major restoration.
Now, let's return back to Gettysburg, PA, shall we? Speaking of Alabama a few minutes ago in respect to faulty limestone at the eternal Peace Monument, a much better, and durable, selection of rock was used for the monument depicting the soldiers from this state. This is a few miles away from the Eternal Peace Light Memorial on the far southeast part of the battlefield below Big Round Top. Of particular interest here is the fact that this monument is primarily credited to an individual resting in peace here at Mount Olivet. His name was Joseph Walker Urner, and if you’ve been to Mount Olivet, you’ve most likely seen some of his other work. It’s literally and figuratively “head and shoulders” above the rest when it comes to examples of sculpture work in town.
The State of Alabama monument is located south of Gettysburg on South Confederate Avenue. The Alabama Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy dedicated the monument in 1933.The monument stands where General Evander Law’s Alabama Brigade began their assault toward Little Round Top on July 2nd after a grueling 18-mile approach march. These were among the Rebels who were repulsed by Joshua Chamberlin and his 20th Maine as they held the Union left flank “at all costs.” Alabama sent almost 6,000 men to Gettysburg with the Army of Northern Virginia. Most of them were in Law’s Brigade in the First Corps, O’Neal’s Brigade in the Second Corps, and Wilcox’s Brigade in the Third Corps. Alabama lost 2,249 casualties at Gettysburg.
The Alabama monument features a large granite base, topped by a granite monolith, and fronted by a bronze figure group (fabricated by the Roman Bronze Company in New York City). The granite is from Gettysburg and Barre, Vermont, and was fashioned for this project at Hammaker Brothers, Inc., a monument and gravestone firm founded in 1874 and based in Thurmont.
The monument was designed and sculpted by Joseph W. Urner of Frederick in conjunction with Ernest P. Hammaker, President of Hammaker Brothers, Inc. Of special interest here is the fact that Ernest’ uncle, Peter N. Hammaker (1856-1925), ran this same company from 1884 until his death, and is buried in Mount Olivet’s Area S/Lot 136.
Mr. Urner’s bronze group composition features a female figure representing the Spirit of the Confederacy, flanked by a wounded soldier on her right and an armed soldier on her left. Her left arm gestures the armed soldier to continue fighting and her right lightly restrains the wounded figure from further combat. The top of the granite monolith is inscribed with the word "Alabamians!" and the base with "Your Names Are Inscribed On Fames Immortal Scroll."
Joseph Walker Urner
In his 1956 work, The Old Line State A History of Maryland, author Morris Radoff, Archivist of the Maryland Hall of Records, states: “The reputation of Joseph Walker Urner, which is national, lies in the three related fields of sculpture, oil painting and architecture and in each he has attained an outstanding position. An unusual creative man in that he recognizes a direct responsibility to the community in which he lives, Frederick, he participates in civic programs, especially through community and fraternal organizations.”
Joseph Walker Urner was born on January 16th, 1898, the son of the Hon. Hammond G. Urner (1868–1942) and Mary Lavinia "Birdie" Floyd (1872–1956). His paternal grandfather was Milton Urner (July 29, 1839 – February 9, 1926), a U.S. Congressman from the sixth district of Maryland who served two terms from 1879 until 1883. The family lived at 215 East Second Street.
After his preliminary education in his native Frederick, Joseph spent 1918 at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. From 1919-1920, he studied at Johns Hopkins and followed this with advanced education at the Maryland Institute College of Art from 1922-1925.
Joseph married Miss Irma A Bradshaw on December 31st, 1919 and the couple would have two children—Joanna Adlington (b. Feb. 22nd, 1923) and Joseph Floyd (b. December 15th, 1929). Joanna would go on to marry Gerald H. Smith of Sao Paulo, Brazil, while son Joseph graduated from MIT with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees and stayed in Massachusetts. (Note: the Smiths would return to reside in Frederick and are buried in the Urner family lot in Mount Olivet).
The family lived at 36 East Second Street in Frederick and regularly attended All Saints Episcopal Church. Joseph came back to his hometown and in 1926 established himself as an architect in private practice. He had a work office located at 110 West Patrick Street, and would design and supervise construction of industrial, residential and public buildings. I was surprised to learn that one of his first projects was the Barbara Fritchie replica house and former museum located on Carroll Creek, and not far from his office.
Joseph Urner further used his artistic talents in painting portraits, but is best remembered for his work in the field of sculpture as has been demonstrated by the State of Alabama monument at Gettysburg Battlefield. He studied the artform under noted sculptor Ettore Cadorin (1876-1952). We have three of his works on public display here within our grounds at Mount Olivet Cemetery. These come in the form of three busts of past Fredericktonians who all made their mark on the history of our area, and in two cases, the nation.
In 1926, Urner was commissioned to design and sculpt a bust of Thomas Johnson, Jr., a member of Continental Congress, Revolutionary War officer and Maryland’s first-elected governor. This completed piece was placed upon a pedestal in front of the former Frederick County Courthouse (today’s City Hall). As many know, the Johnson bust was moved here to the cemetery in early 2018.
The call came for a like bust be created for Roger Brooke Taney, the most accomplished attorney in Frederick County’s history, who attained higher positions up to the very top of his profession. Taney served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only was Taney the first Catholic to hold this position (at a time when there was much discrimination lobbied against members of this faith), he administered the oath of office to seven U.S. presidents.
Of course, there is the Dred Scott Case majority decision which has been grounds for “cancellation” of his career and personal achievements but that has nothing to do with the artistic ability executed by Joseph Urner in crafting this art piece that graced Frederick’s Court House Square from 1931-1918. It to was moved here to Mount Olivet and stands across from Urner’s bust of Johnson on what we call “Star-Spangled Plaza” at the front of the cemetery, about a hundred yards behind the Francis Scott Key Monument.
A third work came in the form of Amon Burgee (1865-1945), commissioned by Frederick High School’s Alumni Association to be placed over his grave here in the cemetery. This bust by Urner was unveiled in 1947 at a fine ceremony memorializing the former principal of Frederick’s Boys’ High School, the predecessor to Frederick High. Burgee served in this capacity from 1894-1916, and had Urner among his many students. The noted educator is responsible for the lasting team name of “Cadets” due to his insistence that his students take up military drilling as part of their schooling curriculum.
Speaking of cadets and military activity, Joseph Urner holds the unique distinction of serving in both World War I and World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the summer of 1917. He currently holds a memorial page on our sister site entitled MountOlivetVets.com. The following information can be gleaned from this site that is being slowly built to include all of our 4,000plus veterans buried here.
Joseph Walker Urner
Electrician 2C/US Navy: HQ, 5th Naval District
Induction 7/24/1917, Apprentice Seaman,
Naval Reserve Fleet (MD Naval Militia)
10/10/1917 Harvard Radio School,
1/3/1918 Promoted to Electrician 3rd Class, Radio
1/3/1918 Promoted to Electrician 2nd Class, Radio,
5th Naval District Headquarters
1/4/1918 Naval Aviation Detail, Ft. Worth, TX
2/25/1918 Receiving Ship, Philadelphia, PA
3/12/1918 Naval Air Station, Killingholme, England
11/30/1918 Pelham Bay Park, NY
Joseph W. Urner also served in World War II as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy Seabees. He returned home to continue his career as an architect. His vast community involvement ranged from the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge, Kiwanis Club and Historical Society of Frederick. He and wife Irma also spent time in Braddock Heights where they had a retreat house on Maryland Avenue, built in 1901 and passed down from his parents. Of course a street in the "mountain retreat colony" still carries the family name.
Joseph Urner lived a useful and fruitful life, dying at age 89 on July 6th, 1987. He would be laid to rest in the Urner family lot in Area AA/Lot 117, roughly fifty yards down the central cemetery lane from the Amon Burgee bust sculpture. He would be buried within feet of his parents and other family members. His wife Irma would pass in November of the next year. His work here in Frederick, and at Gettysburg National Battlefield, are living testaments to his artistic talent and ability.