Easter at Bushwaller's
I’m on a streak of late of writing stories purely inspired by cemetery monuments. While walking the grounds the other day, I took special notice of a sampling of religious themed monuments in our newer, more modern areas of Mount Olivet, towards the back. Now mind you that these were not that “modern” as I was in some spots that were laid out in the 1960s. They are primo spots with curb appeal and what we in “the biz” of burial call “feature lots.”
In particular, I spotted a couple prominent scenes of Jesus which seemed timely enough for Easter weekend. The first of which was in Area DD and the second was directly across the central drive (through the cemetery). Both are distinctly Irish names, and growing up in an Irish Catholic family, I naturally found both grave markers fitting testaments to the fact that immense faith played in the role of the people of Ireland, and conversely those who immigrated to America in earlier centuries.
These were plots owned by the Roughan and McSherry families, respectively. Either of these specimens could easily contend for the central focus of this week’s “Story in Stone,” but I found a tandem of stones about yards around the next bend (in Area CC) that would capture my imagination to a greater degree. More on these in a minute, as I thought the least I could do is include photos and obits on the primary decedents buried within the Roughan and McSherry lots. Interestingly, both families were members of St. John’s Catholic Church here in town and chose our garden cemetery over historic burying ground still operating in downtown between East Third and Fourth streets.
Area DD/Lot 14 is the plot belonging to the family of Lawrence V. Roughan. Mr. Roughan hailed from the Midwest, and he and son James, who is also buried here, were involved in manufacturing and engineering pursuits. Lawrence Vincent Roughan was born in Chicago in 1893 and came to Frederick with his wife Nettie (1894-1955) in the early 1940s via Michigan where they were living in 1940 in the town of Adrian in Lenawee County. As his obituary reports, he purchased and operated a local, well-known business in his new home of Frederick. His son James, would also play a role in running this business.
Son James would retire from the company in 1961 and would leave Frederick as well for Arizona. He predeceased his father in 1976. He would be buried here in the Roughan plot next to his mother in Mount Olivet. She had died over twenty years earlier.
The McSherry family has a long history in Frederick. As a matter of fact, many Frederick “McSherrys” can also be found in Saint John’s Cemetery including the father and grandfather of William Clinton McSherry (1888-1954) who is buried in the plot on Mount Olivet’s Area CC/Lot 14. These men were prominent attorneys and William’s grandfather, James McSherry, Jr. (1819-1869) actually penned an early popular history of Maryland in 1849.
This central monument can be found in Area CC/Lot14 with corresponding footstones to William Clinton McSherry, wife Mary Natalie (McCarthy) McSherry (1891-1953) and son William Clinton McSherry, Jr. (1915-1994). The latter had an interesting journey which included a career in law, military service, assignment to the Manhattan Project, and a tragic death in 1994. I will reserve his story for a future article as it deserves the time and additional study from your author. At this point, I’d like to include William Clinton Sr.’s obituary.
On my Wednesday morning walk the other day, I departed the McSherry gravesite with assistant Marilyn Veek and we continued to enjoy the pleasant weather that inspired us for an impromptu Mount Olivet walking tour. Walking south on the central drive, we made a right turn around the end of Area CC as we headed towards Area QQ (as if any of these lot locations mean anything to you unless you want to follow in our footsteps). We immediately spotted two more Christ-inspired large, family monuments that looked very similar in make and model.
Side by side, and endowed with landscaping including hedges, the first family was a new name for me which I have never seen before—Raggi. I presumed immediately it was of Italian origin originally and have since learned I was correct as it derives from the term “raggio” which refers to “a beam or ray of light,” such as points of a star.
The second name, however, in the neighboring plot, was as well-known as a Frederick name can be to a Fredericktonian. And no, this wasn’t a founding German family name like Bruner, Ramsburg, Steiner or Schley, but can be traced back to Ireland like Roughan and McSherry. I present to you the grave lot of the Bushwallers. Yes, it’s the same family tied to the popular watering hole located at 211 North Market Street in Downtown Frederick.
I could have easily featured this gravesite a month ago with a perfect tie-in to St. Patrick’s Day, as Bushwaller’s is usually a given “go to” for the “green at heart.” And yes, Bushwaller’s can easily have many think of the old Irish saint who wrangled snakes, but the pub certainly doesn’t conjure up the image of God’s son on the cross—unless, of course, you’ve imbibed too much and you are back home feeling nauseous and it seems like the room is spinning around you. That’s when, religious or not, you may offer up prayers to your savior for forgiveness and a return to better health.
Who were these Bushwallers in Mount Olivet, and how do they connect to the restaurant outside of the same name? For starters, I went to the restaurant’s website, and searched for its history. Here’s what I found:
“Welcome to Bushwaller’s, as a restaurant we have been a Frederick tradition since 1981. However, this building and the room you are sitting in have been so much more throughout the 170+ years of existence. Originally constructed in the 1840’s the first recorded commercial use of 209 N. Market St. was the Steiner Brother’s Drug Store.
The area you are sitting in was used as the main store room area and space directly above you (accessible only from the adjacent outside door and known as 211 N. Market St.) was a residence. It is said that it was the home of the Steiner Brothers themselves. The Steiner’s Drug Store was a staple of the community until 1935 when they sold the building to Robert Grove. He opened Grove’s Liquor and Grocery which featured groceries and fresh local meats.
Mr. Grove’s walk-in meat locker, still in good repair, was carefully restored and is in use today as our keg room. Look toward the rear of our dining room space and you will notice the fine hand crafted wooden wall on one side and the white metallic wall with the long mirror is the other side. This is a wonderful contrast to the unique commercial uses for this space throughout the century.”
I have heard of both the Steiner Brothers and Mr. Grove, and am happy to say that they too are residents of Mount Olivet. I will tackle their respective stories on another day. As for the restaurant opened by brothers George and Bill Bushwaller, I read they had honed their culinary skills by working at seafood restaurants in Ocean City prior to opening the pub in 1981. They felt that Frederick needed a restaurant that featured maritime-themed dishes, but also wanted to create a unique nightspot that had a “turn of the century” feel and an ode to Irish roots.
While we are on the subject of the namesake pub, I reveled in discovering some old newspaper articles from the early 80’s involving the opening of Bushwaller’s and its role in St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans 40 years ago.
I looked for a clear-cut meaning of the name Bushwaller and came up empty. However, it is a cool name that exudes a lot of charisma like the pub's original owners, so we can leave it at that. Although this establishment has been sold multiple times since the founding brothers' ownership, it has continued its popularity as a veteran fixture within one of the greatest downtown small city bar scenes in the country. The name fits it perfectly, so as they say, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
The Bushwaller’s grave plot does not boast the social scene as the pub for obvious reasons, but does have an aura of personality based on the large monument I have shared with you. This is located on Area CC/Lot 137, and the first individual to be placed here was William Joseph Bushwaller and wife Julia (Rodock). We can thank the former Miss Rodock (1893-1954) for the Bushwaller name surviving in Frederick for the ages because she was a native whose parents’ families (the Rodocks and Houcks) were quite prominent in town building and affairs here. Julia was the impetus for her husband to work and reside here instead of his native Pennsylvania.
Mr. Bushwaller was born in Hawley, Pennsylvania on September 27th, 1892. He was the son of William J. Bushwaller and Mary Kearney and spent earlier life in Pennsylvania and in his father’s birthplace of Wayne County, New York. The 1910 US Census shows the Bushwaller family living in Galen, New York where William’s father (of the same name) worked as a glassblower. This interested me due to something else I had found in my research which I will share regarding another family member.
While here though, I was inspired to go back and do a little more genealogy on the Bushwaller family name. To my surprise I learned that our subject’s father, William Bushwaller (1867-1962) the glass blower, was the son of German immigrants: William Bushwaller (1840-1886) was from Baden-Wurttemburg and his wife Hannah Linkey (1849-1912) was from Deutschland as well. They lived, and are buried, in Sparrowbush, Orange County, New York. Luckily, I found that our subject’s mother, Mary Kearney, was of Irish extraction and hailed from the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. She and her husband are buried in Hawley, Pennsylvania.
William J. Bushwaller spent most of his career in Washington, DC as you will soon be able to surmise by his obituary. However, he began his own family life here because of his wife Julia (Rodock) Bushwaller. This was her native home and Julia's parents George S. Rodock and Mary Hanshew Quynn raised their family on North Market Street.
Julia Rodock married William J. Bushwaller in May, 1918 in a ceremony held at New York City’s St. John’s Catholic Church. They would take up residence in Frederick and can be found living at #20 East Second Street in the 1930 US Census with children Regina (b. 1920) and William J. III (b. 1921).
One of Julia’s sisters could be found living on East Second Street. Elizabeth (Rodock) Houck, would acquire a fine home located at 100 East Second from husband Ezra Houck, Jr. The couple separated in 1933, the same year Ezra was being treated at Aigburth Manor Sanatorium in Towson and also advertising that he wouldn't be responsible for anyone else's bills.
This leads me to discuss the former Elizabeth (Rodock) House residence in town which has been on my radar for three decades now because of its noteworthy residents from Frederick’s early 19th century past. You’ve likely encountered them at some point, especially in connection with stories connecting to the American Civil War, but more importantly Monocacy Battlefield.
The former Houck House also boasts Bushwaller and Raggi connections and stands at 100-102 East Second Street on the south east corner of Maxwell Alley. A century earlier, this was the boyhood home of Maryland’s 29th governor, Enoch Louis Lowe (1820-1892) and his mother Adelaide. He served from 1851-1854 and was an outspoken supporter of Southern rights during the American Civil War. Governor Lowe acquired ownership in 1854, but sold it in 1861.
Enoch Louis Lowe’s mother and maternal aunt, Victoire Vincendiere (1777-1854), were French aristocrats who fled their homeland to Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in the late 1700s during the famed French Revolution. A slave uprising in 1793 had the Vincendiere family on the move again, and this is when they came to Frederick. Victoire would help amass a 748 acre plantation which also made her one of Frederick’s largest slaveholders in history. L’Hermitage was south of town on the Old Georgetown Pike, and a French style barn outbuilding can be easily seen from US270. Today, much of the plantation property is interpreted as the Best Farm on the grounds of Monocacy National Battlefield.
Around 1827, Victoire Vincendiere obtained the townhouse on East Second Street. The Vincendiere family, including the former governor, are buried at the earlier mentioned St. Johns Catholic Cemetery a few short blocks away from their former home on East Second.
Elizabeth Houck apparently built the smaller building at 102 East Second as a rental apartment where my old Frederick Cablevision work colleague, Carole Larkin and husband Warren, have been living for the last few decades. They are still there as far as I know.
William J. Bushwaller worked in the insurance field, and employment eventually brought him to Washington, DC. The family would relocate there a few years later and it would serve as their home until Julia’s untimely death in October of 1954. William J. Bushwaller II would pass on August 4th, 1974 after spending many years in retirement in Florida.
The Bushwaller's daughter Regina married a gentleman named John Frederick Cale in New York City and retained residence in the Empire State. Daughter Regina Cale would have an interesting professional career and passed away in 1982. Like her parents, she would be interred in the family plot within Mount Olivet.
William J. Bushwaller III attended Georgetown University and married Margaret A. Joynt (1922-2014) of Iowa. He went on to have a fabulous career with the US Government’s State Department. It was this William’s sons George and Bill who started Frederick’s popular pub. William III would retire to Stuart, Florida, at which place he died in 2010. His obituary is even more impressive than that of his father.
William's sister, Regina (Bushwaller) Cale, was named for a maternal aunt Regina (Rodock) Raggi. She is buried in the lot next to the Bushwallers in Area CC/Lot 138. Mrs. Raggi lived in Manhattan at 130 West Eleventh Street for years with her husband, noted surgeon Dr. August J. Raggi. Unfortunately, Dr. Raggi died in a car crash in June, 1958 after returning from a function at a Country Club.
This led to Mrs. Raggi’s return to Frederick where she would take up residence at her sister Elizabeth Houck’s home at 100 East Second. Mrs. Houck died in April, 1959.
I often found Mrs. Raggi’s name mentioned often in our local newspaper as this former New York City socialite entertained, or was entertained. She often took trips. I also found an interesting tidbit that relates to the early Colonial trade of glass blowing. Mrs. Raggi possessed a noted piece of antique glassware—a sugar bowl produced at the legendary Amelung Glassworks once located in the vicinity of Park Mills Road in the southeastern part of the county.
Mrs. Raggi died on May 23, 1979, and was buried next to her husband. Both Rodock sisters (Elizabeth Houck and Regina Raggi) had no surviving children as heirs at the time of their respective deaths. (Mrs. Houck did have a child who died in infancy and is buried in Mount Olivet's Area G.) I’m thinking that the fine home at 100 East Second went to the Regina’s nieces and nephews in Julia Bushwaller’s family. I had heard that “the Bushwaller” brothers once lived in the big house once owned by Enoch Louis Lowe and the Vincendiere family. I could be mistaken however (please enlighten me in the comments if you have the information). The timing for the restaurant to launch in 1981 seems to also fit perfect with this chronology.
Recent burials of family members in the Bushwaller family plot include Margaret Joynt Bushwaller, wife of William J. Bushwaller III, and mother of the restaurateurs. George Rodock Bushwaller, one of the founders of the pub, died at age 65 on February 4th, 2021 in Stuart, Florida where he had resided since selling the business.
Well I can only end this “Story in Stone” with a catchy Easter quote I found online:
“Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.”
-Charles M. Crowe
William Bushwaller IV
4/11/2023 04:09:26 pm
Enjoyed the read,
4/13/2023 03:07:32 am
Excellent research! There were a lot of things here that I did not even know about. If I can make one revision to this article: my grandmother Margaret A. Joynt died in 2020 not in 2014. Thank you for writing this!
Margaret Bushwaller Powers
4/13/2023 04:55:57 pm
I loved reading this comprehensive history on the family. Some of which I didn’t know. Thanks for the awesome writing and research. Frederick holds a special place in my heart. As a child we (my mom and dad) drove up on weekends to help Regina Raggi (my great aunt) to grocery shop and other errands. We made it to the Frederick Fair every year where my mom and great aunts (Regina and Cornelia-married to George aka Junie who owned a coal yard in town) judged the art entries at the fair with my mom and others. When my brothers opened the restaurant, I started college at Hood the following year. It was one of the best times in my life. Your article brought back a lot of good times! Thx!
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