With the passing of Veterans Day, 2021, I had the opportunity to reflect on a personal and professional milestone this past week—one that had connections to Mount Olivet Cemetery, Veterans Day, the US flag and the pen (so to speak). It was five years ago, Veteran’s Day of 2016, when I published my very first edition of this “Stories in Stone” blog. My debut offering was entitled “Frederick Under the Flag” and featured the obvious overarching theme of patriotism evident here at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
I shared, with readers, the well-known fact that this sacred, burial ground is the final resting place of over 4,000 military veterans. These men and women have connections to every conflict our country has taken part in. We have amazing luminaries buried here in the form of well-known former Fredericktonians like Francis Scott Key and Barbara Fritchie.
As these two individuals are well-storied in the local history annals, they also became known on the national and international level through their respective patriotic deeds. Interestingly, in both cases of FSK and Dame Fritchie, we can thank “the almighty pen” for their immortality as both gained fame thanks to a song or poem written about the US flag under attack by the enemy, but ultimately our red, white and blue standard stood steadfast and strong through perilous fights.
In that inaugural “story in Stone,” I mentioned other patriotic characters of Frederick’s past such as Gov. Thomas Johnson, Winfield Scott Schley and Dr. Lewis H. Steiner. I wrapped the article up by heralding the cemetery’s role not only in burying the dead, but serving as an important touchstone on military holidays since its original opening in 1854.
Since coming to work here in early 2016, I’ve been humbled by witnessing programming held here in conjunction with Memorial Day and Veterans Day. on Memorial Day, the American Legion has been performing a noontime ceremony at the FSK Memorial for over a century. For the last five years, our local Daughters of the American Revolution Chapters have organized another Memorial Day program that shines the spotlight on those vets residing in our spacious mausoleum complex toward the rear of the cemetery.
On Veterans Day, local musicians perform Echo Taps, which begins by our front gate and concludes several blocks away at Frederick’s Memorial Park at W. Second and North Bentz streets. Amazingly, over this five-year span, I’ve seen Veterans Day programming take hold here in an all new way. We now have an annual history walking tour at noon, and this year we had a special-themed lecture in our FSK Chapel about the “Operation Whitecoat” program that occurred at nearby Fort Detrick from 1954-1973.
Most memorable, however, has been the opportunity for partner groups and the general public to assist in decorating gravesites with flags. This had been done on Memorial Day for decades, but now is finally a staple for Veterans Day. On Saturday, November 6th, over 4,500 flaglets were planted in the ground at the site of veteran markers and stones across our 100-acre campus.
These flags not only denote final resting places of “hometown heroes,” but also serve as important placeholders leading up to our Wreaths Across America Ceremony on the third Saturday in December. This year, the magic day is December 18th as we will mark as many of our 4,500 veteran graves (with as many sponsored wreaths) as we can. At present, we have nearly 2,100 wreaths, and are eagerly anticipating more over the next couple weeks (before the November 30th cutoff date) to up that total.
Volunteer flag placers included groups representing the Homewood Auxiliary, the Friends of Mount Olivet membership group, Francis Scott Key Post #11 of the American Legion, the Frederick team of NaturaLawn of America, American Heritage Girls Troop MD3126, Tuscarora High Schools Rho Kappa and baseball team, and others, coupled with walk-up residents from Frederick and even some from neighboring counties. These folks traversed the grounds carrying lot maps, checklists, pens and screwdrivers in the effort to locate and identify our veteran gravesites to plant flags. You see, it’s not as easy as one might think because we are unlike Arlington and other US military cemeteries where it is a given that all these gravesites contains a veteran. In contrast, we have an eclectic assortment of gravestones belonging to our larger population of 40,000 interred here, and have plenty of lots where a veteran lies, but is not labeled or marked with a military insignia or plaque of any kind.
I have not only seen our interest in our cemetery and activity grow due to these military-based remembrances, but I’ve been humbled to see the popularity of our weekly blog grow as well. My top satisfaction in writing “Stories in Stone” centers on my ability and desire to connect decedents in our cemetery with places, other people, and events/happenstances tied to the past—most notably local, state and national history. I guess you could say I’m nothing more than a “conduit” in many ways. Best of all, is having the opportunity to connect you, the reader of the present, with the Frederick of the past. I do this through the context of gravestones that memorialize former residents whose lives “lived” helped gave us the Frederick we know and cherish today.
Earlier this week, I surveyed the cemetery grounds in preparation for giving our annual Veterans Day history walking tour. I introduce participants to a random collection of outstanding military men and women from different eras. I happened to be in Area A, among the oldest in Mount Olivet located closest to our front gate entrance off South Market Street. This locale has received great attention over the past year from our Friends of Mount Olivet group in terms of stone cleaning. Many gravestones formerly charcoal black in color due to age and pollution, are now gleaming white and reminiscent of the days these were first erected—some dating back to the 1850s.
As is always the case, certain stones seem to jump out at me. Now my focus was somewhat skewed as I was especially taking note of graves decorated with flags as we had just performed that exercise last weekend. A small military stone of a Union Civil War veteran captured my imagination as I marveled of how clean and vibrant it was. I had not recalled ever seeing it before, and if I had, I surely wouldn’t have been able to decipher the writing on its face due to the aging these stones endure at the mercy of the elements.
I snapped a few photos on my I-phone and decided I would look into the life of C. H. Tabler and figure out the cause of his early demise, not knowing whether he was a Frederick lad or a native of Ohio as his stone identified his particular regiment.
Well the story began to take shape rather quickly as I checked our cemetery records on this individual buried in Lot 93 of Area A. It was clearly stated that C. Henry was a “removal” from Virginia who came to Mount Olivet on March 4th, 1871. The record said that “Henry” had died at Stafford Court House (Virginia) while serving in Company F of the 55th Ohio Infantry Regiment. In looking at his lot card, I realized that he had been buried in the family plot of William Benjamin Tabler, the decedent’s father. Unbeknownst to me when I first spied Henry’s grave the previous day, his parents and a few siblings were buried behind and within a few mere feet of his military-issue stone. I failed to take notice because they faced west instead of east as was the case with Henry’s stone.
I searched for an obituary for Henry and found one in the January 22nd edition of the Maryland Union newspaper of Frederick. In this I learned that he died on Christmas Day of “Congestive chills.” I looked up this condition and found that this old disease name equated to Malaria with diarrhea. The article stated that he was buried at a graveyard in Jefferson at this time. This means that he was moved to Mount Olivet in 1871 from his former resting place in Jefferson.
As I was searching for his obit, I had first come upon an article in the Maryland Union from the previous August (1862). This small article referenced The Wyandot Pioneer, a newspaper in Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County, Ohio, and the fact that our subject Mr. Tabler was an employee of this entity. The article talked about the Tabler family, and Henry’s recent enlistment in the Union Army following the patriotic spirit shown by his brothers Frank and Charles.
This led me to find a couple reference records to his service including Ohio enlistment records and an order form for his subsequent military tombstone after his death. Best of all was the entrée into The Wyandot Pioneer in hopes that this publication to shed more information on the life and death of C. Henry Tabler. My wish was answered as I found a fuller obituary, and also a direct report to the newspaper’s publisher regarding Henry’s final days.
Interestingly, Henry’s boss at the paper was a man named Louis Augustus Brunner (1823-1886), and yes he has definitive connections to the Brunner family of Frederick that gave us the famed Schifferstadt house at the end of West 2nd Street where it intersects with Rosemont Avenue.
Mr. Brunner was the son of John (1792-1844) and Anna Maria Stickel Brunner (1794-1829), and a brother of Valentine Stickel Brunner, a former president of Mount Olivet. John was the son of Jacob Valentine Brunner (1760-1822) and served as an 1812 War veteran. The John Brunner family’s cemetery lot is located just a football field away from the final resting spot of L. A. Brunner’s former employee, G. Henry Tabler.
I would find an additional article in the Frederick Examiner newspaper of March 4th, 1863 pertaining to Henry’s death, as it was attributed to the Wyandot Pioneer. This was a solemn poem to his memory written by an S. M. Boughton:
Named for his paternal grandfather, Christian Henry Tabler was born in 1841 in the vicinity of Jefferson, Maryland. He first appears by name in the 1850 US Census living in Petersville. I took interest in the fact that Henry’s father, William Benjamin Tabler (b. 1810 in Martinsburg, West Virginia), served in the Brengle Home Guards unit in 1861, and would later be elected as Frederick County sheriff in 1865. He spent most of his working career as an auctioneer and also an innkeeper.
In 1850, he was keeping a hotel in Petersville in the southwestern part of the county. I was fascinated to learn that Petersville was once a tourist destination, and this hotel, which no longer stands, was once located on the Jefferson Pike just west of Catholic Church Road. Of personal interest, this is only a stone’s throw from my son’s girlfriend’s house, but that’s neither here nor there as far as our subject is concerned.
The Tablers would relocate to Frederick during the 1850s and can be found living on the south side of the first block of East South Street by 1859. In Williams’ Frederick Directory of 1859-1860, Henry is listed as having the occupation of printer, a fact not mentioned in the 1860 US Census. It is most likely that Henry went to Upper Sandusky, Ohio in mid-1861 and began his work with Mr. L. A. Brunner and The Wyandot Pioneer as a printing foreman
I found the following article that gave a more complete picture of his desire to enlist in August of 1862, just a month before his former hometown of Frederick would be occupied for a week by Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia prior to the nearby battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
Henry’s other brothers, Frank and Charles, were also serving in the Union Army as mentioned previously. I found an article in the Maryland Union that showed that Frank (Franklin Clay Tabler b. 1845) had suffered an unfortunate accident while in camp at nearby Sandy Hook on the Potomac and not far from the fore-mentioned hamlet of Petersville. Mrs. Louisa Tabler, the boy’s mother, was the former Louisa Crum, a native of Knoxville which is even closer to Sandy Hook.
You can’t fault Frank as he had enlisted in the US Army in September, 1861 at the age of 16. Henry’s other brother Charles William Tabler (b. 1842) had the best military career of the three as he avoided a fatal illness and gunshot wounds of any kind. Based on later news accounts, he was commended for his bravery under fire during the war on numerous occasions.
The 1870 US Census shows Henry’s parents and three other siblings living at the Dill House hotel on West Church Street. William B. Tabler was back in his familiar role as innkeeper at this famous hostelry once located on the southeast corner of West Church and Court streets. Today this is a parking lot that serves both M&T Bank and the Paul Mitchell Temple School.
1871 was the year that Mr. Tabler bought his burial plot in Mount Olivet. I surmised that Henry’s brother, Otis (b. 1836) had been afflicted with some sort of disability through life as the 1870 census lists him as an invalid. He may have been showing signs of imminent demise which could have prompted his father to purchase burial lots at this time. As I said earlier, Henry’s body was the first placed here in Area A’s Lot 93 in March of 1871. Otis would pass 14 months later in July of 1872. I found his brief obituary but could not find a gravestone for him.
William Benjamin Tabler would die on May 3rd, 1874. He joined sons Henry and Otis here in grave lot today that is well shaded by a large oak tree that stands on the northwest corner of Area A. Wife Louisa died in 1878. Henry’s sisters Ida Louisa (Tabler) Fout (1847-1894) and Mary Katherine “Mollie” Tabler (1849-1931) would also be laid to rest here.
To wrap up this Tabler family’s story here at Mount Olivet, originally inspired by me spotting the lonely, yet sparkling, grave of Union veteran C. Henry Tabler, I needed to find out what happened to the other two sibling-veterans. Frank married a young woman named Marion Farr in St. Louis in 1869 and worked as a clerk in some capacity. He died somewhere before 1900 and his body was not returned to Frederick for reburial. I assume he is buried in St. Louis but have been unable to find his final resting place.
That brings us to Charles, who is buried in Mount Olivet up the hill from the rest of his family with his wife and in-laws in Area E/Lot 3. Charles worked as a clerk here in Frederick but re-located to Washington DC in the 1890s. He eventually gained a pension clerk job at the US Capitol but eventually became a real estate broker. He lived at 200 E. Capitol Street, which was known as the Manning House, but today serves as the Florida House, an embassy of sort for visiting Floridians.
This is where he was living and working when he died in 1911 as a result of committing suicide. I found several front page articles in both the Frederick and Washington, DC newspapers of the time. These depicted in great detail how Mr. Tabler was depressed regarding a recent illness he was slow to recover from. They also discussed his assumed plans for burial in Arlington. Apparently, this final wish would not come to fruition.
So, in researching and writing this piece, I got to meet a new family, consisting of 3 of the 4,500 veterans in our midst in Mount Olivet. Fittingly I made more connections whether they be to patriotism, places, people and events. Best of all, I happened to be curious as to the meaning of the last name of "Tabler." You should have seen the look on my face when I learned that this family originally hailed from southwestern England in the county of Cornwall. The moniker derives from an ancient occupational name from Old French, tablier, which is better defined as “joiner.” Reminds me a lot of the related words “conduit” and “connector” if you asked me.
What a special family name, and fitting subject for my 180th edition as I stop to give pause and reflect on my the five-year anniversary of writing “Stories in Stone.” Thanks for the continued support from all our readers and here’s to the next five years.
Please help us mark the graves of veterans in Frederick's historic Mount Olivet by sponsoring a wreath!