Sadly, it's just one of those dates that conjures up sadness. The lasting images of that day. The anxiety and confusion. The tragedy and tremendous human loss. The anger and unanswered questions of why?
Twenty-two years have passed, but the memory of September 11th, 2001 is still vivid for the vast majority of us, many able to recall exactly what we were doing when news reports told us that planes flying into the Twin Towers/World Trade Center buildings in New York City at the start of the workday of September 11th, 2001.
It's not hard to think of one particular gravesite here at Mount Olivet every time September 11th comes around each year. I drive by this large black, granite stone each day on my way to work, as its located at the entry point of our administrative offices within the mausoleum complex (at the south end of the cemetery). This is the final resting place of Alan Patrick Linton, Jr. who perished in New York that fateful day, as he was simply just doing his job as an investment analyst. As my workplace is a known cemetery, his soon became one. Thousands were lost in the Twin Towers, as both buildings eventually collapsed killing employees and first-responders in the buildings. Alan was 26 at the time, and working for an investment firm on the 104th floor of the South Tower.
This morning on my way into the cemetery, I was thinking of the Frederick High graduate who I penned one of these "Stories in Stone" for back in 2021. I then spotted one of the members of our Friends of Mount Olivet monument repair crew and stopped to say hi. He explained that he had chosen to fix the small grave of an infant this morning, whose stone actually displays a death date of September 11th, 1868. With no other information in our files, it is safe to assume that this child was a stillborn, or died shortly after birth, making this same 11th day of the 9th month, a sad and fateful day for a local family back 155 years ago.
Our FOMO member Roy told me that he had first noticed this particular stone a few weeks back, and it just seemed fitting to give special repair attention on this particular day.
The work of finding/cleaning and leveling the base was performed. Then the dye of the stone belonging to John M. Hagan was resurrected. All this happened between 9-10 AM, the critical time window 22 years earlier in which the South Twin Tower was hit and collapsed (9:03 and 9:59 AM respectively).
As Alan Linton gave me plenty to write about despite his shortened life of 26 years, my new subject John M. Hagan obviously did not have a chance to experience anything. The son of Francis "Frank" T. Hagan and Susan Amanda (Eakle) Hagan likely died at his parent's farm, at the time located west of Frederick along the Old National Pike, today's US Route 40 Alternate. They lived in the vicinity of Fairview on the eastern slope of Catoctin Mountain.
If the last name of Hagan conjures up some sort of familiarity with the Braddock Heights area, it is quite appropriate. You see our John M. Hagan, who lost his life on September 11th, was the grandson of his namesake John Hagan, one-time tavern owner. That's right, we are talking about Hagan's Tavern, former restaurant which was last known as the Silver Maple Inn which closed its doors in 2009.
An interpretive wayside sits outside the old tavern in the parking lot. The HMDB (Historic Marker Database) assisted me with the information found on its face, part of a series of markers placed along the Historic National Road from Baltimore to Grantsville and beyond in western Maryland.
The text on this marker reads as follows:
"The National Road has borne witness to many notorious comings and goings. The quiet atmosphere you’ll find at Hagan’s Tavern today is quite different from the raucous bawdiness of yesteryear. This tavern was a “place where the old bloats of the neighborhood would gather on Saturday and public days to run horses, fight chickens, drink bad whiskey, and black each others eyes.”
It was also a political stomping ground where “cooping” commonly occurred, a practice “where politicians would lure all the poor white voters they could muster to the inn. There the election hopefuls would feed the voters the best food that they could, see that new poker playing cards were at hand, and make sure the whiskey glasses never went dry.” The voters were then taken quickly to cast their ballots.
Long before the National Road, General Braddock marched through here, observing that western Maryland was “almost uninhabited, but by a parcel of banditti who call themselves Indian traders.” The roughhewn log ancestors of taverns like Hagan’s were both Indian trading posts and primitive lodgings. One traveler complained that “I spent the night in a bed with four other godforsaken souls; never knowing whether I would get my pocket picked or be carried off by vermin.”
"The house may have been built as early as 1790 and is thought to have been a tavern operated by James Nixdorf. Architectural features of the tavern suggest conflicts with documentary evidence and oral tradition regarding dates, leaving open the possibility of construction between 1820-1830. By the 1830's, it was owned by John Hagan. His father Peter Hagan was described in Searight's The Old Pike: A History of the National Road (1894) as having a log tavern on the south side of the pike near the stone Wilding's location which was famed among wagoners on the road. A later owner of Hagan's Tavern, believed that the stone house may have operated concurrently with the log structure, eventually superseding it altogether.
Research by Ann Lebherz in the Frederick County Historical Society revealed that the tavern was still a well-known drinking place during the Civil War and was "patronized" by both Confederate and Union troops in their passages through Frederick County."
I, myself, found an article that stated that Frank T. Hagan was a Confederate scout during the American Civil War. With the advent of the automobile, the tavern continued to operate and had a notorious reputation during the early 20th century for its rough clientele. Memories of its use during the 1920's and early 1930's suggest it was known as a speakeasy as well as a legitimate restaurant. Later, it was used as an antique store.
The Hagan family appear on the atlases of the mid to late 1800s as owners during this time. Frank T. must have had a hand in the business, but he is listed as a farm laborer in the 1860 census. John Hagan died in 1883 and his property was distributed among sons John C. Hagan, Frank, Eugene, and William.
Eugene acquired the Old Hagan's Tavern, his childhood home, along with the others. I'm assuming, Eugene operated this for a time, or sold it. This same sibling of Frank, and uncle to the deceased infant John M., is buried a few yards directly behind our subject in Mount Olivet's Area H/Lot 242. Our records show that he was born May 3rd, 1843 and passed on December 31st, 1916.
To the left of John M.'s humble grave are three other Hagan siblings who died as infants. Of course this was commonplace at a time when medicine was nowhere as advanced as later centuries. Infant and child mortality rates were high. Here, we find Laura Virginia Hagan (b. October 9th, 1867 and d. February, 18th 1868). I found it interesting that this child's death was roughly 9 months before the birth/death of John M. Hagan.
Maria Hagan was born October, 4th, 1873 and lived only 3 months and 29 days (as recorded on her gravestone). Her death date is recorded as February 3rd, 1874. Interestingly, the last sibling buried here, Georgia Hagan, died nine months and 20 days later on September 23rd, 1874 (likely stillborn as no birthdate is listed for her in our records).
As I looked for the children's parents, Frank and Susan Hagan, in our records, I could not find them here at all. I did find Frank's older brother John C. Hagan (1837-1907) buried nearby in Area H's Lot 301.
I soon found Frank and Susan were living in Washington County by the late 1870s. They appear to have returned to live near Susan's parent's farm at Eakle's Mills, southeast of Keedysville. Here, Frank worked as a blacksmith.
Two Hagan children lived until adulthood. These were Washington Caspar Hagan (1870-1897), and Mollie M. Hagan (1880-1953). Susan Hagan died on July 24th, 1899 and was buried in Keedysville's Fairview Cemetery. This is where her son Washington had been laid to rest two years earlier, having died at age 26.
Frank and daughter Mollie cohabited for the next 14 years following his wife;'s death. Census records show him working his own blacksmith shop on the west side of South Mountain on Gapland Road. He died on November 20th, 1913 and would be buried next to his wife and son in Keedysville.
Its sad to find children separated from their parents in cemeteries. But here's the thing about cemeteries, graveyard keepers make surviving parents the promise to look after their loved ones into perpetuity. The same holds true for a promise to the children of a deceased parent (s) in caring for the parent's resting place, and so on and so forth. For John M. Hagan, and his siblings reposing to his left, let the record show that we gave him special care on September 11th, 2023—155 years after his death.