skip to Main Content
Menu

Maryland church learns about its past following discovery of forgotten cemetery

CHARLES COUNTY, MD — A small forest, in Southern Maryland, once held a decade’s-long secret that may have gone unnoticed if not for the efforts of a curious clergywoman.

Reverend Ruby Brown-Thomas grew up visiting Nanjemoy, Maryland. Nanjemoy is a small Charles County community that sits just a few miles east of the Potomac River.

It is not very large. Just a few roads divide its sprawling farmland. Drivers are more likely to encounter a four-way stop there than a stoplight.

But, it holds a special place in Brown-Thomas’ heart. She calls it, “God’s Country”.

“It’s quiet,” Brown-Thomas said. “It’s peaceful.”

 

WATCH THE VIDEO

County Council Hopefuls Voice Support for Memorializing Historic Westbard Cemetery Site

Candidates urge housing agency to preserve burial ground under apartment parking lot

Candidates and community members showed up at the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission on Wednesday.

Candidates and community members showed up at the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission on Wednesday.

BETHANY RODGERS

A group of candidates for Montgomery County Council spoke up Wednesday in support of memorializing the site of a long lost African-American cemetery in Bethesda.

The burial ground a short distance from River Road in Westbard is partially covered by a parking lot for apartments owned by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, and the political hopefuls said it’s time for the agency to redress past wrongs.

Read More

2018 Maryland Burial Sites Legislation

  • April 17, 2018
  • News

 In a session where major issues of gun control, school safety and funding, climate change and medical coverage captured the headlines, the General Assembly took time to protect Maryland’s history and sacred burial sites.  The effort required 2 bold sponsors, a core group of resolute advocates, 5 House and Senate committees, and hundreds of emails and phone calls to pass the first burial sites legislation since the 1990s.  Governor Larry Hogan signed both bills on May 8.  We traded a signing pen for “I Brake for Old Graveyards” bumper sticker.


Executive Office of the Governor, Joe Andrucyk, photographer

While half of the changes proposed by the Coalition and allies did not survive in committees, we are happy to report that descendants and caretakers will gain easier access, owners will be required to consult with the Maryland Historical Trust about conservation treatment, and counties and towns are now authorized to provide a property tax credit related to burial sites.

Appreciation goes to bill sponsors Delegate Tony Knotts of Prince George’s County and Senator Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore City, to the Maryland Association of Counties, David Zinner, Funeral Consumers Alliance, The War of 1812 Society in Maryland, and to all Marylanders who urged legislators to improve state law for the benefit of abandoned and neglected cemeteries.

Effective date of this legislation is June 1, 2018.  The precise new wording in sections of the Annotated Code of Maryland will be posted on this site as soon as those details are available from Legislative Services at the Maryland General Assembly.

Grant to Stop Stormwater Runoff at Annapolis Historic Cemetery

  • September 28, 2017
  • News

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded half a million dollars in funding to fix the stormwater runoff problem at an historic Annapolis church cemetery. Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church is home to a historic cemetery where members of the African American community have been buried for over 150 years, including former slaves and Harriet Tubman’s descendants. The church, located near Whitehall Creek in Annapolis, floods during significant rain events.

Read the full article here.

Neighbor hopes state will restore, maintain cemetery

About 20 years ago, Maureen and Bill Norton were looking at oysters in a tidal creek off of the Potomac River in southern St. Mary’s County. Maureen started walking through the nearby woods and came across an iron fence surrounding a small plot of headstones among the ivy and the trees.

In the ensuing years, the vegetation has continued to grow over the cemetery, some headstones have fallen over as well as part of the fence. The ornate gate of the iron fence has gone missing.

Called the Hencoop cemetery, there are five generations of three families buried there. The land became part of Point Lookout State Park when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought 444 acres around Cornfield Harbor Road in 1992.

Read the full article here.

Visit the site on FindaGrave.com

Preservation Maryland Interview with CPMBS President, Eileen McGuckian

  • March 13, 2017
  • News

PreserveCast podcast episode is now available online!

When you picture a historic cemetery, you probably imagine a place that’s calm and serene. When you picture cemetery preservation, the fact is that the work done by folks like our guest this week Eileen McGuckian, of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, requires a lively energy and lots of grassroots enthusiasm. Eileen McGuckian is here to fill us in on the ins-and-outs of cemetery preservation in general. This week we’re spreading the preservation love as we welcome guest host Meagan Baco.

Listen here!

Back To Top