Howard County, established 1851, county seat Ellicott City.
Boy Scout Ben Will of Ellicott City is proposing to clean up a small family graveyard off Old Frederick Road in Ellicott City as his Eagle Scout project. The Gosnell Family Cemetery belonged to the Gosnell family and dates back to the mid-19th century. Ben would very much appreciate any help CPMBS members might be able to provide, ranging from advice to physical labor. His project is scheduled to last up to two years. This time allows plenty of opportunity for members to volunteer for the day, or more, depending on their availability. Please call President Kristin Kraske at (410) 772-8602 for Ben’s contact information.
Two interesting facts concerning the Gosnell family graveyard: the land is still owned by a Gosnell descendant; and at least one burial in the graveyard is that of a Federal Civil War veteran.
[Ben has completed his project. The following an article was written by Kristin Kraske regarding Ben’s project.]
Boy Scout Finishes Project
Boy Scout Ben Will came to former president Jean Keenan in the Fall of 2000 asking if she would sponsor his proposed Eagle Scout project to reconstitute the Gosnell Family Cemetery in Howard County. Jean then called me, as current President, to ask if I would likewise sponsor and we could sign on to his Eagle Scout project on behalf of CPMBS. We were pleased that the Boy Scout troop knew of us so that Ben could contact us and get our advice and sponsorship. CPMBS is listed as a beneficiary to this project since we are concerned about grave sites and their upkeep. The Gosnell graveyard is located on property adjoining Old Frederick Rd and I-70 near Ellicott City. It includes the grave of Federal Civil War veteran Philip J. Wood. Jean and I visited in May 2002 as Ben was preparing to finish up. Ben had had professional contractors to help clear the forested area, and masons recommended by former Director Skip Merkle to help move and re-set stones as well as getting foundation brick donations from a local contractor and the local government. Ben even discovered some buried stones and has placed them approximately where they might be properly located. Ben has submitted his final report and will hopefully be granted his Eagle Scout badge. We thank Ben for his initiative and his dedication to helping restore and honor our historical community.
(Article to appear in the Coalition Courier, Vol. 10, no. 3. Fall 2002)
Family Cemetery Threatened by Road Widening
The King Family Cemetery (also called Hahn Cemetery), near Annapolis Junction at the Howard/Anne Arundel County borders, is in danger of losing much of its land to a road-widening proposal by Howard County. Guilford Road is officially a state road but the County has jurisdiction over this are and can budget for improvements. In February, Barbara Siege met with King family members regarding the threat. The Kings are interested in protecting their heritage and right to continue using their property for future burials. Mrs. Sieg and King family members then attended a County Zoning Commissioner meeting specifically called to discuss the Guilford Road situation on February 28.
Currently, Guilford Road near the King cemetery is a two-lane road without shoulders to the south of the property. The cemetery is level with the road coming from the west, but going east in front of the property the road cuts into a natural slope and dips down, creating a steep embankment at the front that increases in height from west to east. The known graves start at about 35 feet in from the road. Meanwhile, to the south of Guilford Road, there is ample room and a much gentler slope down from the road.
Along this stretch the County is proposing to increase the width to 5 lanes, including a deceleration land. Part of this plan is to cut into the cemetery property about 30 feet. The fear is that this may be too close for comfort for the known burials and may potentially desecrate unknown sites. Additionally, there is a short dirt access lane, which comes from the Guilford Road into the southwest corner of the property at a sharp angle because the land is level there. It only reaches in about 35 feet perpendicular to the road as well. If the County takes 30 feet, there is no room for a parked car anymore, and, because of the nature of the embankment, that lane entrance would now find itself some 10 feet or more below the level of the cemetery.
Local businesses, including the property owner to the south, would like a widened road to accommodate increased traffic, especially the heavy trucks typical for this industrial zone. The opposite property wants a deceleration lane as well to help accommodate the heavy trucks that go in and out.
There seems to be a view by the business owner and the County that at least one or two of these extra lanes can be added to the cemetery side. However, the King family does not appreciate the intrusion on their property, especially since it is hallowed ground, and ground they wish to continue actively using. Furthermore, the land to the south of the road may be easier to work, since it is much flatter and more open. There are no trees or embankment and the nearest building is some 100 feet away.
President Kristin Kraske wrote to County Executive James Robey about the site and proposed improvements, following the County meeting.
The King cemetery has 29 marked graves, and about 16 other known unmarked graves. Markers date back to the mid-1800’s, but most markers date within the last half century. It is an active ground. It is also possible that many unknown graves exist, even in the wooded areas. Some have speculated that there may be slaves of William Fermage King and Elizabeth King buried around here, which typically would not be marked. Before the County could even think of disrupting the area, an archaeological survey should be performed to verify if and where these unknowns are. But preferably the site would not be disturbed at all.
(Article appeared in the Coalition Courier Spring 2001, Vol. 9, No. 1.)
Update: Family Cemetery Threatened by Road Widening (Spring 2001)
The King Family Cemetery near Annapolis Junction (Howard/Anne Arundel border), that was under threat of losing much of its land to a road-widening proposal by Howard County, has good news this quarter. In May the County declared to the family organization and CPMBS that it has developed a new plan to avoid any interference with the burial site property. The Guilford Road widening is now planned for the opposite side of the road. The County will be officially presenting its new plans in September for further comment by the community. CPMBS will be sure to check over the plans along with the King Family organization and other interested groups such as Preservation Howard County.
As a token of appreciation, the King Family organization officially thanked CPMBS’ efforts in this matter by hosting Treasurer George Horvath at a celebration luncheon for those who helped them. They have generously made a donation to us, for which we thank them.
(Article appeared in the Coalition Courier, Summer 2001, Vol. 9, No. 2
Howard County – Sailor, Maryland’s Public Information Network
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Ellicott City, MD 21043
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P. O. Box 274
Columbia, MD 21045
Howard County Public Library
Howard County – MD Tombstone Transcription Project
Howard County Cemeteries