Promoting the preservation and protection of the burial sites, cemeteries, and grave yards in Maryland.
The Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites (CPMBS) is a state-wide nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to protecting and preserving historic Maryland cemeteries that have too often been neglected, not maintained, unprotected, and the victims of expediency and exploitation by persons seeking a short-term economic or personal goal. The Coalition recognizes that many burial sites are established through a purchased right of burial that is protected by the laws of Maryland, with such right passing on to the relatives of the deceased, and which right cannot lawfully be abridged by others at will. These beliefs led individuals in the summer of 1991 to form a group that would address concerns not covered by existing laws and organizations. Our members appreciate the importance of burial sites as hallowed grounds, irreplaceable cultural resources, and sources of valuable genealogical data often found nowhere else. Membership in the Coalition is open to Marylanders and others who care about their heritage and their ancestors. Learn more by reading About Us.
The Coalition is grateful for financial assistance from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to enable this website.
County commissioners recognize Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization
CUMBERLAND, Md. — The Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization was recognized for its 40th anniversary at Thursday’s Allegany County commissioners meeting.
Ed Taylor Jr., president of the organization, said the group has built roughly 900 monuments valued at more than $5.5 million, roughly 90% of which has come from the private sector over the past 40 years.
He thanked county officials for their support, and praised the organization’s volunteers for their help including to mow grass in cemeteries over the years.
“Monuments are more than just a tribute to the great men and women of our country in the past,” Taylor said of the markers that tell stories of history for future generations to read.
“To date we have monuments literally in almost every cemetery in Allegany County,” he said.
Monuments are also permanent, Taylor said.
“Programs come and go, buildings come and go, but gravestones are supposed to stay there until the end of all time,” he said.
Taylor said the organization in 1991 became a charter member of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites.
“Maryland does have the best cemetery laws,” he said.
The commissioners proclaimed Feb. 23 Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization Day.
Taylor said folks can learn more about the organization at its website chco.info.
Remembering Audrey Bagby
Audrey Myrtle Bagby
March 19, 1937–January 17, 2023
Audrey was the daughter of Leo and Elva C. (Griffith) Schmidt and granddaughter of Franklin M. and
Emily (Griffith) Griffith.
A native of Anne Arundel County, Audrey had deep roots in Anne Arundel County. She was an early
member of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites and received their Periwinkle Award in 2006.
She was an early member of the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society and was President (1996-1998) at
which time the she was instrumental in organizing the society’s 25 th two-day anniversary event. Audrey
accompanied Tina Simmons around the county documenting cemeteries and transcribing tombstone
Audrey had a lifelong interest in art. Early in life she took art classes Maryland Institute College of Art
(MICA) in Baltimore and later in life at the Senior Center in Pasadena. She drew the angel shown on the
front of the two volumes of Cedar Hill cemetery books which she co-authored.
After suffering a stroke in 2021, Audrey moved to Delaware to live with her daughter. She continued to
research obituaries and articles for the genealogy society while living there.
Audrey was preceded in death by her sister, Leona “Lee” Elva Espegren in 2006 and her husband, Jack
Deneen Bagby in 2021. She is survived by a daughter, brother, grandchildren, and various nieces and
Frederick Health reinters remains from former cemetery
| Oct 25, 2022
Until about a century ago, some of the land where Frederick Health Hospital stands today — along West Seventh Street in downtown Frederick — served as the final resting place of more than 900 people of color.
Greenmount Cemetery, established in the late 1800s, was once one of three graveyards where people of color could be buried in Frederick. But in 1920, the grounds were sold to what is now known as Frederick Health Hospital.
A few years later, hundreds of graves were moved to Fairview Cemetery, a graveyard purchased in 1923 by a committee of local African Americans, according to previous reporting from The Frederick News-Post.
Veterans Administration denies grave marker for enslaved vet from War of 1812
FREDERICK, Md. — An attempt in Maryland to recognize a patriot who fought the British in the War of 1812 has ignited a modern debate about race and military recognition.
The unmarked grave in question is in the St. John’s Cemetery in Frederick. The Veterans Administration (VA) is denying a formal request for a marker to honor Samuel Neale, who was likely enslaved while serving as a fully armed soldier in the defenses of Washington and Baltimore against British attacks in 1814.
“Neale did not have qualifying military service,” the letter states.
Giles says he is dismayed by the response. He provided documentation, including an affidavit from Neale published in Maryland in the 1870s documenting his service. Neale was “on the ground fully armed” outside Washington and Baltimore during British attacks, according to the published account.
He was the aide to a Maryland Militia surgeon who owned him, the records say. Neale was “equipped as a soldier” on the battlefield to “care for the wounded,” according to the historic statement. He even suffered an accidental gunshot wound when the doctor’s pistol discharged while Neale was unsaddling a horse in Baltimore.
Historic African American Cemetery Report
Cemetery Preservation Workshops
Preservation Maryland and our program, The Campaign for Historic Trades, are hosting cemetery preservation workshops across the state, where participants learn the basic preservation techniques of caring for a cemetery. The first workshop will take place this Saturday, April 30th in Frederick at Mount Olivet Cemetery. The workshop will be led by Jon Appell of Atlas Preservation and Moss Rudley of the Historic Preservation Training Center.
Tasks taught during the workshops may include cleaning the site, maintaining landscaping, and cleaning markers. Preservation Maryland is currently planning 18 workshops within the next year and will host one workshop in each of the following counties: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester.
We hope to connect with locals in each county who would be interested in learning more about the preservation process and how to care for Maryland’s history. We especially hope to connect with youth ages 12 and older to help build the next generation of preservationists and historians who can help maintain these sites into the future. These workshops will be approximately 3 to 4 hours where participants will be expected to stand or crouch while completing the preservation work in outside weather.
Faces of the dead emerge from lost African American graveyard
By Michael E. Ruane
The Washington Post, July 9, 2021
[Renner/Catoctin Furnace Cemetery, Frederick County, MD]
Burial 35 was a young enslaved woman who walked with a limp and was missing a front tooth. She was in her 30s when she died, perhaps in childbirth. Her infant son, who died a few months later, was buried in a tiny coffin on top of her.
When the experts re-created her weary face, they gave her a headscarf, something she might have worn in the grimy Maryland industrial settlement where she lived.
Burial 15 was a teenager who had been laid to rest with care and what may have been sprigs of sassafras. The herniated discs in his back from overwork could not be reflected in his face, and the sculptor gave him a look of innocence.
The two re-created faces, unveiled for the first time last month, represent the culmination of an eight-year study that used genetics and other cutting-edge technology to examine remains of people enslaved in the late 1700s and early 1800s at Catoctin Furnace, a historic iron forge in Frederick County, Md.
Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/07/09/african-american-cemetery-catoctin-enslaved-faces/
Local historic African American cemetery formally recognized and restored in Western Maryland
WDVM Daily News, by: Katie Rhee
Posted: Oct 23, 2021
RED HILL, Md. (WDVM) — What used to be a patch of overgrown trees and greenery on the side of the road has now been formally recognized as a historic African American cemetery. People gathered in Red Hill, Maryland outside of Keedysville to honor the people buried in Red Hill Cemetery.
Just two years earlier, the burial ground, which lies right off the side of Red Hill Road, was unrecognizable, overrun by bushes and trees. Raymond Thomas is a descendent of a number of people buried in the cemetery. Knowing that many of his family members were buried in Red Hill Cemetery, Thomas was one of a handful of people who tried to clear debris and keep the area tidy.
On Saturday, the burial ground was formally recognized by the town of Keedysville as well as Washington County. During both dedications, the sun broke through the clouds and shined a little brighter on attendees, especially on Thomas.
“Oh it, it means a lot now that it’s getting recognized and, you know, I finally got some help to take care of it now,” Thomas said. “Because before, it was me and a couple other ones in the family, and you know, come out here two or three times in the summer to try and get it cleaned up and stuff. It was just, you know, hard to do.”
Thomas tried his best to always keep the headstones of his grandparents, Reason and Carrie Thomas, clear. He says before the volunteers cleared out the heavy brush and trees, the two most visible headstones were the only indication of a burial ground.
The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland estimates that there are around 56 people buried in Red Hill Cemetery but are looking to confirm more and even identify dependents of those buried here.
“Our next goal is, we’re going to start to grid out the cemetery and identify the approximately 56 to 58 graves that are here,” Richard Kline, president of the African American Historical Association of Western Maryland, explained. “My goal is within the next year to also get ground-penetrating radar to actually identify the specific sites, and then identify those known burrows that we have.”
The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland hopes to get the red hill cemetery formally recognized by the national register of historic places in the future. Nonetheless, Kline is grateful for the recognition of the burial ground as he believes a lot of recent focus by historians has highlighted the underground railroad. He hopes that by restoring the red hill cemetery, it will highlight the need to find and restore other forgotten cemeteries around the state and the country.
The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland also plans to hold more clean-up days in the future. For more information, please visit their website, https://aahawmd.org/.
Meetings are open to all members.
Applications for Trader Foundation Grants are due on July 1, 2023
The Trader Foundation for Maryland Burial Sites provides financial assistance for worthy projects to rejuvenate endangered historic Maryland cemeteries. The Foundation invites applications for grants up to $2,000 to qualified parties. Application deadlines are January 1 and July 1 of each year.
The project or program must benefit a specific burial ground in Maryland, and Trader funds must be matched by the grantee in cash or in kind. Examples of eligible projects include rescue of an endangered site, gravestone conservation or restoration, documentation, protection of burial site from desecration by nature or by man, cemetery clean-up, and planning for restoration. For further information and the application form, click here.