skip to Main Content

County commissioners recognize Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization

Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization board members meet with Mayor Ray Morriss and Sen. Mike McKay at the CHCO Headquarters, 400 S. Allegany St. The CHCO 40th year anniversary banner was presented and hung at the headquarters. The event was followed by a meeting to plan monument projects for the year. From the left are Mark Jones, Malinda Newhouse, Jim Ali, Ed Taylor Jr., Larry Haines, Christina Taylor, the Rev. Michael Mudge, Dale Burgess, Peggy Keene, David Burcaw, Brett Dimaio, Morriss and McKay. To learn more, visit

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

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

By Angela Roberts |  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.

Read more

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.

According to a letter from the VA to Lou Giles of the Society of the War of 1812 in Maryland, the request for a marker acknowledging Neale was denied.

“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.

Read more

Historic African American Cemetery Report

The Maryland Historical Trust and Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture recently submitted their report on historic African American cemeteries to the Maryland General Assembly. Developed with the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Preservation Maryland, and descendant communities, and based on feedback gathered from the public, this report documents the state of African American cemetery preservation in Maryland and makes recommendations to help safeguard these irreplaceable sites for the future.
To learn more about the project, visit:
Back To Top