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2005 Periwinkle Award Recipients

For their outstanding effort to preserve historic cemeteries, five Maryland residents have received the Periwinkle Award from the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Inc., Maryland’s only non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the state’s old family and public cemeteries, historic churchyards, and Indian burial grounds.

The awards were presented in 2005 in Rockville, Maryland.

Bob and Betty Fowler

 Ann Horvath accepted award on behalf of the Fowlers
Ann Horvath accepted award on behalf of the Fowlers

(Accepted on behalf of the Fowlers by Ann Horvath)

Bob and Betty are unable to be with us today. They retired and moved to Florida in 1994. However, they visit their families in Carroll County and continue their
genealogical projects during the summer, so we will be seeing them in June.

Bob was born in Baltimore, lived in Baltimore and Calvert Counties as a child, graduated from the University of Baltimore in 1958 and worked for Ford Motor Co. for 30 years.

Betty was born in Carroll County, graduated from Towson with her Bachelor’s degree and Western Maryland with a Masters. She worked for the State of MD for 34 years.

They have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren.

Bob is the genealogy enthusiast and as a result of working on his wife’s Franklin genealogy found 2 Franklin Family cemeteries in Carroll County. Together, during their summer visits they have cleaned up these cemeteries. On Sunday, May 16, 2004 they had a rededication ceremony at the Gilbert Road cemetery. This cemetery sits in a housing development. There is a Thomas Franklin buried at this cemetery whose stone was removed by a descendant many years ago. Thomas was born  in 1732 and died 1797. Bob has tried very hard to locate this missing stone and thus far has been unsuccessful. A new one was put in at the dedication.

The other Franklin Family Cemetery is a few miles away on a farm off of Franklinville road, just above Taylorsville. The Fowlers located this cemetery in 1992 and restored it last summer.

We have notified this couple of this award and they were very pleased. We are pleased to accept the Periwinkle certificate for them and look forward to presenting it to them when they come up in June.

Dr. Stephen Cluskey Cromwell, Jr.

Dr. Stephen Cluskey Cromwell, Jr.
Dr. Stephen Cluskey Cromwell, Jr.

In 1894, one hundred and fifty years after the Rockville Cemetery was established, the newly-formed Rockville Cemetery Association appointed a group of women to its Executive Committee. Under the leadership of Rebecca T. Veirs, the committee cleared grounds, planted trees and beautified the deteriorated burying ground.

A century later, the cemetery was amidst another period of neglect. The community was concerned that this final resting place of many prominent Rockville citizens was in such a terrible state of disrepair. A group of interested local citizens from a variety of disciplines (Rockville Rotary Club, recreation, historic preservation, family interests) united to restore Rockville’s oldest burying ground and to formed the Rockville Cemetery Association, Inc. in 2002.

Its first President is Dr. Stephen Cluskey Cromwell, Jr., a great-grandson of Rebecca T. Veirs, of the energetic 1894 Executive Committee.

Dr. Cromwell has lived in Rockville all his life. He attended schools in the area, and after serving his country and community with distinction in WWII, he entered into the practice of medicine and remained in Rockville until his recent retirement. He was among the first to join with the citizens in the ongoing cemetery restoration project and agreed to become its president. Under his leadership, historic district design guidelines were approved by the Rockville Mayor and Council.

Older and damaged tombstones in the upper section of the cemetery are being repaired. Fundraising efforts are under way one of which is the sale of burial lots that Dr. Cromwell supervises. An old access road into the cemetery has been improved, a caretaker’s cottage has been restored, and the dumping of debris has been reduced with the cooperation of local police. The cemetery has community clean-up days during the year and hosts tours of the cemetery.

Under Dr. Cromwell’s leadership, much has been accomplished in a short time.

Records since the 1750s have been computerized, the old access road into the cemetery has been rebuilt, the caretaker’s cottage has been restored and leased, and the dumping of debris has been reduced with the cooperation of local police. The cemetery has community clean-up days during the year and hosts tours of the cemetery. Rockville Cemetery was designated a local Historic District by the Mayor and Council in 2002, and Design Guidelines for the cemetery were approved by the Rockville Mayor and Council in 2004. Leaning and damaged tombstones in the upper section of the cemetery are currently being repaired, and considerable tree work has been accomplished. Fundraising efforts are currently being organized to continue these and other priorities in the cemetery.

The Board of Directors emphasizes that, in addition to leading the organization and keeping the burial records, Dr. Cromwell is the champion salesman of burial
lots in Rockville Cemetery. This activity and source of income had nearly stopped before the new Association took over.

Thanks to Dr. Cromwell and his active Board of Directors, this historic area is being restored to its original rural park-like design.

Jean Sunday

Jean Sunday
Jean Sunday

The Coalition is proud to give one of its Periwinkle Awards this year to Mrs. Jean Sunday of Anne Arundel County. Mrs. Sunday is a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Crownsville, MD. Land for St. Stephens Church was donated by John A. Reigle and his was the first burial there in 1829. To date there have been 508 burials in the cemetery there.

Mrs. Sunday’s husband, Charles was a volunteer Cemetery Superintendent from 1980 to 2000 – that’s 20 years!. Jean assisted her husband . In 2000 the vestry appointed Jean as Cemetery Administrator. She established a new set of cemetery records, duplicating data from all available parochial records and verifying information with tombstones in the cemetery. Individual tombstones were photographed and are contained in a separate binder. Here is a very good idea: When burial plots are purchased, cemetery easements, assigning the grave plots and prescribing the instructions for burial and cemetery maintenance are given to the purchaser. Copies were also mailed to the known addresses of families of former burials.

When her husband died in 2001, since he had been so dedicated to the care of the cemetery, the monetary memorials received in his name were used to purchase monuments for the old graves without markers. Other memorials, gifts and contributions from St. Stephen’s Guild received in the past three years has enabled the purchase of a total of 81 monuments for the unmarked graves!

In addition to the work described, Jean serves on several other church committees and has been a member of the vestry since 1982. She is a member of the committee to write the ”History of Severn Parish, 1838-1988”, established the parish archives and continues as the archivist. The Maryland Episcopal Diocese Archivists invited her to be a member of their group. Besides all of this she is also active in several civic associations and the Odenton Historical Society.

Jean’s family consists of a daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters and their husbands and two great-grandsons.

Eileen McGuckian

Eileen McGuckian and President Ed Taylor, Jr.
Eileen McGuckian and President Ed Taylor, Jr.

Where does one begin in enumerating the countless ways in which Eileen McGuckian has contributed to the preservation of cemeteries? As Executive Director of Peerless Rockville she has developed, organized, and directed countless special and ongoing preservation and educational projects in the Rockville community, involving historical buildings, parks, and cemeteries. In accomplishing this she has done research, written numerous articles and books, given speeches, organized fund-raising, written grants, conducted educational programs and given tours.

Two years ago Eileen assisted the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites in forming its first county-based organization under the auspices of the Coalition. Their first goal was to begin an inventory of cemeteries in Montgomery County. Because Peerless Rockville has a non-profit status, Eileen was able to write and obtain a grant to fund this project. Anne Brockett was hired to be the project coordinator. You will hear a report of this project from Anne in a few minutes.

In gathering information about Eileen’s additional involvement with cemeteries, I was given the names of five persons who each willingly told me about their
association with Eileen in their particular cemetery project. Each of them highly praised her efforts to help and her willingness to work, often on her own time to attend meetings, give advice and make cemetery visits.

Beth Rodgers told how Eileen galvanized the community into action to preserve Rockville Cemetery that we shall hear about and visit this afternoon. “Eileen’s experience was invaluable”, said Beth,” in the restoration and in the formation of the board of the Rockville Cemetery”.

Higgins Cemetery had become an illegal dump, reported Mary Ann Barnes. In about 1980 Eileen obtained grants to restore the old cemetery which, in addition to countless other former citizens, contains graves of participants in the Revolutionary War. She was instrumental in organizing lineal descendants, local businesses and interested citizens in the restoration project.

Bulldozers had destroyed many graves in the ¾ acre Haiti Cemetery in Rockville. Fifty to sixty slaves are known to be buried here. Warren Crutchfield praised the efforts of Eileen in giving valuable guidance in the restoration of this old cemetery.

The Autre St. Mary’s/Lytton Family Cemetery was the only land remaining from the huge estate of Caleb Lytton who came here in the latter part of the 17th century. The city of Rockville eventually developed here and the cemetery became city property. With Eileen’s help, descendants determined the names of the persons buried in the 20 by 30 feet burial site. A Boy Scout troop helped to clear the area and neighbors were informed about the project. In September of 2004 a dedication ceremony was held by the city of Rockville naming one-acre The Autre/St. Mary’s Park. The park and cemetery are maintained by the city. Children are invited to play there. A teacher from a nearby elementary school brings his class to the cemetery every Halloween, during the day, to teach them about the history of the people who are buried there and the importance of respecting their graves. Eileen helped to develop the language for the historical park marker.

The Montgomery County Historical Society owned the Baptist Cemetery after the church had moved and could no longer care for it. Peerless Rockville took over ownership in 1983 and has maintained the cemetery for the past 22 years. This has involved the usual cleanups, trimming and removal of trees, and replacing the fence twice, according to Suzanne Fisher. The graves of old Rockville families can be found there, including that of a child who was killed in a train accident. Eileen has been successful in obtaining grants and in fundraising to finance the upkeep of the cemetery.

Recognition of Eileen McGuckian by the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites is long overdue. She has been a member, staunch supporter and willing worker since the founding of our organization in 1991. Thank you, Eileen.

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