History of Percy Cemetery
graves with Nature's choicest flowers, and beautiful evergreens so appropriately emblematic of the immortality of the soul, suggesting the cheering thought of a future meeting with the loved ones gone before, in that fair clime beyond the river of death where separation and sorrow will be no more. At present, however, from what we have been informed, it would be utterly useless for any one to put out flowers or shrubbery, as the probabilities are they would be taken away before the lapse of a week. Such are the facts in the case and present conditions of that cemetery, open as it is to the incursions of cattle, and devils in human shape, is a disgrace to this community. Cannot some action be taken by our Corporate authorities to prevent this vandalism and furnish protection to those who will cheerfully adorn and enclose the graves of their friends?In 1882, there was a brief reference in the October 28 issue of the Frostburg Mining Journal (p. 3):
Improvements are going forward in the Percy graveyard with a view to restoring the grounds to their primitive beauty. W.B. Baird has charge of the work.
The following piece was found in the City Council Minutes for November 12, 1883:
The Mayor [Enoch Clice] stated that the fence around 'The Old Graveyard' was in bad condition and needed repairing. Where on motion of Mr. Edwards the Street supervisor was instructed to repair same at as little cost as possible.
A similar item was found in the May 11, 1885 City Council Minutes:
The Bailiff reported the fence around the Old Graveyard needing repairs, and the [Street] Supervisor was instructed to attend to the matter.
Two things are important here. One is that there are many historical references to the existence of fencing around Percy Cemetery. However, in our restoration work, we found no remnants of any such enclosures. Second, these last three newspaper items above and the 1876 editorial suggest that the City of Frostburg did, on several occasions, assume responsibility for some of the maintenance of the Cemetery. This becomes an important point, discussed below, in deciding the issue of who owned Percy Cemetery.
On June 24, 1886 there occurred a singular event in Percy Cemetery: the unveiling of a monument dedicated to Alexander Tennant, who had died in 1882, by a statewide gathering of Masons (FMJ, 6-26-1886, p. 1). Judging by the length of the article, this was an extremely significant occasion with no less a personage than Governor Henry Lloyd attending in his role as Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Masons. The article describes in some detail the elaborate preparations made by the community in commemoration of this event and concluded: "Didn't the old metropolis shine?" Given this statement and the importance of the occasion, we assume that some effort was made to clear the Cemetery for the unveiling although there is no direct evidence to indicate this.
It is apparent, however, that whatever restoration work was accomplished in prior years did not have a lasting effect for, in 1888, there were serious concerns again expressed about the regrettable condition of the graveyard (FMJ 5-19-1888, p. 1):
Complaints of the neglected condition of the old Cemetery on the hill are numerous, loud and deep. It is open to cattle forage, juvenile vandalism and desecration of all varieties. Owners of lots there think the proprietors of the Cemetery, whoever they are, owe better attention to the property as a whole, and that meanwhile the town authorities should take a hand in protecting the resting-places of the
Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson
28 x 22 cms
Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .
Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972