History of Percy Cemetery
Much has been said of the desecration of the old graveyard by town toughs of both sexes, but last Sunday night this sort of degeneracy resolved itself into overturn [sic] of several tombstones, breaking one. Aside from the ordinary misuse of the place, it seems there is an exceptional reason why it should by placed under rigid police oversight and protection. We found no further mention of the Cemetery until an article appeared in the Cumberland Evening Times on May 29, 1912. The editorial remarked upon the deplorable state of the Percy Cemetery, the oldest graveyard in town. Originally located on the outskirts of the City, it was now situated within the City limits. The article stated that the Cemetery recently became the property of the City (presumably in reference to the 1890 fence-building) but now the City refused to do anything to improve it. Very descriptively, the article (CET, 5-29-1912, p. 9) reported that the Cemetery:
...has been allowed to become littered with old tin cans, boots, shoes and rubbish of all kinds, bushes and vines run riot over the sunken graves and fallen headstones, the fencing is down and in many places there is no fencing at all...Is there any citizen of Frostburg, proud of its progress, proud of its municipal liberality, proud of its intelligent, Christian citizenship, who would care to conduct any of his or her visiting friends to the unprotected, neglected home of the dead? The May 1912 article appears to have stimulated no action for there is another article in July of the same year that made reference to the lack of action since the first article appeared. Neither the City nor the relatives of the dead had done anything. Lamented this article (CET 7-27-1912, p. 6):
The absence of any significant action to improve the state of the Cemetery in 1912 is particularly deplorable since this was also the year the City celebrated its Centennial.
But how can the sacred dead who lie in this old Cemetery be forgotten when their very resting place cries out for the friendly hand to come and straighten the fallen headstones, round up the sunken grave, cut away the creeping vine, thin out the scrubby bushes, stop making the hallowed spot the dumping place for old cans, hats, shoes, rags, worn-out coal hods and buckets. Does any citizen of Frostburg ever visit his grave yard, that lies almost at his very door, and come away without having heard in his innermost waking soul these appeals of the dead? Does not memory quicken at the sight of the neglected graves of those who once gave life and cheer to many homes in Frostburg?
The year 1914 seems to have been a banner year for Percy Cemetery. In July, a rather lengthy article (CET, 7-22-1914, p.3) appeared describing the "pity" of the Cemetery's neglect:
While Frostburg is improving in every direction building beautiful homes, paving its streets, boasting of its pretty lawns and parks, there is one that has been passed by, yea, shamefully ignored in the march of time. That place is the old graveyard on Federal Hill, where lie buried the ancestors of many of Frostburg's citizens, a spot that should be hallowed by sacred memories and kept in decent condition by those connected by ties of kinship to the dead buried there, who in life gave cheer and happiness to the homes of Frostburg and a thrifty and intelligent progeny to the common wealth. Other burial places about Frostburg are kept beautiful by loving hands, why the neglect of this sacred spot? Do the spirits of the departed who lie in these unkept graves know of this neglect? Who shall say they do not? What a pity if they do! But it is not
Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson
28 x 22 cms
Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .
Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972