History of Percy Cemetery
as much a sin to neglect God’s dead as it is to pass by the needy of God's living. Surely the ties of blood should keep alive the tenderest of emotions, love for those who have preceded us to their eternal rest.
The May 29, 1912 article, cited above, was also reprinted. However, the difference from the past was that the Civic Club made a major effort to restore the graveyard. Attempts were made to communicate with descendants of those buried in the Cemetery. Anyone with any civic pride was encouraged to make a contribution to the cause of refurbishing the old, abandoned burial place. Of particular note was that Judge Ruppel of Somerset, PA, with ancestors buried in the Cemetery, made a $50 contribution to the graveyard fund. Judge Ruppel had been in Frostburg in 1912 to give a speech during the Centennial celebration and the subject of the state of Percy Cemetery was evidently one of the major topics of his address. He severely criticized its neglected condition and promised to aid in whatever way he could to help with improvement.
On July 25 (CET, p. 3) a brief article noted, "All [Boy] Scouts expecting to work on the Cemetery on [sic] Federal Hill should report to Deputy Commissioner Adolph Frey, at the Palace Theatre not later than 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 29." On August 5, another article (CET, p. 3) made note of the splendid work done by the Scouts in assisting the Civic Club in cleaning up the debris in the Cemetery on Federal Hill. Mrs. Patrick O'Rourke, president of the Club, requested assistance in hauling away the debris.
On August 11 (CET, p. 7), a brief article noted that William Gunter, proprietor of the Gladstone Hotel, volunteered his teamsters to haul away the rubbish from the old Percy graveyard: "Mr. Gunter's offer shows the right kind of public spirit." The expectation was to have the graveyard in "splendid shape" before the first of September.
Finally, on September 14 (CET, p. 7) there is a note of a benefit "moving picture show" to be presented on September 16 at the Palace Theater under the aegis of the Civic Club. The proceeds would be used to hire a man to help load Mr. Gunter's wagons with the debris from the Cemetery. At an admission price of 10 cents, the movie "...should find a ready response from every good citizen of Frostburg."
For the period between 1915 and 1946, we have not found any news articles pertaining to the Cemetery. In 1947, Rudolph Nickel wrote an article in the Cumberland News of January 24. He noted recent attention had once again focused on the neglected state of the Cemetery and further stated that Percy Cemetery is the resting place of many historically important local and regional personages and also the place of burial for soldiers who fought in many wars. There was mention that an effort was made to clean up the Cemetery before the beginning of WWII. The Boy Scouts, he said, again accomplished much of the work, although the City donated trucks to haul away the rubbish and the manpower to cut down the locust trees. Mayor Marshall Skidmore said he welcomed any suggestions on how to improve the condition of the Cemetery.
In 1952, an article (CN, 9-29-1952) appeared describing the effort sponsored by City government to clean up the Percy Cemetery. Various civic groups, including the Boy Scouts, had undertaken periodic cleanup efforts in the past. The mayor and City commissioners employed a number of men to cut trees and brush to restore the property to a "condition of sacredness." It was hoped that the City's efforts would encourage the descendants of those buried in the Cemetery to improve the condition of individual graves and family plots. The Cemetery, the article noted, was the oldest in the community and contains the remains of many of Frostburg's historically prominent men and women.
From 1952, our information skips to 1975. An article appeared in the Cumberland Sunday Times on May 25 (p. 31) that, once again, lamented Percy Cemetery's neglected condition. However, it noted that recently CETA workers had been busy cutting down the "head-high berry bushes" and hauling them away. Pictures are provided which show the work that had been accomplished. James B. Percy was also shown standing near the burial monument of David Percy, his great-uncle, who died in 1858.
Percy Cemetery has been a "local problem" throughout its many decades of existence. From
Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson
28 x 22 cms
Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .
Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972