Percy Cemetery Commission
THE PERCY CEMETERY COMMISSION
BY THE AUTHORS
One of our great concerns throughout the restoration of the Percy Cemetery was to develop a means of preserving the cemetery in its renewed condition. As recounted in Chapter 1, there have been many previous efforts to restore the cemetery. The fact that there were many restoration attempts necessarily means that there were failures. Shortly after the cemetery was cleared, it quickly reverted to its wilderness state. We did not want that to happen this time. We were willing to continue with the maintenance efforts for the near future. However, there will come a time when we are no longer willing or able to keep going.
Our answer to the problem was to form the Percy Cemetery Commission, a body incorporated under the laws of Maryland, in 1990. The purpose of this organization is to oversee the cemetery with the objective of accumulating enough money, primarily through donations, to be able to establish a perpetual care trust fund. The interest from the basic fund is used to hire individuals to maintain the cemetery during the warm months. Currently, the Board of Directors of the Commission include the following members of the community: T. William Preston; Ralph Race; W. Doug Thomas; Anthony E. Crosby, Jr.; Michael R. Olson; Ernest "Red" Ogden; and, Nadeane Gordon. [Sam Layman was one of the original founders of the Commission. His untimely death in March 1992 was a significant loss not only to the Percy Cemetery Commission but also to the whole community of Frostburg; more recently, in July 1995, we lost Daniel Folk, another charter member of the Commission, and in May 1999, Catherine Thomas, a third founder of the organization, passed away.].
Individuals who donate $25 or more to the trust fund become voting members. Donations of less than $25 entitle individuals to non-voting membership. An annual meeting is held each year in May, at which time issues related to the cemetery are open to discussion and election to the Board of Directors occurs.
The Percy Cemetery Commission now legally owns the Percy Cemetery. This, of course, settles the long-standing issue of ownership discussed later. A deed to the cemetery was transferred to the Commission in the Spring of 1991 by the City of Frostburg. To symbolize the completion of the restoration of the cemetery and our efforts to establish a perpetual care program, there was a rededication ceremony in May of 1990.
The Percy Cemetery Commission has relied heavily on donations from local residents as well as descendants of those buried in the cemetery. As of May 2000, the Commission had accumulated over $75,000 as a result of donations and dedicated efforts to raise money. For example, in June of 1991 and 1992, the Commission sponsored a booth at the Frostburg Festival at which it sold "popcorn crunch," among other things. The profits from this endeavor went into the perpetual care fund. In fact, the profit from the Frostburg Festival itself was donated to the fund by its organizers. In 1992, the Commission and the City Library shared the proceeds of the annual Christmas time Candlelight Tour of Frostburg. We have also made prudent investments of our funds, with the help of Douglas Kramer, local representative of the Edward Jones investment company, which now provide us with modest interest income each year. In April 1999, Ralph and Martha Race established an endowment fund for the cemetery, contributing generously to that end.
Through the creation of the Percy Cemetery Commission, we believe we have broken the cycle of degradation and destruction that has historically plagued the Cemetery. By placing the Cemetery in the perpetual care of a trust organization composed of concerned citizens, we believe we can insure the future respectability of Percy Cemetery.
Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson
28 x 22 cms
Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .
Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972