Dennis Green and Tina Simmons
Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge North Tract
Melvin Mason, Candy Warden, Kristin Kraske, Tina
Simmons and Dennis Green
In the spring of 2006 Dennis
Green started on what has become an ongoing project in locating,
clearing some very overgrown cemeteries, and maintaining those same
cemeteries in Ann Arundel County. Most of these cemeteries are on what
is now part of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge North Tract. This
area was once part of Ft. Meade and the 8000 + acres were turned
over to Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge in 1991 as a result of the
Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990. Christine Simmons of
the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society started volunteering at the North
Tract as well. The group mostly was helping to mow the grass, clear the
trees and doing general trail maintenance. Along the way it was learned
that there were 9 known cemeteries in the North Tract and quite
probably a few more that have not be seen or positively identified for
more than 50 years.
After receiving permission from Fish & Wildlife to clean up
the cemeteries, the group of volunteers received help from many
individuals and summer help from kids in the YCC program (Youth
Conservation Corp). By the second year all nine cemeteries had been
cleared and were showing signs that at least one person cared about
these old cemeteries. Cemetery maintenance is still being done today.
Dennis Green looks for signs of the former homesteads in the
North Tract and hikes old trails and road beds in search of other
cemeteries. His methods have uncovered several more cemeteries in the
North Tract including an old pet cemetery.
Dennis and Tina, with her experience in documenting cemeteries
in Anne Arundel County this last 20 years or more, pooled their
resources and learned more about the stone fragments and the history of
the cemeteries found in the North Tract.
There is a bumper sticker saying "I stop for old cemeteries" put
out by the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Grounds. Perhaps Dennis
should have one that reads "I stop to clean up old cemeteries: at least
We are pleased to honor Dennis and his efforts to locate, clear,
and maintain the cemeteries in the North Tract as well as other
locations in Anne Arundel County.
Edward Taylor, Jr. and the Cumberland
Historic Cemetery Organization
for their work for cemeteries in
Kristin Kraske and Edward Taylor, Jr.
Our second winner this
year was Edward Taylor, Jr. and the Cumberland Historic Cemetery
Organization, Inc. (CHCO). Ed and the Cumberland Historic Cemetery
Organization, Inc. (CHCO) need no introduction to the Coalition to
Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Inc. (CPMBS). As founding and
charter members of the Coalition, Edward Taylor and the efforts of the
CHCO around Cumberland, MD, are well known to many of our members.
Edward Taylor is currently president of the
Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, which he founded in 1983
along with the late Katherine Wolford. Their purpose has been to
support gravesites in all manner of ways using only private effort and
funds. Those efforts include adopting graveyards in the region
for restoration and maintenance, restoring existing individual
gravesite monuments, providing new individual monuments which also
provide funding for the CHCO, and protecting, maintaining and honoring
these individual sites through their protected gravesite program.
All sites are maintained and honored (e.g., decoration) all year
long. To date, 11 graveyards are adopted and some 800 monuments
have been restored or created.
CHCO also regularly holds memorial services in
honor of the dead in the area, in addition to special Federal Memorial
Day services at veterans’ sites, and memorial services in honor of
Confederate History Month at Confederate veterans’ sites.
In an effort to help spread the preservation and
protection of gravesites state-wide, the CHCO helped to found CPMBS in
1991 and was active from the start at efforts to better protect all
sites in our state of Maryland.
Edward Taylor and the CHCO have worked almost
weekly for some 25 years helping their local gravesites, as well as
being active in CPMBS from the first.