Wicomico Cemeteries Project

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BENJAMIN ELLIOTT FAMILY GRAVEYARD

Mike Hitch, who found this little lost graveyard, says of it, "This cemetery sits way back in a field on Line Road just east of Route 13 about 200 yards south of the Delaware State Line. It is also just east of where Stage Road intersects Line Road. The cemetery is in terrible shape with the only three stones I could find being toppled and broken. It is overgrown with brush and a thick patch of briars. There may be more graves in the cemetery that are currently covered with dirt and debris piled there by farmers. The cemetery is located on the old Benjamin Elliott farm that can be identified on the 1876 maps in the Parsons District of Wicomico Co. in the far NW corner where it says 'B. Elliott, Res.', very close to the DE line."

Mike's account of how he found this graveyard is a great story. He posted it to the Lower Delmarva Roots mailing list, and a transcription follows the list of graves.




Benjamin N. ELLIOTT
Born December 17th 1808
Died March 16th 1883
(Stone is broken into multiple pieces)

Polly ELLIOTT
Born December 19th 1811
Died October 23rd 1870
Stone is cracked and broken)

Arlenia L. SMITH
Wife of Napolaen (sic) W. Smith
Born March 2, 1866
Died March 10, 1885
(Stone is broken horizontally, roughly into thirds)


Here's how Mike found this forgotten family graveyard:
Here's a little genealogical adventure I had today (12/26/97) which should interest Eastern Shore researchers. It was a very nice day for late December on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with a high temperature approaching 60 degrees. Most folks were jammed into the stores and malls doing after Christmas shopping. However, I was in a genealogy sleuthing mood. My interests had been piqued the previous day, on Christmas, when talking to each of my Grandmothers they had given me some clues to check out in relation to our family history.

My grandmother Hitch (nee Hamilton) had told me of an old family cemetery on a farm about a mile away on Meadow Bridge Road. She had heard of it from a Mrs. Stevenson who now owns the farm and, knowing that I frequent cemeteries (an affliction common among us genealogists), she arranged for me to go and visit it. I trekked over there and up a long lane about 0.35 miles back in the field to a small cemetery. It had three headstones of the McGrath family who were not direct ancestors of mine. However, I diligently copied down the information to add to the cemetery records Shari Handley has been collecting on the Internet (Shari, I will get these and others to you soon!).

Another lead I had gotten the day before concerned an Elliott ancestor of mine on my maternal side. His name was Benjamin Elliott whom I had been able to piece together limited information from Census records and an old obituary in the Salisbury Advertiser. From these I had figured his birthdate to have been sometime in 1808 and his death as March 16, 1883. I had no clue as to where he was laid to rest. I had had a conversation with my grandmother Wiltbank (nee Elliott) about her paternal line and she gave me some good information about where the Elliotts had lived just east of Delmar, MD/DE.

I also consulted my 1876 maps of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and found the residence of a B. Elliott on the east side of Delmar sitting back from the old road that used to be used by the stage coach in its north-south route. The residence was situated very close to the Delaware state line. Using this record, I extrapolated where the location might be on a modern map and set out looking for it. I headed up the old road now called Stage Road that parallels U.S. Route 13 about 1/4 mile to the east. I found an old Nichols Family cemetery not far south of the Delaware line and conjectured that my Ben Elliott might be there. He was not, but again I jotted down the cemetery records for inclusion on the Internet.

I then ventured further up Stage Road until I hit Line Road that actually is the MD/DE line for quite a few miles east of Delmar heading towards the ocean. I headed east on Line Road looking off to the south hoping to see an old farmhouse or something that may have been Ben Elliott's residence back in 1876. There were no houses - just a wide-open field. However, back in one of the fields just a little east of where Stage Road came into Line Road, there was a tell-tale clump of brush sitting way back about 200 yards from the road. I slowed down to look for an access road that might lead me back to that brush pile. All I could find was a temporary and very muddy dirt lane that had been used by the tractors and other farm equipment that had harvested the crops earlier in the fall. Putting my Explorer into four-wheel drive, I headed across the field.

When I reached the brush pile (which is exactly what it was) all I saw initially was some overgrowth of small trees and a thicket of briars. It also looked as if the farmers had used the area to pile up old dirt and debris from the farm. Basically, it was a mess! I stopped and got out with my trusty Boston Terrier, Yaz, to do some exploring. Anyone who has been to the Eastern Shore knows of what we locals call "bull briars". They are a thicket of green vines loaded with long and very sharp thorns. This place was overgrown with them!

I started into the area which measured about 40' by 25' and spotted what looked like to be an old tombstone that had been toppled over. On it was the inscription "Polly Elliott, born December 19, 1811, died October 23, 1870". This was no doubt Benjamin Elliott's wife Mary (Gordy) Elliott! I was really excited as I had not been able to find any record of where the Elliotts were buried from the usual sources (Tatnall and Hudson for Delaware cemeteries and Jacobs for Wicomico County, MD). This cemetery had evidently been remote enough to miss getting into the records and I had found it! However, I wanted to locate my Elliott patriarch, Benjamin so I did some more snooping. Not far away, under some old leaves and briars I found another toppled tombstone that was smashed into numerous pieces. I pulled each piece out into the field and put the five largest chunks together like a big, heavy puzzle. The old marble revealed the following inscription:

"Benjamin N. Elliott
Born December 17, 1808
Died March 16, 1883"

My great-great-great-great grandfather Elliott had been found! I was delighted to have finally found his resting place after more than seven years of searching! I had also determined his exact birthdate and his middle initial which I had not known previously. For me, this was the mother lode that us genealogists are continually seeking.

The unfortunate thing was the condition of the cemetery. To say it was a mess is understating its horrible condition. Furthermore, the back part of the lot had been piled up with dirt probably covering up other graves in the cemetery. Also, the tombstones had evidently been toppled and broken by careless use of farm equipment in the area. To borrow another Eastern Shore-ism from my grandmother, it's a "cryin' shame" that the old cemetery had been allowed to deteriorate so over the years. I'm glad I found it when I did for I do not expect it to be there in a few years. I expect it to go the way of many of these old farm family cemeteries and either plowed under a field or bull-dozed to make room for a new housing development. This seems to be an unfortunate consequence of modern-day progress. It should also serve as a wake-up call to historians and genealogists everywhere to get out there and record these historical landmarks before they do indeed disappear. I'd like to hear from anyone else who is doing research on the ELLIOTT line and also invite a discussion of the plight of these old cemeteries.

Mike Hitch
Bowie, MD




This Cemetery Project is associated with Handley's Eastern Shore Genealogy Project, and with the Wicomico County, Maryland USGenWeb Project site.

Return to Wicomico Cemeteries Main Listing Back to Handley's Eastern Shore MD Genealogy. Back to the Wicomico Co., MD USGenWeb Project.


© 1996 - 2008 Shari Handley

Monday, 22-Jul-2002 21:54:42 MDT