Seen in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md., over the weekend:
I returned to Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md., over the weekend and happened upon a row of graves that turned out to be for one man, his three wives and one of his sons:
Unfortunately, many of the dates are wearing away and were too difficult for me to discern. I haven’t been able to find much out about the Shepards and the Thompsons. In the 1850 U.S. census on Ancestry.com, Isabella appears in William H.’s household with two other Thompson women and his children. I don’t think she is William’s wife yet (it’s only a year after Rebecca passed away) — Isabella’s name isn’t immediately after his in the schedule, as one would expect if she were the wife. Her last name is listed as Thompson and not Shepard.
I find it interesting that the Thompson women have their maiden names listed on their tombstones. I wonder if Rebecca and Isabella were sisters. It is probable that they were related in some way, and I don’t think that was unusual back then. My guess is that when Rebecca married William, she brought family members with her to live with them. When Rebecca passed away, William married one of those relatives (I haven’t been able to find proof any of this yet, it’s just a hunch).
I’m wondering if Elizabeth A. took Shepard’s last name as her own and that is why there is no other surname on her tombstone. She was not one of the Thompson women living with Shepard up to this point. Even though she survived into the 1890s, I’ve been unable to find her in any of the censuses so far. She would have been in her 50s when William H. passed away. I don’t know how likely it is that she would have remarried, but I suppose it’s possible.
William (senior, I’m assuming) is listed as a slave owner in 1860 according to the slave schedules in the U.S. census that year. In that year, William H. is living with three daughters and still has a Sarah Thompson living with him. It doesn’t appear that Elizabeth was on the scene yet.
William W. can be found living with his father in 1850, but by the 1860 census he is apprenticed to a master painter and is living with him and his family instead.
I’m lucky that the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library system houses the county’s Maryland Room. I’ve used the Maryland Room several times to access resources like county land records, the vertical file, rare biographies and more.
Talbot County has a rich history and this is reflected in the Maryland Room’s collection, which features manuscripts by James Michener (author of Chesapeake) and also papers related to Frederick Douglass.
The Maryland Room also houses photo collections, genealogies, map collections and ephemera representing the region’s history. It is an impressive archive and worthy of a visit to see what’s there even if you don’t have a particular project to work on.
I’ve gotten to know the Maryland Room’s librarian, Becky Riti, as she has helped me with my research projects many times. I was able to return the favor earlier this year by helping her to scour the vertical file and local history books for Easton history tidbits to be included in the town’s tricentennial calendar (2010 marks Easton’s 300th anniversary).
The Tylor House located on South Washington Street in Easton, Md., was completed in 1888 by Wilson Tylor and his wife, Elizabeth Needles Tylor. The alley behind the house is named Tyler’s Lane, most likely after the property. The family name is spelled both Tylor and Tyler in various records.
Wilson Tylor was born in June of 1856 and died in 1941. He was the editor of the Easton Gazette, predecessor of the Easton Star-Democrat, from 1885-1912. In a May 2007 column in the Tidewater Times, Harold W. Hurst called Tylor “a dignified and learned man, he made his paper into one of the most respectable and influential publications on the Shore.”1 Tylor was raised in Denton, Md. He wrote the column “Denton 70 Years Ago” for the Denton Journal.2
After Tylor retired from the Easton Gazette, he operated a small printing press in a meat house on the property on South Washington Street. He filled in the names of graduating seniors on diplomas for the Board of Education.3 Perhaps the structure in question is the shed that remains on the property today.
Tylor and his wife were Quakers. Wilson Tylor was at one time in charge of the Friends’ School in Easton. He and his wife are buried along with several of their relatives on the grounds of the Third Haven Meeting House, located only a block away from the Tylor House on South Washington Street.
More can be learned about the Tylor family in The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, by Laurence G. Claggett. The book is available at the main branch of the Talbot County Free Library in the Maryland Room. Claggett was the Tylors’ grandson. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year.
An extended family history about the Tylors’ ancestors also was written by Claggett. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca (2008) is also available at the main branch of the Talbot County Free Library. Tylor claims that his mother, Rebecca Morgan Huyck, was a grand-niece of Betsy Ross (a.k.a. Elizabeth Griscom), who famously sewed the first American flag.4
On page 74 of The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, there is a photo of the Tylor home*. It appeared much as it does today, except the front porch extended across the length of the home. The book says:
“In 1887, they bought a tract of land from Brookletts Avenue to the old railroad tracks on which they built the large Victorian… The house cost slightly less than $5,000.”5
After the Tylor children were grown and moved away, the house was divided into two parts. The Tylors occupied one part with, according to Claggett, “the north half being occupied at times by Capt. Frey, the Martin McHales, the Willard Daves, the C. Leslie Hammonds, among others.”6
After the Tylors passed away, their children sold the home to Mary Clough, who divided it into apartments.7 The property was and often still is used by nurses working at the hospital across the street.
Outlines of the house can be found in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps starting in the year 1919. The lane behind the house was already called Tyler’s Lane according to that year’s map.8 The property has had three different house numbers since then.9
The Tylors are found listed at the property in the 1930 U.S. Census. The house at the time was valued at $20,000.10
*Photos of the home may also appear in Quakerism on the Eastern Shore by Kenneth Lane Carroll and 75 years of caring: a history of the Memorial Hospital at Easton, Md., 1907-1982 by Dickson J. Preston (p. 173). Both of these books are also available at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.
More details about the Tylors and how I performed this research project can be found here at my blog (use tag: Tylor). Interested in having me research your property? Email me.
All photos and text by Melissa Corley (c) 2009. All rights reserved.
Claggett, Laurence G. The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County. Easton: Self-published, 1989.
Claggett, Laurence G. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca. Easton: Self-published, 2008.
Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. ProQuest. Digitial images. http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : 2008.
“Eastern Shore Newsmen: 1830-1980.” Transcript by Tidewater Times, at“Tidwater Times,” Tidewater Times. http://www.tidewatertimes.com/HaroldW.Hurst-May2007.htm : 2007.
Maryland. Talbot County. 1930 U.S. census. Digital images. HeritageQuest Online. http://persi.heritagequestonline.com : 2009.
- “Eastern Shore Newsmen: 1830-1980.” Transcript by Tidewater Times, at “Tidwater Times,” Tidewater Times (http://www.tidewatertimes.com/HaroldW.Hurst-May2007.htm : accessed 10 October 2009); citing original publication in Tidewater Times, May 2007.
- Laurence G. Claggett, The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County (Easton: self-published, 1989), 73.
- Ibid, 74.
- Laurence G. Claggett. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca (Easton: self-published, 2008), 80.
- Claggett, The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, 74.
- Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. (ProQuest, 2008), 10, “Sanborn Maps of Maryland, Easton, May 1919”; digital images, The Sanborn Company (http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : accessed 10 October 2009).
- Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. (ProQuest, 2008), 14, “Sanborn Maps of Maryland, Easton, January 1927”; digital images, The Sanborn Company (http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : accessed 10 October 2009).
- 1930 U.S. Census, Talbot County, Maryland, population schedule, Easton City Ward 4, p. 182 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 21, sheet 10-A, dwelling 246, family 282, Wilson M. Tylor; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com : accessed 10 October 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 879.
This past weekend, I took my first volunteer photos of a gravesite for another user of the Find-A-Grave web site. For anyone who is interested in family history but hasn’t been to this site yet, I highly recommend you give it a visit.
On this site, which is free to join/peruse, users can post photos of gravesites of family members and others, along with biographical information. It’s a treasure trove for genealogists. I’ve found several unknown-to-me relatives by browsing relatives of ancestors with memorials on the site.
Users can build virtual cemeteries on the site, which can contain memorials for relatives, etc., even if they are actually buried in many different cemeteries. This is a handy way to keep track of far-flung ancestral burial sites.
I visited Woodlawn Memorial Park in Easton, Md., Saturday to take gravesite photos at the request of another user. If you live far away from the burial site(s) of family members, you can make a similar request of others in the area of the cemetery where your relative is buried. Their photos may allow you to “visit” a grave you may not otherwise have the chance to see.
Headstones often have quite a bit of information that can be handy for family history research (birth and death dates, names, nearby graves of relatives, etc). However, these facts should always be confirmed using other records as mistakes are often made in the production of headstones.
Another tombstone in Easton, Md.’s Spring Hill Cemetery that caught my eye is that of Robert William Goldsborough (1800-1857). His gravestone/monument is unusual compared to those around him.
Goldsborough was a UPenn alumnus (classes of 1821 and 1824). He and his wife, Rebecca Hammond, are mentioned in Genealogical Notes of the Chamberlaine Family of Maryland (Eastern Shore) (p. 89-90; available on Google Books).
The engraving on his monument reads “Faith wrought by his works & by his works was faith made perfect.”
I wandered through Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Maryland, this past Sunday afternoon and came across this gravestone, which reads “In Memory of William Hayward, Born Feb. 10, 1876, Died June 8, 1880, from the effects of a cruel accident.”
I’m usually drawn to the gravestones of children anyhow — it’s saddening to think they died so young and you can’t help but wonder about the circumstances. This stone’s engraving really piqued my interest. My morbid curiosity got the better of me — I simply had to try and find out what happened.
Unfortunately, there isn’t easy access to old archives of the Easton, Md., newspaper (The Star-Democrat) online. What I can access from my computer at home only goes back to 2005. I tried a couple of searches in Baltimore Sun databases, thinking that a sensational incident might have earned coverage in that paper, but didn’t have any luck.
Next, I tried the archives of The Denton Journal, through the web site of the Caroline County Public Library (I’ve done research there and so my library card code works on their site as well). Really noteworthy Easton-based stories often made this paper, even though the events happened in the neighboring county.
Searching for “William Hayward” in quotes between 1880 and 1881 didn’t return any results, but when I removed the quotes, I found what I was looking for.
The article was actually about “little Willie Hayward” (luckily, the name William appeared elsewhere on the same newspaper page). The headline says it all: “Gored to Death by a Bull.” The article gets pretty graphic. I’m only including a portion here.
“Gored to Death by a Bull,” The Denton Journal, 12 June 1880, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Caroline County Public Library Electronic Databases (http://www.caro.lib.md.us : accessed 25 October 2009), The Newspaper Archives of the Denton Journal.
The article simply placed Willie in the wrong place at the wrong time — the bull was being driven down one of the streets of Easton, and after becoming spooked, charged and gored the little boy. Willie’s injuries were so grievous that he died a few hours later.
On Saturday, I posted about a mini research project that I did about the history of the house where I’m renting. The original owners of the 1880s Victorian mansion were Wilson M. and Elizabeth N. Tylor.
As I detailed, Wilson was the editor of the Easton, Md., newspaper for many years. Both he and his wife had longstanding ties to the region.
Both were Quakers and so were buried on the grounds of the Third Haven Meeting House, here in Easton. Turns out, that cemetery is practically across the street from where the house stands. I took a stroll over there this past Sunday.
Below are photographs of their gravesite:
The Tylors had five children, but I only found two of their graves in the vicinity of the parents at the cemetery.
Sadly, Laurence Claggett, a Tylor relative and historian who wrote the books I found over the weekend about the Tylor family, passed away only last month. The death notice I found online stated his service was to be held at the Third Haven Meeting House. I didn’t see his grave there, but I wasn’t looking for it at the time.
Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has asked us genealogy bloggers to talk about a satisfying genealogy research moment for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. I’m happy to report on my latest, which happened today!
I’ve been meaning to look into the history of the building in which I’m living — a huge Victorian mansion in Easton, Md., that has been divided into apartments. My landlord had mentioned that it was built in the 1880s, and that’s all I really knew.
I started with Sanborn maps of the area and was able to find the home on a 1919 map, along with its original house number and the house number at that time (which is still different from today’s). This is really valuable information to have when looking for a street address in other resources like the census, which was my next stop.
Now, usually one starts searching the census with a name, but I didn’t have that yet. Sanborn maps don’t typically show who owned a property. I know something about the history of the area though, so I plugged in a family name I knew would have been in Easton in the early 1900s. After locating the page where that family was listed, I started paging through until I reached the neighborhood where my house is located. Easton is a small town — this technique probably would not have worked for most other locales.
I live on one of the main drags in Easton, so there were still lots of listings to sift through. I also wasn’t having much luck finding the particular house numbers I’d seen listed in the Sanborn maps. Still, I made notes on which families seemed to be located nearby and then tried to find them in the subsequent census — my hope was that in the next census, the house I was looking for would appear close to the same names.
Or so I thought. I had begun my search in the 1910 census and then moved on to the 1920 one. No luck. I was getting pretty frustrated after repeating the technique in the 1930 census, especially with the quantity of un-numbered house listings that were on my street. Was the census taker being lazy or what?
Then my eyes latched onto a name: Wilson Tyler. BINGO. Tyler’s Lane is the name of the alley that runs behind my house — the biggest house in either direction for a block or more. In retrospect, I could and probably should have started there, but there are equally large houses on the other side of the alley — I didn’t want to make too many assumptions as I dove into this project.
The 1930 census has information on the approximate value of the dwellings recorded as well — the listing for the Tyler home was $20,000 — far more than those surrounding it. (I still need to figure out what that is in today’s dollars.)
So now I’m relatively certain I have the right name. I went back to the previous censuses (censi?) and discovered that there were actually two different spellings — Tyler and Tylor.
Then, I went to your friend and mine, Google. There, I turned up the fact that Wilson Tylor was the editor of the Easton Gazette (now the Easton Star-Democrat) in his day — big news indeed! I felt that would ensure there would be plenty of material by and about him — I wasn’t disappointed.
A quick search of the catalog at my local library brought up two books, including The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County. I wasted no time high-tailing it to the Maryland Room at my library.
A picture at the front of the book — a group shot from the silver anniversary of the Tylors — teased me with the possibility it may have been taken on the front stoop of my house. The photo was cropped close around the group, but the posts holding up the front porch roof above their heads had the same design as those at my house; the latticework under what was then a porch extending across the entire front of the house looked an awful lot like that under a side porch on my building. (I had my laptop with me and had pulled up a picture I took of the house earlier this year.)
I beamed when I opened the book to page 74 and there was my building in all its original glory the year it was built, 1888, with some of the Tylor kids posed in front of it. The text on the page said that the house cost slightly less than $5,000(!) at that time.
The book I found also gave names of those who rented rooms from the Tylors over the years and details how it once served as a boarding house for nursing students working at the hospital across the street (it’s still a popular rental spot for travelling and other nurses working at the hospital).
So, mystery solved! I’m excited to know more about the history behind where I’m living. Turns out that the books I found at the library are written by a relative of the Tylors. He’s still researching and planning to write another book on his family’s history — I may look him up and drop him a note.
ADDENDUM (10-11): I’m saddened to discover that Laurence G. Claggett, the Tylor relative and historian/author of The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County that I mention above, died only last month. According to the Easton Star-Dem, he passed away Sept. 1.