St. John’s Chapel is on Tilghman Island. A friend and I noticed quite a lot of children’s graves there on a recent visit.
This memorial to the children of one family is especially poignant:
In loving memory of the children of Perry and Ada K. Porter.
Ella J., aged 19 years.
Hattie B., aged 13 years.
Hazel K., aged 1. Infant son, born and died March 2, 1893. Katherine, aged 2.
Unfortunately, there’s no trace of these children on the U.S. census as they were born after 1880 and the 1890 census is unavailable. I didn’t find the family in 1900 or 1910. I think I found a widowed Perry living in Virginia in 1920. I couldn’t find evidence of any surviving children.
This church is noteworthy in one other respect. It was the location of a Kennedy wedding recently (article link may require subscription after the summer of 2011).
A couple of weeks ago, I drove a friend visiting from out of town to Tilghman Island. As we were passing through Sherwood, my friend spotted a cemetery. On our way back home, I pulled off the road so we could check it out — it was St. James Cemetery*. I was shocked at what we found.
The cemetery was completely overgrown, which isn’t too terribly shocking. The reason why it troubled me is that many of the graves we did find were really recent. We saw several graves from the 1990s to as recent as 2008. It was really sad to see them in such a state.
Grave from 1999
Grave from 1992
At first, I thought this cemetery was one that I’d been unable to find before, while fulfilling FindaGrave requests in the area last fall. Turns out this is a completely different cemetery. None of its graves are listed on FindaGrave yet. I hope to return when the weather is colder and the greenery has died back a bit. We briefly skirted around the perimeter of the cemetery on this excursion and got bitten by who knows what in the process.
We couldn't get back to these graves without walking through knee-high weeds to get there and we weren't dressed for the occasion this outing.
* I found the St. James Church on the Maryland Register of Historic Places (link opens PDF). I don’t recall seeing the church, but we weren’t looking for it either. There appeared to be a private residence bordering the cemetery, not a church. There were several tumbling-down shacks in the vicinity. I didn’t find anything else about the congregation on the web — maybe it’s no longer active. This could explain the sad state of the cemetery…