White-Smith-Fields Cemetery

From Paul J. Willing Wicomico Cemeteries Project

Located on the west side of Sharps Point Rd., just south of Riverside Dr., NW of Fruitland in the Trappe District. A couple of the markers have fallen over, but this graveyard is in pretty good shape. Thanks to Joyce Fields Crouch and Rosalie Fields for their help in completing this listing!

http://www.mdgenweb.org/wicomico/wcp/whitesmf.htm

We found this one using Google satellite view. It’s a little collection of graves by the side of the road in Fruitland. In general, this gravesite is not in bad condition, but the stones themselves are very hard to read.

I’ve since learned that some species of lichen might be protected so you have to be careful what you remove.

Henry and Sallie were our 3x-great grandparents.

Henry WHITE b. Dec. 20, 1807 initiated a member of Newton Lodge I.O.O.F. Feb. 28, 1849 d. Feb. 24, 1850

Sally WHITE, wife of Capt. Henry White, b. Sep. 25, 1804 d. Jul. 13, 1864

Rockawalkin United Methodist Church

(corner of Rockawalkin Road and Crooked Oak Lane)

On the way out the next day we drove by and had to stop at the Rockawalkin United Methodist Church, our dad’s childhood and young adult place of worship.

This was mostly a memory trip. The church’s function hall, above center, is where Uncle Verner Hughes had his 80th birthday party that we all attended in 1970, I think.

Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church Cemetery

Nanticoke Rd, Tyaskin, MD

Also on Find a Grave, and Facebook.

This cemetery is on the northern side of the Tyaskin area, closer to the Nanticoke than the Wicomico River, adjacent to the church.

Our ancestors interred here hail from the Hughes side of our parentage, our father’s mother — our 3x great-grandparents Caleb Hughes and Caleb’s wife Charlotte (Venables), and Caleb’s father Capt. Jesse Hughes.

Turns out the Sarah buried here is Jesse’s second wife (of 3), Sarah Harmonson Waters. His first wife, from whom we are descended, was Sarah McClester, who died in 1800. Her gravesite is unknown, according to Find a Grave.

Update: However, the Wicomico Cemeteries project places Sarah Hughes at the Mcclester – Evans Family Graveyard, which they said was overgrown with ivy, in the 1990s.

Sarah HUGHES, wife of Jesse Hughes, d. Feb. 26, 1800, aged 45 years

Jesse Hughes

IN MEMORY OF
Capt JESSE HUGHES
was born Jan 29 1767
and departed this life Nov 29th 1838
Aged 71 years and 10 months.

Caleb Hughes

Died Jan 3rd, 1869
Aged 82 years
My father here lies underground
The dearest friend I ever found
But through the Lord’s unbounded love
We’ll meet again in realms above.

Charlotte Hughes

Died Dec 23, 1868
Age 75
Whilst in this tomb my mother lies
Her spirit rests above
In realms of bliss it never dies
But knows a Saviour’s love.

 

 

Day Three: Continued

Part Two: Moving on Down the Road

Having had a pleasant and productive visit at the St. Mary’s Methodist Church in Tyaskin, we decided to try our luck finding 2 other family cemeteries — neither one associated with an established church.

Off we went in search of

  • Hearn-Catlin Cemetery
  • Joshua Wainwright Cemetery

But with little success this time. The area in which we were searching contained swamplands, dense forests, rivers and creeks and farmfields getting ready to be planted (with soy beans or corn, no doubt). We found no cemeteries, no headstones, no reserved plots of any kind. And not being enamored of the idea of wading in the water, so to speak, to search in more depth, we accepted our fate and moved on to the Robertson Cemetery on Clara Road, “our” cemetery.

Part Three: The Robertson Cemetery

We met Robert Randall Buller, caretaker extraordinaire, at the foot of a rather muddy access road, and he took us over to the cemetery in his truck.

This small plot of ground — home to 32 interees — is still a peaceful oasis of natural beauty, surrounded by 53 (or so) acres of soggy farmland.

Shiles Creek abuts the land and much of the area is very moist with poor drainage. The cemetery itself sits atop a small rise that gives one a bit of a view and protects the graves, at least for now, from becoming part of the wet land that surrounds it.

Here lies our grandfather and grandmother – Carlton and Mattie (Hughes) Robertson and many other relatives – great grandfather, great aunts and uncles, cousins once-removed, etc.

Robert Buller’s father is also buried here – they owned the surrounding farmlands from 1962 until around 1977, shortly after Robert Buller Sr. died. Several Mezick’s (neighbors) are also here.

On the western edge of the cemetery are a series of graves marked Evans. They are separate from the rest of the folk in the graveyard, and we have no idea who they are or why they are buried there. Neighbors? Friends? Distant relations? It is a mystery.

After a lovely walk around the cemetery we asked Robert to join us for lunch at the Pemberton Coffeehouse back in Salisbury. Over lunch, Robert gave us some information on his family’s connection with the cemetery and the surrounding farmlands, and told us why he had decided to become caretaker, One Father’s Day he had gone to visit the grave of his father and found the whole cemetery in terrible shape, with vines so thick they even covered some of the tombstones. He decided then and there he would fix it all up — and we are so glad he did.

Robert also gave us a tremendous hint about the Hearn Catlin Cemetery we had failed to find that morning. It seems a friend of his (Hearn by name!) had discovered a small cemetery across from his house (which house had been in his family for many years). It was in the general area that we had been looking for the Hearn-Catlin Cemetery, and we think it must be the one we failed to find. Unfortunately we ran out of time (and energy) to try to visit again but Robert gave us Mr. Hearn’s telephone number and we may try to contact him later. What serendipity.

Day Three: Memories Are Made of This

  • Wicomico River
  • Tyaskin
  • The old Nanticoke Road
  • Rockawalkin Church

Surrounded by all these names and places from my father’s childhood, and mine, can’t help but bring back memories.

  • Breakfasts down “on the farm” with so much food served, lunch was never a thought
  • Marathon card games (My aunts and uncles played a game called 500 – kind of a cross between Bridge and Canasta)
  • Song fests around the upright piano
  • Cutthroat games of croquet on the edge of a 10-foot-high corn field.

Our pilgrimage this morning brought us first to the old Rockawalkin Church (founded in 1839). My dad’s church (we think) and the site of Uncle Verner (we know) 80th birthday party.

The Rockawalkin Church Cookbook is one of our prized possessions, containing recipes (Mary Humphrey’s sweet potato pie and Aunt Mary’s crab cakes) contributed by several great-aunts and cousins.

Our second stop this day was at the graveyard surrounding St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Tyaskin.

This modest churchyard is home to several members of the Hughes Family.

Caleb and Charlotte Hughes, our great great great grandparents. Caleb died in 1869 and Charlotte (Venables), his wife, died one year before he did, at Christmastime. How sad.

Also buried in the St. Mary’s Churchyard are Capt Jesse and Sarah Hughes, our great great great great grandparents. Sarah died in 1810, at 36. Capt Jesse died in 1838 at the incredible (for that era) age of 71.

The St. Mary’s Churchyard is small and surrounds the church on three sides. It is a lovely place and well cared for.

Note: There is a discrepancy in Capt Jesse’s birth dates. His gravestone records his birthday as January 29, 1767. The Maryland Births and Deaths Index lists his birthday as February 28, 1768.

Day Two: The Nabb Center

The Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University is a major resource library for the history and genealogy of the Eastern Shore. It is a beautifully appointed, state-of-the-art research center as well. Susan and I arrrived around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, ready to learn things.nabb-all-3.jpg

Note: They take security seriously. No bags of any sort (even pocket books) allowed. There are lockers with combination locks available for all banned items. Also – no pens allowed. But there are nice red Nabb Center pencils available for free. You must sign in and out, and if you want internet access you need to supply a photo ID.

All this sounds rather formidable, but totally understandable given the wealth of information and knowledge you have free access to once inside. The staff is very friendly and eager to help — and incredibly expert at finding things.

We thought we had a clear idea of what to look at, but soon learned that we had been far too ambitious. And it is so easy to become overwhelmed. Hint: When the staff says “this particuliar resource is handwritten, dense, and hard to read,” you should listen.

We did have several successes:

  • Tracing the ownership of the farmland surrounding the Robertson Cemetery back to the early 1800s. We found deeds back to 1895 and now have a plan for looking even further back.

Note: A very big thank you to the research assistant there whose willingness to help and broad expertise was key to these successes.

  • We found a book on the Hughes Family – which will help us with verifying and identifying folks on our grandmother, Mattie White Hughes’, side.

We are thinking of going back but tomorrow has been designated “cemetery grand tour” day.

Day One: Our First Cemetery

Parsons Cemetery, right in Salisbury, began like many cemeteries in rural America — as a family burying ground, specifically on the Parsons 53-acre farm. Upon his death, Benjamin Parsons, who had no children, bequeathed his home and farm to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church for a cemetery. St. Peter’s accepted this generous gift and moved the folks currently resting in the church’s small graveyard to the more spacious Parsons field.

parsons-cemetery

Today Parsons Cemetery is still an open and operating burial ground and it is the resting place for several of our “great” relatives.

Charles V. Hughes and his wife Mary, were Mattie White Hughes’ (our grandmother) mom and dad.

Also lying beside them are Verner Vane Hughes, Mattie’s brother, and his wife, also named Mary. We knew them as Uncle Verner and Aunt Mary. Uncle Verner’s son, Max, and his wife, Miriam, are located on the opposite side of the large Hughes headstone. We also knew them well.

The cemetery is large and well cared for by Cemetery Manager, Rusty Barnes — a friendly and knowledgeable gentleman who provided us with maps and helped us find the Hughes burial sites.

On the Way Down

Here we are again in Salisbury, Maryland, in search of our roots — and many cemeteries.

don-g

This time we planned a three-part trip, with an initial stop in New York City to feed another passion – opera. Here are Mattie, Harry, and Fran with me (taking the picture) at the Met to see Don Giovanni.

And a second-leg trip to Columbia, Maryland, to visit good friends. While in Columbia we had dinner with Jill, our first cousin. It was really good seeing her and reminiscing about riding around in Delmar, DE when we were all (Mattie, Carlee, Susan, and Jill) teens – visiting all the hot spots. (Oh look – it’s Dagsboro!)

bay-bridge

Now we are in residence in a loft apartment in downtown Salisbury, resting and chilling after our first cemetery walk. (See the next blog post for details on Parsons Cemetery.)

Traveling to Salisbury on Monday brought us across the Chespeake Bay Bridge – as stately and beautiful as ever — although beginning to show her age a bit, too. And then on into corn and soybean country. It is amazing to us how flat and rural the Eastern Shore of Maryland is. And how wet! So many rivers, inlets, waterways, and marshes.

Excess Baggage

Preparing for the Genealogy Road Trip

To Eastern shore of Maryland, the ancestral homeland

So it was 4 years ago that we three — Mattie, Harry, and I — traveled to Maryland, the land of Dad’s forebears. (See Day Three — Take a Left Where the Old Spring Hill Church Used to Be.) This time we plan to devote a few more days to researching and exploring.

Archive research

We shall visit the Nabb Center for Delmarva history, part of the Salisbury delmarvaUniversity library system. [Delmarva is the term for the peninsula that juts into the lower Chesapeake Bay, and includes Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia.]

Ahead of time we are searching the Nabb Center holdings — books, family histories, vertical files. I had learned about vertical files [an alphabetized file for pamphlets and other small publications that do not merit a call number in a library system] at a genealogy workshop held by the LDS church in Lynnfield back in Sept. 2018. The lady from the Boston Public Library introduced us to “finding aids” which is essentially the index to a vertical file.

So I’ve made a list of books, publications, and other ephemera that we want to peruse. We also emailed the library to find out if there was anything else we need to know — parking, hours, and the like.

Cemeteries

Of course, we’ll be stopping at the Robertson Cemetery. We’ll get to see the new sign and meet with Mr. Buller again.

I’ve also combed through Find a Grave, comparing cemeteries and memorials against the Wicomico Cemeteries Project files. I have a list of 6 cemeteries around Salisbury that we hope to visit and photograph the graves, mostly of direct ancestors. Some go back to GGGG-Grandparents, so we’ll see how many of these we can actually accomplish.

Culling Through Old Photos

Maybe it’s Swedish Death Cleaning or we might just be clearing out a lot of the dross.

Sister Mattie took another box of pictures from the attic, and one of the surprises we came upon was this picture. We think it might be our grandfather, Carlton Edward Robertson. This deduction is because it was with another picture, formatted exactly the same — with a green mat and a simple oval border and a type ornament top and bottom — of a woman we recognize as our grandmother.

mattie-and-carlton-cropped

So we’re thinking this is some kind of wedding photo. Of course, neither is labelled.

I have never seen a picture of Carlton, dad’s father. I have no idea what he looked like. So this is an exciting discovery, if it really is him.