Another One Bites the Dust

This is about our gg-grandmother, Mary Mezick who married Edward Catlin in 1847 (Maryland, U.S., Compiled Marriages, 1655-1850). Their daughter was Caroline Catlin who married J.W.T. Robertson. Who were Mary’s parents?

Covington Mezick, NOT

Many people on Ancestry whom I assume are distant relatives say her father was Covington Mezick. This might be on the basis of his will, dated 1828 and probated in March of that year, in which he names a daughter, Eliza Mary Ann. However, a transcription of Mary Catlin’s gravestone in the Hearn-Catlin cemetery puts her birth date as 31 August 1831. Granted this might have been hard to read, and I haven’t seen it myself. But she is 18 years old on the 1850 census list which appears to confirm the 1831 date. So that puts Covington out of the picture.

Grandfather Turner

A deed dated 20 March 1858 between William R. Jackson and “Edward W. Catlin and wife” records a transfer of property. The Catlins are selling 2 tracts of land, Turnstile and Mt. Hope, “being a piece of land devised to the said Mary A. Catlin wife of Edward W. Catlin by the last will and testment of her grandfather John Turner . . .” (Somerset County Circuit Court (Land Records) LW 5, p. 0531, MSA_CE103_5; available on the Maryland State Land Records site).

The will of John Turner dated 4 Dec. 1839 and probated 28 April 1840 (Maryland Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940) lists his wife, Polly Turner; his 4 children — “Mary Harris, wife of William Harris,” John Turner Junior, Naaman Turner, and Rebecca Turner; and finally his 3 grandchildren — John Mezick, Mary Mezick, and Purnell Harris.

This is how we’ve assembled a tree that shows John Turner and his wife Polly who may have been a Barkley, his 2 sons, and 2 daughters.

Because his daughter Rebecca has not changed her last name, we assume she is not married at the time of his 1840 will. So his other daughter, Mary, must have been married twice, for him to have grandchildren with 2 different names, Mezick and Harris.

Littleton Mezick

We conclude that Mary Turner married first, Littleton Mezick, in 1828 according to Somerset County Marriage Licenses 1796-1832. He must have passed away, although we have no record of that. The last dated document we have for Littleton Mezick is a bond from 1834, (Somerset County Court (Land Records) GH 7, p. 0245, MSA_CE102_61, available on the Maryland State Land Records site.)

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.

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.


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.