Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
By the late 1940s the cemetery that occupied this space for nearly a century was an overgrown tangle of weeds. The dwindling membership of the Beneficial Society of the Laboring Sons, unable to maintain the property, reached an understanding that the City would build a playground and erect a memorial.
In October 1949, city workers recorded the location of grave markers before bulldozing the area and burying head-stones under a layer of soil. The Chapel Alley Park, a segregated “Whites only” playground, was erected above the cemetery. No memorial was established at that time. By the 1990s the earlier history was nearly forgotten until a proposal by local residents to rename the adjacent alley, “Laboring Sons,” prompted renewed interest in the historic site. The story of the site’s past and a forgotten promise came to light.
Modern investigation techniques were used to confirm the existence of graves. A commission established in 2000 recommended the removal of the playground equipment, renaming the park Laboring Sons, and the creation of a
In 2013, more than half a century after the original agreement, the City dedicated this memorial.
James Bowens, a Negro arrested for an assault on a white woman, was forcibly removed from his jail cell and hanged. This illegal mob action preempted a scheduled hearing before a Magistrate. The victim was buried here on November 19, 1895.
The headstone of 2-year old Agnes C. Boyd, who died in 1905, was briefly uncovered in 2003 during landscaping work, then quickly reburied.
Over time the cemetery became a neglected eyesore, prompting local residents to petition the City to create a playground here. The playground (right) as it appeared in 2001.
Portions of the cemetery were surveyed using ground-penetrating radar to confirm the existence grave shafts. The yellow rectangles on the graph indicate probable graves.
In a 2003 rededication ceremony, children of the Jackson Angels/JYC Choir honor the memory of children buried in the Laboring Sons cemetery.
Location. 39° 25.228′ N, 77° 24.428′ W. Marker is in Frederick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of East 5th Street and Chapel Alley, on the left when traveling Touch for map. This marker is in the Laboring Sons Memorial Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 201 Chapel Alley, Frederick MD 21701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Laboring Sons Memorial Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); They Lie Here, Beneath Our Feet (within shouting distance of this marker); Roger Brooke Taney (approx. 0.2 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); John McElroy, S.J. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Francis Scott Key (approx. ¼ mile away); Enoch Louis Lowe (approx. 0.3 miles away); Former Site of Tory Gaol (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Frederick.
Categories. • African Americans • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Civil Rights • Fraternal or Sororal Organizations •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 112 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 29, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 7, 8, 9. submitted on December 4, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.