Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Rediscovered Past

 
 
Rediscovered Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
1. Rediscovered Past Marker
Inscription. Originally located the edge of the city, this plot of land witnessed many changes as the neighborhood expanded around it. What is today a memorial was once a cemetery. The graves of scores of African Americans still lie beneath the surface.

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
Rediscovered Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
2. Rediscovered Past Marker
suitable memorial.

In 2013, more than half a century after the original agreement, the City dedicated this memorial.

1895
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.

1905
The headstone of 2-year old Agnes C. Boyd, who died in 1905, was briefly uncovered in 2003 during landscaping work, then quickly reburied.

1949
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.

1999
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.

2003
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
Lynched! image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
3. Lynched!
A Colored assailant sum-
marily Dealt With
--
A Mob a the Jail
--
Breaks open the cell of the
Miscreant
--
And Deals Swift Justice

Close-up of image on marker
east on East 5th Street. 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 AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesCivil RightsFraternal or Sororal Organizations
 
Agnes C. Dau. of Wm. H & Laurel Boyd image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
4. Agnes C. Dau. of Wm. H & Laurel Boyd
Close-up of photo on marker
Ground-Penetrating Radar image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
5. Ground-Penetrating Radar
Close-up of photo on marker
Rededication image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
6. Rededication
Close-up of photo on marker
Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley, 2001 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
7. Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley, 2001
with the Chapel Alley Park playground in the distance.
Close-up of photo on marker
Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
8. Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley
with the monument in the distance.
Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 28, 2017
9. Laboring Sons Alley & Chapel Alley
 
 
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 64 times since then. 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.
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