Did Cecil County have a county cemetery?

— Robert Clark

The county cemetery, the final resting place for paupers who couldn’t afford a burial, was on the grounds of the county poorhouse, which is now Mt. Aviat Academy. This old burial ground on Childs Road between Cherry Hill and Childs contained some 150 to 200 unmarked graves. The county put the almshouse property up for sale in 1952. After the Elk Paper Company purchased the county farm, the new owner donated part of the large parcel to the Oblate Sisters for Mt. Aviat Academy. In the 1950s, weeds and vegetation took over the abandoned county graveyard, but John Beers who had grown up in the neighborhood launched a project to have the pauper's cemetery cleaned up and marked with a marble monument. The job of memorializing those unknown persons who rest there and commemorating the cemetery used for the indigent was completed in 1968. The marble stone erected at that time read: “Potter’s Field, 1776 – 1950, may their soul’s rest in peace.” Over the centuries, unidentified drifters, the county’s poor, criminals and other outcasts from society, many having spent their final days at the poorhouse, were interred in the county graveyard. Today, the sisters bury members of the order on the hilltop and maintain the cemetery. Also, there is a newer, memorial erected there.

— Mike Dixon

Do you have a question about Cecil County that the Historical Society of Cecil County’s panel of experts might be able to answer? Send them to history@cecilwhig.com.

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