There’s a reason historians and genealogists visit cemeteries – they are full of stories and history! A perfect example of this is the cemetery of Elkton Presbyterian Church. The list of former church members buried in this cemetery reads like a who’s who of local, county, and state history. The names Hollingsworth, Creswell, Evans, Ricketts, Rudulph, and more draw genealogists to this location for research. Politicians and soldiers make up some of the former members interred in the cemetery.
James A.J. Creswell is perhaps the best known former member buried at Elkton Presbyterian. He was born on November 28, 1828 in Port Deposit and died December 23, 1891 in Elkton. Mr. Creswell was a close friend of President Grant and was at his bedside when he passed away in 1885. The Creswell family plot is dominated by an enormous and elaborate granite monument with an inscription about Mr. Creswell. The inscription reads:
“Lawyer, orator, statesman, patriot, member of the Bar of Cecil County and of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Adjutant General of Maryland in the Civil War. Member of the House of Representatives and of the Senate of the United States.
Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Grant. Eloquent defender of the Union. Faithful to every trust. Loyal to every friend. Generous to every cause. A wise Counsellor, an able advocate.
His career was an honor to the county which gave him birth and to his state
He was dignified in demeanor, commanding in person, courtly in manner. Fearless in defence of the right, upright in his dealings with his fellow men. Exemplary in his domestic life, pure in morals. Faithful in religious duties. Generous but unostentatious in charity.”
Another famous member, James Black Groome, was born on April 4, 1838 in Elkton and died on October 5, 1893 in Baltimore. He served as a delegate to the Maryland Constitutional Convention and in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1872 to 1874. When Maryland’s governor resigned to assume a seat in the Senate, James Groome was elected as Governor of Maryland. He served from March 4, 1874 until January 12, 1876 and was one of the youngest governors of Maryland at age 36. Mr. Groome also served as a U.S. Senator from 1879 until 1885. James Black Groome was a protégé of James A.J. Creswell and also delivered the eulogy at his funeral.
Dr. Amos Alexander Evans is the father of Alexander Evans and Andrew Wallace Evans. Dr. Evans was born on November 26, 1785 and died January 15, 1848 in Elkton. He studied medicine under Dr. George E. Mitchell in Elkton. Dr. Evans was appointed surgeon’s mate to the 49th Regiment of the Maryland Militia in 1807. President Thomas Jefferson appointed him Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Navy in 1808. He was ordered to join the frigate USS Constitution in June of 1812. While serving aboard the ship, he treated wounded men from both sides of the war. Dr. Evans was honored by Congress with two silver medals. Cecil County historian George Johnston wrote, “Dr. Amos A. Evans died January 15, 1848, beloved and regretted by the whole community, which showed their sorrow for his loss and their respect for his memory by voluntarily closing every place of business in Elkton upon the occasion of his funeral.” Dr. Evans was one of the charter members of Elkton Presbyterian Church in 1833.
Dr. Evans’s older son, Alexander, was born September 13, 1818 in Elkton and died December 5, 1888 in Elkton. Mr. Evans attended Elkton Academy, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1845. In 1847 he was elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth U.S. Congress. He was re-elected to the thirty-first and thirty-second Congresses. He served as an advisor to Abraham Lincoln on more than one occasion during the Civil War, according to The Patriotic Marylander, a publication of the Daughters of the American Revolution. After his term, he practiced law until his death at the age of 70 in Elkton.
Andrew Wallace Evans was born in Elkton on July 6, 1829 and died on April 24, 1906. He attended West Point and graduated from there in 1852. Andrew Evans served in the Union’s First Regiment of the Maryland Cavalry in the Civil War. He attained the rank of colonel and after serving with distinction in the West, became a Brigadier General. He married Susan A. Tuite, whose family also rests in the Elkton Presbyterian Cemetery.
Hiram McCullough was born September 26, 1813 and died March 4, 1885. He was married to the former Sarah Jane Ricketts. He served as a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1845 to 1849. McCullough was elected to represent Maryland’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1865 and served until 1869. His last political position was as the Speaker of the Maryland State House of Delegates in 1880.
George Edward Mitchell was not buried in Elkton Presbyterian’s cemetery, but his cenotaph (an empty tomb or monument erected in honor of a person whose remains are elsewhere) is located there. He was born in Elkton on March 3, 1781 and died in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 1832. Dr. Mitchell practiced medicine with his father, Revolutionary War physician Dr. Abraham Mitchell, in Elkton from 1808 to 1812.
He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1808 to 1809 and was president of the State Executive Council from 1809 to 1812.
During the War of 1812, Dr. Mitchell was commissioned with the Third Maryland Artillery and saw action at Fort George, Fort Oswego, and Fort Niagara. For his actions at Fort Oswego, he was brevetted colonel and presented a sword by the Maryland General Assembly.
Dr. Mitchell served two consecutive terms in the US House of Representatives (March 4, 1823 to March 3, 1827) but chose not to run in the 1826 election. After losing his bid for governor in 1829, he was elected for two more terms in Congress and served from December 7, 1829 until his death. He was buried at Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, but is memorialized on his wife’s gravestone.
Tobias and Maria Hayes Rudulph are both buried in Elkton Presbyterian’s cemetery. When Tobias died, he was originally buried in the Hollingsworth-Partridge family cemetery in Elkton in a grave next to his father’s. In 1883, the land where the cemetery was located was sold to Mr. William Singerly. Mr. Singerly purchased lots in the Elkton town cemetery and had the remains of most of the interred moved to the new lots. According to the Cecil Whig April 7, 1883 edition, Mr. Rudulph and his father’s remains were relocated to the Elkton Presbyterian cemetery. Maria Rudulph was a charter member of the Presbyterian Church and is buried near her husband.
Like most local churches of the time, Elkton Presbyterian was divided during the Civil War. Former Union soldiers, as well as a former Confederate soldier are buried in the cemetery. Captain William Howard May, a Confederate soldier, is buried alongside fellow church members who fought to preserve the Union. He was born on August 14, 1842 and died December 22, 1906. He married the former Anna Mackall. His grave contains the following verse:
“The old Confederate veteran, his life is in the past,
and the war cloud, like a mantle, round his rugged form is cast,
he hears the bugle calling o’er the far and mystic sea,
for he tramped the fields with Stonewall and he climbed the heights with Lee.”
The historic Elkton Presbyterian Church Cemetery is located at 209 East Main Street in Elkton. If you decide to visit, please remember to be respectful. Contact the church office with any questions.
The Historical Society of Cecil County is now open! We are open on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 am – 4 pm. We are also open on the first Saturday of each month from 10 am – 2 pm. Non-member visitors are asked to pay a $5 research fee, or visitors may join for $20 and pay no research fee for one year.