Sunday, November 9, 2008

St. Nicholas Cemetery Restoration

As Jim mentioned yesterday, we returned to St. Nicholas Cemetery at NAS PAX River. Let me provide a brief history of the project and how this relates to Port Tobacco.

The area known as Cedar Point in St. Mary's County was occupied by the English colonists from the early 17th century. Many manors and plantations grew over the years in the vacinity until 1942 when the Navy acquired the land for an aircraft test center. For reasons unknown, one of the acts of the Command was to bury the extant cemetery at St. Nicholas and to demolish the 1795 church. In 2002, I sought permission from the Navy to ressurect the cemetery and enlisted the help of Jim to complete the task.

To date, 83 stones have been repaired and or re-erected at the site. My records show at least another 140 stones to be recovered. Most of the almost 700 known burials are unmarked. We carefully and fully document all excavation procedures and, when the project is complete, will submit a full report to the Navy and the Maryland Historical Trust.

The techniques I have learned over the years can be directly applied to cemetery restoration and stone repairs at Port Tobacco, should any stones be recovered. Our techniques are proven and documented and we hope to find the funding for the recovery of the lost cemeteries known to exist at Port Tobacco. Think of the thrill of the rediscovery of this important resource!

Our day in the field was very productive. We recovered 10 stones including the obelisk shown below. While three of the stones we found were intact and immediately re-erected, the remaining need repair. Grave Concerns is going to make the repairs soon and they will be permanently replaced on site.

Consider your tax deductible donation to the PTAP project as well at the St. Nicholas Project. Funding and the dedication of professionals is what makes our past become the history of today.

1 comment:

Dancing Willow said...

Great job. It's very exciting, especially after being on and off of Pax Rvr for many years. This particular photo is beautiful.