‘Alas our daughter’ – Harner graves at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Taneytown

The bannered arch at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Taneytown, Maryland. My great great grandfather James Harner’s stone is visible inside the frame formed by the gate posts and banner, on the left side of the opening. I’ve put a small, yellow-green arrow pointing to it.

My great grandmother Martha Jane Harner came from around Longville, a bend in the road between the two Western Maryland towns of Taneytown and Harney. Continue reading


Earl Stake, shotgun

Earl Stake and companion waiting for Godot, or someone with a box-end wrench.

This enchanting photograph comes with no information except the identification of the rider in the front passenger seat, my great uncle Earl (X marks the spot), whom I met only once probably three score years after the shutter fell on this scene. Continue reading

Baily’s forlorn little stone at Frizzellburg

Frizellburg Bible Church was originally the Church of God, but I’m not sure exactly which parts were original. Definitely the middle, maybe.

At the far end of a grassy field in Frizzellburg, Maryland, bowered and barely noticeable beneath the outer boughs of a little wood, are thirty gravestones in two neat lines. A good number of them are small stones marking children’s graves, Continue reading

Barbara Lee Dowell c. 1954

Barbara Lee Dowell circa 1954, before she was Barbara Fleagle and my mother.

My mother was sure she had given this photo to me and so for months now I have been periodically turning my closets and cabinets upside down and rooting again through every box and shelf and pile where I might have laid family photos, each time coming up empty. Continue reading

Mayberry School, 1899

The students of Mayberry School in 1899. The teacher is my great aunt Lillian, the second oldest of my grandfather’s siblings. He and several other siblings are in the group.

I’ve been looking for this image of the Mayberry School student body of 1899 for many months. I had a bad photocopy of a bad photocopy of it, and I was sure there must be a better printing out there somewhere. I became aware of this photo, like its twin from 1896, only recently when I was going through the genealogical research papers of my Uncle Dick. The bad photocopy had “Taneytown Record, circa 1957” handwritten across Continue reading