A walk through history

May 10, 1997


Staff Writer

CLEAR SPRING - Sarah Chew's tombstone is nestled peacefully under the trees in the cemetery at St. Paul's Church east of Clear Spring.

But it was a different era when this wife of a Civil War veteran was buried in the "colored'' section of the church cemetery nearly 100 years ago.

"There are three tombstones in that section,'' said Margaret Cornett, a member of the church and a guide for the upcoming Saturday, May 17 tour of the historic cemetery.


The 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tour will be led by volunteers dressed in period costumes, both Revolutionary and Civil war eras, according to tour committee chairman Cheryle McCarter.

Both McCarter and Cornett said tour participants will have a lot to enjoy in the old and new sections of the cemetery.

  • A large arch in the cemetery is dedicated to Rufus Wilson, the founder of the historic Wilson Store.
  • Henry Speaker was buried in the cemetery when he was 17 - a victim of Georgia's infamous Andersonville prison during the Civil War.

His poignant Jan. 10, 1864, tombstone reads:

"Rest, soldier, rest, sleep thy sleep that knows no breaking, dream of battlefields no more, days of danger, nights of waking.''

  • And then there's the grave of Dr. Edward Kershner, a Civil War surgeon, who wrote that he really liked practicing medicine in the Navy, having served aboard the USS Cumberland until it sank.

"I don't want to have to walk through the muddy streets of Clear Spring,'' the surgeon wrote, opting instead to stay in the military service, Cornett said.

  • Two Maryland state senators are buried in the churchyard - David Seibert and Henry Firey, Cornett said.

"They served during the Civil War, and had a part in convincing the state to stay with the Union and not go with the Confederacy,'' Cornett said.

Both Cornett and McCarter said the cemetery is the final resting place for people of all walks of life.

"Some stones are very simple and plain while others are very ornate,'' Cornett said.

Mary Spielman, who died in 1920 at the age of 18, has a large tombstone with an actual picture of her embedded in the stone.

"There's also a very unusual stone shaped like a tree trunk with branches and bark,'' Cornett said. A lot of names are on the stone, some near the branches and others beside ferns and a white dove.

During the tour hours, there will be refreshments and the sale of commemorative anniversary i-tems such as mugs, calendars and wooden churches.

The theme of the 250th anniversary of both the Lutheran and the United Church of Christ congregations sharing St. Paul's Church is "250 Years of Growing Together.''

More activities are planned throughout the year.

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