Descendants hope to find man's grave

September 21, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

Descendants of a man whose 161-year-old tombstone was found in the back yard of a Hagerstown house in June are trying to find the man's grave so the stone can be replaced.

Several people called Doris McDonnell to inquire about the tombstone after a story about it ran in The Herald-Mail newspapers on July 9. The Myersville, Md., woman's son had found the tombstone in the yard of a rental property she owns in Hagerstown.

At least two descendants, including Connie Noll, are searching for the man's burial place.

Noll, 64, of the Hagerstown area, began researching her family genealogy more than a year ago because she believed there was Native American lineage in the family.

When she read in July about the tombstone of George McNamee her focus shifted.

"Since this tombstone turned up I need to find where it goes," said Noll, who said she is McNamee's great-great-great-granddaughter on her father's side.


Noll said McNamee's family attended St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, but he's not among the parishioners who were once buried at the church and later relocated to Rose Hill Cemetery.

Approximately 120 graves were moved to Rose Hill around 1920 when the church at 141 S. Potomac St. converted the area for parking, said Pastor Ed Heim.

Noll hopes to gather further clues as to the whereabouts of McNamee's grave by researching family Bibles.

It would make her job easier if whomever stole the tombstone would admit it and help her return it to McNamee's burial place, Noll said.

If the person who took the tombstone came forward to say where it came from, Noll and McDonnell said they wouldn't press charges.

The story also captured the attention of Cheryl Burrows, a Melbourne, Iowa, resident who was researching her family's genealogy on the Internet when she came across the story of McNamee's tombstone.

Burrows, who said her grandmother was adopted into the McNamee family, is McNamee's great-great-great-great niece.

The family knows little of McNamee.

According to the tombstone he was born March 27, 1775, and died in April 1838, McDonnell has said.

Noll's research shows George McNamee died on April 25, 1838.

McNamee's father, Hugh McNamee, was enrolled in the first military company organized in Hagerstown in January 1776, she said.

Noll said she received assistance in her research from John Frye, who oversees the Washington County Free Library's Western Maryland Room.

George McNamee, one of Hugh McNamee's nine children, had seven children, including George W. McNamee, Noll said. George W. had seven children, including a son named Calvin.

Noll's paternal grandmother is the daughter of Calvin McNamee, who had 14 children, Noll said.

The Herald-Mail Articles