There are very few early records in existence concerning the business of the cemetery committees. We do know that the oldest burial marked with a tombstone is Mary Frances Richards, great granddaughter of John Allgire. She died February 15, 1841, aged four months. There are probably older unmarked burials. The two oldest stones are those of Henry and Nicholas Brown who died 1830 and 1829. These stones were brought from the John Brown farm behind the church by the Walsh family for safe keeping. No doubt there was at one time a family burying ground from which these stones survived, as was the custom before church graveyards.
The Trustee's Minutes give us the following information:
April 3, 1886 - Moved that the Grave Yard be enlarged at the east end about 16 feet and that the old fence be repaired.
May 27, 1886 - Resolved that cemetery be laid off in lots and any person shall have the privilege of free burial as heretofore.
December 27, 1892 - Resolved, that the Trustees forbid the planting in the cemetery of any shrubbery, vines, bushes or flowers of any kind whatever that have a tendency to run or spread over the ground, or any trees whose nature it is to grow large. Also that no burying lots be enclosed with posts and chains or otherwise to be placed in the cemetery hereafter.
November 7, 1903 - On motion decided to purchase a fence for cemetery from Corbett Fence Manf.. Co. Hagerstown, Md. the sum of $250. Cash when completed.
March 15, 1904 - Moved to hold an oyster supper in the School House for the benefit of the Church Treasury (to pay for the fence) on March 31, April 1 and 2.
As early as 1899 the Trustees employed someone to keep the cemetery clean for $3.00 per year. By 1933 the caretaker was earning twenty cents an hour. In 1938 a power lawn mower was purchased. The caretaker hand dug the graves until the late 1960s when a backhoe contractor was employed to do the job.
In September 1929 the Official Board members of Wesley decided to beautify the cemetery. They set up rules to eliminate flowers, shrubbery, railings, and corner posts. All cornerstones were lowered for easier mowing and maintenance, and the monuments were realigned into rows. By November of that Year the Democratic Advocatereported:
Under the supervision of Ezra Evans, assisted by Thomas W. Buchman and Russell Dell, the cemetery has already taken on a different appearance. The stones have been lined in order and the ground partly leveled, which adds much to its beauty.
And by the spring of 1930:
The ground was graded eliminating the high bank near the intersecting roads and giving a better view when approaching the cemetery and an entrance was made at the upper side.
About this same time a low cement wall was constructed between the road and cemetery.
From the above Trustees' Minutes we find that the first lots were free to any person. Later we find in the records that it cost $1.00 for opening a grave and $1.00 per year for maintenance of the cemetery. This price increased to $2.00 and later $3.00.
After 1940 the people were encouraged to pay a total fee of $25.00 per grave for Perpetual Care instead of the $3.00 per grave maintenance fee. In 1967 the price increased to $37.50 per grave for members of the church and $50.00 for nonmembers. In November 1968 it was decided to sell to church members only, and the price per grave was $50.00. This was due to lack of room to expand the cemetery and the availability of nearby commercial type cemeteries. In 1973 the price was increased to $100.00 per grave, and church members may purchase up to four graves per family unit.
Through the years many members of the church have faithfully served as caretakers and members of the committee. At first these persons not only oversaw the work, but also mowed the grass and dug the graves. Recently a variety of people have been employed for the grass mowing season, including students off from school for the summer and others desiring part-time employment.
Wesley has been fortunate in having good and caring neighbors who have been generous in allowing enlargement of the cemetery throughout the years, as you can see by the following deeds. To them we are extremely grateful.
This Deed for Two Parcels dated July 14, 1932 from Lewis J. H. Grossart and Carolin M., his wife et al of Allentown Lehigh Co., Pa. to the Trustees of Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church Hampstead Circuit. Tract A straightens the line running between the back of the church and the social hall. It contains 3,098.53 Square Feet. Tract B is at the upper end of the cemetery and contains .325 Acre. On file at Carroll County Liber EMM, Jr. 157 folio 411.
This Deed for Two Parcels dated January 22, 1953 from Paul J. Walsh and Naomi Walsh, his wife to the Trustees of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church. Parcel One adds .0151 Acre to the upper end of the cemetery. Parcel Two straightens the line between the rear of the church and the social hall 0.019 Acre. On file Carroll County Liber EAS 220 folio 313.
This Deed dated December 31, 1968 from Ralph S. Walsh and Dorothy L., his wife to the Trustees of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church and contains 9,202.86 Feet. This is for an addition to the Northeast side of the cemetery which added more land to the entire back of the cemetery. On file Carroll County Liber CCC 448 folio 372.
All of the above deeds are in our possession.
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