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Ellsworth Cemetery to receive $65K grant

Ellsworth Cemetery in Westminster is going to receive a $65,000 grant to help with mapping and upkeep.

Last week, the State Board of Public Works approved a request from the Maryland Historical Trust, to approve a $65,000 grant to the Community Foundation of Carroll County, Incorporated under the African American Heritage Preservation Program to provide mapping of Ellsworth Cemetery as well as conservation of grave markers, according to a news release from state Sen. Justin Ready’s office. 

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In 1876, six African American Union Army veterans established this cemetery to provide a burial place for Westminster’s African American residents.  The cemetery was named after Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, the first Union officer to die in the Civil War. This request was seconded in writing and supported by District 5′s state legislators, Ready and Dels. Susan Krebs, April Rose and Haven Shoemaker.

Ellsworth Cemetery was created out of a need to serve the black community in Carroll County.  Ellsworth is a small, Civil War-era African-American cemetery created by six soldiers who came home but had nowhere to be laid to rest.  At that time they were not permitted to be buried in the city limits of Westminster.  Several groups, including the Carroll County NAACP and local chapters of veterans groups like the VFW and American Legion, have been working together to restore the cemetery.

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“There are approximately 200 people, and at least 26 veterans buried at this historically significant site,” Ready is quoted as saying in the release.  “Unfortunately, most of the headstones were destroyed, worn down or had become nearly impossible to read over time. This grant will help fund expensive, ground-penetrating radar to map the cemetery. It will allow for renewed commemoration of the sacrifice paid by African American citizens of Carroll County during this pivotal time in our nation’s history.”

For more information about Ellsworth Cemetery or to donate to the ongoing work there, go to www.carrollcommunityfoundation.org/funds.asp?fund_id=365.

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