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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by amateur photographer Bruce Guthrie (me!) who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. (Commercial use folks including AI scrapers can of course contact me.) Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
NRPOPS_080211_03.JPG: The Historic National Road: The Road That Built The Nation"
Poplar Springs: "From Drovers to Drivers":
In the early 1800s, as settlers spread west from the Chesapeake Bay, the farming community of Poplar Springs grew up around the Baltimore and Frederick-Town Turnpike, part of the system of roads making up the National Road. An endless parade of drovers and teamsters were just a two-day ride from Baltimore, known at that time as the "Monument City." They were driving their geese, sheep, cattle, pigs and freight wagons east and west, to and from the busy port on "a smooth way."
Catering to new generations traveling in automobiles, the Poplar Springs tourist facility was built in 1920. Travel writer Robert Bruce noted in 1916 that "Now and then we pass an old, low, square signpost "... M to Baltimore," the figures and letters often difficult to decipher at speed. Prosperous farms line both sides of the road... most of the houses are painted white... This seems to be a fashion throughout Central Maryland...and adds to the attractiveness of the country in spring and summer"
NRPOPS_080211_09.JPG: St. Michael's church and parish cemetery.
NRPOPS_080211_12.JPG: St. Michael's Parish Cemetery:
The little cemetery is a symbol of our parish's care and support for our departed members and their families. It is a place where generations of believers lay [???] in the company of those who have gone before. ....
Interesting facts about the cemetery:
* 7 men are buried here who were accidentally killed building a train tunnel near Mt. Airy.
* There is a plaque on the ground dedicated by the students and alumni of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery to honor the cadavers buried here. They donated their bodies to dental medical science.
* Near the Hardy Road side of the cemetery is buried Michael Kilgran, a native of Ruskey County, Boscommon, Ireland -- Born Sept. 27, 1819 -- Died Sept. 27, 1887.
* Lilbourne P. Kuhn, the man who met with the mysterious priest in 1879 thus beginning the parish, is buried behind the church. He was Born Oct. 31, 1817 -- Died Dec. 21, 1896. On his gravestone is written: "Through whose zeal and generosity St. Michael's Church was built. Well done good and faithful servant." Many members of his family are buried here. ...
NRPOPS_080211_17.JPG: St. Michael's Historical Church:
In the year 1879, on a blustery Sunday in March, a man wearing a cassock of a religious [sic ???] , made his appearance in the village of Poplar Springs. He asked to be directed to the home of Lilbourne P. Kuhn who lived on a large farm along this road. Mr. Kuhn was not Catholic but was familiar with the faith, after spending time in South American, helping to build the Ecuadorian Navy. The mysterious priest asked Mr. Kuhn to allow the use of his home for Masses to be heard. Mr. Kuhn advertised in Mt. Airy and Woodbine that Mass would be celebrated the following Sunday. Twenty Catholics gathered on two succeeding Sundays, but no priest came. Later, Kuhn reached the Superior of St. Charles College who contacted the Rector of Woodstock College. The Rev. Charles Ferrari, S.J. was sent to look after the matter and became the first priest to minister to the small gathering. Aware of the need to worship, Mr. Kuhn donated ground for both the church and cemetery. On June 12, 1880, the cornerstone was laid. On October 18, the first Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Edward I. Devitt, SJ, who became the first regular pastor. ...
* Electric lights were installed around 1950. Before that, evening services were held by candlelight. Later, the two chandeliers were donated by W. Kevin Smith in memory of his parents Julia and Francis Smith.
* Originally there was no water in the church and an outdoor privy was available. ...
NRPOPS_080211_26.JPG: A view from (Catholic) St. Michael's to the United Methodist church nearby.
NRPOPS_080211_49.JPG: Michael Kilgran, who created the church and cemetery by donating land to it.
NRPOPS_080211_58.JPG: Simpson United Methodist Church
NRPOPS_080211_66.JPG: The Historic National Road: The Road That Built The Nation:
Simpson & Mount Gregory United Methodist Churches:
Creating a Unified Community of Strength:
Methodist churches were a source of inspiration for the budding African-American community as people moved westward along the Baltimore and Frederick-Town Turnpike, part of the National Road system. Both enslaved and free African-Americans worshipped, at first, in white churches in the early 1800s. Forced into balconies away from the white congregations, they ultimately sought to create a unifying community of strength by building their own churches.
Simpson Poplar Springs, the "Mother Church," as it was called, served a widespread community. The church was developed on a farm donated to black sharecroppers in 1893. The one room church served a dozen or so parishioners, most of whom lived in Shaffersville, a small black neighborhood now part of nearby Mt. Airy.
Mount Gregory United Methodist Church began its services in 1898, in the lower level of the Warfield Academy. The old stone building was deeded for the sole purpose of educating black children in nearby Cooksville, on the National Road, and grew out of a movement to educate African-American children after the Civil War. The congregation stayed at this location while waiting for a new church to be built.
The current structure was built in 1927 after the original church burned in 1922. Outreach and leadership efforts continued to grow as many became leaders of African-American Associations and Clubs. The United Methodist Women, once called the Ladies Aid Society, and the United Methodist Men, who provided funds for labor and upkeep of the church, filled a critical void in post Civil War black society by providing reading programs, aid to the disabled, and meals to those in need.
Reverend Robert H. Robinson: Reverend Robinson was the pastor of 19 Methodist Churches, many of them along the National Road from Baltimore to Cumberland. His life and service demonstrated the role Methodist itinerant pastors played in meeting the needs of their dispersed flock. The creation of the African-American United Methodist Church as separate from their white brethren was largely due to his dedication and leadership as the first United Methodist Colored Convention held in 1861 in Washington, DC. At last, African-Americans could build their own churches and support their newly developing communities.
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