Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dr. Isaac N. Dickson

April 18th marks 118 years since the death of Dr. Isaac Newton Dickson.
Faithful unto death
Isaac was born on November 24, 1817 in Reisterstown, the son of Isaac Dickson and Susannah Larsh.  He was a cousin of Dr. James C. Larsh, from last April's blog post.  His father was a veteran of the War of 1812, having served as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Charles Carnan Ridgely, who later became Governor of Maryland.

As a boy, Isaac attended Reisterstown Academy, and went on to attend the University of Maryland School of Medicine, graduating in 1838.  Soon after, he moved to Bay Hundred in Talbot County, where he first began practicing medicine.  It was there that he married Mary Jane Sears in October of 1840.

By the 1850 census, Isaac and Mary were living in Baltimore City, with their two daughters, Susannah, age 9 years, and Ann, age 5 years.  Isaac was working as a physician, but wasn't listed as owning any real estate.
The Dicksons did still have property in Talbot County, given to Mary by her father in 1849, and it was at their home in Bay Hundred that Mary died on October 28, 1851, at the age of 31.

Two years later, Isaac's older brother, Dr. Louis Larsh Dickson, died suddenly in Reisterstown on April 19, 1853.  Isaac, along with his two daughters, moved back to Reisterstown to continue his brother's medical practice.  In October of that same year, Isaac married Mary Elizabeth Cockey, daughter of Mordecai Gist Cockey and Eurith Bramwell of Carroll County.

Isaac's new father-in-law Mordecai had been named as a trustee of his late brother Louis Dickson's will.  As part of the settlement, Isaac purchased six acres from Louis' estate on March 28, 1857 for $1,610.
In 1856, Mary Dickson gave birth to a daughter, Louie Cockey Dickson, likely named for Isaac's brother.  Sadly, Louie died on March 25, 1859, about a week shy of her third birthday.

In the 1860 census, Isaac Dickson was listed as a farmer, owning real estate valued at $3,000.  He and Mary had welcomed a new daughter, Fanny, into the family, just 10 months old when the census was taken.  The Dicksons employed a servant, James Crawford, who was 10 years old, and a hostler, William Johnson.
On July 28, 1864, Isaac's eldest daughter Susannah married Dr. David Miller Barr, and moved with him to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In early 1869, a group of Reisterstown men received an official charter to form a new local Ionic Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  Isaac was among the Lodge's earliest members, applying to join on March 9th.  He progressed quickly through the Masonic degrees, from Entered Apprentice on March 23rd, to Fellow Craft on April 13th, to Master Mason on April 29th.  Later, he would serve as the Lodge's Worshipful Master from 1874 to 1875, and again from 1880 to 1894.  The usual term for the Worshipful Master of a Lodge is one year, thus Isaac's long tenure in the office reflects his stature in the Reisterstown community and the respect of the Lodge's members.

But 1869 was also a year of sorrow for the Dickson family.  Isaac and Mary's only son, Isaac Jr., passed away on July 12, 1869, at the age of only 10 months.
Oh hads't thou still on earth remained
Vision of beauty, fair as brief
How soon thy brightness had been stained
With passion or with grief
Now not a sullying breath can rise
To dim thy glory in the skies
Despite the year's ups and downs for the Dicksons, it proved to be an important one for Reisterstown.  In December of 1869, Dr. Isaac Dickson completed his manuscript "The Early Days of Reisterstown and Vicinity".  In writing it, he drew in large part on the memories of Philip Reister Jr., a grandson of John Reister, and Isaac's uncle by marriage.  At the time, Philip was near 88 years old, and with his aid, Isaac was able to record much of the town's past that might have otherwise been lost:
"The most of these facts have been gleaned from a grandson living and eighty years old, with most assuredly one of the brightest and most retentive memories in existence.  It certainly is somewhat remarkable how he can go back and converse freely and truly upon those early days, so deeply shrouded by the roll of many years.  But with the readiness of active life and with a quick perception, he takes a retrospective view of olden times, and then by some magic influence, he calls up those primitive facts and then relates them with all the promptness and precision of a mathematician."
Isaac Dickson's history of Reisterstown and its founding families preserved a one-of-a-kind window into the town's past.  Through the efforts of his children and the Kiwanis Club, the manuscript was re-printed in 1947, and is still used by researchers to this day.

The following year, in the 1870 census, Isaac was living with his wife, Mary, and three daughters:  Annie, age 22;  Fanny, age 10;  and Blanche, age 7.  He was again listed as a physician, with real estate now valued at $3,576.  Also living with the family was a domestic servant, 10-year-old Lucy Howard.
Around this time, Isaac was appointed as secretary of the board of trustees of Franklin Academy - later, Franklin High School.  An article from the Baltimore Sun on the school's 100th anniversary noted, "Of the various personalities closely associated with the history of Franklin that of Dr. I. N. Dickson is conspicuous.  His interest in the school did not cease when it passed out of the direct management of the trustees, but continued until his death."

Isaac's second wife Mary passed away a year later, on May 21, 1871, at the age of 44.  The two had been married for 18 years.
Three years later, in December of 1874, Isaac married a third time, to Eurith Bramwell Cockey, the younger sister of his second wife.  The couple would have just one child together, Isaac Cockey Dickson, who was born in 1876.

In the 1880 census, Isaac, now 60 years old, was still working as a physician, and his wife Eurith was keeping house.  Living with them were daughters Anna, age 33, and Fannie, age 20, and son Isaac, age 4.  Two servants worked in the household:  Samuel Long, a general laborer, and Lucy Taylor, a domestic servant.
In late August of 1890, the Dickson family would have received grave news from New Jersey about daughter Susannah Dickson Barr.  While sorting laundry one evening, Susannah was severely burned when the fabric caught fire.  She died of her injuries on August 31, 1890.
Dr. Isaac Newton Dickson passed away on April 18, 1896, at the age of 78.  He was buried with Masonic honors alongside his second wife, Mary.  A book of biographical sketches of University of Maryland alumni had this to say of Dr. Dickson:
"In medical circles in Baltimore county, Dr. Dickson was a familiar figure for more than forty years ... although he was a member of several professional associations did not make himself conspicuous in their assemblages, for he was a man and physician of quiet habits and tastes, but he had a wide acquaintance with medical men in the state and was highly respected by them all."
(Dr. Dickson's Signature)
In the 1900 census, Isaac's widow Eurith was living with her stepdaughters Annie, Fanny, and Blanche, though curiously, they're all listed as her nieces (true of Fanny and Blanche, as they were her sister Mary's daughters, but not so for Annie).  Eurith is listed as running a boarding house, and Annie is listed as a landlord.
Eurith Dickson passed away on April 8, 1901 at the age of 66 from pneumonia.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things
Isaac Dickson's children by his first wife, Mary Jane Sears, were:
  • Susannah Larsh Dickson, c1842-1890, wife of David Miller Barr
  • Annie Eliza Dickson, 1845-1932, unmarried
Isaac Dickson's children by his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Cockey, were:
  • Louie Cockey Dickson, 1856-1859
  • Fanny Virginia Dickson, 1859-1933, wife of William Russell Thomas
  • Blanche H. Dickson, 1863-1955, unmarried
  • Irene Dickson (died young, dates unknown)
  • Bettie Dickson (died young, dates unknown)
  • Issac Newton Dickson Jr, 1868-1869
Isaac Dickson's child by his third wife, Eurith Bramwell Cockey, was:
  • Isaac Cockey Dickson,  1876-1960, husband of Melanie Sherwood 

After his death, Isaac's property in Reisterstown was passed around among family members for several years.  His house and office at 67-69 Main Street still stand today, now housing the Association of Animal Rights, Inc., Morris Remodeling, and Harmony Road Music School.  In 1926, Isaac Cockey Dickson donated his father's property on the corner of Main Street and Chatsworth Avenue to the Ionic Building Company on the condition that the lots "be used for the erection of a building for Ionic Lodge No 145 A F & A M ... set back not less than fifty-seven feet from the outer edge of the curb line."  The cornerstone was laid on October 2, 1926, and the completed building was dedicated on March 25, 1927.



Sources:
Ancestry.com (census & marriage records)
  • Year: 1850; Census Place: Ward 14, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: M432_285; Page: 457A.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 46.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Reisterstown, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: Roll: M593_569; Page: 277B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 568C.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 7A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Died."  Date: 30 March 1859; Page: 2.
  • "Married." Date: 30 July 1864; Page: 2.
  • "Died." Date: 3 August 1869; Page: 2.
  • "Married." Date: 22 December 1874; Page: 2.
  • "Telegraphic Summary Etc." Date: 20 August 1890; Page: 1.
  • "Summer Resort Notes." Date: 21 August 1890; Page: 3.
  • "Death of Mrs. Dr. D. Miller Barr." Date: 1 September 1890; Page: 6.
  • "Buried with Masonic Honors." Date: 22 April 1896; Page: 7.
  • "Franklin High School This Year Celebrates Hundredth Anniversary." Date: 13 June 1920; Pages: 6 & 10.
Internet Archive
  • University of Maryland, 1807-1907 by Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell, 1907.
Ionic Lodge #145 A.F. & A.M. & Bob Reynolds

Maryland Archives (death & land records, Historic Sites Inventory Surveys for the Isaac Dickson House and Ionic Lodge)

Reisterstown Library
  • Early Days of Reisterstown and Vicinity by Dr. Isaac Newton Dickson, 1869.
  • Reister's Desire by Lillian Bayly Marks, 1975.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Visit with the DAR

At long last, we have a few exciting pieces of news to share as we shake off those winter blues and head into spring!

Last fall, the Reisterstown Community Cemetery Committee applied for a Historic Preservation Grant from the Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.  Earlier this year, we received word that our application had been approved, and that we were awarded a $1,000 grant.  So now, we're officially able to make a public announcement!

Yesterday, committee members were invited to attend a meeting of the Soldiers Delight-Thomas Johnson Chapter, which had sponsored our grant application.  In years past, members of the SDTJ Chapter had helped transcribe the grave stones in the cemetery, marked the grave of Revolutionary War soldier Philip Reister, and planted the cherry tree.  Committee President Chris Larkins spoke briefly to the members about the work that has been accomplished so far.
L-R:  Chapter Regent Mary Freyer, Becky Stansfield-Larkins, Kathy Aspden, Chris Larkins, Tom Fischer, Linda Percy, and Kimberly Dotson

We especially want to thank Linda Mistler, state regent of Maryland;  Stephanie Wolfley, state chairman of historic preservation; and Mary Freyer, chapter regent of SDTJ, for all of their help and support!

Which, of course, leads us to our next announcement...

Now that the restoration of the fallen eastern wall has been completed, we've gotten many questions about what's next for the cemetery.  With the help of this grant from the MSSDAR, our latest project is replacing the gates at the north and east cemetery entrances.  For those who don't know, the original gates were melted down during World War II and donated to the war effort.  Committee member Kathy Aspden has been hard at work researching to find old sketches and photographs of the original gates.
Based on those images, Harris Metalsmith Studio in Perryville, MD has drawn up plans.  The committee has submitted the required paperwork to Baltimore County, and hopefully, after an inspection of the cemetery this spring, we'll receive approval to move forward.
So, as you can see, we've definitely been keeping busy over the winter months!  We're also planning a number of events for this spring, leading up to the cemetery's 250th Anniversary Celebration on July 26th.  As more details become available, we'll be updating the events tab at the top of the blog.  Mark your calendars now!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jacob Medairy

[Ed. Note: This month's blog post was co-written by Ron Robinson, a direct descendant of Jacob Medairy.]

March 9th marks 229 years since the death of Jacob Medairy.  There are many alternate spellings of his surname (Madary, Madory, Madeiry, Madeira, Madarea, Mathery), not uncommon in early records.  In some cases, his name even underwent spelling changes within a single document!

Jacob's time-worn gravestone is the second oldest surviving marker in the cemetery.
Here
Lieth the boddy
of jacob Madary
Departed his Life
march the 9, 1785
Aged 50 years
Jacob Medairy was the eldest son of Hans Jacob Medairy and Hester Rudin.  He was born in Lausen, Switzerland and christened Hans Jacob Madory at St. Niklaus Church in Lausen on January 17, 1734 (Hans was later dropped from his name).  He came to America with his parents and younger brother Sebastian aboard the ship "Loyal Judith", arriving at Philadelphia on September 3, 1739.  He relocated from Pennsylvania to Maryland during the French and Indian War, settling in Reisterstown in 1762.   Jacob was one of the first permanent settlers of Reisterstown, along with John Reister, who had settled here in 1758, and Daniel Bower, in 1761.

On April 3, 1762, Jacob married Catherine Salome Bower, eldest sister of Daniel Bower (original spellings Bauer and Baur) and first of six children of Sir John Bauer and Catherine Hornus.  Catherine Salome Bower was born November 25, 1737 in Strasbourg, Alsace.   After the death of her father, Catherine came to America with her brother Daniel, sister Margaret, and their mother, settling in York County, Pennsylvania.

After their marriage in 1762, Jacob and Catherine Medairy located near present-day 147 Main Street, where he built a log house and a storehouse, and became a trader;  their eldest son, Jacob, was born there in 1763.   On August 26, 1769, Jacob obtained legal title to the land from Rev. Benedict Swope, who had obtained a 450-acre tract in 1767.
It is likely that Jacob and other early inhabitants leased their properties prior to purchasing them.  The old deeds indicate that the early settlers in Reisterstown were well educated and had sufficient funds to purchase their lands.  An illustration of the prominence of these early settlers can be found in some early court cases.  In two such cases, involving overdue promissory notes, Joseph Perrigo vs. Jacob Madeira and Mark Alexander vs. Jacob Madeira, the attorneys of record for Jacob Medairy were William Paca and Samuel Chase, both later signers from Maryland of the Declaration of Independence.

During the Revolutionary War, Jacob Medairy had a shoe manufacturing business at Reisterstown, supplying shoes to the Maryland Council of Safety for use by the troops, as noted in their Journal of proceedings:
Friday, November 8th, 1776

"The Council of Safety contracted with Jacob Madeira for two hundred pair of shoes, and ordered that Western Shore Treasurer pay to Jacob Madeira sixty pounds, for the above contract."
In Peter Shepherd's Return for Baltimore County, dated March 5, 1778, Jacob Medairy's name is listed among those who took the Oath of Fidelity to the State of Maryland during the Revolutionary War.
During the early days of the Revolutionary War, trade between Pennsylvania and Baltimore brought many Conestoga wagons through Reisterstown, necessitating the need for more taverns.   Both John Reister and Daniel Bower had earlier established taverns in the town.   In 1779, Jacob Medairy built the Yellow Tavern at 151 Main Street, directly opposite present-day Cockeys Mill Road.  According to local lore, he located the tavern where he did to prevent the road from going through to Pennsylvania, thereby blocking access of the Pennsylvania traders to the Baltimore markets.  Jacob's efforts were unsuccessful, and road was built around the tavern, which was nick-named "Spite House" as a result.  This accounts for the "S" curve in Main Street which still exists to this day.
 
The Yellow Tavern became famous for fine wines and liquors, and it was where the first Masonic Lodge was organized.  It survived well into the 20th century, known as Central Hotel and finally Hobbs' Hotel, when it was razed in 1948.
(Front)
(Side)
Jacob and Catherine Medairy were members of the First German Reformed Church in Baltimore Town, which had a congregation in Reisterstown.

Jacob Medairy died on March 9, 1785 at the age of 50.  His personal inventory, "An Inventory of Goods and Chattels of Jacob Madarea, late of Baltimore County, deceased" was filed on April 25, 1785.  Valued at 107 pounds and 10 shillings, his personal estate gives an interesting glimpse into 18th century life:
"The wearing apparel of the deceased, some books, 3 tables, 6 new chairs and 5 old ones, 1 bed bedstead sheets, a small looking glass, a stove and pipe, an old dough trough, an hour glass and box, a pair of and irons, a shovel and tongs, a ladle shimmer, flesh forks and a grid iron, a candle mould, a meat seive and flat irons, 3 iron pots, an old skellet and a frying pan, 1 desk, tea ware, stone muggs, 1 dozen large stone plates, 7 small ones, 2 small dozen dishes, a quart bowl and butter boat, a tea kettle, 6 knives and forks, a knife box, 6 bread basket, an old chest, 2 brass candlesticks, 3 iron candlesticks, 3 pair of snuffers, 6 silver tea spoons, 3 pewter dishes (old), 12 old pewter plates, 4 small basons, a tin coffee pot lamp and strainer, a pine cupboard, 2 stock glasses, 1 bed bedstead and furniture, 4 snuff bottles, 8 three-pint case bottles and an old case, 1 tea chest, 5 tea servers, a small looking glass, 12 pewter spoons, a stone pickling pot and an old bell, 3 small kegs, a tin pint quart and funnel, 2 half hogsheads, 3 tubs, old barrels and casks, a dung fork and hoe, 2 old spades and mattock, a pair of maul rings and wedges, an old cask with some vinegar, 4 old tubs, a cow and calf, one old horse, a colt, 2 shoats, a saddle and bridle, pot tack, an old ax, 24 pounds tobacco, a pair of old cotton cards, 2 pair of old sheets and curtains, 3 tubs, 2 pails, 2 piggins, butter churn, 2 coarse bed ticks, sheet, bedstead and cord, 10 pounds of feathers, 1 course blanket and 2 small bags, a pair of old iron traces and collar, 12 old flower barrels, 2 old wheels, an old wool wheel, some thread and flax, and sundry articles of goods."
Catherine Bower Medairy, Jacob's widow, died around October 4, 1800, while visiting her sister, Margaret Myers at Hampstead Hill in Baltimore.  It is unclear where Catherine was buried.

Jacob and Catherine had eight children:
  • Jacob Medairy III, 1763-1845, husband of Catherine Musser
  • Margaret Medairy, 1764-1841, wife of John Mackelfresh
  • John Medairy, 1765-1839, husband of Mary Aston
  • Daniel Medairy, c1767-18??, husband of Eleanor Stocksdale
  • Catherine Medairy, 1770-1826, wife of William Fleetwood
  • Charles Medairy, c1770-????
  • Susannah Medairy, c1775-1832
  • Maria Medairy, 1780-17??

Today, 147 Main Street is a private residence, and 151 Main Street is a service station.



Sources:
FamilySearch.org (estate inventory)

Google Maps

Maryland Archives (Oath of Fidelity, Maryland Council of Safety Journal, land records & Historic Sites Inventory Survey)

Reisterstown Library
  • The Early Days of Reisterstown and Vicinity by Dr. Isaac Newton Dickson, 1869.
  • Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State by the Federal Writers' Project, 1940.
  • The Medairy Family of Maryland 1565-1971 by Bernard John Medairy, Jr, 1971.
  • Reisterstown by Gayle Neville Blum, 2010.
Ron Robinson

Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Daniel & Catharine Armacost

February 10th marks 111 years since the death of Catharine (Leister) Armacost.
Rest in peace
Catharine was born on January 12, 1823 near Finksburg in present-day Carroll County (at the time, Baltimore County), the youngest daughter of Abraham & Catherine Leister.  In the spring of 1846, Catharine was given a decorated Easter Egg by Daniel Armacost.  The two were later married in October of that same year, and Catharine treasured the Easter Egg as one of her prized possessions for the rest of her life.

Daniel Armacost was born on August 31, 1812, and worked as a farmer.  After their marriage, he and Catharine continued to live in Carroll County.  Per census records, Daniel owned real estate valued at about $2,000.  Judging from the censuses in 1850, 1860, and 1870, their household changed little over the years.
Though the 1870 census still shows that Daniel and Catharine were living in Carroll County at the time, the year prior, in 1869, Catharine had purchased a tract of land in Reisterstown called "Spring Garden" from Isaac and Mary Dickson for $1,371.  Interestingly, the land deed gives only Catharine's name as the grantee;  Daniel's name does not appear at all on the record.
In 1871, the couple moved to the new property in Reisterstown.  By the 1880 census, Daniel, now 68 years old, seems to have retired, as he is now listed as having no occupation.
A map of Reisterstown from 1898 shows the location of Daniel and Catharine's home, near present-day 63 Main Street.
In the 1900 census, the pair were still living on their own, with Daniel's occupation given as landlord.
Catharine passed away a few years later on February 10, 1903 at the age of 80 from kidney disease.  Her obituary in the Baltimore Sun focuses on one unique aspect of her life.
 
The trolleys began running from Baltimore City into Reisterstown in the late 1800s, and service was eventually extended all the way through to Emory Grove in Glyndon.  The tracks followed Main Street, as shown in the photo below, and would indeed have gone right past the Armacosts' house.  The trolleys continued to run through town into the early 1930s.  Over a period of several months in 1932, Reisterstown Road was widened and paved, and in early 1933, buses took the place of trolleys between Pikesville and Glyndon.
A few days after Catharine's funeral, Daniel decided to move back to Carroll County to stay with family there.  It was then that he took his first-ever railway journey.
 
In April of 1903, Daniel sold the property on Main Street to Isaac, Annie, and Blanche Dickson, the grown children of the couple from whom Catharine had purchased the land 34 years prior.

Daniel Armacost died the following year in Westminster, just two months shy of his 92nd birthday.
Daniel and Catharine had no children of their own.  In his will, Daniel left $200 to Rev. George H. Beckley and the Lutheran Church in Reisterstown.  The remainder of his estate was left to his and Catharine's nieces and nephews:
  • Daniel N. Armacost, 1852-1941, husband of Mary McCord
  • John D. Armacost, 1869-1949, husband of Lillian Constantine
  • Virginia Hering Armacost, 1843-1936, wife of George W. Armacost
  • William L. Armacost, 1842-1933, husband of Ida Webster
  • Amelia F. Black, 1838-1912, wife of William Black
  • Catherine Armacost Hering, 1844-1927, wife of Dr. Joshua W. Hering
  • Annie Crawford Lisle, 1844-1913, wife of John D. Lisle



Sources:
Ancestry.com (census records, marriage record & map)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 4, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: M432_289; Page: 193A.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: Woolerys, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: M653_471; Page: 748.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: District 4, Carroll, Maryland; Roll: M593_582; Page: 402B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 568C.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 7A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Never Rode On A Trolley Car." Date: 12 February 1903; Page: 6.
  • "His First Railroad Trip." Date: 14 February 1903; Page: 6.
  • "Died Aged 92 Years." Date: 5 July 1904; Page: 11.
  • "Will Finish New Road Tomorrow." Date: 6 January 1933; Page: 5.
FamilySearch.org (will)

FindAGrave.com

Maryland Archives (death & land records)


Reisterstown Library
  • Main Street Photo
  • Reisterstown by Carol Pollack, 1986
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

John & Christie Beckley

January 18th marks 100 years since the death of Christie Ann (Alder) Beckley.
Christie was born on May 25, 1836 in Baltimore County, Maryland, the daughter of Christopher Alder and Juliet Bowen.  Her father must have died when Christie was very young, as when she was three years old, her mother Juliet married a second time, to Andrew Uhler.  In the 1850 census, the Uhler household was a mix of children from Juliet's and Andrew's first marriages, and new children that the couple had together [including Christie's step-sister, Margaret, from October's blog post].
John Henry Beckley was born on August 1, 1829, the son of Jacob Beckley and Matilda Wilson.  On his father's side, John was a great-grandson of John Reister.  In the 1850 census, John was twenty years old, living with his parents and three younger brothers, and working as a carpenter.
John and Christie were married sometime in the mid-1850s.  Their first child, a daughter named Annie, was born in 1858, but lived just five short weeks.

On July 5, 1859, John Beckley purchased a parcel of land known as "The Chase" from David Macklefresh for $250.  The land was located on the north side of Westminster Turnpike (present-day Rt. 140), and contained "two acres, one road + twenty perches more or less".

By the 1860 census, the couple had a new child, eight-month-old Philip.  John's occupation was listed as "officer", and he owned real estate valued at $1,000.
Ten years later in the 1870, the household had grown to include four daughters:  Julia, Bettie, Fannie, and Laura.  John continued to work as a carpenter, and the real estate he owned was now valued at $2,000.  Christie was keeping house.
In 1880, eldest son Philip had moved out was working as a clerk in the Russell Brothers' store, but the Beckleys had two more children, John and Bertha.
Daughter Laura Beckley died suddenly in 1894, while on a visit to a cousin in Baltimore City.  She was 25 years old.
Over the years, the Beckleys' other daughters married and moved out.  By the 1900 census, only son John remained in the household.  John Beckley, now 70 years old, was listed as a Justice of the Peace.
In 1910, John and Christie had an empty nest, but had a "hired boy" Bernard Hoar living with them.
Christie Ann Beckley passed away on January 18, 1914 at the age of 77.
In March of 1915, the Baltimore Sun had an article quaintly entitled "Reisterstown's Remarkable Colony of Very Old People", and John Beckley was one of those featured:
"Along the quiet road, striding ahead with the springy step of youth, carrying a cane which he apparently needs as little as an elephant needs two trunks, John Henry Beckley, 86 years old, wends his way homeward from the magistrate's office.  Home, for him, is two miles away, a distance the thought of which would cause many a city-bred youth to spend the night downtown or hire a taxi rather than walk it.  John Henry Beckley, 86, walks it twice a day.

And he doesn't come to town to sit on a cracker-box in front of the store at the corner grocery and dream of his boyhood.  Mr. Beckley is the magistrate of Reisterstown.  Ask any Reisterstown man how long he has been magistrate, and in spite of specific information on other matters of interest about the place, he will probably lapse into hazy generalities when discussing the Beckley tenure of office.

'Oh, goodness!' the person asked will exclaim with a hopeless gesture, 'Ever since I can remember.'  And Reisterstown memories ordinarily have a way about them of reaching fairly far back.

During all his 86 years Mr. Beckley has breathed no air but the air of Reisterstown.  He has raised seven children and they have all 'stayed raised.'  All are living today."
John Beckley passed away on May 24, 1918 at the age of 88.
John and Christie's children were:
  • Annie Beckley, 1858-1858
  • Philip G. Beckley, 1859-1922, husband of (1) Addie Gallihugh & (2) Lucile Bowers
  • Julia M. Beckley, c1862-19??, wife of (1) Linton Arnold & (2) William Gemmill
  • Bettie Beckley, 1864-1946, wife of George Johnson
  • Fannie S. Beckley, 1866-1939, wife of (1) George Naylor & (2) Aler Lockard
  • Laura Gertrude Beckley, 1868-1894, unmarried
  • John Harry Beckley, 1871-1950, husband of Katie Fairley
  • Bertha Alder Beckley, 1877-1946, wife of Ernest MacEwen



Sources:
Ancestry.com (census records; photos courtesy of Jones Family Tree)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 246B.
  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 223A-B.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 22.
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_569; Page: 243A-B.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 575B-576C.
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 606; Page: 23A.
  • Year: 1910; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_550; Page: 17A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Miss Beckley Dies Suddenly." Date: 16 April 1894; Page: 10.
  • "Suburban Obituary." Date: 19 January 1914; Page: 5.
  • "Reisterstown's Remarkable Colony Of Very Old People." Date: 21 March 1915; Page: M9.
Maryland Archives (death & land records)

Cemetery photos © AgateGS