History

Archives | Personal Stories | News Articles

Archives

The following archival documents relate to the cemetery history

  • Archdiocese of Baltimore history (PDF file)
  • Handwritten history of St. Vincent Cemetery undated (PDF file)
  • St Vincent “Regulations” dated 1863 (PDF file)
  • St. Vincent deed dated August 17, 1864 (PDF file)
  • St. Vincent Church reports that mention the status of the cemetery (1854 report | 1856 report)

Personal Stories

The following stories are from a few people who witnessed the results of some of the grave desecration that ultimately lead to the decision of removing all grave markers.

St. Vincent’s Cemetery (Clifton Graveyard) 1974 by May Lane (PDF file)
May Lane shares her memories from childhood when she, her sister, and a friend encountered a disinterred body on the Clifton Park golf course.

Memories of St. Vincent Cemetery by Joseph Yori (PDF file)
A son recounts his father’s memories of visiting St. Vincent Cemetery with his mother to pay their respects to his two brothers. Unfortunately, the visits stopped after a trip in 1949 when they found a woman’s remains propped up against a coffin.

Testimony of Cecilia Deems on the Libertini Family Vaults at St. Vincent’s (PDF file)
Cecilia Deems fondly remembers visiting two Libertini family vaults.


News Articles

The following news articles give some of the details of the desecration of St. Vincent Cemetery, as well as the subsequent clean-up by hundreds of volunteers.


Baltimore Sun
, 11 June 1882
The following is supplied by Nancy Bramucci and submitted by Joyce Erway

 An incident occurred at City Hall yesterday which excited a great deal of sympathy and at the same time aroused no little indignation in the health department. Mrs. Minnie C. Ashworth, a tidy little woman appealed to Secretary A.R. Carter with tears in her eyes and voice choked with sobs to bury her dead infant, a little boy 7 months of age who had died of brouchia; catarrh and whose wan little corpse she had in her arms wrapped against her bosom in a faded shawl. “How is it you bring the child’s corpse to me?” The Secretary inquired. “I have no place else to take it.” I cannot leave it in the street. I am not permitted to let it stay where I have been living.

To further inquire she stated that she had carried the body in her arms through the crowded streets of the city from No 214 South Durham street between Aliceanna and Lancaster Streets, where she had resided in the house of Theresa Rode, working in a pickling establishment for what money she could earn to pay for shelter, while her husband who is a soldier in the United States Army, was in Alabama. She said she was a native of Alabama and had another child older, whom she was obliged to leave with a friend while she went to the City Hall to have the infant buried.

She told Mr. Carter she was perfectly destitute and homeless; that she was not allowed to leave the corpse n the house on Durham Street long enough to go to the City Hall to beg for its burial. A physician connected with the department certified that the cause of death was bronchial catarrh, and it is believe that if the mother had been able to get medicines and attention for it the life of the child might have been spared. Secretary Carter, who was greatly touched by the incident, said it was the worst case he had encountered in all the years he had been in the health office. Mr. F.A. Kerschner, of the department took the body in charge for burial and Rev. E. Didier gave a permit for its interment in St. Vincent’s Cemetery. The mother said she proposed putting other child in an asylum and it will probably go to St. Vincent Orphanage.

A sum of money was made up for her immediate wants by the attaches of the health department. The family at No 214 South Durham street removed into country yesterday and when the reporter went there the house was locked up.