Avery Road Colored Cemetery

Also known as Smith Family Cemetery

Location
Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Memorials 2 added

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The Avery Road Colored Cemetery is in the woods behind the Croyden Creek Nature Center, going North along the old Avery Road to the Benjamin Smith House Remains located on the West side of the road. The Cemetery is opposite the Benjamin Smith House Remains on the East side of Avery Road, marked on the 1917 map slightly downhill to the South of the House remains. The land is deep in the woods with large oak trees and underbrush. No cemetery fence, signs or markers are visible, and the cemetery only accessible by climbing the ridgeline from Avery Road.

Wooden markers would have been used before 1920, but there are no signs of burials, wooden or stone markers. According to descendants of Benjamin Smith (ca.1849-1924), family had stopped visiting the cemetery by the 1940s.

The site appears on two maps, one from 1917 and one from 1919 as the Avery Road Colored Cemetery. On the original land owned by Judge Richard Johns Bowie, deeded to Benjamin Smith, formerly enslaved on Judge Richard Johns Bowie's farm in Rockville, MD. Benjamin was the only African American to be deeded land from the Bowie estate, suggesting he could have been a family member. The earliest record of Benjamin Franklin Smith is the 1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedule dated June 1850. Benjamin is listed on that schedule as a “two year old male mulatto.” This date coincides with his birth date of February 1849 recorded among family records (Canaday, pp. 17-18).

The cemetery is the oldest African American burial ground in Rockville, MD, with its first recorded burial of Jane Smith in 1885.

Research provided by Julianne Mangin

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GPS Coordinates: 39.0897220, -77.1255560

  • Added: 5 Sep 2018
  • Find a Grave Cemetery: #2672463