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 James Campbell Whitehill

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James Campbell Whitehill

Birth
Death
9 Jul 1852 (aged 6 months)
Burial
Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland, USA
Plot
Area F, Lot 25, Grave 7
Memorial ID
17912273 View Source

Crypt disturbance a 'first'
Originally published February 03, 2005
By Kate Leckie
News-Post Staff
FREDERICK -- As police Wednesday continued to investigate the theft of human remains from a crypt at Mount Olivet Cemetery, staff at the historic site were equally busy taking calls from media interested in seeing the unusual crime scene.

"This is the first time I've ever encountered anything like this. We've had no vandalism, no trouble whatsoever," said Ron Pearcey, superintendent of the cemetery perhaps best known for its most famous inhabitant: Francis Scott Key, creator of the Star-Spangled Banner.

It was about 7:20 p.m. Monday that the serenity of the 150-acre cemetery was interrupted, when Mount Olivet staff called police to report that the Whitehill family crypt had been pried open. The skulls of a husband and wife and possibly some remains of an infant boy were believed to be missing, police said.

Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after word of the investigation was made public, police had received no calls offering clues as to who might be involved in the crime.

But officers were quick to quash any fears of a cult.

"There was nothing to indicate that the removal of the bones are related to cult activity or a satanic motivation. We can only speculate about why someone would do this. Perhaps it was somebody on a dare," said Lt. Tom Chase, head of the Frederick Police Department's criminal investigations division.

Not unlike Mr. Key, the creator of our national anthem, the inhabitants of the above-ground crypt were well-known and well-to-do in their own right, said Mr. Pearcy, the cemetery's superintendent.

James Whitehill, who died in 1874 at the age of 74, was on the first board of directors of Mount Olivet Cemetery. He was a builder and cabinetmaker and owned brick and lumber yards, Mr. Pearcey said.

Mr. Whitehill's wife Ann died in 1887 at the age of 79. The couple's only child, James C. Whitehill, lived only six months. He died in 1852.

Established in 1852, the cemetery had its first burial two years later, that of Ann Crawford, Mr. Whitehill's maid, Mr. Pearcey said.

More than 38,000 people are buried at the graveyard that includes eight miles of road. More than 300 people are buried at Mount Olivet each year.

Side gates to the cemetery are locked about 5 p.m., and the front gate is closed at dusk, according to staff. An iron fence, about 5 feet high, surrounds the cemetery at 515 S. Market St.

"This time of year, we have five people" maintaining the property and "and four of us in the office. I suppose someone could have done this in the daytime," Mr. Pearcey said. "That's sick."

The crypt, nestled into a hillside, is about 10 feet long, 12 feet wide and 5 feet high. It has a marble front and a iron door about a half-inch thick.

Cemetery records indicate that the crypt was burglarized once before, "probably in the late 1800s, around the turn of the century. That was when grave robbers would steal jewelry, and Mr. Whitehill was a prominent man," Mr. Pearcey said.

In 1997, all three of the Whitehills' remains were accounted for when the cemetery's caretaker did maintenance on the crypt, which had fallen into disrepair.

Once police have finished their investigation, "Trust me, I'm going to secure it real good. It's going to be well taken care of," Mr. Pearcey said.

Should the culprits be caught, they face charges including removing human remains and destroying funerary objects, each a misdemeanor punishable by a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.

-THE FREDERICK NEWS POST

Crypt disturbance a 'first'
Originally published February 03, 2005
By Kate Leckie
News-Post Staff
FREDERICK -- As police Wednesday continued to investigate the theft of human remains from a crypt at Mount Olivet Cemetery, staff at the historic site were equally busy taking calls from media interested in seeing the unusual crime scene.

"This is the first time I've ever encountered anything like this. We've had no vandalism, no trouble whatsoever," said Ron Pearcey, superintendent of the cemetery perhaps best known for its most famous inhabitant: Francis Scott Key, creator of the Star-Spangled Banner.

It was about 7:20 p.m. Monday that the serenity of the 150-acre cemetery was interrupted, when Mount Olivet staff called police to report that the Whitehill family crypt had been pried open. The skulls of a husband and wife and possibly some remains of an infant boy were believed to be missing, police said.

Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after word of the investigation was made public, police had received no calls offering clues as to who might be involved in the crime.

But officers were quick to quash any fears of a cult.

"There was nothing to indicate that the removal of the bones are related to cult activity or a satanic motivation. We can only speculate about why someone would do this. Perhaps it was somebody on a dare," said Lt. Tom Chase, head of the Frederick Police Department's criminal investigations division.

Not unlike Mr. Key, the creator of our national anthem, the inhabitants of the above-ground crypt were well-known and well-to-do in their own right, said Mr. Pearcy, the cemetery's superintendent.

James Whitehill, who died in 1874 at the age of 74, was on the first board of directors of Mount Olivet Cemetery. He was a builder and cabinetmaker and owned brick and lumber yards, Mr. Pearcey said.

Mr. Whitehill's wife Ann died in 1887 at the age of 79. The couple's only child, James C. Whitehill, lived only six months. He died in 1852.

Established in 1852, the cemetery had its first burial two years later, that of Ann Crawford, Mr. Whitehill's maid, Mr. Pearcey said.

More than 38,000 people are buried at the graveyard that includes eight miles of road. More than 300 people are buried at Mount Olivet each year.

Side gates to the cemetery are locked about 5 p.m., and the front gate is closed at dusk, according to staff. An iron fence, about 5 feet high, surrounds the cemetery at 515 S. Market St.

"This time of year, we have five people" maintaining the property and "and four of us in the office. I suppose someone could have done this in the daytime," Mr. Pearcey said. "That's sick."

The crypt, nestled into a hillside, is about 10 feet long, 12 feet wide and 5 feet high. It has a marble front and a iron door about a half-inch thick.

Cemetery records indicate that the crypt was burglarized once before, "probably in the late 1800s, around the turn of the century. That was when grave robbers would steal jewelry, and Mr. Whitehill was a prominent man," Mr. Pearcey said.

In 1997, all three of the Whitehills' remains were accounted for when the cemetery's caretaker did maintenance on the crypt, which had fallen into disrepair.

Once police have finished their investigation, "Trust me, I'm going to secure it real good. It's going to be well taken care of," Mr. Pearcey said.

Should the culprits be caught, they face charges including removing human remains and destroying funerary objects, each a misdemeanor punishable by a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.

-THE FREDERICK NEWS POST

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