News Releases From 2016
The CHCO Christmas Social will be held on Saturday December 10, 2016 at 2:00 P.M. at the CHCO Headquarters located at 400 S. Allegany Street, Cumberland.
Merry Christmas – A. D. 2016
Happy New Year – A. D. 2017
During December members placed Christmas wreaths and poinsettias at gravesites marked with a CHCO monument. Pictured below are:
Simon Taylor decorates the grave of Frances Treece at the Oaklawn Cemetery in Lonaconing, MD.
The grave of Confederate soldier Dr. Benjamin Cromwell located in the Frostburg Memorial Cemetery, Frostburg, MD. The monument was installed by CHCO in 1996.
The grave of Stephen Lewis who died in 2007 and is buried in the Fort Ashby Cemetery, Fort Ashby, WV.
On November 2, 2016, All Souls Day, CHCO members gathered at the Shrine of the Pieta, SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Cumberland. Member Mary Ann Eckard led a prayer service and rosary. After the prayer service members walked to the nearby Rose Hill Cemetery and unveiled a monument for American Revolutionary War Capt. George Calmes.
Pres. Ed Taylor, Jr. gave a brief talk on Captain Calmes. Mary Ann Eckard and JudyHaines unveiled the monument.
Pictured below is the monument of Dr. Frederick and Mary Miltenberger. Dr. Miltenberger died in 1999. His cremated remains and monument was originally placed at his farm, east of Cumberland. In October 2016 the remains and monument were relocated to SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Fayette St., Cumberland. His wife Mary is still living.
On Saturday October 15, 2016 the CHCO held a fall cemetery tour. During the tour a new CHCO monument was unveiled at the grave of Joseph Angellatta. The gravesite is in Green Mount Cemetery, Yale Street, Cumberland, MD.
The tour visited the graves of the Angellatta family in the area to honor their Italian Heritage. Pictured below: Joseph Angellatta and members place flowers on the gravesite of Joseph’s parents, Francesco and Christina Angellatta. The gravesite is located in the St. Patrick Cemetery in Cumberland. The monument was erected in 2002.
Members also visited the CHCO monument erected in 2005 for Nicola Screvo in the St. Peter’s Cemetery, located in Westernport, MD. Screvo who was from Italy, died of a fever while visiting his daughter Christina (Screvo) Angellatta in 1911.
Other sites visited during the tour were the Sumner Cemetery and the Hughes Burial Plot in Cumberland.
In 1991 CHCO erected the Union Soldiers Monument to honor the Civil War Veterans buried in Sumner Cemetery. This was the first monument erected in Maryland to honor any black Union Civil War Soldiers. Sumner Cemetery is located off of Yale Street, Cumberland.
The Hughes Burial Plot was restored by CHCO in 1992. Pictured at the CHCO informational monument are members Rosemary Brown, Daniel Brown, and CHCO President Ed Taylor, Jr. The cemetery is located in an alley between Columbia Street and Walnut Street in North Cumberland. Members Larry and Judy Haines maintain the historic site.
The CHCO will hold a Fall Cemetery Tour on Saturday October 15th. The event is free and will begin at 12:00 noon at the CHCO Headquarters, 400 S. Allegany Street, Cumberland, MD.
September 2016 – The CHCO moved the monument for former CHCO Vice President, Priscilla Collinson. She was the V.P. for the years 1990 and 1991. Ms. Collinson died in 1998 and she was cremated. In 2001 the CHCO erected a monument in her honor at her church, the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in South Cumberland. In 2014 the church closed. The CHCO has relocated the monument to the Hinkle-Snow Cemetery located at the Snow Hill Farm on Hinkle Road, east of Cumberland.
September 2016 – Dr. Jeffery Davis, local atheist, who filed a lawsuit against Allegany County, MD to remove the Ten Commandments Monument from the courthouse grounds on Washington Street, Cumberland, MD has dropped the lawsuit. Dr. Davis decided not to pursue the lawsuit. Since 2004 the CHCO has been a great advocate for keeping the monument at the courthouse location.
August 2016 – CHCO Board Member Larry Haines and his family purchased a CHCO designated and protected monument, through the organization for his sister and brother-in-law. The monument is located in the Glendale Cemetery on Town Creek Road near Flintstone, MD.
July 2016 – CHCO President Ed Taylor, Jr. and Barbara Sieg look over the new CHCO Sieg monument where Barbara and her husband John will be buried. Barbara is the founder of The Coalition to Protect MD Burial Sites. The Siegs purchased the monument through the CHCO designated and protected gravesite program. It is located in St. John’s Cemetery, Ellicott City, MD.
July 2016 – CHCO member Simon Taylor places flowers at the CHCO monument of James Mayne located in Aurora Cemetery, Aurora, WV. Mayne died in 1999 and the monument was installed in 2000. Review our website for the summer of 2006. Simon is pictured at the same location. Look how he has grown!
During July 2016 the CHCO installed a monument for two children buried since the 1920’s without a gravestone. The children are the sisters of Edward Malamphy, father of Christina Taylor. Pictured are CHCO Board members, Mary Ann Eckard and Christina Taylor. The graves are located in the SS. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Cemetery, Fayette St., Cumberland.
The Baltimore Sun
July 11, 2016
Atheist sues to remove Ten Commandments monument from Allegany County courthouse grounds
By Jonathan Pitts – The Baltimore Sun
Maryland atheist has filed lawsuit to have Ten Commandments monument removed from Allegany County Courthouse.
From the moment that Dr. Jeffrey Davis first saw the Allegany County Courthouse complex nearly 30 years ago, the monument to the Ten Commandments on the lawn has bothered him.
Davis, an emergency physician in neighboring Garrett County, had always been taught that the U.S. Constitution is a secular document. In his view, the 1,600-pound polished granite slab sends an inappropriately religious message.
“It offended me then, and it offends me now,” the self-described secular humanist says in a tranquil voice.
Davis first raised objections to the monument in 2004 — and quickly drew a counter-protest. But just as 59 years of wind, rain, snow and sun have failed to erase the messages carved in the stone, torrents of criticism have done nothing to change his belief that the tribute’s presence violates the law and should be remedied.
Davis returned to the spotlight in April, when he filed a federal lawsuit against Allegany County’s three county commissioners over the matter.
Now that a national law firm hired by the county has filed a motion to have the case dismissed, Davis — who’s serving as his own lawyer — has a month and a half to file a response. He says he’s hard at work crafting it.
The courts have been inconsistent in their rulings on cases involving displays of the Ten Commandments. But Davis, 66, says he’s in the fight to the end, even if it means taking it to the Supreme Court.
His views stand out in conservative Western Maryland, where more than 70 percent of respondents in an online survey say they want the monument left in place — and where Davis’ opponents seem as determined and principled as he is.
Edward W. Taylor Jr., a local businessman, led the demonstration in support of retaining the monument 12 years ago.
Taylor, who describes himself as a 12th-generation Cumberland native, says the 5-foot tall slab has a religious purpose but not an explicitly Christian one. The founding fathers would have approved its presence, he argues, as they “clearly rooted American law in Judeo-Christian principles.”
He says the commandments provide much-needed moral ballast during volatile times. In any case, he says, the courthouse setting itself is historic, and the monument has been standing there for so long that it’s a part of local history.
Taylor stood beside the monument with three friends one recent afternoon.
“Dr. Davis has been garbling on about this for 12 years,” he said. “To my knowledge, he’s the only one who has ever objected. I think it’s become an obsession with him. … There is absolutely no reason to take this down.”
Jews and Christians believe God delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Their depiction on government land has long divided Americans.
In some ways, the debate is woven into the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, in which the founders sought to ensure that no Church of England-style state religion would develop in the United States: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Some interpret the words literally, as a ban on the establishment of a state religion. To others, it’s an indication that the founders wanted government and religion to exist separately.
Courts have weighed multiple perspectives in Ten Commandments cases, citing in their rulings everything from physical surroundings to historical context.
The Supreme Court has generally found that any government action must have “a secular purpose.”
But as if to underscore the ambiguity, even that body ruled on a single day — June 26, 2005 — that a monument similar to Cumberland’s on the grounds of the Texas Capitol was constitutional, but framed images of the Ten Commandments on the walls of two Kentucky courthouses were not.
The Cumberland monument — which stands in a quiet corner some 20 yards away from the courthouse steps — has always contained elements to which either side could point.
It has its origins in mid-1950s Minnesota, where a judge named E.J. Reugemer persuaded his colleagues in the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a secular group focused on promoting patriotism, to create scores of Ten Commandments monuments and distribute them to municipalities around the country.
Historians say Reugemer believed their presence would discourage juvenile delinquency.
Two thousand miles southwest, the Hollywood mogul Cecil B. DeMille happened to be pondering ways to publicize his 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston.
DeMille, an outspoken Christian, learned of the Eagles project and had his studio, Paramount, cross-promote their effort.
Davis and like-minded people say that if the effort had no religious purpose, it would not have involved the Ten Commandments. Others say reducing juvenile delinquency is not an aim exclusive to Christians.
Either way, 180 of the monuments were distributed. One made its way to Allegany County, where it has stood near the courthouse since 1957.
Davis, a native of Washington, moved to Western Maryland in 1987. When he first noticed the monument, he says, it “disturbed” him. But because he knew the county to be a conservative place, and because he had three children in school, he decided to let the matter slide.
By 2003, however, the kids were grown, and questions about public displays of the Ten Commandments were in the news: Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, defied an order from a federal judge to remove a monument of the Decalogue from the Alabama Judicial Building.
“That’s when I decided not to worry about what anybody else thinks — and to come out of the closet as an atheist,” Davis says.
The following fall, he wrote a letter asking county commissioners to remove the slab. And they did: It was hauled to a backyard across the street.
But Taylor, the longtime president of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, helped lead a demonstration on the courthouse lawn the next day. Within three days, the commissioners had restored the monument, where it has stood since.
Faye Snow demonstrated with Taylor at the protest. She said her views haven’t changed.
“I’m a Christian who loves the Lord and wants to follow in his direction,” she said. “And the Ten Commandments is his direction.”
The Rev. Michael Mudge, a Cumberland pastor, agreed. Every time Davis revives the issue, he said, he asks members of his flock to memorize the commandments and recite them — which he said most have done in recent weeks.
In 2005, Davis founded Citzens for a Secular Government, a nonprofit that proposed replacing the slab with one dedicated to the Constitution.
He has raised the issue periodically at public meetings and in letters to the editor.
He says he has received irate calls at home, sometimes late at night. Former colleagues have berated him. One person sent his wife, Susan, a condolence card for having married him.
“You have to have a thick skin to take on something like this,” Davis says, and smiles wryly.
“I’ve gotten to where I really don’t care what other people think. There’s a principle involved.”
He dropped the cause for a while due to a family issue, he said, but he returned to it this year, filing his suit April 29 in U.S. District Court.
Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal organization represening the county, filed the motion to dismiss last month. Their key argument: the 2005 Texas case, Van Orden v. Perry, is similar to Davis’, and settled this area of the law.
Davis, who is semiretired and owns a rental property in Cumberland, disagrees on several grounds. He says he has spent hours at home crafting his counterargument and will file it soon.
He says he has tried to get the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Humanist Association, a Washington-based nonprofit, to back him, but that both have declined, citing other priorities.
The ACLU would not confirm that, and the American Humanist Association did not respond to a request for comment. But Robert V. Ritter, the association’s former legal director, has tracked the story of the Eagles monuments for years and mapped their locations.
“Ideally, the … monuments on public land will be moved to private property,” he writes on his personal website. “This will permit persons of all faiths and nonbelief to enjoy our public lands.”
As Davis sat on the bench next to the monument last week, he said he expects the court to rule for him but will appeal if necessary — and take the matter as far as he must.
But he considers the work daunting and said he’s not above wanting at least a little support.
“Some people say I’m tilting at windmills, and maybe that’s true,” Davis said. “But Don Quixote could use a lawyer.”
Copyright © 2016, The Baltimore Sun
The Ten Commandments monument, donated to the county by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1957, is part of the scene to the right of the Courthouse steps.
Faye and Paul Snow (left) of Flintstone, and Edward Taylor and Pastor Michael Mudge of Cumberland call the monument a unifying symbol in the community and a historic artifact.
Dr. Jeffrey Davis of Swanton, says the monument to the Ten Commandments at the Allegany County Courthouse sends an inappropriately religious message.
Edward W. Taylor Jr., of Cumberland, helped organize protests against the removal of the Ten Commandments monuments from the Allegany Courthouse grounds in October, 2004
On Saturday June 4, 2016 CHCO members traveled to Indian Mound Cemetery located in Romney, WV. The Hampshire County Historical Society held a Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony in which the CHCO participated.
On Monday May 29, 2016 members of the CHCO and the Allegany Tea Party traveled to Wilmore, PA to unveil a monument for CHCO member Dr. Jean Bialas who died last year. Jean was a former president of the local Tea Party.
On Sunday May 29, 2016 CHCO members traveled to Moorefield, WV to attend the Sons of Confederate Veterans Memorial Service at Olivet Cemetery. Pictured below are CHCO President Ed Taylor, Jr. and McNeill’s Ranger David Judy.
Grave of CHCO member Florence Finan at Hillcrest Cemetery, Cumberland, MD. Finan served as CHCO secretary from 1991-1998.
Saturday April 23, 2016 the CHCO honored the great Confederate deceased. Members and guests held Memorial services at the adopted Pollock Cemetery located in Mexico Farms, south of Cumberland and the Seymour-Brady Cemetery located in Seymour’s Bottom, WV. A monument was unveiled at the Pollock Cemetery for Joseph and Hannah Pollock with a family history on the monument.
Pictured below are CHCO members and guests and members of the Son’s of Confederate Veterans – Camp 2249 Mountaineer Partisan Rangers.
Pictured Below: CHCO president Ed Taylor, Jr. and James Klipstein, Sr. opening the event with a prayer.
Commander Dennis Hammons of the Son’s of Confederate Veterans addressing the event.
Pollock descendents Cheryl August and Barbara Campbell unveiling the new monument.
The front of the Pollock monument.
The back of the Pollock monument.
After the Pollock event members visited the Seymour-Brady Cemetery located in Seymour’s Bottom, WV. This cemetery has a rich Confederate history and contains a monument for John Brady who was a Confederate soldier. In 2007 the CHCO engraved a plaque on his monument that tells his history. Pictured below are:
John Brady’s Monument.
Son’s of Confederate Veterans firing a three gun salute.
Ed Taylor, Jr., Leland Taylor, and James Klipstein, Sr.
January 20, 2016 marked the 100th year since young George Reitmeier drowned while saving the life of another child who fell through the ice while ice-skating on the C&O Canal in Cumberland. The CHCO noted the event in the Cumberland Times – News. The Carnegie Hero Commission in Pittsburgh, PA saw the newspaper photo and sent the CHCO a bronze Carnegie Medal which was placed on the ledger crypt at the boy’s grave. The crypt was installed by the CHCO in 1993 in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Cumberland.
During January 2016 the CHCO honors ten-year-old George C. Reitmeier on the 100th anniversary of his death on January 20, 1916. On that day he saved the life of another child who fell through the ice while ice-skating on the C&O Canal in Cumberland. In 1993 the CHCO installed a ledger crypt on his grave located in the SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery that tells his story. SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery is located off of Fayette Street, Cumberland, Maryland.