Thursday, December 8, 2011

Those Places Thursday - What Darlington Means to Me

Darlington Main Street, 1950s.
From the DUMC Collection.
Courtesy Wikipedia.

On Thanksgiving Friday, hubby and I took a well-deserved extra day off work, and spent the afternoon in the town of Darlington, and trolling through Darlington Cemetery, about an hour's drive from home.

The big annual event there is the Darlington Apple Festival, held every year in October.  It's already set for Saturday, October 6, 2012.  Got the picture? 

Darlington is a tiny farming community here in Maryland, to the north, almost at the Pennsylvania state line.  For a town whose main street is about three buildings (not blocks!) long, it surprised me to learn that Darlington has more than 100 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.  Its Historic District was placed on the list in 1987.   

The properties include farming-related structures such as barns, chicken houses and similar outbuildings, plus three currently-working farms.  Others are the buildings found in any community, such as a lodge hall, a grammar school, shops and a Friends Meetinghouse.  Darlington Cemetery is also on the list.   

This rare old photo is from the 1950s and was found in the collection of the Darlington United Methodist Church.  Except for the models of the automobiles, not much has changed.  At least now the road is well-paved with painted lines.  I think we may have even come across at least one stop light!

Main Street of Darlington today.
Courtesy Wikipedia.

I'm not making fun, I think it's charming.     

I find it especially charming because the town and the cemetery hold interesting history for my line.  The death certificate of my 2x-great grandfather, Oliver Perry Jordan, indicates that he's buried at Darlington.  However, I know for a fact that he's at Parkwood Cemetery, in Baltimore City.  I still haven't gotten to the bottom of this.  I got caught up in this thing called a blog, and some of the research is back-burnered by my current fascination. 

Nevertheless, having a sun-shiny free day at hand, we decided to see what we could see in Darlington.

This signs says it all.
My Photo, 11/25/11.

Its Welcome sign says it all:  Welcome to Darlington.  Then it lists the five houses of worship, with times of service.  That's what is important to people here!  And it's quite evident in the cemetery, with plenty of Scripture quotes on the stones.   

In the historic cemetery, we looked at every stone.  There were only one or two with the surname "Jordan."  However, we found dozens by the surname of "Jourdan." 

Different spelling.  Different pronounciation ("joor-dan" vs. "jer-dan," respectively).  Same family.  The actual connection and the story of the "split" are still undetermined.  I'll get there.  I've only been on this journey for less than a year, and then there's that darn blog thing getting in the way! 
Another true bonus: finding a few stones with the maiden names of my 3x- and 4x-great grandmothers!  This gives me some of their relatives to follow!
But besides all this joy, the best outcome of the day was experiencing Darlington.  Oliver and his wife Annie, plus at least two generations back (that I've found), lived and raised their children in the Darlington area.  That one day out gave me real insight into their lives.  I wondered, and fashioned answers for questions like where they lived, how far they had to walk to town, where they got the things the couldn't grow themselves, how they got into into Baltimore City to visit family. 

And standing in the cemetery, looking across the hills, I got a true feeling that they must have stood in the same place and looked at those same trees on at least one occasion.

Darlington Cemetery.
My photos, 11/25/11.


  1. Jenny,

    Beautiful Cemetery. My ancestors are buried in the Deer Creek Burial Ground. There are others buried in this Cemetery.

    Glad you found what you were looking for.

    Great Post !!


  2. Just had to tell you that I love the photo of you and Santa.

  3. I was surprised, too, to find out that a small town could produce so many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Out of the blue this week, someone posted a comment on my blog about restoring the turn-of-the-century childhood home of my grandmother in Ft. Meade, FL. With about as many homes on the Historic Register as in Darlington, their population--now--is under 6,000! I don't understand it, but at least the happy result is that a good amount of history is being preserved for future generations.

  4. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. It is certainly a lovely little town and beautiful cemetery.

    Jacqui, I'm happy to hear about your family's restoration projects. Look forward to reading some posts on it!

  5. Jenny,

    Was brought back to this blog post, from the link in your most recent blog post.

    This spring, I am going to visit Darlington to find the location of a Family Homestead, that is reported to be haunted.

    This is a beautiful cemetery. Will stop back, as I have ancestors buried there.

    Thank you,