2 groups mark 1792 grave of early Taneytown settler Descendant locates site while doing research on her family's history

September 21, 1995|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

The Daughters of the American Colonists, assisted by the Sons of the American Revolution, trooped to Taneytown last week to mark the grave of an early settler.

The Daughters of the American Colonists (DAC) logo on the grave of David A. Kephart in the Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery off Baltimore Street marks the site as historic.

The identification also is recorded at the organization's national headquarters in Washington, which will make help make future genealogical research easier, said Virginia H. Massie, first vice regent of the Maryland State Society of the DAC.

"It's unusual to find a grave that early that is still legible," said Mary Kathryn P. Hollidayoke, state regent of the organization and a descendant of Kephart. Mrs. Hollidayoke found the grave while researching her ancestry. She got permission from the national DAC to mark the grave.

Kephart owned a plantation and mill near Taneytown. He joined a company of the Maryland militia in 1763 that Mrs. Hollidayoke concluded probably was mustered to fight Indians or to settle a Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary dispute.

She found that Kephart was born in Switzerland in 1729, the son of a city councilman and judge. He came to Philadelphia in 1754, married a Bucks County, Pa., woman and bought 208 acres between Uniontown and Taneytown on Big Pipe Creek.

The mill he built on that tract worked well even in dry weather.

"It was not unusual in dry seasons for farmers to bring grists from long distances and encamp in their wagons through the night, waiting for their grist to be ground," Mrs. Hollidayoke told the audience at the grave-marking ceremony.

Kephart later bought 250 acres from Charles Carroll.

He died in 1792.

His son, David Jr., built a mansion on the property in 1817 that he named Trevanion, meaning "the meeting of the streams" in Welsh dialect. Pipe Creek and Meadow Branch come together on the site.

The mansion, now a combination of Gothic and Italian villa-style architecture, is on Trevanion Road three miles south of Taneytown. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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