Possible Cemetery on Romney Lot #10
Romney Benevolent Association - Fowler Family
For Location of North half of Lot 10 see Google Map at bottom of page.
In recent editions of the Hampshire Review (Jan. 20 & 27) this notice appeared:
This is a request by Malick Properties, LLC, to get the court to give them a plot of ground since the original organization which owned it is no longer in existence. A response was filed with the court and a hearing was held on March 11th. We are still gathering information and were given until May 1st to do some non-destructive investigation of the site.
HistoricHampshire.org would like to enlist your assistance in answering this matter. Our initial thoughts are that this could be a cemetery, an African-American family cemetery having the remains of members of the William Fowler family. There are several reasons for this conclusion.
1. There now appear to be two Benevolent Associations in Hampshire County. The owner of the lot in question is the almost unknown Romney Benevolent Association. The one best known Benevolent Association is the Colored Benevolent Association which was founded in 1867. See: http://www.historichampshire.org/cems/pisgah.htm for a short history as we know it. The only purpose for which we find documented proof was to establish what we now call the "Mount Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery" for the African-American community.
The deed by which Wm. Fowler sold the small plot the the Romney Benevolent Association states the Association was incorporated in April 1880 - four years before the plot was deeded (Deed Book 63, p. 374). The incorporation records can not be found.
Note the difference in the names of the associations although both are in Romney.
2. There is a sale ad in the Review of June 7, 1899, p. 2 where Lot 10 is sold:
- Robert, John & David Fowler, Benevolent Assoc., Tax records
From County death records:
- Robert Fowler, Male died Apr 5, 1878 age: 14y 11m 19d; Father: Fowler, William; Mother: Fowler,Sarah; B: Hampshire Book 1, page 23.
- His brother, John, died in 1886 at age 18 (DO).
- Another brother, David, died in 1892.
Fowler's deed to the Romney Benevolent Association (Deed Book 63, p.374) states the association was incorporated in April, 1880. The incorporation charter has not been found in the respective court book. Also, the unrelated incorporation of the Colored Benevolent Association in 1867 can not be found.
The tax records show that in 1875, five years after Fowler bought the north half of Lot #10 there was no building on the property (1875 land tax Romney town lots.pdf). Later tax records need to be searched.
Romney Tax Record 1885 for William Fowler on Lot #10
Romney Tax Record 1889 for William Fowler on Lot #10
Site Location Maps
Approximate site location on H.C. Assessor's online map
Romney's Lost Cemeteries
As you may know the three oldest cemeteries in Romney are no more:
- The Old Presbyterian Cemetery is now the parking lot of the fire hall (http://www.historichampshire.org/cems/OldPresbyRom.htm).
- What may have been the oldest cemetery is now under the Bank of Romney addition and parking lot (http://www.historichampshire.org/cems/RomneyGoneCem.htm).
- The Armstrong Cemetery was sold as part of the development of a tract added to Romney on its north boundary (http://www.historichampshire.org/cems/ArmstrongColored.htm).
- 1870, April 28, William Fowler takes title to all of Lot #10
- 1878, April 5, Robert Fowler, son of William dies age 14years
- 1880, April according to Deed Book 63, page 374 the Romney Benevolent Association was incorporated on this date; no incorporation record has been found.
- 1884, November 28, Fowler sells a section 25'x30 in the southwest corner of Lot #10 to the Romney Benevolent Association for $30
- 1886 William's son John dies at age 18
- 1891, 11 July William Fowler sells the lot around the small plot to David Washington with a mortgage, later defaulted
- 1892 another son, David, dies
- 1899, August, William Fowler dies
- 1902 January 20, said heirs of W. Fowler, deceased, conveyed lot surrounding plot in question to Geo W. Arnold
Chain of Title
a. April 28, 1870, Tobias and Rebecca Baker conveyed that certain lot of land in the Town of Romney known as Lot Number 10 to William Fowler, which deed is of record in the aforesaid Clerk’s Office in Deed Book 55 at Page 41.
b. November 28, 1884, William Fowler conveyed a small portion of Lot No. 10, approximately twenty-five (25’) feet by thirty (30’) feet, to Romney Benevolent Association for $30, of record in the aforesaid Clerk’s Office in Deed Book 63 at Page 374.
c. By deed dated July 11, 1891, William Fowler conveyed one half of Lot No. 10, less the small lot conveyed by William Fowler to the Romney Benevolent Association, to David Washington, of record in the aforesaid Clerk’s Office in Deed Book 68 at Page 453. At this point Lot #10 is split into north and south halves.
Following title transfers are for the part of Lot #10 surrounding the small parcel in question; all these deeds exclude the plot owned by the Romney Benevolent Association
d. Deed Book 76 at Page 300 David & Alice Washington 1/2 half to G. W. Arnold June 18, 1901
e. Deed Book 76 at Page 379 Henry Fowler & heirs of William to G. W. Arnold Jan. 20, 1902; lot halves are now rejoined
f. Deed Book 84 at Page 443 Geo. W. Arnold to Robt. M. Nealis on Sept. 13, 1917
g. Deed Book 84 at Page 498 R. M. Nealis to Cordelia C. S. Mauk on Sept 26, 1917
h. Deed Book 91 at page 414 Cordelia C. S. Branson (formerly Mauk) & R. L. Branson to Nora May Haines on July 23, 1928
i. Deed Book 101 at Page 377 Nora Haines Klein and Henry E. Klein to James S. Schnibbe on August 30, 1938
j. Title passes to Schnibbe heirs
k. Katherine Schnibbe Johnson died testate and passes title by her Last Will
l. Deed Book 313 at Page 326 Richard Ford Johnson, James Edward Johnson, and Monica Jane Johnson, to Nellie Schnibbe Everett on September 14, 1989
m. Deed Book 313 at Page 559 dated October 4, 1989, Nellie Schnibbe Everett and James L. Schnibbe, conveyed lot to Afton R. Malick and Georgia P. Malick on October 4, 1989.
Note according to the Complaint to gain clear title:
The October 4, 1989, conveyance to Afton R. Malick and Georgia P. Malick, states “the grantors herein have been informed that the Romney Benevolent Association, a Faternal Order, went out of existence and abandoned the property, and grantors herein, their father, James S. Schnibbe and the predecessors in title have been in open, exclusive adverse possession of said parcel for more than seventy-five (75) years and there has been no claim made to it and the grantors do now grant and convey all of said Lot No. Ten.”
n. Title passes to Afton R. Malick pursuant to the survivorship clause contained in the foregoing deed.
o. Will Book 66 at Page 154
p. Deed Book 552 at Page 802 title passes to Malick Properties, LLC, plaintiff now seeking clear title.