It should come as no surprise that I have been interested in all things creepy since a very early age. I would say by the age of 8 I had seen almost every cheesy horror movie out there, Vincent Price was one of my favorite actors, and I read every creepy book and magazine I could get my hands on. The Jessop Family Cemetery was just another piece that helped form my fascination with the unusual.
I think my parents kept hoping I would grow out of it, but unfortunately for them 26 years later my love for everything creepy and macabre has only grown. I grew up in Arizona but spent almost every summer in Maryland and Pennsylvania visiting family. One of my aunts always fed my fascination with ghosts by telling me all sorts of scary experiences and urban legends that were popular in and around Baltimore County.
I distinctly remember one summer day noticing a break in the trees as we were driving down Paper Mill Road. I could see a path and an old fence and asked my mom to go back so we could see what was back there. Thankfully my mom was up for the challenge and we eventually made our way down the path to this very old, very small cemetery.
Every summer we went to Maryland, we would visit that cemetery at least once. My mother and I would walk around and look at the old graves even though I had seen them all many times before. As I grew older and the trips to Maryland became less frequent I always wondered what the story behind that cemetery was. By the time I started exploring the paranormal, urban legends, and cemeteries as an adult, I had no idea what the name of the cemetery was or how I would even find it.
I tried searching everywhere for some mention of an old family plot. And for a long time I couldn’t find anything. I didn’t even know where to start. I finally mentioned it to my aunt who lived near the cemetery. She said oh yeah that’s the old Jessop family cemetery. I should’ve asked her years ago! The cemetery is all that remains of Charles Jessop’s land, which he inherited from his father. In 1800 Charles designed and built a house he named Vauxhall. This house was located near the family cemetery but was demolished sometime during the 1920’s.
Charles was described as a man of “remarkable beauty of the manly type”. He married Mary Gorsuch in April 1786, and they had a total of 15 children. Almost all of their children are buried in the Jessop Family Cemetery. Charles Jessop was a man of many talents. He was at various points of his life an iron master, road contractor, bridge builder, farmer, and mill operator. He owned at least two mills, one of which was the Beaver Dam Mill. ((https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Baltimore%20County/BA-93.pdf))
While researching this cemetery I found that there were other family cemeteries that were flooded when the reservoir was built. Some of the remains were moved to nearby cemeteries. At least one other may still be under the water. I’m glad this very old cemetery was preserved.
This cemetery will always be my favorite because it really was responsible for sparking my love and appreciation for cemeteries. Every cemetery is full of people who once lived vibrant lives and you’ll never know who you’ll find buried within.