||North County is my seventh book, which documents the history of fourteen (14) of the forty (40) historic African American communities in Baltimore County, Maryland. These fourteen (14) communities are all located in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland.
These fourteen (14) communities are: Pine Grove UM Church in White Hall; Union Chapel UM Church, Mt. Joy AME Church and Isaiah Baptist Church in Monkton; Big Falls Road in Hereford; Sparks; Cuba Road in Cockeysville; Footes Hill also in Cockeysville; Long Green; Glen Arm; Forge Road in Perry Hall; Bradshaw in Kingsville; Philadelphia Road in White Marsh, and Loreley, also in White Marsh.
Some of the oldest African American communities like Troyer Road in Monkton are located in Northern Baltimore County. Many of the African American men worked with horses or did farming work. Some owned their own farms, but most did share cropping. It also appeared that many, if not most of the African American families lived in tenant houses. This is quite true on Troyer Road in Monkton. When the farms were sold, the many African American families had to leave their tenant homes. In the 1800s there were many African American families residing on Troyer Road; today they can be counted on one hand.
To give you a birds eye view of each of the historic African American communities in Northern Baltimore County, the following is provided:
Pine Grove UM Church. The church had its beginning in 1859 and is still functioning today. It has a large cemetery, and the church was used as a school for African American children for many years. The church is located on Kirkwood Shop Road in White Hall, where many of the African American families resided. There are very few African American families residing in the area today. Three wonderful interviews of senior African Americans are included in the book.
Union Chapel UM Church. This church had its beginning in the early 1800s. The land for the church was given by an African American family named Johnson, many of whom are laid to rest in the cemetery of the church. During the early years following the end of slavery the church was used as a school for African American children in the area until a one-room schoolhouse was built. The school was called Shepherd School located on Troyer Road, and exists today as a private home.
Mt. Joy AME Church. The author was unable to secure the history of this church. It is believed that the church was founded sometime in the 1800s and has a large cemetery associated with the church. It is located about 1/4 mile from Union Chapel UM Church on Troyer Road.
Isaiah Baptist Church, located on Monkton Road had its beginning in the early 1900s. It was built adjacent to a schoolhouse that eventually closed it doors in 1936. Isaiah Baptist Church eventually purchased the closed schoolhouse and expanded the church facilities.
There is one other African American church located in the Monkton area, which is St. Lukes UM Church located on Hereford Road. This church was founded sometime after 1865 when land was purchased to build the church upon. It, too, was used as a school for African American children in the area until a one-room schoolhouse was built directly behind the cemetery of the church.
In the Monkton area, numerous interviews were conducted of senior African Americans, most of who were born and reared in the area. This includes the interview of at least two ninety plus years old and one eighty plus person.
Sparks is a lovely community located in the Gunpowder River area. At one time it was called Philopolis. Within this community lies Quaker Bottom Road, which has been the home of numerous African American families, possibly some even before the end of slavery. The community has a church called Stevenson AME Church that was built in 1866. The church served as a school for the African American children until a schoolhouse was built. Interviews from four seniors who were born and reared in the area who are in their eighties.
Cuba Road is a historic African American community located in Cockeysville, but not far from Hunt Valley. This community had its beginning in 1852, well before the end of slavery, and still exists with descendants of families from that era. The church of the community is Gough UM Church, located on Cuba Road that had its beginning in 1884. It also served as a schoolhouse for African American children in the area. It is still a thriving community. Numerous interviews were secured from this community beginning with the oldest in her nineties.
Footes Hill is a historic African American community located in Cockeysville. This community has been in existence since 1870, but is struggling today to retain African American families. There are very few African American families in the area today. The church that served the area since 1877 is Bazil AME Church with its small cemetery. Only two interviews were secured from this area, one of the interviewees is one hundred year old Ms. Mabel Smith who was born in Footes Hill in 1905; the other is ninety-two year old Mrs. Ruth Costley.
Long Green is a truly gorgeous community. African American settled in this area in 1851, years before the end of slavery. Even before the community was established, the church that serves the area, Mt. Zion AME Church was already there, established in 1849. The African American community, which was thriving at one time, has dwindled down to only three or four families. At one time there was a school for African American children on Kanes Road and an Odd Fellows Hall, also previously located on Kanes Road. Both are now gone. This gives evidence that numerous African American families resided in the area. I was also fortunate enough to interview Mrs. Marguirette Harvey Levere who was born in Long Green over one hundred years ago. She was born on September 14, 1905.
Glen Arm is located only several miles northwest of Harford Road, not too far from the upper end of Gunpowder State Park. African American settled in their community here in 1840. One of the oldest African Americans who settled here was Joshua Gwynn, a slave belonging to the Burton family near Glen Arm. His descendants resided in the area for generations, and several of his descendants were interviewed for this book. One is Mrs. Beatrice Payne who was born in 1909 and the other is Mrs. Roberta Roberts who was born in 1918. There has never been an African American church in the area, but there was a school for African American children in the area called Hartley School, a one-room African American schoolhouse.
Forge Road in Perry Hall is yet another of the historic African American communities. It had its beginning in 1877. There were never many African Americans residing in the area. There was never an African American church there, nor was there an African American schoolhouse. Reverend Moses L. Gwynn, Jr., and his brothers and other members of the Gwynn family resided (and still reside) on Forge Road.
Bradshaw/Philadelphia Road. These two historic African American families are slowly dying away. To my knowledge, there are now no African American families residing on Philadelphia Road in this area, and only members of the Brown/Winder family still residing in the Bradshaw area. The community came into being in the late 1890s as a recognized African American community, but Matthew Johnson, a deceased member of the Brown/Winder family notes in his historical records that Browns and Winders were settled in the area during the slavery era, and notes that the area was once called Brownstown. The church that serves the area is Asbury UM Church located on Philadelphia Road had its beginning in Loreley, as did the one-room African American schoolhouse. Mrs. Gladys Brown Austin who was born in Bradshaw in 1925 gave much information on what life was like when she was growing up there. She still resides in Bradshaw with her husband, Roosevelt.
The last historic African American community in Northern Baltimore County is Loreley. The community had its beginning in 1870, and is still an active community. The church that serves the community is Asbury UMN Church located on Philadelphia Road in White Marsh. The church dates back to 1828. It is still there with its cemetery, but was almost closed down several years ago. Also in the area was the one-room schoolhouse for African American children that were located in the shadows of the church. It has since been converted to a community center. Also located in the Loreley area is the Union of Brothers and Sisters of Fords Asbury Lodge #1, a lodge that has been in existence since the early 1800s. It, too, is located on Philadelphia Road in White Marsh, and is still quite active. Mr. Campbell S. Williams, Jr., who was born, reared, and still resides in Loreley provided a most interesting interview of what life was like residing in Loreley.