Tradepoint Atlantic, developer of the former Sparrows Point steel mill, has announced plans to relocate the remains of long-deceased former residents who were interred on the site.
The remains are located in what has been known as the Trotten Family Cemetery. The small graveyard, located between what were H and I streets in the town of Sparrows Point, pre-dates the presence of the steel mill there by decades.
Buried in the graves there are four members of the Trotten family who once lived on the site — John Trotten (who died in 1809 at the age of 38), Sarah Trotten (died 1856 at age 68), Thomas Long (died 1823 at age 16) and James Trotten (died 1804 at age nine months).
Former Eagle columnist and editor J.K. O’Neill discussed the cemetery in a 2000 edition of his “What’s Up With That” column.
As O’Neill noted, a small farmhouse — the Trotten family home — once stood adjacent to the cemetery.
“During the development of Sparrows Point town, the house and its little graveyard were incorporated into the street plan,” O’Neill wrote of the Trotten home.
“In 1919, the house became the headquarters of the Sparrows Point Golf Club,” he continued, noting, “Later, as the town expanded, it became the ‘gas school’ and the old slave quarters were used as a dairy. The house was demolished with the rest of the town in the early 1970s.”
Since that time, the site has fallen into disrepair, as O’Neill acknowledged following a tour of the area.
“The old plot is completely overgrown and bounded now by a fallen chain-link fence on one side and a pile of rubble on the other,” he wrote, adding, “The old headstones have eroded to the point where I couldn’t tell the difference between them and buried rocks.”
As the site is now being redeveloped as an industrial campus, current land owner Tradepoint Atlantic is seeking permission from the Baltimore County State’s Attorney to relocate the remains. A notice of this intention has been published in the Baltimore Sun and the Dundalk Eagle.
“This authorization is requested for the purpose of preserving and relocating the human remains prior to construction on the property,” the notice explained.
The developers will work with Connelly Funeral Home of Dundalk to disinter the remains and reinter them at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery on German Hill Road.
Tradepoint also announced intentions to relocate the sites on Facebook, where reaction from followers was mixed.
While some praised the move as respectful, others expressed a preference for the company to work around the site.
”The cemetery is right in the middle of the site, and will be difficult to plan around,” a Tradepoint representative replied on the Facebook page.
”Also, we believe a proper cemetery is a better resting place,” the comment continued, adding, “When the Trottens buried their family here, the site was still a family farm, and the site overlooked the Patapsco River. 180 years later, they are in the middle of an industrial site, which itself could be viewed as disrespectful. We will be respectfully relocating the remains to a local cemetery, with new headstones, and we will conduct a proper Christian re-burial.”
Anyone seeking more information on the request is asked to contact Robert S. Handzo, Esq. at 102 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 600, Towson, MD 21204 or via telephone at 410-823-1800.
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