Summer 2004                                            Page 1
At the annual meeting the association elected three new officers. John Higgins is replacing Ernest Aschenbach as President, Joan Geer is replacing Dottie Brault as Secretary and Knowles Little has assumed the duties of Treasurer succeeding Joan Geer, our new Secretary. Mary Ann Barnes- will continue to serve as Vice President.

The Association has been exceptionally well served by its officers. Ernest Aschenbach is our man on the scene at the Cemetery and he has been most generous with his time and his money. Similarly, Dottie Brault and. Joan Geer have served well as Secretary and Treasurer. We are grateful to them all and are particularly grateful they will be continuing to serve actively on the Board. If for any reason you wish to contact one of the new officers, their addresses and contact numbers are:

President: John E. Higgins, Jr.
Chevy Chase, MD
Email: Jhiggins@nlrb.gov

Vice President:    Mary Ann Barnes Rockville, MD
Email: maryab101 @msn.com

Secretary: Joan Geer
Gaithersburg, MD
Email: Joan Geer@ekit.com

Treasurer: Knowles Graham Little, Jr. Rockville, MD 
Email: kglittle@verizon.net

by Dottie Brault
On November 11, 2002, Veterans Day, the Chevy Chase Chapter NSDAR hosted a Grave Marking Ceremony at the cemetery to honor the Revolutionary War soldier, James Higgins. Members of the DAR, the Higgins family and the community were invited and in spite of the rain it was well attended. The Rockville High School Pipe Band and Rockville City Police Honor Guard lent their support. The official DAR marker was unveiled by the Regent, Ann Bolt, and a history of the project was given by members of the chapter. The ceremony concluded with Taps after which a. light fare was offered to the attendees.

The Chevy Chase Chapter became involved with the Higgins Cemetery in 1997 and made the cleaning of the area around the monument a chapter project. The chapter provided funds for the replacing of the monument at its original site and researched the Higgins family history. Evidence was submitted to the DAR Historian General who approved the project and placement of the DAR marker. Members of the Chevy Chase Chapter continue to maintain the ground around the monument, and lend their support to the Higgins Cemetery Historic Preservation Association, Inc.
If you are in the area, be sure and stop by to see the marker.

Summer 2004                                                    Page 2
By Knowles Little
The Association is preparing a genealogy chart that shows the descendants of James Higgins (1733 - 1816). It is based on information obtained by Mary Ann Barnes, the Chevy Chase Chapter of the DAR, Eileen McGuckian during the formation of the Higgins Cemetery Association and data from the author's grandmother, Luraner Mannakee Little. The chart has 9 generations of descendants beginning with James Higgins and Luraner Becraft Higgins. It contains the names of 113 individuals, some with dates, but missing information is needed to complete the project. Of particular interest are the names and data concerning descendants still residing in Maryland and Virginia. We also hope to obtain data concerning individuals who are buried in the cemetery.

Anecdotally, I know that my great grandmother, Georgiana Knowles Mannakee, is buried there. Her daughter, my grandmother, told me a year before she died that she regretted not being able to locate the cemetery where her mother was buried. She told me that it was near the railroad tracks in south Rockville, but was unable to locate it. This was in 1952 when I was 10 years old. I was very glad to have been able to find the cemetery in 2000 and hope someday to identify her grave site and others. This will require information from yet unknown descendants who may have burial plot records of the Higgins Family Cemetery.

Compiling this chart produced another surprise for me: I graduated from high school in the same year as one of 4 sixth cousins descended from James and Luraner Higgins. I did not know that I was related to any of them until compiling this chart. I suspect that there are other cousins in the area as quite a few descendent lines are missing. If you are not on this chart, I would like to add you to it.

The Association may eventually place a permanent copy of this chart in the form of a plaque at the cemetery. Your additional information is needed to complete this genealogy.

I would be happy to send you a copy of this interesting genealogy and ask that you send a donation to the Association with your request. Please write me with your request or with information concerning the Higgins descendants. Your input is needed to complete this project.

Recently the Cemetery was the beneficiary of an Eagle Scout Project. Michael Meehan, a member of Troop 90 at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, developed a project to beautify the site. An Eagle Project is the last step for a boy seeking an Eagle Scout Award. He must first earn at least 21 merit badges and attain the rank of Life Scout. His Eagle Project requires that he develop and lead a public service project requiring at least 100 hours of volunteer work by Scouts and friends under the Eagle candidate's supervision.
Michael did an excellent job of developing and directing a landscaping project around the James Higgins monument and marker at the Cemetery. He has successfully completed the project and was awarded his badge this past April.
Thank you and congratulations Michael.

Summer 2004                            Page 3

We depend greatly on volunteer help for much of the work to maintain the cemetery. But we do have expenses. Insurance runs about $500 per year and until this year was graciously covered by Ernest Aschenbach. In addition to insurance, we have expenses of another $150 to $200 each. This $650 - $700 "bare bones" annual budget maintains only the status quo budget and will not permit us to move ahead with any part of our long-range plans for the cemetery.
Right now we have $221 in the bank account so we need financial help. If you can contribute to the cemetery it would be most appreciated.
Please send your check to the Higgins Cemetery Association c/o of Knowles Little at Knowles home address noted in the list of officers.
Remember your contribution is tax deductible because Higgins Cemetery Association is a 501(c) 13 not-for-profit organization.

We are looking for a Newsletter Editor for future editions. If you'd like to help, contact John Higgins.

By Mary Ann Barnes
(This is the first part of what will be a series of short articles about the family.)
James Higgins, Montgomery County, Maryland soldier of the American Revolutionary War and patriot, rests in death in his original burial location on his home place farm. This is known as the "Higgins Family Burial plot" and is located in the 5700 block of Arundel Avenue. This is a light industrial area located past the line of the City of Rockville off Twinbrook Parkway. It is near the US government's large Parklawn Drive US Health and Human Services Building complex, only a short walk from the Twinbrook Metro stop on the Red Line.

Higgins was born in 1733 and died in 1816 at age 84 years. His wife, Lurander (Becraft) Higgins was born in 1744 and died in 1819, age 75 years. A large Seneca sandstone monument sits in the center of the cemetery. It is believed to have been erected to honor the memory of James and Lurander Higgins and one of their sons, James Becraft Higgins and his wife Mary Eleanor.

The cemetery is located on a tract known in 1769 as the "Addition" when, it was purchased by James Higgins. The land was then in Frederick County, Maryland. By the 1890s a portion of this land was a new subdivision platted as "Spring Lake" by the then owner, a Washington, D. C. land speculator.

James Higgins married Lurander Becraft on 11 November 1760. She was a daughter of Peter Becraft of Frederick County, Maryland. Becraft was prominent and owned several tracts of land including some in the Linganore area of present Frederick County, Maryland. Another tract later became part of the present Town of Kensington, in Montgomery County, Maryland. This tract came under ownership of his sonin-law. Higgins owned this old Becraft tract at the time of his death. It later came to ownership of a grandson-inlaw, George Knowles whose name is perpetuated in the present Knowles Avenue in Kensington.
(To be continued.)

Summer 2004                        Page 4

James Sorensen was the featured speaker at the annual meeting of Higgins Cemetery Historic Preservation Association in February. Since 1988, under one official title or another, Jim has developed and led archaeological programs for the Montgomery County Park Service. He has visited Higgins Cemetery several times, including a workday in 1998 where volunteers discovered a line of small, uninscribed stone markers. Jim's well-received slide show at the meeting presented local examples of how archaeology can help in appreciating historic cemeteries. His comments ranged from excavation techniques and tombstones as primary source materials to symbolism in carving, as well as religion and idolatry. Thanks, Jim, for being such an accessible resource as we learn more and more about Higgins Cemetery.

Appreciation to Tom Orr, Andy Fadeley, and crews from the Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation, who over six years have assisted Higgins Cemetery volunteers with trash removal. We could not have rescued the little burying ground without you!

Clean-up work has begun in earnest at Higgins Cemetery, courtesy of our good corporate neighbors, The JBG Companies. JBG is a 40 year old group that is headquartered in Chevy Chase and ranked as one of the most
active developers in the Metropolitan area. Among the real estate that JBG owns, has developed, and manages is Fishers Place, six buildings with a total of nearly 720,000 square feet of office, lab, and retail space on land once farmed by Revolutionary War soldier James Higgins. JBG is currently planning a mixed-use, transit-orientated urban center called Twinbrook Commons at nearby Twinbrook Metro Station.
Recently, JBG and its contractor, Capitol City, offered to provide landscaping services that would keep brush and weeds under control at Higgins Cemetery. This work started in early June and already has made an incredible difference. In addition to periodic maintenance, next steps will include leveling the ground at the Property. This much-appreciated contribution will free Higgins volunteers to conduct additional investigations and to raise funds for tree work, tombstone restoration, a replacement fence and cross path, and otherwise advance the Master Plan for the cemetery.

Back to Newsletters