History of Higgins Cemetery

 The burying ground known as Higgins Cemetery holds at least 11 known graves of Higgins family members and likely several of their slaves.  James Higgins (1732-1816), a planter who served in the Maryland militia during the Revolutionary War, and his wife Luraner Becraft Higgins (1744-1819) were the first generation to be buried on their farm. With their son James Becraft Higgins (1772-1848) and his wife Mary Eleanor (1784-1845), they are memorialized by a red sandstone monument that was placed in the center of the cemetery in 1866 by their descendants.

    A grass roots community effort begun by concerned citizens and Peerless Rockville ignited a series of actions that led to long-term partnerships.  These groups helped to incorporate Higgins Cemetery Historic Preservation Association in 1999 and obtain designation on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation in 2010.

    Higgins Cemetery, located near the intersection of the Rockville Pike and Twinbrook Parkway, survives today as a reminder of how day to day life in America has changed. When James Higgins settled on his farm in the 18th century, there were few towns nearby and Washington D.C. did not exist. Travel would have been a slow process by horseback, carriage, or, on foot. Some burials were marked with only a rock which has rendered their exact locations ephemeral. In 2004 Archeologist, Lyle Torp, conducted a scraping operation to determine burial locations. The results of this operation, along with the 1927 survey, below, provided the locations for the headstone restoration by Mosko Cemetery Conservation in 2015.

Archeologist, Lyle Torp and Capital Cities Contractors removed 12 inches of  soil to reveal burial locations.
Accumulate soil removed to 1870 level  Lyle Torp locating possible burial sites

    The family burial ground remained part of the Higgins farm until late in the 19th century. A plat dated 1891 entitled Spring Lake Park shows the plantation subdivided into small residential lots with the cemetery and the house site remaining on larger separate lots. This plat also showed a park and a railroad station as part of the planned subdivision although neither was ever built.

    An aerial photograph of the site from the late 1930s indicated the roads of this plat had been installed and a number of the lots showed residential improvements.

The Higgins Farmhouse and most of the frame bungalows were demolished in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Today, the cemetery lot appears much as it did on the July 15, 1927 survey plat below.

Charles Maddox's, 1927 Survey was used to determine headstore re-plaements in 2015.
1927 Survey