One of my favorite personal factoids is that, working with my family (shoutout to you Troy!) I’ve been able to trace my ancestry back to 1851, or just a decade prior to the start of the American Civil War. In my genealogical research, I’ve discovered that my family has lived in Prince George’s County for six generations, were integral members of the historic, Ridgely Methodist Episcopal Church, and served as trustee members for Highland Park School, a Rosenwald School for African American students in Landover, when the school system was segregated.
Thanks to my incredible co-worker, Dr. Jennifer Stabler an archaeologist working in Historic Preservation on the County’s cemetery survey, I’ve been able to discover some new information, including the will of my Great Great Great Grandfather Robert Harrod, Sr. and the marriage announcement from my Great Great Grandparents.
Robert Harrod Sr. was born in 1851, nine years prior to the start of the American Civil War. Although his exact hometown is unknown, according to Census records, Robert and his parents were all born in Maryland. He eventually settled in Ridgely, Maryland with his wife, and my Great Great Great Grandmother Matilda, where he worked as a farm laborer (I guess farming is in my blood).
Together he and Gma Matilda, raised ten children (six sons and four daughters) and attended Ridgely Methodist Episcopal Church. On October 12, 1936 Robert Harrod Sr, departed this life at his home in Huntsville. and was soon followed by his wife. Both Matilda and Robert were buried at Ridgely Methodist Episcopal Church.
Robert and Matilda’s children, generally stayed in the same community and did not move too far from Prince George’s. Robert Harrod Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps. At the age of 21, Jr. married Eliza Queen in October 1904. By 1930, Eliza and Robert Jr. had six children: Gertrude, Clarence, Hazel, Laurence, Herman, and Thelma. He owned land near Sheriff Road and Hill Road, and George Palmer Highway. He worked for the Washington Sanitary Department, and as a farm and Day Laborer. Active in the local community, Jr. served as a trustee on the Highland Park Rosenwald School.
Marion Doretha Harrod was born in the early 1930s in Huntsville, Maryland to Clarence and Dorothy Harrod. Her parents were the son and daughter-in-law of Robert Harrod Jr. Marion attend Highland Park Rosenwald School and attend Sylvan Vista Baptist Church as a child. However, in June 1966, Marion returned to her family church and was received into full membership at Ridgely by Rev, Louis D. Conway. Her daughter, Sharon (my mommy) and two sons Oliver and Darryl, also joined the church with her.
When I was about 10 years old, I visited the Ridgely Church for the first time with my mother, Sharon, my grandmother Marion, my father, and sister, and a gang of other distant cousins and relatives. How exciting is it that I’ve been invited to present at the 2017 Ridgely Family Day At this time, for family day. So how excited am I that I’ve been asked to present at my family’s home church this weekend. Meet me on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 12:00pm at the historic Ridgely Rosenwald School for Family Day.