The people of Taylor’s Island, in Dorchester County, Maryland, may know of this cemetery but hopefully it will not be a curiosity to future generations. Two churches which no longer hold services share in a history and a cemetery.
Bethlehem Church, an historical landmark has two cemeteries nearest its building: the white cemetery across the road at the site of the older structure, and the black cemetery located behind it. This easternmost cemetery shares its history with Lane Church, located along this road a little further south of this site with yet another, newer, cemetery. But this is the original Lane Church Cemetery, likely utilized at the time the first Lane Church structure was located much closer to the south side of Bethlehem.
In the above Google Earth photo, you see this older cemetery, but it too has two parts, with the north side of numerous crypts being the newer section, and south of this, the older section where lies the grave of Basil Lane, Lane Church’s namesake who first appears in church records as Barzillia Lane, “recognized as an Exorter & upon recommendation of the Leader was examined & recommended to preach,” in August 18, 1860. He was likely given to preach at the black church, identified in the October 1860 Bethlehem inventory as “1 Frame Church for the Col’d People” with a valuation of $400.
Bethlehem Church had a gallery which still exists although somewhat altered over time. It was briefly used by local slaves and freedmen until the Lane Church was built within a stone’s throw of the south side of Bethlehem Church, the old church likely was in view from this church window. Below is the the current Lane Church structure, located down the road. Both churches share an interesting history and an intriguing cemetery.
With my sad knees, I have lost the stamina to complete an inventory of the old Lane Cemetery, and located too far away to direct others to complete it. Should anyone find the will and the way to complete the inventory, please let me know, or at least make it available to future generations.
— Linda Duyer