SIGN: Capt. Angus Greme
Located south of Poplar Grove, at the intersection of Rte. 136 N and Trappe Rd.
This sign tells a more human tale of history than others have. It’s located at the cemetery of Trappe Missionary Baptist Church.
As you may recall from a previous sign, Lafayette at Rigbie’s House, Gen. Lafayette’s troops marched through the area in April, 1781, on their way to fight the deciding battle in the Revolutionary War at Yorktown.
Two of the men in these troops were Capt. Angus Greme and Capt. Jean Gimat. When they reached Trappe on their journey, the friends were so taken by the beautiful, rolling landscape that they vowed then and there to return to America after the war was over and buy some land in this lovely place.
Before they left for France, though, the wealthy Gimat bought an 800 acre parcel and gave it to Greme.
They returned to service in the French Army, with every intention of coming back to America. However, Gimat was killed in fighting in Santo Domingo. Greme did return and he brought his wife, Mary, and their four children to live at what was called, “Maiden’s Bower.”
In 1800, Greme died before he could finalize the transfer of the property to the estate of Gimat, presumably in gratitude for the generous gift, and his wife remained there until 1822, when she sold the property to Stevenson Archer to settle the matter. One of Greme’s sons, Angus, also bought property in the area and stayed until his death in 1880, at age 80.
Greme is buried in the cemetery at what was then called St. George’s Chapel of Ease. However, precisely where is difficult to determine. The tombstone stands in amongst a row of other stones which were moved when the cemetery was restored after years of neglect.
The chapel has a fair bit of history, itself. As part of the St. George’s Episcopal Church in Perryman, the Chapel of Ease was constructed in 1760 for the sake of the parishioners. Traveling the distance from Trappe to Perryman, at that time, was no small matter. Roads were nothing like they are today.
By 1800, the church had physically disappeared through neglect and decay. In 1855, a second church was built, only to be destroyed by fire in 1869. From that time, until another church was built, the congregation continued meeting in, “borrowed buildings,” according to Alexis Shriver, in "Lafayette in Harford," although an Episcopal church was in nearby Darlington.
A stone chapel was erected in 1875, but by the 1900s the services had been discontinued and it fell to rack and ruin. By the time Shriver wrote about the cemetery and Greme in 1931, he described it as, “the shamefully neglected graveyard.”
Trappe Missionary Baptist Church has called this spot home since 1957.
The view from this spot is one of the more scenic in the county, with the land rolling gently downwards to Deer Creek. It isn’t too hard to imagine how it must’ve looked in 1781 when Gimat and Greme made their pact to return, nor to see why they would’ve wanted to leave their homeland to make a life here.
This sign was erected by the Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the Maryland Historical Society.