Church of the Atonement

Church of the AtonementThe chapel was organized as a parochial mission of St. Thomas Church of Croom in 1871. The frame building of English style was erected in 1874 on about three acres of ground which included a cemetery in Cheltenham, Maryland. On July 15, 1875, the Right Rev. William Pinkney, The Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, consecrated the chapel. Dr. J. Thomas Eversfield was appointed lay reader in the parish in 1880. After 1925 only a few services a year were held there, and the building was torn down in the early 1940's. The congregation for the most part, began to attend the Chapel of the Incarnation (Brandywine) which had been built around 1925 and was also a mission church of St. Thomas Church, Croom. The vital records of the chapel are included with those of the founding church, St. Thomas Church, Croom. (From Stones & Bones of P. G. Co.)

AtonementIn the photo at left the bell tower appears separate from the church. The bell likely arrived by train and seems to be mounted in what is to become the top of the bell tower. In the photo at right the bell tower has been completed and attached to the church. The low building to the left of the church in the photo at right is the freight warehouse for the railroad which ran between the two buildings. The tracks are still there and the train still runs every day. For a time Frank W. Selby would ring the bell for services. Stories have been passed down from Frank Selby and others, that the Washington Monument and other buildings in Washington, D.C. could be seen from the bell tower.

Edwin Jeremiah Selby, his wife Frances Aurora Bayne Selby, and their infant daughter Annie Iola Selby are buried in the grave area that is a short walk down a wooded path to the left of the church site. Their graves are clearly marked.

Dr. Thomas Selby (probably Edwin Jeremiah Selby's uncle) is listed in the Church Register as having died November 1, 1885, but no place of internment is indicated. A second record from  states that Dr. Selby was born Aug. 8, 1822 and died March 23, 1885. Joseph E. Soper, eldest son of Nathaniel M. Soper and Ann Priscilla Selby Soper, is buried nearby.

Church of the Atonement was a mission of St. Thomas' Church in Croom. A copy of many of the parish records (for St. Thomas and Church of the Atonement) can be referenced at the Maryland State Archives in the Special Collections section. A marker at the site reads:

St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish

Here a "Carpenter Gothic" church was consecrated July 1875 by Bishop William Pinkney of Maryland. Built on land purchased by Enoch Pratt, formerly Thomas F. Bowie's estate "Cheltenham" and William Talbert's "Finches Discovery". Bell tower constructed in the 1880s in memory of Rev. Samuel R. Gordon, rector 1853-1882. Cemetery laid off 1884. Regular services discontinued November 1925, church deconsecrated and torn down 1947. John Thomas Eversfield (1833-1885), beloved local physician, is buried here.

Cemetery entrance
A fence surrounds the property located at Cheltenham Railroad Station on the south side of the tracks near the extension of Frank Tippett Road in Cheltenham, Maryland.

Family area of cemetery
To the right of the entrance is a second newer burial area and the remnants of what appears to be either the chapel entrance or base of the bell tower. The tracks are visible at left.

Chapel foundation
Part of the cemetery is to the left of the entrance and sheltered by large old oak trees. A short walk down the wooded path leads to the Selby family graves.

Edwin Jeremiah Selby
One stone marks the graves of Edwin Jeremiah Selby (Feb 1, 1844/May 2, 1898) and Frances Bayne Selby (Dec 26, 1941).

Annie Iola Selby
The infant daughter of Edwin and Frances Selby, Annie Iola Selby (b. Sept 26, 1880/d. Dec 1, 1880), is buried adjacent to her parents.

Joseph E. Soper
Joseph E. Soper (b. Nov 24, 1861/d. Oct 30, 1898) is buried nearby; "brother" is engraved across the top of the headstone.