Mr. Elmer Cross was born in 1863 in Maryland, likely already free even though slavery continued as the law of the land in Maryland.
His parents, Jeremiah and Anna Warfield Cross, may have been enslaved, as they were not listed in the 1860 Federal Census. Mr. Jeremiah Cross is listed in the Civil War Draft Registration, which indicates he was probably free by the time that his son, Elmer, was born.
Mr. Elmer Cross received some education along the way, learning to read and write and getting about a 3rd grade education. By age 14, he had left school and was working, likely as a laborer on neighboring farms around the rural town of Westminster.
In the summer of 1888, he married Ms. Mary Ellen Hughes, a woman about his same age who grew up in the same area of town. The couple split, and Mrs. Cross was back living with her father in 1900, with the couple’s three children. The children would eventually take their mother’s maiden name.
Mr. Cross remarried, to Mary Smith, around 1899. Ms. Smith had previously been married to Mr. James Blaney. They lived with her mother, Catherine Smith (who was mis-enumerated as “Cross”), in 1910. He continued to work as a farm laborer. In 1920, they continued to live and work in Westminster, he as a laborer on the State Road and she as a wash woman, taking in laundry at home. They owned their home on Union Street.
In 1930, Mrs. Cross’s widowed sister and widowed niece moved in with them. Mr. Cross, now 65 years old, worked as a servant at the nearby Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College ). Sadly, Mrs. Cross died in February of 1932.
Mr. Cross lived another 17 years, dying at the Franklin Square Hospital in 1949. He is buried at Ellsworth Cemetery, just outside of Westminster, Maryland.
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