Tolson's Chapel

Tolson's Chapel (HM1YVB)

Location: Sharpsburg, MD 21782 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 27.371', W 77° 44.782'

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Worship and Learning

—1866-1998 —

In September 1862, in fields surrounding Sharpsburg, soldiers fought the deadliest battle the nation had seen. Four years later, African Americans here erected a simple log church - a building in which they would exercise their dearly-won freedoms.

In 1868, the chapel also housed the "American Union" school with help from the United States Freedmen's Bureau. Twelve of the students had been enslaved only four years earlier.

Tolson's Chapel survives as a tangible reminder of what the Civil War would ultimately mean to the millions of Americans enslaved on the eve of the war...fredom!

1862 - Battle of Antietam fought here September 17. President Lincoln issued the "Emancipation Proclamation," Freeing slaves in the states in rebellion.

1864 - In October, Maryland abolished slavery in its "Declaration of Rights," bringing freedom to 90,000 people.

1866 - Black citizens erected the chapel. The Sharpsburg Colored M.E. Church was later renamed for John L. Tolson, its first minister.

1868 - On April 6, a school for African American students opened here and operated for 31 years. Families paid tuition, and adults attended night school.

1998 - Tolson's Chapel closed its doors. The congregation's last member, Virginia Cook (pictured) had passed away in 1996.

- The Save Historic Antietam Foundation took ownership to begin restoration which continued in 2008 with the transfer to the Friends of Tolson's Chapel.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, June 11th, 2017 at 1:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 263704 N 4371002
Decimal Degrees39.45618333, -77.74636667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 27.371', W 77° 44.782'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 27' 22.26" N, 77° 44' 46.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 111-113 E High St, Sharpsburg MD 21782, US
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