A Union of Brothers and Sisters
If you turn left onto the historic Philadelphia Road leaving my house, you will cross the Gunpowder between the sites of Ridgely's Forges and Joppa Ironworks, also the site of Patterson's Nailworks. If you turn right, you will pass the Union of Brothers and Sisters of Fords Asbury Lodge No. 1.
In a Maryland Historical Trust document about the lodge, there is this passage:
"Local historian Matthew Johnson found memories of the lodge holding a meeting at the "rocks with the iron bolts" on Great Gunpowder Falls near the present B. & O Railroad bridge where the Joppa Iron Works once operated.
"Confirming Mr. Johnson's discovery, a newspaper item reported that a Union Camp for revival services attended by both black and white participants took place near Patterson's old nailworks, Baltimore American, September 12, 1887."
When I read this, I already had photographs of those rocks with iron bolts.
The text on the historical marker reads:
“Built for the African American Community in 1874 as a school for children in the Loreley area and as home to this benevolent society. Founded in 1872. Beginning in the late 18th century, such mutual aid societies, often formed by church congregations, were part of a national humanitarian movement to provide emergency assistance to members in times of sickness, accident, and death, and to benefit communities through social, commercial and political networks.”