HUNTERSVILLE, MD. — All Faiths Church, arriving for services at the country church on Rt. 6 in Huntersville in the 1940’s.
This church was the target of the ‘Devil Duo’, a couple of Wiccan followers who broke into half a dozen churches in St. Mary’s County in the early 1990’s and stole crosses, chalices, and other alter items. The pair also broke into graves at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. and a cemetery in Fredericksburg, Va. They then used human skulls for demonic rituals. The St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department followed in the trail of the church burglars and occasionally K-9 Deputy William Bell set up his own stake-out of churches while the detectives maintained their nine-to-five routines. The pair were caught after the father of one of the burglars found much of the stolen church loot in the basement bedroom of his son and turned him into the cops.
The pair favored the Gothic fashion and dressed all in black for their “perp walk”. A priest from Our Lady of the Wayside in Chaptico, Md., sought the return of his parish’s stolen items from the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s headquarters, which had been loaded into a van operated by D.A.R.E. Deputy Mickey Bailey, in his one venture into a real crime, and were taken to headquarters. That priest was told by the detectives that he would have to wait until the next day to retrieve items used to celebrate daily Mass, as the DC area TV stations were on the way to film the recovered religious property. The promise to the media for a great story was more important to the star-struck detectives working for St. Mary’s Sheriff Wayne Pettit than returning the stolen property to the priest and his parish.
Arrested on June 4, 1991, were Christopher W. Shriver, of Mechanicsville, who was turned in by his father, attorney David G. Shriver. Arrested with Christopher Shriver was Kim A. Jurek, of Springfield, Va., who, when photographed as she was arrested, wearing all black, purred to Detective Julian Schwab, “Do I have to put up with that?”
More than $30,000 in altar crosses, Bibles, and vestments were found at Shriver’s home. The items were stolen during burglaries at four Catholic and two Episcopal Churches in St. Mary’s County.
Detectives reported that several skulls were stolen from a vault at Congressional Cemetery.
Shriver was later charged with being a fugitive from justice in December of 1991 and the charge was dropped by St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Walter B. Dorsey. On Feb. 10, 1997, charges of assault with the intent to murder were dropped by the Baltimore City States Attorney. A bond of $40,000 had been posted on the property of his parents in Mechanicsville.
On a charge of false imprisonment, Shriver entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to jail for one year with 9 months and 29 days suspended. He was put on supervised probation to two years in a plea deal with the Baltimore City States Attorney.
Court records show that on Feb. 17, 1998 he had been issued a warrant for his arrest for violation of his probation and on April 28, 1998 the case was marked closed.
Evidently the time the Devil Duo spent together lighting candles in the skulls of the disinterred dead blossomed into romance. Court records show Shriver as being chased for child support with Kim Shriver the claimant.
After years of being brought into court for child support hearings brought on the behalf of the Department of Social Services and Kim Shriver, with Christopher Shriver sentenced to jail for 179 days with work release authorized after failing to pay his child support. Christopher Shriver’s most recent court appearance in St. Mary’s Circuit Court was on May 1, 2008. Judge Michael Stamm recused himself from the case as Shriver told the court his father would represent him. The Contempt Hearing was set for June 9, 2008.
Who’s guarding the graveyard when the graveyard manager is robbing from the till?
Congressional Cemetery administrator John S. Hanley told The Washington Post that the vault of the William W.G. White family was broken into and at least four caskets disturbed in the months prior to the arrest of the Devil Duo. Hanley said several skulls and “some larger bones, possibly arms or legs,” along with unspecified “personal effects,” were taken.
Hanley said the vault holds the remains of about two dozen members of the White family, including children, who were interred from the 1840s to 1921.
He said intruders broke a metal cord and padlock on the vault’s door to gain entrance.
They then replaced the cord and lock to make it appear that they had not been tampered with, he said.
“They very carefully rummaged through, not as pranksters or drunks, and took what they wanted,” he said.
After a series of non-payments of bills due vendors of the cemetery and a failure to provide headstones which had been paid for but never delivered, a probe of the cemetery finances under Hanley revealed that money raised from retired FBI agents to pay for upkeep of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s grave had been absconded with and led to an even larger probe. Hanley was indicted by the U. S. Attorney. On Jan. 9, 2001, the Internal Revenue service put a lien against Hanley for $175,342. The Washington Post reported that Hanley was using funds stolen from the cemetery to buy racehorses.
First Senator Buried in Congressional Cemetery
From the U. S. Senate comes this history lesson:
In life, Connecticut Senator Uriah Tracy was known as a witty and compelling speaker, a forceful leader of the Federalist Party. In death, he acquired the dubious distinction of becoming the first senator to be buried in Congressional Cemetery.
The 30-acre graveyard, overlooking the banks of the Anacostia River, dates from the early 1800s when Washington’s Christ Church set aside plots within its cemetery for members of Congress who died in office. Some members were permanently interred there, starting with the 55-year-old Tracy following his death on July 19, 1807. For others, it served only as a temporary resting place until the seasons changed and the dirt roads home became passable. The distinguished Capitol architect Benjamin Latrobe designed massive square memorials—or cenotaphs (literally: empty tomb)—in memory of each deceased incumbent member. By 1877, more than 150 of these stout monuments dotted the burial ground, although only 80 bodies actually rested beneath them. Latrobe had wanted them built of marble, but Congress chose to save money by using sandstone. As the sandstone monuments discolored and deteriorated, Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts exclaimed that the mere sight of them added a “new terror to death.” About that time, Congress chose to stop erecting cenotaphs.
Perhaps the most notable among the cemetery’s 60,000 residents is Elbridge Gerry, signer of the Declaration of Independence, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, House member, and vice president under James Madison. Gerry became seriously ill late in 1814 as a result of the burdens of the War of 1812 and, according to a biographer, his “relentless socializing.” On November 23, determined to preside over the Senate, he set out for the Capitol, but suffered a fatal stroke on the way.
Near Vice President Gerry’s monument is the grave of Samuel Otis, the first secretary of the Senate, who died in office after 25 years of never missing a day on the job. Not far from Otis is the tomb of Isaac Bassett, one of the Senate’s first pages, who came to the Senate as a boy in 1831 and remained until 1895, an elderly white-bearded doorkeeper. Several members of the press have joined this congressional gathering, including the first photojournalist, Mathew Brady, and one of the first women journalists in Washington, Anne Royall.
With the establishment of Arlington Cemetery after the Civil War, Congressional Cemetery yielded its active role as the chief national burying ground.
(Editor’s Note: The Senate history does not include what Vice-President Gerry was most known – he presided over the redistricting of a state’s congressional districts which resulted in a district taking the shape of a salamander, thus, the term lives to this day of “Gerry-Mandering”.
Online court records do not reveal the charges or outcomes of Shriver and Jurek in the church burglaries perhaps due to incomplete transfer of court records to digital or the incredible allowance of a Judge to a lawyer for his son to have the charges “expunged”.)
The following history is from the church website:
Parish Established – C. 1655 Incorporated – 1692
Present Church Erected – 1767
1692 – When the Parish of All Faith in St. Mary’s County was created in 1692, the Parish Church at Huntersville was already built and named “All Faith.” According to a competent authority, the name “All Faith” was originally “Allfaiths” because in Resurrection Hundred it was the only building set aside for religious worship and all religious faiths used it.
All Faith Parish is fortunate in that most of its ancient records have been preserved. The first entry in these old records has to do with the establishment of the Parish by the Colonial Legislature of Maryland, being number twelve of the Establishment.
Like many old Churches, the original structure was built of logs. It was located on the site of the present building and was erected around 1655. This building was rebuilt in 1693 and finally replaced by the present colonial (Flemish bond) brick structure in 1767.
Three Chapels of Ease in All Faith Parish. The “Red Framed Church,” located near Laurel Grove, was built in 1767 and was in ruins by 1830. The “Four-Mile Run Church,” located near Sandy Bottom became the first Parish Church of what is now St. Andrew’s Parish. “St. Faith’s Chapel” in Mechanicsville was built in 1887 and was torn down in 1946.
The present church was renovated in the 1800’s at which time stained glass windows, pews, and chancel furniture were gradually added. Following Hurricane Hazel of 1954 came another renovation, namely the present Rose Window above the altar, the chancel and the heating plant.
Rose window – Georgian architecture did not employ stained glass, yet a window capable of filtering the bright morning sun was necessary to replace the Victorian window over the altar. The window was therefore designed to recall Georgian decoration rather than Victorian or modern. The window symbolizes the gifts of God and his bountiful creation. In the center is the dove of the Holy Spirit; in the petals of the rose, the twelve crops which sustain farming and human life in the community. Leaves of each plant are shown together with its flower and fruit, all enclosed by a large star, suggesting the immensity of God’s universe. Other stained glass windows throughout the building were replaced by clear leaded glass.
Architecture – The barrel-shaped ceiling, slave gallery and old hand-wrought hardware give evidence of the age of All Faith Church and, in the well-kept churchyard which surrounds the Church, generations of parishioners lie buried. All Faith Parish continues over a period of centuries in the “Service of Almighty God,” witnessing to the debt of the Church and to the wisdom and fidelity of the men and women whose work, done so long ago, lives today. “We also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.”
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