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Rockville, 1880-1896

The population of the county seat, Rockville, was less than 700 in 1880, 
rising to about 1,100 in 1896.

Rockville was a village when Mr. John Diggs-Dorsey was lynched in 1880, and at the time of Mr. Sidney Randolph’s lynching in 1896. With the population covering a small geographic area, the violence of lynching was intended to be visible, to spread fear and enforce white supremacy. Both mobs and both victims likely passed this intersection at W. Jefferson and Van Buren Streets, then proceeded to Darnestown Road, now Montgomery Ave.

The bodies of lynching victims, Mr. Diggs-Dorsey and Mr. Randolph, were both claimed by Pumphrey’s Funeral establishment and buried in unmarked graves at the Alms House, together with the bodies of other unknown, unclaimed or indigent people. The Alms House, or Montgomery County Poor Farm, was established south of Rockville in 1789 to provide for the County’s indigent. The Alms House site is the current location of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

Photo credits: Maps: G.M. Hopkins map of 1879 (both maps).

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