Rossville is not to be found on any official map.

There's no post office by that name; there never was. The all-black school that served it was known as Muirkirk, named after an iron furnace that is now a paint factory. Muirkirk Road passed by it, until a bypass was built.

Its most historic community building, Abraham Hall, is falling down.

Time has taken its toll on the historic settlement. But Rossville lives on in the memories of the old people who still inhabit its dozen or so houses and in the nearby communities of Vansville, Vansville Heights and Swamp Poodle.

In this largely forgotten pocket of Prince George's County, the old families -- among them the Brewers, Rosses and Crumps -- intermarried. They worked first for the furnace owned by New Englander Charles Coffin and then for "the government farm," the nearby Beltsville research facility owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They were a mixture of freed blacks and freeborn blacks who settled around the Muirkirk furnace. In 1886, Augustus Ross bought the first of a dozen lots in what soon became known as Rossville.

They clung to their community and they clung, too, to their party, the party of emancipator Abraham Lincoln and freedman Augustus Ross, the Republican Party.

During the Depression, blacks by the droves deserted the Republican Party for the Democratic Party of the New Deal.

But around Rossville the GOP stayed strong, especially among the older people.

County voter rolls show six Republicans of nine registered on Muirkirk Road, nine of 11 on Conway, a cluster of 11 on Ellington Drive, 23 on Odell.

"She's an old Republican," said Democrat Brenda Pickett of her mother, Elizabeth Gibson Day, 62, who lives on Old Muirkirk Road in Rossville. Day, retired from the government farm since 1978, said she switched her allegiance only when Ronald Reagan came to office.

Outside the family home place, Edmund Gibson Jr., 68, Day's brother and a staunch Republican, proclaimed, "I never switched. I believe in Republicans. I liked Eisenhower. I liked Nixon, but it didn't turn out so good."

Over on Odell Road, facing the government farm, lives Genevieve Thomas, a granddaughter of Augustus Ross. Thomas, 70, a former chemist at the Agriculture Department farm, stopped voting after she became a Jehovah's Witness in 1972. But before then her party affiliation was never in doubt. "I knew I was a Republican from the beginning," she said. "I never voted Democrat."

And in Swamp Poodle, midway between Rossville and Vansville, two other Ross granddaughters reaffirmed their Republican roots.

"My father would turn over in his grave if I changed," said Maria Crump Mathews, 71. Being a Republican, "That's all he knew," said her sister, Mary Crump, 76, of their father's politics.

But it is their church, even more, perhaps, than their party, that binds the community and the generations together.

The Queen's Chapel United Methodist Church sits on Old Muirkirk Road at the western end of Rossville.

"In the country is not that much stirring," said Mary Crump. "We look forward to going to that church Sunday. When I go to church, I look all around and think of the uncles and the aunts, all gone. It's a sad feeling.

"When we grew up, we didn't see new faces too often. But now, you get new faces, new faces. You miss the people, they're gone. You miss the people, you miss 'em, you just miss 'em."

Kinship is still an important part of life around Rossville. "We're just one big family around here," said Anna Henry, another registered Republican, to Louise Gibson Brown, who is distantly related through marriage.

But the fact is that young members of the old families are few in number. The old people are passing, and many of them were childless. "The old community has just about run out," said Anna Henry, a widow without children. "I'm the only one in my family who can talk. The rest are absent-minded."

Said Louise Brown, 65 and a widow, "My husband used to say the community will die because most of the families don't have children."

Brown and her daughter, Marsha Brown, 37, are Brewers. Louise Brown is Elizabeth Day's sister. The Browns formerly lived in Swamp Poodle. They now occupy a split-level in a newer subdivision known as Vansville Heights. It adjoins the government farm, which they say accounts for agricultural odors and an abundance of flies around their home.

Marsha Brown is the unofficial historian of Rossville and vicinity. She authored a 116th anniversary book published in 1984 by Queen's Chapel Church. Among her souvenirs is the original charter for Rebekah Lodge No. 6 of the Benevolent Sons and Daughters of Abraham.

The society's members were drawn from the already established Queen's Chapel, and their membership included life insurance coverage, which blacks could not get elsewhere.

They met in Abraham Hall, an old frame building erected in 1888. It was a place to hold social dances and religious revivals.

After Queen's Chapel burned down in 1890, Abraham Hall was used for church services until a new place of worship was built on the same site in 1901.

Today, the roof of Abraham Hall is collapsing and residents worry that another winter without repairs could doom the community building last used in the 1970s when union workers from a nearby brick yard met there.

Renovating the dilapidated building has been a major goal of many Rossville area citizens. This year, the Maryland legislature appropriated funds to do the job. Barring bureaucratic delays, it should begin soon.

The former Muirkirk No. 2 Colored School is another community landmark currently getting an interior facelift.

The two-room school closed in 1950 and was acquired a few years later by the William F. Smith American Legion Post 235. The Legion post was formed by Rossville area men, but today most of its members, including the post commander, come from elsewhere.

"It's really not too many around now," said Edmund Gibson Jr., who is vice commander. "All the older guys who started it are dead."

Gibson lamented the lack of active members, from here or elsewhere. But nonetheless, the post and the Vansville Heights Civic Association were gearing up for a "Gala Dinner Dance" at the Fort Meade Non-Commissioned Officers Club.

Muirkirk Road, where the post sits, has its share of rush-hour traffic.

And less than a mile from the brown-shingled building, cars crowd Old Baltimore Pike when work is done in the Beltsville and Vansville industrial parks. Nearby, U.S. Rte. 1 carries commuter traffic to and from the Capital Beltway.

But in Rossville, country sounds dominate. The family farm where Ernest Gibson and Elizabeth Day grew up is overgrown with trees. But Gibson still grows a garden there, and the neighbors' roosters still wake her each morning at six. There are also squealing pigs and flies aplenty.

She could do without the pigs and flies, she says.

But Rossville, on or off the map, is still home. And, she adds, "There's no place like home."